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Ambassador Kokk: Estonia’s Level of Activity in UNESCO Has Grown Significantly in Recent Years


No. 345-E

In his speech at the 36th UNESCO General Conference in Paris today, Estonian Ambassador to UNESCO Marten Kokk emphasised that Estonia has already been a member of UNESCO for 20 years and in that time our co-operation with the organisation has consistently grown stronger.

Ambassador Kokk stated that for the past few years Estonia has belonged to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding Intangible Heritage. “During this General Conference, Estonia is for the first time a member of the Legal Committee and is also a candidate to be a member of the International Co-ordinating Council of the ‘Man and Biosphere’ programme,” Kokk said.

Ambassador Kokk also stated that Estonia places importance on co-operation with UNESCO in safeguarding human rights and democracy and in promoting cultural heritage and research. “Estonia also recognises the reforms carried out by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, which have made UNESCO a more modern and effective organisation,” he said. The ambassador also emphasised that Estonia feels it is important to fight against the politicising of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s activities. “The work of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee must be apolitical,” Kokk asserted.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was created to promote co-operation and information exchange among nations in the area of education, research and culture. The UNESCO Constitution was signed by 37 countries on 16 November 1945 in London and came into force on 4 November 1946. The organisation currently has 193 member states. UNESCO’s headquarters are located in Paris.

Estonia became a member of UNESCO on 14 October 1991. Estonia has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1997 for Tallinn’s Old Town and since 2005 for the Struve geodetic arc, which was proposed by ten countries in co-operation. In July of 2009 the events of the Baltic Way were added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme. Seto polyphonic singing has been added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, as have Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’s song and dance festival tradition and the Kihnu cultural space.

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