UNESCO and Lithuania

UNESCO National Commissions are national cooperating bodies set up by the Member States for the purpose of associating their governmental and non-governmental institutions with the work of the Organization. National Commissions are essential partners that act as catalysts to involve key national players in the five UNESCO programme sectors – education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture and communication and information.


Established:        20 October, 1992

Status:                  Semi-autonomous. The Secretariat of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO is under direct supervision of the Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Inter-institutional co-operation is ensured through the attendance of the General Assembly’s meetings by representatives of the relevant Ministries and governmental institutions. The Commission has direct relations with the Permanent Delegation in Paris.

Budget:                The budget of the National Commission is allocated from the State budget, and covers staff salaries, accommodation rental costs, and operating costs. In addition, the Commission occasionally raises funds from private sector. The Commission has its own bank account enabling it to make financial transactions.

Location:              The Secretariat of the Commission rents its premises in the old town of Vilnius from the municipality.

The Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO consists of 23 members from state institutions and the public sector who work on a voluntary basis. The membership is approved by the Prime Minister for the period of four years. The Chairman of the Commission - Rimantas Žylius, Adviser to the Prime Minister.

The National Commission guides its activities following the Regulations of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO approved by the Government. The Chairman takes the main decisions together with the Executive Committee elected during the annual General Assembly.   

The National Commission works in partnership with the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, the Seimas, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, other governmental institutions, ministries and departments, national libraries, museums and other institutions competent in UNESCO fields and the civil society with the overarching objectives of developing Lithuania’s input into UNESCO policy making; effecting reforms in UNESCO; and encouraging support in Lithuania for UNESCO's ideals and work.

The main objectives of the National Commission are to provide expert analysis, comment and advice as input to Lithuania’s policy-making on key UNESCO programmes and issues; to bring to the attention of relevant institutions aspects of Lithuania policy towards UNESCO or matters in which UNESCO has a legitimate interest which in its opinion need to be reviewed or enhanced by Government; to participate as far as practical in UNESCO’s programmes, their preparation and evaluation, in debates and decision-making activities; to develop a capacity to reach out as broadly as possible to Lithuanian society through a wide variety of channels.

The Commission maintains close relationship with the Lithuanian Permanent Delegation to UNESCO in Paris. Jolanta Balčiūnienė is the Permanent Delegate of Lithuania to UNESCO, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.  

There is one thematic committee established under the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO, -  the National “Memory of the World” Committee responsible for the successful implementation of the goals set in this UNESCO’s programme. The Memory of the World Programme advocates protection and promotion of the world’s documentary heritage through preservation and access. 

The administrative work of the Commission is coordinated by the Secretary-General and performed by the Assistant to the Secretary-General and five Programme Coordinators for Education, Science, Heritage, Culture and Communication and Information. The Secretariat of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO is a budgetary institution under the Ministry of Culture.

Five Lithuanian heritage objects are included into UNESCO World Heritage List:

Inscription on the List confirms the exceptional and universal value of cultural and natural sites which require protection for the benefit of all humanity. Kernavė Archaeological Site is also on the International Register of Cultural Property under Special Protection after the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve is a member of the World Network of UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserves.

Three objects are inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Three documentary heritage objects are inscribed on the International Memory of the World Register:

Three Lithuanian prominent personalities were recognized as UNESCO Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors possessing widely recognized talent and accomplishments in the arts, sciences, literature, entertainment, sports as well as other fields of public life:

  • Mr Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Knowledge Societies;
  • Mr Virgilijus Alekna, UNESCO Champion for Sport, promoting sports in Schools;
  • Ms Violeta Urmana, UNESCO Artist for Peace, promoting culture as a vehicle for dialogue and mutual understanding, and issues that are in line with UNESCO's Global Priority Africa

Lithuania has membership in the following Intergovernmental UNESCO Committees:

  • Intergovernmental Bioethic Committee (IBC). Reelected for the second term of 2017-2021, represented by Prof. Eugenijus Gefenas.

  • Intergovernmental Council for International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). Reelected for the term of 2021-2025. 

UNESCO chairs in Lithuania:

UNESCO centres in Lithuania:


UNESCO clubs in Lithuania: