Marketing PESTLE analysis for UNESCO

Marketing PESTLE analysis for UNESCO

Executive Summary

Not-for-profit organizations use the strategic management concept and its tools for ensuring their survival as they look to become more efficient in the way they do their activities and operations. Traditionally, not-for-profit organizations have believed that business concepts are not meant for their situations. However, with the appearance of an association between efforts of strategic planning and performance measures, such as growth, not-for-profit organizations have also started making use of business concepts, such as strategic marketing and planning.
UNESCO is one of the important agencies of the United Nations that is working towards the attainment of peace and humanity in various parts of the world. As it is a not-for-profit organization, it faces several issues and challenges related to governance, political issues, and other internal and external issues. The organization should leverage its strengths in the form of its competencies and capabilities to overcome strategic concerns for the present and future of the organization. Recommendations are provided in regard to the strategic marketing activities of UNESCO.

Vision of UNESCO

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is the specialized agency of United Nations the purpose of which is to build networks among nations that contribute in enabling the kind of solidarity that is built by-

  • Mobilizing for education so that every child has access to quality education as a fundamental human right;
  • Building intercultural understanding by protecting heritage and supporting cultural diversity.
  • Pursuing scientific cooperation
  • Protection of freedom of expression

The vision of the organization is to extend its contribution to peace and security by the promotion of international collaboration through science, education, and culture so as to build universal respect for the rule of law, justice, human rights, and fundamental freedoms that are proclaimed in the UN charter. The mission statement of UNESCO is a contribution to the building of peace, sustainable development, eradication of poverty, and intercultural dialogue through the sciences, education, communication, culture, and information (Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013, 2008).

Operational facts

UNESCO was created in 1945 for establishing peace on the basis of the moral and intellectual solidarity of humanity. It has 195 member States and 9 associate members. Most of the field offices of UNESCO are cluster offices with one cluster office covering three or more countries. The organization pursues its objectives through its five programs, namely natural sciences, education, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. The governing bodies of UNESCO are the general conference and the executive board (Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013, 2008).
The medium-term strategy of UNESCO gives priority to Africa, as eradication of poverty is the major challenge to the countries in Africa. The organization also enjoys official relations with 322 international NGOs. There are institutes and centers of the organization that support programs of UNESCO. These institutes are IBE (International Bureau of Education) in Geneva, UNESCO institute for lifelong learning in Hamburg, UNESCO Institute for Statistics in Montreal, and so on (Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013, 2008).

PESTLE analysis for UNESCO

PESTLE analysis is a significant strategic management tool that is used for describing a framework for macro-environmental factors to understand the impact of external factors on the working of the organization. The PESTLE analysis for UNESCO is as follows:
Political: UNESCO has its offices in various countries across the globe. The political system of the countries where the organization works support its programs and activities. Politics is one of the leading causes of sweeping economic globalization. Nations and States exercise varying levels of political power over various organizations aimed at the development of humanity such as UNESCO. The international governance is concerned with the cooperation and trade between countries and global security and order (Engel & Rutkowski, 2012).
Economic: The economy of the nation in which UNESCO works affects functioning and programs. Most of the nations aim at doing economic development rather than sustainable development. The world economy also relies heavily on cheap oil. In order to work towards making the nations directed towards sustainable development, UNESCO has its partnerships with private sector companies and banks for getting direct financial and in-kind contributions (Partnerships, 2013).
Social: Social factors that affect UNESCO involve attitudes, beliefs, values, lifestyles, and opinions of various people in the external environment of the organization. Social factors that affect UNESCO are the entry of a large number of women in the labor market, acceleration of interest of consumers in quality life issues, and shift in the age distribution of the population. The priorities of UNESCO for its midterm strategy are gender equality and Africa. These two priorities revolve around the social factors mentioned above (Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013, 2008).
Technological: UNESCO works for scientific cooperation among nations. In the era of the information age, there are continuing advancements in the field of technology. Therefore, the organization has made partnerships under its long-standing tradition so as to get benefitted from technical assistance and advisory services (Partnerships, 2013).
Environmental: The environment and the heritage situation of countries help in determining which site the UNESCO will define as the world heritage site. When as the site is given the tag of the world heritage site, UNESCO works for encouraging the use of the brand for commercial outcomes in order to drive the social, cultural, and economic development of the region.
Legal: The regulatory framework of every country is different. The UNESCO has to comply with the international governance rules and regulations. The international legal regulatory framework has to be followed by UNESCO in a compliant manner (Mudacumura et al, 2005).

SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is an effective strategic planning tool for strategic management as it helps in identifying internal strengths and weaknesses of the organization along with the external opportunities and threats. With the help of SWOT, UNESCO can build an effective marketing plan and strategy for its present and future operations.


  • Member organization of UNO: UNESCO is highly recognized member organization of UNO and there is the presence of a large number of member states that are part of the activities and programs carried out by UNESCO.
  • The financial funding sources of the UNESCO are very large due to which it is able to extend its reach to a large number of countries all across the globe. Partners of the agency can leverage resources, competencies, and expertise to the UNESCO for promoting its values and underlying ideals (Partnerships, 2013).
  • Highly recognized achievements in the field of education, science and culture, for instance, the establishment of the international commission for the study of communication problems, etc. add on to the efforts of the UNESCO to promote sustainable development.

Weaknesses :

  • Political system and presence of bureaucracy inhibits the agency to work to its full potential.
  • UNESCO is not a funding agency and thus possesses the limited capability to play an effective role at the country level.
  • It suffers from mismanagement of budget, with spending too much on one project, while too little on the other.
  • UNESCO does not always emphasize on the significance of clarifying its goals and what it specifically wants to do in holding an event or carrying out the program (Blanchfield & Browne, 2013).


  • International position and mission of UNESCO can make it oversee the problems and hurdles faced by countries in the world to pursue growth and development in the scientific, cultural and educational field.
  • Inclusion of States, such as Palestine as UNESCO member creates the opportunity to run peace programs in terrorism affected nations in an effective manner.
  • Global objectives of development in Africa and gender equality present the opportunity to make bring the States of Africa into the equal platform at the international level (Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013, 2008).


  • Uncertainty in the international scene has grown even more.
  • Multiple global crises, disruptive innovations and large-scale change constantly bring distractions and discontinuity in the expertise and imagination of decision-makers in the UNESCO (Engel & Rutkowski, 2012).
  • Public finances all over the world are getting dramatically constrained by the impacts of and responses to the global economic and financial crisis (Blanchfield & Browne, 2013).

Competencies and capabilities

Organizations are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the use of their processing strategies and in the procurement of expertise through a variety of methods. UNESCO has an annual budget of approximately $326 million and it supports more than 2000 members of the staff that work at its headquarters in Paris and along-with 65 field offices and institutes all across the world. The fund for UNESCO activities is collected through a combination of assessed contributions made by member states to the regular budget of UNESCO, and voluntary contributions made by the organizations and member states (Dill, 2013).
The competency of any organization includes not only the skills of its employees but also information, performance, and culture. Competencies are more important than strategic goals. UNESCO works to attain global competencies. The ‘Education for All’ movement started by UNESCO has started reflecting on the emphasis on global competencies. It is also one of the components of the development strategy of UNESCO. It seeks the development of skill formation for both life and work. The competency of the agency lies in its ability to involve a large number of nations all across the globe to work towards global peace and sustainable development. Even, other world organizations contribute their bit to make UNESCO attain their objectives and purpose (Dill, 2013).
For instance, the World Economic Forum working with the UNESCO has recently launched a Global Education Initiative that has led to the mobilization of more than $100 million for resources as well as materials that will lead to the development of these competencies in countries, such as Rwanda, Jordan, and Egypt. The capability of UNESCO lies in its virtually universal membership that makes it capable of carrying out functions that can only be undertaken by an organization that has a global mandate. The agency is capable of providing a forum for carrying on international debate with the establishment of global standards and indicators, analysis and experience, sharing of ideas and carrying out the assessment of results of activities at the global level (Dill, 2013).
One of the other significant capabilities of UNESCO lies in its ability to enhance the consultation and cooperation between communities as well as nations. It is done through engagement in comprehensive consultations at all the levels for formation of its strategies with the submission of preliminary proposals and is followed by amendments in later drafts of the same submitted proposal (Main Activities, 2013).
Thus, UNESCO being a global organization has a large number of global competencies and capabilities that it can use to leverage its resources in an optimal manner.

