First meeting of the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) on the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)

On 12 June, the first meeting of the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) on the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) was opened by the Deputy Director-General, Mr Marcio Barbosa. This two-day meeting was convened and organized by UNESCO in its capacity as the lead agency for the Decade.

The Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, in a prepared opening statement read by the Deputy Director-General, welcomed the meeting as “an important opportunity to exchange ideas and information and to build synergy among the UN agencies in this field”. Placing the meeting in context, he added that “this need for greater coherence and cooperation, of course, applies more broadly within the UN system on a range of key issues. UNESCO is fully involved in the process of the High-Level Panel on System-wide Coherence established by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for this purpose. Naturally, we are making efforts to increase coherence and collaboration without waiting for the report of the High-Level Panel. In this regard, the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development is an excellent theme for the whole of the UN system. I am therefore very pleased that you are participating with us on this occasion”.

After outlining the process through which the DESD had come about, the Director-General in his statement highlighted some specific features of UNESCO’s approach to its role in the Decade. That role – comprised of two main parts, that of international coordinator and that of substantive contributor – is informed by four key orientations. First, for UNESCO, the DESD is integrally linked to other major educational initiatives and frameworks, especially Education for All (EFA) and the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Second, the DESD reflects the importance that UNESCO gives to intersectorality, which is why an internal Intersectoral Working Group has been established chaired by the Assistant Director-General for Education. Third, the Decade involves UNESCO as a whole: “from Headquarters to Field Offices and institutes; from the Education Sector to all the other Sectors; from the Secretariat to other parts of the UNESCO family such as its National Commissions, UNESCO clubs and the schools linked through the Associated Schools Project network”. And, fourth, “UNESCO’s approach to the Decade places a premium on partnership” among UN agencies, governments and regional bodies, and the many and varied stakeholders in civil society, academia and the professions: “Our intention is to make the Decade a catalyst of joint action and collaboration”, stated the Director-General.

The first meeting of the Inter-Agency Committee, which will be held annually, is being attended by focal points and representatives from a range of UN agencies, including UNEP, ILO, UNICEF, UNU, UNAIDS, WFP, and UN Habitat as well as the World Bank. In addition, the meeting is being attended by relevant UNESCO representatives and two senior consultants. In his statement, the Director-General said that “the challenge before us is to recognize how each agency will make its own contribution to the goals and objectives of the DESD, and support one another in doing so. I strongly believe that the DESD provides the opportunity for all of us to work together as ‘one United Nations’ for the benefit of our stakeholders and Member States”. He expected that this meeting “will put in place effective inter-agency collaboration and cooperation mechanisms with renewed commitment for the successful implementation of DESD”. He concluded by expressing the hope that “the Decade will become an exemplary case for showing how greater UN coherence and synergy can be achieved”.

  • Author(s):Flash info n°088-2006
  • Source:Flash info n°088-2006
  • 12-06-2006
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