05.04.2011 - ODG

Director-General strengthens cooperation with Zambia

© UNESCO - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova with Mr Rupiah Banda, President of Zambia, during an official visit to the country on 4 April 2011

Emphasizing the role of education and teacher training, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, extended the Organization’s main areas of collaboration with Zambia during her official visit to the country from 3 to 6 April 2011.

On 4 April, the Director-General visited the State House and met with the President of the Republic, Mr Rupiah Banda. Following a thorough examination of Zambia’s education structure, Irina Bokova commended the Zambian Government for passing the Education Bill and encouraged it to implement the necessary reforms. She emphasized that education is key to overcoming poverty and advised that gender equality measures be mainstreamed in the country’s policies. Gender equality issues, she said, are crucial to bring the AIDS epidemic under control, as well as strategic levers toward sustainable livelihoods and food security.

Irina Bokova underlined the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for sustainable development and highlighted the empowerment factor of education.  Noting that Africa is one of UNESCO’s priorities, she reiterated the necessity of further developing Science Technology and Innovation in the continent.  The Director-General expressed support to the democratic process and concluded by thanking President Banda for his warm hospitality.

In her meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kabinga Pande, and the Minister of Science Technology and Vocational Training, Mr Peter Daka, the Director-General targeted education’s capacity to bring sustainability to development, and worked on UNESCO’s planned activities in that area, particularly regarding teacher training, girls’ education and vocational training. She recalled that UNESCO will implement a major policy review in 2011 on this regard.

Irina Bokova’s discussions also focused on reaching development through the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of sustainable cultural industries that can also attract tourism.

During her stay, Irina Bokova also held working meetings with the UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Ms Kanni Wignaraja, and the Secretary-General of the Zambian National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Ronald Kaulule.

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