Mr President of the General Conference,
Distinguished Members of the Executive Board,
Having reached the end of the latest session of our Board, I should like to thank all of you for your cooperation and commitment to the cause we serve. A Board session is not at all a routine process in which, as it may sometimes seem, everything is exactly the same each time. Overall, Board sessions enable us to play that essential link role as, drawing on the experience of past years, we work together to build a better future. That is a huge responsibility and I am pleased to say that, in this regard, the present session has been most productive in dealing with many items on the agenda.
We were able to give the necessary impetus to many important processes affecting the reform of UNESCO, following the example of the reform of the field network. With regard to some issues, the Middle East in particular, we were obliged for the first time in many years to resort to what is for the Board an uncustomary procedure in order to resolve them. I am quite sure that all the Member States will also respect this joint decision. And I thank you for ensuring that it was adopted in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I am also pleased to underscore the fact that many other important and difficult items on the agenda were jointly resolved through consensus following intensive yet effective and civil discussions.
It is also satisfying to realize that UNESCO remains an active player in the international arena. Thanks to the forceful actions of the Director-General, a trend has taken shape towards greater significance and visibility for our Organization. For the first time the members of the new management team have shown their full worth, demonstrating their qualities and their vision of UNESCO’s role, and we have been able to evaluate their work properly and endorse their appointments altogether. UNESCO’s leading role in its fields of competence was highlighted by the visits on the occasion of the 185th session of the Board by Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammad Al Saud, Minister of Education of Saudi Arabia, and by Sebastiбn Piсera, President of the Republic of Chile. The thematic discussion on “Intercultural dialogue in the 2010s: revisiting policies within the context of a culture of peace” enabled us, with the aid of three prominent experts possessing extensive professional experience and a comprehensive knowledge of the topic, to conduct a broad exchange of views for the purpose of defining new approaches to the promotion of peace, dialogue, tolerance and reconciliation.
An equally full spring session awaits us, with a preliminary list of agenda items with which we are all familiar; this involves, first of all, the continuation of work on the Programme and Budget, as well as the preparation of the 36th session of the General Conference of UNESCO. I am sure that we shall all be equal to the task before us, and I count in advance on your support.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are all aware of the value of our work and may justly be proud of it. I am also greatly appreciative of and grateful for the essential work and contribution of each of you – representatives of States Members of the Executive Board, Permanent Delegates to UNESCO, Chair of the committees and commissions and your teams, the Director-General and all of the Secretariat staff, in particular the interpreters and translators – to the success of the work of our Board. I especially wish to express my sincere gratitude to all of the colleagues and officials without exception who were involved in the preparation and conduct of the present session.
Thank you all, once again. I now declare the 185th session of the Executive Board closed.