On 5 December 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with the President of the Republic, HE Mr Rumen Radev, during his official visit to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
The Director-General thanked the President for the long-standing close cooperation between UNESCO and Bulgaria in all areas of the Organization's competence. She expressed hope that this cooperation will be strengthened in the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2018.
The President underlined the importance that his country attaches to the protection of cultural heritage and the essential role played by UNESCO in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property. In this regard, the Director-General informed the President of her recent participation in the United Nations Security Council meeting to present the first implementation report of Resolution 2347 on the protection of cultural heritage, which, among other things, calls on Member States to strengthen their national legislation in this area.
The President and the Director-General agreed also on the need to harness new technologies and digital technologies to make cultural and documentary heritage accessible to younger generations. The Director-General underscored the importance of sensitizing young people to respect differences and cultural diversity as a source of wealth.
The President informed the Director-General of his intention to present, as part of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a new initiative aimed at bringing together ten countries of the South-Eastern Europe region for the creation of a institute for sustainable development, as well as a regional research center on particle physics on the model of CERN. Recalling that UNESCO has long-standing expertise in this area, the Director-General confirmed the readiness of the Organization to support Bulgaria in the development of this initiative.
Bulgaria has been a member of UNESCO since 1956. It is home to 3 UNESCO Chairs and 51 Associated Schools, as well as 10 World Heritage Sites, 5 elements inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and 10 Biosphere Reserves.