Building peace in the minds of men and women

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BOER, Benno - Chief of Natural Sciences, UNESCO Bangkok Office

UNESCO needs to get the ship sailing with a clear direction, with a motivated crew. The below observation and suggestions are of major importance to improve global impact:

  • UNESCOs field presence has no logic; too many staff at Headquarters; not enough staff in the field; no clarity of service duration; imbalanced cluster offices; fragmented regional offices; inflated central services.

The long-term goal should be good balance, reducing number of staff at Headquarters, and increase staff in the field. One regional office per region, supported by country teams in each member state with capacity in all of UNESCO’s programs (Head of Office functions as Director and manages one program sector); four Programme Specialists, one AO and a small support-unit; outsourced costly services. This will reduce the need for international missions, antennas, cluster- and project offices. It will enhance impact and reduce costs significantly.

The Africa Department relocates to Addis Ababa, which will be the regional office in Africa.

Staff will serve no longer than 5 years in any duty station (except senior management at Headquarters). After two terms in the field, there will be one term in Paris. That will generate motivation and knowledge.

  • Administrative processes: Admin and program units will jointly function as teams.
  • Coordination: 50 % of all activities should strictly take place inside and in support of UNESCO sites.
  • Communication: Bi-annual regional retreats; One annual newsletter per region; DUO needs a complete revision; Publications to be re-decentralised.
  • Enhance National Commissions systematically to work closely with country offices.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of UNESCO.