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08.11.2021 - National Commissions Unit

The 8th Interregional meeting of National Commissions for UNESCO

Held on 8 November 2021, the meeting gathered National Commissions to explore the key goals of the upcoming 41st General Conference and to follow up on the recommendations made at the 7th Interregional meeting of National Commissions for UNESCO

The 8th Interregional Meeting of National Commissions took place online on 8 November 2021. Held from the UNESCO premises, the meeting was attended in person by over 60 representatives of National Commissions, while over 130 participants attended the meeting virtually.

The meeting represented an opportunity to explore key goals of the upcoming 41st General Conference and discuss the follow-up of the recommendations of the 7th Interregional Meeting of National Commissions.

In his welcome address Mr Firmin Edouard Matoko, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations, greeted the participants, especially the new Secretaries-General of National Commissions who had an opportunity to be present at the meeting and expressed his hope for further interaction on the margins of the General Conference.

In his opening speech, the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO Mr Xin Qu expressed his gratitude to all the participants who joined the meeting online from all over the world and in praesentia in a particular sanitary context. He emphasized the importance of the meeting taking place on the eve of the General Conference and highlighted the added value that National Commissions bring in strengthening the links with civil societies and grassroot movement in the Member States. In this regard, the publication entitled “75 years of action – National Commissions tell their stories launched on the occasion of the 8th Interregional meeting became a testimony of the successfully conducted projects and programmes at a national level and showcased the tangible effect of National Commissions’ actions on the ground.

The meeting then moved to the election of the Bureau with the following roles identified: 

President:Ms Ama Serwah Nerquaye-Tetteh, Secretary-General of the Ghana National Commission 

Vice-presidents: Ms Ana Ribeiro, Chairperson of the Uruguayan National Commission and Ms Ibtisam Ayoub, Secretary-General of the Jordan National Commission

Rapporteurs: Ms Sabira Soltongeldieva, Secretary-General of the Kyrgyzstan National Commission and M. Gabor Soos, Secretary-General of the Hungarian National Commission  

The first session of the meeting entitled “UNESCO at the Cutting-Edge of the 21st Century: The Futures of Education, the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, the Importance of Open Science, and new scopes of action in the field of Communication and Information” was an opportunity to address the key issues of the General Conferenceduring which the Member States are expected to discuss the adoption of ground-breaking new normative instruments, a major new report on the futures of education, as well as new scopes of action in the field of Communication and Information.

During this panel discussion the Assistant Directors-General for Education, Communication and Information, Social and Human Sciences and advisor to the Natural Sciences Sector briefly presented the main lines of activities of their Sectors' projects and programs. This panel was also an occasion to introduce to National Commissions Ms Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences, and Mr Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information. The panel was followed by a question-and-answer session. All relevant presentations documents are available under this link.

At the second session dedicated to the follow-up of the recommendations of the 7th Interregional Meeting of National Commissions for UNESCO, Mr Nicolas Mathieu, Secretary-General of the Swiss Commission for UNESCO and Chairperson of the 7th Interregional Meeting, presented together with Ms Ranwa Safadi from the Bureau of Strategic Planning the recommendations of National Commissions in relation to the Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-2029 (41 C/4) and the Draft Programme and Budget for 2022-2025 (41 C/5). 

All interested National Commissions were given the floor during the afternoon session to share the main lines of their projects, activities, initiatives and events carried out on the occasion of the celebration of UNESCO's 75th anniversary and in the course of the year 2021. National Commissions from Angola, China, Curaçao, Estonia, Guinea, Indonesia, Lebanon, Morocco, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Uruguay gave an overview of their activities in the form of PPT and video presentations that can be consulted here.

In his closing remarks, Mr Genc Seiti, Director of Division for External Relations, emphasized that the purpose of the 8th Interregional Meeting went far beyond the established programme. He outlined a crucial necessity for the Organization in general and for the Sector for Priority Africa and External Relations in particular to be in constant contact and interaction with its family of National Commissions. In this regard, Mr Seiti renewed his appreciation to the National Commissions for their active participation in the online meetings organized on a monthly basis since last November. He also reminded of the importance of communication tools such as the Platform of National Commissions, Monthly letters, weekly News Digest which were at the disposal of the Secretaries-General and their teams.

The video recording of the meeting is available in 6 official languages of the Organization under this link.

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