German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Profile: UNESCO

United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO)
founded in 1946


195 members and eight associate members. Germany has been a member since 1951.

Aims (relating to the environment and nature conservation):

Man and the Biosphere research programme, protecting the World Natural Heritage and World Cultural Heritage, environmental education and awareness (United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development).


UNESCO is a legally independent specialist organisation within the United Nations. Its main decision-making body is the General Conference of all member states. This meets every two years in Paris. The General Conference determines the policies and the main lines of work of the organisation and sets UNESCO’s budget and programmes. It also elects an Executive Board consisting of representatives of the 58 member states. The Executive Board oversees the organisation between General Conferences, prepares for the General Conferences and monitors implementation of the programmes they adopt.

The Secretariat is responsible for practical implementation of the UNESCO programme.

UNESCO is primarily a forum of global intellectual cooperation. It is not a development aid organisation or project funding agency. It develops model projects throughout the world, brings academics and experts together and advises governments on issues of education, science, culture and communication.

UNESCO programmes and projects are formulated in detail in two-year programmes adopted by all member states and associate members at the General Conference.

Key UNESCO areas of activity relating to the environment and nature conservation include the Man and the Biosphere programme, the World Heritage Convention, the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and the International Hydrological Programme.

In Germany, the programme is implemented by the German Commission for UNESCO on behalf of the German Foreign Office.


7, place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
Tel: +33-0145681000
Fax: +33-01456716 90


BfN activities:

World heritage: Appraisals of proposals for new World Heritage Sites submitted by the sixteen German states, overseeing research to identify potential World Heritage Sites, attending meetings of the World Heritage Committee and supporting German natural heritage nominations.

MAB: BfN hosts the German MAB National Committee. Through bi- and multilateral projects, BfN also fosters the development of biosphere reserves in partner countries.

Education for sustainable development: BfN’s Naturdetektive (‘Nature Detectives’) youth multimedia project was awarded a prize by the jury of the National Committee for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014. A further prize was awarded to a research project, Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: Positionierung des Naturschutzes (‘Education for Sustainable Development: Positioning Nature Conservation’). This focused on lifelong learning, global learning and extramural education facilities.

Last Change: 23/01/2013