In parallel to the UNESCO 37th General Conference, a side event was devoted to the cooperation between UNESCO and the European Union on Friday 8 November 2013. This informal session attracted many delegates, prominent persons as well as members of the UNESCO Secretariat. More than 80 participants took an interest in learning more about the partnership with the European Union in presence of the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to UNESCO, Ambassador Spatolisano, the Jordanian Minister of Education, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Thneibat and the Minister of Higher Education and Research of Mali, H.E. Moustapha Dicko.
In their opening remarks, both Vincent Defourny, Director of the Division of Cooperation with extrabudgetary funding sources, and Ambassador Spatolisano applauded the reinforced partnership and scaling up of joint actions stemming from the Memorandum of understanding, signed in October 2012, by which the two Organizations reaffirmed their common goals and values.
Two concrete examples of cooperation in the field were showcased by the respective Heads of UNESCO Offices in Jordan and Mali.
Syrian refugees in Jordan
In order to mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis in Jordan, UNESCO is building class management capacities of teachers dealing with trauma-affected children. UNESCO also delivers demand-driven informal and non-formal education programmes, including vocational skills development opportunities (the so-called alternative education pathways).
The beneficiaries include some 1290 of the estimated 20,000 Syrian children and youth eligible for schooling but without any learning opportunities inside refugee camps.
Rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and safeguarding of manuscripts in Mali
In Mali, UNESCO is determined to pursue its efforts to rehabilitate the cultural heritage and protect the ancient manuscripts. Safeguarding cultural heritage is an integral part of peace keeping operations and contributes to building lasting peace and reconciliation in Mali.
UNESCO’s activities include evaluating the state of cultural heritage, reconstruct mausoleums and important historic sites, organizing training workshops to strengthen capacities and raising awareness of the diversity of community-based cultural practices and expressions and their importance for national reconciliation.
The project is to be implemented in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Higher education and Scientific Research, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and with the largest possible participation of the communities concerned.