Speech by A. A. Fursenko at the 35th Session of the UNESCO General Conference

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Speech by the Head of the Russian delegation, Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation A.A.Fursenko at the 35th Session of the UNESCO General Conference, Paris, October 9, 2009

Dear President of the General Conference, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Speaking about UNESCO's key tasks, I shall begin with priority areas of the Organization activities – with education.

Russia considers UNESCO’s role a historic one in coordination of international efforts of the Education for All Program (EFA). In this connection I call on the member states, international organizations to make a contribution to preparation of Worldwide Conference on Education and Training of Younger Children that will be held in Moscow in September 2010. We can and should, having appraised at the Conference the progress in accomplishing the EFA first goal, develop our activity Strategy connected with the conference theme. We hope for Your active participation.

Dear Colleagues, among the tools of educational policy under discussion, UNESCO Chairs hold a specific place in the development and promotion in the world of the best practice in the field of education. The International Congress of UNESCO Chairs on Education for Sustainable Development that took place late September of this year in Russia adopted the Khanty-Mansiysk Declaration with an appeal for the development of network cooperation of UNESCO Chairs on all key areas of the Organization activities. In this connection Russia suggests holding next year the UNESCO Chairs International Congress in the field of art education within the implementation of the roadmap of the Lisbon Conference.

In addition to education, science is a sphere, where UNESCO’s natural advantages show up, furthermore, the science areas having the pronounced humanitarian constituent part. That is why we support UNESCO’s many-sided efforts for freshwater resources conservation. In this connection we invite interested countries to take part in the International Forum “Pure Water 2009” that will took place on November 24-25 in Moscow.

We should also note an important significance of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, particularly with account of problems connected with global climate change.

Alongside with that, other science programs also remain an integral part of the Organization's mandate, including the International Basic Sciences Program (IBSP), whose full potential has not been achieved yet. We believe that it would gain in many respects in case of its rise in status to “intergovernmental”.

We would like to draw attention and call on to support our project “UNESCO Research and Education Satellite”, of which the startup and technical support is planned to be financed almost completely from extra-budgetary resources. We have introduced the corresponding draft resolution to the General Conference and call on the member states to support it.

We express a high opinion of UNESCO activities in the sphere of social and humanitarian sciences, whose role is constantly growing taking into account the dynamically developing social processes in the world and emergence in this connection of new challenges, particularly ethic ones.

I am confident that the High Level Group on inter-religious dialogue, created by Russia in the cooperative partnership with UNESCO, will show its high efficiency and make a valuable contribution to the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures 2010 declared by the United Nations.

At the present 35th session of UNESCO General Conference a decision should be taken to create Moscow Regional Museum Center under the aegis of UNESCO on the base of Kolomenskoye Museum and to sign a corresponding agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and UNESCO. For the first time under the aegis of UNESCO a Center in the field of museum studies is being created, and I ask the delegations present to support the Russian side’s initiative, as many other member states did, particularly, the East European countries.

In the field of communication and information we find it reasonable to develop UNESCO key projects such as International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC) and UNSESCO Information for All Program (IFAP). Russia being one of the biggest donors of IPDC has supported 80 regional and national projects, particularly, in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kirghizia.

It is important for UNESCO to activate the implementation of its unique mandate in the cause of achievement of “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”. We regret that politicized issues splitting the ranks of the member states are included in the agenda of the Organization designed to “build peace in people’s minds”. It concerns an attempt to work out within UNESCO a draft declaration of principles as regards artefacts, dislocated due to the Second World War. Such documents must be adopted exclusively on the basis of consensus, which under discussion in relation to this project turned out to be impossible. The Declaration significance, according to which contradictions between the states remain, in fact comes to naught.

We call on all the participants of the General Conference to jointly find a solution to correspond to our Organization’s peaceful spirit.

In conclusion, taking the opportunity, I would like to thank Mr. Koichiro Matsuura for his great contribution to the development of the UNESCO movement in the world, as well as to express hope that new Director-General with the assistance of the member states will be able to find solution of problems facing today UNESCO, for its fulfillment of statutory objectives, whose urgency only increases in time.

The Russian Federation is ready for such cooperation.