The UNESCO General Conference (GenCon) consists of the representatives of the Member States of UNESCO (or the Organization). It meets every two years and is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers from non-Member States, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The 39th GenCon brought together the Organization’s Member States, which determined UNESCO’s budget and the direction of its programmes and activities for the next two years. Heads of State attended UNESCO’s Leaders Forum, which had the theme “Sustainable Development and UNESCO’s Role in the Multilateral System.” Some 200 government ministers, mostly education and culture ministers, also attended the General Conference.
The Philippine Delegation was headed by Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones, and attended by National Commission for Culture and Arts Chair Virgilio Almario, Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr., Philippine Ambassador to France Teresa Lazaro and PH NatCom Secretary General Lila Ramos Shahani.
Various side events were conducted, with presentations and debates on key issues in each of UNESCO’s fields of competence: education, science and technology, social and human sciences, communication and information, and culture.