12 September 2009: Speech of His Excellency Mr Tadamichi Yamamoto, Representative of Japan to the Executive Board on the occasion of the 182nd session of the Executive Board
"Mr Chairman of the Executive Board,
Mr President of the General Conference,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to address the 182nd session of the Executive Board on behalf of the Government of Japan.
This session is held at a historical juncture for UNESCO. The Director-General, Mr. Matsuura, who has ably led UNESCO for the past ten years, will leave the Organization in November. Taking this opportunity, I would like to appreciate his tireless efforts which led to substantive reforms both in the area of management and programmes. UNESCO is now one of the most credible and effective organizations in the UN System. I also would like to extend my appreciation to the DDG, ADGs, directors and other staff members who have supported the Director-General.
This session has a crucial role to nominate a candidate for the post of the new Director-General. I would like to underline three factors which we believe to be essential qualities of the new Director-General of UNESCO:
(1) To continue to enhance the credibility of UNESCO in the international community by continuing and furthering the reforms that the current Director-General, Mr Matsuura, has undertaken;
(2) To lead with a vision for the role of UNESCO to meet the new challenges and requirements of the coming decades;
and (3) To implement the programmes with effectiveness and efficiency with full accountability for its work. I must also stress that the members of the Executive Board have an important responsibility to choose such a candidate.
With regard to the revised 35C/5, Japan appreciates the effort made by the Director-General for the further reduction of the budget envelope in line with the guidance adopted at the last session of the Executive Board. At the same time, I have to request the Secretariat to continue the effort to further rationalize administrative costs.
I recognize that the Executive Board is expected to reach a consensus on the budget ceiling at this session. To that end, Japan is ready to work actively with the Secretariat and other Members of the Board.
Education is the “sine qua non” for UNESCO.
Among the “Millennium Development Goals,” we have seen a remarkable progress in the field of education. However, further efforts still need to be made to meet the EFA goals, and UNESCO needs to show its clear vision to this end.
Improved access to basic education leads to an increasing demand for post-basic education. At the same time, growing knowledge economy boosts the need for higher education and TVET which meet the requirement of the current severe labour market. These circumstances endorse the greater importance of holistic approach on EFA to ensure quality education for all. In this regard, we commend the success of the 2009 World Conference on Higher Education. We also appreciate UNESCO's focus on teachers and welcome the TVET initiative.
We should also like to point out that it is crucial to create synergies between EFA and other educational initiatives, such as Fast Track Initiative, United Nations Girls' Education Initiative, and Education for Sustainable Development. Taking this opportunity, Japan would like to reiterate its appreciation to all the Member States of the Executive Board for their warm welcome to our offer to host and to co-organize with UNESCO the end-of-Decade World Conference on ESD.
It would also be worthwhile for UNESCO to consider utilizing its network, in particular, the ASP network which will contribute to accelerating efforts on ESD, education for peace, citizenship and democratic values, thus promote quality education. Developing global partnership and networks would play an important role in obtaining support for UNESCO to achieve its goals and in increasing UNESCO's visibility.
Japan highly appreciates UNESCO's major achievements in the area of bioethics over the past ten years. Since his inauguration in 1999, the Director-General has elevated UNESCO's work in bioethics to a top organizational priority in response to the growing demand from the international community and the UN System. Three international instruments in bioethics adopted by the General Conference have considerably helped to raise UNESCO's profile globally.
With regard to UNESCO's efforts in the field of climate change, Japan acknowledges the significance of its work to enhance the Plan of Action of the UNESCO strategy on climate change. Japan expects the further enforcement of the role of IOC as the UN focal point for the oceanic observation and coordination of the study on ocean and climate. We also recognize the remarkable progress made by IOC under the Director-General's leadership over the past four years in establishing the Global Tsunami Warning System.
UNESCO played an important role in the Fifth World Water Forum held in Istanbul in March 2009. UNESCO has hosted the Secretariat of the World Water Assessment Programme since 2000. Through these initiatives, UNESCO has been recognized as one of the key players in world water issues within the UN System.
Japan expects that UNESCO will be a competent advisor and facilitator to the developing countries for promoting science, technology and innovation policy, science education and international collaborative research for sustainable development. Japan is committed to collaborating with UNESCO in these areas.
Le Japon se félicite du succès du Directeur général dans le domaine de la culture avec l'établissement du cadre de 6 conventions destinées à protéger et à promouvoir les biens culturels. L'UNESCO est maintenant l'Organisation culturelle internationale par excellence. Nous devons poursuivre nos efforts afin de nous maintenir à ce niveau et d'être réceptifs aux besoins qui pourraient survenir et aux fluctuations qui pourraient apparaître lors de la mise en œuvre des Conventions.
Au moment où nous approchons de son 40ème anniversaire qui aura lieu en 2012, je souhaite mettre l'accent sur la nécessité de réfléchir à la Convention du Patrimoine mondial et d'étudier à nouveau ses objectifs originels. A cet égard, au début de l'année prochaine, le Japon souhaite organiser, en collaboration avec l'Australie, un atelier destiné à discuter de ces questions.
Je souhaite également évoquer la Convention pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine culturel immatériel, et souligner le rôle majeur du Directeur général dans sa mise en oeuvre. Nous attendons avec impatience les premières inscriptions sur les Listes représentatives lors du 4ème Comité intergouvernemental qui se tiendra à Abu Dhabi à la fin du mois. Je voudrais ajouter que l'action du Japon en faveur de la Convention va se poursuivre à travers l'établissement d'un Centre de catégorie 2 au Japon, et dans le cadre du Fonds-en Dépôt pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine culturel immatériel.
It is incumbent on us, the Members of the Executive Board, to create the foundation for the future of UNESCO and to suggest a course of actions by which the activities of UNESCO are guided. The Government of Japan looks forward to working with the Members of the Board for this important task.
Thank you. "
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