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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

The Director-General visits Nigeria on the occasion of the African Regional Conference on the Dialogue among Civilizations, Cultures and peoples

From 20 to 21 June 2006, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, at the invitation of President Olusegun Obasanjo, paid his second official visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

On his arrival in Abuja, the Director-General participated with the President in the inauguration of African Regional Conference on the Dialogue among Civilizations, Cultures and peoples (see flash info ….). At the same occasion, the Director-General and President Obasanjo signed a new Aide-mémoire and Special Plan of Action on the strengthening of cooperation between UNESCO and Nigeria. In their discussions during the lunch hosted by President Obasanjo in honour of the Director-General, they both expressed their satisfaction with the strong and constructive cooperation between Nigeria and UNESCO since 1999 and confirmed their resolve to continue collaborating in this positive spirit.

Later on, the Director-General had a joint meeting about UNESCO-related matters in Nigeria with Prof Turner Isoun, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Grace Ogwuche, Minister of State for Education and Chairperson of the Nigerian National Commission, senior officials of the Ministry of Culture and the Secretary-General of the National Commission, who presented him with the country’s sector priorities notably in the areas of girls education, cultural heritage, and science and technology. Particular mention was made of President Obasanjo’s decision to endow a National Science Foundation to advance research and development in Nigeria, following a recommendation made by the UNESCO International Advisory Board for the reform of the Sciences, Technology and Innovation System of Nigeria. The Director-General welcomed the new Special Plan of Action and called for its implementation notably through the mobilization of extrabudgetary resources.

Mr Matsuura also attended the second meeting of bilateral Ambassadors’ Forum on the theme of best practices in fighting desertification where the case studies of Israel, Egypt and Nigeria were presented. Thereafter, he held talks with the UN Country Team, focusing on the ways and means to strengthening coherence at the country-level and scaling up of existing joint programmes in Nigeria, especially in the area of education.

On 21 June the Director-General addressed the Nigerian parliamentary Forum on Science and Technology convened jointly by UNESCO, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Parliament of Nigeria and ISESCO. In his remarks, Mr Matsuura expressed the hope that the Forum “will help strengthen the Nigerian legislative process in the area of science and technology, and lead to the establishment of a permanent platform for dialogue.” He stressed that “such dialogue is both essential and timely” as scientific and technical progress has always created a situation where increasing levels of scientific and technical skills are required in order to make decisions.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash info n°2006-96
  • 26-06-2006
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