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UNESCO’s Director-General attends the Mauritius International Meeting to Review the Barbados Plan of Action for SIDS

19-01-2005 - On 13 January 2005, the Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, addressed the plenary of the High Level Segment of the International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) (Port Louis, Mauritius, 10 - 14 January 2005).

In his address, Mr Matsuura highlighted the necessity of establishing, by 2007, a tsunami-specific early warning system not just for the Indian Ocean but also for other regions at risk, such as the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the South West Pacific. It would be an important component of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The first component of the global system, which would be established in close collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization and other partners, would be for the Indian Ocean. Mr Matsuura further underlined the indispensability of adopting well-developed educational and public awareness programmes in order to prepare people and empower them with the knowledge and understanding required in the event of a tsunami. “To warn without preparing the response when confronted by an emergency is no help at all” he said.

With regard to the sustainable development of SIDS, Mr Matsuura welcomed the recognition of culture, education and various societal issues in the Draft Strategy for SIDS being considered by the meeting. “A major challenge,” he said, “is to devise ways through which SIDS can gain greater social and economic benefits from their cultural strengths, such as music and other cultural expressions, traditional skills and knowledge, and cultural heritage.

Expressing the hope that SIDS will participate actively in initiatives such as the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and the World Summit on the Information Society, the Director-General recalled that the challenge is “to build capacities and strengthen cooperation as we promote problem-solving actions that cut across societal sectors and institutional specialisms. Collectively we need to mobilize key actors and constituencies (including youth) in programmes and actions that are culturally sensitive and scientifically sound, that take advantage of the opportunities opened by modern ICTs, and that promote the exchange of information and experience within and between regions and between islands of different affiliations”.

Mr Matsuura also participated in the closing session of the ‘Youth Visioning for Island Living’ special event with Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and in the Round Table on ‘Mobilizing Resources for the Barbados Plan of Action Implementation’.

Source Flash Info 008-2005





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