Organized jointly by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNESCO
Paris (France), 3-6 June 1996

The Parliamentary Vision for Education, Culture and Communication
on the Eve of the 21st Century


General Considerations
Findings and Recommendations

General information on the Conference

"Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed"

UNESCO Constitution, 1946

Fifty years ago, leaders from around the world solemnly declared that ignorance of each other's ways and lives and the denial of the democratic principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect were common causes of war. Determined to advance the objectives of international peace and the common welfare of mankind through education and scientific and cultural relations among the peoples of the world, they created the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

While the world has evolved and radically changed in the intervening years, the soundness of their vision remains true today. Ignorance, intolerance, exclusion, underdevelopment and poverty are root causes of the conflict, strife and violence which plague the world. The task of building a culture of peace remains as urgent as ever to counter the prevailing culture of conflict. This also requires sustained efforts to overcome today's glaring inequalities and injustices. It means promoting enhanced living standards and increased opportunities for the hundreds of millions of people who today live in poverty and despair. Action to promote peace and development go hand in hand.

The world on the eve of the 21st century is marked by proximity and interdependence created by instantaneous communication, the spread of science and technology and the emergence of a world-wide economic and trading system. No nation is any longer an island, entire of itself; all are affected, even if very unequally, by the same global forces and developments. The world community is no longer a tentative hypothesis or distant hope. Today's reality is one where all humankind constitutes a single neighbourhood.

At this juncture, a foremost challenge confronting humanity is that of creating a world of greater solidarity; one of greater justice and equality, of sharing and mutual respect and in which the well-being of each is seen to depend upon the promotion of the well-being of all.

We therefore welcome the initiative of UNESCO and its Director General to invite the Inter-Parliamentary Union to a far-reaching reflection on the objectives for education, culture and communication to be pursued into the next century and the proposed programmes and activities of UNESCO through its Medium-Term Strategy, 1996-2001. As representatives of the Parliaments members of the IPU, we have appreciated the opportunity to discuss the many different aspects of this strategy and find that its underlying objectives are fully consonant with the aspirations of people throughout the world: to reach the unreached, to include the excluded, to facilitate the exercise of civil rights and the participation of everyone in development, and despite disagreements and differences to learn to live and build together a better world.

After careful review, we members of Parliaments from around the world, declare our support for UNESCO's Medium-Term Strategy, 1996-2001, and set out in the attached Findings and Recommendations our suggestions for its implementation which focus on providing the kind of education which is needed in the society of tomorrow which includes education for peace, human rights and democracy, tolerance and international understanding, enhancing the heritage and promoting creativity, encouraging cultural pluralism and dialogue between cultures, and guiding the information revolution so that it will contribute to a better world.

We pledge ourselves to promote co-operation between our respective Parliaments and UNESCO and, conversely, encourage UNESCO to work more closely with the parliamentary institution in all countries, as well as at the regional and global level. Nationally, we urge members of Parliament to take a closer interest and play a more active role in the National Commissions for UNESCO that exist in most States and serve to join UNESCO's action in pursuit of national objectives in education, science, culture and communication.

At the international level, we encourage a closer co-operation with the world organization of Parliaments - the Inter-Parliamentary Union - as well as with regional organizations and assemblies. We call for regular consultations through such mechanisms as joint committees and the holding of periodic specialised conferences to ensure the diffusion of culture and the education of all for justice and freedom as a means of building an enduring peace founded on the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity.

Findings and Recommendations


1. The world on the eve of the 21st century is characterized by globalization, with the attendant risk of standardization, and by growing interpenetration in all areas: economic, social, cultural and ecological. Yet, beneath this reality lurks a wide variety of strikingly different situations. There is no longer one South but many, and the North is beginning in some ways to resemble the South. Expansion is increasingly accompanied by exclusion. The world, in short, is in transition and in search of new points of reference and sources of stability.

