Japan renews commitment to UNESCO through enhanced cooperation on artificial intelligence and cultural diversity


During her official visit to Japan from 28 to 30 August for the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay held important bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Minister of Foreign affairs in order to reinforce UNESCO’s partnership with Japan and discuss joint cooperation.

Prime Minister Abe reiterated Japan’s support to UNESCO and expressed that Japan will actively cooperate with the organization on areas such as education, culture, artificial intelligence, Disaster Risk Reduction and education for sustainable development, in particular as regards Africa’s development.

Prime Minister Abe expressed his appreciation on the steady progress of UNECO’s reform under Azoulay’s leadership. He mentioned that Japan would continue to cooperate with UNESCO, and increase its support in a number of areas, including artificial intelligence. Japan is a strong supporter of UNESCO’s work towards establishing a normative framework on AI.

Finally, both sides noticed that cooperation between Japan and UNESCO has entered a new era of trust and confidence and expressed satisfaction about the progress accomplished so far.

UNESCO and TICAD co-organized two side events, one on the ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence, the other on the development of the cinema industry in Africa. The latter is part of the Organization’s commitment to promoting cultural industries and cultural diversity as empowering vectors for social cohesion and human development. “UNESCO just finalized an agreement with Japan to strengthen regional cooperation in Asia, and this will serve as a starting point for our joint cooperation for cinemas in Africa. Japan is a great country of cinema, from Ozu to Mizoguchi, Kurozawa, Kore-eda and Miyazaki and Naomi Kawaze. Cinema enrich people’s lives and inspire new possibilities. It is around this conviction and message of hope that UNESCO is determined to put all of its influence to strengthen creativity and diversity in Africa and elsewhere,” said the Director General.

Japan is one of the most important contributor to UNESCO’s work, and provides funding for major initiatives such as Education on Sustainable Development, and the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development.

This year, TICAD was attended by Heads of State and high-level officials from 53 African countries, regional and UN development and economic cooperation organizations, as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society.