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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

UNESCO to step up its cooperation with United Nations Volunteers

UNESCO to step up its cooperation with United Nations Volunteers
  • © UNESCO/D. Bijeljac

On 18 May 2009, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, held a meeting with Ms Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.

Established in 1971 by the UN General Assembly, the UN Volunteers today comprise some 8000 professionals from 160 countries, who annually engage as UNV volunteers to support UN Departments, Agencies, Funds and Programmes in a wide range of areas.

Ms Pansieri expressed her appreciation at the programme’s cooperation with UNESCO to date. She highlighted the various fields of UNESCO’s competence, many of which she felt lent themselves wonderfully to cooperation with the UNV.

Referring to UNV’s well-established collaboration with some other UN entities, such as UNDP, UNHCR or the UN peacekeeping operations, Ms Pansieri suggested that the scope of UNV’s cooperation with UNESCO could be further widened. Presently, only 18 out of the total 8000 UN volunteers worked for UNESCO in its different Field Offices.

Mr Matsuura welcomed this proposal with much interest, in particular in light of the growing importance UNESCO attaches to its country-level action. In the ensuing conversation, a number of fields - such as education, the environment, the protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage, disaster reduction and mitigation, online volunteering and the youth - were identified as possible areas of cooperation.

The Director-General suggested formalizing this cooperation by establishing a general framework agreement on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding he had signed with Mr Kemal Derviş, the then UNDP Administrator, in October 2008.

Ms Pansieri also mentioned that the United Nations Volunteers programme was the focal point for follow-up to the International Year of Volunteers celebrated in 2001 and sought UNESCO’s cooperation on the 10th anniversary celebrations scheduled for 2011. The Director-General pledged UNESCO’s full support in this regard.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 089-2009
  • 19-05-2009
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