Arriving in Libreville on 5 July, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, was welcomed by H.E. Mr Ernest Walker Onewin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms Gisèle Marie Hortense Ossakedjombo Ngoua Memiache, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Gabon to UNESCO, and Mr Juste Joris Tindy-Poaty, Secretary-General of the Gabonese National Commission for UNESCO and representatives of the United Nations agencies in Gabon.
The Director-General met H.E. Mr Séraphin Moundodounga, Minister of National Education, Higher and Technical Education and Vocational Training, President of the Gabonese National Commission for UNESCO, accompanied by the Minister of Culture, the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate and senior officials from his Ministry. After thanking the Director-General for her official visit to Gabon, the Minister praised his country’s cooperation with the Organization, in particular regarding the support given by the UNESCO Office in Libreville to the projects under way in the country. He said that the visit would give the opportunity to set up new cooperation projects in all the Organization’s fields of competence.
Ms Bokova thanked the Minister and the Gabonese Government for their hospitality and for the country’s invaluable support to the Organization. She emphasized that the contribution of Gabon, the first country to contribute to the Emergency Assistance Fund had particular significance, showing Gabon’s commitment to the Universal Agenda. The Director-General expressed her gratitude and highlighted the role of Gabon’s representative, Ms Gisèle Marie Hortense Ossakedjombo Ngoua Memiache, who spared no effort in her contribution to solving the financial situation facing the Organization.
The Director-General took the opportunity of participating in the centenary celebrations of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital to emphasize the role of science, education and research for the health of the people of Africa. She stressed the impact of education and health on human development. In the field of culture, Ms Bokova said that UNESCO should continue its action for the ratification and implementation of standard-setting instruments, and for capacity-building in cultural professions, which created jobs and revenue. Similarly, she hailed Gabon’s economic progress, which went hand in hand with strong technical and vocational training.
The Director-General thanked the Gabonese authorities for their support to the Office in Libreville and the new premises made available to it, which would be inaugurated during the visit.