The road to 2030 to take shape at UNESCO’s General Conference

Source:   Date:2015-11-06

The 38th session of UNESCO’s General Conference opened today with an eye on the future. The biennial meeting of the governing body will set the path for UNESCO as it reviews programme and policy plans aimed at achieving the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted in New York in September.
During its session, which will end on 18 November, UNESCO will host an unprecedented number of heads of State and Government to celebrate the 70th anniversary in a Leaders’ Forum.
As it opened this morning, the General Conference of UNESCO, which brings together its 195 Member States, was marked by the admission to the Organization of Montserrat as its 10th Associate Member. Another notable event was the visit of Haakon, the Crown Prince of Norway, who stressed that UNESCO’s role and mandate were as important today as they were 70 years ago.
“Today the world is facing the largest refugee crisis since World War Two. Sixty million people are fleeing from war and conflict, we share a joint responsibility to act,” said the Prince. “Today as it was 70 years ago, UNESCO is in an excellent position to unite and strengthen our efforts,” said the Prince.
The outgoing President of the General Conference, Hao Ping, Vice Minister of Education of China, reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to achieve the objectives of the new SDGs. He spoke of “UNESCO’s irreplaceable role in dialogue and peace building […] Dialogue on an equal footing between all countries and civilizations is more important than ever,” he said, as “the current world is going through a period of change and reorganization.”
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, proclaimed a renewed commitment to the founding principles of the institution 70 years after its creation. “UNESCO is born of the idea that if peace and development are to last, they must be deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of peoples. This conviction remains unchanged and is our compass in today’s changing world,” she said.

Opening ceremony of the 38th session of UNESCO General Conference in Paris, 3rd November 2015