At Rio+20, the Director-General meets the President of ECOSOC
On 21 June 2012, the Director-General met with the President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Ambassador Milos Koterec, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the United Nations in New York.
In the presence of Ms. Alissandra Cummins, Chairperson of UNESCO's Executive Board, Ms. Bokova and Mr. Koterec had a far-reaching exchange on issues related to the outcome of Rio+20 and the issues to be addressed by ECOSOC in 2012 and 2013.
The Director-General briefed the President about UNESCO's contribution to the Rio+20 work -- including in the areas of education and education for sustainable development, science, technology and innovation and the science-policy nexus, culture and development as well as communication and information. She noted that unfortunately culture and development had not found a full-fledged reflection in the Rio Outcome Document, although the culture sector was one of the fastest growing and more dynamic segments of economies, especially in the developing countries. Nevertheless, the Outcome Document made reference to cultural tourism and also to cultural diversity in general terms.
The Director-General also informed the President about the new assignment given by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to UNESCO in the field of a new UN-systemwide science initiative for sustainability, in the wake of the High level Report on Global Sustainability, and the formation of a new Science Advisory Board, to be hosted and managed by UNESCO. She also referred to the preparations for the launch of a new Ocean Compact by the Secretary-General, to which UNESCO and its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission had contributed significantly.
Lastly, the Director-General expressed satisfaction at last year's Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) of ECOSOC on education, to which UNESCO had contributed significantly.
The President confirmed the importance of the 2011 AMR on education and invited the Director-General to contribute also to this year's discussions on creating jobs, which had also a strong relation to education. The Director-General agreed and noted that UNESCO was also focusing on TVET, on which the 4th International Congress was held successfully in Shanghai, together with ILO, OECD and the Chinese Government. The President further requested UNESCO to contribute to the 2013 thematic discussions of ECOSOC dealing with science and culture, which again had an important link to education. In the view of Ambassador Koterec, creativity was an important dimension in all these discussions, as it would be particularly important to younger generations and for job creation. ECOSOC had been consulting with young people on their aspirations for jobs this year and will continue such engagement in the future.
The Director-General informed the President about UNESCO's own Youth Forum, held in connection with the 36th General Conference in October 2011 and she offered to share UNESCO's experience and input with ECOSOC. The President also invited UNESCO to contribute to preparatory meetings for the 2013 debates, one of which was scheduled for Doha later this year.
The President expressed his satisfaction with UNESCO's contribution and involvement with ECOSOC, whose agenda was increasingly dealing with issues in the domain of UNESCO -- continued close cooperation was, thus, both desirable and strategically important. Ms. Bokova and Mr. Koterec agreed to continue regular contacts and discussions in the future, and Ms. Bokova indicated that UNESCO would contribute constructively to the 2012 session of ECOSOC in July in New York.
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