2. At this juncture, UNESCO has a specific and crucial role to play to advocate the development of human resources, to assist in the development or reinforcement of endogenous capacities and to encourage the international community to invest in human creativity, that is, in the creation, acquisition, transfer and sharing of knowledge. This, above all, involves overcoming such obstacles as illiteracy and inadequate education systems. In the new century and millennium that are about to dawn, the resources that will count most will be intelligence, creativity, adaptability and ready access to the accumulated knowledge of humanity. Knowledge will be needed in many forms and for many purposes: to preserve the environment, control population growth, assure access by all to science and technology, to reinforce communication capacities and facilitate the free flow of information and to foster social cohesion and democratic participation. Knowledge will be the motive power of progress and change.

3. Policies for education, culture and communication must also be pursued with the objective of creating a culture of peace. Creating such a culture implies a determined commitment to work for a world acceptable to all. It involves the creation of an environment for living that is consistent with human dignity, in which all those who are excluded, isolated and marginalized would find an opportunity for genuinely becoming part of society. The great challenge of the 21st century is in fact the elimination of poverty, unemployment and their attendant ills, the better integration of youth in society, the de facto establishment of equality of rights between men and women, more equitable sharing of both prosperity and knowledge, and the possibility for everyone to receive an education or to return to education. It also implies consolidation of democratic processes, because only democracy can ensure the rule of law and the respect of all rights.

4. Parliaments and Governments must devote full attention to these matters. Parliaments in particular must ensure that adequate budgetary resources are allocated for the implementation of national policies and programmes which foresee full community involvement. To bolster their efforts to that end, developing countries must be able to count on increased support from the rich countries and the international community.

Education for the 21st Century

5. The Conference emphasizes that educational choices are, above all, choices of society and hence political choices. These choices must therefore be the subject of extensive democratic debate, not only as to the means, but also as to the goals of education. If it is to be fruitful, this debate must involve Parliaments, public opinion and the media and must be based on an objective and rigorous assessment of education systems that takes into account both their current performance and their future potentialities. Without such an analysis to clarify issues and choices, debates over educational reform are likely to generate more heat than light.

6. To help them in making this analysis, members of Parliament will find an excellent source of information in Learning: The Treasure Within, the report of the independent International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century established by UNESCO. The mandate of this Commission is encapsulated in the question: "What kind of education is needed for what kind of society tomorrow?" The debate on this subject showed that it is difficult to offer meaningful advice to educators throughout the world who work in an extraordinary diversity of situations. This explains why the report focuses particularly upon world-wide development and on forces that are having an impact on all societies, the process of globalization foremost among them. The participants noted that rapidly increasing interdependence has created a "multirisk" world in which pattern and predictability have been diminished and uncertainties have greatly increased.

7. One of the dangers of this trend revealed in the Conference debates is the growing gulf that is opening between a minority of people prepared to operate successfully in this new world environment, which depends upon access to knowledge and technology, and a growing majority of others who are at the mercy of events and have no say in the future of their societies, a development that poses a serious threat to democracy. It is therefore urgent to steer the world toward greater mutual understanding, a stronger sense of responsibility and increased solidarity among peoples of different cultures and faiths. Education, by providing access to knowledge for all, has precisely this universal task of helping people to understand the world and to understand others in order that they may better understand themselves.

8. The Conference debates also showed that education has a crucial role to play in promoting social cohesion and democratic participation. It is, thus, imperative that all those involved in examining educational policies, parliamentarians among them, explore the strength and content of the values on which the integration and cohesion of societies depend, including the concept of the nation, the sense of belonging and the democratic ideal that guides and inspires political action. Education cannot by itself solve the problem of severed or dissolving social ties, but it can help to foster a desire to live together, which is at the root of social cohesion and national identity. Indeed, among its most important functions must be that of preparing informed citizens capable of understanding that development is not a natural force to be endured and coped with as best they can, but a complex set of social and political choices that they - as economic, political and social actors - are capable of influencing. The Conference considers that education must also serve as a laboratory and workshop for developing the attitudes and values that must prevail if the objectives of development and peace are to be achieved. Is there any better way of modelling all the attitudes and types of behaviour that make up a "culture of peace" than through instruction, teaching and the personal interaction that education involves?

