On 25 September, Irina Bokova met with HE Mr Erlan Idrisov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, in the context of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
The Foreign Minister thanked the Director-General for her leadership in taking forward the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Culture (2013-2022), which was sponsored by Kazakhstan. He underlined the importance that Kazakhstan attaches to the International Decade as a platform for promoting dialogue and people to people contacts. In this context, he invited Ms Bokova to attend the Congress of World Religions that Kazakhstan will host in June 2015, highlighting the need to deepen inter-religious dialogue and to promote greater contacts between religious and political leaders.
The Director-General stressed her commitment to the success of the International Decade and to raising its visibility. She noted the possibility of organising an event during the UN General Assembly session in September 2015, including prominent global voices for inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.
The Foreign Minister highlighted Kazakhstan's commitment to participating actively in the upcoming expert meeting to take forward the Action Plan for the International Decade in December this year. He noted also the desire of Kazakhstan to link the series of conference on the 'great migrations of humanity' with the International Decade. Discussion followed on the importance of the silk roads project, with the Director-General congratulating Kazakhstan on the recent inscription of the Silk Route sites on the World Heritage List, jointly with Kyrgyzstan and the People's Republic of China.
Irina Bokova also thanked the Foreign Minister for organising the first inter-regional meeting of National Commissions for UNESCO in Kazakhstan in July 2014, demonstrating the country's commitment to strengthening cooperation and the sharing of good practices.
The Foreign Minister invited UNESCO to contribute actively to the Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan -- namely on the issues of climate change and renewable energy. The Director-General noted that the concept of renewable energy had been pioneered by UNESCO in the late 1960s and pledged UNESCO's intention to participate fully.
Irina Bokova concluded the meeting by thanking Kazakhstan for its support to UNESCO, noting the importance of the country's leadership for the Organisation.