» Director-General meets newly appointed Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office
20.09.2017 - ODG

Director-General meets newly appointed Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office


On 19 September 2017, on the margins of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, met with the recently appointed Under-Secretary-General of the new United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office (UNOCT), Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov.

Irina Bokova welcomed the creation of the new Office and pledged UNESCO’s fullest support to its work -- starting with its co-chairmanship of the CTITF Working Group on Preventing Violent Extremism, where UNESCO action is leading across the UN system.

Vladimir Voronkov thanked the Director-G‎eneral for UNESCO's leadership, underlining the vital importance of preventing violent extremism through education and culture "to work through hearts and minds." "This is why UNESCO is so very significant," he said.

The Director-General noted that UNESCO is leading in promoting global citizenship education, through guidelines for teachers and policy planners, as well as through capacity building in countries across the world. This work builds on close partnerships, including with the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development and the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding.

She underlined also that UNESCO works through initiatives to foster youth empowerment through information and communication technologies, along with critical thinking, tolerance and respect for universal values.

“Empowering young women and men stands at the heart of all UNESCO’s work,” she noted. Young people are the most affected by multiple and often interlinked forms of violence -- they also play vital roles as agents of positive change, to be empowered through skills development, training and new forms of engagement.

Irina Bokova also noted that in its action to prevent violent extremism, safeguarding cultural heritage and promoting cultural diversity as strengths for all to share, has pride of place. This takes in all UNESCO’s work to spearhead  implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2347 on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2199, which includes legally-binding measures to counter the illicit trafficking of artefacts from Iraq and Syria -- working with UNODC, WCO as well as the art world, to support Governments.

This includes also building positive counter-narratives to violent extremism. The #Unite4Heritage campaign is a global movement powered by UNESCO, starting through social media, to craft counter narratives rooted in heritage values, human rights and the respect for cultural diversity.

“In all this,” she underlined, “UNESCO works to take forward the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, launched in January 2016.”

The UNOCT was created to enhance coordination among United Nations entities and the work of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force to ensure overall coordination and coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system and to strengthen the capability of the UN system to respond to current needs and demands of Member States.

Vladimir Voronkov and Irina Bokova agreed on the need for further and deeper cooperation, including through joint projects.


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