Estimating the wider value generated by UNESCO’s designations in the United Kingdom

Nikolaos Goumagias, Kiran Fernandes, Matthew Rabbagliatti, Kieran Purvis, Alexandra Ferguson

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In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of objectives related to promoting and supporting sustainable development around the globe through education, human knowledge, communication and culture. These objectives are commonly known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are an inter-dependent set of 17 goals that 195 Member States have agreed to achieve by 2030. As a specialised agency of the United Nations, and the global lead on education, UNESCO has a vital role to play in delivering the SDGs. UNESCO’s global network of 'designations', including World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO University Chair Programme, and Global Geoparks, also play an essential role in promoting and supporting local sustainable development and achieving the SDGs. However, the different geographic, cultural and political regimes under which UNESCO designations are called to operate, pose significant challenges for the network to effectively be managed and contribute towards the SDGs. Moreover, the heterogeneity of organisational structures and boundaries in terms of efficiency, power and competence, prevents UNESCO designations "value-added" activities from reaching their full potential. We performed a survey of 74 designations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Drawing from the business model component framework, our research aims to i) identify value generating configurations of organisational structures that transcend designations’ type, ii) estimate the value generated by the designation and their contribution to UNESCO’s SDGs; and, iii) develop a framework that can be used by national governments to make sense of UNESCO’s value generated activities. The framework can help UNESCO’s National Commissions to improve the efficient management of the designation’s global network and allow countries with different levels of economic and societal development to cooperate to tackle contemporary global challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2019
EventSixth World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research Conference: Institutions for Inclusive Societies - global and comparative perspectives - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 19 Sept 201922 Sept 2019


ConferenceSixth World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research Conference
Abbreviated titleWINIR 2019
Internet address


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