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Singapore National Commission for UNESCO


Ever wondered how the Government of Singapore works with UNESCO? The Singapore National Commission (SNC) was set up to coordinate all of Singapore's activities and programmes with UNESCO, and is a part of a worldwide network of National Commissions for UNESCO.

Established on 28 May 2008, SNC is supported by various ministries, agencies, institutions, and individuals working for the advancement of education, science, culture and information.

The SNC's main functions are:

  • To advise on matters related to UNESCO policies and activities.
  • To disseminate information and requests from UNESCO to all relevant government bodies, organisations and individuals, and vice versa.
  • To coordinate efforts from Singaporean representatives in all national, regional and international UNESCO-related activities.
  • To achieve UNESCO's goals by encouraging participation of governmental and non-governmental institutions in UNESCO programmes.
  • To advise and support national programmes on UNESCO accreditation.

Find out more about SNC's recent activities.

Structure of SNC

SNC is chaired by Edwin Tong, Minister for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and there are four sub-commissions under the SNC. Singapore also maintains a Permanent Delegation to UNESCO led by Non-Resident Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Ambassador Andrew Toh.

Singapore National Commission for UNESCO

Chairman Secretary-General
Mr Edwin Tong
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
Mrs Rosa Daniel
Deputy Secretary (Culture)
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Singapore to UNESCO

Ambassador Andrew Toh
Non-Resident Permanent Delegate to UNESCO

Ms Karen Ong
Deputy Chief of Mission and Alternate Permanent Delegate to UNESCO
Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in France

Embassy of the Republic of Singapore
16 Rue Murillo
75008 Paris, France
Tel: +33 (0)1 56 79 68 00
ax: +33 (0)1 56 79 68 29
Email: dl.singapore@unesco-delegations.org

Our work


Heritage and Creativity are two of the key areas under the Culture Sector, which UNESCO believes to be crucial in developing cohesion, inclusivity and innovation. The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth heads the Culture Sub-Commission for Singapore.

  • UNESCO World Heritage List: Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was inscribed at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee, in 2015. The Gardens is recognised for its historical and environmental significance, notably as a hub for science, research and plant conservation. To date, it is the first and only tropical botanic garden inscribed on the list, and is currently managed by the National Parks Board.


  • UNESCO Creative Cities Network: Creative City of Design

Singapore is recognised in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a Creative City of Design. Singapore is one of two cities in Southeast Asia with such a designation. Singapore was designated in 2015, in recognition of Singapore’s efforts in incorporating design and innovation in sustainable development policies and initiatives. The bid was submitted by DesignSingapore Council.

  • Hawker Culture in Singapore

Singapore formally submitted our nomination of the Hawker Culture in Singapore for inscription on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in March 2019, just slightly more than a year after we ratified the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Singapore’s nomination documents highlight the following key characteristics of Hawker Culture in Singapore:

  • Hawker centres as community dining spaces for everyone
  • Mastery of skills by hawkers, who are the bearers of hawker culinary practices
  • A reflection of Singapore’s multicultural society
  • A thriving culture in a highly urban environment

 The result of Singapore's nomination will be announced in end 2020. Pledge your support for the nomination of Hawker Culture in Singapore here.



UNESCO aims to engage with educational tools to achieve its goals, mainly “to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development”. It is leading the Global Education 2030 Agenda under Sustainable Development Goal 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.  The Ministry of Education, Singapore, heads the Education Sub-Commission for Singapore.

  • UNESCO-UNEVOC Centre: Temasek Polytechnic

In May 2019, Temasek Polytechnic was accepted as a member of the UNEVOC network. The UNEVOC Network lives off the pro-active engagement of its members and provides an environment for exchange, cooperation and mutual assistance. The establishment of a UNEVOC centre at Temasek Polytechnic allows Singapore to play an active role in strengthening international and regional cooperation in Skills Development and Life Long Learning.

  • UNESCO Chair of Social Policy Design in Asia

The UNESCO Chair for Social Policy Design (SDP) in Asia was established at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), National University of Singapore (NUS) in March 2017 for four years. The UNESCO Chair for SDP focuses on building capabilities of governmental, non-governmental and international actors in social policy design. This is done through research, teaching, training and networking programmes. Professor M Ramesh at LKYSPP is the Chairholder and joins a select group of international scholars in the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme which aims to build research capacities of universities to address pressing social problems and promote sustainable development.

  • UNESCO Chair on Architectural Heritage Conservation and Management in Asia

In May 2020, UNESCO and the National University of Singapore (NUS) established the UNESCO Chair on Architectural Heritage Conservation and Management (AHCM) in Asia. The UNESCO Chair will be hosted in NUS for four years under the guidance of Professor Ho Puay Peng, Head of Department of Architecture at the NUS School of Design and Environment. Prof Ho joins the ranks of over 800 international scholars in the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme.


The Information Sector supports the UNESCO Constitution in promoting “free flow of ideas by word and image”. The Ministry of Communication and Information heads the Information Sub-Commission for Singapore.


The goal of the Science Sector is to promote inclusivity between and within societies, through knowledge creation and sharing. The National University of Singapore heads the National Science Sub-Commission for Singapore.

  • UNESCO Bioethics Programme

    The UNESCO Bioethics Programme under UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector is primarily responsible for Secretariat of two advisory bodies – the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC). Established in 1993, and made up of 36 independent international experts, the IBC, being the only global forum on bioethics, keeps track of progress in life sciences and its applications to ensure respect for humanity dignity and freedom. It meets at least once a year to make recommendations on bioethics issues for adoption by consensus. The IGBC was created in 1998 and comprise 36 Member States whose representatives meet at least once every two years to examine the advice and recommendations of the IBC for follow-up by Member States. 

    The Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC), supported by the BAC Secretariat in the Ministry of Health, leads Singapore’s participation in the activities of the UNESCO Bioethics Programme. Professor Lee Eng Hin, Emeritus Consultant at the National University Hospital, is a member of the IBC for a four-year term from 2020 to 2023.  Singapore is also member of the IGBC for a four-year term from 2018 to 2021.

Getting support on UNESCO accreditation

Should you require support for applications, initiatives and programmes in line with UNESCO's goals, please reach out to the SNC at mccy_unesco@mccy.gov.sg for an official letter and written approval.

The Secretary-General
Singapore National Commission for UNESCO
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
140 Hill Street, #03-00
Singapore 179369

Last updated on 09 February 2021