The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and UNESCO reaffirm commitment to join forces
On 24 January, the Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Luis Tejada, and UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate in the fields of culture, science, education and communication during a working meeting held at UNESCO Headquarters.
"Spain is a champion partner, a country that believes in UNESCO and the relevance of its mandate," said the Director-General, who thanked Spain for its contribution to the protection of cultural heritage in several places, including the Old City of Havana, Haiti or Mauritania. She also thanked Spain for its support to the Biosphere Reserves Network, and to programmes to counter youth violence in Central America. The Director-General also noted the good functioning of joint initiatives, both public and private, such as the UNESCO-Abertis Center, dedicated to the protection of biosphere reserves of the Mediterranean.
Luis Tejada underscored that the bilateral relationship is one of "mutual trust" and reiterated Spain's support to UNESCO’s Strategy on Culture and Conflict, co-initiated by his country and Italy presented to UNESCO's Executive Board. The Director of the AECID also mentioned the importance that Spain attaches to the protection of underwater heritage and expressed its desire for more countries to ratify the 2001 UNESCO Convention, which, he underlined, would allow "better international cooperation in this area".
In this spirit, Mr Tejada and Ms Bokova agreed to organize a joint meeting between UNESCO and AECID to explore ways to promote issues such as youth, civic engagement and youth engagement in the culture sector.
In 2015, Spain’s contribution to UNESCO’s extrabudgetary funds amounted to US $ 1,034,000, while in October 2016 the AECID approved projects for more than US $ 2 million. It will be dedicated to several programmes to reduce violence in Latin America, to conserve La Selle biosphere reserve in Haiti, to support the sustainable management of freshwater in Latin America, as well as other projects -- such as the protection of the Old City Of Havana and the International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC), to which Spain will contribute US$ 200,000.
In the course of its working visit to UNESCO, the AECID delegation also held meetings with professionals from UNESCO's education, science and communication sectors.
During his visit, Luis Tejada was accompanied by Hugo Portillo from the Department of Coordination of Cultural and Scientific Relations of the AECID; Cristina Perez, Counsellor from the Office of the Secretary of State for International Development Cooperation; and Teresa Lizaranzu, Permanent Delegate of Spain to UNESCO.
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