Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ambassador Oliver Calls For Focus, Supports Budget Increase

Ambassador Louise Oliver addressed the Executive Board of UNESCO on October 3. Her remarks are published on the website of the U.S. Permanent Delegation to UNESCO. After expressing support for the medium term strategy, she said:
However, despite the hard work of the drafting group and its excellent co-chairmen, we think that the C5 (report with the proposed program and budget) is still overly ambitious. Certainly we are pleased that the C5 includes expected results for UNESCO’s initiatives, but is it really possible for the Secretariat to achieve those results in only two years, especially if we insist that their work is of high quality?

And what will happen if Member States continue to add to the work of the Secretariat with resolutions that call for new activities and programs, instead of focusing on the ones we already have? Unfortunately it seems that we still have multiple visions for UNESCO.

Mr. Director General, we are pleased that your vision includes strengthening UNESCO’s organizational structure so that our programs can achieve long-term sustainable results. Although the United States has consistently advocated a zero nominal growth budget, and believe that was needed in past budget cycles to encourage UNESCO to become more efficient and effective, we have decided to support your $631 million dollar budget scenario because the additional funds will help reinforce UNESCO’s infrastructure, establish an ethics program for UNESCO staff, and strengthen initiatives focused on the needs of Africa and the developing world.
Ambassador Oliver also addressed the science programs specifically in the following terms:
Improving the quality of the work of the two science sectors, with an emphasis on capacity building, continues to be a top priority for the United States. Given the importance of science, technology, and engineering, particularly for the developing world, UNESCO must play a leadership role in this area. In addition to implementing the recommendations of the Science Review Panel, UNESCO must not waste its limited resources by duplicating work being done in other UN agencies. This will also enable us to give more support to successful programs like the IOC, which has achieved worldwide recognition for its work.

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