brief n°11

Enhancing and harmonising the strategic management of UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador Programme

brief n°11

Discover Policy Brief

Enhancing and harmonising the strategic management of UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador Programme


UNESCO’s Honorary and Goodwill Ambassador Programme (GWAP) has successfully deployed prominent individuals and celebrity advocates to help focus the world’s attention on the ideals, goals and work of UNESCO. Since its inception in 1989 the GWAP has grown, with the majority of the Goodwill Ambassadors (”GWA”) retaining lifetime designations, to a current total of more than 130 GWA.

Moves to rationalise GWA activity across the UN since 2003 have led to a number of developments for UNESCO’s GWAP including an inspection by the UN’s Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) in 2006, which generated recommendations for best practice, and the inclusion in 2012 of the GWAP in UNESCO’s Comprehensive Partnership Strategy. Feedback from GWA indicates a strong need for increased interaction, communication and deployment. In March 2013 UNESCO’s Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors Section prepared an individual strategy for the GWAP, which coincided with the production of this policy brief.

This policy brief offers observations on how the GWAP can move forward in the context of UNESCO’s Partnership Strategy, highlighting key challenges that should be addressed for the long-term strategic benefit of the programme and making recommendations for good practice. Building on UNESCO’s strategy, this paper recommends that further scrutiny and development of the programme be focused on GWA selection, work structure, terms of reference and programme evaluation. Specifically:

Implement the JIU 2006 recommendations including use of a single title and two year appointments

Rationalise the scale and character of the programme by releasing long-term inactive GWA and strengthen the focus of new appointments according to a defined programme rationale.

Build robust methodologies for strategic planning and evaluation of the programme against specific objectives and firm indicators, including individual work plans for each GWA, mid-term reviews and reports to identify successful GWA profiles and activities and focus future developments

Align GWA activities with their competencies and create systematic mechanisms and opportunities for deployment across UNESCO work area


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