By Pius NYUYLIME, Cameroon Tribune
The UNESCO Director General came, saw and went leaving behind profound rekindled hopes for a brighter cooperation.
Those who are ignorant of the contribution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the enhancement of Cameroon’s educational, traditional and cultural values and the promotion of science and research must have wondered why the visit of the organization’s Director General, Irina Bokova attracted a lot of State interest.
That notwithstanding, the normal question on many minds now that the visit is over is; what next? This certainly may sound a bit rhetorical, but hoes of a visit of this nature would surely be pushed under the carpet if no palpable results can be sized up.
As one of the important agencies of the United Nations that works to create the conditions for genuine dialogue based upon respect for shared values and the dignity of each civilization and culture and one that has for long entertained in collaboration with Cameroon symbiotic views and actions geared at achieving the goals of the United Nations system, the coming into the country of its Director General could as well been simply to assess the milestone covered in the long standing cooperation with Cameroon. How best could Cameroon and UNESCO appreciate the fruits of their cooperation especially in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations?
In effect, all actions undertaken by the two entities as underscored in the toasts presented at the Official Lunch at the Unity Palace by President Paul Biya and Irina Bokova have so far been geared towards fighting poverty, achieving basic education, eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and ensuring sustainable environmental protection. The attribution of an honorary doctorate (Honoris Causa) in Science of Education to Irina Bokova tells of the nation’s recognition to the support of the UNESCO agency in the creation and development of the Higher Teachers Training College (ENS) Yaounde from 1961 to 1968.
The flames of cooperation will certainly remain burning, considering the number of projects in progress and those awaiting support. Going by the statement of the Director General, actions ahead ought to hinge on several challenges including the most pressing; that of development emergencies, the fight against poverty and inequality. One of such emergencies is the reigning insecurity in the Central African Republic, religious extremism in Nigeria, and risk of Ebola which are all affecting directly or indirectly, the Cameroon nation. The new dispensation for Africa and for UNESCO within the framework of the UN quest to define the World development agenda after 2015 is to make the continent a global priority.
How could it have been otherwise considering that almost all the stakes of the planet earth pass through the African continent? Some of these, as enumerated by Bokova herself are global warming, fight against poverty, youth development, geometric demographic growth and immense natural resources. As the curtains closed on the visit of the UNESCO official, hopes remain high on a deeper cooperation especially that which is axed on training, professionalization, research, information and communication and health promotion.