Director-General looks to further strengthen the cooperation with the Pacific Region

Director-General looks to further strengthen the cooperation with the Pacific Region
  • © UNESCO/D. Bijeljac

The Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, met with the Heads of Delegations from the Pacific Member States on 25 October 2007, on the sidelines of the 34th session of the General Conference.

The meeting aimed at identifying the means and ways to further strengthen the cooperation with the Pacific Region in all of UNESCO’s domains of competence.

Four speakers addressed the meeting on behalf of the Pacific States: Mr Baron Waqa, Minister of Education of Nauru; Mr Netani Sukanaivalu, Interim Minister of Education of Fiji; Dame Silvia Cartwright, Chairperson of the New Zealand National Commission; Mr Tumu Te Heuheu, Paramount Chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Chair of the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee; and Mr Tim Ngele, Secretary General for Solomon Islands National Commission.

Among the various issues highlighted, the need to enhance capacity-building in training for the collection and use of quality data for planning for and monitoring of national development work in all Pacific countries was underscored. Moreover, the Organization’s support to ensure a better and wider Pacific Nations’ presence on the World Heritage List was highlighted particularly since the Pacific Island is the most under-represented region on the List, despite its sheer size.

The speakers also informed Mr Matsuura of the need to develop country-based strategic plan in all other sectors similar to the UNESCO National Education Support Strategy (UNESS), for UNESCO to be more focused, strategic and results-based at the country level. The Pacific Delegations paid tribute to the activities of the UNESCO Office in Apia but underlined the need to strengthen its human resources. The importance of elaborating better communication facilities between the UNESCO Secretariat (both at Headquarters and in the field) and the Pacific Member States was also underlined. The speakers reiterated their invitation to the Director-General to visit the Pacific Small Islands.

The Director-General expressed his appreciation for the participation of the Pacific Members States in the work of the 34th General Conference and assured them of the Organization’s continued support in all its domains of competence. He also said that bilateral cooperation would be further enhanced through the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy.

To this effect, the strengthening of the Pacific Nations’ National Commissions was considered of paramount importance. And in an effort to increase the visibility of UNESCO in the region, stronger support to sub-regional Participation Programmes was encouraged.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 161-2007
  • 27-10-2007
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