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Lithuania - UNESCO

Created: 2014.11.03 / Updated: 2016.09.22 07:35

Lithuania became a member state of UNESCO on 7 October, 1991. Since then, it has been actively participating in the Organisation‘s activities. In 2003 the then President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus was inaugurated as the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Construction of Knowledge Societies, whereas the Lithuanian discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna was designated as a UNESCO Champion for Sport in 2007, and in 2016 the renowned Lithuanian opera singer Violeta Urmana was designated as a UNESCO Artist for Peace.

In 2015 Lithuania was elected for the third time to the Executive Board of UNESCO (until 2019). Moreover, Lithuania is currently and will be until 2017 a Vice-chair of the Board. Lithuania is represented at the Executive Board by the Lithuanian Ambassador, Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Arūnas Gelūnas.

Lithuania was also a member state of the Executive Board on two occasions in the past: 1997-2001 and 2005-2009. During its first and second membership at the Board, Lithuania was represented, respectively, by Ambassador to UNESCO Ugnė Karvelis and Ambassador Ina Marčiulionytė.

Currently Lithuania is a member state of the following four UNESCO committees: the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme (IFAP), the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC).

Lithuania also continues its work as a member of  the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body of the Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Lithuania remains engaged in thoroughly observing the work of the World Heritage Committee as well as the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Four Lithuanian sites are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: the Old Town of Vilnius (1994), the Curonian Spit (2000), the Archaeological Site of Kernavė (2004), and the Struvė Geodetic Arc (2005). 

Furthermore, Lithuania has three objects inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which are Cross-Crafting and Its Symbolism (2008), the Baltic Song and Dance Celebrations (a joint Estonian-Latvian-Lithuanian nomination, 2008), and Sutartinės, Lithuanian Multipart Songs (2010).

In 2011 the Archaeological Site of Kernavė was inscribed on the List of Cultural Property under Enhanced Protection. The "enhanced protection" status is one of the features of the  Second Protocol (1999) to The Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

Lithuania is a State Party to the following UNESCO conventions:

  • World Heritage Convention (1972, Paris)
  • Convention on Technical and Vocational Education (UNEVOC) (1989, Paris)
  • Convention concerning the Exchange of Official Publications and Government Documents between States (1958, Paris)
  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971, Ramsar)
  • Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees concerning Higher Education in the States Belonging to the Europe Region (1979, Paris)
  • Convention for the Fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property (1970, Paris)
  • Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954, Hague)
  • Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1999
  • Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001, Paris)
  • Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003, Paris)
  • International Convention against Doping in Sport (2005, Paris)
  • Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005, Paris)

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