01.04.2011 - ODG

Director-General asserts UNESCO’s capacity during the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination in Nairobi

© UNESCO/Lily Valtchanova - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova with António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, after signing an agreement of cooperation on the margins of the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) in Nairobi, Kenya, on 1 April 2011

Today UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova aligned UNESCO’s strengths, capacities and expertise with that of other United Nations Organizations at the first regular session for 2011 of the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 1 and 2 April 2011. The CEB is the highest level coordination mechanism of the UN system. It brings together, twice a year, the Executive Heads of the UN Organizations under the chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General.

On this first day of the meeting, the CEB members engaged in a detailed discussion over lessons learned and ways ahead with regards to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. They also discussed issues related to the upcoming Rio+20 Conference – including climate change management and biodiversity, the preparation for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as well as other socio-economic concerns currently pressing the UN agenda.

The Executive Heads shared views on results and assessments of programmes and projects within the UN system. They concluded that the current global challenges required concerted and coordinated response from the whole UN system.

For her part, the Director-General highlighted the significant role of the UN Resident Coordinators as regards efficient delivery at the field level. She emphasized the need to have a coherent UN approach in tackling post-conflict and post-disaster situations and underscored the preventive role of education in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Irina Bokova also spoke about the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the MDGs and underlined the development of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), since UNESCO is the current Chair of the United Nations Group for the Information Society (UNGIS).

During the exchanges that followed a briefing by Ms Margareta Wahlström, United Nations' Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, Irina Bokova presented UNESCO’s actions regarding disaster risk reduction. She focused mainly on the Tsunami warning system projects led by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

Following the CEB’s formal sessions and private meetings, the Director-General signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, by which UNESCO and UNHCR establish closer cooperation regarding the provision of education to refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).  This venture takes into consideration the changing operational requirements of humanitarian assistance and development cooperation.

Upon signing the agreement, the High Commissioner expressed how much he values this collaboration with UNESCO, which he characterized “of utmost importance to UNHCR.” In conclusion, Irina Bokova stated that “there is usually a gap between the humanitarian and development phases. But we at UNESCO believe that education should start right from the beginning, from the humanitarian stage.”

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