On 15 November 2009, Koïchiro Matsuura completed 10 years of profound change that has reshaped the Organization. He was elected as the ninth Director-General of UNESCO on 15 November 1999 on a strong reform platform. After serving six years, he was re-appointed in 2005 for a further four years.
On taking office in 1999, Mr Matsuura immediately set in train a far reaching reform and modernization programme designed to strengthen the relevance and effectiveness of UNESCO’s action for the benefit of Member States. Ten years on, this ambitious agenda can count many achievements:
• Prioritizing and concentrating UNESCO’s programme on those areas where the Organization has global responsibilities and a distinct comparative advantage;
• Exerting recognized leadership in addressing major challenges of the new century: on achieving quality education for all, improving freshwater management, tackling the ethical challenges of scientific progress, safeguarding cultural diversity, promoting freedom of expression, and fostering knowledge societies;
• Growing recognition of the relevance and urgency of UNESCO’s mandate, as illustrated by the Organization’s increased engagement in post-conflict and post-disaster situations;
• Reinforcing and rationalizing the Organization’s field presence to achieve greater impact and respond to the changing development environment;
• Repositioning UNESCO as a responsible and respected actor within the multilateral system, and as a specialized agency of the UN;
• Strengthening UNESCO’s legitimacy and credibility by expanding membership to 193 Member States and 6 Associate Members, the largest constituency in the multilateral system;
• Broadening UNESCO’s outreach through partnering with different stakeholders and expanding established networks;
• Equipping UNESCO to deliver with quality by overhauling the Organization’s structure and human resources;
• Renovating the Organization’s Fontenoy site in Paris through a nine year, US$80 million project to provide a high quality and energy efficient working environment;
• And absorbing the costs of all the above reforms within a negative budget.