The United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) is a specialised United Nations agency. Founded on 16 November 1945, it is the heir of the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

UNESCO has 195 Members and 10 Associate Members. It is governed by the General Conference and the Executive Board. The Secretariat, headed by the Director-General, implements the decisions of these two bodies. The Organisation has more than 50 field offices around the world. Its headquarters are located at Place de Fontenoy in Paris, France.

UNESCO’s main goal is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

The Organisation focuses on a number of overarching objectives:

  • Attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning;

  • Mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development;

  • Addressing emerging social and ethical challenges;

  • Fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace;

  • Building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.

As the only United Nations agency with a sport mandate, UNESCO is playing an active role in the development of physical education, sport and anti-doping programmes. The Organisation provides assistance and guidance for governments, NGOs, and experts to debate the evolving challenges of physical education and sport. UNESCO also assists and advises Member States wishing to elaborate or strengthen their training system in physical education. It offers its expertise in the design and implementation of development programmes in the domain of sport.

UNESCO’s main legal instrument in this field is the International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport (adopted in 1978), according to which “the practice of physical education, physical activity and sport is a fundamental right for all”. In November 2015, the UNESCO General Conference signed the revised version of the Charter, which highlights the health benefits of physical activity, the inclusion of persons with disabilities, the protection of children, the role of sport for development and peace, as well as the need to protect the integrity of sport from doping, violence, manipulation and corruption.

As part of its strategy in the field of physical education sport, since 1976, UNESCO has been holding the International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS) to facilitate intellectual and technical exchange in this field.

Thanks to Russia's active support of quality physical education, sports integrity and healthy lifestyles, in February 2016, UNESCO granted Russia the right to host the sixth edition of MINEPS. Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan) was chosen as the host city for the event.