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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

First meeting of the UNESCO Inter-Sectoral Task Force on Global Climate Change (TFGCC)

First meeting of the UNESCO Inter-Sectoral Task Force on Global Climate Change (TFGCC)
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On Tuesday, 3 July 2007 the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, chaired the first meeting of the UNESCO inter-sectoral Task Force on Global Climate Change (TFGCC) at UNESCO Headquarters.

This Task Force has been created with the purpose of defining a strategic and integrated approach for UNESCO on the issue of Global Climate Change (GCC) with a view to repositioning the Organization so that it can make a tangible contribution in the years to come, especially to the UN-led international efforts to combat climate change paying particular attention to the forthcoming high-level meetings, starting with the High-Level Forum in New York in September 2007.

The Task Force includes as its members all the programme sector Assistant Director-Generals (ADGs), other concerned members of the Organization’s senior management, and some field offices and category I and II centres. The secretariat of the Task Force is provided by the coordinator of the UNESCO Climate Club, an informal, intersectoral coordination mechanism for UNESCO’s climate activities, which was set up almost two years ago and is composed of more than 50 staff members who deal with a variety of programmes related to climate change.

The mandate of the Task Force is to redefine the interdisciplinary framework and platform for UNESCO’s contribution in the area of GCC through the preparation of a new strategy and an implementation plan for the Organization’s action in this area which ensures a holistic approach that relies on the Organization’s recognized areas of comparative advantage and maximizes cooperative and coherent action by the UN system organizations.

In his opening address the Director-General referred to the April 2007 meeting of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), as well as to the meeting of the High Level Committee on Programme (Rome, 29 June 2007), which focussed on UN System Cooperation on Climate Change. At these meetings, UNESCO contributed to the definition of the challenges, shared its processes, and contributed to discussions on how the UN system can come together to add value in the search for how best to deal with GCC.

Mr Matsuura went on to underline that a concerted effort had to be made to ensure that UNESCO is fully involved in the current UN processes in this area, including at the forthcoming General Assembly thematic debate on climate change (31 July to 1 August 2007), at the High Level Event on climate change being organized by the UN Secretary-General on the eve of the General Assembly’s next session (24 September 2007) and at the 13th session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting (December 2007, Bali, Indonesia).

Referring to the scientific contributions UNESCO made to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other related bodies, the Director-General emphasized the key role UNESCO plays, especially through the provision of the science research and monitoring that underpins their work. He underlined, nevertheless, the fact that the Organization’s work in this area is not all about science, although this lies at its core. “There are four specific areas where UNESCO has been dealing directly with climate issues since the creation of its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in 1960: climate science, adaptation, mitigation, and monitoring […] the Organization’s climate activities have been developed to respond to needs in key programme areas such as sustainable development, biosphere reserves, natural resources, World Heritage (natural heritage), and Education (including Education for Sustainable Development).”

The TFGCC went on to discuss ways in which UNESCO’s climate activities might be reoriented and/or given added impetus, as well as how those activities could be reflected in the Organization’s new programme and budget document (34 C/5) and, eventually, into its Medium-Term strategy (34 C/4).

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 092-2007
  • 06-07-2007
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