United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations established on 16 November 1945. Its stated purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter.

UNESCO has 193 Member States and 6 Associate Members. The organization is based in Paris, with over 50 field offices and many specialized institutes and centres throughout the world. Most of the field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries; there are also national and regional offices. UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programmes: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information.

UNESCO's core mandate is to bring education to all. The Organization deploys its actions in a variety of areas related to the Education for All movement and embraces both formal and non-formal systems, from pre-school education to literacy programmes to inclusive education. Inclusive education is a developmental approach to the learning needs of all children, youth and adults, especially those who are vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion.

The principle of inclusive education was adopted at the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality (Salamanca, Spain, 1994), restated at the World Education Forum (Dakar, Senegal, 2000) and supported by the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.