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UNESCO Reform Process Update

The occasion of the 60th anniversary of the birth of UNESCO the Asia and the Pacific group proposed a discussion on the question of the future of UNESCO. At the 33rd session of the UNESCO General Conference in October 2005, member States adopted a resolution entitled ‘Reflection on the future role of UNESCO’. In the resolution, member States outlined the need for a thorough and broad-based reflection and review to be undertaken, in the context of UNESCO’s Constitution, with a view to:

(a) ensuring a succinct articulation of the core competencies of UNESCO in each of its domains;

(b) providing a clear programmatic definition of UNESCO’s place, orientations and functions in the United Nations system;

(c) specifying the policy and programmatic lead roles that have already been entrusted to or should be asserted by UNESCO;

(d) clarifying the position to be assumed and the contribution to be made by the Organization in the multilateral context, at the global and regional levels as well as at the country level;

(e) identifying innovative measures to involve civil society in UNESCO’s deliberations and programme implementation, especially through the work of the National Commissions;

(f) specifying UNESCO’s role as a catalyst for harnessing the energy of the private sector;

(g) designing innovative structures and decentralization modalities, benefiting from synergies with existing facilities and resources, which may enable the Organization to deliver top-notch services and ensure high-quality impact and results in a timely manner (e.g. through scientific programmes, category 2 institutes, UNITWIN networks, the ASP Network, and greater interaction and cooperation with the United Nations University);

The General Conference expressed its desire to achieve a clear concentration of the programme around thematic issues/clusters which is aimed at the realization of attainable results, and is furthermore reflected in resource allocation. The General Conference requested the UNESCO Director-General, in consultation with the President of the General Conference and the Chair of the Executive Board, to lead a global consultation on the long-term future role of UNESCO with the Permanent Delegations, the National Commissions, nongovernmental organizations in consultative status with UNESCO, youth constituencies, including delegates to previous youth fora, and other United Nations bodies, in particular the United Nations University. The General Conference further requested the Director-General to prepare for this global consultation a succinct and engaging discussion paper identifying issues, trends and challenges of relevance for the future role of UNESCO, including themes identified at the 33rd session of the General Conference and taking into account the recommendations contained in the report of the Task Force on UNESCO in the Twenty-First Century.  Finally, the General Conference requested the Director-General to draw on the results of this ongoing global  consultation in the preparation of his vision and proposals for the Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013, and to present a brief report on the implementation of this resolution to the General Conference at its 34th session.

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