01.03.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

UNESCO’s Executive Board opens for business

© UNESCO/Patrick LagèsOpening of the 184 th session of the Executive Board

UNESCO’s Executive Board opened today to monitor implementation of the the 2012-2013 programme and budget adopted by the Organization’s highest governing body, the General Conference, during its 36th session last November.

Chaired by Alissandra Cummins (Barbados), the Board is holding its 189th session earlier than usual to determine how UNESCO will deal with the budgetary constraints resulting from the suspension of contributions from the United States. The U.S. contributes 22% of UNESCO’s budget. It withdrew its funding after UNESCO’s Member States voted to grant full membership to Palestine in late October 2011.

To this end the Executive Board will examine a Road Map prepared by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, identifying targets and timelines to reform UNESCO and increase its efficiency.

“We must ensure that reform efforts undertaken by the Organization (…) are not derailed because of our current predicament,” said the Chairperson of the Board Alissandra Cummins in her opening address. “Indeed, this will be an opportunity for the Organization to deepen its reform process and emerge stronger from the crisis.”

“The difficulties we face call for action immediately and over the long term,” said the Director-General. “(…) I am pleased to have this opportunity now to report formally on my assessment of the situation, on the actions I have taken and on the steps I propose to move forward,” she continued.

The 58-member Executive Board holds two sessions every year. It is tasked with overseeing the implementation by the Organization’s Secretariat of decisions adopted by the General Conference. The Executive Board’s session is scheduled to end on 10 March.

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