PH pushes for more balance, equal treatment among countries in UNESCO

By Roy Mabasa

The Philippines has pushed for greater balance to reflect the diversity of opinion and equal treatment of all member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Thirty votes are needed to clinch the nomination to head the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (AFP|MANILA BULLETIN)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Ambassador to Paris Maria Theresa Lazaro, who is also the Philippine permanent representative to UNESCO, highlighted the importance of inclusive dialogue as she delivered the Philippine Statement during the Plenary Debate of the 206th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris, France recently.

“All Member States, whether big or small, large donors or recipient countries, should be treated equally and benefit from UNESCO programs and activities. There has to be (a) greater balance to reflect the diversity of opinions on topics of mutual interests,” Lazaro said.

The Philippine envoy also emphasized that UNESCO is foremost an intergovernmental organization, created by the Member States for its peoples, adding that it is crucial for member states to be fully consulted in the formulation of programs, policies and publications.

“Consultation is being truly listened to so that we, Member States, become active stakeholders in key decisions of the Organization” Lazaro added.

On November 2017, the Philippines was elected as a member of the UNESCO Executive Board. As an elected member of the powerful body, the Philippines pledged to work on enhancing the capacity of all Member States, particularly developing countries, in order to achieve sustainable development and lasting peace and security.

The Philippines also aims to work on improving the organization’s efficiency and governance procedure.

Meanwhile, the UNESCO executive board members expressed their “deep emotion” over the fire that hit Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15.

“This tragedy reminds us that through the world heritage, it is the bond that unites humanity that is at stake.

UNESCO stands always alongside the heritage, as an expression of the values we all share,” the UNESCO board members said at the conclusion of their meeting.

In 1991, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris was recognized and honored by UNESCO when it included the Cathedral in the World Heritage List.