Around the World in 120 NGOs

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in official partnership with UNESCO meet at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, from 12 to 14 December 2012.

A key forum for discussion among the 371 NGOs, official partners, the “International Conference of NGOs” reviews the state of NGOs’ cooperation with UNESCO, conducts collective consultations on the main lines of UNESCO’s programme, and facilitates deeper collaboration and networking. It meets every 2 years. 

This year’s theme is “Culture and Cultures: Reconciling universality and diversity”. Workshops will help NGOs harness the power of culture to empower people and strengthen societies. UNESCO works works tirelessly to place culture at the forefront of development strategies and international cooperation. Culture is a motor of sustainable development. Culture and cultural diversity means jobs, and growth, and participation. It means more equitable and cohesive societies. As UNESCO Director-General Mrs Irina Bokova said, “Culture is what we are. Culture represents our identities in this globalised world culture and survives even in the most difficult times, of conflicts and natural disasters.  Culture helps people overcome conflicts and stand up for their rights and dignity. Culture is peace. Culture and creativity are the ultimate renewable resources and the only sure path to freedom”. 

Crucial partners for UNESCO, NGOs have expertise in the Organization’s many fields of competence. Their actions include the advancement and dissemination of knowledge, technical and intellectual advisory functions to UNESCO, programme implementation, funding and visibility. They act globally whilst at the same time allow linking the global to the local. NGOs can help represent and articulate the views and concerns of all groups and communities including vulnerable groups and excluded segments of society. They can offer the opportunity to build bridges and establish channels of communication and cooperation between people and communities on one side, and governments on the other.

Combining expertise and resources with NGOs allows the Organization to:

  • enhance its capacity to reach all segments of societies which should be beneficiaries of its action;
  • strengthen visibility and impact of its action and presence, globally, regionally and at country level;
  • enhance efficiency and effectiveness of programme/activity implementation;
  • create strategic alliances;
  • reinforce the implementation and monitoring of its normative frameworks. 

You may follow the Conference via webcast by clicking HERE


Rotary International

- Tell us about a flagship project you implemented with UNESCO or an ongoing cooperation 

Rotary International collaborates with many leading institutions to carry out its humanitarian action around the world.

The strategic partnership between Rotary Foundation and UNESCO-IHE in Delft, the Netherlands, aims to tackle the problem of water and sanitation worldwide by training more specialists able to design, plan and implement solutions in developing and emerging countries.

Each year, Rotary Foundation offers eight fellowships to participate in one of the three master programmes at UNESCO-IHE. The fellowships amount at 25,000 Euros directly paid to UNESCO-IHE. 

- What are the concrete results (quantitative if possible) of this project? 

The first class of fellows Rotary began classes on 18 October at UNESCO-IHE.
Rotary clubs and Rotarians who selected and sponsored fellows serve as mentors to students in both their country of origin and during their studies at the UNESCO-IHE Institute. They can make contacts that will help them later on. 

- Why is cooperation with UNESCO important? 

This partnership allows the Rotary International, as part of its action in favor of "Water and Sanitation", to rely on the expertise of the UNESCO-IHE in this area. It also helps to strengthen the partnership between Rotary and UNESCO. 

Education International

“The partnership between EI and UNESCO spans decades, based on a common understanding that Director General Mrs Irina Bokova underscored recently saying that "Both our organizations know that without well-trained and respected teachers, the EFA goals and MDG2 cannot be met...[that] it is crucial for the voices of teachers to be heard when we speak about achieving quality education for all: by working closely with a global federation representing some 30 million educators, we will ensure that our policies and recommendations will be beneficial for the teaching profession worldwide." Specifically, EI and UNESCO have worked closely to raise the visibility and deepen the impact of World Teachers' Day. This day that honors teachers work since 1994 and the standards set in the 1966 and 1997 Recommendations on teachers and higher education personnel is now a national holiday in some countries, but more importantly celebrated in more than 170 countries worldwide. UNESCO and EI, via our combined strategies to train, develop and support teachers and our unequivocal commitment to social dialogue between ministries of education and teachers worldwide are laying the groundwork for the meaningful and transformative educational opportunities that Education for All aspires”.

International Council of Museums (ICOM)

- Tell us about a flagship project you implemented with UNESCO or an ongoing cooperation 

UNESCO requested ICOM’s expertise in the development of a programme and the organization of a training seminar on emergency preparedness and response that will be carried out in Egypt in 2013. The two organizations have thus been working closely together, in cooperation with ICCROM, an intergovernmental organization, for some months to design a complete training programme to best suit the needs and expectations of Egyptian professionals dealing with the protection of cultural heritage. 

- What are the concrete results (quantitative if possible) of this project? 

A ten-day theoretical and practical training will take place in Cairo in 2013. Over 25 Egyptian heritage professionals will be trained in dealing with emergency situations. Of these people, most will return to their host institutions and train some of their colleagues in return, touching hundreds of professionals in the end. The most important impact of this programme will be in the form of increased preparedness and response when faced with future natural or human-made crisis putting heritage at risk. 

- Why is cooperation with UNESCO important? 

This specific example is a great illustration of how when two organizations that have compatible missions but different structures can work together to complement each other and better answer concrete needs on the ground. By working in close cooperation on other projects recently, UNESCO and ICOM have been able reach their respective goals in the field of cultural heritage by counting on the international professional NGO’s expertise and flexibility while relying on UNESCO’s global reach and mission. A perfect example of how the two can complement each others’ work to optimize the outcomes of specific projects.