Thursday, October 27, 2005

"Working in Partnership with UNESCO"

Read the full PDF report online.

The U.K.'s Department for International Development (DfID) published this report recommending ways that Great Britain could work in partnership with UNESCO. It might be of interest to us Yanks, as we too seek to put our recently renewed relationship on the best possible footing.

I reprint the Summary of the report in full:

The UK Government’s Goal for UNESCO

A1 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was established in 1945 because – in the words of its Constitution – “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”. The organisation was mandated to promote universal respect for justice, the rule of law and human rights through international collaboration in education, science and culture. From the beginning education has been the keystone of UNESCO’s mission.

A2 While the organisation has traditionally covered a wide range of important issues, the breadth of its activities and a certain resistance to reform have hindered it from reaching its full potential. The reforms set in train by the new Director-General promise to refocus and reinvigorate UNESCO, but the organisation will need to guard against dispersing its efforts. UNESCO can forge a solid reputation if it concentrates, within its educational, scientific, cultural and communications mandate, on the promotion of greater social justice and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

A3 The UK Government’s goal is to see UNESCO transformed into an effective organisation with clear, focused objectives and strategies. Our key objective is the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Of those, the education goals are particularly relevant to UNESCO. We believe that the main thrust of UNESCO’s work should be a commitment to spread education opportunities to the 113 million children now without access to primary school and to the 880 million adults in the world who are illiterate. This objective is more important than ever at a time when information technology is driving the spread of knowledge and information, which are essential for development and for access to the benefits of the globalising world economy. In order to achieve a clearer focus for its work, and to make a more effective contribution to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, we believe that UNESCO should:

· fulfill its mandate within a well-defined poverty and sustainable development strategy;
· top priority to achieving the Millenniumm Development Goals for education;
· seek to improve the production of policy-relevant and internationally comparable statistics on education in developing countries and countries in transition;
· ensure that all programmes incorporate systems forr monitoring and show clear evidence of impact and assessment of outcomes;
· participate more fully in the wider UN reform agenda and seek effective partnerships with other agencies.

A4 The UK Government will seek to achieve this goal through the governing bodies of which it is a member, and by providing appropriate technical co-operation and financial assistance.

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