20.05.2021 -

Online meeting with National Commissions dedicated to Priority Africa and preparations to African week

Sharing ongoing and future actions in favor of Priority Africa initiated by the Secretariat and National Commissions

Online meeting with National Commissions dedicated to ​Priority Africa and preparations for the African week took place on Thursday, May 20, 2021 (1 p.m. to 3 p.m).

The meeting aimed to present the major ongoing and future actions initiated in favor of Priority Africa, as well as the program for African Week 2021. It was also an opportunity for National Commissions to share their respective projects and initiatives in favor of Priority Africa.

In his opening speech Mr Firmin Edouard Matoko, Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations (ADG/PAX), stressed that Priority Africa is a matter of concern for the whole Organization and for all the regions. He shed light on recent developments in this regard, with a focus on activities related to Global Education Coalition, Open Science, SIDS, Youth, combatting the disinfodemic and promoting African and Afro-descendant cultures.

The meeting continued with presentations from:  

- Mr Roman Luckscheiter, Secretary-General of the German Commission for UNESCO, on “#SOSAfricanHeritage” program aimed to support UNESCO sites in Africa in the time of COVID-19; 

- Mr Everton Hannam, Secretary-General of the Jamaican National Commission,  on actions carried out by the Jamaican National Commission in favor of Priority Africa; 

- Ms Saadia Beatriz Sanchez Vegas, Director of the UNESCO Office in Kingston, on the work of other Caribbean Small Island Developing States concerning Priority Africa, in particular aimed at safeguarding the cultural expressions and traditions that are remnants of African culture and shape Caribbean societies today;

- Mr Miyashita Tadayuki, Deputy Director General of the Department of African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, on the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD - Tokyo International Conference on African Development); 

- Mr Julius Banda, Director of the UNESCO Office  in Juba, on the progress made towards the establishment of the South Sudan National Commission for UNESCO (Prof. Kuyok Abol Kuyok, Undersecretary of the Ministry of General Education and Instruction of South Sudan, who was meant to be doing this presentation could not join the meeting due to technical issues); 

- Dr Hamda Al-Sulaiti, Secretary-General of the Qatar National Commission, on the various actions carried out in favor of Priority Africa in the framework of Qatar's Education Above All Foundation; 

- H.E. Ms Rachel Annick Ogoula Akiko, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Gabon to UNESCO, on the program for the African Week, ​2021 edition. 

During a question and answer session and in the Meeting chat, more National Commissions shared their activities in favor of Priority Africa, including: 

- Turkish National Commission, on their initiative to translate, with support of the Turkey based Afrika Foundation, eight volumes of the General History of Africa into Turkish language;

- National Commission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on their contribution to the translation of the informative subtitles / videos on the ethics of AI and the human genome, into one of the local languages that is the Lingála;

- Estonian National Commission on its joint efforts with the Eswatini National Commission to co-organize workshops for Eswatini ASPnet teachers on physical education and blended learning as a response to COVID-19.

Several concrete proposals were also suggested, such as:

- a proposal from the Jamaica National Commission, for UNESCO to identify areas where there is a gap/deficiency in terms of support to Priority Africa so that our common efforts can be better organized and coordinated; 

- a proposal from the Estonian National Commission, for UNESCO to compile information on different initiatives and cooperation between National Commissions with a focus on Priority Africa. 

The video recording of this meeting and the presentation documents are available under this link.

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