Norad Director-General reaffirms Norway support to UNESCO

During his first official visit to UNESCO on 2 September 2021, M. Bård Vegar Solhjell, the Director-General of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, reiterated his strong support to UNESCO during a meeting held with Ms Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

Norway is the second major donor to the Organization’s extrabudgetary programmes and amongst major donors to education and ocean activities, through Norad.

Ms Azoulay expressed her appreciation for Norway’s strong commitment particularly on education and the combat against climate change which are top priorities within UNESCO’s mandate. “Environmental education is the key to change people’s behaviors, and UNESCO is committed to working with its Member States to make environmental education a key component in all school curriculums” Ms Azoulay added.

While Norway is committed to placing education as a top priority of its development cooperation policy, M. Solhjell echoed Norway’s full support of UNESCO’s work on education, notably its leading role in coordinating global efforts to help countries meet their education targets in 2030. .

Subsequent meetings with Ms Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, M. Vladimir Ryabinin, Assistant Director-General for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and M. Jean-Yves Le Saux, Director of the Bureau for Strategic Planning took place at UNESCO Headquarters on 3 September.

Norway is among UNESCO’s champions of voluntary support, and a reference as a best example of strategic partnerships. The importance of the predictability and flexibility granted by Norway through the provision of multi-years funding with lightly earmarking is critically important for promoting programmatic coherence and efficiency and enables UNESCO to accelerate progress towards the achievements of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and make the difference in reaching major milestones.

Norway is also a strong supporter of freedom of expression, safety of journalists and cultural programmes implemented by UNESCO.