Addresses delivered in the general policy debate by the Head of Delegation at the General Conference
37 session of the General Conference His Excellency, Mr Kyriakos Kenevezos, Minister of Education and Culture of Cyprus Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 37th session of the General Conference - revised and corrected version of the verbatim records of plenary meetings
36 session of the General Conference H.E. Mr George Demosthenous, Minister of Education and Culture Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 36th session of the General Conference and posted as received
35 session of the General Conference H.E. Mr Andreas Demetriou, Minister of Education and Culture
“I wish to pay a special tribute to the outgoing Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, for his commitment to UNESCO’s mandate (…). We also congratulate Madame Bokova on her nomination as the new Director-General.”
“Issues such as the reduction of poverty and illiteracy, the wise management of the earth’s natural resources, sustainable development, climate change and the promotion and conservation of cultural diversity are of global concern and should feature high on the agenda of every state. UNESCO has been a pioneer in this regard, as it rendered such issues its top priority (…). Today, UNESCO must rise to the occasion once again and deal with the global challenges of our times decisively through innovative and concerted actions in all of its fields of competence.”
“In the field of education, Cyprus shares UNESCO’s vision of education as the key to social and economic development and understands the need to promote education for sustainable development as a means of overcoming current social and environmental challenges. (…) Cyprus has made important steps in higher education, as it currently supports three state and three private universities, thus increasing the opportunities for studies in the country and further development of research and innovation. These opportunities will inevitably be enhanced following the recent establishment of a UNESCO Chair on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the University of Cyprus.”
“Special mention should also be made to the project on “Fighting against Poverty through Human Rights Education” (…). The project promotes women’s education in certain villages of Niger, within the framework of the UNESCO Africa programme and is co-sponsored by the governments of Andorra, Cyprus, Luxemburg, Monaco and San Marino. (…)
“(…) In view of our presidency of the European Union in the year 2012, we prepared initiatives for the support of the African universities in their attempt to develop and connect to the European Union universities.”
“In the field of culture, Cyprus concentrated its efforts on the promotion of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which we consider to be an invaluable tool in our efforts to preserve our cultural identity and heritage in a rapidly changing global environment.”
“In the past two years, the government continued to expand the inventory of Cyprus’ intangible cultural heritage and, in cooperation with the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO, designed and implemented an information campaign with the aim of familiarizing the public with the concept of intangible heritage. The campaign highlighted the need to safeguard living heritage and expressions that define a community’s identity and form part of the cultural heritage of humanity.”
“The Government continued its efforts to protect and preserve our island’s tangible heritage and especially the archaeological sites and monuments that feature on the World Heritage List. We hope that the negotiations that go on for the resolution of the Cyprus problem will have a happy end as soon as possible, so that all people and all inhabitants of Cyprus can enjoy the very rich cultural heritage that we have all over the island.”
34 session of the General Conference H.E. Mr Nicos Cleanthous, Minister of Education and Culture
Cyprus extends a warm welcome to Montenegro and to Singapore on their joining UNESCO.
Cyprus has been strongly supporting UNESCO’s initiatives, especially when dealing with critical issues of sustainable development and natural resources management.
“According to UNESCO’s “Education for All” Global Monitoring Report for 2007, Cyprus figures among the countries which have achieved most of the goals of the EFA programme.”
However, Cyprus continues to implement education reforms, with a special focus on higher education. Recently, the Cyprus University of Technology was inaugurated along with first private universities. The Government hopes to make Cyprus a regional centre for academic and scientific research.
Cyprus is also participating in the funds-in-trust project on “Fighting against Poverty through Human Rights Education” in favour of Niger within UNESCO’s Africa programme.
“Cyprus has ratified the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and has set a new strategy, which aims to ensure that the right conditions are present for cultural diversity in Cyprus to flourish and to enhance the status of cultural industries as a significant source of revenue and jobs.”
Cyprus hosted the first UNESCO Euro-Mediterranean Youth Forum on “Young People and the Dialogue among Civilizations, Cultures, and People”. The Forum took place in November 2006 and brought together young delegates from 34 countries from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Cyprus ratified the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on the 24th of February 2006 and has been actively participating in the relevant meetings. The government is currently working on an inventory of Cyprus’ intangible cultural heritage.
“[Several Cyprus] archaeological sites and monuments are on the World Heritage list as well as on the European Heritage Label list and our efforts are continuous in endeavouring to protect and preserve as much as possible of our ancestors’ legacy.” Cyprus has achieved high standards in conservation of cultural properties as evidenced of the restoration of the medieval fortifications of Nicosia and a number of churches, mosques, water mills, olive-presses, bridges and houses of traditional architecture.
“Through the ratification in 1979 of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) and the ratification, in 2001, of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1999), our government is trying to re-gain access to the archaeological sites and monuments that are in the occupied area in northern Cyprus”.
“Our government is committed to the final settlement of the Cyprus problem. We are constantly trying to find a solution and we hope that through the mutual efforts of both communities in the island we can set an example of peace and reconciliation in order to build new and harmonious relations. In this regard, UNESCO’s role is of great importance.”
Cyprus, already a signatory country of the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport, is still working on the text of the International Convention against doping in sports in order to ratify it as soon as possible.