Multilateral Development Banks

Main Areas of Cooperation

Main Areas of Cooperation
  • © Liv Friis-Larsen

The following are the main areas in which UNESCO and Multilateral Development Banks cooperate.

Cultural Heritage:

UNESCO’s expertise in cultural heritage has been actively deployed in the design and implementation of projects financed by the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank (IADB) concerned with increasing the economic, cultural, and social utilization of cultural heritage.

Specific examples of IADB projects include the MONUMENTA Programme in Brazil which in its initial phases mobilised in excess of USD 8 million in extrabudgetary funding; in Peru, a project to support the development of the Camino Inca as a World Heritage Site.

To the World Bank financed operations UNESCO has provided technical advice at the design and implementation phases of projects such as the Reconstruction of the Old Bridge of Mostar, the Rehabilitation of the Medina of Fez and the Revitalization of the Cultural Heritage of Mauritania.


Another major priority for the all the large development banks is water. In Brazil UNESCO has recent experience in implementing a large scale World Bank financed project (USD 5 million) concerned with water management in semi arid zones.


Today, emerging niche areas in the UNESCO’s cooperation with the Banks are:

  • capacity building for the Education for All initiative (EFA);
  • bi-lingual education (Arabic-French);
  • girls education;
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education;
  • literacy;
  • prevention education;
  • post-conflict education;
  • technical, vocational, and scientific education and training.

  • The larger development banks such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank are also users of UNESCO expertise in education planning at country level, (recent examples include work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Mauritania) especially through the UNESCO International Institute of Education Planning. For the Asian Development Bank, UNESCO’s main area of added value to date has also been in the field of education policy planning and support and in education and training sector studies, where the main focus of expertise is UNESCO Bangkok’s Education and Policy and Reform Section and its precursors.

    Statistics and data:

    A key area of UNESCO expertise on which development banks are keen to draw include statistics and data. The World Bank as a major user of education data has provided financial assistance for the on going work of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics including the establishment of current and emerging needs for statistical data and indicators.

    Cooperation in the development of EMIS, especially in post conflict countries is also gaining increasing importance in UNESCO’s cooperation with multilateral development banks.

    Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific