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UNESCO
Latvijas Nacionālā komisija
Reģ. Nr. 90000089305
Pils laukums 4 – 206,
Rīga, LV 1050
Tālrunis: +371 67 325 109
Fakss: +371 67 222 762
E-pasts: office@unesco.lv
latvijas dargumi
31.10.11.

UNESCO LNK prezidentes, LR kultūras ministres Žanetas Jaunzemes-Grendes runa UNESCO Ģenerālās konferences 36. sesijas vispārējās politiskajās debatēs 2011. gada 28. oktobrī

 

Madame President of the General Conference, Distinguished Delegates, Dear Colleagues!
 
It is my honour to congratulate Her Excellency Mrs Katalin Bogyay on her election as the President of the General Conference! In the name of the Latvian delegation we wish her every success, endurance, and strength in her duties!
 
Latvia endorses the statement of the European Union which was made earlier during this debate by the honourable representative of Poland. To discuss further, please allow me to elaborate on the views of Latvia regarding the current role and importance of UNESCO. 
 
In our modern world with the many crises that we are facing – economic, environmental, and social – it clearly shows that we are in the middle of global changes. Huge changes are also taking place on the national level worldwide. Many of the crises are the  kind we might have never imagined would ever come. We also experience growing confusion and distrust in global actors, fear of inter-dependency and lack of trust; at the same time we repeatedly called upon global solutions, responses, and common strategies. It has become clear that we, ourselves, need to transform the way we think and act.
 
The current UNESCO reform and repositioning process is timely and totally relevant and we support the Director General in her work towards this goal. I say with conviction that we need UNESCO more than ever. Latvia strongly believes that UNESCO has to play an ever growing role in redefining the paradigm of development and promoting good governance by taking true leadership in its mandated areas – education, sciences, and culture. Or as the Director General, has stated – by promoting new humanism through all our actions. We cannot continue measuring development based on economic figures only. The prime goal of development includes the cultural and social wellbeing, social inclusiveness, possibilities for all human beings to realise their goals over a lifetime, preservation of cultural diversity, memory and heritage, ensuring the possibility of education to all, sharing, gaining knowledge and information, and innovation. 
 
One can say that UNESCO has already been doing an excellent job through various programmes and projects in this direction, and we clearly agree that a lot of UNESCO’s effort is of the highest quality. However, we also have to acknowledge that we often fall short of success on the world scale to make our vision heard and respected. We need to be more focused and united in our efforts, and see our actions in a more holistic, interdisciplinary and complementary manner. This is where new thinking and acting starts – when we work together. 
 
By stating this I am not saying anything particularly new. As the Constitution already stated, firstly - by bringing a specialized UN agency under all the mandated areas, and secondly - by providing for the sustainability and continuity of UNESCO’s vision through Member states’ ownership and commitment to UNESCO’s goals. Let us remember what the Constitution of UNESCO says: “Since wars began in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”  What currently is possibly the most important is to really make it work. Not only on the level of international debates and discourses but most importantly through action on the ground level.
 
Having said this, I highlight especially national responsiveness and involvement in this process of repositioning UNESCO. Latvia believes that only through true ownership of UNESCO and its vision on a national level we can succeed in addressing and responding to the global challenges. Even more, on the ground level, UNESCO represents and is expected to be the laboratory of ideas, the capacity builder, the standard setter, the clearing house, and the catalyst for international cooperation. For this to succeed, the strong and proactive role of National Commissions is crucial. They are a strong and very valuable link to all the government institutions, to the independent advice of intellectuals and experts, as well as to the civic society; and a direct voice to UNESCO strategies internationally. Therefore the next activities should be devoted to strengthening their capacity, not only in terms of finances, but even more conceptually. 
 
Latvia joined UNESCO 20 years ago after regaining its independence, making its commitment to UNESCO’s Constitution. Since then we have undergone a substantial transformation processes. Education, sciences, and culture have been both part of these transformations and the driving force for Latvia to highlight its distinctive values and knowledge, to develop as a self-aware, proud, and united country. Our experience is our value; it conveys the message of who we are today, where we are going, and what we can offer to other nations. We are ready and willing to share with others by being an active and responsible Member state of UNESCO.
 
In conclusion I just want to say – UNESCO will be as strong as we will allow it to be. Let us do it!