Madam Chairperson of the Board,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We fully understand today how fragile human civilization is. For the last few years the world has been shaken by wars, political crises, technological catastrophes and drawn out economic crises. Among other things there is also a systemic crisis of social economic guidelines and maybe of what is more dangerous - changing cultural and moral values. In order to cope with it we need to focus on the actions of the international community to take up these challenges.
UNESCO has a special role on the international scene and within the UN system to enable through culture, science and education the upbringing of free and responsible individuals. UNESCO has always been an intellectual forum and in the times of change this aspect of UNESCO mission must be strengthened and focused on the ways of how we can come out of this situation and of this moral cultural crisis.
We welcome the effort made by the Director General to achieve financial stability and we consider that the Secretariat with the help of Member States has conducted the very effective work on the Program and the budget of UNESCO for the next few years and on the whole we support the main lines of the actions.
At the same time I would like to draw you attention to some elements that have to be focused on over the coming period. First of all we have to realize that we must strengthen the IOC – it is one of the few UNESCO programs that has direct economic impact and gives financial outback to the Member States.
Speaking about science for benefit of the world and sustainable development UNESCO might take the leadership role in mobilization of the world scientific community to elaborate new approaches and ideas to deal with modern challenges and sustainable development. The Program of basic science can be very important in this matter.
Significant changes are also needed in the mechanisms of the Heritage convention. For the next year thousand of sites will be on the List and we can already understand that neither the Centre nor the Convention nor the supporting institutions can handle all this. Regardless the current financial circumstances we have to make sure that our funding to the World Heritage Centre isn’t reduced and we find new ways of working together.
We consider that it is essential to preserve the Information for All Program and to develop its potential to sustainable development. The late session of the Board showed more that 70% of the Member States support the results of the Strategic plan of the Program for the past five years.
At UNESCO we speak a lot about education, and Information for All Program is a very important instrument in the process of achievement of these goals. Indeed it has all prerequisites to solve many of these important issues.
The issue of ethics in the cyber space is closely linked with those the Program deals with. We support the initiative of Brazil to discuss this issue at the General conference.
Dear colleagues, obviously the Director General will have to reduce expenditure and not only by freezing vacancies. We can’t dictate her what decisions must be taken. But at the same time we would like to call on the Secretariat to be very careful in order not to inflict casualties to the Organization by this expenditure.
Speaking about the effectiveness of UNESCO we have to draw our attention to the working practices of the Board. For the last several years we have determined some ways to optimize our work. Some recommendations were put forward by the Secretariat. This is good basis for the next Board to start the work anew.
Dear colleagues, we believe that UNESCO obviously need to focus on the countries in post-conflict or conflict situations. We should discuss the issue of education and cultural values in these countries. We should discuss issues of religious tension in these countries and to get involved with religious leaders.
I fail not to mention the Israel - Palestine resolutions. We know that both sides have resumed direct talks after long break. Nevertheless it is regrettable that having capacity and some practical experience we haven’t contributed to the process.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.