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About South African Commission for UNESCO (SA NatCom)

National Commissions for UNESCO are established in accordance with Article 7 of the Organization’s Constitution, which provides: “Each Member State shall make such arrangements as suit its particular conditions for the purpose 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 and such bodies”.


The South African National Commission for UNESCO was established in 1998, after South Africa re-joined UNESCO in 1994. The Commission was established to effectively integrate and coordinate UNESCO activities in South Africa, through cooperation with government departments, institutions, and civil society organisations. Its work covers the UNESCO thematic areas, namely; Education, Natural Science, Culture, Communication and Information, and Social and Human Science.







The Commission has a responsibility to:

  • advise the South African Government on matters relating to UNESCO;
  • serve as a liaison agency with government departments, statutory bodies, parastatals, non-government organisations, education institutions and the South African public working for the advancement of education, culture, science, communication, information and informatics;
  • advise on the nomination of representatives to the General Conference of UNESCO and to other meetings and conferences of UNESCO;
  • advise delegations to the General Conference of UNESCO and to other UNESCO conferences or meetings;
  • publicise and promote UNESCO objectives, projects and activities within South Africa;
  • liaise with other UNESCO National Commissions, especially within the Southern African region;
  • assist in establishing networks of specialists in UNESCO's field of competence;
  • liaise with the UNESCO – Windhoek Cluster Office, UNESCO headquarters, regional and sub-regional offices and with other UN agencies; and facilitate the implementation of UNESCO Programmes.


South Africa’s participation in the UNESCO General Conference


The Commission coordinates South Africa’s participation in the UNESCO General Conference, and convenes a National Conference not more than four months after the UNESCO General Conference for the purpose of receiving the report of the Chairperson of the Commission; discussing the activities of UNESCO; briefing participants on the resolutions of the General Conference of UNESCO; and planning commission activities for the period up to the next General Conference of UNESCO.

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