169th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board opened todayThe 169th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board opened today with speeches from its Chairman, Ambassador Hans-Heinrich Wrede (Germany), and the Director-General of UNESCO Koïchiro Matsuura. Both stressed the progress made by the Organization and their will to respond to the challenges posed in a difficult international context.
The Chairman of the Board, Mr Wrede, first reviewed UNESCO’s action in its priority areas. “Education for All,” he stated “remains our central priority and reflects the most pressing challenge over the next ten years.” He also welcomed UNESCO’s continuing commitment to Africa and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Expressing his satisfaction that Timor-Leste has joined the Organization and that the United States had returned, Mr Wrede appealed to the Sultanate or Brunei and the Republic of Singapore to “join up as well” and make UNESCO truly universal.
In conclusion, the Chairperson said that UNESCO “has set in motion a stream of progress, moving steadily towards accomplishing its noble mission.” He added that “Within its fields of competence, UNESCO has found valid answers. These answers, I dare say, remain right even in the face of the daunting challenges the international community must tackle.”
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura stressed that “if the problems of our time demand an effort of analysis and reflection, it is absolutely essential to be present at the level where decisions are taken”. “I remain convinced,” he added “ that to succeed in its mission, UNESCO must continue to reform, to concentrate its programmes and to reinforce its action both globally and locally. […] Because there’s no contradiction in trying to perceive the global scope of problems while tackling them at a local level.”
This session of the Executive Board will continue to April 28 or 29. Among the subjects on the agenda are Education for All, cultural diversity and bioethics, as well as follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society and several points concerning the reconstruction of cultural and educational institutions in post conflict situations, such as in Iraq or Afghanistan.