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Multilateral Development Banks

Policy dialogue and partnership strategy

Policy dialogue and partnership strategy
  • © Rob Friedman

UNESCO has long standing and close working relationships with most of the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Islamic Development Bank.

It is important for UNESCO to engage with Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) because they play a major role in setting and influencing the international development agenda. MDBs are influential not only by virtue of the volume of financing they provide, but because of the links established between the provision of finance and the realisation of specific policy outcomes including the Millennium Development Goals, and frameworks and policy initiatives such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, the Fast Track Initiative, Managing for Development Results and the harmonisation of donor practices.

Common Objectives
Most of the Member States of the Multilateral Development Banks are also Member States of UNESCO, therefore partnership is based on common objectives and the strategic advantage as well as added value of each partner.

Complementary Expertise
It is also intended that engagement in policy dialogue with MDBs will enable UNESCO and its MDB partners to identify areas of complementary expertise and know how, that will in turn improve the design of operational policies and improve project design and implementation.

Efforts are made to ensure consistency between UNESCO’s policy dialogue with MDBs and other multilateral as well as bilateral partners and with the private sector. UNESCO explores how successful interactions with MDBs can lead to similar experiences with other multilateral partners, and vice versa, and promote a cross fertilisation of ideas that can lead to new forms of partnerships.

To this effect, UNESCO may participate in the annual meetings of MDBs, organise co-ordination meetings, promote technical dialogue between the Programme Sectors and engage in joint policy meetings, policy analysis, studies and workshops with MDBs.

Support and facilitation to program sector and field offices in the formulation and implementation of extrabudgetary projects:

UNESCO has special arrangements with the African Development Bank, the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Islamic Development Bank relating to participation in the design of projects financed by MDBs in areas where UNESCO has added value.

Participation in the formulation of MDB financed projects enables UNESCO to provide an important service to its Member States. It enables UNESCO to bring its technical expertise to bear in shaping multi million dollar projects (the financing of which extends beyond UNESCO’s financial means). It strengthens UNESCO’s impact and visibility in the field. It constitutes a channel for institutional learning and renewal of knowledge that can help maintain a firm link between policy formulation and practice.

UNESCO’s involvement in the formulation of MDB projects in areas of strategic interest are promoted through the involvement of Programme Sectors, Field Offices and Institutes, in MDB project formulation missions, and by channelling other inputs (policy advice and papers, technical briefing and debriefing, best practice) into the project formulation process, at the identification, preparation, or appraisal stages.

At the request of individual governments and with the agreement of the MDB concerned, UNESCO provides technical assistance services, organizes training and sometimes participates in the procurement of equipment financed through MDB loans and grants. UNESCO may participate in the implementation of a MBD financed project either by negotiating a direct agreement with the government on the basis of its specialised expertise as a UN agency, or after successful participation in an open, or restricted call for tender.

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