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Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO (INCCU)


India has been a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations since its inception in 1946. Article VII of the constitution of UNESCO requires that “each Member State shall make such arrangements as suit its particular conditions for purposes of associating its principal bodies interested in educational, scientific and cultural matters with the work of the Organization, preferably by the formation of a National Commission broadly representative of the government of such bodies” and further defines that “National Commission or National Co-operating delegations to the General Conference and to their Governments in matters relating to the Organization and shall function as agencies of liaison in all matters of interest to it”. UNESCO is the only UN body, which has encouraged its Member States to establish National Commissions to have liaison with it. Accordingly, an interim Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO was set up in 1949 by the Government of India, Ministry of Education, Resolution No.F.84-92/48-A.1, dated 26th March 1949. A permanent Commission was established in 1951 through the Government of India, Ministry of Education, Resolution No.F.134-27/50-A.5, dated 16th October 1951.

Functions of the Commission shall be :

  • To promote understanding of the objects and purposes of UNESCO among the people of the Republic of India;
  • To serve as a liaison agency between the Government of India and the institutions concerned with the working for the advancement of education, science and culture;
  • To co-operate with the Government departments and with services, organizations and institutions concerned with questions within UNESCO’s competence;
  • To encourage participation of national, governmental and non-governmental institutions and various individuals in the formulations and execution of UNESCO’s programmes so as to secure for UNESCO all the intellectual, scientific artistic or administrative assistance that it may require;
  • To collaborate with the National Commissions of Asia and the Pacific and with UNESCO’s Regional Offices and centers in fostering regional, sub-regional and bilateral co-operation in education, the sciences, culture and information, particularly through the joint formulation and execution of programmes;
  • To disseminate information on the objectives, programme and activities of UNESCO and endeavour to arouse public interest in them; and
  • To advise the Government of India on matters relating to UNESCO.

Office bearers:

  • The Education Minister shall be the President of the Commission. He/She presides over the meetings of the commission, in the absence of the President, the Commission may elect a Chairman from among the members present to preside over each meeting;
  • The Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education is the Secretary General of the commission and remains in over-all charge of the work of the Commission;
  • The Joint Secretary dealing with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the Department of Higher Education is the Deputy Secretary – General of the Commission and shall in the absence of Secretary-General, act as over all in-charge of the work of the Commission;
  • An officer of the Ministry of Education to be nominated by the Ministry of Education is the Secretary of the Commission. The Secretary prepares the agenda for its meetings and attends to the day-to-day work connected with the affairs of the Commission.


  • The membership of the commission consists of the members of five Sub-Commissions namely, Sub-Commission for (i) education; (ii) Natural Sciences; (iii) Social Sciences; (iv) Culture; and (v) Communication. The membership of the commission is of two categories; (1) Individual; and (2) Institutional. Each Sub-Commission consists of not more than ten “Individual” and ten “Institutional” members;
  • The President nominates individual members in their personal capacity from among eminent educationists/eminent scientists/persons distinguished in the fields of Social Sciences, Humanities and Culture/persons distinguished in the field of Communication. Members hold office for a term of four years. It is, however open to the Government of India to dissolve and reconstitute the Commission earlier than four years or to extend the term of individual members until the reconstitution of the commission on the expiry of the four years term;
  • Vacancies of individual members arising due to the death, continued illness, resignation or otherwise shall be filled for the un-expired portion of the term only;
  • Institutional members shall comprise the concerned Government Departments, important statutory and autonomous bodies, national professional organizations and national non-governmental organizations concerned with or working in the areas of education, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, culture and communication, which are admitted to the membership of the Commission. They shall hold office for a term of four years, unless the Commission is dissolved or reconstituted by the Government earlier than the completion of the four year term or their term is extended pending reconstitution of the Commission;
  • Each institutional member shall have the right to send a representative to the meetings of the Commission or the Sub-Commission as the case may be. Such representative shall participate in discussions and shall also have the right to vote;
  • The President may direct the co-option of additional members to the Commission for any special purpose for any meeting of the Commission or its Committees;
  • Each Sub-Commission shall elect its own Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Rapporteur who shall hold office for a period of one year.

1. India and UNESCO

India is among the founding members of UNESCO and has been playing a very active role in promoting UNESCO’s ideals and objectives.  The Executive Board acting under the authority of the General Conference examines the programme of work for the Organization and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the Director-General. It consists of 58 Member States, each with a four-year term of office. It meets twice a year except for the General Conference year, when it meets additionally after the General Conference has finished. India was one of the six elected Vice-Chairpersons for 2012-2013.

