15.01.2018 - UNESCO

Meetings between the Director-General and Members of the Bureaux of Regional Groups of Member States

Working meeting between the Director-General and Members of the Bureau of the Asia-Pacific Group of UNESCO (ASPAC)

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with the members of the Asia-Pacific Group of UNESCO (ASPAC) on 9 January 2018, to exchange views on issues of common interest, including the reform of the Organization.

The Director-General underlined the importance of dialogue with the representatives of the electoral groups, and took the opportunity to reiterate her commitment to working closely with Member States to take forward UNESCO's mission.

The Chairperson of ASPAC, Mr Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Thailand to UNESCO, highlighted UNESCO’s relevance particularly in the struggle against the consequences of climate change and in preventing violent extremism. He recalled the diversity and dynamism of the region within the framework of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Working meeting between the Director-General and Members of the Bureau of Western European and North American States of UNESCO

On 10 January 2018, UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with a delegation from the Western European and North American States Group (Group I) chaired by Matthew Lodge, Permanent Delegate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to UNESCO.

The Director-General reiterated her commitment to strengthening the management, effeciency and transparency of UNESCO, along with her intention to present concrete measures in this regard at the next session of the Executive Board. Referring to the political challenges facing the Organization, she expressed the need to return to dialogue and build consensus among Member States.

The Chairperson of Group I underscored the need to focus UNESCO's programmes and activities in areas where the Organization has added-value within the UN system and to integrate the reform of the Organization into the broader framework of the reform of the United Nations initiated by the UN Secretary-General.

Ms Azoulay and Mr Lodge agreed also on the importance of mobilizing the Organization's rich network of partners in the implementation of its mandate, including UNESCO’s National Commissions.

 

Working meeting between the Director-General and the Bureau of Central and Eastern European Group

On 11 January 2018, UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with the Chairperson of the Central and Eastern European Group to UNESCO (Group II), Alexander Kuznetsov, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation, and the Vice-Chairperson of the Group, Darko Tanaskovic, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Serbia.

The Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson recalled the need to continue UNESCO's reform and restore financial stability that is essential to the efficiency of the Organization and the implementation of its programmes. They also underlined the importance of setting clear programmatic priorities and mobilizing new sources of funding in this context.

The Director-General and the members of the Bureau of Group II also agreed on the need to increase the visibility of UNESCO across the world and to strengthen its role as an intellectual platform reflecting on new and emerging challenges in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.

 

Working Meeting between the Director-General and Members of the Arab Group of UNESCO

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with the members of the Arab Group of UNESCO (Group Vb), on 12 January 2018. 

The Director-General commended the support of the Arab Group and its active participation in UNESCO’s activities both at the regional and international levels. She expressed her willingness to deepen UNESCO’s cooperation withthe States of the Arab Group.

During the meeting, the Chairperson of the Arab Group and Permanent Delegate of Libya to UNESCO, Mr Abdulkader El Maleh, highlighted the Organization’s key role, especially in a region affected by massive destruction of cultural heritage and the rise of violent extremism.

 

Working meeting of the Director-General with the members of the Latin America and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

On 15 December 2017, Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, and Mr Roberto Alejandro Ramírez Aldana, Chairperson of GRULAC and Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Honduras to UNESCO, welcomed the opportunity to discuss the different activities of GRULAC in 2017 and its lines of action for 2018.

GRULAC, organized in work teams concerning UNESCO’s different fields of competence, wishes to strengthen the Organization’s cooperation with the region. The strengthening of field offices and of the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC) was discussed. GRULAC expressed concern about the region’s middle-income countries that encounter difficulties accessing certain funding programmes.

GRULAC stated that it was actively working on the issue of governance and the implementation of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 14 November 1970). Other topics of interest to the region were also mentioned, such as water, climate change, the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB) the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). In addition, the extreme vulnerability of small island developing States (SIDS) and of the Central America Isthmus in the face of climate change and natural disasters was mentioned.

GRULAC wishes to reaffirm and convey UNESCO’s message of peace through the organization of events in 2018. GRULAC requested the Organization’s support for the celebration of the third Latin America and the Caribbean Week, which will be held from 28 May to 1 June 2018, at UNESCO headquarters and which could, for the first time, share cultural activities with the Africa Week event that precedes it.

Mr Roberto Alejandro Ramírez Aldana presented to the Director-General a recent GRULAC publication on women in Latin America and the Caribbean in honour of women from 17 countries in the region who, through their sacrifice, had contributed to the greatness of their respective countries.

The working meeting was held with the participation of the members of the GRULAC Bureau, namely Ms Silvia Miranda, Deputy Permanent Delegate of Nicaragua to UNESCO and Vice-Chairperson of GRULAC, and Ms Leticia Casati, Permanent Delegate of Paraguay to UNESCO and Secretary of GRULAC.

 

Director-General meets the Bureau of the Africa Group of UNESCO

Director-General Audrey Azoulay, met with members of the Bureau of the Africa Group of UNESCO on 12 December 2017 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

The Director-General and Ms Rudo Mabel Chitiga, Chairperson of the Africa Group and Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Zimbabwe to UNESCO, expressed their willingness to further develop cooperation. They discussed the Operational Strategy for the implementation of Priority Africa (2014-2021) and explored ways to strengthen it.  They also highlighted the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 4 related to education and discussed the possibility of developing an action plan on education financing targeting Africa. In the same context, they underscored the importance of education related data, especially for the African continent, and the Director-General encouraged the production of national education monitoring reports.

The meeting took place in the presence of a number of Ambassadors, Permanent Delegates to UNESCO including Ms Denise Houphouet-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire), Mr Ileka Atoki (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Mr Rapulane Sydney Molekane (South Africa), Mr Sankardja Lare-Sambiani (Togo) and Mr Humphrey Chilu Chibanda (Zambia).




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