The 36th Session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s) General Conference, the highest ruling body of the organization has opened in Paris.

The UNESCO’s General Conference which opened on the 25th October, 2011, with 193 member states, Associate Members, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as observers from non-Member States.

The main agenda of the conference is to decide on UNESCO’s proposed programmes and budget for the 2012-2013 biennial which places emphases on sustainable development, culture of peace and non-violence.

Already, the Nigerian Delegates to the 36th Session of the Conference, led by the Honourable Minister of Education, Prof. (Mrs.) Ruquayyatu Ahmed Rufai, are at the organization’s headquarters in Paris, to ensure that Nigeria’s interest is adequately advanced at the conference.

During the opening of the Conference, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, in her speech had emphasized the need to reinforce cooperation in the face of the challenges confronting the world today: “The global economic crisis is hitting the poorest countries particularly badly. It is not enough to connect, we must share”.

She further stated that, “The stakes of peace and sustainable development today, lie precisely in education, the sciences, culture, and knowledge sharing. All of this calls for more and better UNESCO”.

It will be recalled that at a pre-departure meeting for Nigerian delegates which was held in Abuja under the auspices of the Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO), delegates had mapped out areas to make meaningful contributions which will form the basis for drawing up recommendations to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), National Assembly and the focal Ministry at the end of the conference.

The Nigerian Delegation to the 36th Session of UNESCO General Conference comprise the Honourable Minister of Education, Prof. (Mrs.) Ruquyyatu Ahmed Rufai; Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke; the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma; the Director of Culture at the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Muktar Abdulkadir; and the Deputy Director of Culture (UNESCO Desk) in the ministry, Mr. Ajibola, among others.

The conference is expected to end on November 10, 2011.

© NICO News