Carin Jämtin’s first visit to UNESCO as Director-General of Sweden’s International Development Cooperation Agency

On 14 October, Carin Jämtin paid her first official visit to UNESCO as Director-General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Discussions focused on Sida’s sustainable support to UNESCO in the areas of education, freedom of expression and artistic freedom, gender equality, human rights and democracy. UNESCO’s strategic programming, results-based management and financing dialogues were also discussed, including UN reform. Sida’s support is based on a solid Human Rights Based Approach targeting both rights holders and duty bearers.

UNESCO and Sida enjoy a strong partnership based on mutual confidence and shared values. This strategic partnership reflects 10 years of trust-building through open, strategic and frank dialogues, and a long experience of successful results. It also evolves in an enabling environment for partnerships that is at the heart of UNESCO’s Strategic Transformation.

Sweden is one of UNESCO’s champion in partnerships and the pioneer of flexible funding at UNESCO. Sida’s historical decision in 2018 to approve a package of unearmarked support for the Education Sector of 314 Million Swedish kronor for 2018-2021 was the first time that a totally unearmarked contribution of this scale has been made to any of UNESCO’s Major programmes. By demonstrating, in line with the principles of the UN Funding Compact, that enhanced delivery and reporting on results can be rewarded with flexible funding, Sida sends a powerful message to the international community. Such flexibility has recently been central to UNESCO’s efforts to address the challenges linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing resources to be harnessed to meet emerging needs.

Sweden’s steady support to multilateralism, added to political and generous financial support to UNESCO’s core mandate, enable the Organization to accelerate progress towards the achievements of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and make the difference in reaching major milestones. The secondment of senior Swedish experts, currently in the areas of results-based management and evaluations, are significant additional contributions that strengthen mutual learning and deepen the partnership.