9. Participants noted that educational policies must be aimed at achieving three essential goals: building a world in which there is greater solidarity and a stronger sense of our interdependence and shared destiny, helping to establish or renew democracy, and contributing to a development that is, at once, humane and sustainable. Yet, even to the extent that there is agreement about these goals, there is debate as to how to achieve them. The formulation of educational policies is beset by tensions: between the global and the local, the universal and the individual, the public and the private, the traditional and the modern, the long-term and the short-term, the spiritual and the material, the exponential expansion of knowledge and the more or less constant capacity of human beings to assimilate it - to mention but a few of them. There is evidently no single answer nor "happy medium" that will resolve such tensions. The choices posed are difficult and demanding and will not disappear. They call for reason and open-mindedness and, where necessary, for rational political debate in Parliament and in the society.

10. In order to meet the requirements of the 21st century and to overcome the tensions to which they give rise, the Conference advocates that practical measures be taken to implement the concept of learning throughout life. Its main advantages are flexibility, diversity and accessibility in time and space. The Conference further advocates that life-long learning must be based on four fundamental types of learning, highlighted by the International Commission:

  • Learning to know, so as to acquire the instruments for understanding the world, which also involves learning to learn so that the capacity to acquire fresh knowledge can be continued throughout life.
  • Learning to do, so that everyone can be an actor as well as a thinker. While learning an occupational skill is certainly important, the ability "to do" is necessary in all aspects of life.
  • Learning to live together, in order to participate and co-operate with others in all human activities. The Conference places special emphasis on this dimension of education, given all the dangers in a world marked by ideologies that reject others in the name of a nation, an ethnic group or a religion. Among other things, this means "learning to desire to live together" by learning about other people, their history, traditions and spiritual values.
  • Learning to be, that is to have a greater capacity for autonomy and judgement, which goes together with strengthening the feeling of personal responsibility for our collective destiny.

11. Thus, learning throughout life goes beyond the traditional distinction between initial and continuing education, and involves rethinking the various stages of human life. The Conference stresses the importance of higher learning which contributes to training for research and could be the place for diffusing educational reform, introducing scientific progress in school learning and also impregnating the entire educational system with the ideas of humanism and dignity of the human person.

12. The Conference also stresses the importance of quality basic education since, as in any process, the first steps are often the most important. Basic education gives the individual his or her initial taste for learning and develops the skills that permit learning to continue throughout life. The Conference notes with appreciation the significant progress made in basic education since the World Conference on Education for All, convened in Jomtien (Thailand) in March 1990; this progress results also from the close co-operation among the four sponsoring agencies of the World Conference - UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank - and their numerous regional and national partners. This represents an example of the type of co-ordination and co-operation that is required of the United Nations system in confronting major global problems.

13. The debates showed, however, that while the overall results appear promising, serious problems remain. They emphasized two critical issues: the continuing gender gap and the growing regional disparities, especially the problems of education in sub-Saharan Africa. While a higher proportion of children of both sexes were enroled in school in 1995 than in 1990, enrollment of boys increased more rapidly than that of girls in the 6 to 11 year age-group. Moreover, the social impact of education of women and girls appears particularly important. As compared to women without schooling, women with even a primary education tend to have lower fertility rates, to be more likely to protect the health of their children through immunization and other measures, and to ensure that their children, girls as well as boys, attend and complete school. Closing the gender gap is thus a vital development concern: one that it appears requires a good deal more thought - to find innovative approaches that overcome social and cultural sensitivities - as well as effort. Education for women and girls must be the priority of priorities within the field of education.

14. Another urgent issue raised in the Conference debates was the serious difficulties that many African countries are facing. The rate of growth of primary enrollment between 1990 and 1995 was only 2.3 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, lower than the rate of growth of the population and only about half the rate achieved in East Asia and Oceania (4.5%). In part, this is caused by constraints in the supply of educational places brought on by austerity and budget crises but, increasingly, it also reflects a declining demand for schooling. This decline in demand appears to be related both to a reduction in employment opportunities and to the depressing conditions in which schooling takes place in many poor countries. After considering this question, parliamentarians agreed that considerably augmented resources were needed to support education in Africa.

