The Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European
Region was developed by the Council of Europe and
UNESCO and adopted at a meeting of national representatives in Lisbon on 8 - 11 April 1997.
The Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher
Education in the European Region, otherwise known as the Lisbon Recognition
Convention, is the key legal instrument for recognition of qualifications
across UNESCO's Europe and North America Region. In
2014, 55 countries signed the Convention and 53 ratified it.
It aims to ensure that holders of a qualification from a signatory country can have that qualification recognised in another.
See below a selection of the key points of the Council
of Europe/UNESCO Convention:
- Holders of qualifications issued
in one country shall have adequate access to an assessment of these
qualifications in another country.
- No discrimination shall be made in
this respect on any ground such as the applicant's gender, race, colour,
disability, language, religion, political opinion, national, ethnic or social
- The responsibility to demonstrate
that an application does not fulfil the relevant requirements lies with the
body undertaking the assessment.
- Each country shall recognise
qualifications – whether for access to higher education, for periods of study
or for higher education degrees – as similar to the corresponding
qualifications in its own system unless it can show that there are substantial
differences between its own qualifications and the qualifications for which recognition
- Recognition of a higher education qualification issued in another country
shall have one or more of the following consequences:
- access to further higher
education studies, including relevant examinations and preparations for the doctorate,
on the same conditions as candidates from the country in which recognition is
- the use of an academic title,
subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which recognition is
- in addition, recognition may
facilitate access to the labour market.
- All countries shall develop
procedures to assess whether refugees and displaced persons fulfil the relevant
requirements for access to higher education or to employment activities, even
in cases in which the qualifications cannot be proven through documentary evidence.
- All countries shall provide
information on the institutions and programmes they consider as belonging to
their higher education systems.
- All countries shall appoint a
national information centre, one important task of which is to offer advice on
the recognition of foreign qualifications to students, graduates, employers,
higher education institutions and other interested parties or persons.
- All countries shall encourage their higher education institutions to issue
the Diploma Supplement to their students in order to facilitate recognition.
The text of the Lisbon Recognition Convention and of documents adopted by
the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee are available at “The ENIC-NARIC Networks: Reference documents” section of this website.