Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO Signs Cooperation Agreement with ASEAN Secretary-General

It is the first cooperation agreement that ASEAN has signed with a UN agency since its Charter came into force in 2008.

As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) moves to establish a single community in 2015, UNESCO signed a Framework Agreement for Cooperation, with Mr Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of the 10-country organization, on 17 December.

It is the first cooperation agreement that ASEAN has signed with a UN agency since its Charter came into force in 2008.

ASEAN foresees the establishment in 2015 of a Community that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible. Cooperation with UNESCO falls chiefly under the third, socio-cultural, pillar of ASEAN.

Praising ASEAN for leading an integration process in one of the world’s most culturally diverse regions, the UNESCO Director-General affirmed that:

“ASEAN and UNESCO share common values and principles -- we share the conviction that cultural diversity is a source of social cohesion, that education is the foundation for building prosperous and inclusive societies, and that we must strengthen the resilience of societies to cope with the impact of climate change and natural disasters.”

“This Agreement is a milestone in the cooperation between our two Organizations,” said Mr Le Luong Minh. “It sets a course of action for the next five years and comes at a time when ASEAN is striving to establish by December 2015 a Community that forges a caring and sharing society. Under this agreement, ASEAN and UNESCO can strengthen their cooperation and mobilize resources for projects and programmes that contribute to the well-being of the people of the ASEAN region.”

The Framework agreement defines seven priority areas for cooperation: education; science, technology and innovation; disaster risk reduction; environmental sustainability; social and human sciences, in particular youth and civic engagement; the protection of cultural heritage and the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions; and access to information and knowledge.

“This Agreement gives us the impetus and legitimacy to work jointly to support the building of a unified and vibrant community, to encourage the sharing of experiences, to bridge development gaps and to promote a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future,” said Ms Bokova.

The Agreement supports the ASEAN Community’s Post-2015 Vision and is aligned with UNESCO’s 8-year Medium Term Strategy, adopted by the 37th Session of the General Conference.

Ambassadors and representatives from the 10 ASEAN countries attended the signing ceremony. All ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) are members of UNESCO. The ASEAN-UNESCO Committee, established in May 2006, promotes ASEAN interests within the Organization.