Competition or restrictions

On one hand, the global working and presence of a large number of member nations have led to the virtually universal reach of UNESCO for attaining its purpose and objectives. However, the same international position also creates competition and restrictions on the working of the agency. For instance, funding has always been an obstacle in the path of UNESCO to fulfill its wishes and goals for its various programs that it has set for various countries all over the world. The budget and cash flow of UNESCO have been affected in a significant way by the decision of the member nations in 2011 to admit Palestine as a member of UNESCO. This decision led the United States of America to withhold its contributions under two laws that were enacted in the 1990s which prohibit funding to entities of the UN if they admit PLO as the member (Blanchfield & Browne, 2013).
Owing to the US suspension of funding contribution, UNESCO was immediately left with a critical shortfall of $72 million in by the end of 2011. In order to cover the gap, the agency had to reduce its 2012-13 budget by almost 28.9% i.e. $188 million that has affected the programs and policies that the agency is carrying out for its medium-term strategy covering development in Africa and promoting gender equality (Blanchfield & Browne, 2013).
Another competitive issue for the UNESCO is addressing alleged irregularities in its own personnel staff and taking of ethical issues to the best possible extent. Thus, adding accountability to operations of the agency is a continual competitive issue for which the agency has set an internal oversight service (IOS) and Ethics Office for addressing these issues. IOS provides objective and independent audits, while the Ethics Office provides confidential guidance and advice to the agency (Accountability, 2013).

