The new director-general of UNESCO must continue the reforms to restore a broad consensus, said Alda Greoli, Vice President of the Government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, on Wednesday (1 November). She spoke on behalf of Belgium at the 39th session of the General Conference of the organization in Paris. The election of the candidate is expected to take place on 10 November and the new Director-General is scheduled to take office on 15 November. She or he will succeed Irina Bokova (Bulgaria) who will have served two four-year terms at the head of UNESCO.
The minister called on the United States and UNESCO to establish “constructive interaction”. American president Trump announced recently that the US would leave UNESCO, claiming it was biased against Israel, a step which Israel itself is reluctant to take.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is going through a difficult period following the announcement of the withdrawal of the US. The American authorities have decided to maintain an observer role in UNESCO until the end of 2018.
Referring to the withdrawal, Alda Greoli regretted the failure “to provide a sufficient basis of confidence and willingness to remedy certain disputes”. “For now, it is important that we maintain a strong commitment and contribute together to restore the trust of all in UNESCO.”
She repeated Belgium’s support to overcome these difficulties and “keep the responsibilities entrusted to it”, particularly in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.