India was re-elected as a Member of the Executive Board for 2014-17 in the election held in the 37th General Conference in November, 2013.

2. India’s Representation in the Executive Board

India has been an active representative on the Executive Board of UNESCO  continuously from its inception. The list of India’s designated Members on the UNESCO Executive Board is attached at Annexure-1.

3. Permanent Delegation of India at UNESCO, Paris

India has established an office of Permanent Delegation at UNESCO, Paris. Ms. Ruchira Kamboj (IFS-87) has taken over as the present Permanent Representative of India (PRI) to UNESCO since 15th April, 2014.

4. India’s participation in the UNESCO subsidiary organs and committees:

List of UNESCO Committees and Subsidiary organs on which India is a Member is given in Annexure-2

5. UNESCO Category – I Institute

5.1 Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Education of Peace and Sustainable Development: This is the first category –I institute of UNESCO established in Asia which is generously financed by Government of India.  An outlay of Rs. 223.68 crore has been approved for a period of 5 years as support for establishment and activities of Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Education of Peace and Sustainable Development from Government of India. The Institute has started functioning at New Delhi since 2012.

6.0 UNESCO Category-II Regional Centres :

6.1 Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB): RCB, an institution of education, training and research is established by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India under the auspices of UNESCO as category II centre. The agreement to set up the Centre was signed between the DG UNESCO and Govt of India in July 2006. The Centre is currently operating from Gurgaon while its campus is under construction in Faridabad some 25 kms from Delhi. During a recent meeting of the executive board of the centre, it was informed that while construction of the campus is in full swing, the centre is carrying on its regular programmes from the Gurgaon facility which has a well equipped laboratory with full fledged equipments. They will also start a few regional programmes shortly and are already having regional collaboration on cutting edge biotechnological researches and training in the following areas.

  • Biomedical Science
  • Bioengineering & Devices
  • Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences
  • Climate science, agriculture and environment
  • Biotechnology Regulatory Affairs, IPR and Policy

The focus of the Centre is on cooperatively working towards shared biotechnology growth in the Asia-Pacific Region. Regional interactions in biotechnology will promote co-operation amongst the countries to develop necessary infrastructure and capacity building for economic benefit of our societies. The Centre would be beneficial in developing knowledge rich, highly skilled human resource to all countries in the region. RCB will be part of the Biotech Science Cluster (BSC) and will operate in synergy with the other institutions in the Cluster. The centre is also planning its outreach activities for foreign nationals.

6.2 Natural World Heritage Regional Centre at the Wildlife Institute of India :Another proposal for establishment of a Centre on Natural World Heritage at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun, as a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO has also been approved during 37th General Conference of UNESCO and the agreement is to be signed with UNESCO.

7. Contribution to UNESCO’s Budget:

7.1 Regular budget: Each Member State of UNESCO contributes to UNESCO’s regular budget for each biennium.  This contribution is at a fixed percentage approved by the General Conference from time to time.  India’s share of contribution is 0.534 percent of the total budget of UNESCO. Government of India had contributed Rs. 944.80 Lakhs during 2012. Since 2013 the contribution has been enhanced to 0.666 percent and it comes to about Rs. 14.00 crore. India has contributed the entire share towards the annual contribution till 2013.

7.2 Hosting UNESCO New Delhi Office and construction of new premises: India is responsible for providing free office accommodation to UNESCO Office in New Delhi.  At present, it is housed in a rented building for which the Indian Government is paying a rent of Rs. 6.00 lakhs per month (from the financial year 2008-09). It has been decided to construct a building for housing the UNESCO Office in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The construction has started and is expected to be completed in 2012-2013. The building is coming up at an approximate cost of Rs. 22.67 crore.  The building is now at the furnishing stage

7.3 UNESCO’s World Heritage Fund: India's contribution to the UNESCO's World Heritage Fund was to the tune of 17,435 US Dollars in 2011-2012. However, India also made, on UNESCO's request, an extra budgetary contribution of 100,000 US Dollars to the World Heritage Committee for specific projects, which was widely appreciated, this being a pioneering effort in this regard. India’s contribution during 2014 stands at USD 21,745.

7.4 International Oceanographic Commission: India’s is in the process of setting up an international training centre ‘School of Operational Oceanography’ at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in Hyderabad.  Building, the envisaged infrastructure, construction of faculty blocks, state-of-art class rooms, service building and an international standard hostel and guest house to accommodate the trainees and guest faculty will take approximately two to three years. The estimated cost for the centre would be about 33 million US Dollars (Rs. 150 crores).

