Since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace must be constructed… this vision guides all of UNESCO`s activities since its creation in 1946. As a founding member, Canada was one of the first 20 countries to join UNESCO, an organization that now has 195 member states. According to its constitution, the purpose of UNESCO is “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.”
UNESCO, as a specialized agency of the United Nations, addresses global issues through the negotiation of conventions, recommendations, declarations, the production of publications and information campaigns, and through technical cooperation and capacity building in its fields of competence. It is in Canada's interest that this organization, whose mandate is more relevant than ever, promotes Canadian values in a world plagued by armed conflict, various forms of extremism and by climate change.
UNESCO is governed by a general conference of member states, which meets every two years, and by an executive board of 58 elected member states that provides overall oversight of the organization. Member states ensure the financial viability of the organization through mandatory assessed contributions as well as voluntary contributions.
UNESCO is the only UN agency that includes in its constitution a network of national commissions to support it in its mandate. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) serves as a bridge between Canadians and UNESCO. The CCUNESCO actively promotes UNESCO's values and provides a strong civil-society perspective. The CCUNESCO also supports various projects aimed at creating more inclusive communities, encouraging innovation, and protecting Canada's heritage and biosphere.
Canada is also host country of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), an authoritative and reliable source of internationally comparable data on education, science, culture and communication. Based in Montréal, the UIS enjoys functional autonomy. Statistics Canada is a member of its governing board.