Director-General Meets Australian Foreign Minister
On 28 August, the Director-General met with the Honourable Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister of Australia, in Bali, Indonesia.
On this occasion, Irina Bokova thanked the Foreign Minister for the strength of support by the Government of Australia to UNESCO, including to the EFA Global Monitoring Report as well as to supporting local communities around the Borobudur Temple, inscribed on the World Heritage List. The Foreign Minister underlined also UNESCO's work in Myanmar, including a school for training, which she had visited.
The discussion followed on UNESCO's work to promote freedom of expression across the world, as well as the safety of journalists.
The Director-General recalled the celebrations of World Press Freedom Day in Brisbane in 2010 and the depth of Australia's commitment in this respect. The Foreign Minister thanked UNESCO for all this work and looked to further action across the board to advance media freedoms, including in specific cases. The DG pledged to continue UNESCO's action in this area.
The Foreign Minister raised the issue of the Great Barrier Reef, and the decision taken at the last meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Doha to call for increased protection measures. She underlined the Government's deep interest in ensuring the current status of the site, emphasizing the great efforts undertaken by the authorities at all levels to preserve the site and the pride of the Australian society in the Great Barrier Reef. The Director-General highlighted the emblematic importance of the site as embodying universal values and its deep significance for the people of Australia. In this respect, she suggested a stronger communication and dialogue with the Committee and the consultative bodies in order to share the efforts of the Australian Government and achievements in this area.