UNESCO’s Executive Board prepares for landmark year in 2015
Global development goals after 2015 were high on agenda of the 194th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board, which ended on 15 April. UNESCO is fully engaged in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, which will build on the Millennium Declaration of 2000 and the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, 2000-2015. The Board highlighted the importance of education, the sciences, culture and communication and information for a comprehensive development agenda, built on sustainability, equality and human rights. It urged the Director-General to continue efforts to ensure that these domains are reflected in the ongoing discussions to define the development blueprint for post-2015.
The state of the World Heritage site of Jerusalem was also discussed by the Board. In line with earlier decisions by both the Board and the World Heritage Committee, it decided to dispatch an expert mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls to assess 18 projects included in a UNESCO Action Plan for the safeguarding of the site, and – in a second phase – the major monumental complexes designated in the Plan (Haram-es-Sharif, the Citadel, the Western Wall, the Holy Sepulchre and the City walls).
In addition, the UNESCO Executive Board expressed “deep concern over the safeguarding of Crimea’s cultural heritage” and invited the Director-general to “follow-up on the situation in Crimea in the fields of UNESCO’s competence and report back” to the Board at its 195th session later this year.
Other decisions taken by the Board during this session included authorization for the establishment in Sri Lanka of a South Asia Centre for Teacher Development as a Category 2 UNESCO Centre. It also approved the renewal of the designation of the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Latin America (CRESPIAL) in Peru as a Category 2 Centre. Such centres are not administratively part of UNESCO, but are formally associated with it. They contribute to UNESCO’s programme through capacity building, information exchange in a particular discipline, theoretical and experimental research and advanced training, and technical cooperation among developing countries.
The Board also approved a cooperation agreement between UNESCO and the Vienna-based King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).
Finally, the Board requested the Director-General to prepare a plan of action for the Organization’s 70th anniversary, which will be celebrated next year. It also entrusted its Chairperson, Mohamed Sameh Amr( Egypt), to convene a series of events and debates during 2014 and 2015 as part of the “UNESCO: Future Prospectives” programme.
These events will include the participation of eminent personalities and high officials of national and international bodies and agencies and will serve to enrich UNESCO’s contribution to the post-2015 United Nations Development agenda and other landmark events next year, including COP 21 - the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
UNESCO’s Executive Board is made of representatives from 58 of the Organization’s 195 Member States. It meets twice a year to oversee the management of UNESCO and prepare the work of the General Conference, the Organization’s main governing body.