Paris: The UN cultural agency UNESCO on Friday named France's Audrey Azoulay as its new Director-General.

The second woman to hold the post, she will take over from outgoing UNESCO chief Irina Bokova on November 15, the agency said.

UNESCO's general conference, which includes all 195 members, on Friday formally approved Azoulay's four-year term after the agency's executive board nominated her in October to replace Bokova in a highly politicised race overshadowed by Middle East tension.

Azoulay, who hopes to restore the agency's standing, told its general conference that UNESCO was "irreplaceable" but admitted it was facing "current global challenges".

UNESCO is reeling from last month's decision by the administration of US president Donald Trump to pull out of the body due to its alleged anti-Israel bias. The agency has been mired in financial woes since the US withdrew its sizeable funding in 2011.

Azoulay, 45, was France's Culture Minister from February 2016 to May this year. She has held senior positions in France's public broadcasting sector and has served as rapporteur to France's public auditing authority and as a European Commission legislative expert on cultural and media issues.