7.5 International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC): India has been contributing annually 30,000 US Dollars to IPDC to support its various mandates activities. During the year 2010-2011, one-time special contribution of 500,000 US Dollars was also made to IPDC. As a whole, India has contributed a total; amount of 19,30,000 USD for IPDC.

8. UNESCO’s International Prizes and India

8.1 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence: Established through the generous donation of the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Indian artist, writer and diplomat Mr Madanjeet Singh, the prize honors his lifelong commitment to the cause of peace and tolerance. The creation of the Prize in 1995 marked the United Nations Year for Tolerance and the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. Periodicity and value: Since 1996, the Prize has been awarded every two years and, since 2002, it amounts to US $ 100,000.

8.2 The UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science : is an international distinction created by UNESCO in 1951 following a donation from Mr Bijoyanand Patnaik, Founder and President of the Kalinga Foundation Trust in India.

8.3 Recent winners of UNESCO’s International Prizes from India:

The National Literacy Mission Authority in the Ministry of Education has been selected for the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize for 2013. The awards consists of a sum of US$20,000, a silver medal and a certificate. Created in 1989 through the generosity of the Government of the Republic of Korea, the UNESCO King Sejong Prize which consists of two awards, compensates the work of governments, governmental agencies, and NGOs who are particularly effective in the fight for literacy. The Prize gives special consideration to the promotion of mother-tongue languages in developing countries.

  • 2012 Young Scientists Awards by the Man and the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO (MAB) given to Mr. Sathish Kumar V.M. (India) for his work on developing strategies and a regulatory framework for the sustainable fishing of sea cucumbers in the Gulf of Manner biosphere reserve.
  • Ms. Jiban Jyoti PANDA (India) has got 2011 UNESCO-L'OREAL International Fellowships in Life Sciences to continue her PhD study in Biotechnology at University of Colorado-Denver, School of Pharmacy, Aurora, USA, on the theme “Designed peptides as model self-assembling nano-systems characterization and potential applications in cancer drug delivery”.
  • Khabar Lahariya’ (the name means “News Waves”) newspaper from Uttar Pradesh, India had been awarded in 2009 with the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize.

9. Important Activities of India for Cooperation with UNESCO:

9.1 The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme :UNITWIN is the abbreviation for the university twinning and networking scheme. The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme consists of the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in higher education institutions. Because of the nature and flexibility of the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, universities can respond more readily and with greater autonomy to the demands for new learning and research in a world undergoing rapid economic, social and technological change. India has established 11 Chairs on different subjects (List attached as Annexure-3).

9.2 Associated School Project (ASP net)- Education for International Understanding:

58 schools and Teacher Training Institutions from India have been enlisted with UNESCO under its ASP-Net Programme.  In addition, 253 Clubs are registered with INCCU as UNESCO Clubs.

5 New  Indian schools have recently been included in the Associated Schools Project (ASP net) in August 2013.

9.3. India as the Chair of E-9 Countries for the Biennium- India assumed the chair of the E-9 for the biennium 2012-14. India hosted the Ninth E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting in New Delhi on 9 & 10 November 2012 on “Inclusive, relevant quality Education for All” identified as the thematic focus for cooperation for the two coming years. The overall theme of the Ninth E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting comprised of three interrelated components. These are: promoting inclusive approaches in education, enhancing the relevance of the content and processes of education, and improving educational quality to facilitate the achievement by all learners of the expected/specified learning outcomes.

A Technical meeting of the E-9 for Education for All was also organized at New Delhi on 27-28 June, 2013 to develop an outline for an action plan that will contribute to the broader thematic of Inclusive Relevant Quality Education in the E-9 countries.

Pakistan would take over as the E-9 Chair from India in November, 2014.

9.4. India Heads the International Task Force on Teachers for EFA

India has been assigned the role of Head of the international task force on Teachers for Education for All for the two years (Till 2014).

9.5. International Conference on Achieving Literacy for All : A three-day International Conference on Achieving Literacy for All, which focused on effective and innovative approaches to scaling up literacy, reducing gender disparities and creating a literate world,  was organized by the National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA), India along with UNESCO and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi from 18-20 July 2013.

Around 100 delegates from India and other countries, namely; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste participated in the conference.

