» Visit of Foreign Minister Dastis strengthens ties between Spain and UNESCO
07.12.2016 - ODG

Visit of Foreign Minister Dastis strengthens ties between Spain and UNESCO

©UNESCO/Christelle ALIX

On 7 December, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, HE Mr Alfonso Dastis, met with Director-General Irina Bokova, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to discuss fields of common interest for deeper cooperation.

The Director-General thanked the Government of Spain for its firm commitment to the values and to taking forward the objectives of the Organization, highlighting the support given by Spain and Italy to the newly-adopted Strategy on Cultural Heritage in the Event of Armed Conflicts, to which Spain has contributed 120,000 euros.

“The contribution of Spain is fundamental in all areas of UNESCO’s work, including education, the protection of cultural heritage and science for development,” said the Director-General.

Minister Dastis underlined the importance of protecting cultural and natural heritage for Spain and reiterated the Government's willingness to continue supporting UNESCO in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals relating to education, science and culture.

“UNESCO can continue to count on Spain and the full support of our Government and experts,” he said. “Spain is firmly committed to multilateralism and intercultural dialogue. We have an open and multicultural country, which we wish to share with the world.”

“With globalization, identity issues are emerging, such as those related to shared history and common heritage,” said Irina Bokova, recalling that “the fight against violent extremism, the prevention of radicalization through education and the protection of cultural heritage in conflict areas are fundamental priorities of the Organization.”

Spain is a member of the Executive Board, a UNESCO governing body, for the four-year period from 2015 to 2019. The eleventh ranked contributor to the regular budget of the Organization, Spain also supports the Organization through the UNESCO Spanish Funds-in-trust, which last October approved projects amounting to $ 2.4 million, in areas such as quality education, he fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage, the protection of underwater heritage and the management of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB).

Spain hosts a very extensive UNESCO network, with the largest number of UNESCO Chairs (66) and biosphere reserves (48) in the world. There are also 45 World Heritage sites in Spain, as well as 13 elements inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, six UNESCO Creative Cities, 11 Geoparks and 158 Associated Schools.

During his visit to UNESCO, Minister Dastis was accompanied by Ambassador Teresa Lizaranzu Perinat, Permanent Delegate of Spain to UNESCO, Jaime Rodríguez-Ponga, Deputy Permanent Delegate and Emma Aparici, technical advisor to his cabinet.

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