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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

Second meeting of the Forum of African Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations in Support of Cooperation between UNESCO and NEPAD (FOSRASUN)

On 4 September 2006, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura hosted at Headquarters the Second meeting of the Forum of African Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations in Support of Cooperation between UNESCO and NEPAD (FOSRASUN)[1].

The session was preceded by a meeting of experts (1 and 2 September 2006) that took stock of the cooperation between UNESCO and the sub-Regional Organizations since the first meeting of FOSRASUN.

The plenary opening ceremony featured speeches by Dr. Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan, President of the UNESCO General Conference, Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission, who represented President Alpha Oumar Konare, and the keynote address of the Director-General of UNESCO.

In his remarks, Mr Matsuura reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to the priority given to Africa and the Organization’s ongoing process in favour of regional cooperation. Introducing the theme of the 2nd FOSRASUN, “Regional Integration through Education”, he reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to supporting African efforts led by the African Union, stressing the importance UNESCO is giving to education and training of human resources. He recalled the role played by UNESCO in supporting the African Union in elaborating the framework of action of the Second African Decade for Education adopted by the Khartoum Summit and in preparing the Draft Plan of Action for implementing this Decade. He referred to the three core initiatives in support of EFA (TTISSA, LIFE, EDUCAIDS) as tools to be used to tackle the challenges of the 2nd Decade. Underscoring the importance of science and technology, he informed the participants that UNESCO is actively involved in the preparation of the next AU Summit, devoted to these themes, which is scheduled to take place in January 2007. He also highlighted the key role UNESCO can play in the development of a culture of peace and the post-conflict situations in order to rebuild destroyed educational systems, to rehabilitate damaged cultural heritage and provide vocational training for child soldiers. In conclusion and as recommended by the Ministers of Education of ECOWAS and CEMAC in January 2004, the Director-General appealed for the use of trans-border African languages and resort to the General History of Africa as an educational tool to help build acceptance in the minds of children of an "integrated Africa.”

The opening ceremony was followed by a Round Table on the theme of “Regional Integration through Education". Taking part in the debate were Mr Dieudonné Mouiri-Boussougou, Assistant Executive Secretary of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), Mr Mohamed Al-Modani Al-Zahari, Secretary-General of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), Mrs Monique Andreas Esoavelomandroso, Secretary-General of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Mr Juma Volter Mwapachu, Secretary-General of the East African Community (EAC), Dr. Mohamed Chambas, Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr Tomaz Augusto Salamao, Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Prof. Firmino Mucavele, Executive Head of the NEPAD Secretariat and Mr Soumaïla Cissé, President of the Commission, of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), Prof. Dr Nagia Essayed, AU Commissioner in charge of Human Resources, Sciences and Technology, and Prof. Adama Samassékou, Executive Secretary of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN). The Round Table provided an opportunity to share experiences through the presentation of concrete examples of sub-regional and regional efforts and plans to use education for furthering regional integration and to identify areas where UNESCO could collaborate with the RECs and the regional and sub-regional organizations of technical cooperation.

The Round Table was followed by a debate chaired by the AU Commission for Economic Affairs on “the mobilization of Partners in favour of regional integration: Partners’ points of view”. This session featured the interventions of NEPAD, the African Development Bank (ADB), the Permanent Delegations of Japan, UK, China and Brazil, and the French National Commission. They commended the key role played by multilateral and bilateral partners in mobilizing extra budgetary funds in favour of regional projects in the fields of competence of UNESCO. All reaffirmed their commitment to the building up of a critical mass of educated Africans and pledged their support for an integrated Africa.

The Forum concluded its work by adopting a joint communiqué which contains a number of recommendations aimed at strengthening further the cooperation between UNESCO and the regional organizations in Africa. In particular, the Forum requested UNESCO to explore the possibility of developing with relevant partners a comprehensive strategy/programme for the development of the capacity of the AU, the RECs and the RIOs in its fields of competence. This programme could be implemented during the period of the next medium-term strategy (2008-2013) of UNESCO. It also reiterated the importance of the adaptation of the General History of Africa as a pedagogical tool for use across the regions. In addition, the Forum underlined the need for more substantial collaboration between UNESCO, the RECs the RIOs in the area of pre- and post-conflict. In this regard, UNESCO was requested to involve itself in a variety of activities such as: participation in the observation and monitoring of elections as well as other peace-building activities, the development and production of relevant quality teaching materials, and the implementation of programmes for teaching citizenship for peace.

Also participating in the meeting were the representatives of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), representatives of the Permanent Delegations of Member States accredited to UNESCO currently chairing these Organizations, as well as representatives of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and civil society organizations. The Secretariat was represented by representatives of programme sectors and central service of the UNESCO Secretariat at Headquarters and the International Institute of Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), and Directors/Heads of the UNESCO cluster and national offices of Abuja, Addis Ababa, Bamako, Brazzaville, Dar es Salaam, Dakar, Harare, Libreville, Nairobi, Rabat, Windhoek and Yaoundé, who are focal points for the cooperation between the Organization and the FOSRASUN Member Organizations.

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1] FOSRASUN was established in 2003 as an instrument for cooperation between the African regional and sub-regional Organizations for technical cooperation, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the African Union/NEPAD and UNESCO to facilitate consultation, dialogue and the exchange of views and experiences at the regional and sub-regional levels in order to identify the best approaches to promoting human resource capacity around common points of interest that favour regional integration. Members include the AU, NEPAD Secretariat, EAC, ECOWAS, CEMAC, CEN-SAD, IOC, COMESA, IGAD, SADC, UEMOA, UMA

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash info n°131-2006
  • 06-09-2006
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