New Year message from our Chair, Dr Beth Taylor

Happy New Year and welcome to the January 2017 edition of the Network Link Newsletter.

2016 was an outstanding year for UNESCO in the UK thanks in great part to the hard work of our UK designations. From the Isle of Man’s designation as a Biosphere Reserve in January, to the 30th Anniversary of the original six UK World Heritage Sites in November, there has been much cause for celebration over the past 12 months. In November, the UK National Commission received its third consecutive A+ rating for our work from the Department for International Development, as well as publishing our Wider Value of UNESCO to Scotland brochure.

December finally saw the publication of the Multilateral Development Review, which confirmed the UK’s commitment to the vital issues that UNESCO works on, while identifying areas of improvement for the Paris-based Secretariat. We now have the clarity we need to plan ahead and to implement these plans with confidence. Also in December, the appointments of Professor Colin McInnes and myself as Vice-Chair and Chair of the UKNC were confirmed by the Secretary of State for International Development, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP.

Finally, in the first week of January, the UKNC was awarded a grant by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for the administration of the new Newton Prize, celebrating the best research projects supported with developing country partners through the Newton Fund. I believe this new role is an excellent fit with the aims of UNESCO, and that our involvement with the two programmes will enhance the value we can bring to both.

We are looking forward to continuing our work with the 162 UK UNESCO designations and the members of our Expert Network. Thank you all for your hard work, your dedication to the values of UNESCO and your continuing support