| Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and |
Eleonora Mitrofanova, Chairperson of UNESCO’s Executive Board© UNESCO/Patrick Lagès
The Board voted on the request for Palestinian membership on October 5. Forty members voted in favour of admission, four against and there were 14 abstentions. The Board’s recommendation for admission will now be submitted to UNESCO’s General Conference (26 October to 10 November), where it requires a two-thirds majority vote to become effective.
The 58 Board Members also approved proposals to reform and reinforce UNESCO’s action in Africa through a strengthened network of field offices, which the Director-General stressed on several occasions as an absolute priority for the Organization.
"UNESCO is moving ahead very strongly with African priorities," Irina Bokova said. "I am determined to focus on the Priority Africa programme so that it becomes an effective instrument for developing education, for giving young people the tools with which to find jobs, and for giving recognition to African culture."
The Board also considered the issue of the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences. After extensive debate it decided by consensus to establish a working group to undertake further consultations with a view to achieving a conclusion on the issue by the Board’s meeting in the spring of 2012.