6 March, Director-General Irina Bokova met with France’s Ambassador to the UN, Mr François Delattre, on the margins of the 59th session of the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) at UN Headquarters in New York. France holds the Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of March.
In the wake of the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria, the Director-General highlighted the significance of Security Council resolution 2199, which was adopted with the overwhelming support of Security Council members.
By condemning the destruction of cultural heritage and adopting legally binding measures to counter illicit trafficking of cultural objects from Iraq and Syria, the resolution represented a milestone in recognizing the large-scale importance of protecting cultural heritage.
The Ambassador expressed France’s full and unequivocal support for UNESCO’s mission and work. Thanking the Director-General for her leadership, the Ambassador underlined the essential role the Organization plays n placing culture and cultural heritage right at the center of the political and security debate.
He stressed that Security Council resolution 2199 offered new possibilities and instruments to engage in the fight against cultural destruction, and the Director-General informed him of UNESCO’s actions in bringing together a broad coalition of partners to join forces against illicit trafficking of cultural goods, and to deliver on the responsibilities the resolution places on UNESCO.
With respect to the emerging post-2015 development agenda, the Ambassador underlined the relevance of culture for development, stressing that culture needed to be prominently reflected in the new sustainable development goals.
Thanking France for its strong support as member of the Group of Friends of Culture, the Director-General underscored that culture must not be lost in the future negotiations towards a sustainable development agenda. The Ambassador expressed France’s continued commitment to this cause, as well as to the preparations of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, which will be held in Paris at the end of the year with UNESCO's active involvement.