On 24 March, the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, met with Mr Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway and signed a new Programme Cooperation Agreement for 2014.
“Norway is one of UNESCO’s greatest champions and supporters, for which I am deeply grateful,” said the Director-General.
“We work together across all areas of UNESCO's competence, with a special emphasis on action to advance education for all, to safeguard and promote cultural heritage and to protect freedom of expression and media development. Norway’s support is essential for UNESCO global leadership in these areas, and I see this as a reflection of the strength of the values we share and the objectives we hold in common.”
Irina Bokova expressed her deep appreciation of Norway’s role as one of the major donors to UNESCO, and also for the special focus of the Prime Minister and the Government of Norway on education as a priority.
She commended in particular the efforts made to continue supporting the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, along with UNESCO‘s work across the board to advance quality education for all. She also underlined the importance to continue supporting capacity building for the safeguarding of heritage.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs explored in depth with the Director-General key obstacles in education globally today, including with regard to development assistance. He underlined that a White Paper on Norway's support to education globally is under preparation. Discussion followed on the key areas for greater action, where Irina Bokova underlined education in and after conflicts, institutional capacity building, the transition to secondary and the importance of girls' education.
In the new partnership framework, the contribution of Norway will stand at NOK 70 600,000, around USD 11.7 million.
On the same day, the UNESCO Director-General met also Mr Knut Olav Åmås, Vice-Minister for Culture, and also with the Vice-minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Hans Brattskar, with whom she discussed UNESCO's advocacy to recognize the importance of culture for sustainable development in the global sustainable development agenda and also UNESCO's action in the Big Push towards 2015 for education and in setting an ambitious and comprehensive goal in the post 2015 agenda.