9.6  Global meeting on Education for All (EFA), 2014 : The last Global meeting on Education for All (EFA) before the 2015 World Education Forum was held in Muscat, Oman from 12-14 May, 2014.  The Indian delegation led by Ms. Vrinda Sarup, Additional Secretary and PRI participated in the meeting.  The focus area during the meeting were basic education with focus on the most marginalized, equity, inclusion, gender equality, quality education, TVET and quality life-long learning, global citizenship education, education for sustainable development, ICTs as enabler for education and education in conflict situations and schools under attack.  India’s position on the need to balance of GDP spending from National Budget on the part of the developing countries with a similar commitment to ODA by the donors, elicited groundswell support from the delegates.  The progress made by India in meeting the education challenge by providing enhance access to schools was acknowledged and well appreciated by DG (UNESCO) during the meeting.

10. Culture

The World Heritage Committee (WHC) met at its 36th session of World Heritage Committee at St. Petersberg in June-July, 2012. Prominently. India was also elected to the World Heritage Committee for a four-year tenure during the elections held at the 18th Assembly of State Parties to the Convention held in Paris in November 2011.

India also participated in the meeting of Ambassadors at Panama for discussions on the matters of World Heritage Committee. A major event of World Heritage Committee on Visual Integrity was also organized by India at Agra during March, 2013. India also participated actively in the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013). The World Heritage Committee adopted the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value submitted by India for the following World Heritage properties:

  • Sun Temple, Konarak;
  • Group of Monuments at Ham pi;
  • Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya;
  • Elephanta Caves;
  • Great Living Chola Temples;
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus);
  • Mountain Railways of India;

Hill Forts of Rajasthan, (India) inscribed on World Heritage List

The serial site, situated in the state of Rajasthan, includes six majestic forts in Chittorgarh; Kumbhalgarh; Sawai Madhopur; Jhalawar; Jaipur, and Jaisalmer were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2013.

India has 32 Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List that include 25 Cultural Heritage sites and 7 natural sites. India has further submitted 46 Properties that are on the  Tentative List (List of the inscribed and tentative list are at Annexure-4).

The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 15 to 25 June 2014.


India is among the founder members of UNESCO and in order to promote communication capabilities of developing countries, the 21the Session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 1981 approved the setting up of an International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).  The 27th session of the International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC) Council was held at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris from 24th – 26th March, 2010.  Secretary (I&B) attended this meeting, where India was elected the new chairman of the Council.  For the first time the candidature of India endorsed by Asia Pacific Regional Group and supported by countries from Africa, Arab and Latin American Region won the election obtaining 23 out of 37 votes against Switzerland.    At present India is a member of the IPDC Bureau till November, 2013.

11.1. IPDC and India : The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries.  The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of tree and pluralistic media in developing counties.

The efforts of the IPDC have had an important impact on a broad range of fields covering, among others, the promotion of media independence and pluralism, development of community media, radio and television organizations, modernization of national and regional news agencies, and training of media professionals.  IPDC has mobilized some US$ 100 million for over 1500 projects in more than 140 developing countries and countries in transition.

India is one of the founding members of IPDC and has been consistently supporting the role of UNESCO/IPDC in strengthening communication capabilities in developing countries.

12.Natural Sciences

UNESCO is the only United Nations specialized agency with a specific mandate to promote science. UNESCO through its Natural Sciences Sector implements major international programmes in the freshwater, marine, ecological, earth and basic sciences. UNESCO’s Science Sector continued to strive to achieve its overarching objectives of “mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development” and “addressing emerging social and ethical challenges” through programmes designed to respond to climate change, gender equality, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.

The 45th Session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s (IOC) Executive Council met at UNESCO Head Quarters from 26 to 28th June, 2012.India is a member of the Executive Council. The session took stock of the Intergovernmental Coordination for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning Systems in different parts of the world, the future needs for Intergovernmental Coordination and Governance for Sustained Ocean Observation and Services. It reviewed the role IOC played in the Rio+20 conference and deliberated on the Prevention and reduction of the impacts of natural hazards (ii) Mitigation of the impacts of, and adaptation to climate change and variability, (iii) Safeguarding the health of ocean ecosystems and (iv) Management procedures and policies leading to the sustainability of coastal and ocean environment and resources. The Executive Secretary reported on the very successful involvement of the IOC in the RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development which concluded during the week before the 45th Session of the Executive Council. The Executive Secretary reported on significant work accomplished since the 26th Session of the IOC Assembly, in preparation for Rio+20, including the production of the interagency publication, A Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability, and participation in several preparatory workshops.