Strategic issues now and for the future

Not-for-profit organizations have the tendencies to make program decisions on the basis of a mission rather than a strategy. Many non-profit organizations rally under a specific cause, for instance, fighting homelessness or saving children. Owing to the fact that the cause is actually very worthwhile, these organizations tend to support any program or activity that is even slightly related to the mission of the organization, as long as there is the availability of money to the organization for supporting the new program. Without the presence of a clear long-term strategy, the core competency of any nonprofit organization will stretch into unintended directions and leading to the creation of budget with more expenses and fewer revenues (Winston et al, 2013).
Similar is the condition for UNESCO. The current strategic issue is the management of funds. As mismanagement of funds is one of the major weaknesses of UNESCO, it is essential for the agency to look at setting operational mission with measurable service objectives with considering various ways to support its priority programs without the need to accept mission extending donor requirements (Winston et al, 2013).
Another present strategic concern is bringing transparency in UNESCO’s structure and culture. The hiring and promotion practices of the agency lack transparency and consistent implementation. There is a favoring of geographic representation and gender balance in hiring with little consideration given to merit (Blanchfield & Browne, 2013).
Long-term strategic concern: One of the major long-term concerns is the intrusion of resource contributors on the internal management of the UNESCO. Resource contributors include fund contributors and various governments associated with the operations and activities of the organization. It is an important long-term strategic issue because it is related to politicization concerns in UNESCO. There is an existence of politicization among its membership. Observers usually contend that in the Executive Board and the General Conference of UNESCO, governments of member nations usually focus on subjects that are unrelated to the mission of UNESCO rather than focusing on issues such as science, education, culture, communication or bringing any improvement in the effectiveness and working of the organization. As an example, most recently, some of the policymakers of the US raised questions and concerns over the decision of UNESCO on admitting Palestine as a member, and the composition of committees of UNESCO (Blanchfield & Browne, 2013).
Critique and Recommendations – Nature, Role, and Value of strategic marketing objectives
Strategic marketing objectives are the long-term objectives that are made for attaining the purpose of the organization and should be aligned with the mission of the organization. The strategic marketing activities of UNESCO aim at attaining sustainable development for the world with peace and harmony. The nature of strategic marketing activities is not-for-profit. However, the objectives are very wide which creates ambiguity and a lack of clarity in the goals and activities of UNESCO. As UNESCO is a not-for-profit organization, it lacks single clear cut performance criterion for its strategic activities. The presence of multiple sponsors also leads to objectives becoming divergent. There are differences in the concern of various member states of the agency that eventually prevent the management to state the mission of the organization is anything but just in very broad terms (Winston et al, 2013).
Another strategic marketing activity of UNESCO is to make the ‘Memory of the World’ program better known and recognized at the global level in the constituencies of museums, archives, and libraries. Its value lies in its aspects of cultural policies, with an impact on national and international decisions in the field of conserving the documentary heritage. Nevertheless, funds are necessary for the above-indicated objectives. For any activity, there is the availability of only two sources of resources in the initial period- firstly, the time of the international secretariat of the Memory of the World at UNESCO, and secondly, the budget that is available to the secretariat. It, thus, easily becomes the bottleneck, as the overall resources are severely limited. Furthermore, there are a number of activities that are related to the day-to-day running of the strategic marketing activities that are given priority (Memory of the World Programme  Marketing Plan – Version 3.0, 2007).


In order to fulfill the continuing strategic marketing objectives, the board of UNESCO must define achievable objectives by proposing a strategy that makes those objectives fulfilled. It must also decide what it should do and what it should not do. There should be the development of a narrow operational mission that has measurable objectives and a strategy in place to go with them. Once this is done effectively, UNESCO will be able to decide freely which programs it needs to support and which ones to curtail (Winston et al, 2013).
Strategic marketing objectives also require that there is the presence of internal transparency and the least unwanted interruption from the member States. At present, one of the strategic objectives of UNESCO is bringing gender equality and the development of African nations. In the wake of this objective, the agency has sidelined the basis of merit in its internal hiring and promotion system, which is not good for the effectiveness of UNESCO. Therefore, it is recommended that the governance structure of UNESCO be made more result-oriented with outward orientation and risk-taking culture. An increase in collaboration and communication within and among the sectors of UNESCO is recommended through a focus on substantive matters rather than just administrative matters (Risk Management, 2013).
Another recommendation is to choose the strategies of strategic piggybacking, strategic alliances, and mergers for supporting its priority programs without the need to accept mission-extending donor requirements. Strategic piggybacking is related to the development of an activity that would be able to generate funds required for bridging the gap between the revenues and expenses (Winston et al, 2013).


Dill, J.S. (2013). The Longings and Limits of Global Citizenship Education: The Moral Pedagogy of Schooling in a Cosmopolitan Age. Routledge.
Engel, L.C. & Rutkowski, D. (2012). UNESCO without US Funding? Implications for education worldwide. Retrieved January 4, 2014, from
Mudacumura, G.M., Mebratu, D. & Haque, M.S. (2005). Sustainable Development Policy and Administration. CRC Press.
Winston, W., Stevens, R.E. & et al. (2013). Strategic Planning for Not-for-Profit Organizations. Routledge.
Main Activities. (2013). Retrieved January 4, 2014, from
Blanchfield, L. & Browne, M.A. (2013). Retrieved January 4, 2014, from
Risk Management. (2013). Retrieved January 4, 2014, from
Partnerships. (2013). Retrieved January 4, 2014, from
Accountability. (2013). Retrieved January 4, 2014, from
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