His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway stressed the timeliness and relevance of the Organization’s role and mandate on its 70th anniversary in a speech on the opening day of the 38th session of UNESCO’s General Conference.
“UNESCO’s role and mandate is as important today as it was 70 years ago. Education, science, culture, communication and information are all essential in a world where people are increasingly interconnected and dependent on each other,” he declared.
Prince Haakon commended UNESCO for its leading role in promoting access to quality education for all; in fostering free, independent and pluralistic media; and in protecting cultural heritage and cultural diversity in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world.
The Crown Prince highlighted the centrality of education, safeguarding freedom of expression and preserving cultural heritage to ensure inclusive, equitable and sustainable development and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Earlier in the morning, he held meetings with representatives of the Organization’s Culture sector on the need to protect cultural heritage and UNESCO’s campaign #Unite4Heritage. He also met with representatives from the Education sector on the importance of education for sustainable development and global citizenship.
Prince Haakon also attended a lunchtime event with UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration. The Declaration provides States with the opportunity to commit support for education in situations of armed conflict.