Director-General highlights strategic importance of UNESCO field network to implement 2030 Agenda

On 21 March, the Director-General opened the Global Meeting of the directors and heads of UNESCO Field Offices, held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. This was an opportunity to restate her firm conviction on the crucial importance of a robust and sustainable field network for UNESCO and her determination to continue taking this forward.

Underlining the importance of UNESCO’s presence in its Member States, notably to support them in the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Director-General outlined her strategy to build a more strategic, sustainable and operation field network, highlighting here the opportunities and assets of the Organization’s work at regional and national levels. 

“I am deeply committed to a strong and sustainable field network,  because this is essential to UNESCO’s mission,” said Irina Bokova.  “Strengthening the UNESCO field presence is not a choice, but a strategic programmatic need. This can only be achieved by responding to the needs of Member States, by strengthening inter-agency work towards a better integrated UN response, and by mobilizing innovative partnerships”. 

Looking forward, the Director-General stated that UNESCO is already well advanced in adapting its adopted Programme and Budget in order to fully support Member States in delivering progress towards the SDGs and will further align and streamline its strategy and programmes in the context of the Programme and Budget for 2018 – 2021 (39 C/5). 

In this regard, she said that UNESCO needs to maintain the current decentralization levels in spite of constraints and challenges. Only this presence enables UNESCO to provide the relevant normative and policy support to the Member States, to deploy its expertise and support capacity development across all its areas of expertise. 

“I know that I can count on your support to address together challenges and move the Organisation forward,” said the Director-General. 

The directors and heads of the 53 UNESCO Field Offices around the world are meeting from 21 to 23 March ,2016, to discuss strategic issues as well as practical aspects in order to improve UNESCO’s field operation and enhance its capacities to better support Member States.