Today, we as an IFMSA delegation are joining the UNESCO International Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations. The delegation is composed of Diogo Martins (IFMSA LO UNESCO & Head of Delegation), Lucas Scherdel (Medsin-UK), Luiza Bastos (IFMSA SCORE Director), Mouna Hentati (Associamed-Tunisia), Murat Aksoy (TurkMSIC-Turkey), and Nitchakorn Tangsathapornpanich (IFMSA-Thailand).
About the Conference
It is a key forum in which UNESCO’s official NGO partners to meet and hold discussions, with its primary purpose being to “review the state of cooperation with UNESCO […] and facilitate cooperation between organisations having common interests”. The 2014 Conference will focus on the theme “Re-enchanting the World with the Post-2015 Development Agenda” and will be organised around the following four sub-themes:
- “The involvement of NGOs for the promotion of Quality Education in the Post-2015 Agenda”
- “Water and Sustainable Development: From Awareness-Raising to Decision-Making”
- “Enhancing Cultural Heritage and Fostering the Diversity of Cultural Expression”
- “Climate Change: Acting Now”
First day of the conference, Mr. Eric Falt (Unesco Assistant-Director for External Relations and Public Information) and Mr. Patrick Gallaud (Chairperson of the International Conference) made an official opening speech which implicated the importance of collaboration within UNESCO. As an introductory lecture, Mr. Gilles Van der Pooten (Director of Reporters of Hope) stressed the importance of media as a tool for UNESCO’s partner campaigns. Then, the agenda of the conference was adopted and the liaison committee presented their 2012-2014 financial and activity reports.
As a delegation, we listened to the presentations of the candidatures, taking careful note of the representation of the priorities of IFMSA. After all candidatures were given, we joined the social event of the conference organised by UNESCO and met with some fellow inspiring NGOs.
As the conference moves on, IFMSA will work to raise the profile of youth in this important inter-cultural process. Diogo Martins, delegation leader, gave an intervention about the use of social media in inclusion of youth and there is a general buzz amongst NGOs about a move towards a greater and more representative voice of youth.
Tomorrow, we hope to liaise with other youth actors within the UNESCO system to present a joint statement on the role and value of youth in the UNESCO process. For now, we anticipate a positive and involved response!