Director-general discusses cooperation with Ethiopian authorities at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa
On the sidelines of her participation in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the African Union, the Director-General met on 24 May with several Ministers dealing with UNESCO’s fields of competence and the Secretary-General of the Ethiopian National Commission for UNESCO under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Fuard Ibrahim. In his introductory remarks, the representative of the Ethiopian Government expressed his country’s appreciation for the cooperation established with UNESCO and outlined the need for reinforced assistance and technical support from UNESCO to build capacity.
During the working meeting, the Director-General commended Ethiopia for its far reaching efforts to advance sustainable development through investment in education, science and culture.
Mrs Bokova indicated that Ethiopia is one of the Education Sector’s priority countries but that the financial situation of the Organization is hampering efforts to provide adequate support. She insisted on the need to mobilize extrabudgetary funds for the International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), thanking Ethiopia for its support, and to promote education quality, particularly through better educational statistics and incorporating science and technology in the curriculum from the early grades, as requested by the Minister. Taking into account the catalytic role that Ethiopia is playing on climate change and water management, the Director-General indicated that the Organization will continue to provide assistance in the domain of ecohydrology as a response to the drought in the Horn of Africa. Since Ethiopia played a pioneering role in the International Year of Chemistry, the Director-General referred to the possibility of young Ethiopian scientists benefitting from scholarships recently established with a leading Russian company.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Dessie Dalke, thanked UNESCO for the support provided to establish Science and Technology Incubators and strengthen links between industries and universities, affirming that the popularization of science was key to building a knowledge-based economy.
Considering the number of Ethiopian sites (9) inscribed on the World Heritage List, Ethiopia requested increased technical assistance to build capacity of Ethiopian cultural professionals in heritage preservation, conservation and management, as well as to review its cultural policy and domestic legislations, in particular with regard to the development of cultural industries. In the area of communication, the government requested assistance to improve media legislation, and further support for community development programs through IPDC.
Finally the Director-General made reference to the need to strengthen the National Commission and the UNESCO Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, which will host an administrative platform and is entrusted with maintaining cooperation with the African Union Commission.
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