Building peace in the minds of men and women

Category 2 institutes and centres (C2C): Frequently Asked Questions

The list of questions presented below provides a short answer for each of the frequently asked questions. More details can be found in the different sections of the “2019 UNESCO Strategy for C2C”.

1. What is a “Category 2 institute or centre under the auspices of UNESCO” (C2C)?

It is an institution of excellence that works in UNESCO’s areas of competence, and which was so designated by a decision of the UNESCO General Conference Its work is expected to contribute to the achievement of UNESCO’s programme through international and regional cooperation, research, knowledge production, policy advice, and capacity enhancement. It enjoys legal autonomy within its national context and is associated with UNESCO through formal arrangements. C2Cs are not part of UNESCO even though they may legally use the UNESCO name and logo. More information here

2. Eligibility: which institutions are eligible for designation as C2C?

Only existing institutions with their own legal personality and a proven track record of excellence of at least two years in UNESCO’s fields of competence may be proposed by a Member State of UNESCO, or a group of Member States, for C2C status. The activities of C2Cs must be international or regional in scope and shall contribute to the global and or regional development agendas.

3. What is the “2019 UNESCO Strategy for C2C”?

The 2019 UNESCO Strategy for C2Cs describes the legal and management framework to be applied for the designation and renewal of C2Cs. It was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in November 2019.

4. Where may I find the templates/forms to submit a proposal for a new C2C or to renew the designation of a C2C or to submit the C2Cs’ annual report?

The Annexes of the 2019 Strategy include i) a template for the submission of a proposal of designation as C2C, ii) a tripartite model agreement for the establishment of a C2C; iii) a tripartite model agreement for renewal of an existing C2C; and iv) the template of issues to be addressed in the Annual Report of a C2C to UNESCO.

5. Designation as C2C: how does it work?

The procedure consists of a series of steps, beginning with the submission of a proposal to the UNESCO Director General. The proposal is examined by a UNESCO Intersectoral Committee to ensure that it meets the eligibility criteria. If this is the case, then a Feasibility Study is conducted to validate the relevance of the proposed C2C to UNESCO’s Approved Programme. Should the findings of the Feasibility Study be positive, the request for designation of the new C2C is submitted to the UNESCO governing bodies (Executive Board and General Conference) for approval. A summary of the procedure is provided here.

6. Proposal: the submission procedure

A proposal for the designation of an existing institution as C2C stems from a Member State or group of Member States and shall be submitted to the Director-General (template here). Where a proposal is submitted by a single Member State, it must be accompanied by a minimum of two (2) letters of support from two other Member States, or international intergovernmental bodies, or existing C2Cs.

All proposals for the designation of category 2 institutes or centres must be submitted in English or French by 31 March of the first year of the UNESCO financial biennium (even year).

7. Proposal: evaluation criteria

Upon the reception by the Director-General of a proposal from a Member State or group of Member States, a preliminary assessment shall be undertaken by a UNESCO Intersectoral Review Committee in May of the financial biennium (even year) to ensure that the proposal is complete, meets the principles of eligibility, and falls within the fields of action of the Organization, in particular the programme priorities set by Programme Sector(s).

8. Feasibility study: what does it contain?

If a proposal meets the requested criteria mentioned above (7. Proposal) a feasibility study shall be undertaken by UNESCO, with all related costs covered by Member State(s) or the Institution concerned. The feasibility study will focus on: the institution’s programmes and activities relevance and alignment with UNESCO’s programmes and priorities and with global development agendas; its scope of work at the international or regional levels, its legal capacity to operate under national laws in the country where it is based, its track record of excellence of at least two years working in areas of relevance to UNESCO’s fields of competence; the institution’s organizational structure and its existing human resources; relevant regional and international partnerships; its financial sustainability; and ensure that the programme of work of the proposed C2C does not duplicate work already being implemented by another institution in the UNESCO family.

9. Agreement(s): how and when is it /are they prepared?

When the feasibility study is positive, a draft tripartite agreement shall be prepared by UNESCO in consultation with the Member State(s) concerned and the institution, taking into consideration the recommendations of the feasibility study. The agreement shall conform to the provisions of the “designation” model agreement (template here).

