The regional integration process is of particular importance for Africa’s development. UNESCO, in its cooperation with the continent of Africa, has always been keen to reinforce these partnerships. In this context and over its medium-term strategies, the Organization has aligned its action with the priorities defined by Africa at continental, sub-regional and national level. Since 2004, more than 40 decisions adopted by African leaders and governments concern UNESCO’s fields of competence.
The UNESCO liaison office in Addis Ababa is working very closely with the African Union Commission, which was a key-partner in the development process of the Operational Strategy for Priority Africa adopted by UNESCO’s 37th General Conference.
At sub-regional level, UNESCO signed cooperation agreements with all of the eight Regional Economic Communities and three Regional Integration Organizations.
A few examples of cooperation at regional level:
- Education: UNESCO is providing technical support to the AUC in the implementation and evaluation of the action plan for the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015). UNESCO also supports the Pan-African University, a post-graduate training and research network of university nodes in the five African regions; it is one of the main projects of the African Union. The Organization has launched the “Big Push” initiative too which aims to accelerate educational progress in the 45 sub-Saharan countries so that they can achieve the goals set by the Education for All movement.
- Sciences, Technology and Innovation: The Nairobi Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation held on 1-3 April 2012, was co-organized by UNESCO with AUC, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). The Forum placed science, technology and innovation at the heart of the sustainable development process and STI as a driver for inclusive growth. The Forum was part of UNESCO’s continued action in line with the implementation of the African Consolidated Plan of Action in Science and Technology.
- Culture of Peace: As part of the implementation of UNESCO’s "Intersectoral and interdisciplinary Programme of action for a Culture of peace and Non-violence", the Organisation and the AU have jointly organized advocacy activities: the Regional Forum on a Culture of peace in West Africa, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 4-5 June 2012; the Pan-African Forum “Sources and resources for a culture of peace” which took place in Luanda from 26 to 28 March 2013. This forum marked the launch of a pan-African movement through the expression of specific commitments for a Culture of Peace from a set of governmental and intergovernmental partners. UNESCO also contributed to the establishment of a "Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the promotion of a culture of peace in Africa”, which took place in Addis Ababa, 20-21 September 2014. In addition, UNESCO is fully engaged with the African Union Commission, namely through its Peace and security Department, in the celebration of the "Make Peace Happen" campaign, with a series of events taking place throughout the continent.