UNESCO [to 24 October 2015]
Selected Press Releases
Executive Board paves the way to the implementation of the Agenda 2030
22 October 2015
The 58 Members of UNESCO’s Executive Board today ended their 197th session, which was dedicated to the Organization’s governance and preparations for the General Conference of UNESCO. The Executive Board is chaired by Mohamed Sameh Amr, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Egypt to UNESCO.
During its session the Executive Board of UNESCO committed the Organization to pursue work on education in the framework of the newly adopted United Nations sustainable development goals and implement the outcomes of the World Education Forum 2015.
The Board also discussed UNESCO’s work towards implementing the 2030 Agenda and adopted important decisions thereon related, such as on investing for more efficient delivery in the implementation of this universal agenda, on a reinforced strategy and action for countering violent extremism through education and on the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict…
Statement by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova
20 October 2015
On 16 October, the Director General of UNESCO expressed concern about escalating violence around and against cultural and religious heritage in the Middle East.
Today, the Director-General expresses renewed deep concerns and, in this spirit, she has started broad consultations so as to encourage UNESCO Member States to pursue constructive dialogue in accordance with UNESCO’s mandate.
She deplores the recent proposals under discussion by the UNESCO Executive Board that could be seen to alter the status of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, and that could further incite tensions.
The Director-General appeals to the UNESCO Executive Board to take decisions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites.
The protection of cultural heritage should not be taken hostage, as this undermines UNESCO’s mandate and efforts.
“We all have responsibility to UNESCO’s mandate, to take decisions that promote dialogue, tolerance and peace,” said Irina Bokova. “This is especially important for young people, who should be nurtured and educated for peace.”
Jerusalem is a Holy Land of the three monotheistic religions, a place of dialogue for all Jewish, Christian and Muslim people. It is a mosaic of cultures and peoples, whose history has shaped the history of all humanity.
The Director-General has always appealed for dialogue and consensus so that UNESCO’s mandate of protecting World Heritage and promoting tolerance and mutual respect can be taken forward.
In this spirit, she reiterates today her calls to all parties to ensure that cultural heritage, including religious, is preserved and accessible to all and to resume dialogue in the spirit of mutual understanding.