At the 38th session of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 11 November 2015 in Paris, Lithuania was elected to serve on the organization’s Executive Board for the 2015-2019 period with the highest number of votes (171 votes). This is a recognition of the results of the country’s long-term and consistent work, Lithuania’s activity and visibility within the framework of the UNESCO.
During the first session of UNESCO’s Executive Board in its new composition on 20 November 2015 in Paris, Lithuania was elected Vice-Chair of this governing body for the 2015-2017 period. Lithuania’s Ambassador to UNESCO Arūnas Gelūnas represents Lithuania in the Executive Board.
Over 25 years of its independence, Lithuania has been elected member of one of the main constitutional organs of UNESCO already for the third time as well as Vice-Chair of the Executive Board. Lithuania was previously elected to serve on the Executive Board for the 1997–2001 and 2005–2009 periods. Lithuania was elected Vice-Chair of the Executive Board for the 1999–2001 and 2007–2009 periods.
Priorities of Lithuania as a member of UNESCO’s Executive Board:
- to actively participate in finding solutions to the issues of the safety of journalists and of impunity of crimes against journalists;
- to achieve a more active engagement of UNESCO in addressing the issues of Crimea in the organization’s fields of competence;
- to strengthen the protection of human rights, promoting freedom of expression and freedom of the press, ensuring equal opportunities to all individuals in UNESCO’s fields of competence;
- to promote the diversity of cultural expressions, with particular emphasis on the integration of culture into sustainable development policy and the inclusion of civil society into the cultural policy making process;
- to seek to strengthen the protection of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with particular attention to the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict;
- to contribute to ensuring equal opportunities to all individuals, particularly in the field of education;
- to strengthen the role of higher education and responsible research institutions in addressing socio-economic and cultural challenges facing society and responsibility basing the countries’ development prospects on scientific research;
- to contribute to the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations in UNESCO’s fields of competence;
- to dedicate a lot of attention to the participation of research institutions and scientists in UNESCO’s international science programmes;
- to contribute to strengthening UNESCO’s role in achieving universal access to the Internet, information literacy, information storage, information ethics, multilingualism and dissemination of information and communication technology;
- to aim to improve efficiency and effectiveness of UNESCO’s work.
UNESCO’s Executive Board
The Executive Board is one of the main governing bodies of UNESCO, composed of 58 member states. It generally meets twice a year, in spring and autumn. In particular, the Executive Board examines the programme of work for UNESCO and corresponding budget estimates, considers the reports on activities of the organization, makes recommendations on the admission of new member states and the appointment of the Director General, summons various international conferences. The Board takes decisions by a simple majority or a qualified majority (on strategic issues). The member states do not have the right of veto.