UAE wins membership on Unesco’s executive board

Noura Al Kaabi says it reflects global confidence in UAE's cultural and knowledge work

The Unesco General conference in Paris, which last week was attended by Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE's Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development. WAM
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The UAE has won a seat for the fourth time on the executive board of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, where it will serve until 2023.

Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, led the UAE delegation to the 40th session of Unesco’s General Conference last week, where she met officials and heads of member state delegations.

“The UAE’s appointment to the Unesco’s executive board reflects the wide acknowledgement of the country’s prominent efforts in advancing initiatives in the fields of culture, science and education," Ms Al Kaabi said.

“This significant milestone is a recognition of our firm belief in the power of Unesco to bring about peace and prosperity to nations worldwide.”

She said the UAE was celebrating the achievement but “more hard work awaits” at the UN body.

“The UAE reiterates its commitment to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to working with all member states to ensure its realisation through programmes and initiatives," Ms Al Kaabi said.

"We remain open for dialogue, exchange, and collaboration with all member states to find the best solutions that meet the needs of the people we serve.”

The executive board of Unesco comprises 58 member states elected by the Unesco General Conference. It meets twice a year to discuss the goals and objectives of the UN body, setting guidelines for its policies and strategy.

The board prepares the agenda for  the conference and discusses the organisation's programme and budget estimates, which are submitted by the director general to the conference along with recommendations.

Every four years, the executive board recommends candidates to the general conference to fill the role of director general.

The UAE was founded on December 2, 1971, and four months later it became a member of Unesco.

Over the years, the country has been involved many of Unesco’s programmes, donated funds and developed initiatives to benefit people around the world.

In 2018, the UAE was ranked as the sixth top voluntary donor to Unesco and is a member on six committees.

The country has one site on Unesco’s World Heritage List, eight national and multinational Intangible Heritage listings, and two cities designated as Creative Cities by the agency.

It has established more than 120 Unesco-associated schools, and hosts the regional centre for education planning under the agency's auspices, among many other initiatives.

One recent initiative includes a UAE investment of $50 million (Dh183.6m) to restore three religious heritage sites that were destroyed by ISIS in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia also won a seat on the executive board for the next four years.

The kingdom's Unesco mission tweeted that it "promises to further preserve heritage, foster innovation and creativity through culture, art and technology, empowering youth to meet the challenges of the future".