The Director-General met Mr Iqbal Omar, Minister of Education of Iraq on 5 November 2015 in the framework of the 38th session of the General Conference.
The Minister stressed the unprecedented human impact of the current crisis – affecting the daily lives of the Iraqi population in particular more than 3 million internally displaced people. There are more than 500,000 children, many of them young girls, that remain out-of-school. In the face if the immense strain caused by the crisis and imposed on the Government, international support is needed in order to assist the Iraqi authorities in ensuring that basic services are provided to all affected including children. The Director-General pledged her commitment to step-up advocacy efforts to mobilize international funding in favor of IDP education in Iraq; and further strengthen UNESCO assistance to the Iraqi authorities in this field.
The Director-General and the Minister also discussed ways to address the continuous challenge posed by illicit trafficking of cultural objects in Iraq. It is a tragic cultural loss, and also a security concern as illicit trafficking contribute to the financing of terrorism and, thus, further fueling the conflict. The Director-General informed the Minister of UNESCO’s engagement, leading global efforts for awareness and implementation of the prohibition of cross-border trade of cultural objects originating from Iraq and Syria, established by UN Security Council Resolution 2199.