The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Executive Board Members, have unanimously adopted the Global Africa Priority Resolution which was sponsored by nearly 60 Countries including Zambia.
The Global Africa Priority Resolution came as an element on the revised provisional agenda of the just ended 209th session of the Executive Board Meeting held in presentia at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.
Debate on this Resolution was protracted, lasting for almost eight hours, and often heated, necessitating tough negotiations for the UNESCO Executive Board Members to reach a consensus and finally adopting the document.
And Zambia’s Ambassador to France Dr. Christine Kaseba-SATA, added her voice by reminding the Board about the establishment of Priority Africa which was aimed at translating the commitment of the international community and that of UNESCO in particular, to accompany and support Africa in its development.
“The establishment of Priority Africa in 1989 was anticipated that UNESCO and development partners would be attentive to the Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Communication needs of the fifty-four (54) African States with a stronger and better targeted strategy. This strategy has won positive results albeit not at an anticipated pace.” Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-SATA said.
The Ambassador noted also that prioritization of Africa still remained relevant especially given the context of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic adding that, the resolution was a quest for more resources and hence the need for greater attention for Africa’s specific needs not only by UNESCO but indirectly other development Partners.
The Zambian Envoy who is also the Country’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO noted with emphasis that now was the time and quest to fulfil Africa’s aspirations as stipulated in the African Union (A.U) agenda 2063 for a Strong Cultural and Identify, Common Heritage and Values and Ethics.
An elated Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-SATA further commended Co- sponsoring Member States for putting up a spirited fight and advised them to continue with the same spirit of solidarity that which guided the establishment of Africa as a Priority in 1989 stating that the win was not an African win but a UNESCO win.
“Sincere gratitude to our gallant Men and Women who identified and voted in favour of this resolution, thanks to development partners who have been supporting UNESCO to address this priority. Thanks to UNESCO for accommodating all Member States given the Financial constraints.” The Ambassador said.
Speaking earlier on behalf of the Continent, Chairperson of the Africa Group, H. E. Ms. Phyllis Kandie Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Kenya to UNESCO, expressed gratitude to all Member States for placing Africa as a UNESCO Global Priority, and for the conviction in the relevance of Priority Africa.
Ambassador Kandie stressed that the world was rapidly evolving and hence, it was imperative that UNESCO through its strategic transformation continued to be agile and fitfor-purpose.
And Ambassador Kandie reminded the Board, that the Resolution sought to facilitate not only the strategic discussion on Global Priority Africa but also the importance of fostering the implementation of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, in recognition of UNESCO’s role in facilitating cooperation between States, capacity building and fostering information sharing for the repatriation of African Cultural Heritage.
“The elaboration of the next UNESCO Medium Term Strategy presents an opportunity to give fresh impetus to Priority Africa. The Time is ripe to re-think and re-conceptualize Priority Africa, taking cognizance of its successes and addressing its challenges. By building on lessons learnt, we are confident we can build a solid Priority Africa for the future” The Chairperson of the Africa Group added.
This is according to a statement issued to Hot FM News by First Secretary Press at the Zambian Embassy in France and and Permanent Delegation of Zambia to UNESCO Yande Musonda.