altThe chairs of the Conference Hall of the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, were on Friday, 31st of October, 2013, all occupied, as delegates to the 37th Session of the UNESCO General Conference, holding from the 6th to 20th of November, 2013, in Paris, all gathered for a pre-departure orientation and consultation meeting.

The meeting, which held under the auspices of the Nigerian National Commission of UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, was chaired by the Director of Policy, Planning and Research in the ministry, Mrs. B. U. Okpa, who was represented by a Deputy Director of Library and Informatics, Mrs. Mbanefo.

In her welcome address, the chairperson pointed out that the meeting was imperative for acquaintance and consensus building purposes and to ensure that the level of preparedness for the 37th session of the UNESCO general conference was high.

She commended NATCOM-UNESCO for the timely meeting, which was to ensure that the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed and to present an organised Nigerian input in Paris, and further urged delegates to make the best of the meeting.

In her remarks, the Secretary-General of NATCOM UNESCO, Mrs. Magdalene Anene-Maidoh, stated that the meeting, which was a follow-up to a previous UNESCO experts consultation meeting that held on the 26th- 27th September, 2013, had the objective of briefing delegates on the missions and operations of UNESCO, giving an overview of the Draft Medium Term Strategy 37 C/4 and programme and budget 37 /C5; and to provide an outline of the 37th session in Paris.

After the briefing session, the meeting broke into technical sessions of various commissions, namely, Administrative Commission, Education Commission, Natural Sciences Commission, Social and Human Sciences Commission, Culture Commission, and Communication and Information Commission, with the different commissions ratifying the forthcoming session’s agenda and presenting same to the Secretary-General, respectively.

The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, is a delegate under the Culture Commission to the conference; and he was represented at the pre-departure meeting by NICO’s Acting Director Orientation & Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie.

Arnold Elue