DIRECTOR-GENERAL INAUGURATES THE UNESCO INSTITUTE FOR STATISTICS ON THE UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL CAMPUS
Montreal, 30 November -- The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today inaugurated the offices of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) on the Université de Montréal campus, in the presence of numerous dignitaries, including Martin Cauchon, Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Quebec) and Diane Lemieux, Minister of State for Culture and Communications, Minister responsible for the Charter of the French Language and Minister responsible for the Information Highway of Quebec.
Created in 1999, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics is the UN depository for global statistics in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. Created in order to strengthen UNESCO's statistical programme, the Institute's mandate is to develop and disseminate relevant, timely and reliable data in UNESCO's fields of competence, in order to promote informed policy-decisions at the country level.
"Citizens of countries like Canada often take for granted the role that reliable statistical data play in the governmental decisions that affect their daily lives.", said Koïchiro Matsuura. "They can hardly envisage situations so common in many developing countries where there are barely any such objective measurements and data. One of the essential goals of the UIS is to help governments and decision-makers to develop their own capacities to collect the statistical information which will assist them to formulate policies truly responsive to the needs of their people, and to make sure that they are effectively implemented."
The Director-General also added : "At a time when cultural diversity has become a key issue in so many national and international fora, the Institute is also called upon to be a key player in the area of cultural statistics."
"The arrival on our campus of a partner as prestigious as the UIS reinforces the position of the Université de Montréal as a center of statistical excellence that has already been established here.", declared Robert Lacroix, Rector of the Université de Montréal. "Researchers from Quebec and Canada have a long tradition of excellence and independence in the field of social statistics and are world-renowned as leaders in their field. The collaboration with the UIS will no doubt provide many mutually beneficial development opportunities."
"We are especially proud to celebrate this inauguration", concluded Jacques Girard, CEO of Montréal International. "Montréal International has led Montreal's bid to host the UIS since the very beginning at the request of the three levels of government. We are convinced that the Institute will find here all the necessary assistance to perform the very important work which has been entrusted to it. Our advisers will continue to offer the support that it will need, as we do for some 70 other international organizations that have chosen to make Montreal the center of their activities."
Under the direction of Denise Lievesley, the UIS counts 40 internationally and locally recruited staff members in Montreal, 4 in Paris and 3 experts specialized in capacity-building based in Harare (Zimbabwe) and Dakar (Senegal). Its budget for two years, financed by UNESCO, is 7.3 million US dollars to which is added another 4.5 million US dollars from other external sources. The governments of Canada and of Quebec will contribute to its operational costs through grants of 7.2 million Canadian dollars and 3.3 million Canadian dollars respectively over ten years. Montreal International estimates that the installation of the UIS in Montreal will generate economic spin-offs of some 8 to 10 million Canadian dollars per year.
The Université de Montréal is second among Canadian universities for grants
and research contracts. With two affiliated schools, the Ecole Polytechnique
and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC), it offers undergraduate and graduate programs in almost all fields of study. The university welcomes nearly 50,000 students and gives out more than 2,500 masters degrees and doctorates every year.
Montreal International is a private, non-profit organization financed by private companies and by public sector partners to promote and facilitate the establishment of foreign companies and international organizations in the region.
Photos of the Director-General are available on the UNESCO Web site at: http://www.unesco.org/bpi/eng/dg/index.htm
For more information please contact:
UIS - Katja Frostell: 343-6880 or Danièle Blain 707-2700
Université de Montréal - Sophie Langlois: 343-7704 ou 238-9314
Montréal International - Catherine Escojido: 987-8191 ou 927-8807
To follow the daily work of the Executive Board, visit: http://www.unesco.org/exboard/index.shtml