27 September 2011

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ms Eleonora Valentinovna Mitrofanova Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO


Distinguished Members of the Executive Board, Mr President of the General Conference, Madam Director-General, Dear colleagues and friends, Welcome again to this plenary room for the fourth and last session of the 2010-2011 biennium. I am pleased to declare the 187th session of the Executive Board open! Let me extend a special warm welcome to our new Board Members from Burkina Faso, Egypt, France, Morocco, Pakistan and Peru, and express our gratitude and best wishes to former colleagues. This session will conclude the work we as a UNESCO governing body have engaged for the Organization’s coming biennium. This work will be framed by the upcoming 36th session of the General Conference the preparation of which is also the Board’s constitutional obligation. This double responsibility was no sinecure,as you all know, it was highly important to respect it throughout the two-year period, especially in the challenging conditions of the continued global crises, the uninterrupted series of natural disasters and deplorable acts of terrorismworldwide, social, political and cultural changes in the Arab societies and the in-house restructuring and reform process initiated by the Director-General. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Boardhas to continue to bring its substantive contribution to the review process concerning the internationally agreed development goals, which is reflected in the preparation of the next C/5 Programme and Budget document. The Board will also report to the General Conference on its own activities and programme implementation in the current biennium, including its methods of work. In my capacity as Chairperson of the Executive Board, and on behalf of all its Members I will present the Board’s report in the plenary on the first day of the 36th session of the General Conference, which will be the introduction to the general policy debate. My oral presentation will naturally take into account the Board’s discussions thereon during our current session.It will also include suggestions from Board Vice-Chairpersons whom I have the intention to consult in between the Board and General Conference sessions. My oral report will be contained in document 36 C/INF.9 which is to be a complementary document to the Board’s written report 187 EX/16 Part I which will then become 36 C/9 Part I). Now, we shall have to examine around 50 items in just eightdays before us, which is quite a challenging task. Will the texts resulting from our deliberations today – as is to be hoped on ourtraditional consensus basis – be in line with our ambitions for the Organization’s future? I fervently hope that I will be able to report that we pragmatically continue to be concerned by the ever-increasing number of items on our agenda, by the lack of business-oriented attitudes and less time-consuming exercises, and by the rising expectations to deliver more programme activities with limited resources. This situation requires the three organs’ full attention, but in particular that of the Executive Board. I consider that, on the whole, judging by the outcomes of the three previous sessions of the Board we have made essential progress in our shared desire to reform UNESCO and the work of its governing bodies. Moving UNESCO into the 21st century is not something just for the Secretariat. The Governing bodies simply cannot continue with working methods elaborated in the 1950s. Much still has to be done andI am therefore grateful to all of you for your sustained cooperation in considering the Board’s efforts towards the optimization of its work. Dear colleagues, I wish us all a constructive and enjoyable session in a very cooperative spirit and an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.