Archive Group AG 4 - General Conference Documents

Identity area

Reference code



General Conference Documents


Level of description

Archive Group

Extent and medium

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The first session of the General Conference opened on 20 November in Paris with a solemn ceremony at the Sorbonne. It worked until 10 December in the Hotel Majestic with the participation of representatives from 30 governments entitled to vote. The first Director General of UNESCO, Julian Huxley, was elected on 6 December 1946.
From 1946 to 1952, the General Conference took place every year, since 1952 every second year.

Name of creator

(1 to 16 November 1945)

Administrative history

The United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) was convened in London from 1 to 16 November 1945. Scarcely had the war ended when the conference opened. It gathered together the representatives of forty-four countries. Spurred on by France and the United Kingdom, two countries that had known great hardship during the conflict, the delegates decided to create an organization that would embody a genuine culture of peace. In their eyes, the new organization must establish the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and, in so doing, prevent the outbreak of another world war.

At the end of the conference, thirty-seven countries founded the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Documents of the Conference for the Establishment of UNESCO (ECO/CONF) from 1945 are included with the General Conference Documents, starting from 1946.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Continuous accruals: The General Conference meets every two years in ordinary session. If required, it may also hold extraordinary sessions.

System of arrangement

The General Conference documents are arranged by session. Each session generally produces the following types of documents, with variations in the document codes particularly in the earliest years:

  • Provisional agenda (C/1)
  • Organization of the work (C/2)
  • Report of the Director-General on the activities of the Organization (C/3). For the first General Conference in 1946, the Director General's report can be found under the document code 1 C/15 or UNESCO/C/15.
  • Medium-term Strategy (C/4)
  • Programme and budget (C/5)
  • Recommendations by the Executive Board on the Draft Programme and Budget (C/6)
  • Commission documents (C/COM)
  • Draft resolutions submitted by Member States and Associate Members (C/DR)
  • Information documents (C/INF)
  • Legal committee's reports (C/LEG)
  • Information regarding elections (C/NOM)
  • Draft Resolution of Plenary Session (C/PLEN)
  • Statutory reports of UNESCO’s intergovernmental committees and councils submitted to the General Conference, and the reports of governmental, regional and international conferences (C/REP)
  • Proceedings (C/Proceedings)
  • Resolutions (C/Resolutions)

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Restrictions concerning records of private meetings

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • English
  • French
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Physical documents of the General Conference from 1946 to 2000 are available in the Unesco Archives Reading Room.

Majority of documents catalogued and digitized in UNESDOC and Digitizing Our Shared Unesco History.

All documents from 1946 to 2000 are also available on microfiches in the UNESCO archives.

Finding aids

For General Conference documents until 1989:

List of General Conference Documents (UIS.90/WS/2)

  • List of documents of the Conference for the establishment of Unesco in 1945
  • Reference to the lists of documents for 1976-1989 (19-25C)
  • List of indexes to the Conference documents 1945-1989
  • List of Reports of the Director General on the activities of the Organisation (C/3) 1946-1989.

Inventory of General Conference documents, 1946-1989 (SID.78/WS/2 Rev).

Inventory of General Conference Documents. 1945-1978 English series of bound volumens in the Unesco Archives (SID-78/WS/2).

ICONFEX database (paper version): subject index to resolutions and related documents of the General Conference.

For all General Conference documents:

All documents in full text available via UNESDOC database using the drop-down menu in the left frame and the advanced search.

Search in documents: Full text search in all General Conference Documents

Full text search in all Resolutions and Decisions.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

The original of UNESCO's Constitution is deposited at the United Kingdom's Foreign Office. The document in the UNESCO archives is a photocopy from 1966, which includes the first 52 signatures of representatives of Member States.

Existence and location of copies

During the conference copies are distributed to all Member States (and involved Staff members) and should be kept in their archives as well.

Related units of description

3400 microfiches in one language set (1-24C);
Conference proceedings: verbatim and summary records (VR and SR) as sound recordings since 22 October 1968 (in AG 12);
Records concerning the organization of the Conference sessions in AG 8: Records of the Conference Service (CP, CPG, CFS, COL);
Credentials of Delegations in AG 8: Records of the Legal Service.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Information documents (C/INF.) and the Journal of the General Conference are available in English and French only.

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by Julia Pohle, June 2009. Revised slightly by AWT 20/03/2012. Supplementary information added by E. Sengsavang, 3 July 2019.




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places

physical storage

  • Shelf: ECO/CONF
  • Reading Room