United Nations

The United Nations (UN) works for human rights, equality, social rights, tolerance and peace. Finland became a member in 1955. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of its goals are topical issues within the UN system. Finland is committed to implement the Agenda. Education, research and culture provide a means for implementing the global goals.

The Ministry of Education and Culture participates in the UN activities and contributes to the preparation of relevant matters within the Finnish government in close cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Within the remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture, especially important UN organisations are UNESCO and WIPO. The economic and social council ECOSOC also deals with many matters closely relating to the Ministry's sector.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO works in the fields of education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, communication, and information. It has 195 Member States; Finland became a member in 1956.

According to its Constitution, UNESCO seeks "to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among 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".

Finnish UNESCO policy is outlined by the Ministry of Education and Culture together with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, other Ministries and the Permanent Delegations of Finland to UNESCO and to the OECD. Finland’s aim is to strengthen the role of UNESCO as part of the international multilateral system and to support the organization to focus on issues where it generates added value in relation to other international actors. Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development significantly steers the activities of the entire United Nations system. Therefore, Finland supports also UNESCO's work for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In addition, Finland is actively monitoring the implementation of UNESCO's normative instruments and implements the conventions to which it is committed.

The current priorities of UNESCO offer a sound basis for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda:

  • Education 2030 process
  • Science for sustainable development
  • Cultural diversity and inter-cultural dialogue
  • Access to information and freedom of expression

The decision-making bodies in UNESCO are the General Conference and the Executive Board. Finland was a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO 2017-2021. Finland is presently a member of:

  • Committee for protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict
  • IGBC (Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee)
  • International Programme for the Development of Communication
  • UIS (Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics)