UNESCO Director-General Outlines Preparations for Rio+20

9 May 2011: In her opening statement to the 186th session of the Executive Board of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, outlined UNESCO's preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), its efforts to raise the profile of biodiversity conservation, and its support to efforts to address climate change.

On preparations for the UNCSD, Bokova said the debate on “green economy” is being broadened to include the concept of “green societies.” She described UNESCO's work to build green societies, including by: investing in science, technology and innovation to foster “green solutions” to local and global problems; promoting integrated policies for green societies through social innovation, resilience and social inclusion; supporting the growth of eco-sustainable cultural industries in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; and "making more" of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the World Heritage Convention and the World Heritage List, and the UNESCO Biodiversity Initiative.

Bokova underscored the importance of education for sustainable development in order to "develop the skills for a green economy and lay the foundations for a green society." She indicated that these objectives guide UNESCO's work in three areas: under the framework of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014); in support of climate change education in small island developing States (SIDS); and in its Sandwatch and Climate Frontlines initiatives. She added that she had proposed to the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) that UNESCO "lead on a negotiated outcome on oceans at Rio+20."

On biodiversity, Bokova said UNESCO is "prepared to play an important role" in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), stressing the need to link cultural and biological diversity.

The current session of UNESCO's Executive Board is taking place from 3-19 May 2011, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. [Director-General's Statement (in French and English)] [Meeting Website]