During her first official visit to Japan, Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, delivered the keynote address at a UNU Public Symposium on “Climate Change and Education: UNESCO’s Role in the 2010s”. In her presentation at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo, Ms. Bokova provided an overview on UNESCO’s new initiatives through which the organization supports research in such areas as advancing knowledge about climate change, preserving biodiversity, coping with social aspects of climate change and minimizing disaster risks.
Ms. Bokova’ s presentation focused on the importance of developing further educational activities in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. She expressed UNESCO’s commitment to further its work by expanding the role of the UNESCO Chairs and other initiatives.
Ms. Bokova also answered questions from members of the audience on such topics as cultural heritage, the role of youth and UNESCO’s activities.
After Ms. Bokova’s lecture, there were presentations by Won Jung Byun, chief coordinator of the Regional Centre of Expertise on ESD Tongyeong, Republic of Korea, and by Hirofumi Abe, Dean of the Graduate School of Environmental Science, Okayama University. These were followed by a lively discussion, chaired by UNU Vice-Rector Kazuhiko Takeuchi.
Later in the day, Ms. Bokova attended a meeting with the heads of the UN agencies based in Japan. At that meeting, Ms. Bokova and UNU Rector Konrad Osterwalder signed an agreement establishing a new UNESCO-UNU Chair in Regional Integration, Migration and Free Movement of People. This Chair will be based at the UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) in Bruges, Belgium.