On 23 April 2019, UNESCO and Iceland signed their first comprehensive Partnership Agreement as well as the first Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA). UNESCO Deputy Director-General, Mr Xu Qing, praised Iceland's predictability and flexibility as the Agreement covers a 5 year period with lightly earmarked funding. “This Agreement is a testimony of Iceland stepping up its cooperation with UNESCO at a strategic level. It is a sign of confidence and strong support to the organization that will reinforces UNESCO's delivery towards the SDGs and agenda 2030 » said the Deputy Director-General. The total amount of the new Partnership is 174.000.000 Icelandic Krona (ISK), approx. USD 1.4 million over 5 years.
“We have seen that UNESCO has strengthened its work in the past few years, and by signing our very first partnership agreement we are showing our faith in the future of this organization ", declared the Permanent Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Mr. Sturla Sigurjónsson.
Iceland’s contribution to UNESCO will focus on strengthening Capacity Development for Education activities (CapED Programme) and the Freedom of expression and Safety of Journalists, two priority programmes for UNESCO. Iceland is thus joining the other Nordic countries in their support for these Programmes. Iceland is a founding member of the CapED Programme through a Nordic/UNESCO MoU signed in 2003. The Programme is a platform for delivery, pulling in the needed expertise from across UNESCO entities and Category 1 Institutes at the right time of country-level implementation and allows UNESCO to operate with a coherent UNESCO approach in order to support Member States to achieve universal quality education for all, an integral part of Sustainable development Goal 4 of the UN 2030 Agenda, for which UNESCO is the lead agency.
Both Programmes will include inter alia a focus on Afghanistan, one of the most dangerous countries for media workers as well as in need of capacity development for education. Iceland’s support will contribute to UNESCO’s ongoing work through the CapED Programme for system strengthening on key areas of the education sector in the country, particularly SDG4 alignment, curriculum reform and technical and vocational education and training. It will also strengthen the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and its work related to SDG16 (notably on target 16.10: Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements).
Moreover, the Framework Agreement foresees cooperation in the field of secondments and standby partnership, whereby Iceland is committed to reinforcing UNESCO with expertise in its fields of competences. A first senior-level secondment will be deployed shortly to the Bureau of Strategic Planning, to contribute to improving the management framework of category 2 Institutes, ensuring an effective partnership with a new category 2 center in Iceland, currently being established. This will support the work on the preparation of UNESCO’s Medium-term Strategy 2022-2029, enhancing communication on funding needs and improve clarity, transparency, and user-friendliness of reporting on results achieved.
Read more on Iceland Country Page.