Members of National Commissions met on the eve of the General Conference

4 November 2013, UNESCO Headquarters, Room XI

Members of National Commissions met in Paris on 4 November 2013 for a traditional meeting of this network taking place in the margins of the sessions of the General Conference. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss topics of common interest chosen by the National Commissions themselves and make recommendations for the future. About 180 participants from 130 countries, members of National Commissions and Permanent Delegations, as well as members of the Secretariat participated in this gathering.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova, opened the meeting. She expressed her satisfaction to begin this important week for UNESCO with this meeting of National Commissions. «The National Commissions embody one of the aspects where the work of UNESCO is the most radically renewed. There is a real positive and spontaneous movement to rethink our ways of working to improve our impact and our influence", commented Mrs Bokova.

M. Lou Mathieu Bamba, Secretary-General of the Côte d’Ivoire National Commission for UNESCO and Mrs Zahida Darwiche Jabbour, Secretary-General of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, were respectively elected President and Reporter of this meeting.

The presentation of the report of the UK National Commission for UNESCO: “The Wider Value of UNESCO to the United Kingdom” aroused a keen interest. Several National Commissions expressed their intention to undertake similar study and the analysis of the advantages of the membership of their country to UNESCO. It was recommended that concrete actions be undertaken to train interested National Commissions on the methodologies to be used for this study.

Broad discussion and frank exchange were held on four items listed on the Agenda of the meeting, namely, National Commissions’ contribution to UNESCO’s engagement in the post-2015 development agenda, activities targeting youth, new modalities of the Participation Programme, interface and cooperation between UNESCO field offices and National Commissions. Views and suggestions were expressed on these issues by Members of National Commissions, while clarifications and additional information were brought by the UNESCO Secretariat. It was recommended that National Commissions further collaborate with the UNESCO’s Secretariat on these aspects and be involved more actively in these areas, notably by associating partners and by increasing visibility of UNESCO at country level.

In his closing remarks, Mr Eric Falt, Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information, thanked the participants for their contribution to this one-day reflection and exchanges, which demonstrated once more the value and the dynamism of the network of National Commissions. He underlined two new initiatives which will be launched shortly and in the light of the Action Plan for enhancing the cooperation between the Secretariat of UNESCO and National Commissions (document 37 C/50) and in close cooperation with National Commissions, that is, the annual report of National Commissions and a proposal for annual conference of National Commissions.


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