GHANA’S CONTRIBUTION TO UNESCO’S WORK
Since Ghana became a Member State of UNESCO, the Natcom has coordinated and implemented various projects within the fields of Education, the Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information towards the growth and development of the country.
- Ghana had the privilege of hosting the first Africa Regional Centre for Educational Information and Research of the organization as far back as 1961. The centre shortly after its establishment became the hub of educational information in the entire continent of Africa. The Centre was moved to Dakar in 1969.
- Under the Organization’s decentralization and reform programme which started in 2000, Ghana played host to the UNESCO Cluster Office, serving Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Togo, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- Ghana was the first African country south of the Sahara to be elected Chairman of the Executive Board of UNESCO (Mr. Patrick Seddoh, 1984 – 1985) and also the first African country to have a lady representative on the Executive Board of the Organization (Mrs. Therése Striggner-Scott).
- Ghana has served several times on the 58-Member Executive Board of UNESCO since 1972. Ghana has also served on the Legal Committee of the Organization many times. At the 31st and 33rd Sessions respectively of the General Conference of UNESCO Ghana was elected as one of the Vice Presidents.
- Many Ghanaians have occupied enviable positions at the UNESCO Secretariat in the past. We recall Mr. J. Atta Kusi, Director, International Standards and Legal Affairs; Rev. (Dr.) Emmanuel Apea, UNESCO Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS; Prof. Adzei Bekoe, UNESCO-ROSTA, Kenya; Mr. F. L. Bartels, Advisor to Assistant Director-General; Dr. Aggrey Ntim, Director, UNESCO Cluster Office in South Africa. Until recently, the UNESCO Cluster Office in Kingston, Jamaica was headed by a Ghanaian in the person of Dr. Kwame Boafo.
- Ghana’s contribution to the work of the Organization was recognized in 2001, when the then Director-General, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, awarded the UNESCO Einstein Medal to the Secretary-General, Mr. John Kusi-Achampong, for his meritorious and dedicated services to Ghana and UNESCO. In a citation read by the Director-General at a ceremony in Paris, the Ghana Commission for UNESCO was described as the strongest in Sub-Saharan Africa and one of the best in the world. The country has also won commendation for its output in the Associated Schools Project Network.
- Dr. Grace Bediako, formerly Ghana Government’s Statistician is recognized as Chairperson of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), appointed by the Director-General in 2009.
- Ghana served on the International Coordinating Council of the Programme on Man and Biosphere (MAB). The country was elected in 2011 at the 36th General Conference. The country will end the four-year term in 2015. Ghana’s representative on the MAB Coordinating Council is Mr. Daniel Amlalo, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Prof. Alfred A. Oteng-Yeboah, Chairman of the National Bioethics Committee is Ghana’s representative on the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC), appointed in 2011. The country will complete its term this year, after the 37th General Conference.
- Ghana, together with Mexico and the Russian Federation submitted a proposal for the declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Light by the UN in October, 2012.