On 4 May, during her official visit to the Republic of Latvia, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, met with the the Minister of Culture and President of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, Dace Melbārde.
The Minister briefed the Director-General on the context for the elaboration of a new information policy for Latvia.
Discussion followed on UNESCO's role in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods, and the 1970 convention, with the Director-General informing about measures to strengthen the convention and also UNESCO's leadership in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2199. She pledged support to capacity-building to Latvia if requested in this area.
The Minister pledged to review this issue with care and noted the rising need for cross sectorial work, in culture and education as well as for information policies. The Director-General briefed on the UNESCO Internet-related study, and discussion followed on the importance of multilingualism in cyberspace. The Minister spoke also about advocacy for culture as an enabler for sustainable development in the post 2015 agenda. The Director General welcomed this support and highlighted the need to keep making the case in the run-up to September. In concluding, she thanked the Minister for Latvia's leadership and support to UNESCO.
On the same day, Irina Bokova held a bilateral meeting with the Chairman of the Education, Culture and Science Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia, Jānis Vucāns.
This was an opportunity to review the important role of the Latvian Parliament in advancing the objectives of UNESCO across all its areas of competence.
The discussion focussed on the crucial need to create linkages between government policy, the private sector and schools and universities -- for quality learning as well as stronger research and development.
The Director-General briefed the Chair also on the 1970 Convention and UNESCO's work to strengthen the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods.
In concluding the official visit, the Director General visited the Zanis Lipke Memorial in Riga, newly opened in 2012, featuring the story of Zanis and Johanna Lipke, who saved some 60 people during the Second World War from Nazi barbarism, including Jewish women and men.
The visit to the Memorial was led by Mr Marius Gailis and Ms Taiga Gaile, founder and architect.