The Director of UNESCO’s multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel), Mr. Dimitri Sanga and the General Delegate of the Quebec delegation in Dakar, Ms. Fatima Houda-Pépin, met on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at the Québec government offices. The purpose of the meeting was to make an initial contact with the delegate, newly arrived in Dakar, and to exchange views on subjects of common interest and of regional scope in order to further strengthen the solid partnership between UNESCO and Quebec and to explore new avenues of cooperation.
Quebec is one of the key players in the discussion and adoption of certain normative instruments and in particular the convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions in 2005. On the issue of violent extremism, Quebec welcomed the UNESCO Conference on “Internet and the radicalization of young people: preventing, acting and living together” (October 30 - November 1, 2016), for which the final document - the Quebec Appeal - was adopted by the 39th session of the General Conference. A UNESCO Chair in the "Prevention of radicalization and violent extremism" has just been established at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec. The Montreal Center for the Prevention of Violence Leading to Radicalization, in collaboration with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, has produced a guide for parents on how to talk to their child about radicalization and violent extremism. Quebec City was the first French-speaking city in the field of literature to be designated as a Creative City of UNESCO in 2017. Quebec welcomes and financially supports the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), based in 'University of Montreal, which is the United Nations depositary for world statistics in education, science and technology, culture and communication.
During the exchanges, Mr. Sanga thanked the Government of Quebec for its support to UNESCO, particularly in the fields of culture and education, as well as to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). He made a comprehensive reminder of the cooperation between UNESCO and Québec, essentially emphasizing the very active role of Quebec on questions of diversity of cultural expressions and prevention of violent extremism; he highlighted the work done, which is crucial for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. He also expressed the hopes that Québec will continue its support to ensure the financial viability of the Institute.
The Québec Delegate in Dakar welcomed the meeting. She made a brief presentation of the Dakar Delegation, which was created only three years ago and covers 12 countries in West Africa, for which a policy action plan for the next three years is underway of finalization. She also called for UNESCO's participation ion in their action plan; a contribution that could be given through the work accomplished by UNESCO, through the sharing of expertise and knowledge. Concerning the countries covered jointly by the Québec Delegation and the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel), Ms. Houda-Pépin reassured Mr. Sanga of the Delegation's desire to work in synergy and to support the Dakar Office on concrete projects, particularly in relation to culture and education.
Through this meeting, the delegation intends to mark the starting point for a new era of collaboration between the two organizations in the sub-region.