Japan is among the biggest supporters of UNESCO’s activities. This year, three Japanese donor agencies – Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) – for the first time held a joint review meeting with UNESCO during 27-28 February 2020 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

With participation by more than 40 representatives from Japanese ministries as well as UNESCO offices and departments from Headquarters and the field, the Joint Plenary Session began with opening statements by representatives of UNESCO and the Japanese ministries, celebrating the long-standing relationship between two parties. Mr. Jean-Yves Le Saux, Director of UNESCO’s Bureau for Strategic Planning, welcomed all to the meeting, thanking Japan for its support for the flagship projects and emerging initiatives related to ethics for Artificial Intelligence, the Futures of Education, and the Decade of Ocean Science. Discussion on a range of topics followed, including the future direction and potential areas of collaboration between Japan and UNESCO. Good practices for  private sector collaboration were also considered along with the development of inter-sectoral and inter-organizational collaboration in the context of the upcoming mid-term strategy of UNESCO for the period 2022-2029.

During the review session, UNESCO Jakarta participated the discussion of 12 ongoing and recently completed JFIT Science projects as well as other MOFA-funded projects. The meeting reviewed progress against set targets and the planning of upcoming activities.

At the end of this dedicated session, Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of the UNESCO Jakarta Office, expressed his appreciation for the good cooperation with Japan, providing examples of various partnerships leveraged through JFIT investment. He stressed that the mobilization of further expertise and private sector collaboration is necessary for delivering SDGs in Asia and the Pacific. Representatives from UNESCO Headquarters highlighted the importance of adopting the inter-disciplinary and transdisciplinary approach demonstrated by the JFIT Science projects, and called for continuous efforts to mobilize science for policy.