Union for the Mediterranean partners with UNESCO to undertake joint activities and programmes


© UNESCO/P. Chiang-Joo

• UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UfM Secretary-General Fathallah Sijilmassi sign a Partnership Agreement to promote regional tolerance and dialogue

• UfM Secretary-General Fathallah Sijilmassi presents UfM activities before UNESCO’s Executive Board

Paris, 14 October 2015 – The Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Fathallah Sijilmassi, visited UNESCO headquarters today to establish a new partnership to promote regional tolerance and dialogue in the region and to present UfM’s activities before the Executive Board of UNESCO, chaired by Mohamed Sameh Amr, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Egypt to UNESCO.

Following their bilateral meeting and signing of the agreement, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova declared : “This partnership comes at the right time on the right issues, inspired by the idea that the cultural diversity of the Mediterranean region is key to promote peace, to accelerate sustainable development, to foster a new narrative of tolerance and dialogue in a context of increasing extremism”. 

The agreement focuses notably on the priority fields such as promoting cultural diversity for dialogue and development; fighting against extremism; promoting mutual respect amongst the people of the Mediterranean; promoting a culture of peace; promoting cultural heritage and under-water cultural heritage; scientific cooperation; women and youth employment; sustainable development  and climate change.  

Secretary-General Sijilmassi praised the agreement for capitalizing on the strengths of both organizations. “This Partnership Agreement represents a step forward toward further strengthening the institutional relations between UNESCO and UfM Secretariat, our partnership will not be only limited to the agreed priority areas but would rather be extended to every effort aiming at addressing the root causes of the multi-faceted challenges the region is currently facing, such as extremism and terrorism”. 

The agreement creates the framework for UfM and UNESCO to exchange technical assistance as well as undertake joint activities and programmes regarding common areas of cooperation and interest. It aims to build on each partner’s core mission and respective networks to enhance the effectiveness of their development efforts. 



UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’S mission and activities. 

In 1945, UNESCO was created in order to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) was founded on 16 November 1945.  It is celebrating it’s 70th Anniversary this year. 

UNESCO has 195 Members and nine Associate Members. It is governed by the General Conference and the Executive Board. The Secretariat, headed by the Director-General, implements the decisions of these two bodies. 

About the UfM 

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organisation bringing together 43 countries: 28 EU member states and 15 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. It provides a platform for political dialogue, coordination, and regional cooperation.

The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, established in Barcelona in 2010, focuses on enhancing regional cooperation and integration through the implementation of regional cooperation projects and initiatives. During 2015 the Secretariat has developed and accelerated the implementation of new regional projects that are key socio-economic and strategic drivers: 33 regional labelled projects worth around €5 billion in areas including inclusive growth, youth employability, women’s empowerment, promotion of student mobility, integrated urban development and sustainable development. The Secretariat works in close collaboration with government agencies and an active network of Euro-Mediterranean partners to assist project promoters throughout the entire project cycle, from technical assistance to project implementation, as well as financial planning and fundraising.                                                                                   

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