15. There are also serious deficiencies in the pre-schooling of children in the developing countries where significant progress in this area is rare. The Conference thus urges Governments and the international financial bodies to mobilize the resources needed to ensure this schooling rapidly. Moreover, many developing countries have in recent years been able to increase the rate of enrollment in basic education through a strategy of "part-time schools" by which they have partly overcome the obstacles to schooling caused by the lack of educational infrastructures. Today, given the extreme poverty of most of the inhabitants of these countries and the almost complete absence of programmes for recreational activities for children, it would be appropriate to create "full-time schools" in order to halt the vicious circle of poverty - ignorance - poverty. Such measures would also enable women to be better integrated in the world of production and would also give them the possibility of being reintegrated in the educational system and offer them more time to enjoy the cultural life of their society.

16. The development of education in fact calls for a vast increase in international assistance to education in developing countries. UNESCO is an effective instrument for international co-operation in education, but its present resources do not permit it to meet existing needs, to say nothing of anticipated future needs. Hence, increasing international co-operation in education implies enhancing UNESCO's capacities to serve the world community in this area.

17. The Conference recommends that the programme of the Special Account for Voluntary Contributions for World Literacy Work be revitalized and its finances strengthened, and that an attempt be made to mobilize new sources of funding. It proposes that the Account be used to finance innovative pilot projects and to expand literacy programmes that have proven their value, on the basis of objective criteria defined by UNESCO. It invites the IPU and UNESCO to consider examining the problem of external debt and its impact on the implementation of literacy programmes in particular, and educational programmes in general.

18. Lastly, the debates stressed that Parliaments are involved with education in numerous ways and that one of their major tasks is to approve a national educational strategy. This is true even in countries where education is a state or provincial rather than national function, although in the latter case the strategy may be presented in the guise of a set of guidelines or goals. Indeed, education is so intimately involved with the future of the State that it cannot be neglected or altogether delegated to other authorities. Parliamentarians are also called upon to take decisions - often very difficult ones - regarding the allocation of funding to the education sector. Inevitably, the needs of schools and institutions exceed the resources available. While not all needs can be met, the Conference urges that education be accorded a top priority in national budgets: it is an investment not only in a country's future, but in that of humanity as well.

Culture and Development in the 21st Century

19. The debates on the subject of the interactions between culture and development, enriched by the report of the World Commission on Culture and Development entitled Our Creative Diversity, demonstrate that the classical concept of development is too narrow and too focused on the production of goods rather than the enrichment and enlargement of human choices. By giving pride of place to the means of development and neglecting its ends, this notion has so removed the development process from essential human needs and aspirations that it can no longer be sustained. This position has been constantly reaffirmed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union since the early 1990s and has led it and others to suggest a new way of thinking about and defining development: as a widening of human choices, not just an increase in income. Under this definition, development includes access to knowledge, health, a clean physical environment, preservation of cultural heritage, shared community life, democratic freedoms and other choices. Indeed, culture and development will be among the major issues of the next decades.

20. The Conference debates emphasized the powerful impact that globalization is having on all aspects of life in societies around the world. What can be done to preserve and enrich the approximately 10,000 distinct cultures that exist today in the face of rapid globalization and "standardization" of ways of life? This poses subtle and complex problems. No culture is an island. All cultures influence and, in turn, are influenced by other cultures. Nor is any culture changeless, invariant or static. It is necessary to accept - and, indeed, encourage - the intermingling of cultures that globalization facilitates. Yet, the ruthless and thoughtless annihilation of cultures by overwhelming external influences must be rejected. To counter and control the forces of globalization, the Conference advocates the development of a new global scale of values, in effect, a global set of ethics that would define minimum standards that every community should observe. Such a set of global ethics should be based on five fundamental principles: human rights and responsibilities, democracy, the protection of minorities, commitment to peaceful conflict resolution, fair negotiation and promotion of equity and justice. The Conference also advocates the development of national and local capacities.

21. The debates revealed that cultural rights have been relatively neglected for a variety of reasons. This neglect, however, is now giving way to a widespread interest and growing emphasis on the importance of cultural rights which is probably due to the ending of the Cold War and the emergence of greater political freedom and cultural assertiveness. Indeed, by pushing political and economic factors into the background, these claims are sometimes the pretext for conflicts that, far from being "gentlemanly" disputes about lost art, invariably involve horrifying loss of human lives and large-scale destruction, like all armed conflicts.

