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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 Minister of Education is 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 is in the absence of Secretary-General, act as over all in-charge of the work of the Commission;
  • The Ministry of Education has nominated Director/ Deputy Secretary (INC) to be 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 193 Member States as of January, 2019, 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.

2. India’s Representation in the Executive Board

India has been an active representative on the Executive Board of UNESCO continuously from its inception. India’s Representative in the Executive Board of UNESCO is Sh. Vishal V. Sharma, PRI to UNESCO. The list of India’s designated Members on the UNESCO Executive Board is attached at Annexure-1.

India has been re-elected for 2021-25 by getting 164 out of 173 votes cast, as a Member of the Executive Board in the election held in the 41st General Conference held in November, 2021. Sh. Vishal V Sharma, India’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative (PR) to UNESCO is the new Representative of India to the Executive Board.

India has also been elected to the World Heritage Committee for 2021- 2025 by getting the highest number of votes from the Asia-Pacific region in the 23rd General Assembly of the State Parties of the World Heritage Convention. India will also chair the powerful Finance & Administration (FA) Commission of UNESCO for 2021-2023 for the 1st time as full-chair in 75 years. India will also be the rapporteur of the WHC’s 45 session to be held in Kazan, Russia in 2022, and will also be contesting election for the Intangible Cultural Heritage for 2022-2026. India has also succeeded in getting Durga Puja in Kolkata inscribed to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in the 16th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

3. Permanent Delegation of India at UNESCO, Paris

India is having an office of Permanent Delegation at UNESCO, Paris. Sh. Vishal V Sharma has taken over as the present Ambassador/Permanent Representative of India (PRI) to UNESCO since 1st October, 2020.

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 (MGIEP): This is the first category –I institute of UNESCO established in Asia Pacific Region which is generously financed by Government of India. The Institute has started its functioning at New Delhi since 2012. On expiry of the first Operational Agreement, second Operational Agreement has been signed, jointly by Sh. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Hon’ble Minister of Education and H.E. Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director General UNESCO, for a period of five years from 2020-2024. For more information, please visit:

6. UNESCO Category-II Regional Centres :

6.1 Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB), a Category II Centre: RCB, an autonomous 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 on 14th July 2006. Its campus is in Faridabad some 25 kms from Delhi. In 2016, RCB was recognized as an Institution of National Importance by the Parliament of India. For more details please visit -

6.2 WII-Category II Centre on World Natural Heritage Management and Training for Asia and the Pacific Region :Government of India in September 2012, submitted a “Request for Action” towards the establishment of a Centre of Excellence on Natural World Heritage for Asia and the Pacific region, to the Director-General, UNESCO, at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), an internationally acclaimed institution in the field of natural resource conservation located in Dehradun, as a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO.

Then a feasibility study was undertaken by a UNESCO expert, including a mission to India, and confirmed the great potential for the establishment of the proposed Centre, which would fill a gap in the region and would benefit from the extraordinary facilities and long experience of the WII, including at the international level. The Director- General UNESCO accepted the proposal and the UNESCO General Conference 37 C/Resolution 47 dated 19 November 2013 granted approval to the proposal. For further information, please visit

6.2 International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean): a UNESCO Category 2 Centre, at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India, had established an International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean) at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad to provide training to scientists/ researchers/government officers/disaster managers/decision makers, etc in 2013. In order to assist UNESCO and its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in achieving the aims of developing new methods of capacity building for the countries on the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR), African countries bordering the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and small island countries, the Government of India through Ministry of Earth Sciences, offered to establish the ITCOocean as a UNESCO Category 2 Centre. The General Conference of UNESCO approved the offer of Government of India to establish ITCOocean as a UNESCO Category 2 Centre in November 2017. The mission of the Centre is to assist the Member States of IOC/UNESCO in developing oceanographic scientific base, related technology and information systems and to create a pool of trained ocean scientists, technologists and managers to cater the growing demands of operational oceanographic services and better management of oceans. For more details, please visit:

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 1.349 percent of the total budget of UNESCO. India has contributed the entire share towards the annual contribution till 2021.

7.2 Housing UNESCO New Delhi Office and construction of new premises: India is responsible for providing free office accommodation to UNESCO Office in New Delhi. Accordingly, a new building for housing the UNESCO Office at 1, San Martin Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi has been constructed by M/o Education and has been handed over to them on 3rd December, 2016 and the formal inauguration of the new UNESCO House was held jointly by DG UNESCO and the then Hon’ble Minister of Education on 30th August, 2017.

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

UNESCO calls for nominations for a number of International Prizes in different sphere (Education, Science, Culture, Non Violance etc.) The details are mentioned below:

S. No Name of UNESCO Prize Tentative Schedule
1. UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence February - April
2. UNESCO Jikji Memory of the World Prize January - March
3. UNESCO Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development February – May
4. UNESCO Prize for Girls and Women’s Education May – June
5. UNESCO International Literacy Prizes April - June
6. UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture June - August
7. UNESCO Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation March - July
8. UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences January - February
9. Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation February - June
10. Carlos J. Finlay UNESCO Prize for Microbiology June - July
11. UNESCO Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science November
12. UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa AlKhalifa Prize for the use of Information and communication Technologies in Education July - October
13. UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities September - October
14. UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development April- May
15. UNESCO Felix Houphouet Boigny Peace Prize November/December
16. UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science February/April
17. UNESCO Hamdan Prize for Teacher Development October
18. UNESCO-Russia Mendeleev International Prize in the Basic Sciences March
19. UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education May
20. UNESCO Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize for the Creative Economy. August
21. UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize June
22. UNESCO Young Professional Programme August

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 12 Chairs on different subjects (List attached as Annexure-3).

