On 23 March, on the margins of the "Women in Parliaments Global Forum, Summit 2015" in Addis Ababa where she delivered the keynote address, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, held side meetings with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as well as with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Carlos Lopes, and the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica.
During her meeting with Ms Dlamini-Zuma, the Director-General referred to UNESCO’s commitment to work together with the African Union on Culture of Peace and underlined new areas of collaboration including education within the framework of the post-2015 development agenda and the Joint Programme on Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through Education that UNESCO launched with UN Women, UNFPA and the World Bank, as well as the quality of universities.
Ms Dlamini-Zuma reiterated their commitment to working with UNESCO and acknowledged the work done by UNESCO on the publication of the Book on Pan African Women Organization and the General History of Africa.
The focus of discussions with Mr Carlos Lopes was the upcoming meeting on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa. Mr Lopes provided an overview of their research and findings on domestic private funding resources in Africa, which he noted, are quite substantial. He also told the Director-General about their research regarding the impact of Ebola on African economic growth in 2014 and 2015. There was a general agreement that ECA and UNESCO could collaborate more on the creative economy. He noted that the share of the creative economy in Nigeria’s GDP was 6 %, even higher than the share of agriculture.
On the same day, the Director-General met with the newly appointed EU Commissioner for International cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica. The Director-General gave an overview on UNESCO’s collaboration with EU on the youth and suggested to expand this collaboration with a view to changing the narrative on youth and extremism through education and culture. She also referred to the upcoming discussion in the Security Council on extremism (in April). Mr Mimica noted their interest in expanding the collaboration with UNESCO and focusing on extremism as this represents an important element of the EU agenda on migration.
They also discussed gender equality and the Director-General highlighted this as a priority for UNESCO. Mr Mimica said that the EU is finalizing its gender equality agenda for 2020 and expressed strong interest in collaborating with UNESCO in this area. Finally, the Director-General shared the brochure of the Joint Programme on Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through Education with Mr Mimica and invited the EU to explore the possibility of joining this initiative.