10 мая 2011

Statement by the Russian representative at the Plenary Meeting of the 186th Session of the Executive Board of UNESCO

Madam Chairperson of the Executive Board,

Madam Director-General,

Mr. President of the General Conference,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Delegation of the Russian Federation welcomes the colleagues presented here and wishes fruitful work during the 186th Session of the Executive Board.

The globalization and the accelerated global development, the growth of such dangerous challenges as terrorism and natural disasters make more apparent an obvious need in universal structures capable of accumulating and using energy for the benefit of different societies. The idea to turn this long-term demand into a concrete force was built into the foundation of our Organization - a unique component of the UN system, working with such spheres as education, science, culture and communication.

I would like to dwell on the general principles of our work just because the current session of the Executive Board is designed to determine the nature of a new stage in the development of our Organization. These days we should coordinate for presentation at the 36th session of the General Conference proposals for the UNESCO reform, developed by a special working group of the Executive Board according to the Report on the Independent External Assessment. We are satisfied with the results of its work, and we believe that the constructive and creative atmosphere of its meetings in conjunction with the determination to reach the final result can be a model for future UNESCO activities.

We would like to thank the Director-General and the Secretariat for the presented draft Program and Budget for 2012-13. Preparing such a document, as we know is not so easy, and in today's economic conditions - is a most complex task.

We agree with the main conclusion that in the next two years we need to exert maximum efforts to complete the initiated programs and adequately implement the Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013. Of course, this also applies to the two global priorities - our commitments to Africa and the ensuring of gender equality.

It is important that the project takes into account the contribution of UNESCO to the Millennium Development Goals and provides basis for the future work- after 2015.

Unfortunately, the financial crisis consequences influence the formation of the UNESCO Program and Budget for the coming two years period. On the basis of these considerations, we stand for a flexible approach to the decentralization problem and the UNESCO "field presence" reform. Such approach that, on the one hand, does not lead to the additional budgetary appropriations, and on the other - will not allow harm to program activities.

We appreciate the desire of the Director-General to reallocate resources in such a way as to increase allocations for the program and reduce the administrative costs. Thereupon, it seems inappropriate to create a separate intersectoral platform on climate change. These questions are in the UN and relevant international processes competence. Concerning the UNESCO's activities, from our point of view, they can be successfully implemented in the existing structure of the Secretariat.

For example, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, which needs more support, since its role is increasing steadily in the context of international efforts in connection with global climate change.

As the coordinator of Education For All Program, UNESCO noticeably intensified its efforts to achieve its goals by 2015. Certainly one of the decisive factors in this case - the preservation of the educational issues on the agenda at the world's leading forums, which allows avoiding the reduction both in international aid and national costs on education. We emphasize the UNESCO and its state-members’ efforts during the UN Summit in New York in November 2010. We also hope for the contribution to strengthen the political will to invest in the education of the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review, which will be held in Geneva in July this year.

It is important to highlight the steps taken by UNESCO to improve the EFA coordination, which, in particular, contributed to the success at the High Level Panel meeting on this issue in Thailand in February. Efforts in this direction should be continued.

The Russian Federation also gives great importance to this global program, as one of its donors. As you know, in September 2010 in Moscow the World Conference on Education and Early Childhood was held for the first time, which brought together more than 65 ministers and deputy ministers of education, as well as numerous representatives of international and nongovernmental organizations, experts and educators. We believe that the implementation of the Moscow action plan by Member States, in close collaboration with UNESCO, should substantially brisk up efforts to achieve this fundamental EFA goal.

Our country takes an active part in implementing the Strategy for the second half of the Decade for Sustainable Development (DESD) and the Decade as a whole. It is important that its implementation involves the organizations network, in particular, the UNESCO Chairs and associated schools. In December 2010 we held in Moscow the International Congress of UNESCO Chairs/UNITWIN networks on the topic "Education for Sustainable Development and Globalization: the UNESCO Strategy Implementation for the second half of the DESD”. It gathered 280 participants, with researchers and postgraduate students from leading universities and research centers. The participants of the forum assessed the progress in implementing the DESD goals, discussed the proposals of departments to the Action Plan to implement the Strategy for the second half of the Decade.

We believe it reasonable to keep the DESD theme in the Organization Program and Budget after 2014, and also to continue the working group’s authorities on the Decade under the Deputy Director-General for Education. In addition, it is important to pay more attention to the UNESCO UNITWIN Program, which has acquired the leading character in many Member States of UNESCO, through the establishment of the International Coordinating Committee of UNESCO departments.

We welcome the efforts of UNESCO leaders to promote the intercultural dialogue. However, we believe that the expansion of its bases by adding a religious sense to it, will only enrich the content and effectiveness of this vital process.

In search of the ways to prevent the conflict within the UNESCO mandate, at the turn of the century the Organization returned to the concept of a "culture of peace" based on the idea of forming on a global scale a new type of interpersonal relationship that is dominated by such values as tolerance, non-violence, ethics, human rights, mutual respect for cultures, traditions and religions. We are sure that the time has come for the practical implementation of this concept, giving it a powerful sound in all UNESCO Member States. High prestige and intellectual potential of the Organization allow it to move consistently into this direction.

Thank you for attention.