Strengthening Communication and Information Capacities in Malawi: Case of the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO
UNESCO is the only United Nations (UN) agency to have a global network of national cooperating bodies known as National Commissions. The National Commissions are part of the overall constitutional architecture of the organization as it was conceived by its founders. Presently, National Commissions operate in all Member States of UNESCO. They constitute a truly global family which includes a vast network of stakeholders, partners and experts. They offer a comparative advantage to the organisation within the United Nations system. Article VII (1) of the UNESCO Constitution stipulates that “Each Member State shall make such arrangements as suit its particular conditions for the purpose of associating its principal bodies interested in educational, scientific and cultural matters with the work of the organisation, preferably by the formation of a National Commission broadly representative of the government and such bodies” (UNESCO 2020:15). Thus, it is the constitutional obligation of each Member State to set up a National cooperating body (National Commission) or make such institutional arrangements whose principal objective is facilitating involvement of various government Ministries, Organisations and Agencies (MOAs), institutions, universities, NGOs and individuals in the work of the Organisation. While the realisation of UNESCO’s goals is primarily entrusted in governments, the National Commissions are expected to function as an indispensable platform where national interests, ideas and cultures are represented and interact. This review describes the contribution of the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO to strengthening communication and information capacities in Malawi to fill a perceived gap in information among some stakeholders both within and outside Malawi.