On 26 September, Irina Bokova met HE Sirodjidin Aslov, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan, in the context of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
The Director-General thanked the Foreign Minister again for the leadership of Tajikistan in promoting water cooperation, namely through the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation, led forward by UNESCO.
The Foreign Minister thanked UNESCO for its leadership during the International Year, noting the Tajik proposal to create a Centre for Water Diplomacy as a category 2 centre under UNESCO auspices. The Director General took note of the proposal, as part of the wider network of UNESCO institutes that form part of the "water family". The Foreign Minister drew attention to the proposal of Tajikistan to launch a follow-up decade to the International Decade of Water for Life, closing in 2015, to build on its achievements and take forward further international cooperation around water.
The Director-General expressed great interest in the proposal, notably in the context of work on shaping the post 2015 development agenda, as an opportunity to mobilise further cooperation around water.
The discussion followed on Tajikistan's work to participate in the Great Silk Roads inscription of China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, on the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as to contribute to the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. The Director-General underlined the importance of this work and pledged UNESCO's willingness to support Tajikistan in the nomination processes, stressing the importance of the Silk Roads project for regional and wider cooperation.
In closing, the Foreign Minister expressed the invitation of the President of Tajikistan for the Director-General to visit Tajikistan, notably to experience the new building in Dushanbe, reflecting the traditional crafts and artisanship of the country.
The Director-General thanked the Foreign Minister for the invitation and for Tajikistan's leadership on key issues for sustainability and international cooperation.