UNESCO, AOSIS Discuss Climate Change, Awareness Raising

23 September 2011: Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), held a meeting with Amb. Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the UN and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and Omar Ramirez, Executive Vice-President of the Office of Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Dominican Republic, to discuss UNESCO activities of relevance for small island developing States (SIDS) in the areas of climate change, oceans, education and awareness raising. 

The meeting, which took place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, was also attended by Technical Officers from AOSIS, Grenada, the Dominican Republic and UNESCO. Bokova: reported on the Thematic Debate on SIDS, held on 14 September 2011; provided an overview of UNESCO's key on-going and planned activities related to SIDS, climate change and oceans; and underscored that the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) presents an opportunity to improve the use of knowledge and strengthen collaboration and coordination in support of sustainable development in SIDS.

Amb. Williams and Ramirez expressed their appreciation for the series of meetings on climate change recently convened by UNESCO, highlighting: the high-level meeting held in March 2011 in Saint Kitts and Nevis focusing on science, ethics and climate change adaptation in the Caribbean; the regional workshop on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development  in the Caribbean held in June 2011 in the British Virgin Islands; and the SIDS inter-regional experts' meeting on climate change education SIDS held in the Bahamas in September 2011.

Ramirez elaborated on the collaboration between UNESCO and partners and the Dominican Republic in the field of education, training and public awareness on climate change. Amb. Williams and Ramirez stressed the need to increase the visibility of UNESCO's activities in relation to SIDS. It was agreed that UNESCO will produce and share with AOSIS an information document outlining all UNESCO's SIDS-related activities, focusing on the areas of water, oceans and coastal management in view of climate change, education, and cultural heritage, to be used as the basis for development of a joint programme between UNESCO and AOSIS. [UNESCO Press Release]