PARIS, FRANCE.-The Executive Board of UNESCO, chaired by Ambassador Hans-Heinrich Wrede (Germany), began its 172nd session at Headquarters. This is the last session of the Board before UNESCO’s General Conference (October 3 to 21). The General Conference sets the Organization’s priorities and budget for the 2006-2007 biennium and also appoints the Director-General. In this session, the Board’s agenda covers over 60 items. Ambassador Wrede declared: “Our meeting is crucial. We are already at the year 2005 with far too slow progress towards attaining the ‘Education for All’ objectives. This demands again a results-oriented session to respond vigorously to the challenges posed by a fragmented world in an extremely precarious period of transition.”
Accordingly, education, the main priority of the Organization, features again prominently on the Board’s agenda. The Board will examine the Progress Report of the United Nations’ Literacy Decade (2003-2012) and an ambitious implementation scheme for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). UNESCO is the United Nations’ lead agency for both decades. In addition, the Board will assess progress made on the draft convention on cultural diversity.
Two highly important nominations are also on the agenda: the Board will vote to recommend the candidate for the President of the next General Conference. The sole nominee is Ambassador Mussa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan, Permanent Delegate of the Sultanate of Oman to UNESCO.
The Board will also consider the nomination of the Director-General in private meeting and choose the candidate by secret ballot. On the Board’s recommendation, the forthcoming General Conference shall then appoint the Director-General for a four-year term. The only nominee for the post is the incumbent Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, in office since 1999.
The opening plenary of the Board will be held on Monday, September 19. The session will conclude on September 29.
The Executive Board, comprising 58 of UNESCO’s 191 Member States, meets twice a year. It is responsible for the execution of the programme adopted by the Organization’s General Conference.