Director-General meets with Small Island Developing State (SIDS) Member States

Director-General meets with Small Island Developing State (SIDS) Member States
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On 23 October 2007, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura met with representatives of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within the context of the 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference.

In his opening remarks, Mr Matsuura highlighted that UNESCO would continue to place an emphasis on its work with small island developing states (SIDS), and that he had proposed that SIDS be considered a priority in the new medium term strategy, as well as in the programme and budget for the next biennium, in which an intersectoral Platform is dedicated to these countries.

Four speakers addressed the meeting on behalf of SIDS: Ms Indira Thacoor-Sidaya, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Mauritius to UNESCO, Mr Bernard Shamlaye, Minister of Education, Seychelles and Mr Baron Waqa, Minister of Education, Nauru; Mr David Doyle, Permanent Delegate of St Kitts and Nevis to UNESCO. They all welcomed this opportunity to discuss their collective cooperation with UNESCO.

They informed the Director-General that they had established an inter-regional SIDS Committee of Representatives, whose role is to galvanize the information and expertise relative to SIDS in UNESCO; to examine, disseminate and share information and best practices; provide informed positions on SIDS and UNESCO; and increase the leveraging possibilities of SIDS. They highlighted the importance of the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy given the vulnerability of SIDS, especially to natural disasters.

Furthermore, they welcomed the designation of SIDS as a priority group in the new UNESCO planning documents and the inclusion of an intersectoral Platform dedicated to SIDS in the new Programme and Budget document (34 C/5). They expressed the hope that adequate UNESCO structures and resources would be put in place to address the priorities of the 34 C/5 and to properly deliver the commitments laid out in it. They also underscored the need for enhanced inter-regional collaboration amongst SIDS regions (including amongst key SIDS Field Offices) and the need to strengthen National Commissions.

The Director-General assured the SIDS Member States of his intention to fully implement the Mauritius Strategy, not only through the Headquarters structure, but most importantly through the UNESCO Field Offices in Kingston, Apia, Dar-es-Salaam, and other places which cover the SIDS countries. Mr Matsuura gave a brief outline of the manner in which he has strengthened those offices so as to enhance their action and improve visibility for the Organization’s action.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 154-2007
  • 24-10-2007
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