In the event that signing of a tripartite agreement is not feasible for a Member State, UNESCO and the Member State shall enter into a bipartite agreement containing similar provisions to those included in the model tripartite agreement, and UNESCO shall also enter into a different agreement with the proposed institution, which may take the form of a Memorandum of Understanding.

10. Who approves the designation of a C2C?

After examination of the new proposals for the designation of C2Cs, the UNESCO Executive Board makes recommendations to the UNESCO’s General Conference for its approval.

The UNESCO General Conference considers the recommendations and delivers its decision in the form of a resolution, approving (or denying) the designation of institutions as C2C.

11. Entry into force: what is it?

After the General Conference approves the designation of a new C2C, the tripartite agreement (or two bipartite agreements) will be signed by the Director-General of UNESCO and the concerned parties for a maximum period of eight years. However, the agreement(s) is(are) not valid until it/they “enter(s) into force”, that is to say that all internal and legal procedures required for the C2C to operate fully at the country level have been completed.

Institutes and Centres may only refer to their designation as C2C in the presence of a valid agreement with UNESCO. In the absence of a valid agreement, the institute or centre may not use UNESCO’s name and/or logo, and the Member State(s) concerned will be held accountable for protecting the integrity of UNESCO’s name and logo from abuse within its territory.

12. Entry into force: when does it happen?

The date of the entry into force of the agreement shall be the date of the signature of the agreement with the Member State(s) and the institution.

Alternatively, and at the request of the Member State(s), the date of entry into force may be the date of receipt by UNESCO of a letter from the Member State(s) informing of the completion of national procedures required for the entry into force of the agreement. If the institution signs a separate agreement, it can also inform UNESCO, through an exchange of letters, that it is ready to accept the rights and obligations pursuant to its designation as C2C.

13. When a designation expires, can it be renewed?

Yes, it can be renewed one or more times. The renewal procedure consists of several steps, beginning with the concerned Member State(s) submitting to UNESCO a request for renewal, 24 to 36 months prior to the expiration of the existing agreement.

More details on the procedure here.

14. How can a C2C agreement be terminated?

It is specified, in all agreements associated with the designation or the renewal of C2Cs, that any of the contracting Parties (UNESCO, Member State(s) or C2C) are entitled to unilaterally denounce the agreement concluded and hence terminate the C2C status.

Since C2Cs are established by a decision of the UNESCO General Conference, and renewed by a decision of the UNESCO Executive Board, the UNESCO governing bodies are informed of all cases where the C2C designation is terminated.

A C2C shall not be allowed to use UNESCO’s name and logo if it does not hold a valid agreement with UNESCO. This may occur upon termination of the C2C agreement or where the agreement has lapsed and is not renewed.

15. What are the C2C’s financial obligations?

The C2C or the Member State(s) concerned shall meet all costs associated with the establishment and operation of the C2C including costs associated with undertaking the feasibility study, renewal evaluations, and UNESCO’s participation in relevant C2C meetings. Additionally, all C2Cs, except for those located in Least Developed Countries, shall make an annual contribution to the corresponding UNESCO Programme Sector equivalent to at least US $1,000 every year during the validity period of the designation to help cover UNESCO’s costs relative to administering, monitoring, reporting and other operational processes for C2Cs. UNESCO shall not provide financial support to a C2C, such as for administrative or institutional purposes.

16. What are the reporting obligations of a C2C?

Directors of all C2Cs shall submit to UNESCO an annual report on the Institute’s or Centre’s contribution to UNESCO Programme and to global development agendas. The annual report, to be submitted at the end of each year of the validity period, shall be prepared using a standard electronic reporting form (indicative template here). More information here.

17. What is the expected life cycle of a C2C and the dates for each step?

The steps are:

Proposal / Approval of designation (=Creation) / Signature of agreement(s) and Entry into Force (=Establishment) / Operation during the validity period (until expiration of agreement) / Renewal (s) of agreement / Cessation or Termination. The maximum validity period for operation is eight years.

Each step shall be undertaken in specific dates, more details on the procedure here.