Texte original (en anglais)
de l'allocution prononcée
par M. Tonino Picula,
Ministre des Affaires étrangères de la République de Croatie,
lors de la 31e Session de la Conférence générale de l'UNESCO,
Débat de politique générale,
Paris, 18 octobre 2001.

(Voir la traduction française)


31st General Conference
General Policy Debate

Address by
H.E. Mr Tonino Picula, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Head of the Delegation of the Republic of Croatia

Paris, October 18, 2001

Mister President,
Mr Chairperson of the Executive Board,
Mr Director-General,
distinguished delegates,
ladies and gentlemen,

We are meeting at this General Conference to review the results of the last biennial programme and to set guidelines for the next biennial and midterm periods at a particularly sensitive and decisive moment of history.

Following the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States, we are witnessing a unique and unanimous response of an overwhelming majority of the international community The global fight against the scourge of international terrorism is not a struggle between civilisations or cultures. It is a struggle for elementary human rights, the rule of law and peace in the world. It is based on the values of multiculturalism, respect for human life and dignity, and inter-ethnic and intercultural tolerance. I am sure that you share my conviction that the new unity of the international community must be translated, though our common effort, into new achievements in the promotion of human rights, international peace, stability, security and overall social and economic development. I am confident that our organisation will, within its fields of competence, offer proper answers to the present challenges and with renewed confidence and vitality lead our common efforts at the beginning of the new millennium.

It is our strong belief that disregard and harming of the culture and values of others is a part of aggression against humanity. That is why we deeply regret destruction of historical and cultural treasures and heritage anywhere in the world, as was recently the case in Afghanistan where the unique Buddhist sculptures in Bamiyan were destroyed. That was an irreparable loss for humanity as a whole. We know that all too well, as Croatia has suffered, during the recent conflict, bombardments of many towns, monuments and infrastructure. It is ten years since the first attack against Dubrovnik as well as the Šibenik Cathedral, both of which are treasures on the UNESCO's World Heritage List. I would like to note that we are encouraged by the initial contacts with the new Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia concerning the issue of restitution of cultural and art treasures to Croatia. We hope that these negotiations will result in the soonest possible safe and complete return of Croatian historical and art treasures plundered during the previous conflict, which would give a constructive impetus to the whole process of normalisation of mutual relations between our two neighbouring states. Let me, at this point, also emphasise Croatia's strong support for the activities of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation.

Let me stress our conviction that UNESCO should continue to be guided primarily by its original mandate: to contribute to peace and security by promoting co-operation among the nations through education, science, culture and communication. UNESCO should strive to strongly affirm itself as a meeting place and forum of a dialogue between representatives of different cultures and civilisations, to help forge an even better mutual understanding and confidence among peoples of the world. By focusing on its mandate UNESCO will fulfil the precondition for its own and our success. That is a difficult task, which falls within the responsibility not only of the Secretariat of UNESCO but of all Member States as well.

UNESCO should be streamlined and geared to the major programme priorities, the use of the funds available to the Organisation should be focused on the programmes and used in a more efficient way. At the dawn of the 21-century, it is essential for the Organisation to remain open to new ideas and to constantly reform itself, in line with the best international practices. In doing so it can provide value for money and continue to enjoy the confidence of Member states and extra-budgetary funding agencies.

Croatia welcomes the decentralisation of the Organisation which we perceive as a way of bringing UNESCO's action closer to the country level, aligning UNESCO's programmes and activities with the genuine needs of individual states, improving, at the same time its efficiency and visibility. The new decentralisation strategy keeps the pace with today's issues, which are cut across the boundaries of traditional disciplines and call for the application of comprehensive interdisciplinary and intersectorial approaches.

Due to the process of globalisation, today more than ever the Organisation is called to reinforce the right to education, to strengthen international scientific and intellectual co-operation, to protect cultural heritage, to promote media development and to broaden public domain access to information and knowledge. These tasks are essential for creating knowledge societies aiming at achieving the greatest possible equity and social justice and ensuring overall development.

Croatia is undergoing difficult and complex but necessary social, economic, and political reforms. In carrying out these reforms, the Croatian Government strongly adheres to the values of democracy, human and minority rights, and the rule of law. At the same time, Croatia is giving its full contribution to the stabilisation of relations in our part of Europe, and we are contributing, within our possibilities, to the promotion of peace, understanding and co-operation in the world. In this spirit Croatia is guiding its activities within the UN system, especially within ECOSOC. Along these lines we shall work in the UN Human Rights Commission. That is our platform for Croatia's activities within UNESCO, as well. We have recognised knowledge as a principal force of social transformations. In the years to come, our major challenge is to ensure not only the free flow of knowledge, but also to build capacity, and skills in terms of management, expertise and best practices. In this respect we also look towards UNESCO, which is both a global intellectual forum and a technical agency.

UNESCO has a comprehensive mandate under which it can develop a great deal of know-how and bring in particular strengths to bear in all of its fields of competence. Focusing on its strengths will bring further consolidation to UNESCO, and efficiency and visibility to its worthy activities./.

Thank you.


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  Nouvelle alternance réussie  
  La Croatie vote  
  Voir tous les éditos

  Guide touristique  
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  Journée découverte à Dubrovnik  
  Florilège de nouveaux guides touristiques  
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  Voir liste complète

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