19.12.2012 - UNESCO

Senior Management Team looks ahead to 2013

© UNESCO/M. RavassardUNESCO Headquarters, Paris (France) - Miollis Building, UNESCO logo at the entrance.

UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, held a one-day retreat with her Senior Management Team at headquarters in Paris on Sunday, 9th December. The team shared lunch and spent the day looking at challenges and opportunities for the year ahead.

"The status quo is not an option," stated the DG as she opened the proceedings. "We must accelerate our reform as we reach consensus on UNESCO’s strategic orientation for the next eight years." The DG has consulted extensively with Member States, particularly at the autumn session of the Executive Board, and can now develop a strategic vision to present to the General Conference, where a final decision will be made.

Hans d’Orville, the ADG for Strategic Planning, said that although the overall objectives of the next Strategic Plan (C/4) are nearly in place, the Executive Board has given the DG some flexibility in the final orientation of her proposal. Once the objectives have been finalized, major programmes and themes can be developed. The global priorities of Gender Equality and Priority Africa will be maintained. New emphases on social inclusion and youth could be addressed through cross-cutting themes. Freedom of expression will be given appropriate emphasis.

"We must be guided by a simple question," said the ADG: "Where do we make a difference?" The self-assessment process that Sectors are currently undertaking will help management decide what to maintain and what to discontinue. Consultations with Member States will be continued. Three of them – on youth, social inclusion and knowledge-based societies – have already occurred and more will be scheduled in the New Year. "I will listen to Member States as I develop my vision for the future," concluded the DG.

Both Hans d’Orville and Getachew Engida, the DDG, said that UNESCO’s organizational structure and priorities must soon be defined so that a programme and budget (C/5) can be prepared. A "thematic" structure for the C/5 might be considered in place of the "classical" structure by sector. The expected results for each area of work must be both focused and measurable.

Neil Ford, Director of Public Information (ERI), made a presentation on communication. He briefed the SMT on website development, branding, communicating results from the field, and the development of a strategy to improve the impact of communication at UNESCO while at the same time minimizing the cost of both human and financial resources. The DDG said that the proposals on communication would be addressed at the next meeting of the PMC.

The SMT then discussed UNESCO’s reform initiatives. Bert Keuppens, Director of Internal Oversight, said that UNESCO is making progress in all five areas of reform identified by the Independent External Evaluation. They are: more program focus, better positioning within the UN system, leveraging new and existing partnerships, better delivery in field, and improvements in governance. "We must send a strong message that we are on track," he stated. "UNESCO is more efficient and this is showing up both in terms of savings and improved programming." The SMT then discussed human resource issues, especially UNESCO’s mobility policy.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the DG thanked Ryuhei Hosoya, Executive Director of ODG, for his dedicated service to UNESCO. Ryuhei will be re-joining the Foreign Service of Japan early in the New Year.

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