9.2 UNESCO ASPnet Schools in India: The UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) links educational institutions across the world around a common goal: to build the defences of peace in the minds of children and young people. The over 11,500 ASPnet member schools in 182 countries work in support of international understanding, peace, intercultural dialogue, sustainable development and quality education in practice.

ASPnet - a driver for innovation and quality in education - is recognized as an effective tool for reaching ation (GCED) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) of Sustainable Development Goal 4 - Education 2030. Target 4.7 on Global Citizenship Education

ASPnet uses three complementary approaches:

  • Creating: As a laboratory of ideas, ASPnet develops tests and disseminates innovative educational materials and promotes new teaching and learning approaches based on UNESCO's core values and priorities.
  • Teaching & Learning: Capacity-building, innovative teaching and participative learning in specific ASPnet thematic areas allow school principals, teachers, students and the wider school community to integrate UNESCO's values and become role models in their community and beyond.
  • Interacting: ASPnet gives its stakeholders opportunities to connect and exchange experiences, knowledge and good practices with schools, individuals, communities, policy-makers and society as a whole.

ASPnet operates at both international and national levels. A team at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris oversees the network's international coordination. At the country level, ASPnet National Coordinators are designated by UNESCO's National Commissions. Principals, teachers and students lead activities in member schools.

As of now, there are 63 schools in India which are associated with UNESCO ASPnet. As of now, there are 63 schools in India which are associated with UNESCO ASPnet. There are 19 more schools which have been approved for the membership from India and require clearance from UNESCO Headquarters.

10. Culture

India will be the rapporteur of the WHC’s 45 session to be held in Kazan, Russia in 2022, and will also be contesting election for the Intangible Cultural Heritage for 2022-2026. India has also succeeded in getting Durga Puja in Kolkata inscribed to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in the 16th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The World Heritage Committee adopted the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value submitted by India for the following World Heritage properties in the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee:

  • 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).


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
  • tropical forests
  • urban systems
  • wetlands
  • 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 182-192
Representative Dr. Karan Singh 2013-2017 193-203
Representative Prof. J. S. Rajput 2018 onwards 204, 206-211
Representative Sh. Vishal V Sharma 2021 onwards 212, 213


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
  • World Heritage Committee for 2021-2025
  • Finance & Administration (FA) Commission of UNESCO from 2021-23


List of Chairs under the UNITWIN/UNESCO Programme

  • UNESCO Chair in Peace, Human Rights and Democracy (1998), World Peace Dome
  • UNESCO Chair for the Promotion of the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence (1999), Manipal Academy of Higher Education
  • UNESCO Chair for Peace and Intercultural Understanding (2010), The Banaras Hindu University
  • UNESCO Chair on Community Media (2011), University of Hyderabad (Hyderabad)
  • UNESCO Chair in Climate Science and Policy (2012), TERI University (New Delhi)
  • UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Adapted Physical Education and Yoga (2012), Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University (Howrah)
  • UNESCO Chair on `Culture, Habitat and Sustainable Development (2014) – Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology (New Delhi)
  • UNESCO/Cardinal Paul Poupard Foundation Chair on Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (2015) – St. Andrew’s College of Arts (Mumbai, India) and Cardinal Paul Poupard Foundation (Italy)
  • UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (2016) – Amrita University (Coimbatore)
  • UNESCO Chair on Community Based Disability Management and Rehabilitation Studies (2020), University of Calicut
  • UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning for Sustainable Innovation and Development (2020) - Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
  • UNESCO Chair on Experiential Learning, Work Education and Community Engagement (2021), Mahatma Gandhi National Council of Rural Education
  • UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)
  • UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Development, Anant National University
  • UNESCO Chair on Indigenous Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development, University of Calicut


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

Meetings of Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO

The meetings of Sub Commission on Education of Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO was held on 26th October 2021. The meeting was attended by the esteemed Members of the commission.

General Conference of UNESCO

  • Every two years, a General Conference of UNESCO is held to set new targets and review the old ones. Recently, 41st Session of General Conference of UNESCO was held from 9-24 November, 2021 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France in which Hon’ble Education Minister along with many senior officials from the line Ministries participated from India, virtually.

214th & 215th Session of the Executive Board:

  • India’s Ambassador/PR to UNESCO, Shri Vishal V Sharma delivered India’s National Statement at the 214th & 215th Session of the Executive Board.
  • Ambassador/PR to UNESCO chaired the Finance and Administrative Commission of the Executive Board and also chaired multiple meetings with the UNESCO Secretariat including sectoral meetings wherein the ADGs for PAX, Science, Social and Human Sciences (SHS), Admin, Culture came individually with their teams to report and discuss with the Ambassador as Chair of the FA Commission.

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 channelled through the National Commission for UNESCO of the candidate's country and without this endorsement no application may be examined.

The UNESCO Fellowships Programmes

I. Co-Sponsored Fellowships Programmes

II. Extra-budgetary Fellowships Programmes