22. The Conference therefore expressed grave concern at the need to ensure that cultural diversity does not fuel these excesses and explored ways of promoting harmony within multi-cultural societies. In this respect, the Conference stressed the importance of the equitable distribution of the fruits of development among the various communities of each State. The subject of cultural conflicts had preoccupied the World Commission on Culture and Development which, while it debated it at length, found no simple answers, no glib solutions to the problem of ethnic violence that is casting its dark shadow in many lands. It did, however, agree on one fundamental premise: "The most durable way to accommodate ethnic diversity is to create a sense of the nation as a civic community, rooted in values that can be shared by all ethnic components of the national society".

23. The Conference stressed how important it is for Parliaments to reinforce legislative and other measures in order to promote and defend cultural rights at the national level, inter alia, by reinforcing judicial sanctions for infringements of such rights. The Conference also recommends that international action be taken to ensure the protection and exercise of cultural rights, without this necessarily implying the establishment of new structures which would add a financial burden to the existing international organizations.

24. Cultural rights are human rights seen from the particular perspective of the defence and promotion of culture. For the most part, these rights are set out in a series of international instruments that are both general and specialized and of worldwide or regional scope and whose promotion and implementation Parliaments must foster. The Conference nonetheless took into account the proposal of the World Commission on Culture and Development to draw up an inventory of cultural rights both as a means of promoting an awareness of cultural rights and as a way of identifying any cultural rights which are not as yet adequately protected. The Conference felt that this question deserves to be further studied.

Information Highways and By-ways: Opportunities and Challenges

25. The information revolution is underway. The rapid development of information and communication technologies is increasingly affecting all aspects of life and the Conference stressed that governments, organizations and institutions, both public and private, and indeed society as a whole, need to adapt to a new technological environment in ways that maximize the opportunities at hand and minimize the potential dangers. To this end, the Conference stressed that it is important for countries to establish a comprehensive information policy which integrates modern information technologies. The Conference invites Parliaments and their members to participate fully in the development of such policies and to translate them into an appropriate legislative framework.

26. At the outset, the Conference stressed that every effort must be made to ensure that modern information technologies complement the more traditional methods of communication without replacing them. Even the remotest village harbours a wealth of indigenous knowledge and traditional cultural resources and everything must be done to continue to make full use of them. The Conference reaffirmed that communication approaches that derive their strength from the community, by using traditional media, are excellent for building partnerships on even the most complex development issues and should not be abandoned. Traditional media are based on local knowledge systems with community involvement. They speak directly to the world that villagers know in the language they understand and by using for instance traditional and popular media, nobody remains on the sidelines. The Conference called for increased attention and resources to be devoted to these methods of communication, both nationally and internationally.

27. As for the new information technologies, the Conference participants pointed to the enormous potential that they hold for reforming - and, indeed, transforming - education, science, culture and communication. But they also expressed concern that large parts of the world's population could be excluded from these benefits and condemned to suffer from "information malnutrition". There are over four billion people in the world without a telephone and an estimated 600,000 villages without electricity. Indeed, most of humanity still lives unconnected to any computer network and for these people life goes on much as it has in the past. The Conference expressed concern at the widening gap between rich and poor nations, manifest also in the field of modern information technologies, and called for every effort to be made to ensure that all have access to these technologies.

28. While the Conference agreed that the "information age" may not yet be at everyone's doorstep, it is already on telephone lines and will soon be reflected on television sets, and the personal computer has already changed the lives of millions of individuals. The Internet, which links a rapidly growing community of 60 million users, is having a tremendous impact in business and in such critical areas as education and health. Yet the Internet is only a "country lane" in comparison with the information superhighways that will become available when telephone and cable distribution companies begin to use their wires to transmit all kinds of information in a digital format. The coming information revolution will not only change the way we communicate, but the very way we live. It will overcome the barriers of time and space and progressively create a universal civilization that must complement rather than overwhelm national and local cultures.

