29.05.2013 - ODG

Federal Chancellor states, "many world developments call out for UNESCO's relevance and mandate"

© UNESCO/Dov Lynch -UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, in Berlin (Germany) on 29 May 2013

On the occasion of the Director-General's visit to Berlin to open the 5th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS V), Irina Bokova held a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Irina Bokova thanked the German Chancellor for hosting the Conference in Berlin, emphasizing "Germany's strong commitment to the values of sport".

"Sport is an integral part of our global effort for peace-building, for strengthening social cohesion throughout the world" noted Irina Bokova.

The Director-General exchanged views on the importance of Germany's commitment to multilateralism, ranging from access to and quality of education about cultural heritage protection and conservation, as well as the preservation of biodiversity.

Irina Bokova highlighted that education must be seen as part of creating deeper security for societies,  and sports are a central part of education. She pursued by informing the Federal Chancellor about UNESCO's work in countries in conflict and of her recent visit to Afghanistan, calling for increased support to girls' education and teacher training, in light of the longlasting expertise of Germany through its Institute for Technical Vocational Education and Training.

"Education is a security issue for countries that have lived through or are living in conflict situations, because  it provides for the development of  skills, for social inclusion and for access and equality, which  are key values to UNESCO".

The Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that "Germany will continue providing its support and capabilities in the service of UNESCO", commending the Director-General for her leadership of the Organization and reaffirming her country's full support to UNESCO.

"Many world developments call out for UNESCO's mandate and relevance" noted the Federal Chancellor, referring to UNESCO's important work for the preservation of the iconic cultural heritage in Mali and Syria, and emphasizing Germany's strong attachment to UNESCO's World Heritage Convention.

Chancellor Merkel pursued by underscoring her country's steadfast engagement in all aspects of the Organization's work, focusing on the current global challenges and shared the Director-General's views on such challenges as global warming, and the sciences for peace and sustainable development.

Chancellor Merkel took note of the Director-General's appeal for education in Afghanistan and assured her of Germany's continued commitment in Afghanistan and readiness to cooperate with UNESCO in this regard.

Turning to the importance of sport for individual and societal development, Irina Bokova and Angela Merkel concurred with the key-role of sport for ethical values, for community development and for social cohesion, but also for countering violence and fostering intercultural dialogue.

In this regard, Chancellor Merkel also underlined the importance of networking with sports organizations and communities to strengthen the effective implementation of UNESCO's international regulatory framework in relation to physical education and anti-doping in sports.

In ending, the Director-General invited the Federal Chancellor to participate in the Leaders Forum in the framework of the 37th session of the General Conference of UNESCO.

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