UNESCO: Forging Partnerships

Article excerpt

Byline: ALBERTO G. ROMULO Secretary of Foreign Affairs

(Delivered at the joint meeting of UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura with Cabinet Secretaries and Government Officials at the Carlos P. Garcia Conference Room, Department of Foreign Affairs, May 23, 2006.)

HIS Excellency, Koichiro Matsuura, and the members of his delegation; Honorable Cabinet Secretaries of Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Science and Technology, and Health;

The Chairpersons of the Commission of Higher Education, National Commission of Culture and the Arts; and Commission on Information and Communications Technology;

UNESCO National Commission Secretary General Preciosa Soliven;

Committee Chairs of the UNESCO National Commission;

Distinguished Guests:

We are honored and privileged to have this rare opportunity for UNESCO and the Philippines to meet at the Cabinet level to take stock of our collaborative work and to chart our future directions.

We meet at a time of great challenge for both UNESCO and the Philippines.

Global peace and progress is being held back by intolerance and lack of understanding.

Science and technology is boldly revolutionizing the face of the world, yet grinding poverty persists.

A clear spirit of unity and determination must prevail if we are to overcome today's challenges.

Brotherhood, as Carlos P. Romulo said decades ago, is indeed the price and condition of man's survival.

It is in this spirit that we meet today with Dr. Matsuura, whose presence demonstrates his commitment to building unity through enduring, strong and vibrant partnerships.

His able stewardship of UNESCO, marked by reform and decentralization, continues to a tradition of partnership between the Philippines and UNESCO that dates back to 1946.

UNESCO through changing times

By its nature and purpose, UNESCO is tasked to bring nations and peoples together, to build an ethos of peace, security and stability despite and through changing times.

It is an agent of change, tasked to pioneer world action, to build peace in the minds of men.

With Ambassador Soliven, I first met Dr. Matsuura at the UNESCO General Assembly last October in Paris. We presented to him two important initiatives from the Philippines, both of which UNESCO decided to support.

I refer to the Interfaith Dialogue, which President Arroyo herself convened at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly during its 60th Anniversary. The other initiative we proposed is the Debt-for Development Conversion, debt-for-education, debt-for-environment and culture to better implement the Millennium Development Goals.

With its wealth of expertise and experience in culture and the arts, sciences, the environment and the nature of emerging knowledge societies, UNESCO is a valuable partner in pursuing our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). …