Friday, May 04, 2007

The Role of the National Commission for UNESCO

National Commissions for UNESCO are intended to play a major role in UNESCO's activities.

A letter from UNESCO's Director General to Ministers of the member states in charge of relations with UNESCO which states in part:
I have regularly drawn the attention of the Member States to the importance and further potential of the network of National Commissions for UNESCO.

A unique network within the United Nations system, National Commissions now emerge as central actors whose comparative advantage as a catalyst for mobilizing civil society in support of democracy and social inclusion can be put to much greater use through their multiple roles in UNESCO's programming, visibility, outreach to partners and decentralization.
Another UNESCO document notes the expansion of the role of national commissions over the decades since UNESCO's creation:
* 1945: The UNESCO Constitution (Article VII): a unique creation, result of a compromise
The UNESCO Constitution stipulates that the National Commission shall act in a consultative and liaison role (Article VII). They are the only UNESCO partners mentioned in the Constitution, apart from the Member States from which they emanate.
* 1966: Resolution 14C/5.21: expansion of the field of action
At its 14th session in 1966, a new role was recognized to National Commissions as information and execution organs. The General Conference, through Resolution 14C/5.21, invited Member States "to make increasing use, within the framework of their national legislation, of the National Commissions as advisory, liaison, information and executive bodies at the national level".
* 1978: Adoption of the Charter of National Commissions for UNESCO: respective attributions of the Member States and the Secretariat
The Charter of National Commissions for UNESCO, adopted by the General Conference at its 20th session in 1978, confirms the functions of the National Commissions in the elaboration, execution and evaluation of UNESCO programme activities. The Charter also defines the responsibilities of the Member State vis-à-vis its National Commission and of the Secretariat vis-à-vis the National Commissions as a whole.
* 1989: Resolution 25C/15.212: the world is becoming more complex; the National Commissions must undertake more
An important turning point the General Conference at its 25th session, considered that "UNESCO [would] have to respond to new challenges and for that purpose call increasingly upon National Commissions, which will have greater responsibilities".
The key documents are contained in Legal Texts on the National Commissions for UNESCO.

No comments: