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Director-General Opens World Conference for the UNESCO Clubs Movement

19-07-2005 - The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, opened the World Conference for the UNESCO Clubs Movement, which began at UNESCO Headquarters today. Present on the podium with him were several Chairpersons of National Federations of UNESCO Club Movements including Mr Eiji Hattori (Japan), Mr George Christophides (Cyprus) and Mr Yves Lopez (France). A keynote speech on the UNESCO Clubs Movement in the 21st century was given by Mr André Zwyacker, Honorary President of the French Federation of UNESCO Clubs.

The holding of the World Conference was one of the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee for the renewal of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA), established by the Director-General and chaired by Mr Hatori. The Committee was established following the decision of UNESCO’s Executive Board, at its 169th session and on the recommendation of the Director-General, to suspend, on an interim basis, the Organization’s formal relations with WFUCA until such time as it could strengthen its management capacities to enable it to more effectively coordinate the UNESCO Clubs movement. Part of the World Conference will be dedicated to an extraordinary session of the World Congress of WFUCA.

In his address, the Director-General first recalled the importance of partnerships between UN system organizations and civil society, as concluded in the Cardoso Panel’s report on that subject. “To fulfil its mandate and achieve its goals, UNESCO … must reach out to civil society and its members whose beliefs, attitudes, behaviour and choices are the bases of peace, development and justice in the world”, he said. In this regard, he indicated the possible involvement of UNESCO Clubs in a range of the Organization’s priority programme areas, especially in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 – 2015), one of whose proposed strategies is “Partnership and Networks”.

Mr Matsuura thanked the members of the Ad Hoc Committee for the progress made in reinvigorating WFUCA. He reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to continue to support the UNESCO Clubs movement and, in this regard, underlined the important role that a renewed WFUCA could play, especially in respect of mobilizing and unifying the Clubs effectively.

The first UNESCO Club was established in Sendai, Japan, on 19 July 1947. According to a survey recently conducted by UNESCO, there are today more than 3600 such clubs in some 89 Member States: over 1400 in the Asia-Pacific region, 1200 in Africa, more than 600 in Europe and North America, 250 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and over 70 in the Arab States.

Source Flash Info n°128-2005





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