3 April 2006: Intervention by His Excellency M.Teiichi Sato, Permanent Delegate of Japan, at the 174th Session of the Executive Board of UNESCO


"Mr Chairman,

Mr President of the General Conference,

Mr Director-General,

Excellencies ,

My dear colleagues,


This Board is the first opportunity for us to examine the process towards formulating the 34 C/5 and 34 C/4. The presentation of the new style C/3 in synthesis form along with the preliminary EX/4 is a welcome development. We would ask that the final versions of these documents, including the management chart , be produced as soon as possible and be fed into the consultation process. We should first and foremost develop a view as to how UNESCO's role might be redefined against the back drop of the ever changing and ever more complex system of international organizations. Given that UNESCO's financial resources are very limited, it continues to be vitally important that we concentrate on our priorities .


That, however, would not be enough. We have to delineate a clearer division of roles and responsibilities in our relations with the other relevant organizations. Particularly on issues where UNESCO is expected to take the lead, an effective, functioning system of cooperation needs to be established . The case in point here is , needless to say , the Global Action Plan for EFA. I would like to underscore the importance for the Board at this session to endorse the GAP so that UNESCO and its partners can work together effectively on the basis of a clear and common understanding. The draft GAP has seen a gradual improvement, having been examined by the Roundtable Meeting of Education Ministers in October here in Paris and the EFA High-level Meeting in November in Beijing . The draft submitted to this Board, however, leaves room for further improvement in terms of identifying an action-oriented division of tasks among the respective partner s . We, on the part of Member Governments, will do our level best to help finalize the Plan. One important avenue towards achieving the Dakar Goals is south-south cooperation. Japan would be pleased to contribute its part in this by way of a tripartite north-south-south cooperation.



Mr Chairman,



UNESCO faces not only EFA but also a number of other important goals to meet: post-conflict/disaster relief, south-south cooperation, Education for the Suitable Development, water management, bioethics, cultural dialogue and the follow-up to the WSIS, to name a few. In all of these, UNESCO is called upon to fulfil its role either as the main player or as the lead coordinator. The responsibility to ensure the success of these tasks rests not just with the Secretariat. If UNESCO is to succe ed in not only achiev ing its own mission but also forging an effective coalition among partners , including the other international organizations, governments and NGOs alike, it is vital that the Member Governments , that is we ourselves , should be more consistent in our actions in other relevant fora.


Mr Chairman,


In any discussion of UNESCO's role in the world, we cannot make light of its function as a standard-setter. It was indeed a feat for UNESCO to have concluded the two conventions and other instruments during the last General Conference. That said, we would underline that the proof of the conventions is not in their number but in their quality, which must be reflected in their implementation. It is therefore of great importance to review, take stock and evaluate the entire system of UNESCO conventions and other instruments , which has been built up over the years. We sincerely welcome the coming into force of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention and are pleased to keep up our work to further its objective , including through active participation as a member on the intergovernmental committee, should we be elected and that is the reason of our running for the membership.


Mr Chairman,


The other important issue for this Board is the general question of oversight of UNESCO's f ield o ffices. This is in part prompted by what transpired in Brasilia . Closely linked to that are the decentralization policy itself , and the need for a thorough review of the Organization's extra-budgetary activities. We shall have to agree on a clear set of actions taking full account of the observations and recommendations of the External Auditor as well as the IOS. Extra-budgetary activities should as a principle be full y align ed with the mandate and priorities of the Organization. They should be subject to the same rigor of transparency and Result-Based Management as are the regular budget programmes.


At the same time, the policy of the donor must be respected. Certain donor s may wish to make an extra-budgetary contribution for the future of UNESCO in favour of a truly long-term objective, even if that may not reflect a priority in the shorter run. Also, what may not have been seen as a priority at a C/5's formation stage may well become one soon in the face of evolving needs. That is again where extra-budgetary funds play a crucial role. Flexibility therefore will be required with regard to the alignment of extra-budgetary activities to the regular program. That said, I wish to end by underlining the great importance for this Board to identify its directions for an improved overall management of the Extra-budgetary activities.


Thank you Mr Chairman."


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UNESCO Executive Board Website


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan



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