United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The Director-General participates in UN Heads of Agencies’ meetings

From 26 to 28 October 2006, Mr Koďchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, participated in the 28th regular meeting of the Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations (CCO) of UNAIDS, the 34th meeting of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), and the second regular session for 2006 of the UN system Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), including its retreat at the Greentree Foundation in Manhasset.

During his visit to New York the Director-General also launched the new edition of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report at a ceremony held at UNICEF Headquarters in the presence of Executive Director Ms Ann Veneman (Flash info n° 169-2006).

UN reform and, notably, the implications of the Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in the Areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance and the Environment - to be issued on 9 November - were high on the agenda of all of the above meetings, and in particular of the CEB retreat chaired by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Overall, the Heads of Agencies agreed fully with the basic thesis of the Report: that the coherency of the UN system needs to be improved, in particular in the area of development. There was broad consensus that agencies must carefully examine the implications of the Report’s recommendations, especially with regard to establishing a more coherent system at the country level. Towards this end, the close interaction between agencies and Member States through their governing bodies will be essential.

Mr Matsuura informed his colleagues of UNESCO’s active participation in the discussions on UN reform: an internal Working Group has been set up to elaborate UNESCO’s position on reform issues, and a thematic debate on UNESCO’s roles and functions as a specialized agency of the reforming UN was organized at the last session of the Executive Board.

Expressing his strong support for enhanced UN system-wide coherence, Mr Matsuura underlined the importance of maintaining “unity in diversity”, arguing that the main strength of the UN, in comparison to the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI) and in particular the World Bank, lies in its rich and diverse sectoral expertise. The Director-General also highlighted the need to focus on the quality of programme delivery and to build on good practices and well-functioning coordination mechanisms already in place, such as UN-Water and UN-Oceans.

This was the last session of the CEB to be chaired by Kofi Annan, and Heads of Agencies joined voices to pay tribute to the Secretary-General’s efforts to reform the UN and establish more coherence across the system through the CEB.

The issues on the agenda of the CEB regular meeting included the implications for the UN system of the General Assembly’s High-level Dialogue on Migration, the Mid-Term Review of the Brussels Programme of Action on the LDCs, and an update on the inter-agency work underway in the High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) on employment and decent work. With regard to management issues, the Heads of Agencies expressed their commitment to measures aimed at strengthening the safety and security of staff, and to efforts underway for the harmonization of ICT frameworks across the system.

The UNDG meeting discussed how to better support Non-Resident Agencies (NRAs) at the country level. Mr Matsuura expressed his satisfaction that UNESCO looked set to benefit from new modalities proposed for countries where the Organization has no physical presence.

The ten Heads of Agencies of CCO discussed issues related to the Framework for the Joint Programme’s support to countries in implementing the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, and the ways and means of strengthening global coordination on AIDS. As concerns the UN Cares programme, which aims to ensure a comprehensive, gender-sensitive and rights-based approach to HIV in the UN system workplace, the Director-General announced the measures taken in UNESCO to strengthen knowledge of HIV/ AIDS among its employees and to encourage support for people living with HIV, mentioning in particular the recent decision to install preventive commodity dispensers at UNESCO Headquarters (Flash info n° 168-2006).

Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash info n°170-2006 -  Publication Date: 02-11-2006

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