Dr. Utak Chung, Director, and Rigoberto D. Banta Jr. Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU)
The designation of being a UNESCO Category 2 Centre represents two crucial opportunities for the Organization. First, it allows UNESCO to extend the reach of programme delivery to more stakeholders. The work of the centres compliment the work of UNESCO field offices. Second, Category 2 Centres promote active participation of UNESCO’s main partners, its Member States. Establishing Category 2 Centres works both to strengthen ownership of Member States to the Organization and enhance the profile of UNESCO in the host countries. Finally, Category 2 Centres provides important technical, financial and human resources.
However, some challenges still remain. At the operational level, the lack of available channels to clarify the basic roles and responsibilities, as well as expectations, prevents further growth of the Centres. UNESCO should have ownership to create a strong network between the relevant stakeholders of Category 2 Centres. To this end, the institutionalization of a Strategic Forum for Category 2 Centres, managed by Headquarters, can propel the development and showcase the best practices of the Centres. By doing so, many outstanding practices will be discovered and shall be the beacon of inspiration for all relevant stakeholders.