Director-General discusses UNESCO’s role in post-disaster post-conflict situations with head of OCHA
New York, 24 September - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova met with Valerie Ann Amos, the United Kingdom’s Baroness Amos, recently appointed United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, on 23 September at UN headquarters.
In their discussions, which took place on the occasion of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Ms Bokova detailed UNESCO’s expertise and cited success stories regarding post-conflict and post-disaster situations. She spoke of the vital role UNESCO plays, notably concerning education in conflict and disaster-affected communities and the establishment of Early Warning Systems (EWS) for tsunami and other ocean-related hazards around the world. She went on to present UNESCO’s activities and programmes in Haiti and Pakistan following the natural disasters that have affected those countries this year.
Baroness Amos underlined her interest in strengthening cooperation between UNESCO and other UN agencies, funds and programmes regarding post-conflict and post-disaster situations. She highlighted the importance of expanding the reach of early warning and prevention mechanisms around the world in order to protect people as well as natural and cultural heritage from tsunamis, landslides, floods and other hazards. UNESCO has an important role in helping countries develop this capacity, said the head of OCHA.
In conclusion, Ms Bokova and Baroness Amos both expressed satisfaction at the prospect of working with Michaëlle Jean, Governor-General of Canada, when she takes up her functions as UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti.