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Involving key stakeholders in the update of UNESCO’s Comprehensive Partnership Strategy

One key focus area of the Working Group on Strategic Partnerships is the update of UNESCO’s Comprehensive Partnership Strategy which dates from 2013, and is up for review this year. 

To ensure the relevance, impact and sustainability of the updated strategy, getting all the key stakeholders engaged from the outset has been a top priority. Hand-in hand with the Bureau of Strategic Planning (BSP) which is coordinating the update of the strategy, the Working Group convened a workshop on 18 December 2018 to bring together UNESCO staff from Programme Sectors, Corporate services and UNESCO field offices to catalyse some preliminary thoughts on new directions for UNESCO’s Comprehensive Partnership Strategy.


Amongst the main conclusions of the workshop were the need to situate the new partnership strategy in the wider context of UN Reform and frame it within the UN definition of Partnership which emphasizes the importance of common purpose, mutual accountability and a willingness to share risks as well as the benefits of Partnership. Priority should be given to partnerships that strengthen the impact and visibility of UNESCO's programme. The workshop also highlighted the need to include UNESCO partners who are not formally mentioned in the current strategy such as the EU, the International Financial Institutions and Regional Economic Communities and strengthen engagement with key constituencies and networks such as young people, businesses and cities. Better and more assertive communication was considered to be one of the key factors in creating a better enabling environment for partnerships. 


The update of the Comprehensive Partnership Strategy which is an item on the agenda of the Spring Session of the Executive Board is also a very timely opportunity to capture the ideas of UNESCO Member States.  The final strategy which captures both the Director General's vision for a more modern, open Organization and which has been shaped by the collective brainstorming of its Secretariat and its Member States will be presented to the Fall Session of the Executive Board in October 2019.