Tuesday, March 01, 2011

UNESCO does not fare well in UK review

The Department for International Development of the United Kingdom has just completed a review of the multilateral agencies it has been funding. Here is the summary table:

DfID also provided a comparison chart among the multilateral agencies that were evaluated:

The development objectives of the United Kingdom are very similar to those of the United States. The top graph indicates that. in the opinion of the evaluators, the organization has considerable room for improvement, The lower graph indicates that UNESCO was judged almost uniquely weak among a wide variety of development agencies.

The Government of the United Kingdom decided on the basis of this information to continue funding UNESCO, but to impose "special measures". Here is the statement it provided in its document "Taking Forward the Findings of the UK Multilateral Aid Review":
UNESCO contributes to a range of UK government objectives, including monitoring progress on Education for All. The UK’s membership of UNESCO also brings broader benefits to the UK, in Culture, Heritage, Education and Science. UNESCO’s new leadership team is committed to reform. DFID will continue to support UNESCO, including by funding the core assessed contribution, which will be about £16m in each of the next two years. DFID will reassess progress towards improved effectiveness, with other government departments, in autumn 2012. DFID is discussing with UNESCO, and its member states, what measures need to be taken to urgently improve its performance. 

Priorities include:-
  • Greater transparency
  • A more focused, evidence based programme
  • A focus on controlling transaction, administration and other costs
  • A major improvement in results based management.
If these measures are not implemented satisfactorily and performance does not improve, then the UK will consider whether it should continue to be a member of UNESCO, or whether there are more effective ways of supporting our objectives on education, culture and heritage.

1 comment:

John Daly said...

The British Department for International Development is of course focused on foreign aid, while UNESCO is chartered to promote the defenses of peace in the minds of men. DfID perhaps does not recognize how fundamental peace is to its poverty reduction objective.

The difference between DfID objectives and those of UNESCO are important in areas such as the promotion of international scientific cooperation, the protection of cultural heritage and the protection of freedom of the press.

I would hope that the British Parliament and Foreign Office take a broader view of UNESCO.

Of course the recommendations that UNESCO seek to improve its management are common sense; what organization should not seek to do so?