On 28 November, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the Permanent Delegate of Sweden to UNESCO, Ambassador Annika Markovic signed a Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA) to the value of close to 400,000,000 Swedish Kronor (approximately 54 million US Dollars) over a four year period.
Sweden is already a major donor to UNESCO. This agreement puts Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), among the top four contributors to the Organisation, marking a fourfold increase on past extrabudgetary engagement.
The agreement will support the implementation of UNESCO’s strategic programme objectives in 2014-2017, in the fields of education, natural sciences, culture as well as communication and information. This builds on the Swedish Government’s strategy for 2014-2017 to advance Swedish priorities with UNESCO, coinciding also with Sweden’s membership of the UNESCO Executive Board.
“Sweden is a great champion for the values and objectives that guide UNESCO,” said the Director-General. “This agreement builds on our shared vision that the soft power of UNESCO, in advancing cooperation around education, culture, the sciences, communication and information, is essential today, to craft more inclusive and sustainable development and strengthen the foundations for lasting peace.”
"I see this as the embodiment of Sweden's trust in the Organisation and its delivery and the effective progress of UNESCO's reforms,” said Ambassador Annika Markovic. “This shows how serious we are about our cooperation with UNESCO. We are focusing here on thematic core funding and predictable financing, in line with the Structured Financing Dialogues. We trust UNESCO and we see the great relevance of its mandate.”
This new agreement stands out in its strategic importance, its long term nature and its wide ranging focus in supporting UNESCO core programmes. This includes reinforcing education systems, fostering creativity and support the diversity of cultural expressions, building peace, sustainable development and democracy through freedom of expression and strengthening media pluralism, enhancing the safety of journalists and fighting impunity, as well as supporting research to improve the ability of developing countries to address climate change, water security and pollution. All activities will take forward the UNESCO Global Priorities Africa and Gender Equality.
“All of this follows with the efforts we are undertaking to strengthen UNESCO’s fit for purpose in taking forward future sustainable development goals – including in the context of UNESCO’s chairmanship of the UN High Level Committee on Management,” said the Director-General.
“I am deeply grateful for Sweden’s trust and support -- I see this as a model agreement, in its four year scope, its strategic focus and its support to core funding.”