They were each accompanied by three senior officers from their respective organizations. This builds on the agreement signed by UNESCO and OECD (Flash Info N°114-2007), in which they commit to strengthening cooperation.
The Director-General expressed his satisfaction at the growing collaboration between the two organizations recalling the number of occasions where UNESCO and OECD have already come together since the agreement was signed, notably the meeting and workshop held together with OECD Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) (Flash Infos N°013-2008 and N°121-2008). Recalling that UNESCO is now an Observer to OECD’s Education Policy Committee, Secretary-General Gurría stated that “the cooperation between our two organizations is growing steadily.”
The discussions focused on economic development through education and science and technology. Upon agreeing that “education is the greatest equalizer,” Mr Matsuura and Mr Gurría canvassed a wide range of issues from early childhood education to higher education. They evoked the need to build stronger structures to reinforce equity in education. Quality education and qualified teachers in the developing world was underlined as a major focus of UNESCO’s efforts to implement Education for All (EFA), as well as an area of great concern to OECD. This is further supported by OECD’s new publication entitled “Growing Unequal” and UNESCO’s upcoming edition of the “Global Monitoring Report” (GMR) on Education, which reinforce each other’s conclusions with regards to education equity and quality.
With regards to science and technology, Mr Matsuura and Mr Gurría discussed the technology gap in developing countries. They identified areas where collaboration could be intensified and particularly considered policy work in countries where OECD has on-going projects related to science and technology. Biotechnology was covered since OECD is interested in guidelines in this area, and so was nanotechnology, making reference to UNESCO’s latest publication on the subject “Nanotechnologies and ethics: policies and actions.”
In conclusion, Mr Matsuura expressed his satisfaction with the proposal from Mr Gurría that UNESCO becomes an observer on other OECD Committees, especially those related to Science and Communication, which would continue to expand the realm of their cooperation. For his part, Secretary-General Gurría reiterated his appreciation for the strengthened collaboration already put in place between OECD and UNESCO and said he looked forward to their next occasion of fruitful exchanges.
Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 143-2008 - Publication Date: 27-10-2008