Qatar pledges to help fill in Unesco’s financial shortfall

November 13, 2011

Shaikha Moza Bin Nasser Al Misned, wife of Qatar’s Emir, has pledged to increase her support to the core education activities of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to help it overcome its financial difficulties.

“Her Highness is particularly concerned that the decision of some member states to withhold contributions will have serious and adverse consequences on Unesco’s core programmes and mark setbacks for sustainable development and peace, at a time when international cooperation is critical for achieving quality universal education,” a statement posted on the Unesco website said.

“Her Highness has called upon all partners to join her in this initiative given the challenges ahead, four years short of the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and following the commitment made by the heads of states at the MDG Summit in New York in 2010.

The move by Shaikha Moza aims to help fill a shortfall resulting from a decision by the US to withhold its contributions following the admission of Palestine to Unesco on October 31, citing national laws that dated to the 1990s.

The US decision leaves Paris-based Unesco with a shortfall of $65 million until the end of 2011 and a gap of 22 per cent in its $ 653 million budget for 2012-2013. Israel also withheld its contribution of $ 1.5m (0.3 per cent of Unesco’s budget) for 2012-2013.

“This marks a very strong sign of the deep commitment of Her Highness to education for all, which is the foundation for building more peaceful and sustainable societies. Unesco will put every effort into ensuring that this support translates into opening educational opportunities for the most marginalised, improving the quality of education systems in least developed countries, and forging new partnerships,” Unesco’s Director-General Irina Bokova said.

The emergency initiative will support the programme and budget adopted by the 36th General Conference, in particular the reinforcement of leadership for Education for All, through advocacy, partnership and monitoring, with a special emphasis on girls and women. Concerted attention will be placed on the least developed countries, which are furthest away from reaching the Education for All goals, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

The modalities for the initiative will be worked out in the next few weeks with all the speed and urgency required to minimise the possible negative impact to Unesco core programme.

Shaikha Moza, who is also the UN Secretary-General s special advocate for MDG 2 on primary education, has provided long time support to UNESCO’s activities, notably for literacy, curriculum development, teacher education and rehabilitation of higher education in Iraq, emergency support to education in Gaza, and support to the publication of the Education under Attack series.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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