Session Of Unesco’s Executive Board Closes With Tangible ResultsThe 171st session of UNESCO’s Executive Board, chaired by Ambassador Hans-Heinrich Wrede (Germany), closed today following more than two weeks of debate devoted notably to the preparation of UNESCO’s General Conference to be held next October. The session was “very intensive”, dominated by the question of how to “turn good ideas into good strategies, and from there, into solid application and follow up” said Ambassador Wrede.
“UNESCO will be relevant,” said Ambassador Wrede in his closing speech, “when it flexibly responds to those most in need. We must agree on the best way to move forward. We have reaffirmed the unanimous conviction: Education is the priority. Approaching the MDG deadline, the pressure is on to ensure effective and swift implementation of the ‘Education for All’ objectives.”
Further to this, Ambassador Wrede stressed: “Africa would need to train at least four million additional teachers in order to meet the need required by the fast growing number of students.” Along with the “imperative to step up the HIV/AIDS prevention education initiative”, he said, “this is very, very urgent!”
The Board applauded UNESCO’s commitment to its reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the occupied Arab territories. “Every effort has to be made to nurture the fragile peace process within the Middle East,” said Ambassador Wrede.
Much discussion focused on capacity-building in the Member States. The Board advocated better linkages between UNESCO field efforts and country level objectives. It also moved forward on an International Convention on Doping in Sport.
“The budget,” said Ambassador Wrede, “sparked a most animated and substantive debate. Many members emphasized a pragmatic approach and asked for a better use of existing resources. All agreed that UNESCO should better concentrate on its areas of expertise, before additional resources are invested. Members requested special attention for LDCs, E-9 countries and Africa.”
The 172nd session of the Executive Board will be held at UNESCO Headquarters from September 13 to 29, just ahead of the 33rd session of the General Conference, which will take place from October 3 to 21.