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Lead Agency

UNESCO’s Global Leadership and Co-ordination Role for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014)


Martin Gerner

In the future, advocacy in the field of International Relations will increase in importance. Mandates pertaining to particular issues have therefore been announced and officially assigned. In analysing the normative framework of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014) the prominent and novel concept of lead agency is introduced, applied and comprehensively discussed. The major characteristics and implications of this concept are illustrated in the context of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its mandate for global leadership and co-ordination. This publication contributes to the theory and practice of organizational leadership performance by proposing viable criteria for assessing achievements and challenges. The interdisciplinary approach adopted meets the needs of both practitioners in the field of education for sustainable development and scholars dealing with regime theory and new institutionalism.


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The UNESCO, a specialized agency of the United Nations with its headquarters in Paris, also has a mandate to identify and articulate pivotal emerging issues in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, making this organi- sation what is frequently considered the intellectual hub of the United Nations. The present volume, Lead agency UNESCO’s global leadership and co- ordination role for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable De- velopment (2005–2014), focuses on the leadership and co-ordination role of the UNESCO in the field of education for sustainable development, an issue that was first mentioned by the Brundtland Report Our Common Future in 1987. This concept is now firmly established on an international scale and undeniably plays a significant role, particularly in professional circles but also beyond. The approach opted for in this book has been taken with careful deliberation for its theoretical value and practical relevance. The primacy of a single organi- zation within the United Nations system and its potential claim for leadership in view of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014) implicitly calls for efficiency by avoiding at the same time the du- plication of efforts within the existing structural framework of the United Na- tions. Wherever leadership and co-ordination are efficiently accomplished, prob- lems of both overlapping responsibilities and diverging spheres of influence di- minish. As is well-known the latter reflects one of the main failures of the Unit- ed Nations and has been harshly criticized over the...

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