The 24th session of the International Coordinating council of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme was held from 9 to 13 th July, 2012 at UNESCO Head Quarters. The Council approved the nomination of Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve in India to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The Council commended the Indian authorities for the well prepared nomination. With this, India has eight Biosphere reserves in the World Net work of Biosphere Reserves. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves represent the World’s major ecosystem types and landscapes devoted to conserving biological diversity and sustainable development.

20th Session of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme was held from 4-7 June 2012 at UNESCO Head Quarters. One of the key outcomes of the session was the endorsement by the Council of the Strategic Plan of the Eighth Phase of IHP (IHP VIII-2014-21) prepared by the Strategic Plan Task Force. The overarching theme of the Plan is Water Security: Responses to local, regional and global challenges. There are six themes of the Plan : Water Related Disasters and Hydrological change, Ground Water in a Changing Environment, Addressing Water Scarcity and Quality, Water and Human settlements of the Future, Ecohydrology, Engineering Harmony for a Sustainable World. The Council has set up an open ended working group for development of an implementation Plan for IHP VIII. The Council endorsed the establishment of water related centres in three countries (UNESCO Category 2). They are ;’ International Centre for Water Security and Sustainable management’ in the Republic of Korea, ‘International Centre for Water Cooperation in Sweden’ and the Regional Centre on Groundwater Management’ in Uruguay. The Council encouraged member states to contribute to the Global Groundwater Information System by the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (UNESCO Category 2 Centre) to improve international monitoring and assessment of groundwater resources. The Council also encouraged member states to promote studies on transboundary aquifers in the framework of IHP’s Internationally Shared Aquifers Management (ISARM) initiative.

13. Oceanography

  • India has committed to extend support towards various capacity building activities of IOC by
  • Setting up of an International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography for the Indian Ocean Region
  • Hosting of OBIS data as part of IODE activity
  • Providing Tsunami early warning through Regional Tsunami Service provider
  • Participating in World Ocean Assessment of the UN
  • Promoting regional cooperation through IOGOOS as part of GOOS program of IOC through running its IOGOOS Secretariat from Hyderabad

13.1 INCOIS, Hyderabad to emerge as a Centre on Operational Oceanography (Category-II Institute of UNESCO) : The operational oceanography integrates the scientific knowledge spread across vast array of disciplines and skills to now casting and forecasting the odeling of oceans.  It starts with making routine measurements of oceanic parameters to assimilating them with numerical models and finally disseminating the information to the end users.  Operational Oceanography starts with the rapid transmission of observational data to data centres.  There, the powerful computers process the data and quality checks them before being assimilated in to the numerical models to generate the forecasts.

India has a wealth of experts odelinged in various fields of marine science including mathematical odeling.  India also has dedicated ocean remote sensing programme and expertise in various fields of satellite oceanography.  The state of art National Tsunami early Warning Centre established at INCOIS in 2007 is successful in providing the timely early warnings to India and Indian Ocean rim countries.

India’s is in the process of setting up an international training centre ‘School of Operational Oceanography’ at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in Hyderabad.  Building, the envisaged infrastructure, construction of faculty blocks, state-of-art class rooms, service building and an international standard hostel and guest house to accommodate the trainees and guest faculty will take approximately two to three years.  The Ministry of Earth Sciences will bear the cost of setting up of infrastructure, including land and building, and the operational cost including the salary of Indian faculty.  The other cost, mainly, the travel and per diem for international trainees and the salary for international faculty need to be borne by IOC or the Member States who deputes their faculty or trainees.  The estimated cost would be about 33 million US Dollars (Rs. 150 crores). An MOU is being signed with IOC, UNESCO and University of Hyderabad in this connection.  The necessary land has been acquired and construction of building is underway.

13.2 Early Warning System for the Indian Ocean Region : On 26th December 2004, India and several other countries were devastated by a major Tsunami leading to large loss of life and property.  There was no forewarning system in position.  The Ministry accordingly established a state-of-the-art Tsunami Warning System with a capability to forewarn of impending disasters if any within 15 minutes of the occurrence of an earthquake, whereas the Tsunami takes more than 2 hours to reach mainland India.  The state-of-the-art Tsunami Warning System with world’s best infrastructure and communication system was made fully operational in October, 2007 at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) Hyderabad.  The system encompasses a network of real-time observation networks viz., Seismic Stations, Tide Gauges, Bottom Pressure Recorders, HF Radar, The data from 364 seismic stations (17 national and 302 international) are being received and processed for real time detection of global earthquakes M>5.0.  Over 25 Indian tide gauges and 60 international gauges installed and maintained are being used for providing Tsunami warnings.  Data from three international bottom pressure recorders in the Indian Ocean are also received at INCOIS in real time.  The early warning system monitors potential Tsunami genic earthquakes, sea level propagation of tsunami waves in the ocean, and consequent sea level changes.  This centre has been recognized as a Regional Tsunami Service Provider for the Indian Ocean Region by IOC, UNESCO.

