Russian Foreign Minister sees UNESCO on the frontlines in turbulent times

Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, emphasized the importance of UNESCO in his speech to the 38th Session of the General Conference and within the context of the Organization’s 70th Anniversary today.

“It's difficult to overestimate the importance of UNESCO, which has confidently proven itself as a reliable humanitarian base of global architecture, a recognized forum for the protection of spiritual and cultural heritage,” Mr. Lavrov said. 

The Foreign Minister encouraged UNESCO to be ready to act as soon as extremists are chased from the territories where World heritage sites are located.

“UNESCO should send there its missions to evaluate the damage caused and prepare the plans for the restoration of invaluable religious and cultural sites,” he said.

Prior to taking the podium at the General Conference, Foreign Minister Lavrov and UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova held a bilateral meeting where they discussed UNESCO’s role in addressing global challenges. 

“We especially appreciate UNESCO’s efforts to safeguard humanity’s cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, as well as its role to promote intercultural dialogue, and to prevent the radicalization of youth through education,” Mr Lavrov said.

Director General Bokova welcomed the support expressed by the Foreign Minister. “The Russian Federation has enormous educational, scientific and cultural potential and I deeply value its participation and support in our regional and global initiatives,” Ms Bokova said.

The Director-General also thanked the Russian Federation for hosting the 4th meeting of the Scientific Board of the United Nations Secretary-General in Saint Petersburg next month, highlighting the significance of the board’s work in the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and UNESCO’s engagement to advance the relationship between science and policy.