UNESCO programmes must respond to needs – President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s Global Priority Africa Flagship Programme must respond strategically to the needs of changing times.

He said that was because the world was constantly being faced with new and complex challenges.

UNESCO’s Global Priority Africa Flagship Programme is one that is geared towards an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.

President Akufo-Addo said this in a video during the opening ceremony of the regional meeting of the African National Commissions for UNESCO held under the theme “Mobilising Partnership for the Global Priority Africa Programme,” in Accra yesterday.

The three-day meeting is aimed at bringing together the national commissions as key stakeholders of the programme to deliberate on Africa’s collective actions towards a renewed implementation agenda.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that UNESCO was expected to respond to the numerous challenges confronting the continent and as such the meeting presented a good opportunity to discuss how Africa’s national commissions could deploy the unique competencies, expertise and networks to tackle critical continental issues to be tabled at the conference.

He said hosting the conference was another important milestone for the country which signalled its commitment to work with UNESCO.

President Akufo-Addo emphasised that Africa could not achieve its collective goal of peace and sustainable development without freedom.

“We in Ghana have always strongly supported UNESCO’s efforts in building free independence and pluralistic media and in particular the legal framework and the democratic institutions that supported at the country level,” he added.

He used the opportunity to call on all to join the country in the celebration of Accra as UNESCO’s World Book Capital for 2023, which would commence from April 23, 2023.

 Mr Firmin Edouard Matoko, Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations, UNESCO, stated that since its inception, UNESCO had defined the African continent as a priority in the implementation of its mandate by providing responses to the continent’s developmental challenges.

He noted that currently, key challenges were in the domains of population growth, youth employment, and inclusive development; education and knowledge sharing, climate change and environment; Africa’s cultural renaissance, heritage and history and peace governance and democracy.

Mr Matoko said it was for that reason the programme was geared towards an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa which was in alignment with the broad continental vision of the African Union, “The Africa We Want,” Vision 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the government had injected $25million into the tourism sector to improve it, hence he urged all participants to take advantage to tour other parts of the country to gain the “Ghanaian experience”.

“Ghana is the safest and good place to do business. Invest in Ghana and you will never regret,” he added.

Anna Bossman, Ghana’s Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and chairperson of the ceremony, said the meeting was very crucial for the African continent as it would also afford the opportunity to heighten the overall profile of the programme on the continent and beyond for the purposes of prioritisation and fundraising.

BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR

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