29. Already the Internet is making spectacular advances in the developing countries of the world. Africa is trying to break out of its scientific and commercial isolation, despite the mediocre quality of its public telecommunications networks, by making the most of the new technology. By the end of 1996, only five or six African countries will have absolutely no contact with the Internet. The Conference felt that far from being unsuited to developing nations, the Net is well adapted. Its capital costs are low: all that is required is a personal computer, a modem and a normal telephone connection. And in many developing countries the culture of collective ownership and use of telephones means that only a small investment is required to get on the Net.

30. The Conference strongly urged that the Net should be designated a development tool of "public utility" in order that the cost of connecting to it can be kept as low as possible. It is precisely in the developing countries, where libraries, journals and newspapers are few, that the Internet can render its greatest service. It noted that in the field of science for example the major advantage of information highways is the possibility to access, share and disseminate scientific information more quickly, on a larger scale and in a more interactive format. The Conference stresses that this could be particularly beneficial to scientists in developing nations, who would not only have access to data bases not available in their countries, but could also have a real opportunity to collaborate with their colleagues elsewhere in the world. This can help relieve their isolation and could as well mitigate the South-to-North brain-drain. Moreover, the Conference underlined that in all countries modern information tools like the Net are rich in potential for strengthening education programmes and diversifying educational methods, especially by facilitating long-distance teaching.

31. The Conference recommends the establishment as soon as possible of links between Parliaments themselves and with their world organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in the form of hypertext links between their respective servers. Such a network would enable parliamentary co-operation to develop further and, particularly, make it possible for databases to be available at very low costs to the poorest Parliaments.

32. The Conference affirmed that technical progress is an inescapable reality. The real issue, as the debates highlighted, is how to exploit the potential of the information revolution without enduring all its dangers, which are many. In that context, the Conference expresses concern at the way in which the modern media almost exclusively are projecting Western images and lifestyles, thus unleashing a cultural invasion, devaluing and ultimately destroying ways of life that have evolved over centuries. In this way, passions, violence and conflict, unrestrained by the traditions, customs and civility of an established order, may become yet more brutal.

33. The Conference also felt that more information will not by itself produce positive development and change unless people are prepared to absorb, evaluate and apply it. There is therefore a clear need to prepare people for the future without devaluing their ancestral traditions and culture. Here, the Conference agreed, education in all its forms will play a particularly important role by linking the old to the new, change with continuity and by providing people with training on how to produce and send messages through all media - traditional as well as modern - and not to be merely the passive recipients of the communication of others. In confronting these puzzling choices, the Conference reminded decision-makers around the world that communication and development are not about wires - they are about people.

34. The Conference also called for better protection of intellectual property in order that the freedom of cyberspace not be endangered by pirates. Likewise, the Conference also called for greater transparency. One trillion dollars is transferred electronically each day, the sources or destinations of which are largely unknown. At the same time, concern was expressed that superhighways should not be subject to government censorship. Finally, the Conference expresses particular concern over the violent, vicious and vacuous messages that the media are capable of carrying into the homes of billions of people without their informed consent, sometimes jeopardizing family values. It therefore calls on Parliaments to give urgent attention to the development of effective remedial measures, bearing in mind the overriding imperative to preserve and strengthen freedom of expression.

35. The Conference believes that UNESCO is a major forum to discuss the developments and challenges of the information highways. It recommends that UNESCO envisage establishing, under its auspices, an Intergovernmental Council on issues related to information highways on which all regions would be represented.

Advancing International Co-operation

36. As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, UNESCO has gained wide recognition as an effective instrument for international co-operation in its field. There is every indication that its workload will increase in coming decades as information and knowledge occupy an ever growing importance in all aspects of life. The Conference therefore calls upon all the members of the Organization and the international community to provide UNESCO with the moral and financial support that will enable it to meet this challenge.

37. UNESCO has embarked on the necessary process of adaptation in order to meet the demands of the world of tomorrow. The Medium-Term Strategy provides an analysis of the priorities of today and tomorrow in UNESCO's fields of competence and the implications of these changes in the world for the Organization's structure and working methods. The Conference therefore encourages it to continue in the directions opened up by this Strategy.

