On 5 February, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, met with H.E. Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council.
President Shein commended the action of the Director-General in UNESCO and highlighted his appreciation for the Organization's long-standing and valuable support to Tanzania.
While recognizing the great achievements made in education within the context of Education for All (EFA), President Shein noted that “challenges remain relating to the quality of education and teacher's training”.
The need to balance preservation and promotion of cultural heritage, the central role of cultural tourism and its socioeconomic benefits, were also at the heart of the discussion. President Shein called for UNESCO’s support to Zanzibar's action in safeguarding heritage and in preventing the collapse of historic buildings in the Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Director-General thanked the President for his commitment to UNESCO. In response to the President’s call for UNESCO’s reinforced cooperation, the Director-General assured him of the Organization's continuous cooperation in all its areas of competence and highlighted also the importance of community media as a tool for promoting girl's education and technical and vocational education and skills development for youth.
With regard to the challenges related to the preservation, maintenance and management of the cultural site of Stone Town, the Director-General expressed her appreciation for the Government's cooperative approach and underlined the excellent cooperation with the authorities of Zanzibar, in general, and the Municipality of Stone Town, in particular, with regard to developing Zanzibar as a pilot city for the implementation of UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape Recommendation. She assured the President of UNESCO's willingness to further accompany Zanzibar in its efforts.
During her stay in Zanzibar, the Director-General also held a roundtable, on 4 February, with Ministers in areas relevant to the competences of UNESCO. The roundtable was an opportunity for all to review existing cooperation for its further reinforcement.
The Director-General also went on a tour of the Stone Town, and visited the Museum as well as other historic places.