Relations with UNESCO

IMC is a non-governmental organization (NGO), which was founded in 1949 at the request of UNESCO as an advisory body on musical matters. In 2012, after a thorough re-evaluation of all NGOs maintaining relations with UNESCO, the UNESCO Executive Board conferred to IMC the official status of an NGO official partner of UNESCO (associate status).

Under legal and financial aspects, IMC is an association ruled by French law and independent from UNESCO.

Thanks to its status as NGO official partner of UNESCO, IMC may benefit from UNESCO's intellectual, material and financial assistance in many ways.

The major lines of the UNESCO - IMC relationship are determined in the framework agreement signed between the IMC and UNESCO for a period of six years; the current agreement covers the period 2008-2013. With this document, UNESCO recognizes IMC as its main partner in the field of music.

UNESCO Structures
General UNESCO policy regarding NGOs
UNESCO - IMC relationship


For a better understanding of the mechanisms of the UNESCO-IMC cooperation, herewith some information on UNESCO structures.

Member States

Founded in London in 1945 by 44 states, UNESCO has today 195 Member States and six Associate Members, each of them belonging to one of the five regional groups defined by UNESCO: Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Each Member State is represented at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris by its Permanent Delegation. However, all activities within one country are carried out under the responsibility of its National Commission for UNESCO. While the IMC Secretariat in Paris is regularly in touch with the Permanent Delegations, IMC national councils are strongly encouraged to be in contact with the National Commission for UNESCO of their country. For more information, please click here.

Governing bodies

The deciding body of UNESCO is the General Conference which is held every two years (the last session - 36th-  took place in autumn 2011). The General Conference elects a governing body, the Executive Board, which consists of 58 members representing all regions.


The UNESCO Secretariat is headed by its Director General, Irina Bokova (Bulgaria). Besides the Paris Headquarters, there are field offices in all regions (see UNESCO website for list). 
There are five main programme sectors reflecting the fields of activities of UNESCO: Education; Natural Sciences; Social and Human Sciences; Culture; Communication, Information and Informatics.

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UNESCO relationship with NGOs is guided by the Directives concerning UNESCO's partnership with non-governmental organizations, adopted by the 36th General Conference of UNESCO in November 2011. Questions relating to the implementation of these Directives and the arrangements for which they provide, in particular financial and material, are considered by a subsidiary body of the UNESCO Executive Board, the Committee on Non-Governmental Partners.
This committee was set up in 1966 for the purpose of carrying out a thorough study, before their consideration by the Board in plenary, of questions relating to the admission and classification of NGOs. Since 1985, its membership comprises 24 Member States.
The Committee is also entrusted with the preparation of prepare periodic reports, submitted every six years by the Executive Board to the General Conference, on the contributions of NGOs to the achievement of UNESCO's objectives
The Committee recently opted for a more participatory approach and direct dialogue with NGO representatives. The Committee thus ensures the presence at its meetings of the NGOs concerned, of the focal points of the programme sectors dealing with questions relating to NGOs and of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee.
N.B. If your country is a member of this sub-committee, it would be especially useful to get in touch with your National Commission for UNESCO in order to become known to them and to acquaint them with your work and the programme of the IMC.

The Non-Governmental Organisations Section of the Bureau for External Relations is responsible for the broad coordination of UNESCO's cooperation with hundreds of affiliated NGO's; questions of a general nature are settled there. 

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The major lines of this cooperation are determined in the framework agreement signed between the IMC and UNESCO for a period of six years; until UNESCO's financial crisis, it was implemented by 2-year contracts.

On all projects under the Framework Agreement, the IMC was collaborating with the Culture Sector.

IMC information documents are sent to UNESCO personnel in all divisions and sectors mentioned and to some specialists working for other sectors but interested in our activities as well as to all NGOs represented at UNESCO headquarters. Mailings are also made to interested Permanent Delegations and National Commissions. The IMC secretariat serves UNESCO as a source of information and vice-versa.

Thanks to its status of NGO official partner of UNESCO, the IMC benefits from UNESCO's intellectual, material and financial assistance.


- advice, consultation
- availability of programme specialists, experts, lecturers
moral support:
- patronage
- use of UNESCO name and logo for specific initiatives 
- office space
- meeting rooms (preferential rates)
- rooms for special events (preferential rates)
- exhibition areas

a) contracts related to the
- implementation of the framework agreement (6 years)
- execution of aspects of UNESCO's regular programme
b) contributions under the Participation Programme

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