12 октября 2010

Statement by Russian Representative at the Plenary Meeting of the 185th Session of the Executive Board of UNESCO

Madam Chair of the Executive Board
Madam Director-General
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Russian delegation has heard with great interest the report of the UNESCO Director-General on the execution of the program of a new two-year cycle. We emphasize the importance of UNESCO's role in strengthening the moral solidarity of mankind through concrete steps to provide humanitarian aid to countries such as Haiti and Pakistan, victims of natural disasters. We acknowledge the efforts of Madam Irina Bokova in the main sectors of activity and global priorities of UNESCO, as well as in the field of improving the management of the Organization and visualizing its activity. We hope for positive results from these measures very soon and for their even greater, so to speak, “cumulative” effect in the future, which will contribute to strengthening the authority and leading role of our Organization.

UNESCO as coordinator of the Education for All Program is taking active steps to achieve its goals by 2015. We acknowledge the efforts of the leadership of UNESCO and its member countries at the recent UN Summit in New York.

The Russian Federation, in turn, pays great attention to the realization of the EFA goals. We are proud to have recently hosted the first-ever World Conference on Younger Children Upbringing and Education. We note the high level of interest among UNESCO member countries – this forum was attended by more than 65 ministers and deputy ministers of education, as well as numerous representatives of international and nongovernmental organizations, experts and educators. We hope that the Moscow Action Plan prepared at the end of the conference will be realistic and call upon all countries to jointly work on its implementation, because children are our common future.

We positively evaluate the Strategy presented by the Director General for the second half of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). It considers the context of the global financial and economic crisis, the 2015 development goals set out in the Millennium Development Goals, issues of “green” economy, biodiversity and climate change, and the special challenges and problems of various regions of the world.

However, in our view, for successful implementation of UNESCO’s Strategy, which has the lead role for the DESD, additional efforts are needed to strengthen coordination among the institutions of the UN system and other international and regional organizations, including with the aim of increasing synergies with the global initiatives related to the MDGs.

We also believe that the work on the accumulation, exchange and application of knowledge relating to ESD calls for more active involvement of the UNESCO networks, in particular, the chairs and associated schools. Thus, the initiatives advanced by participants of the International Congress of UNESCO Chairs on Education for Sustainable Development, held in September last year in Khanty-Mansiysk, merit support, in our opinion.

In December of this year Moscow will host the Second International Conference of UNESCO Chairs on Education for Sustainable Development, which will assess the activities of the UNESCO Chairs in the implementation of the DESD objectives, discuss the proposals for the Action Plan for the second half of the decade, as well as the questions of strengthening and expanding network collaboration between the UNESCO Chairs, and we look forward to active participation of member countries in this conference.

With major changes occurring in the world, with the simultaneous peaking of global problems the value of science, technology and innovation (STI) increases multifold, since their development, the creation of a critical mass of researchers and scientific ideas and suggestions is an important factor and a basis for sustainable development, and the modernization of the economy and society. It is obvious that UNESCO has a special role in providing necessary assistance to member states in formulating effective science and technology policies, in developing natural science education, in disseminating scientific knowledge and ensuring a better understanding of the role of science in modern society.

We understand that the new UNESCO leadership is aware of these tasks and intends to seriously review the role and place of UNESCO in this context, and to update its approaches in order to maintain and strengthen its position as the leading organization of the UN system in this field. We expect that valuable recommendations on this score will come from member states, as well as the High-Level Consultative Group of Scientific Experts to be set up under the Director-General’s auspices. In light of the upcoming International Year of Chemistry in 2011 we would like to announce that one of the world's leading fertilizer manufacturers, the Russian company FosAgro is ready to take part in the establishment of an annual international UNESCO prize for young chemists.

In her speech, Madam Director-General touched on the issue of crafting a draft declaration of ethical principles in relation to climate change. As is known, negotiations are now being actively conducted to craft a new climate agreement. How member states will combat climate change depends on their outcome. The negotiations are concentrated within the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and we think it is hardly worth creating essentially new venues for negotiation, especially given the ambiguous attitude of many UNESCO member states to this idea.

We share the strategic approach of the UNESCO leadership to culture as a key element in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in this connection note the positive result of the UNESCO New York Round Table on this issue. This work is very important for continuing the development of UNESCO activities in the fields of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, promotion of cultural diversity, and the preservation of the unique natural and cultural heritage of humanity to achieve the MDGs.

With the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World nearing the end it is gratifying that the peacemaking potential of culture again turns out to be in the center of our attention. In this regard, we commend the establishment by the Director-General of the High-Level Group on Peace and Dialogue among Cultures. Such mechanisms of UNESCO interaction with the expert community and new partners deserve every support. In this case, we consider it important to maximally draw on the experience of the dialogue of religious leaders, especially through close collaboration with the UNESCO High Level Group for Interfaith Dialogue.

We also hope that yesterday’s useful thematic debates on intercultural dialogue in the context of a culture of peace will contribute to the development of strategic directions for the future work of UNESCO.

In conclusion we would like to note that for all the importance of the global activities of UNESCO it is abundantly clear that of crucial significance is work at the regional and local levels under the coordination of national commissions and with the enlistment in program activities of new partners: local authorities, the private sector and civil society representatives, which will certainly contribute to greater effectiveness and coherence of the work within the framework of UNESCO. Thank you for your attention.