Unesco celebrates 75th anniversary

Unesco was set up in 1945, but was unable to celebrate its 75th anniversary last year because of the pandemic, so it moved its commemoration to the 41st General Conference that began last week.

16 November 2021 | International

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on Friday commemorated its 75th anniversary at a time when its role is more critical than ever.

Speaking at the commemoration held in Paris, President Hage Geingob said Unesco was established to contribute to humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity, as well as building lasting peace through multilateralism.

Unesco was set up in 1945, but was unable to celebrate its 75th anniversary last year because of the pandemic, so it moved its commemoration to the 41st General Conference that began last week.

“Today, 75 years after the founding of Unesco, we are faced with challenges that are transnational in nature. Therefore, multilateral coordination in pursuit of sustainable solutions, and always in favour of peace and development, is paramount,” Geingob said.

Continued importance

He said the Covid-19 pandemic, with its ensuing social and economic inequalities, amplified youth unemployment, disruptions of education systems and consequently the spread of misinformation and disinformation.

“These are just a few examples that expound the continued importance of Unesco’s mandate in education, culture, heritage, science and information dissemination for a more tolerant humanity.”

He said now more than ever, Unesco, an Institution that has been at the cusp of humanity’s progress, is amplified with the power of education taking centre stage as multiple challenges are facing mankind.

Geingob further noted that Namibia hosted the 1991 World Press Freedom Day, which led to the Windhoek Declaration, promoting an independent and pluralistic media in pursued of principles of press freedom.

“Thirty years after the adoption of this landmark, declaration, I am pleased to note that the current session of the 41st Unesco General Conference will adopt the Windhoek+30 Declaration on Information as a Public Good.”

Geingob said as a beneficiary of Unesco, Namibia is particularly happy to note that the current session of the General Conference will consider the Draft Operational Strategy on Global Priority Africa with its five Flagship Programmes in the framework of the Draft Medium-Term Strategy for 2022 to 2029 and the Draft Programme and Budget for 2022 to 2025.

“We have carefully followed and contributed to the development of these strategic documents and are happy to note that they focus on current developmental challenges, including climate change, technological innovation in education, artificial intelligence, open science and bioethics.”

Geingob said Unesco was pivotal by supporting Namibia’s cause for freedom and the birth of the country’s democracy.

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