The Government of Japan has been supporting UNESCO’s activities through various funding instruments and the experts’ technical contributions. From 15 to 19 February 2021, UNESCO held a series of project review online meetings with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).
On Monday, 15 February, Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, opened the Joint Plenary Session. She expressed her appreciation for the long-standing support from the Government of Japan and emphasized the need for international cooperation to support Member States, as the COVID-19 pandemic is deepening inequalities. Despite the challenging situation, the voluntary contribution from Japan to UNESCO kept growing. She shared the ongoing activities in the key areas for potential collaboration which include protecting heritage in crisis in all its forms, Education for Sustainable Development, the Decade of Ocean Science, Resiliart, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Artificial Intelligence ethics.
At the high-level session, remarks were provided by H. E. Mr OIKE Atsuyuki, Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary, and Permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO, Ms SHINO Mitsuko, Director-General for Cultural Affairs/Assistant Minister (Ambassador), MOFA, and Mr TAGUCHI Yasushi, Assistant Minister & Director General for International Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)/Secretary-General, Japanese National Commission for UNESCO.
Delegation of Japan, including MLIT, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Permanent Delegation of Japan, and the Assistant Director Generals for each sector and programme related services had a dialogue on the possible cooperation areas.
The Annual Review Meeting discussed the “JFIT for Scientific Programme on Global Challenges in Asia and the Pacific” on the third day. The five projects reviewed included the ongoing two projects from UNESCO Jakarta Office: “Fostering and Enhancing Synergies among Science Networks in Asia and the Pacific Region” and “Good Governance for the Sustainable Development Goals: mobilizing UNESCO’s water and environmental science networks for the 2030 Agenda”. MEXT appreciated the progress made during this challenging time and congratulated the office’s teamwork in bringing science networks together and promoting inter-disciplinary activities. Dr Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in Jakarta, appreciated the feedback and assured the continued effort to raise awareness of UNESCO and JFIT.
MOFA and UNESCO Jakarta also reviewed the project “Exploring World Heritage sites in insular Southeast Asia – connecting World Heritage site museums in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia” and “Strengthening Science and Mathematics in Primary Education in Timor-Leste”.