21 April 2009: Speech of His Excellency Mr Tadamichi Yamamoto, Representative of Japan to the Executive Board on the occasion of the 181st session of the Executive Board
"Mr Chairman of the Executive Board,
Mr President of the General Conference,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is both an honour and a pleasure for me to take part in the 181st session of the Executive Board representing Japan.
Since the last session of the Executive Board, the international circumstances surrounding UNESCO have changed dramatically. UNESCO can and need to play a meaningful and crucial role in helping the governments prepare themselves for tackling the difficulties and make maximum use of the opportunities that will appear when the effects of economic recovery begin to show. In this regard, Japan appreciates the timely responses taken by the Director-General on this issue, notably his letter to G20 leaders which highlighted the role of UNESCO in addressing the crisis. I also laud UNESCO for having held the Future Forum in March.
On the Gaza issue, UNESCO was one of the first international organizations to try to respond to the reconstruction and rehabilitation needs. Japan is committed to providing support to the reconstruction in Gaza, and wishes to work with UNESCO on this issue. Although a small step, I am happy to inform you that the Japanese Fund-in-Trust, to the amount of $100,000, has been utilized by UNESCO to provide assistance in the field of education in Gaza.
Let me now turn to 35C/5. I appreciate the efforts of the Secretariat for having prepared the draft in which the guidance of the Executive Board is appropriately taken into account, and in which better use of expected results, performance indicators and benchmarks are sought. However, I have to request the Secretariat to continue to improve the method of RBM, in particular, by further introducing and improving both performance indicators and benchmarks.
Regarding the concentration and focus of the programmes, Japan highly endorses the resolute decision of the Director-General on the reallocation of budget and would like to encourage the Director-General to make further effort in this regard.
As for the budget ceiling, I am obliged to state that the Government of Japan has to stick to a tight position for 35C/5.
We believe it is crucial to promote EFA in a holistic and balanced manner. In addition to the positive steps which have been taken in the area of basic education, higher education and technical and vocational education are essential to promote human resources development to sustain nation's growth. All stages of education should be accessible to children so that they may aspire to become the future leaders of their country. Ensuring the quality of education at all levels with particular focus on improving the quality of teachers is also essential to achieve the EFA goals.
I would like to reiterate that EFA and ESD are complementary to each other. Last December, Japan hosted the ESD International Forum in Tokyo, and we thank Germany for having held the World Conference on ESD in Bonn, meetings which were both very successful. As we move toward the second half of the Decade, all of us, both developed and developing countries, notably LDCs, as well as civil society and international organizations, need to mobilize our efforts and implement concrete programmes for the promotion of ESD. As we expressed at the Bonn Conference, Japan offers to host the End-of-Decade World Conference on ESD. We would like to seek the support of Member States for our offer.
There is an increasing necessity to enhance UNESCO's leadership and proactive engagement in important global agenda on science. With regard to climate change, Japan appreciates that a comprehensive detailed plan of action was presented in this session. Japan also expects the further enforcement of the role of IOC as UN focal point for the oceanic observation.
The steady implementation of the Convention against Doping in Sport is essential in ensuring that all athletes enjoy the right to compete in a clean, honest and equitable environment. Japan has decided to contribute 150 thousand dollars to "The Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport" in order to provide active support to countries seeking its implementation.
Monsieur le Président,
Le Japon accorde une grande importance à la mise en oeuvre efficace et harmonieuse de la Convention pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine culturel immatériel. En particulier, nous devons veiller à ce que les premières inscriptions sur les Listes puissent avoir lieu lors du 4ème Comité intergouvernemental qui se tiendra au mois de septembre prochain.
A cet égard, le Japon souhaite apporter sa contribution à ce programme au niveau régional et sous-régional en établissant au Japon un Centre de catégorie 2, accompagné dans cette démarche par la Chine et la République de Corée. Cette proposition sera examinée par le Conseil exécutif à la présente session, et nous souhaitons que les Membres du Conseil apportent leur soutien à notre initiative.
En ce qui concerne le Patrimoine mondial, je me félicite que l'Atelier de réflexion sur l'avenir de la Convention du Patrimoine mondial se soit tenu au mois de février dernier. Alors que nous nous préparons à célébrer le 40ème anniversaire de cette Convention en 2012, nous devons en réévaluer les mécanismes et les concepts à la lumière de ces quarante années d'expérience, afin que cette Convention dont le succès est évident et dont la valeur est reconnue par des milliards de personnes à travers le monde, puisse atteindre à une plus grande universalité et soit pour nous tous un « vrai patrimoine ».
The severe economic and financial crisis striking today's world, as well as climate changes, contribute to raise our awareness of the key role UNESCO must play in enriching the life of all peoples around the globe, and in helping us to create a better future for the next generations. The choice of the new Director-General, therefore, assumes ever starker importance.
It is the desire and hope of the Government of Japan to work in this session of the Executive Board, so that UNESCO may fulfill its tasks and prepare ourselves for the years to come.
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