21.03.2011 - ODG

UNESCO Director-General strengthens cooperation with Tunisia

© UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Mr Azzedine Beschaouch, Tunisia’s Minister of Culture, at UNESCO Headquarters on 18 March 2011

On Friday, 18 March 2011, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova held a meeting with Tunisia’s Minister of Culture, Mr Azzedine Beschaouch, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, where they discussed ways to enhance current collaboration. They decided to send a mission of UNESCO experts in the fields of cultural policies and cultural heritage to Tunisia following a first UNESCO assessment mission on media support and development which was fielded to the country last week.

Minister Beschaouch briefed the Director-General on the current situation in his country and expressed the wish by the provisional Government that UNESCO closely follows the democratic process in Tunisia until the upcoming elections of 25 July. 

Indicating the large expectations in the country with regards to freedom of expression, economic and cultural development, the Minister appealed for the Organization’s assistance.  He requested to receive UNESCO manuals on human rights in French and Arabic languages, as well as UNESCO’s educational material about freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Referring to the extremely high number of unemployed youth, Minister Beschaouch requested UNESCO’s assistance in providing the necessary policy advice with a view to restore and develop an economically viable and dynamic culture sector.

Irina Bokova ensured the Minister that UNESCO would provide Tunisia with all useful material available as well as with policy advice from its experts.  She expressed her satisfaction with the adoption of the law putting an end to the constructions around the World Heritage site of Carthage. 

The Director-General emphasized that UNESCO should assume its responsibility in supporting the civil society in Tunisia in the transition to democracy in its fields of competence. Furthermore, she responded positively to the Minister’s request that UNESCO send an urgent mission of experts in the fields of culture and of social sciences.  The Ministry of Culture has requested UNESCO’s assistance to complete the inventory of archaeological sites in the country and assess their situation in the present context.




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