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UNESCO’s 41st session of the General Conference (9-24 November 2021)
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UNESCO’s 41st session of the General Conference (9-24 November 2021)

Categories: Culture and creativity -Archaeology and Heritage

Main Italian contributions during the Conference.

Conferenza Generale UNESCO
Conferenza Generale UNESCO

The UNESCO General Conference, which brings together all the Member States (193) every two years, is the sovereign body of the organisation. The 41st session was held in Paris from 9 to 24 November 2021. First of all, as indicated by the Executive Board, the Conference had to appoint the Director-General who will lead the organisation for the next four years. Audrey Azoulay, outgoing Director-General, was confirmed, with a broad consensus and the general support of the Member States.

On a normative level, the General Conference approved two Recommendations: one on Open Science and one on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Two Italian experts, Prof. Paola Pisano and Prof. Amedeo Santosuosso, actively and effectively participated in writing the latter.

On 10 November, the Report on the Futures of Education was presented and the Global Education Meeting’s high-level segment was held. The UNESCO Assistant Director-General, Stefania Giannini, invited our Minister of Education, prof. Patrizio Bianchi, to attend the latter. In his speech, the Minister focused on the key role of education in overcoming the global, environmental, economic and social challenges and urged Member States to invest more human and financial resources in favour of education, under the coordination of UNESCO. At the end of the meeting, the Member States adopted the “Paris Declaration”, which guarantees the commitment to financially support an inclusive and quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for everybody.

The General Policy Debate took place from 10 to 15 November, during which the Heads of Delegation delivered their national statements. On 11 November Benedetto Della Vedova, Undersecretary of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, took the floor, highlighting the role of UNESCO and of its fields of action – culture, education, science, communication and information – to face the global challenges of digital and energetic transition and of the recovery from the pandemic. The Undersecretary also recalled the Italian commitment to the protection of cultural and environmental heritage, confirmed by the candidature of our country to UNESCO World Heritage Committee and by its role as host and co-organiser of the celebratory event of the 50th anniversary of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

On November 12, the High Level segment to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Organisation was held. The celebration, which was attended by roughly thirty Heads of State and Government and twelve Ministers of Foreign Affairs, showed the attractiveness of UNESCO as a multilateral platform, particularly in the phase of defining the “getting back to normal” after the pandemic.The celebration, which was attended by about thirty Heads of State and Government and twelve Foreign Ministers, confirmed the attractiveness of UNESCO as a multilateral platform, in particular in the phase of defining the return to normal post-pandemic. The participation of Minister Di Maio once again confirmed Italy’s role in the Organisation and our full adherence to its values and principles.

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