United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
171st session of Executive Board starts plenary meetings

The plenary sessions of UNESCO’s 171st Executive Board began yesterday with addresses by its Chairman, Ambassador Hans-Heinrich Wrede (Germany), and by the Director-General of the Organization, Koïchiro Matsuura.

Ambassador Wrede recalled that UNESCO was about to celebrate its 60th birthday in November, “a time to take stock and to rededicate ourselves to the mission of this Organization. We need to ask ourselves: what are the results of our joint endeavours? Are we doing what we say we will do? Are we accomplishing our objectives in our priority fields? Are we reaching the marginal and the disadvantaged? Do we positively affect the lives of those who suffer most? - We should constantly keep these questions in mind as we look for good solutions to the complex issues of poverty, illiteracy, sustainable development and lasting peace.”

He highlighted the need to “concentrate on the essential, namely Education for All. We have committed ourselves to ensuring a basic education for all by the year 2015. Education is still the surest manner in which we can lift people out of the throes of poverty and violence.”

In his address, Mr Matsuura called Education for All (EFA), the ‘priority among all priorities’. “We clearly recognize the urgent need for greater coherence, cooperation and synergy with the EFA movement.” He affirmed, “We still believe that the EFA goals are attainable.”

Ambassador Wrede also stated, “We are facing again the gap between the modest means available and the ambitious goals to be accomplished. That makes hard choices necessary, involving, unfortunately, painful budget cuts as well.”

Other important items on the Board’s agenda include the reform process and decentralization as well as the discussion of ground breaking standard-setting instruments, such as a convention on cultural diversity. The Board will continue through to April 28.

Source Press Release N°2005-46
Website 1 (URL) Internet Site
Generic Field
Publication Date 19 Apr 2005
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