On 22 October, the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, met with His Excellency Mr Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China.
The Premier thanked the Director-General for UNESCO's longstanding cooperation with China, underlining the importance of UNESCO's work across its mandate. He welcomed that this cooperation extends to other countries, notably with Africa, in supporting efforts to improve education quality. He highlighted the importance of the Creative Cities Beijing Summit and the Learning Cities International Conference as part of shared work to reduce poverty.
The Premier noted China's experience in education as the foundation for poverty reduction and social inclusion over the last thirty years. In this context, he pointed to the Government's willingness to share this experience with other countries. He underlined the special importance of promoting girls' education in this respect as well as technical and vocational education and training.
The Director-General thanked the Premier for the strength of China's engagement in supporting UNESCO and its leadership inside the Organisation, including with Vice Minister Hao Ping as future President of the General Conference. She underlined the vibrant cooperation UNESCO has established with China, encompassing partnerships also with municipal governments and universities. She wished to express her appreciation for the video address sent by His Excellency President Xi Jinping on the occasion of the first anniversary of the UN Secretary-General's Global Education First Initiative in New York on 25 September, which was very well received and highlighted China's deep committment.
The Director-General noted UNESCO's effective work supported by China to enhance education quality in Africa and highlighted this as a possible model for cooperation that could be extended. She raised also the possibility to deepen UNESCO's partnership with China in safeguarding and promoting culture and all forms of heritage, as a source of strength and sustainability. The Director-General further drew attention to the importance of the forthcoming meeting of BRICS Education Ministers that will take place during the UNESCO General Conference.
The Premier welcomed the possibility to extend cooperation with UNESCO in education and other areas. He also underlined the importance of the planned BRICS meeting. In closing, he thanked the Director-General for UNESCO's deep engagement with China and looked forward to strenghtening this cooperation ever more.