On 11 October, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the Norwegian Deputy Minister for Development Cooperation, Arvinn E. Gadgil, agreed to renew the Programme Cooperation Agreement between UNESCO and the Kingdom of Norway for 2012 and 2013, under which 108.8000 million Norwegian Kronor (around USD 19 million) will be provided to UNESCO to support activities in the fields of education, freedom of expression, cultural heritage and oceans.
“Norway has always been a strong supporter of UNESCO‘s ideals and work, and one of its major donors, and I do hope this trend will continue”, said the Director-General.
While commending Norway for its support to multilateralism, the Director-General expressed her gratitude for the country’s support to multi-donor pooled accounts and partial un-earmarked funding.
The Director-General underlined that the Agreement bears witness to the strong interest of Norway in UNESCO’s priorities -- notably in the area of Education for All, with a focus on the Global Monitoring Report, as well as on advancing Cap-EFA, literacy and gender equality at country level. She stressed the Kingdom’s openness to embark on other areas of cooperation, such as freedom of expression and intangible cultural heritage, but also on new avenues of cooperation, such as oceans. The Director-General also referred to the importance of advancing education in post-conflict and transition countries such as Liberia, Myanmar and South-Sudan.
The Deputy Minister, Arvinn E. Gadgil, underlined that “UNESCO is a worthy partner for Norway and education remains a key priority for Norway’s support”, underscoring his great satisfaction for his country’s renewed longstanding commitment to cooperation with the Organization. The Deputy Minister also stressed the need for innovative approaches and welcomed UNESCO’s efficient approach in dealing with partner countries on education-related activities. He referred also to the imperative need for UNESCO to ensure alignment with Norway’s Policy Strategy for Engagement with the UN, stressing that the special trust placed by his country in UNESCO also comes with certain expectations, in particular as regard the pursuit of the reform of the Organization, and the commitment to use the Norwegian contribution to leverage additional funding, and trigger innovative approaches from the wider donor-community.