UNESCO fine-tunes its programme of action for Africa

As part of Africa Week, the Director-General of UNESCO convened an information meeting on the Operational Strategy for Priority Africa, on Wednesday, 28 May 2014. She reviewed all steps taken in recent months to expedite implementation of this UNESCO priority.

That information meeting was one in a new series of meetings designed to inform ambassadors and permanent delegates about programme delivery, while providing an opportunity for them to hear and interact with field office directors directly responsible for activities on the ground. In turn, Mr Firmin Matoko, Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, Ms Hassana Alidou, Director of the UNESCO Office in Abuja, Mr Luc Rukingama, Director of the UNESCO Office in Harare, Mr Mohamed Djelid, Director of the UNESCO Office in Nairobi, Mr Félix Yé, Director of the UNESCO Office in Yaoundé, and Ms Ndong Jatta, Director of the UNESCO Office in Dakar, presented their respective offices’ activities and answered Member States’ questions. Their presentations are available here.

“UNESCO’s priority must be to implement programmes that match Member States’ expectations as closely as possible. We have a great many advocacy tools and reports, and we must also strengthen our presence as close to the field as possible. That was the tenor of the recommendations contained in the Independent External Evaluation, and that is the main thrust of the ongoing reform”, the Director-General said, as she outlined the new framework for action comprising: the new operational strategy formulated with Member States, the African Union and local partners; the reform of the field network which was completed in late 2013; the delegation of authority; and the strengthening of the responsibilities of field office directors. “Everything has been put in place to denote a clear and definite emphasis on the field”, said the Director-General.

The new Operational Strategy for Priority Africa is structured around six flagship programmes and two priority themes – the culture of peace and capacity building for sustainable development and for poverty eradication. The Director-General described the next steps under the Strategy, which were to mobilize and strengthen partnerships, particularly at the local level, duly taking into account the limited funds available. Another step would be to improve the sharing of results and highlight programme successes that could be instrumental in raising fresh funds. Africa’s Minds Build a Better Future, a brochure of selected science, technology and innovation success stories that was launched with the Islamic Development Bank, is but an example.