UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the Permanent Delegate of Sweden to UNESCO, Ambassador Annika Markovic, today signed a Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA) to the value of almost 400,000,000 Swedish Kronor (approximately $54 million) over a four year period.
Sweden is already a major donor to UNESCO. This agreement puts Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) among the top four contributors to the Organization, marking a fourfold increase in their extra-budgetary donations.
The agreement will support UNESCO’s strategic programme objectives in 2014-2017, in the fields of education, natural sciences, and culture as well as communication and information. This builds on the Swedish Government’s strategy to advance the country’s priorities with UNESCO, coinciding also with Sweden’s membership of the UNESCO Executive Board.
“Sweden is a great champion of the values and objectives that guide UNESCO,” said the Director-General. “This agreement builds on our shared vision that the soft power of UNESCO, in advancing cooperation around education, culture, the sciences, communication and information, is essential today to craft more inclusive and sustainable development and strengthen the foundations for lasting peace.”
"I see this as the embodiment of Sweden's trust in the Organization and its delivery and the effective progress of UNESCO's reforms,” said Ambassador Annika Markovic. “This shows how serious we are about our cooperation with UNESCO. We are focusing here on thematic core funding and predictable financing, in line with the Structured Financing Dialogues. We trust UNESCO and we see the great relevance of its mandate.”
This new agreement will support UNESCO’s core programmes. It will reinforce education systems, foster creativity and support the diversity of cultural expressions, building peace, sustainable development and democracy through freedom of expression and strengthening media pluralism. It will enhance the safety of journalists and fighting impunity, and support research to improve the ability of developing countries to address climate change, water security and pollution. All activities will take forward UNESCO’s global priorities of Africa and Gender Equality.
“This follows the efforts we are making to strengthen UNESCO’s ‘fit-for-purpose’ by taking forward future sustainable development goals –in the context of UNESCO’s chairmanship of the UN High Level Committee on Management,” said the Director-General.
“I am deeply grateful for Sweden’s trust and support -- I see this as a model agreement, in its four year scope, its strategic focus and its support to core funding.”