November 8, 2013: A four-member delegation, led by Dr. the Honourable Tim Gopeesingh, Minister of Education and President of the National Commission for UNESCO, is participating in the 37th Session of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) currently taking place in Paris, France.
The delegation also includes Ambassador John Sandy, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva; Dr. Kris Rampersad, Chair of the National Commission for UNESCO and Ms. Susan Shurland, Secretary General.
The 37th Conference will shape the organisation’s strategy and direction for the next eight years. UNESCO is in the midst of a major reform, aimed at making UNESCO more relevant, more effective and more responsive to global challenges to peace and development.
At this conference, Trinidad and Tobago will also be seeking membership on UNESCO’s Executive Board for the next four years. The Executive Board, comprised of 58 Member States, is one of the three constitutional organs of UNESCO (the others being the General Conference and the Secretariat) and it is elected by the General Conference. Acting under the authority of the General Conference the Board examines the programme of work for the organisation and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the Director General. The Executive Board represents the General Conference, exercises the power delegated to it, and deals with the questions with which it is entrusted. Elections for Executive Board members take place on Wednesday 13 November, 2013.
Among the activities in Trinidad and Tobago’s lobby in support of its candidacy includes a performance of the Our Boys Steel Orchestra from Tobago, currently on tour in Europe.
The UNESCO General Conference, held every two years, is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non Member-States, intergovernmental organisations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It is exploring directions and actions for the immediate and post 2015 global agenda. It determines the policies and main lines of work of the Organization by:
discussing all issues concerning the general policy of the organization; adopting for the next two years a programme and budget which is submitted to the General Conference and is the outcome of a consultation process with Members States; electing Members of the Executive Board; appointing, every four years, the Director General and adopting the Medium Term Strategy of the Organization.