On 11 December 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with Minister of Foreign Minister of El Salvador, Hugo Martinez, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
On this occasion, the Director-General thanked El Salvador for its continued support to UNESCO, and commended its commitment to the work of the Governing Bodies of the Organization. The Director-General and the Minister discussed various areas of cooperation, such as networks in higher education, including UNESCO Chairs, academic mobility, education for a culture of peace and lifelong learning of new generations for deeper civic engagement. This year, El Salvador is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the signing of its Chapultepec Peace Accords that ended thirteen years of civil war (1979 to 1992).
The Minister underscored the importance of the protection and preservation of cultural property, and referred to the excellent conservation of the Joya de Cerén archaeological site, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1993. He welcomed the designation of the Trifinio-Fraternidad Transboundary Biosphere Reserve submitted by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in 2011. Finally, the Minister announced that El Salvador aspired to be declared a country free of illiteracy within two years, building on an illiteracy rate that was reduced by half between 2009 and 2017.
The Director-General shared her strategic vision for the Organization, to be modernized and to capitalize on its added value in its areas of competence. She encouraged national and local authorities in El Salvador to collaborate with the Organization to join UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. To this end, the cities of Santa Tecla and Sichitoto were mentioned as they could apply to join the network. The Director-General also underlined the Minister's vision on the importance of ocean conservation, and presented the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) as an excellent forum for cooperation.
The meeting took place in the presence of the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of El Salvador to UNESCO, Lorena Sol de Pool and Ambassador César Arevalo, Chief of Protocol.