On 15 April, the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation organized a series of events at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to celebrate the 60th anniversary of UNESCO's membership. The celebration was also marked by a roundtable, an exhibition and a concert.
The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. Boris Svetlov, the President of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Mr. Sergei Naryshkin and the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, Eleonora Mitrofanova, took part in the celebrations.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, highlighted the importance of the cooperation with Belarus and the Russian Federation in advancing education for all, safeguarding cultural heritage and encouraging scientific cooperation, especially in the fields of biodiversity and basic sciences. “This anniversary is an opportunity for UNESCO to renew its commitment to the importance of the cooperation with Belarus and Russia” said the Director-General. “Together we have built an impressive network of more than 60 UNESCO chairs, 300 associated schools, 100 UNESCO clubs, with some 30 World Heritage sites and 40 biosphere reserves: it is a unique asset for cooperation.”
The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. Boris Svetlov, stressed the relevance of cultural cooperation and of UNESCO’s work in this context “Belarus has ratified all UNESCO cultural Conventions and we are represented in all UNESCO’s cultural heritage lists”. The President of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Mr. Sergei Naryshkin made a call for the promotion of intercultural dialogue and the role of the sciences to address global contemporary challenges. “We are surrounded with information, images and sounds from all over the world about climate change, about biodiversity, and we sometimes live in the illusion of knowledge, we need more expertise, more science to better understand the complexities of reality. UNESCO is a unique platform to do so.”
Opening the exhibition on 60 years of joint cooperation, the Director-General highlighted the contribution of UNESCO's specialized networks of expertise and excellence. "Our cooperation is strong and we should take this message forward, as we shape the post 2015 sustainable development agenda”.
The celebrations ended with a performance by the Pyatnitsky Russian Folk Chorus from the Russian Federation and the Belorussian Children’s Folk Ensemble Dudariki.