During her presence in Madrid to attend the United Nations Chief Executives Board (CEB) Spring 2013 Session, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, met with the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain, Mr Jose Ignacio Wert.
Irina Bokova expressed her gratitude to the Minister for the excellent cooperation UNESCO enjoys with Spain.
She referred in particular to the country's commitment towards the preservation of World Heritage in all its aspects emphasizing its crucial role for social and economic development.
The Director-General invited the Minister to participate in UNESCO's International Congress on Culture and Development in May in Hangzhou, China, as well as to be part of the Thematic Debate on the same theme organized by the UN General Assembly In June in New York, as part of the global reflection on the role of culture in the UN post-2015 agenda.
Irina Bokova also highlighted the growing importance of culture for peace-building and reconciliation and referred, in this context, to her recent visit to Mali with French President Francois Hollande to offer UNESCO's support to the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of Malian ancient manuscripts.
Minister Wert thanked the Director-General for the invitation extended to him and concurred in emphasizing the pivotal role of culture and education in fostering participation, social inclusion and sustainable development. In that context, he stressed the importance of Technical and Vocational Education (TVET).
Irina Bokova seized the opportunity to reiterate her gratitude to the Government of Spain for the major funding it provided in the framework of the Spanish MDG-Fund for cultural projects and underlined again the importance of placing culture and development high on the global multilateral cooperation agenda.
The Director-General also informed the Minister of the successful UNESCO activities in Afghanistan, in the field of literacy and education of young girls.
The Director-General further underscored the Organization's leadership in Education for All and the Global Education First Initiative calling on the support of Spain in advancing these priorities.
In concluding, the Minister commended the Director-General for UNESCO's work in the area of intercultural dialogue and peace-building, and expressed his country's interest in strengthening cooperation with UNESCO in this area, together with the Alliance of Civilizations.