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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

The Director-General participates in the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg

The Director-General participates in the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg
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On 17 July 2006, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, participated in the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg. This was the first time that a Director-General of UNESCO had attended the Summit.

The Russian Federation, which currently holds the presidency the Group of Eight, had set global energy security, the fight against infectious diseases, the development of education and Africa as the major issues on the agenda of the 2006 Summit.

On 16 July, the G8 leaders approved a document entitled “Education for Innovative Societies in the 21st century”. Acknowledging that education is at the heart of human progress, the document reaffirms the leaders’ “commitment to the EFA agenda and welcome[s] UNESCO’s efforts to finalize a Global Action Plan to achieve the EFA goals and provide a framework for coordination and complementary action by multilateral aid agencies in support of country-level implementation.”

In the morning of 17 July, the G8 leaders held a special session with a number of Heads of State and Intergovernmental Organizations on the four main agenda items.

The Director-General, speaking of the importance of partnership for Africa, referred to UNESCO’s close cooperation with the African Union (AU). He drew particular attention to UNESCO’s participation in the 2006 AU Summit, which had focused on education and culture. The Director-General noted that UNESCO would also contribute to the next AU Summit in January 2007, when the special focus will be on science and technology. Highlighting the crucial role of quality basic education for Africa’s development, Mr Matsuura appealed to Heads of State to fill the funding gap that faces basic education, especially in Africa. [For further information on this, please consult the Press Release n°. 2006-83]

On the margins of the G8 Summit, the Director-General had a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Italy, Mr Romano Prodi. Mr Matsuura expressed his appreciation for Italy’s strong support to UNESCO, in particular the country’s generous extra-budgetary contribution to the Organization. The Prime Minister highlighted the importance that Italy attached to the preservation of cultural heritage and informed the Director-General of Italy’s progress in ratifying the 2003 Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The Director-General encouraged the Italian authorities to also ratify the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Prime Minister Prodi expressed Italy’s support for UNESCO’s action in the field of sustainable development and water. Mr Matsuura thanked the Prime Minister for Italy’s kind offer to host the Secretariat of the World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), which will be decentralized to Perugia this autumn. He also expressed UNESCO’s readiness to contribute towards the organization of a World Forum on “Education, Innovation and Research: New Partnership for Sustainable Development”, which Italy had announced to host in follow-up to the St. Petersburg Summit.

UNESCO’s participation in the G8 Summit also provided the Director-General with an excellent opportunity to talk with the G8 leaders and the other Heads of State who had been invited to the 17 July special session.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash info n°118-2006
  • 19-07-2006
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