7 October 2005: General Policy Statement by Head of Delegation of Japan Mr. NAKAYAMA Nariaki, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Ladies and Gentlemen
First of all, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, for your election.
Today we gladly enter the 60th anniversary year of UNESCO, whose role is to "build peace in the mind of men". However, we still witness acts of terrorism which continue to threaten our world. I believe that education has a key role to play in eradicating terrorism. Children, who shoulder the future of humankind, must learn through education to respect mutual understanding and cultural diversity. They must learn that acts of terrorism can never be justified whatever the motives.
UNESCO's undertakings for peace through its activities in education, science and culture may appear to be a long-term process to obtain peace, but I am convinced that in the end, it is the shortest and best route to take.
It goes without saying that "education" is UNESCO's greatest mission. I strongly expect UNESCO to demonstrate its leadership role further in the United Nations' system in achieving the goals of EFA.
Japan, based on its Basic Education for Growth Initiative, is actively supporting the achievement of EFA goals. Moreover we would like to further strengthen our aid for education particularly in Africa, from the standpoint of Human-centered Development set out as one of the pillars of the Tokyo International Conference of African Development.
I would also like to touch upon the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in which UNESCO is serving as the leading agency. DESD is about influencing environmental, societal and economic dimensions of our life. Raising awareness on global-scale issues and changing our earlier values and lifestyle is indispensable in coping with the challenge of attaining sustainable development. For that reason, I hope that undertakings based on the DESD International Implementation Scheme will be advanced speedily under UNESCO's leadership.
Turning now to the science programmes, let me first of all express my heartfelt sympathy to the people who suffered from the hurricanes that struck the United States recently and the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean region. We commend UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission on its outstanding initiative, in collaboration with concerned countries in the region, in the establishment of the Tsunami Early Warning System. Japan also cooperates in various programmes for the prevention of the tsunami disaster by utilizing our own experience and accumulated know-how. And also our country is currently preparing to establish the International Center for Water Hazard and Risk Management under the auspices of UNESCO. We will go on to contribute to capacity-building concerning disaster prevention through activities such as research and training.
In regard to bioethics, we highly commend the activities of the International Bioethics Committee on its formulating a declaration in this field. Japan will be hosting the next session of the IBC held in Tokyo this coming December. We hope the upcoming IBC session will be important from the point of view of confirming the significance of the declaration.
The "International Convention against Doping in Sports" aims to promote sports, which contribute to the world peace extolled in the UNESCO Constitution, by eliminating doping. We strongly wish to see this convention adopted at this session.
As for the draft Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, Japan strongly supports the concept of cultural diversity, however, we also consider that the current draft convention still has some points to be clarified. We, therefore, hope that further efforts will be made at this General Conference so that the discussion is proceeded with the satisfaction of as many Member States as possible.
Regarding the intangible cultural heritage, more than 20 countries including Japan have concluded the Convention. I strongly hope its prompt coming into force and urge more States to conclude this very important Convention.
Since 1999, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura as the UNESCO Director- General has been proceeding with the prioritization of projects and organization reforms such as decentralization. Japan highly commends Mr. Matsuura for his efforts and if his re-appointment is approved at this Session, we will continue to support his work actively. We would like to see Mr. Matsuura build a long-term vision for UNESCO and advance further reforms of the organization.
Mr. President, Finally, I wish to say that I firmly believe UNESCO is a unique intellectual international organization that is not only capable of removing the friction existing between "universality" and "diversity" which could sometimes cause conflict in the world, but can also provide a forum for dialogue for mutual understanding between Member States and present guideposts on which international society ought to proceed in the future.
Thank you very much for your attention. "
Intervention by Mr. NAKAYAMA Nariaki, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology , at the Ministerial Round Table "Education for All" (7 October 2005) (Session I, Five years after Dakar: Overview of progress and challenges in EFA)
Copyright : 2013 Permanent Delegation of Japan to UNESCO