What does UNESCO do?


Name World Heritage Sites

UNESCO is responsible for identifying and promoting landmarks across the world that it considers to be of "outstanding value to humanity." Whether the sites are manmade wonder or part of Earth's natural beauty, they are listed they become legally protected by international treaties. Notable World Heritage landmarks include the Colosseum in Rome, the pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China.


International Literacy Day

One of UNESCO's main educational programs is World Literacy Day, held every year on September 8. The date highlights the importance of literacy to individuals and impoverished communities. Particular attention is placed on boosting literacy rates among girls in developing countries As part of the program, schools and teachers are provided with training and materials aimed at encouraging reading.


Holocaust remembrance and education

While the United States and Israel both announced that they will quit the body, citing anti-Israel bias, UNESCO has increasingly worked in recent years on promoting Holocaust awareness projects, such as providing educational material and organizing visits to former Nazi concentration camps.


Combating climate change

As part of UNESCO's task to preserve World Heritage Sites, the body also aims to improve education and awareness of climate change. The UNESCO "Man and the Biosphere Program" monitors the effects of climate change and promotes new, multidisciplinary approaches to dealing with its impacts. The organization also seeks to improve worldwide education around the causes and affects of global warming.


Endangered language projects

UNESCO is also tasked with identifying and trying to preserve endangered languages. One of the UN organization's reports, "Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger," categorized almost 2,500 languages into five levels of endangerment. It found that 200 languages had become extinct over the last three generations, while around 60 to 80 percent risk becoming extinct within the next 100 years.


Freedom of expression and protection of journalists

Along with the UN's Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists, UNESCO calls for the worldwide protection of journalists and decries those who show impunity against freedom of the press. The organization reports and raises awareness around cases where reporters have been threatened or even killed. It also helps reporters in dangerous regions receive safety training.

The UN's educational and cultural arm is best-known for naming World Heritage Sites. But UNESCO is also tasked with managing a series of other programs. DW looks at some of the other things UNESCO does.