The Director-General signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Executive Director of UNEP

The Director-General signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Executive Director of UNEP
  • © UNESCO/A. Wheeler

On 4 April 2009, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, and Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide a framework of cooperation and facilitate collaboration between UNESCO and UNEP.

The signature took place in the margins of the spring 2009 session of the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) hosted by UNESCO on 4-5 April (see Flash Info N°057-2009*).

The MoU agreement will facilitate national governments’ access to UN expertise in the area of the environment, based on national development priorities and plans. It will contribute to United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) outcomes and support complementary UN common country programming processes.

The focus of cooperation will be on the creation and maintenance of the scientific knowledge base, the formulation of national policies in the fields of science, environment, technology and innovation, education for responsible consumption patterns and the monitoring and benchmarking of trends and advocacy. Specific areas of joint collaboration may include, but are not limited to:

i. Climate change – such as through linking the scientific knowledge base for climate change, strengthening the capacities of developing countries reinforcing joint efforts to strengthen the adaptation capacities of vulnerable communities.

ii. Multi-scale environmental assessments – such as through joint promotion of Earth observations and Earth systems sciences, and strengthening the science-policy interface.

iii. Freshwater – such as joint collaboration in the context of the UN-Water mechanism and joint support and contribution to the World Water Assessment Programme and the preparation of the World Water Development Report.

iv. Ocean and coastal issues – such as joint support and development to the UN-Oceans mechanism and activities and to the Regular Process for the Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment.

v. Urban and coastal environmental issues – such as though the involvement of UNEP in UNESCO’s work on urban, coastal zone and small island ecosystems.

vi. Biodiversity and ecosystem services – such as through collaboration in the international initiative to strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services and joint efforts to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss and joint organization of events to be held during the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010.

vii. World Heritage – such as through strengthening the cooperation between UNESCO and UNEP in the field of biodiversity-related conventions and strengthening of cooperation between UNESCO and UNEP on important biodiversity-rich World Heritage sites in danger.

viii. Education, awareness-raising and training – such as through strengthening joint activities in the context of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

ix. Access to environmental information – such as through the strengthening of joint activities in the context of the outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

x. Disaster preparedness – such as through joint efforts to establish early warning systems for natural disaster preparedness.

xi. Energy – such as through joint efforts to provide assistance to developing countries in the field of new and renewable energies.

xii. Gender and environment – such as through the promotion of gender equality in all areas of joint interest and in particular in phases of natural disaster management, in biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and sustainable use of resources.

UNEP and UNESCO will inform the staff of both organizations of the agreement, in particular the Directors of UNEP Regional Offices and the Heads of UNESCO Field Offices. UNEP and UNESCO will collaborate to provide guidance, information and learning tools to staff members concerned so as to enhance cooperation in the agreed fields.

Both Mr Matsuura and Mr Steiner expressed their satisfaction at the signing of the MoU, which will ensure cooperation through complementary and joint programming efforts and support national, regional and global initiatives and UNDAF outcomes in areas where UNEP’s and UNESCO’s joint capacities and expertise can add value.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 058-2009
  • 08-04-2009
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