On Friday 13 August, UNESCO Beijing Office conducted a full-day staff retreat, in answer to an urgent call to press ahead the strategic development of the office through smart and joint planning. Such strategic planning was strongly supported by secretary-generals from national commissions of the 5 cluster countries. They offered valuable suggestions through their video messages to us.
Video Message from Mr. Qin Changwei, Secretary General of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO
Message to UNESCO Beijing Office
Dear Professor Khan,
I have the pleasure to join this meeting. Taking this opportunity, I’d like to thank Professor Khan and colleagues from UNESCO Beijing Office for your participation and hard work, which makes the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee last month in Fuzhou a complete success.
Indeed, we are living in a changing world with environmental economic and social challenges. Covid-19 pandemic has added to the challenges we are facing in our way to achieve 2030 SDGs. But as human has experienced in the history, we will make the civilization progress in the process of fight against these challenges. we also see the opportunities it has brought to us, as it has boosted the development and use of ICTs and AI in education and other fields, and it has demonstrate us the power of the innovation and creativity of human. UNESCO, as the United Nations specialized Agency covering Education, Science and Culture, is expected to provide a holistic and intersectoral response to global challenges.
While UNESCO is preparing its new Medium Term Strategy and China entering its 14th 5-year-plan period, it is high time and relevant that UNESCO Beijing Office organize this meeting and plan for the next 5 years. On behalf of Chinese National Commission, I wish to thank and commend Professor Khan for convening this important meeting.
UNESCO Beijing Office started from a science office in the year 1984. It is now a full-fledged cluster office covering all five major fields of UNESCO and serving five Member States in Northeast Asia. The fast development showcases the increased impact and visibility of UNESCO in our region. It also demonstrates UNESCO’s willingness to better serve its Member States.
China and UNESCO have enjoyed fruitful cooperation and relations in the past years. In 2018, His Excellency President Xi meet Madame Azoulay, DG of UNESCO, and reached the consensus on the cooperation between China and UNESCO. In recent years, we have enhanced high-level exchanges and enriched cooperation modalities.
Together, we have organized a number of international conferences, such as International Conferences on AI and Education, Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations.
Together, we have been successfully running several Funds-in-Trust projects, namely CFIT project in support of education in Africa and Silk Roads Youth Research Grant Project.
Together, we have made the Girls’ and Wowen’s Education Prize, Confucius Literacy Prize and Great Wall Fellowship more successful.
Thanks to the support of UNESCO Beijing Office, we have successfully organized several sessions of International Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage along the Silk Roads and Nanjing Peace Forum, as well as the International Symposium on the Roles of Education for Poverty Alleviation and the side event of 44th Session of WHC----the forum on world heritage education.
UNESCO Field Offices are important in coordinating the work of the Organization at the regional level. UNESCO Beijing Office is expected to be familiar with the situation and priorities of the five Member States and develop programmes in close consultation with the National Commissions. It is also expected to foster cooperation and exchanges within and beyond the region. In this connection, I am pleased to share some of our preliminary thoughts and suggestions as follows.
First, we suggest that UNESCO Beijing Office raise the voices of our region in UNESCO’s the strategic planning. Northeast Asia is a region with robust economic development. It is also a region actively engaged in and have made great progress in varieties of UNESCO activities. Although UNESCO convenes varieties of consultation meetings in preparing its new Medium Term Strategy and the new biennium Programme and Budget, UNESCO Beijing Office is a special channel to make our voice heard. I hope that Beijing Office will enhance its exchanges with the five Member States to better understand our priorities/needs/experiences/ideas and share them to the Organization, so as to promote more active participation of the region in the programmes and activities of UNESCO to make greater contributions to the achievement of SDGs.
Second, we suggest that UNESCO Beijing Office develop innovative projects and organize creative activities that will facilitate cooperation among the five Member States within the region. Education, World Heritage both tangible and intangible, creative cultural industry have been the focus of the region, where there’s great potential for us to collaborate. I hope that Beijing Office will further identify the common interests of us and explore new ways and activities that will bring us closer.
Third, we suggest that UNESCO Beijing Office enhance exchanges and cooperation with other field offices. We need more extensive cooperation to address those complex challenges we are facing. I believe it is conducive both for us and other regions to share our experiences and good practices and explore the innovative cooperation projects. I hope that Beijing Office will serve as bridge and establish contact with other regional offices.
There’s a saying that “a good beginning is half done”. I believe this meeting is just a kick-off meeting, which will lead to more frequent exchanges and communications between National Commissions and Beijing Office in the years to come. I sincerely hope that led by Professor Khan, UNESCO Beijing Office will make new contributions to the ideals and goals of UNESCO.
Look forward to closer and more fruitful collaborations with you all.