The Director-General meets Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
“We are very satisfied with Russia's cooperation with UNESCO at all its levels and we stand ready to assist the Organization in the future,” said Mr. Gennady Gatilov, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister during his meeting with Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.
The Director-General thanked the Deputy Minister for Russia’s in-kind contribution by hosting the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee, “which came at a very difficult time for the Organization. The Russian Federation is a long-standing supporter of UNESCO and a very active member of UNESCO's Executive Board,” she added.
The Director-General invited the Deputy Minister to envisage his country's increased involvement in UNESCO and mentioned in this regard the importance for Russia to support UNESCO’s work in education, sciences and culture.
With regard to culture, Ms. Bokova emphasized the need for Russia to ratify the UNESCO Conventions for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, in view of the country’s rich living cultural heritage and traditions.
The Director-General also invited the Minister to envisage establishing a Funds-in-Trust in UNESCO that could help support shared priorities of the Organization and of Russia, notably in the area of sciences in Africa considering Russia's expertise and excellence in this field.
The Deputy Minister and the Director-General discussed potential cooperation in the 2 recent initiatives of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concerning, on the one hand, the interface between science and policy launched in Rio, and on the other, the “Education First” initiative to be launched this September to achieve quality, relevant, inclusive and free basic education for all, for which Russia has been identified as one of the champion countries.
The Deputy Minister also commended the Director-General for her reform of the Organization in order to ensure greater cost-effectiveness and transparency compliance procedures.
The Director-General also emphasized the great potential of the UNESCO category 1 Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) based in Moscow and the need for increased support by the Russian authorities for its functioning and development.
The Deputy Minister shared with the Director-General Russia’s strong commitment in the areas of the protection of the cultural heritage in Kosovo and in anti-doping in sports.
At the end of the meeting the Director-General paid a visit to the Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Mr. Mikhail Piotrovsky on further strengthening the ongoing cooperation between the Museum and UNESCO for the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Museum in 2013, as well as for regional capacity-building of museum professionals in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The Director-General also met with Maestro Valery Gergiev, UNESCO Artist for Peace and Director of the Mariinsky Theatre and Symphonic Orchestra.