6.) Future challenges


© UNESCO/M. Ravassard

In delivering Mr Matsuura’s ten year plan, while much has been achieved, there is always more to be done. Looking forward, UNESCO continues to focus on quality results and impact. Because the demand for UNESCO’s assistance is so high, and the needs of its Member States so diverse, the Organisation will have to keep making difficult choices as to where it puts its energy and resources. A key challenge will be to find the mechanism that will encourage Member States to cut programmes and activities, however worthy.

Recent years have seen growing recognition that UNESCO’s greatest impact is in leveraging its work as a forum of international cooperation, taking the resulting normative work, global policies, standards and best practices and translating them into tailored policies at regional and country level to be the provider of choice for technical specialist advice. UNESCO must therefore always ensure that it has a critical mass of experts in all priority areas: top-level professionals for building analytical and policy capacities, producing evidence-based work that sets the benchmark, and for strengthening knowledge management and monitoring and evaluation functions.

It will be essential to continue to reorient and focus UNESCO’s country presence towards making a valuable contribution to UN Country Teams and maintaining UNESCO’s hard won respect as an important actor in the multilateral system.

While there has been huge progress in modernizing the Organization, this is a constantly evolving need. It is therefore crucial to keep internal oversight rigorous and to invest in the tools, systems and expertise needed to re-engineer business processes so as to provide the most efficient support for programme planning, evaluation, and delivery.

Finally, in 1945, the founders of UNESCO understood the power of education, science and culture as vectors of international collaboration to build peace and security. Over the past ten years, under Mr Matsuura’s leadership, UNESCO has interpreted this mission so as to respond to the need to alleviate poverty and foster development. The coming years could be even more challenging because the expectations on UNESCO are growing; UNESCO will have to define how it can best contribute to the global reconciliation of development needs, conflict prevention, fighting inequalities and exclusion, addressing climate change, while bringing a new activism, through education, culture, sciences and communication, to instil greater tolerance and understanding.


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