Multilateral cooperation for literacy promotion under stress: governance and management issues

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Leslie J. Limage


This paper analyses recent organizational change and governance in UNESCO. The Organization has given priority to the promotion of universal literacy since its inception in 1946. It has persisted in its dual approach to universal literacy through both universal primary education and literacy learning opportunities through formal provision and non-formal learning opportunities for adults and out-of-school youth. A major policy shift in 2006 to abandon systematic and programmatic concern for literacy at UNESCO Headquarters drastically changed priorities. That decision is analysed in the broader UN system setting, United States’ policies since its return to UNESCO, and the recent internal governing dynamics of the agency.

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