Norway will contribute some 316 million Norwegian crowns (33 million US dollars) to UNESCO's action for the biennium 2020-2021 in the fields of education, safeguarding cultural heritage, protection and sustainable management of the oceans, support for freedom of expression, safety of journalists, and artistic freedom.
Two outstanding partnership agreements have been signed to this end with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). This exceptional support to the priority areas of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization represents an increase in Norway's voluntary contributions to the Organization compared to previous years. It illustrates the long-standing trust between the two parties based on common values.
This financial support will strengthen UNESCO's contribution to the 2030 UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as its coordination role within the UN, especially in the context of priorities related to gender equality and Africa.
"Norway's exemplary investment will enable UNESCO to continue funding its key programmes and devote resources to the new challenges facing the world, with the COVID-19 pandemic being one of the most daunting avatars along with climate change," stressed UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. "Flexible and predictable funding is fundamental. The responses, the solutions to the interruption of education around the world are a striking example of the indispensable responsiveness that UNESCO has had to show in order to make recommendations as quickly as possible to its Member States faced with a completely new situation".
Norway's exemplary investment will enable UNESCO to continue funding its key programmes and devote resources to the new challenges facing the world, with the COVID-19 pandemic being one of the most daunting avatars along with climate change
The cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will benefit UNESCO's Communication and Information sector as well as the Culture sector. As for the cooperation agreement with NORAD, it will involve respectively the education sector and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). Among the actions targeted by these two agreements are:
- supporting Member States to develop education systems to foster high quality and inclusive lifelong learning for all;
- empowering learners to be creative and responsible global citizens;
- leading SDG4 and coordinating the Education 2030 agenda through partnerships, monitoring and research;
- strengthening national capacities to address gender equality holistically in national education systems;
- improving governance and fostering intergovernmental cooperation for the management and protection of the oceans and coastal zones, for the benefit of Member States;
- strengthening UNESCO’s action for the protection of culture, in particular the natural World Heritage sites in Arica, and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict and natural disasters;
- fostering pluralistic, free and independent media.