Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang addresses UNESCO Executive Board (Statement)

BY: Graphic.com.gh
Minister for Education and Ghana’s Representative on the UNESCO Executive Board, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang

The Minister for Education and Ghana’s Representative on the UNESCO Executive Board, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang on Friday, 8th April, 2016 took her turn to address the 199th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board currently underway at the Organization’s headquarters in Paris, France.

The Executive Board of UNESCO is one of the constitutional organs of the Organization responsible for the execution of the programmes adopted by the General Conference. The Board also examines the programme of work and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the Director-General.

Responding to issues raised in the general plenary debate in the fields of competence of UNESCO, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang indicated that following the 38th General Conference of UNESCO (November 2015), Ghana has been engaged in a process to strategically position her post-2015 Education, within the broad strategic objectives of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 and Ghana’s 40-year development plan as well as the Continental vision of the ‘Africa We Want’ - Vision 2063 of the Africa Union. She informed Members of the Board that the processes, which have sought to localize the broad objectives of SDG 4, will in the next few months result in a National Action Plan Document (NAPD) for Education 2030 Agenda for the Republic of Ghana.

The Minister further informed the Board that Ghana’s quest to rebrand Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) remains on course, and that the Government of Ghana has put in place systems and structures to enhance the capacity of the responsible agency, COTVET, to efficiently regulate the sector. These included management and information systems for the agency, a TVET sector monitoring framework; development of manuals to operationalize the national TVET Qualification Framework among other interventions.

She urged the Director-General of UNESCO to continue to scale-up the competencies of UNESCO Field Office staff in the implementation of the SDGs to gather greater impact in the delivering of UNESCO’s programmes in the field.

Responding to UNESCO’s achievement in the Natural Science Programme, Prof. Opoku-Agyeman commended the Director-General for her effort in promoting sustainable development and climate change mitigation. She indicated that “The lead role played by the UNESCO in crafting Agenda 2030 particularly the SDGs on water and biodiversity conservation was highly commendable. Furthermore, UNESCO’s contribution towards Conference of Parties meeting (COP.21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change had received global approval”. 

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang recounted how UNESCO’s leadership role through the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr) and the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL) have succeeded in drawing global attention to the basic sciences. She indicated how Ghana played a lead role in Africa in the celebration of the IYL in 2015 and expressed Ghana’s appreciation to UNESCO, the International Coordinating Committee of the IYL, the Governments of Mexico and the Russia Federation as well as the Africa Union for their contribution to making this celebration a great success.

As regards biodiversity conservation and the work of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, the Minister showed appreciation to the MAB programme and announced the enlistment of Lake Bosomtwe, one of the six meteoritic lakes in the world, with a combination of forest, wetlands and mountain ecosystems, onto the World Network of Biosphere Reserves during the 28th International Coordinating Council (ICC) of the Man and Biosphere meeting last month in Lima, Peru. She assured UNESCO that Ghana would use the newly enlisted site to further strengthen research in biodiversity, climate change and environmental education.

In the field of culture, the Minister emphasized the indispensable linkages between culture and development as well as the broad inclusion of culture as a cross-cutting discipline in the SDGs. She indicated that Ghana has ratified seven (7) UNESCO cultural conventions to fully harness culture for socio-economic development.

Finally, the Minister expressed condolences to victims of terrorist attacks around the world. She said that “the continued terror attacks on our world suggests quite clearly that the time has come to rethink our strategies of deepening dialogue, guaranteeing political, social and economic justice, demonstrating tolerance and ensuring that every voice is heard”.

Ghana is serving on the subsidiary Committee on Conventions and Recommendations as well as the Committee of Non-Governmental Partners of the Executive Board. 

Among the Ghana delegation attending the 199th session of the UNESCO Executive Board is H.E. Ghana’s Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate of UNESCO and the Secretary-General (a.i) of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO.