Moroccan diplomacy believes the COVID-19 crisis to be an opportunity to reshape the world and make it more human-oriented.
Rabat – Morocco has called for an innovative, pragmatic, and inclusive multilateralism that places humans at the heart of its action during the 209th session of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board.
Morocco, represented by its Permanent Ambassador to UNESCO Samir Addahre, is one of the 58 member states of the board, with its mandate extending between 2017 and 2021.
The plenary session took place on Thursday, July 2, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
The collective international reflection should focus on the post-COVID-19 period and be human-oriented, Addahre said.
“In this period of great upheaval, UNESCO must respond to the expectations of the member states and the aspirations of their peoples for sustainable development, for solid international cooperation and partnerships, based on solidarity, respect, and dignity,” the Moroccan diplomat told the board.
The executive board’s mission, according to Addahre, is “mainly to redefine the role of UNESCO as a leader in education by laying the foundations for the future, to rethink education, climate, and social policies after COVID-19, and to strengthen [the] Priority Africa [program].”
After welcoming the “strategic” transformation of UNESCO under its current Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, Addahre considered that “the transformation must henceforth take into account the lessons and consequences of this unprecedented global crisis.”
“I hope that the Director-General will take the lead … for an innovative reflection on multilateralism,” he said, reiterating the importance of principles such as innovation, pragmatism, and inclusiveness.
According to the diplomat, UNESCO is entering a special and unprecedented phase during which several challenges will have to be met: “The health, social, and human distress which will result from [the COVID-19 crisis] unfortunately remains to be discovered. Consequently, we are all brought together to face a situation of uncertainty about the future developments of the crisis.”
“How can we prepare for the aftermath [of COVID-19] and with what tools?” Addahre asked, urging all member states to think about “reconstructing” societies rather than “restarting” them after the crisis.
“It is obvious that UNESCO … must bring us together to initiate lasting transformations in the dynamics of world society,” he said, calling for a rupture with “deleterious tendencies” that mark today’s world, such as “inequalities, environmental degradation, and inadequate governance.”
While welcoming the efforts deployed during the pandemic to build a “better world,” Addahre said “this momentum should be continued and accelerated.”
“If we want to live up to the commitments made and meet the multiple challenges posed by COVID-19, we must be mobilized together, member states and the secretariat, hand in hand, in order to learn lessons from the health crisis and take action and decisions that this new reality imposes on us,” he advocated.
“Let us not fall into the trap of thinking that the fragmented world revealed by the crisis … is the inevitable model for tomorrow. We will build our future together. Interdependence is a reality and multilateral cooperation is the key,” Addahre concluded.