Speech of the Chairman of IIEP's Governing Board at the UNESCO's General Conference

Raymond E. Wanner's address at the Education Commission on 09 Nov. 2013

Distinguished Delegates, 

I am Ray Wanner, and I have the honour of chairing IIEP’s Governing Board. The documents on your desks demonstrate that IIEP has delivered, and delivered well.

Across continents, IIEP worked with nearly 30 countries to improve:

  • plan preparation,  
  • quality of data, 
  • and monitoring and evaluation.

It cooperated with Member States to address: 

  • vulnerabilities,  
  • improve quality, 
  • increase learning outcomes, 
  • expand equal access and participation for children and youth, irrespective of gender or backgrounds.

At the global level, we influenced the work of our partners, the Global Partnership for Education and Transparency International among other important bodies.

We also underwent extensive evaluations to learn more about ourselves. Findings reaffirmed IIEP’s relevance, sound programme design, and capacity to serve different local realities and needs.

 IIEP is a global public good, mandate-bound to provide global public good services. But providing them is contingent on sufficient levels of core, unearmarked resources. These will diminish by 25 per cent next year due to UNESCO’s crisis and changes in funding policies of several contributors.

Delivery of global public goods cannot be sustained through earmarked funding only. We have shared responsibility to ensure that IIEP can serve at the level of excellence we expect of it, with the professional selflessness and commitment of its staff we are accustomed to.

True, increased earmarked funding compensates for some income loss. But it creates a stress factor on programming.

To address this, IIEP has already:

  • Increased cost-effectiveness of programmes; 
  • Strengthened their focus; and
  • Stepped up cost recovery.

So far, clear rules of engagement have prevented mission drift. The Governing Board is monitoring the situation closely. IIEP is resilient – but to a reasonable point only.

Nonetheless, even under strong fiscal pressure, IIEP believes it can continue to serve, and serve well. Our vision is laid out in our next Medium-Term Strategy.

With Pôle de Dakar now part of IIEP, we are enthused at how the combined talents of the two teams will serve Priority Africa. Building on the recent collaboration in Chad, we can look forward to more comprehensive sector diagnoses, constructively linked to strategic planning. Sustainability relies on strong, local institutions, and IIEP is committed to anchoring capacity development within nationally-driven initiatives. Twinning programmes involving ministries and national training institutions are already scheduled in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You ranked educational planning as the Education Sector’s number one priority. Yet IIEP, for reasons just mentioned, is scheduled to lose $2.5 million of core funding. How is this dire reality consistent with this ranking?

It is puzzling… To the point that for the first time in half a century of IIEP existence, staff has asked a Chairman of the Board to plead with the General Conference on their behalf for adequate core funding and the means to maintain IIEP’s core asset: its very staff. Without them, IIEP’s delivery capacity and the quality of its services will be damaged.

The Institute is lean already, with little flexibility for downsizing.

I call upon you to consult with your capitals to provide the unearmarked funds that will allow IIEP to remain the service provider you need and want.

I will conclude on item 6.5 to clarify the statement in document 37 C/52 that IIEP’s Governing Board concurs with the proposed Statutes amendments to our Institute. Frankly, it does not. And on behalf of the Board I respectfully oppose the proposed change in our role in the recruitment of the Director. IIEP’s excellent performance under its successive Directors attests to their outstanding quality and the Board’s constructive role, which has in no way diminished the Director-General’s prerogatives.

Thank you for your kind attention.