Sri Lanka was elected to the Executive Board of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for the period 2015-2019 receiving 149 votes at the 38th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris on 11th November 2015.
The country was placed third amongst the Asia –Pacific group after Malaysia and Vietnam ahead of the Republic of Korea, Pakistan, and Iran. The Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, will represent Sri Lanka as chairperson at this august assembly.
The Executive Board comprises 58 member States and oversees the overall management of the body. The functions and responsibilities of the Executive Board are derived primarily from the Constitution and from the rules and directives laid down by the General Conference.
“The election is a sign of confidence placed by the UNESCO member states on Sri Lanka in our commitment towards the organization’s ideals and aspirations and comes at an important juncture when the country is renewing ties the International community to usher in ethnic reconciliation durable peace and sustainable development”, states the Premanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO.
This win is attributable to the new Government’s vision for good governance and extending a hand of friendship to all nations.
Sri Lanka became a member State of UNESCO in 1949 and since then has been elected to the Executive Board on four occasions. The present win will give the country a mandate to pursue its initiatives in implementing policies and programmes in the field of education and sustainable development in keeping with UNESCO values and principles.
Sri Lanka has also pioneered the adoption of Vesak as a day of observance in the UN and organized events at UNESCO from 2012 to nurture the fundamental values of tolerance and cultural diversity.
Sri Lanka is home to eight world heritage sites declared by UNESCO, apart from being a State Party to many Agreements and Conventions of UNESCO .