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Speech by Mr. JO Chol Su, Secretary General of the DPRK National Commission for UNESCO (Full Script)

On Friday 13 August, UNESCO Beijing Office conducted a full-day staff retreat, in answer to an urgent call to press ahead the strategic development of the office through smart and joint planning. Such strategic planning was strongly supported by secretary-generals from national commissions of the 5 cluster countries. They offered insightful suggestions through their messages to us.

Speech by Mr. JO Chol Su, Secretary General of the DPRK National Commission for UNESCO

Dear Prof. Shahbaz Khan,

I acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated July 22, in which you have requested our feedback on the strategic directions for UNESCO Beijing Office in the next 5 years.

The on-going global pandemic restricts substantial activities in UNESCO’s fields of mandate and presents enormous challenges to the work of achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); the current situation requires a new strategy and innovative measures to reverse today’s challenges into an opportunity.

Appreciating your efforts to initiate practical strategic directions for UNESCO Beijing Office in the next 5 years based on the opinion of every National Commission, I take this opportunity to express our views as follows:

UNESCO Beijing is the regional focal point for the Organization’s work for North-East Asian countries including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In my opinion, the most important task for UNESCO Beijing Office is to develop dialogue, liaison and contact with the Member States and its National Commissions so as to make an active contribution to the development of relevant countries within its fields of mandate.

Under the circumstances of the prolonged public health crisis, I reckon that the provision of a mechanism and opportunities for the Member States to regularly inform and share their success stories, experiences and lessons learnt can be a way to enhance the position and role of the Office.

Currently, great attention and investment are directed to the development of education and science of the country. It is from this viewpoint that educational content, method and teaching management system are being updated as required by the developing trend of the DPRK are in normal operation while thoroughly observing the anti-epidemic regulations.

And great attention and investments are also devoted to the development of education and science like encouragement of continuous innovation in scientific research work.

As is well known through the media, the DPRK Government has recently formulated a childcare policy to provide nutritious food including dairy products at state’s expense to children in nurseries and kindergartens throughout the country even though it faces an insufficient and difficult situation. This would be expanded to schoolchildren in the near future.

If one could facilitate the sharing of the successes achieved by countries all over the world in the fields of education, science and culture, it would contribute to enhancing greatly joint efforts of mankind to cope with the current pandemic crisis.

UNESCO Beijing Office, as in cases with other offices, has assumed an important task for implementation of the UNESCO’s strategy.

For proper implementation of the UNESCO’s strategy by reflecting the requirements of its Member States, the Office has to direct due attention to the establishment and implementation of detailed action plans that go along with the conditions of individual countries and the region.

In particular, a lesson should be drawn from the big impact of today’s pandemic on education sector and priority given to the completion of e-education system and strengthening of ICT education in Member States for the next 5 years.

This, I think, serves as a way to respond readily to eventual crisis.

In the North-East Asian region which is rich in cultural and eco diversity, several action programmes can be adopted and implemented for heritage protection to explore, nominate and enlist new world heritages and eco-tourism in biosphere reserves.

The current pandemic crisis hinders stable development of the society and the international efforts for attaining the SDGs, which further emphasizes the urgent need for strengthened collaboration and cooperation between countries and for the promotion of equal development.

I take this opportunity to wish you greatest successes in your responsible work to improve the work of the UNESCO Beijing Office as demanded by the new reality. I also express my conviction that the excellent relations of cooperation between the DPRK National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Beijing Office would be further consolidated.

Sincerely yours,

JO Chol Su

Secretary General

DPRK National Commission for UNESCO