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Director-General visits the Federated States of Micronesia

03-08-2005 - On 1 and 2 August the Director-General made an official visit to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the first visit to FSM by a UNESCO Director-General since the country joined the Organization in 1999.

In his meeting with the President, H.E. Mr Joseph Urusemal, the Director-General thanked the President for inviting him to visit the country in order to obtain a direct assessment of FSM’s needs and priorities as well as to discuss the prospects of strengthening the partnership between UNESCO and the country.

The Director-General informed the President that education, science and culture represent the three pillars of cooperation with FSM. With regard to education, the Director-General welcomed FSM’s initiative to devote more than 6% of its GDP towards education and noted that the principal challenge remains the issue of quality, in particular the quality of the teaching corps. The Director-General assured the President of UNESCO’s readiness to assist the country in all possible ways, including the implementation of country-specific extrabudgetary projects geared towards capacity-building, pre-service teacher training and in-service training.

Regarding science the Director-General congratulated the President on the inscription of the first Micronesian Biosphere Reserve – Utwe, which is located in Kosrae State – on the List of the World Biosphere Reserves. This is one of the first two inscriptions from Small Island States in the Pacific. Moreover, he encouraged the Government to become a member of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

In the area of culture the Director-General encouraged FSM to inscribe sites on the World Heritage List and pledged the Organization’s full support in that complex and elaborated process. The Director-General informed the President that a World Heritage National Strategic Workshop would take place in FSM in October for the purposes of improving awareness of World Heritage and building capacity for the preparation of a Tentative List and nomination files. Moreover, the Director-General encouraged the Government to ratify the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

During his visit the Director-General met with several officials from the Ministries in charge of UNESCO’s fields of competence, including the Secretary of Health, Education and Social Affairs, Mr Nena Nena, representatives of NGOs as well as the Chairman of the National Commission, Mr Francis Hezel. Their discussion focused on matters of mutual interest, particularly on the ways and means of enhancing bilateral cooperation. Mr Nena shared in detail with the Director-General the specific areas wherein UNESCO’s assistance and partnership would need to be enhanced further such as quality education, development of country-specific action plans for statistical capacity-building, development of sustainable development strategies to be incorporated in FSM’s National Plan, and the preservation of cultural heritage. The Director-General informed the Secretary that UNESCO had already started to implement projects in statistical capacity-building in FSM and assured him of UNESCO’s continued cooperation and assistance in all other spheres.

Finally, the Director-General visited Nan Madol, an archaeological site, which the Government hopes to present in the future as a World Heritage candidate.

Source Flash Info n°133-2005





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