38. The work of UNESCO cannot succeed without the active support of the peoples of the world. Parliaments, composed of the elected representatives of the people, are the most logical and legitimate institutions to represent the interests of the various components of the civil society. Action by Parliaments and their members is essential in providing the legislative framework and funds for national action in education, science, culture and communication as well as in guiding and overseeing governmental action in these fields. It is also needed to implement nationally the plans and programmes which States have developed at the international level. Such action is equally needed in relaying and explaining to the public the underlying issues and, therefore, in forging popular support for national and international action.

39. The Conference therefore strongly encourages UNESCO to forge new partnerships with national Parliaments and emphasizes the important role that parliamentarians can play by actively participating in and supporting the work of the National Commissions for UNESCO that exist in most countries. Moreover, the Conference urges UNESCO to work with the official regional parliamentary organizations and assemblies.

40. At the global level, the Inter-Parliamentary Union is well placed to promote closer ties between its members and UNESCO, and is firmly committed to do so. The IPU's work for peace and international co-operation and for the promotion of democracy complements and reinforces UNESCO's action in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. The recent emphasis that UNESCO has placed upon building a culture of peace makes such co-operation all the more necessary and urgent.

41. To reinforce their co-operation, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNESCO could consider concluding an agreement which would provide an institutional character for this co-operation. As regards the practical content of their co-operation, it could include the regular holding of conferences on the major themes that underlie UNESCO's action, thus giving concrete follow-up to the present Conference, or, among other projects, the establishment of a Joint Commission along the lines of the body which had worked during the 1960s. In doing so, UNESCO would both reinforce a long-standing link with a valued partner while opening a new channel of dialogue and interaction with the most representative institution of the civil society, Parliament.



  • Mr. Federico Mayor, Director General of UNESCO
  • Mr. François Bayrou, Minister for Education, Higher Learning and Scientific Research of France
  • Mr. Philippe Séguin, President of the French National Assembly
  • Mr. René Monory, President of the French Senate
  • Mr. Ahmed Fathy Sorour, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council
  • Mr. Pierre Cornillon, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union


President: Mr. Ahmed Fathy Sorour, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council

  • Mr. Claude Huriet (France)
  • Mr. Jaime Mario Trobo (Uruguay)


Education for the 21st Century: Policies and Priorities

  • Mr. Bronislaw Geremek, Member of the Diet of Poland
  • Mr. Victor Ordoñez, Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCO)

Culture and Development in the 21st Century: Pluralism, Diversity and Creativity

  • Mr. Mahbub ul Haq, Member of the World Commission on Culture and Development
  • Ms. Lyndel V. Prott, Chief, International Standards Section (UNESCO)

Information Highways and By-ways: Opportunities and Challenges

  • Mr. Babacar Fall, General Coordinator of the Panafrican News Agency
  • Ms. Anamaria Decock, Senior Population Communication Specialist (FAO)


President: Mr. Claude Huriet (France)
Rapporter: Ms. Kadri Ottis (Estonia)
Members: Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Abdellah (Egypt), Mr. Salikou Berte (Mali), Mr Youri Chtchekotchikhine (Russian Federation), Mr. Nilson Gibson (Brazil), Ms. Bahia Hariri (Lebanon), Ms. Marwah Daud Ibrahim (Indonesia), Mr. Evgeni Kirilov (Bulgaria), Mr. Ananth Kumar (India), Ms. Joyce Mashamba (South Africa), Ms. Lelis Paez Sanchez (Venezuela)


Inter-Parliamentary Union: Mr. Alain Valtat, Secretary of the Conference
UNESCO: Mr. John Ryan, Coordinator for the Conference


I. Member Parliaments and Associate Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

(i) Algeria, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kazakhstan , Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia

(ii) Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

II. Observers

(i) Palestine

(ii) United Nations Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), League of Arab States, Organization of African Unity (OAU)

(iii) Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization, Amazonian Parliament, Baltic Assembly, Union of African Parliaments

(iv) International Association of Universities, International Institute of Communication, International Publishers Association, International Social Science Council, World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations

III. Permanent Delegations and Observer Mission to UNESCO

(i) Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan , Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Slovakia, Sudan, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia

(ii) Palestine

Specialized meetings | Home page | Main areas of activity | Structure and functioning