On 26 September, the Director-General, Irina Bokova met H.E. Mr. Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, President of the Republic of Costa Rica in the margins of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
Underlining the excellent cooperation between UNESCO and Costa Rica, President Solis Rivera reaffirmed his country's strong engagement in stepping up cooperation with UNESCO, notably through UNESCO's Regional Office in Costa Rica.
President Solis Rivera emphasized the importance of Central American integration and the need to strengthen regional approaches to today's challenges in education, social inclusion, building a culture of peace.
The Director-General commended the President for the inscription of on the World Heritage List of the archaeological site of the Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís.
The Director-General referred to the Biosphere Reserve of La Amistad National Park as a "living laboratory of sustainable development" and congratulated the country for its deliberate commitment for environmental protection and the protection of the biosphere reserves, underscoring their critical importance for sustainable development and to counter climate change. The Director-General continued by highlighting the importance of education for a global citizenship and civic participation when it comes to protecting biodiversity and the environment, noting UNESCO's commitment on fresh water, oceans' protection and in the area of tsunami alert systems.
President Solis Rivera informed the Director-General about his country's focus on the protection of cultural diversity, including the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples.
The Director-General highlighted the ongoing reform of the University for Peace, stressing her personal commitment to move forward in line with the UN Secretary-General's approach for a comprehensive reform of the University. She voiced the importance of renewing the agenda for a culture of peace in the face of today's challenges of inclusiveness, poverty eradication and the need to develop education for global citizenship.
The President concurred with the critical importance of achieving "sustainability with and for people" which has to be anchored in social and economic rights, quality education, inclusion and full participation.
The Director-General invited the President and his country to join the Group of Friends of Culture and Development, under the leadership of Peru, emphasizing the critical importance of culture together with education to achieve sustainable development and the need to reflect this imperative in the run up to the post-2015 agenda.
While thanking the President for his personal commitment in hosting World Press Freedom Day in 2013, the Director-General emphasized the linkage between civic engagement and the paramount importance on focusing on the quality of education.
In concluding, the Director-General extended an invitation to President Solis Rivera to visit UNESCO on the occasion of the Organization's 70th anniversary in 2015.