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Relations between China and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

China is one the founding member countries of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). On 29th October 1971, the Executive Board of UNESCO decided to restore China's legitimate seat in this Organization, thus becoming the first UN Specialized Agency to do such a thing. On October 1972, China attended the 17th General Conference of UNESCO for the first time and was elected as member of the Executive Board. Since then, China has attended all the General Conferences of UNESCO and been the member of the Executive Board. On March 1974, China sent its Permanent Mission to UNESCO. On February 1979, the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO was established. On May 1984, UNESCO sent representative (science and technology) to China. In 1990, the UNESCO Office in Beijing was established.

In 2000, China participated in the UNESCO activities continuously.

On 15 May, the 159th Session of the Executive Board was convened in Paris. One Chinese delegation attended this meeting. The meeting discussed the reform progress report and adjustment plan about the budget and programs 2000-2001 presented by Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, the new Director-General of UNESCO. The meeting also discussed the subject-UNESCO In The Globalised World. The Chinese Delegation joined the discussion actively and supported the reform measures introduced by the Director-General.

On 22nd August, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO paid an official visit to China on the invitation of Mrs. Chen Zhili, Minister of Education. Premier Zhu Rongji, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, Minister of Education Chen Zhili, Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng as well as Minister of Science and Technology Zhu Lilan held meetings with Mr. Koichiro Matsuura separately. Mrs. WeiYu, Vice Minister of Education and Director-General of the China National Commission on UNESCO, held talks with Mr. Koichiro Matsuura. During the Director-General's visit, the Chinese side expressed its satisfaction with the cooperation between China and UNESCO in the field of education for all, cultural heritage and preservation of natural resources, hoping that such cooperation could be consolidated.

On October 9th, the 160th Session the Executive Board of UNESCO was convened in Paris. The meeting discussed the reform of UNESCO, the mid-term strategy 2001--2007 and the programs and budget 2002-2003. The Chinese Delegation supported and approved the reform plans of the Director-General, stressing that UNESCO should play a better role in educational, scientific, cultural and dissemination fields by cutting back on those activities which essentially are not UNESCO's responsibilities and respecting the sovereignty of the member states.

In 2001, China's relation with UNESCO continued to develop in a healthy and stable manner.

17 April Li Lanqing, vice PM of China's State Council visited the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Li paid tribute to the mutual cooperation when he met with Koichiro Matsuure, director-general of UNESCO. Li expressed China's willingness to continue its cooperation with UNESCO in every field. Li pointed out that the UN should not confine its role only in political field, but rather should play an even greater role in facilitating human progress in education, science & technology as well cultural field.

2-1-23 August The Fourth Meeting on Education for All (EFA) of Nine High-population Countries jointly organized by China and UNESCO took place in Beijing. Education ministers from Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and China as well as director-general of UNESCO and representatives of other international organizations attended the session. The session reviewed the progress made by the nine countries in EFA since the Dakar global EFA forum 2000 in Senegal and discussed ways and means of facilitating the education of the entire people by means of distant learning and new information technology. A "Beijing Declaration" was adopted as a follow-up to the goals mapped out at the Dakar forum. President Jiang Zemin met with the ministers and UNESCO director-general.

15 October , 3 November The Thirty-first General Assembly of UNESCO was convened. The assembly addressed and adopted the mid-term draft strategy of UNESCO 2002-2007, draft program and budget proposal 2002-2003. Over 80 items involving education, science, culture and diffusion were discussed. In addition, the election of the executive board and inter-governmental council took place. Zhang Xinsheng, vice minister of education and head of the Chinese delegation emphasized the need of UNESCO to focus on its own advantage in order to propel the education, science and culture in developing countries pursuant to the criteria of the organization. She proposed that steps should be taken to prevent the abuse of the information at the expense of the young people and teen-agers. China sought candidacy for membership in the Executive Board, International Bureau of Education, Inter-governmental Council for the General Information Program and Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation as well as the post of GA vice chairperson and was elected with success.

22-23 October A UNESCO minister-level Roundtable devoted to life ethics was held in Paris. China was represented by Cheng Jinpei, vice chairman of China's Ministry of Science & Technology.

In addition, China also sent its delegation to the 161st and 162nd Execution Board meeting and the Fifth Contracting Party Conference on the convention for the protection of the cultural heritage during the armed conflict convened in Paris on 5 November.

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