13.3 Ocean Biographic Information System (OBIS) : INCOIS has been designated as the National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC) by the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Programme of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).  The objectives of the data centre at national and regional levels are acquisition, processing, quality control, inventory, archival and dissemination of data and data products in accordance with national responsibilities and also responsible for international data exchange.  To meet these objectives and data demands from wide spectrum of users, the data has been harmonized in standard formats and quality controlled adopting international standards and disseminated through the web-based data services.  The Ocean Data and Information System (ODIS) set up at INCOIS is one such system that provides data and information on physical, chemical and biological parameters of oceans and coasts on various spatial and temporal domains.  It is an end-to-end ocean data management system, developed by adopting the advances in the field of information and communication technology.  ODIS is fed by voluminous satellite data (~5 Tb per year) and highly heterogeneous oceanographic data in real time, acquired by the Ocean Observing Systems established in the Indian Ocean.  Strong organizational arrangements are in place with the agencies involved in ocean observational programmes to ensure the real-time data flow to ODIS.  The Live Access Server (LAS) implemented at INCOIS serves the gridded data products in net common data format (netCDF) that is widely used by the oceanographic community for data selection, visualization and the generation of on-the-fly graphics.

The IndOBIS has at present 48422 record holdings at Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), Kochi.  As per this mandate, the CMLRE have to document the species diversity of the Indian Ocean in 2 × 2 grid resolution and provide details on species abundance, shifts in species distribution.

The OBIS is an International website dedicated to the representation of the species diversity and abundance in world oceans in a 5 × 5 degree grid resolution.  During the 44th Executive Council of IOC in June 2010, an offer was made by India to host special data centre for OBIS.

14. Man and Biosphere Programme

The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme aiming to set a scientific basis for the improvement of the relationships between people and their environment globally. Launched in the early 1970s, it proposes an interdisciplinary research agenda and capacity building that target the ecological, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity loss and the reduction of this loss. Concerned with problems at the interface of scientific, environmental, societal and development issues, MAB combines natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and safeguard natural ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that is socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable. The agenda of the MAB Prorgamme is defined by its main governing body, the International Co-ordinating Council in consultation with the broader MAB Community.

Sub-programmes and activities focus on specific ecosystems: mountains;  drylands; tropical forestsurban systemswetlands; and marine, island and coastal ecosystems. Interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration, research and capacity–building are promoted.

Nine of the eighteen biosphere reserves are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list.

Name States Year Added
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Tamil NaduKeralaKarnataka 2000
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu 2001
Sundarbans national park West Bengal 2001
Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve Uttarakhand 2004
Nokrek Biosphere Reserve Meghalaya 2009
Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh< 2009
Simlipal Biosphere Reserve Orissa 2008
Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve ChhattisgarhMadhya Pradesh 2012
Nicobar Islands Andaman and Nicobar Islands 2013


India’s designated members on the UNESCO Executive Board

Title Name Years Sessions
Member Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 1946-1951 1-26
Chairperson Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 1948-1949 13-17
Member Sh. Arcot Laxamanswami Mudaliar 1951-1956 27-45
Chairperson Sh. Arcot L. Mudaliar 1954-1956 40-45
Member Dr. Zakir Husain 1956-1958 46-51
Member Ms. Hansa Mehta 1958-1960 51-57
Member Smt. Indira Gandhi 1960-1964 58-68
Member Sh. Prem N. Kirpal 1964-1972 69-90
Chairperson Sh. Prem N. Kirpal 1970-1972 86-90
Member Sh. Gopalaswami Parthasarathi 1972-1976 91-100
Member Sh. Sarvepalli Gopal 1976-1980 101-110
Member Sh. Triloki Nath Kaul 1980-1985 111-122
Member Sh.  Swaran Singh 1985-1989 123-132
Member Sh. Natarajan Krishnan 1989-1993 133-142
Representative Sh.  R.N. Mirdha 1993-1997 143-152
Representative Sh.  Muchkund Dubey 1998-2001 154-162
Representative Sh.  T.N. Chaturvedi 2001 163-164
Representative Sh.  L.M. Singhvi 2002-2005 165-169
Representative Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan 2005-2009 170-181
Representative Dr. Karan Singh 2009- 2013 178-192
Representative Dr. Karan Singh 2013 onwards 193 onwards


