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UNESCO Executive Board holds 199th conference

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The annual conference of the UNESCO Executive Board, one of the constitutional organs of the organization, has held its 199th conference in Paris to discuss how to implement programmes adopted by the general conference.

The conference was also a platform for the board to examine the programmes and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the Director-General of UNESCO.

Taking her turn to address the 199th session of the UNESCO Executive Board, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Ghana’s Minister for Education, said Ghana has been engaged in a process to strategically position the country’s post -2015 education within the broad objective of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) four.

SDG-4 entreats all United Nations member countries to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.

The minister said the process also sought to position Ghana’s post-2015 education in the country’s 40-year development plan, as well as the “Africa we want” vision 2063 of the African Union.

The initiative follows the commitment made at the 38th general conference of UNESCO in November last year.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang said the processes, which seek to localise the broad objectives of SDG 4, would in the next few months result in a National Action Plan Document (NAPD) for the Education 2020 Agenda for Ghana.

Technical Education

The minister said Ghana’s quest to rebrand technical, vocational education and training remained on course and added that “the Government of Ghana has put in place systems and structures to enhance the capacity of the responsible agency to efficiently regulate the sector.”

She urged the Director-General of UNESCO to continue to scale up the competencies of UNESCO field office staff in the implementation of the SDGs for greater impact in delivering UNESCO’s programmes in the field.

UNESCO commended

Responding to UNESCO’s achievement in the natural sciences programme, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang commended the Director-General for her efforts to promote sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

She indicated that the lead role played by UNESCO in crafting Agenda 2030, particularly the SDGs on water and biodiversity conservation, was also highly commendable.

“Furthermore, UNESCO’s contribution towards the Conference of Parties Meeting (COP. 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has received global approval,” she said.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang recounted how UNESCO’s leadership role, through the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr) and the International Year of Light (IYL), had succeeded in drawing global attention to the basic sciences.

As regards biodiversity conservation and the work of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, the minister expressed her appreciation to the MAB programme and announced the enlistment of Lake Bosumtwi, one of the six meteoritic lakes in the world, with a combination of forest wetlands and mountain ecosystems, onto the World Network of Biosphere Reserves during the 28th International Coordinating Council (ICC) of the Man and Biosphere meeting last month in Lima, Peru.

Strengthening research in biodiversity

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang assured UNESCO that Ghana would use the newly enlisted site to further strengthen research in biodiversity, climate change and environmental education.

Turning her attention to the field of science, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang emphasized the linkages between culture and development as well as the broad inclusion of culture as a cross-cutting discipline in the SDGs.

The minister stated that Ghana had ratified seven (7) UNESCO cultural conventions to fully harness culture for socio-economic development.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang expressed Ghana’s condolences to victims of terrorist attacks around the world.

“The continued terror attacks on our world suggests quite clearly that the time has come to rethink our strategies of deepening dialogue, guaranteeing political, social and economic justice, demonstrating tolerance and ensuring that every voice is heard,” she concluded.  


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