United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Director-General participates in annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos

From 23 to 26 January 2008, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, participated in the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which took as its theme this year “the power of collaborative innovation”.

At the top of the Director-General’s agenda in Davos, was how to boost support for Education for All (EFA) and the education-related Millennium Development Goals.

On Thursday 24, the Director-General discussed with leading private sector companies and government representatives “Partnerships for Education”, a joint initiative of UNESCO and the World Economic Forum (WEF) aimed at mobilizing multistakeholder partnerships for education (MSPEs). Mr Matsuura launched a global review of existing MSPEs, entitled “New Partnerships for EFA: Building on Experience”, which provides the principles and guidelines for building effective public-private partnerships in developing countries. “I truly believe in the potential of MSPEs for education and our Partnership for Education initiative is making a real difference in EFA”. Explaining the way forward, he stated that “there are a number of areas which require special focus. These include: identification of needs; ownership by stakeholders; focus on impact and impact measurement; strong regulation, accountability and transparency; sustainability; capacity development; monitoring and evaluation; and strong advocacy”.

Mr Matsuura returned to these themes on Friday 25, at a special meeting of the Global Education Alliance, a partnership between the WEF and the EFA-Fast Track Initiative. The meeting, which launched a pilot programme for MSPEs in Rwanda, brought together, among others, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, the President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman and CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, the chairman of the Intel Corporation, Craig Barrett, the Executive Director of UNICEF, Ann Veneman, the Vice President of the World Bank, Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, and the managing director of the WEF, Richard Samans. Pledging UNESCO’s full support to the pilot programme, Mr Matsuura called on all partners to adopt a holistic approach, addressing not just the two education-related MDGs but the whole EFA agenda. The need for an inclusive approach to education, focused on providing access to quality learning opportunities throughout life, was likewise the theme of Mr Matsuura’s intervention at a roundtable dinner discussion on “What Kind of Education for What Kind of World?”.

While in Davos, Mr Matsuura participated in a series of meetings related to other organizational priorities and areas of competence. He took part in a private meeting on the role and impact of sports on the global agenda. Arguing that sport had both negative and positive aspects, the Director-General drew attention to UNESCO’s campaign against doping in sport, as well as the organization’s role in promoting the social, ethical and cultural benefits of sport, especially in the area of intercultural dialogue. The Director-General attended a brainstorming session on “Climate change: Is a Truly Global Response Possible?”, a roundtable debate on “Globalization = Cultural Homogenization?”, as well as a special press event calling the international community to action on the Millennium Development Goals. Mr Matsuura also met with senior Japanese officials and the rock star Bono to discuss ways of mobilizing greater support and awareness for Africa, ahead of the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV).

Over his three days in Davos, the Director-General held bilateral meetings with the First Lady of Nigeria, Madam Turai Umar Yar'Adua, the First Lady of the Ukraine, Madam Kateryna Yushchenko, and the Governor of Nuevo León, Mexico, Mr José Natividad González Parás. He spoke with several heads of government, including the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien-Long. Mr Matsuura also met with the Secretary-General of the ITU, Mr Hamadoun Touré, and the new Secretary-General of ASEAN, Surin Pitsuwan.

On Friday 24, the Director-General signed a UNESCO-Cisco partnership agreement with John Chambers, Cisco chairman and CEO (see Flash Info 008-2008).

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Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 007-2008 -  Publication Date: 28-01-2008

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