United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNESCO Director-General and UNOPS Executive Director discuss ways of enhancing cooperation

On 2 November 2009, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, held a meeting with Mr Jan Mattsson, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) at UNESCO Headquarters.

Mr Mattsson came to see the Director-General in order to discuss ways and means of further strengthening cooperation between UNESCO and UNOPS. He explained to Mr Matsuura that UNOPS needed the expertise of specialized agencies, such as UNESCO, to bring their “know-how of the soft side” to bear when implementing operational projects at the country level.

Mr Matsuura welcomed this proposal, underscoring the importance of a feedback loop between UNESCO’s upstream functions and operational action. Furthermore, he emphasized that given the limited financial and human resources of the Organization, it was important for UNESCO to foster partnerships with the UN agencies that have operational country-level presence.

The Director-General also emphasized the need to avoid duplication with the other UN agencies active in UNESCO’s fields of competence, particularly in the field of education. Whereas UNICEF has the mandate to implement projects concerning primary education at the country level, UNESCO is responsible for implementing projects related to secondary and higher education, as well as ‘technical and vocational education and training (TVET). UNESCO, Mr Matsuura indicated, could benefit from partnership with UNOPS when assuming the responsibility in these important programme areas at the country level, in particular, in the post-conflict, post-disaster (PCPD) context.

The Director-General also paid tribute to Mr Mattsson’s efforts in reforming UNOPS and enhancing the cost-effectiveness and transparency of the Office’s action. Recalling that one of the pillars of his reform when taking up his functions at the helm of UNESCO had been to promote closer relationships with other UN agencies, Mr Matsuura expressed his hope that the two organizations would continue to work closely together so that Member States can benefit from the full range of expertise existing within the UN system.

Established in 1974 as part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and as a “separate and identifiable entity” by the General Assembly in 1994, UNOPS provides high-quality, timely and cost-effective management and support services to the entire UN system, in particular in post conflict, post disaster (PCPD) and emergency situations. Mr Mattsson was appointed the Executive Director of UNOPS in 2006 and has since introduced a series of reforms at the Office.

Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 223-2009 -  Publication Date: 05-11-2009

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