These were one of the main conclusions of the meeting, which was convened by the Swiss National Commission under the title “National Commissions for UNESCO: Strengthening our Relations Considering the International Year of the Rapprochement of Cultures” in Lugano, Switzerland, from 3 to 5 March 2010.
The objective of the Lugano IV was to strengthen the cooperation among the National Commissions through the exchange of views and sharing of experiences. Some twenty participants representing 15 European National Commissions as well as the UNESCO Secretariat took part in the debates which were informal.
The discussions started with reflections on how to improve the role and positioning of National Commissions and how to enhance UNESCO’s profile in Europe. Although the European National Commissions are well organized and active, they share nevertheless common challenges and constraints relating to visibility, legal status, resources, funding and outreach to intellectual communities and youth.
The participants agreed that successfully-conducted activities with good impact are essential for assuring enhanced visibility for UNESCO. It was said that in order to increase the impact, National Commissions should focus on fewer well-defined projects instead of stretching their limited resources over numerous small-scale activities.
Much attention was given to exploring ways and means for closer cooperation between the UNESCO Secretariat and National Commissions in the celebration of the 2010 International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures (IYRC). The participants shared best practices on major events, activities and publications conducive for intercultural dialogue and discussed optimal modalities for celebrating the IYRC in the national context.
A special focus was also made on the organizational and logistical aspects of the Director-General’s regional consultation on the Draft Programme and Budget for 2012-2013 (36 C/5) to be held in London on 5-8 June 2010 and its possible influence on UNESCO’s future programme and the Secretariat’s work plans.
That was the fourth time that the Swiss National Commision hosted in Lugano this informal meeting of European National Commissions. During the meeting, the participants expressed their utmost appreciation and requested Switzerland to continue holding the Lugano gatherings in future. The previous meetings were held in 2005, 2007 and in 2008.