Cablegate: Usunesco: Unesco General Conference to Launch

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

REFS: A) Paris 5862

1. Summary and comment: Influencing the agenda of
UNESCO's October 2005 General Conference will be
preliminary discussions of the organization's medium-term
strategy (2008-14). The negotiation process -- leading
up to adoption of a new medium-term strategy by the
October 2007 general conference -- offers an opportunity
to shape UNESCO's mission into the next decade. This is
the first time that consultations on the medium-term
strategy have started so far in advance of the target
date for adoption, an initiative intended to give member
states more control over the process. Given the novelty
of this approach, some of the process is still TBD.
Devising an appropriate roadmap for drafting in
conjunction with like-minded states is a first important
challenge. End summary and comment.

--------------------------------------------- -

2. For the first time, UNESCO's member states will
launch discussion of the medium term plan (C4) well in
advance of its scheduled adoption (at the 2007 General
Conference), to ensure that they have maximum input to
the resulting strategy document. At the upcoming
General Conference, the debate on the new medium-term
strategy will start from scratch. Principle priorities
of the various sectors will not necessarily carry over
into the next exercise; the idea of even having principle
priorities -- a Matsuura initiative -- will also be on
the table. (NOTE: As an example, the Nordic States and
the UK are tabling a draft resolution to study the
Natural Sciences and SHS sectors; this study is meant to
inform the medium-term planning process, ref A.) Strong
U.S. interventions at this debate will be a way to
demonstrate leadership.

3. At the General Conference, the Medium-term strategy
for 2008-2014 is on the agenda for discussion at each of
the five "program" commissions: General questions and
program support; education; natural science/social and
human sciences; culture; and communication. The debate
will take the form of 7-10 minute interventions by member
states. The debates in Commission will probably begin
with a presentation by UNESCO Director for Strategic
Planning Hans D'Orville, who will outline the drafting
procedure, as well as ideas that might be addressed by
the new medium-term strategy. At this point, the medium-
term strategy is not on the agenda of the plenary
sessions of the General Conference, although the
Secretariat says member states are free to address this

issue in the General Policy debate.

4. The next step is to translate the ideas evoked
during the General Conference debate into fodder for the
Regional consultations led by National Commissions that
will take place spring/summer 2006. One mechanism
would be for interested member states to participate in a
drafting group that would craft a resolution conveying
the instructions of the General Conference to the
Secretariat and to the Regional Groups. (During a recent

cycle, Executive Board President Canada chaired an 18-
member task force "UNESCO for the 21st century" that,
among its other functions, informed the medium-term
planning process.) The reports of the regional
consultation meetings will be the basis of the
preliminary draft mid-term strategy that the Secretariat
will present to the Fall 2006 Executive Board. Debate
and revision will continue at Executive Board meetings
that will take place in the Spring and Fall of 2007.
The new medium-term plan (2008-14) will be adopted at the
Fall 2007 General Conference.

5. Outline of Drafting Process for Medium-Term Strategy

October, 2005 General Conference
Medium-Term plan 2008-2014 is on the agenda for
discussion at the five program commissions.

Spring/Summer 2006 Regional Consultations
National Commissions of each of UNESCO's regional groups
meet in regions to flesh out ideas presented at the
General Conference, submitting input to the Secretariat.

Fall 2006, Executive Board
Secretariat presents preliminary draft of Medium-Term

Plan, based on regional input.

Spring/Fall 2007 Executive Boards
Preliminary draft of Medium-Term Plan debated and

Fall 2007, General Conference
Medium Term Plan adopted by member states.

--------------------------------------------- ---------

6. At a September 1 Geneva group meeting, the Medium-term
strategy was evoked briefly. Most participants did not
have a clear idea regarding the process to be followed.
Canada stressed the opportunities for pro-active
participation by member states afforded by early debate
of the medium-term strategy. The Geneva Group decided to
revisit the issue at its September 12 meeting; one option
to consider will be the organization of an informal
drafting group to craft a General Conference resolution.

7. Delegation's recommendations regarding UNESCO's
Medium Term Strategy (2008-2014) to follow septel.


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