How Young People See UNESCO Today

Article excerpt

These two weeks have given us the chance to learn much about Unesco. There is no doubt that our work in the different youth organizations to which we belong will benefit greatly. At the end of this seminar we should like to draw in broad outline our picture of Unesco as it is today. An intergovernmental organization. By definition, Unesco brings together a large number of states and provides a forum for dialogue and the exchange of ideas and information with a view to carrying out the objectives defined in its Constitution. But inherent in the very diversity of Unesco's objectives and constituency there is a risk that a bureaucracy may emerge and come between the different parties involved. We feel that there is the danger of a breakdown in communication between the populations of the member states and the Unesco secretariat. We therefore think it essential that the Organization should maintain close contact with its grass roots. Neutrality. Unesco cannot intervene directly in the affairs of member states in order to achieve its aims. But we feel that this neutrality should not prevent the Organization from protesting when it is evident that the ideals which it defends are not being respected by a member state. To maintain its credibility, particularly in the eyes of oppressed populations, Unesco must continue to point the way towards a just and humane society, independent of the vicissitudes of world politics. The commitment of member states. The resolutions taken within Unesco do not always seem to be applied by member states. We should like to see the member states as enthusiastic and involved as the Unesco secretariat, and especially that they should be active in the promotion and teaching of human rights. We should like a more effective follow-up and a more stringent evaluation of the action taken by member states in connection with programmes drawn up by Unesco experts. A very ambitious programme. An extremely wide range of tasks is assigned to Unesco by its Constitution and the Organization's programmes are very comprehensive. There is a danger that resources will be spread too thinly. Some of us would prefer Unesco to concentrate its efforts more, while others think that all Unesco's tasks are important and that none should be abandoned. …