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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

Director-General attends meeting of UN Chief Executives in New York

On 28-30 October 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, travelled to New York to attend the biannual meeting of the United Nations Chief Executives’ Board (CEB), chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The CEB regular session was held at UN Headquarters on the morning of Friday 29 October. Among the items on the agenda were the reports of the CEB subsidiary organs – the High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP), the High-level Committee on Management (HLCM) and the UN Development Group (UNDG). The CEB also held a detailed discussion on staff security and safety, against the background of the recent attacks on UN compounds in Kabul and Islamabad. The same day, the UN Secretary-General presented to the UN General Assembly a proposal for enhancing UN security in the field at a cost of additional US$50 million. At the conclusion of the CEB regular session, the UN Secretary-General paid warm tribute to Mr Matsuura for his stewardship of UNESCO over the past decade and for his contributions to CEB and UN reform.

During the CEB private meeting in the afternoon of October 29, the Secretary-General briefed Executive Heads about the global political and economic situation. The CEB retreat was held the following day, attended by Deputy Director-General Marcio Barbosa on behalf of UNESCO. It dealt with climate change issues ahead of the Copenhagen summit and further CEB reform steps. Prior to the session, the Director-General had written to the UN Secretary-General to inform him about the resolution adopted by the UNESCO General Conference on the preparation of a possible universal declaration on the ethics of climate change.

While in New York, the Director-General also attended, in the evening of Wednesday 28, a working dinner with the heads of major UN specialized agencies, hosted by the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavia.

The following day, Mr Matsuura participated in the Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations (CCO) of UNAIDS, chaired by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. The main item on the agenda was the second independent evaluation of UNAIDS. In his intervention, Mr Matsuura referred to the report as positive and constructive, arguing that while there was still room for improvement, UN cooperation within the field of HIV&AIDS was much stronger than in other areas and could be seen as spearheading efforts at greater UN coherence. CCO members also briefly discussed how to best frame the discussion on AIDS within the context of the 2010 UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with participants agreeing on the need to mainstream AIDS across the MDG agenda. “We need breakthrough strategies that achieve a range of MDG’s”, Helen Clark affirmed.

Later the same evening, UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, organized a dinner in Mr Matsuura’s honour, with the participation of several UN heads. The Director-General was strongly congratulated on his work at the head at UNESCO and on his leadership in promoting HIV prevention through quality education.

On Thursday 29 October, Mr Matsuura was the special guest at a luncheon debate at the Council on Foreign Relations. The Director-General discussed his experience and achievements at UNESCO before a distinguished audience comprising representatives of the UN, the media, foundations, academia and the private sector. The discussion was chaired by Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council.

During his stay in New York, the Director-General signed an agreement establishing the first UNESCO category 2 centre in the United States, which will help countries develop more integrated systems for freshwater management (see Flash Info N°220-2009*). Mr Matsuura also met with staff at the New York Liaison Office. He thanked and congratulated all members on their hard work, which he said has had helped to make UNESCO stronger and more visible.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 221-2009
  • 04-11-2009
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