30 Years of UNESCO Membership

The Secretary-General of Lithuania’s National UNESCO Commission Dr. Marija Drėmaitė presented the history of Lithuania’s membership for the website alkas.lt today.

This year Lithuania celebrates 30 years of membership in UNESCO, which is itself commemorating 75 years of worldwide work promoting education, science, culture, information and communication. On October 20, 1992, the government of Lithuania approved the first national UNESCO Commission and its statutes.

Over the past 30 years Lithuania joined over 19 UNESCO Conventions in various fields, one of the first being the World Heritage Convention, emncompassing the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties. The country became a member of the World Heritage Committee from 2003–2007, and its 30th session took place in Vilnius in 2006.

Lithuania succeeded in entering the list of World Heritage sites with Vilnius Historic Centre (Old Town) in 1994, the Curonian Spit (Kuršių nerija) in 2000, Kernavė archeological site (2004), and the Struvė Geodetic Arc (2005).

Vilnius Old Town, a UNESCO Heritage Site (Alkas.lt)

It has been a member of the UNESCO Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage Properties Convention since 2005, with Crosscrafting and its Symbols introduced in 2008, Song and Folk Dance Festivals in 2008 together with the other two Baltic nations, and Sutartinės, Lithuanian multipart songs in 2010.

Three document collections were entered in the International Register of World Memory: the Baltic Way (Baltijos kelias), the Radvila Archive and Nesvyžius Library Collection, and the Union of Lublin document.

Lithuania’s UNESCO Ambassador Jolanta Balčiūnienė

In the area of education, UNESCO documents are the basis much of Lithuania’s educational strategies. Lithuania’s experts have been active in international consultations, and in 2003 it chaired UNESCO’s “Education for All” project for the Baltic Sea region. Lithuanian scientists have also been involved in various programs, including “Man and the Biosphere”. In 2019 Dr. Urtė Neniškytė received an international award in the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program, and eight Lithuanian scientists were awarded for scientific achievement in the Baltic region. Lithuania was chosen twice for participation in the UNESCO Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee.

Lithuanian scientists have also contributed substantially to UNESCO recommendations on science, and this year are collaborating on the UNESCO recommendation for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence, which may be ratified at the General Conference in November. On August 15, Lithuania’s UNESCO Ambassador Jolanta Balčiūnienė presented her letters of accreditation to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

Translated and abridged from alkas.lt