India’s representation on the various Committees and Subsidiary organs of UNESCO

  • Executive Board
  • UNESCO International Bureau of Education
  • Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee
  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  • Intergovernmental Committee on World Heritage
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
  • International Bioethics Committee (IBC)
  • Chair of E-9 countries
  • Vice Chair of World Heritage Committee
  • Chair of the Commonwealth Group at UNESCO


List of Chairs under the UNITWIN/UNESCO Programme

  • UNESCO Chair in Cultural Development (1994),Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi
  • UNESCO Chair in Peace, Human Rights and Democracy (1998),Academy of Engineering and Educational Research, Pune
  • UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education through Distance Mode (1996),Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi
  • UNESCO Chair in Biotechnology (2000), Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Bangalore
  • UNESCO Chair for the Promotion of the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence (1999), Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Pune
  • UNESCO-Cousteau Ecotechnie Chair in Ecotechnology (1996), M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)
  • UNESCO Chair for Peace and Intercultural Understanding (2010), Banaras Hindu University
  • UNESCO Chair on Community Media (2011), University of Hyderabad
  • UNESCO Chair in Climate Science and Policy (2012), TERI University
  • UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Adapted Physical Education and Yoga (2012), Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University
  • UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development and the Human Habitat (2013), The Centre for Environment Education and CEPT University


India’s Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (33)

Cultural Heritage Sites

Natural Heritage Sites

Properties submitted on the Tentative List (46)

Important UNESCO Related Events

1. Three International events for “Teachers for Education for All (EFA)” in India from 28 – 31 May, 2012:

  • Meeting of the International Task Force on ‘Teachers for Education for All’- 28th May
  • International Conference on Teacher Education- 29th -30th  May
  • E9 meeting of experts on Teacher’s Training for Inclusive Quality Education. 31st May.

2. Participation in the Third International Congress on TVET (Shanghai, 14-16 May 2012)-

The Indian delegation led by Ho’ble Minister of State (HRD), Dr. D. Purundeswari participated in the Third International Conference on TVET and played a pivotal role in the adoption of the Shanghai Consensus and called for more efforts to step up vocational education opportunities as the answer to rising unemployment in the world. The Congress brought together over 540 participants from 107 countries and resulted in the adoption of the “Shanghai Consensus”, which called for the transformation and expansion of TVET as well as for an increased attention to sustainable development and partnerships.

3. Ninth E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting

Ninth E-9 Ministerial Review Meeting held in New Delhi on 9th November, 2012 which was attended by Ministers from the E-9 countries and Hon’ble HRM. India assumed the Chair of E-9 countries. Director General, UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova also participated in the meeting.

4. Launching the EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2012

The national launch of the English, Hindi and Telegu version of the “EFA Global Monitoring Report, 2012: Youth and skills putting education to work” took place in New Delhi on 26th April 2013. It was launched by Dr Karan Singh, India’s Representative to UNESCO’s Executive Board and President of Indian Council of Cultural Research (ICCR), in the presence of Ms Tine Staermose, Director ILO, high-level government officials and other dignitaries.

5. Technical Meeting of E-9 Countries-

A Technical meeting of the E-9 for Education for All was also organized at New Delhi on 27-28 June, 2013 to develop an outline for an action plan that will contribute to the broader theme of Inclusive Relevant Quality Education in the E-9 countries.

6. International Conference on Achieving Literacy for All

A three-day International Conference on Achieving Literacy for All, which focused on effective and innovative approaches to scaling up literacy, reducing gender disparities and creating a literate world,  was organized by the National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA), India along with UNESCO and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi from 18-20 July 2013. Around 100 delegates from India and other countries, namely; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste participated in the conference.

7. International Conference of the Alliance for Literacy, Peace, and   Development in South Asia

International Conference of the Alliance for Literacy, Peace, and Development in South Asia held on 7th September 2013, was graced by the Hon’ble President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, and an illustrious panel which included the Education Minister of India, Dr Pallam Raju, Ministers of State for Education, Dr Shashi  Tharoor, and Mr Jitin Prasada. 

The celebrations were also attended by representatives who participated in the International Conference on Literacy, Peace and Development in South Asia – Minister for Education of Afghanistan, Mr Ghulam Farooq Wardak, Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka, Mr Mohan LalGrero, Ambassador of Bhutan, Mr V. Namgyel, High Commissioner of Pakistan, Mr Salman Bashir, and Ministers of Education of states within India. The event was attended by around 1,000 participants which included representative from States Literacy Mission Authorities of India, Zila Panchayats, the academica, and civil society.

