On October 4, the 202nd session of the UNESCO Executive Board got under way in Paris.
The key issue on the session's agenda is the election of the organisation's new Director-General. The incumbent Director-General, Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), who was elected in 2009, is stepping down in November 2017. Standing for the post are candidates from Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Egypt, Qatar, China, Lebanon and France. The new Director-General will be elected by a secret ballot. The winner will be confirmed during the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference (October 30-November 14, 2017).
There are more than 40 items on the session's agenda. These include the draft programme and budget of UNESCO for 2018-2021, preparations for the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference, a draft global convention on the recognition of higher education qualifications, UNESCO's contribution to preventing violent extremism through educational programmes, the implementation of the Strategy for the Reinforcement of UNESCO's Action for the Protection of Culture and the Promotion of Cultural Pluralism in the Event of Armed Conflict, a draft declaration of ethical principles in relation to climate change, the safety of journalists and the establishment of institutes and centres under UNESCO auspices (including an international competence centre for mining engineering education at the St Petersburg Mining University) and other.
One of the focal points of the session will be a discussion of the Russian-proposed item calling on the United Nations to proclaim 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.
The 202nd session of the UNESCO Executive Board will run until October 18, 2017.