Who are UNESCO's partners?
UNESCO’s approach to partnership is firmly anchored in the 2030 Agenda and at its heart lies SDG 17, partnership for the goals.
UNESCO’s partners include United Nations Development System, donors, key constituencies like young people, cities and business, NGOs, IGOs, and what we call ‘UNESCO family partners’. UNESCO’s “extended family” including UNESCO Clubs, UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Network, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors, the UNEVOC Network, UNESCO category 2 Institutes and Centres and UNESCO intergovernmental programmes and their membership bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to UNESCO’s programme, and are an important dimension of UNESCO’s comparative advantage for other potential partners. At country level, UNESCO National Commissions are UNESCO’s privileged partners for outreach, engagement and amplifying messages about UNESCO’s vision and mission.
UNESCO’s programmes respond to the needs of its Member Stated that fall within its two year programme and budget. This gives assurance to partners that their engagement with UNESCO is part of a bigger plan and linked to high-level outcomes including the 2030 Agenda. UNESCO expects from its partners that they will be committed to its vision and values.
Entry points at global, regional and national level
UNESCO offers its partners the opportunity to channel their support to programmes of global scope that are coordinated from UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris. The Bureau for Strategic Planning is the institutional focal point for partnerships at UNESCO.
Potential partners can also engage with UNESCO in the preparation and implementation of time bound programmes of regional, sub regional or national scope that are designed to address the needs of specific Member States. Here the point of contact at UNESCO will be the Director or Head of the UNESCO field office that is responsible for that sub region or country. At country level, UNESCO, other Members of the UN Country Team, embassies, aid agencies, financial institutions, civil society and business are engaging with government and other stakeholders to see how best they can support the country to achieve the sustainable development goals. This is a space where opportunities for collaboration and partnership are identified and further developed in close consultation with national, subnational, and in some cases municipal stakeholders.
Ways of partnering with UNESCO
Financial support and resource mobilization
Partners can support UNESCO by providing financial resources to its programmes. Such funding is often accompanied by knowledge, shared value and networking opportunities because cooperation is focussed on areas that are shared strategic priorities for UNESCO and its partners. Some of UNESCO’s partners are also helping UNESCO fundraise through joint campaigns and outreach with their own networks and constituencies.
Advocacy, knowledge sharing and innovation
Many partners are working with UNESCO on outreach and advocacy to change mind sets, influence behaviours and raise awareness. Other partnerships are focused on promoting learning, sharing experiences and best practice and building capacity. Innovation and the co-design of new solutions to emerging challenges can also characterize such partnerships.
Not for profit organisations can also act as specialized implementation partners in UNESCO programmes. Such partners bring their unique added value to the programme, should also contribute in cash or in kind, and are usually involved from the design phase through to evaluation.
Increasingly UNESCO is engaging with its partners in new forms of strategic multistakeholder partnerships and coalitions which bring together governments, international organizations, NGOs and civil society leaders and the private sector to realize common goals. Examples include the COVID-19 Global Education Coalition, bringing together 90 partners from the private sector, international and civil society organizations and the media around three flagships – on gender equality, teachers and connectivity – to support country needs, “ResiliArt” which is a global movement involving cultural industry professionals and artists, advocating for the importance of cultural and creative industries in economic development and the UNESCO MIL Alliance to promote international cooperation to ensure that all citizens have access to media and information competencies.
Key considerations for potential donors to UNESCO
UNESCO can offer potential donors a range of different options for channelling their financial support to its programmes. If possible UNESCO encourages its partners to direct their funding in a flexible way through existing multi-donor mechanisms and programmes. The benefit of channelling funding in this way is that it fosters programmatic coherence, reduces fragmentation and strengthen national capacity and systems. It also enables UNESCO to respond swiftly to emerging needs. Many of these multi-donor programmes have in place governance and consultation mechanisms through which donors are closely informed of the planning and implementation of the programme, and are part of a wider pier group. Pooled funding mechanisms exist to support all areas of UNESCO’s work.
For reasons of visibility, accountability to their own stakeholders or internal reporting requirements, many donors need to channel their support to UNESCO through programmes that are managed and accounted for separately from those financed by other donors. For these partners, UNESCO has arrangements in place for the co-design and implementation of individual programmes where the donor is closely involved in decision making during the lifecycle of the project, and receives separate financial and progress reports on their financial contribution.
Simple arrangements are in place for swiftly formalising contributions from donors who would like to make small scale contributions to UNESCO’s programme and don’t have specific reporting requirements.
Detailed information about the different means and ways of making a financial contribution to UNESCO’s programmes is given in the “UNESCO Resource Mobilization Guidebook”.
UNESCO’s engagement with donors is always framed within a commitment to transparency, to impact, mutual accountability and the pursuit of long-term sustainable partnership.