Some of my favorite work activities in Brasília so far have been official meetings, especially interagency meetings. UNESCO in Brazil being just one part of a larger organization, and UNESCO itself being just one of many agencies in the UN system, our office in Brasília communicates and collaborates a lot with other offices and agencies in Brasília, in the region and in the world.
This past week, an education sector colleague and I went to the UN offices in Brasília for a meeting with UNAIDS, PAHO/WHO and UNDP about work being done with Venezuelan refugees in Brazil, particularly regarding health. It was fascinating to listen to the other participants discuss current programs, projects and challenges, including topics we talk about in IEDP. One example: among the many things to take into account when working with and providing services to refugees is the dynamic with the local population, not only, but particularly when that local population is also vulnerable and/or under-resourced.
The agenda of the other interagency meeting I have attended focused on future UN events related to the environment and UNFCCC. A veritable alphabet soup* of agencies were in attendance, including UNIDO, UN Environment, ILO, UNFPA, UN Women, UNDP and PAHO/WHO. The meeting took place at UNESCO and was chaired by our own director. Interestingly, one participant only understood and did not speak Portuguese. During the meeting, she spoke Spanish, which all of the other participants understood to some degree.
Health, the environment… It’s not unusual to find UNESCO at meetings and involved in projects about the most diverse issues. On the one hand, this is because of the agency’s multiple titular mandates: Education, Science and Culture; but I will not shy away from asserting that education in particular is simultaneously cornerstone, pillar and roof when it comes to human life on this planet let alone any development program or project. Education doesn’t always have a seat at the table, metaphorically or otherwise, so I’m happy to participate (viz. observe) when it does.
*You’ll have noticed that I’m not naming the agencies. I’ll just let you click on the links if you want to find out more.