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UNESCO chief presents roadmap to tame financial difficulties

(Xinhua)

09:37, March 02, 2012

PARIS, Mar. 1 (Xinhua) -- Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova on Thursday presented a roadmap to tackle financial difficulties for the organization to the ongoing 189th Session of Executive Board in Paris.

According to the organization, the budgetary difficulties has come as a tough challenge since the U.S. government announced the suspension of its usual financial contribution of 22 percent of UNESCO's budget after the admission of Palestine into this UN agency during the 36th general conference held in November in Paris.

"The international community faces strategic cross-roads that require UNESCO's full contribution," said the director-general, referring to the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, the 6th World Water Forum, the 3rd International Congress on Technical and Vocational Training, Rio +20 and much more.

"All of this demands a stronger UNESCO," said the director-general, explaining actions that were taken to close year 2011 on balanced terms and measures put in place to help bridge the funding gap.

She highlighted three major principles in the roadmap, including an initial refocusing of the programs, mobilizing additional resources and the reduction of administrative expenses. Deeper reforms are being considered to improve the organization's performance and efficiency in the long term.

On March 1, Kazakhstan and Belize become the latest donors to the UNESCO's Multi-Donor Emergency Fund which was established last November as an immediate response to the financial crisis. Gabon's government was the first fund contributor in an effort to help the UN agency offset a budgetary deficit, followed by the Republic of Congo, Indonisia, Gabon, Timor Leste, Iceland, Turkey and Cameroon and more.

The UNESCO's 189th Session of Executive Board has been held from Feb. 27 to March 10. Acting under the authority of the General Conference, the board examines the program of work for the organization and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the director-general.

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