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Sri Lanka being one of the earliest members of UNESCO (since 1949) has been an active partner in many UNESCO led initiatives


Hon. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam
Minister of Education

>> CURRICULAM VITAE                                     



Presently, Sri Lanka is a State Party to the following

  • Agreements and Conventions of UNESCO;
  • Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials, Florence, 17 June 1950.
  • Convention concerning the Exchange of Official Publications and Government Documents between States, Paris, 3 December 1958.
  • Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Paris, 16 November 1972.Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Properties, Paris, 14 November 1970.
  • Convention against Discrimination in Education, Paris, 14 December 1960.
  • Universal Copyright Convention, Geneva, 6 September 1952
  • Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas, and Degrees in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, 16 December 1983
  • Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, Ramsar, 2 February 1971.
  • Convention for the Protection of Cultural Properties in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague, 14 May 1954.
  • Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Paris, 17 October 2003.
  • International Convention against Doping in Sports, Paris, 19 October 2005

In addition, Sri Lanka is a member of the International Coordinating council of the programme on Man and the Biosphere. Furthermore, Sri Lanka held the Chair of the Asia Pacific Group of UNESCO in 2003.

Recent initiatives by Sri Lanka at UNESCO include the resolution adopted by the 36th Session of the General Conference to establish the South Asian Centre for Teacher Development in Meepe, Sri Lanka and the resolution to celebrate the 100th Birth Anniversary of late Prof. Ediriweera Sarachchandra adopted by the 37th Session of the General Conference. A special ceremony was held at the UNESCO Head Quarters celebration of this Birth Anniversary accompanied by a cultural show and an Exhibition to honour the late scholar. The Agreement between the UNESCO and the government of Sri Lanka was signed concurrently to this event.

Since joining the UNESCO membership in 1949, Sri Lanka has served on the Executive Board only on four occasions.

Being committed to the UNESCO ideal of building peace in the minds, Sri Lanka has the honor to submit the candidature of Hon. Akila Virja Kariyawasam, Minister of Education, Sri Lanka, for election to the UNESCO Executive Board, during the 39th General Conference in October 2015.

In this regard, the Government of Sri Lanka kindly requests, the UNESCO Member States to extend their valuable support for the candidature of Sri Lanka to the Executive Board of UNESCO.


Contact Us

National Commission for UNESCO
5th floor
Ministry of Education
Sri Lanka.
Tel. (+94) 11 2177002/ 2177006
Fax. (+94) 11 2177007

About us

Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO (SLNCU) is the government arm of implementing UNESCO Agenda in Sri Lanka. This Commission established on 14th November 1949, comes under the Ministry of Education. There are 35 members in the General Assembly, including representatives of relevant ministries and national bodies concerned with UNESCO’s fields of competence.