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Dr Kaseba Says Prioritisation Of Africa More Relevant Now Due To COVID-19

Zambia’s Ambassador to France Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata has said the prioritization of Africa still remains relevant especially given the context of the prevailing Coronavirus pandemic.

Ambassador Dr Kaseba-Sata said this following UNESCO’s unanimous adoption of the Global Africa Priority Resolution which was sponsored by nearly 60 countries, including Zambia.

The Global Africa Priority Resolution came as an element on the revised provisional agenda of the just ended 209th session of the Executive Board Meeting held in presentia at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris, France.

Debate on this Resolution was protracted, lasting for almost eight hours, and often heated, necessitating tough negotiations for the UNESCO Executive Board Members to reach a consensus and finally adopting the document.

Commenting on the adoption, Ambassador Dr Kaseba-Sata reminded the Board about the establishment of Priority Africa which was aimed at translating the commitment of the international community and that of UNESCO in particular, to accompany and support Africa in its development.

“The establishment of Priority Africa in 1989 was anticipated that UNESCO and development partners would be attentive to the Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Communication needs of the fifty-four (54) African States with a stronger and better targeted strategy. This strategy has won positive results albeit not at an anticipated pace,” Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-Sata said.

The Ambassador also noted that prioritization of Africa still remained relevant especially given the context of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, adding that, the resolution was a quest for more resources and hence the need for greater attention for Africa’s specific needs not only by UNESCO but indirectly other development partners.

The Zambian envoy, who is also the Country’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, noted with emphasis that now was the time and quest to fulfil Africa’s aspirations as stipulated in the African Union (A.U) agenda 2063 for a Strong Cultural and Identify, Common Heritage and Values and Ethics.

Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-Sata further commended Co-sponsoring Member States for putting up a spirited fight and advised them to continue with the same spirit of solidarity which guided the establishment of Africa as a Priority in 1989, stating that the win was not an African win but a UNESCO win.

“Sincere gratitude to our gallant Menand Women who identified and voted in favour of this resolution, thanks to development partners who have been supporting UNESCO to address this priority. Thanks to UNESCO for accommodating all Member States given the Financial constraints,” the Ambassador said.

Speaking earlier on behalf of the Continent, Chairperson of the Africa Group, Kenyan Ambassador Ms Phyllis Kandie expressed gratitude to all Member States for placing Africa as a UNESCO Global Priority, and for the conviction in the relevance of Priority Africa.

Ambassador Kandie stressed that the world was rapidly evolving and hence, it was imperative that UNESCO, through its strategic transformation, continued to be agile and fit-for-purpose.

This is contained in a statement issued by First Secretary Press at the Zambian Mission in Paris, France, Yande Musonda.

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