3.) A catalyst for international co-operation


© UN

To deliver the programme priorities, under Mr Matsuura, UNESCO has bolstered its functions as catalyst for international cooperation, standard-setter and promoter of ideas and best practices. He has also given renewed impetus to UNESCO’s role as capacity-builder and technical advisor to governments, seeking to position the Organization as the expert provider of choice within its domains of competence.

For example, Mr Matsuura launched the Education for All Global Monitoring Report as the premier technical assessment of progress towards the six Education for All goals and a highly credible tool for governments to improve their education policies; while the triennial World Water Development Report, coordinated by UNESCO under the UN-Water World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), provides an authoritative picture of the state of the world’s freshwater resources. Under Mr Matsuura, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) has also reaffirmed its leadership in climate change science and monitoring.

A major source of UNESCO’s expertise resides in its specialized institutes (known as category 1 institutes). Mr Matsuura has been instrumental in expanding this technical capacity. In 2003, he integrated into the Organization as a category 1 institute the IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, the largest water education institute in the world. Fully funded by the Dutch Government and other extrabudgetary sources, UNESCO-IHE greatly enhances the Organization’s action in water research, education and capacity-building activities. Mr Matsuura also shepherded the development of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in Montreal into the world renowned centre it is today. UIS was established as a category I Institute in July 1999 to meet the growing needs of UNESCO Member States and the international community for policy-relevant, timely, and reliable statistics in the fields of education, science and technology, culture and communication.

During his first term of office, Mr Matsuura expanded UNESCO’s standard-setting activities in the field of culture to cover all aspects of the world’s cultural diversity, notably living expressions and traditions. With a coherent set of conventions in place, the focus since 2005 has been on implementing them in Member States which in turn integrates culture into national and international development strategies.

In the social sciences, Mr Matsuura elevated UNESCO’s ethical watch on bioethics, with the development of the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data (2003) and the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005). These Declarations, together with the 1997 Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human rights, have promoted a better understanding of major ethical issues raised by modern science, while also providing practical assistance to decision-makers in dealing with their implications.

Under the Director-General, UNESCO played a leading role in shifting international thinking about the role of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) in development away from pure connectivity, towards a vision of inclusive and equitable knowledge societies based on freedom of expression, universal access to information and knowledge, respect for cultural and linguistic diversity, and quality education for all. UNESCO worked with Member States to translate these principles into practice through capacity-building activities, including the work of the Information for All Programme (IFAP) and the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).


Director General's Achievements:
Delivering an ambitious 10 year plan

  • 1.) Increased Focus - programme concentration, better results

  • 2.) Country-level action – direct impact on the ground

  • 3.) A catalyst for international co-operation

  • 4.) Strengthening UNESCO’s legitimacy, visibility and outreach

  • 5.) A new management approach

  • 6.) Future challenges

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