In 1945, UNESCO was created in order to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation, that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity. UNESCO strives to build networks among nations that enable this kind of solidarity, by:
- Mobilizing for education: so that every child, boy or girl, has access to quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for human development.
- Building intercultural understanding: through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity. UNESCO created the idea of World Heritage to protect sites of outstanding universal value.
- Pursuing scientific cooperation: such as early warning systems for tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements, to strengthen ties between nations and societies.
- Protecting freedom of expression: an essential condition for democracy, development and human dignity.
1. Combating Illegal Cultural Artifact Trafficking
Illegal trade and smuggling of cultural artifacts has recently turned into a very serious issue. Organizations such as ISIS rack up hundreds of millions of dollars each year by illegally selling artifacts and antiquities. Marauders and other terrorist organizations plunder many UNESCO heritage sites and cultural sites in an attempt to steal artifacts and illegally sell them on the black market. In addition to these organizations, many private art collectors also utilize the black market to illegally traffic cultural artifacts and other antiquities. UNESCO has yet to take any serious action in stopping illegal art trafficking. Given the jurisdiction UNESCO has over cultural and heritage artifacts, UNESCO serves as the sole committee that can enforce strict laws in preventing this issue and creating a cap on future illegal trafficking.
2. Protection against International Cyber-Terrorism
Cyber terrorism and radicalization has grown to become a significant problem in the 21st century. Terrorist organizations have capitalized on the advancement of technology through means of hacking different governmental organizations and private enterprises as a means to acquire information and cause disruption. Furthermore, terrorist groups also use the internet, specifically many different social media platforms, to spread their ideology and radicalize individuals from around the world. The internet has grown to be a valuable asset for terrorist organizations, therefore it is essential that proper protection protocol be set up to tackle the issue of international cyber-terrorism.