Building knowledge societies and climate change at the centre of a thematic debate at UNESCO’s Executive Board

Building knowledge societies and climate change at the centre of a thematic debate at UNESCO’s Executive Board
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On 2 October 2007, on the occasion of the 177th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board, a thematic debate entitled ‘The Construction of Knowledge Societies and Climate Change’ was organized by the Board’s president, Mr ZHANG Xinsheng.

The following honorary guest speakers took part in this thematic debate session: Mr Jean-Louis Borloo, France’s “Ministre d’Etat,” Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development; Mr José Mariano Gago, Portugal’s Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education; Mr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); and Mr Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In his intervention at the beginning of the debate, the Director-General of UNESCO highlighted the importance of the subject at hand, which covers “two great challenges of our time.”

“[This] thematic debate touches on issues that are central to UNESCO’s mission and also emerging priorities on the global agenda,“ highlighted Mr Matsuura. He went on to emphasize the need to link “[the] quest for knowledge societies with UNESCO’s prime role in climate change: building a knowledge base through scientific research and monitoring.”

Mr Matsuura underscored that UNESCO’s large mandate, together with its long standing involvement in environmental issues and sustainable development, make the Organization an essential actor in building knowledge societies in favor of development, especially through the means of education, which is an indispensable tool for alleviating risks and for prevention.

On this occasion, the Director-General recalled the crucial role of education for sustainable development in addressing climate change. He also highlighted the fact that “UNESCO's involvement in UN country-level action is guided by a set of principles developed and shared by all UN agencies. The most important is national ownership. In our work we must be guided by one overriding objective: to assist Member States in the pursuit of their national development priorities.”

In conclusion, the Director-General expressed his wish that today’s meeting will “help define the way forward, building on UNESCO’s longstanding expertise, and drawing on the wisdom of our distinguished guests.”

The Secretariat has prepared a background document (177 EX/INF.6) to help stimulate the debate, it is accessible on the Internet site of the Executive Board.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 127-2007
  • 03-10-2007
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