8. Meetings of Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO

The meetings of Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO were held on 31st July, 2012 and 2nd September, 2013 and were attended by the esteemed Members and UNESCO officials

9. Education For All-2015 Review

Since we approach 2015, the target year for meeting the Education for All goals, MoE formed a team to conduct National EFA2015 Review. The aim of the National EFA 2015 Review is to assess progress made towards achieving EFA since 2000, and the extent to which six EFA goals have been achieved. It should  also  provide  information  on  major  challenges  faced  by  each  country  in developing education in the post-2015 era. It is hoped that the review process will help Member States accelerate EFA actions in the last “Big Push” to 2015, and inform policy debates for defining a post-2015 education agenda at the national and regional levels.

10. India to Lead the E-9 Synthesis Report on EFA

Similarly India will lead preparation of the E-9 synthesis report that will be based on the national EFA 2015 review reports which will be used to prepare for the 2015 global conference in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

11. International Conference "Integration of Academic courses with Vocational Education in Secondary Schools" in New Delhi

The National Institute of Open Schooling, UNESCO New Delhi, and COL organized International Conference "Integration of Academic courses with Vocational Education in Secondary Schools" in New Delhi, India, 17-19 February 2012.

12. Conference on "Prior Learning - a Key to Lifelong Learning"

The National Literacy Mission Authority jointly with UNESCO New Delhi hosted the Conference on "Prior Learning - a Key to Lifelong Learning" on 29-30 June 2012. The draft guidelines for the Recognition of Prior Learning in Literacy in India had been presented by the Government of India.

13. ANTRIEP Regional Workshop on "Vocational Education: Policies, Programmes and Innovations"

The National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) is the Asian Network of Training and Research Institutions in Educational Planning (ANTRIEP) focal point. NUEPA, UNESCO New Delhi and UNESCO IIEP jointly organized the ANTRIEP Regional Workshop on "Vocational Education: Policies, Programmes and Innovations" on 5-8 November, 2012 with participation 20 research institutions from 13 countries.

14. Workshop for Development of Research Tools for Piloting the UNESCO General Education Quality Analysis/Diagnosis Framework (GEQAF)

Following to this meeting at UNESCO Paris, and New Delhi, and MoE organized a Workshop for Development of Research Tools for Piloting the UNESCO General Education Quality Analysis/Diagnosis Framework (GEQAF) on 16-21 April, 2012. NCERT is conducting a pilot study of GEQAF in three Indian states. India has also sent an expert to the GEQAF Workshop in Abuja, Nigeria and Oman.

15. Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)- South Asian Regional Conference on "ECCE Policies and Practices: Towards 2015 and Beyond"

GOI, World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, and partners organized the South Asian Regional Conference on "ECCE Policies and Practices: Towards 2015 and Beyond" 27 -29 August, 2012, New Delhi, India, with 150 participants from 7 countries.

16. South Asia Ministerial Forum (SAMF) "Translating ICT-in-Education Policies into Action – up to 2015 and beyond

UNESCO, Intel, and MoE organized the South Asia Ministerial Forum (SAMF) "Translating ICT-in-Education Policies into Action – up to 2015 and beyond" on 12-13 February 2013 with participation of the 8 ministers of education from SAARC countries and 4 Indian states. As outcome of SAMF, UNESCO is assisting selected Indian states' governments on ICT Master Plan development.

UNESCO is a part of the Joint Review Mission for RMSA 2013. MoE, RMSA and NCERT organized the National ICT for School Education Conference, New Delhi, 13-14 August, 2013 with participation of the UNESCO experts.

The UNESCO Fellowships Programmes

Fellowships are an effective modality for UNESCO to enhance the human resources and capacity-building of Member States, especially developing countries. Fellowships are specially tailored training which are designed to give qualified persons practicing or intending to practice a profession in the field of the UNESCO programme priorities an opportunity to receive additional and practical training, thus contributing to the advancement and circulation of knowledge and skill promoting development and international understanding.

Resolution 13.6 of the 28th session of the General Conference requests "...the Director-General to regard the National Commission as the official channel in Member States for the submission of fellowship applications...". Thus, the UNESCO Secretariat cannot consider application from individuals. All applications must be channeled through the National Commission for UNESCO of the candidate's country and without this endorsement no application may be examined.

I. Co-Sponsored Fellowships Programmes

II. Extra-budgetary Fellowships Programmes