A gloved hand holds up the tablet.

UNESCO celebrates a significant victory in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural objects as one of the oldest literary works in history is formally handed back to Iraq by the United States of America. In addition to this exceptional piece, the US Government facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 17,000 artefacts to Iraq which were discovered to have been looted in recent decades. The “Gilgamesh Tablet”, also known as the “Gilgamesh Dream Tablet”, is believed to have been looted from a museum in Iraq following the conflict in that country in 1991.

Afghan girls in school

Since 2001 Afghanistan has made advances, according to a UNESCO report. The report found that the total number of enrolled students increased from around 1 million to 10 million learners. The number of girls in primary school increased from almost zero in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2018. In 2021, 4 out of 10 students in primary education are girls. Yet these critical gains for the country’s development are at risk and the right to education for all learners, especially girls, must be upheld in the face of a looming humanitarian crisis. 

girls raising hands in class

Over 11 million girls may not go back to school after the COVID-19 crisis. Join UNESCO and members of the Global Education Coalition in the #LearningNeverStops campaign.

The Biennale of Luanda is back! And you don't want to miss it. The second edition will put young people front and center and focuses on the prevention of violence and the resolution of conflicts.

Empty classroom

Amid the rapidly unfolding events in Afghanistan, UNESCO spares no efforts to continue supporting all Afghans to ensure their right to education. Education is a fundamental human right indispensable for the exercise of other human rights and for the development of Afghanistan. UNESCO calls on all to guarantee the right to education without any discrimination. Students, teachers and education personnel must have access to safe educational environments, including girls and women, who must continue learning and teaching without any restrictions.

A rooftop with people performing with the Beirut Port as a backdrop.

One year ago, a massive double explosion hit the port of Beirut. The human toll was heavy: more than 200 dead, more than 6,000 injured, 300,000 families left homeless. The capital’s neighbourhoods were devastated and disfigured for miles around, almost bringing down the cultural and artistic sector. UNESCO then launched the Li Beirut (For Beirut) initiative from across the port. The initiative aims to mobilize the international community to support the reconstruction of the city’s educational and cultural sectors. UNESCO continues carrying out restoration work of schools and cultural sites.

When a journalist is attacked for his or her work, not only is the journalist's individual right to freedom of expression violated, but also the collective rights of society to access information. Silencing a journalist should not only be a concern for one individual or journalistic union, it is an issue that affects society as a whole, its present and its future. Learn more about how UNESCO protects freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.

A stone sculpture in front of a sunset.

The World Heritage Committee added 13 cultural sites in Africa, Arab Region, Asia, Europe, and Latin America to UNESCO’s World Heritage List and one extension to an existing cultural site in Mexico.

dance performance with digital background

Today, more and more people are turning their ideas and imaginations into livelihoods. The creative economy is one of the world’s most rapidly growing sectors, contributing 3% of the global GDP. Creativity is also a renewable, sustainable, limitless resource that we can find anywhere around the world. As we face climate crisis and the pandemic, its potential to drive a human-centric, inclusive development has never been more relevant. From 6 to 16 July 2021, UNESCO will highlight the infinite possibilities of digital technologies in an immersive virtual reality exhibition, Korea: Cubically Imagined.

Ocean Decade Challenge 1: Understand and beat marine pollution

The Ocean Decade Challenges represent the highest level of the Decade Action Framework. They articulate the most immediate priorities for the Decade. They aim to unite Decade partners in collective action, thus ensuring that the whole of the Decade is greater than the sum of its parts and shaping the overall contribution of the Decade to the 2030 Agenda. UNESCO brings us this video on challenge 1: Understand and map land and sea-based sources of pollutants and contaminants and their potential impacts on human health and ocean ecosystems and develop solutions to remove or mitigate them.

A man hands a health care worker a box that was just delivered by a drone.

Spending on science worldwide increased (+19%) between 2014 and 2018, as did the number of scientists (+13.7%). This trend has been further boosted by the COVID crisis, according to UNESCO’s new Science Report, The Race against Time for Smarter Development. But these figures hide significant disparities: just two countries, the United States and China, account for nearly two-thirds of this increase (63%) while four out of five countries lag far behind, investing less than 1% of their GDP in scientific research. The scientific landscape remains largely a landscape of power.

A woman from her balcony next to a mural on the wall.

UNESCO and the World Bank have partnered to enable the cultural and creative industries in cities as part of their recovery and development during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learning is key to finding solutions and creating a more sustainable world. We must change the way we live and care for our planet. Join UNESCO’s campaign calling on the world to invest in education for sustainable development and ensure that it is embedded in learning systems globally. For the survival of our planet, we need to #LearnForOurPlanet.

Students hold out rainbow flags from a school bus.

UNESCO and partners released findings about LGBTQI students in Europe. 54% of LGBTQI people have experienced bullying in school at least once based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or variations of sex characteristics, according to a survey of more than 17,000 children and young people aged 13 to 24. The survey also showed that 83% of students had at least sometimes heard negative comments towards LGBTQI students, and 67% had been the target of negative comments at least once.

women with face masks waiting in line

UNESCO's Director-General has welcomed the decision by the United States and many other countries to call for the lifting of patent protection on COVID-19 vaccines. This growing momentum comes in response to the joint appeal made by UNESCO, the WHO and the UNHCR to open up science and boost scientific cooperation. The idea behind Open Science is to allow scientific information, data and outputs to be more widely accessible (Open Access) and more reliably harnessed (Open Data) with the active engagement of all the stakeholders (Open to Society).