Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Ambassador Phạm Sanh Châu, assistant minister of foreign affairs, completed the third selection round for the position of director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Châu is one of the nine contenders for the position, whose tenure is from 2017 to 2021. This is the first time that a Vietnamese diplomat is in the running for an important position in the UN agency.
On Thursday, the assistant minister made a presentation on his action programme to the UNESCO executive board and ambassadors of member countries.
The candidates were interviewed on April 26 and 27, during the 201st session of the UNESCO executive board meeting in Paris, France.
In his action programme, Châu put forth three key plans concerning UNESCO’s vision and proposals to help the organisation function more effectively, the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Paris reported.
Firstly, UNESCO must continue its mission of peace because it is a sacred task recognised by the UNESCO Constitution.
Secondly, UNESCO needs to continue with reforms to become a more effective and active organisation and re-position its space in the United Nations system.
Finally, UNESCO must do a better job of disseminating information so that the world understands that its focus is on natural sciences and social sciences, apart from cultural and educational matters. It should work with other countries to build a society in which all people have access to information.
After the presentation, Châu answered queries raised by the executive board who wanted to understand his views on how to address challenges such as tighter budget; implementation of projects to ensure that UNESCO remains both an intellectual and action-based organisation at grassroots level; and measures to enhance cooperation and dialogue among parties in the framework of UNESCO activities.
Châu said he felt honoured and proud to have been nominated by the party and the state to contend for this position. He was glad to be able to present a strategic vision with reform proposals to help UNESCO adapt and meet challenges, he added.
The 55-year-old candidate was Việt Nam’s ambassador to Belgium and the European Union (EU) from 2011 to 2014. He has been involved in many of UNESCO’s education, culture and heritage activities.
Every four years, a new director general for UNESCO is elected by its General Conference. There are nine candidates for the position this year. The person nominated by the executive board is chosen by secret ballot, which will take place during the board’s 202nd session in October.
In November, during the 39th session of the General Conference, the board’s chairperson will share information about the candidate it has nominated. The General Conference will then consider this nomination and elect, by secret ballot, the person proposed by the executive board. – VNS