On 6 December 2015, at the invitation of Mr Gérard Larcher, President of the French Senate, Ms Irina Bokova addressed the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in the framework of the twenty-first session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21).
For the first time in the history of IPU, parliamentarians, under the chairmanship of H.E. Saber Chowdhury of Bangladesh, adopted a binding final declaration that includes 22 resolutions by which they undertake to assess progress in fighting climate change through the establishment of a mechanism for monitoring results on an annual basis. This underlines a determined commitment to fulfil the role of parliamentarians at the grassroots level and with local authorities in combating climate change.
“This is a strong sign of parliaments’ ability to make a difference through grassroots and by being a rallying force”, declared Irina Bokova.
The Director-General spoke in favour of global cooperation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for COP 21, highlighting 70 years of UNESCO’s determination and tireless commitment, alongside governments and populations, through scientific research for sustainable development for future generations.
The meeting was attended by nearly 450 participants from some 73 countries, including 254 parliamentarians and 13 presidents of Parliament, to discuss the effects of climate disruption and the means to curb them.
During a bilateral meeting with Mr Larcher, the President of the French Senate welcomed UNESCO’s action for the protection of world heritage in conflict areas, noting that damage to cultural heritage affects societies at their very heart.
The Director-General emphasized that the destruction of cultural heritage was part of a strategy to destabilize societies and undermine cultural diversity. In this connection, she informed Mr Larcher of UNESCO’s efforts in combating youth radicalization and violent extremism through education.
The President of the Senate mentioned the close link between youth violence and the responsibility we have to influence people’s behaviour in order to combat global warming by focusing on education for sustainable development, which is contingent upon the recognition of our interdependence in terms of preserving the planet.