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International Partnerships
News article10 October 2022Directorate-General for International Partnerships

The EU and UNESCO celebrate 10 years of partnership

EU and UNESCO celebrate 10 years of strategic partnership
EU and UNESCO celebrate 10 years of strategic partnership

By joining forces at global, regional, and national levels, the EU and UNESCO have transformed the lives of millions of people.  Together, we have worked to provide quality education, climate change mitigation, culture and heritage, freedom of expression, and crises response. 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of this strategic partnership: an opportunity to celebrate our collaboration and acknowledge the impact we have achieved so far.

On 8 October 2012, the EU and UNESCO assigned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance dialogue, foster exchange of best practices and further strengthen our partnership with clear shared priorities.

In the last decade, the EU and UNESCO have undertaken 109 projects across the world for a total value of more than $311 million, addressing common priorities and covering all of UNESCO’s fields of competence – culture, education, freedom of expression, equal access to information, and science.

Central to our partnership is our commitment to promote fundamental human rights, and inclusive and diverse societies. We are protecting journalists at risk and supporting pluralistic media – in Afghanistan, in the Balkans, and elsewhere. We champion a human-centered digital transformation that upholds freedom of expression and access to information for all. Worldwide, we are harnessing the power of cultural diversity as a driver of sustainable development by promoting inclusive cultural policies through the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility on the Governance of Culture.

To empower youth and women, UNESCO and the EU have been creating more than 3,000 jobs and training 50,000 young people to rehabilitate cultural heritage in Iraq as part of the flagship initiative, ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’. In the Caribbean, through the Transcultura Programme, we have supported over 1,400 young cultural professionals with new competencies and job opportunities. In the South Mediterranean region, we have supported female film professionals by harnessing and enabling an environment to create and express their concerns and tackle gender-related stereotypes in films, while promoting cultural diversity.

To support the African continent, we have rehabilitated cultural heritage at risk including mausoleums and private libraries destroyed by war and trained local personnel to ensure lasting heritage preservation efforts in Northern Mali. In the Sahel region, we are improving the quality of education, by strengthening teachers’ qualifications and providing our expertise for education policies and management.

To protect biodiversity and promote sustainable development, we have strengthened the management of protected forest sites in Central Africa (CAWHFI), and we are preparing vulnerable coastal communities to respond to sea level-related risks (CoastWAVE project).

By marking this 10-year milestone of the strategic partnership, UNESCO and the EU reaffirm their commitment to shared values and the acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the years to come, we want to consolidate our partnership by "Working Better Together" - UNESCO, the EU and its Member States - by jointly defining and addressing a set of key strategic priorities to reach greater impact.


Key ongoing joint UNESCO EU projects:



Publication date
10 October 2022
Directorate-General for International Partnerships