Director-General’s first official visit to Hungary
On 16 and 17 November, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, undertook her first official visit to Hungary to attend the World Science Forum.
The discussions with Hungarian authorities provided an opportunity to exchange views on how the already fruitful cooperation between Hungary and UNESCO can be strengthened. Also discussed were the main highlights of the 36th General Conference, as well the challenges ahead with regard to maintaining the universality of UNESCO and assuring its financial stability.
During her visit, the Director-General met with the highest authorities in the country. In particular, she held bilateral meetings with Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary; Janos Martonyi, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Miklos Rethelyi, Minister of National Resources.
She also attended a meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, Mr Laszlo Kover and the Heads of Committees working in the areas of UNESCO's mandate, and inaugurated a World Heritage Plaque in front of the Parliament in order to mark the World Heritage site of Budapest.
In meeting with the Director-General, the Hungarian authorities expressed strong support for UNESCO. “People across the world appreciate very much what UNESCO is doing,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Janos Martonyi. “UNESCO must continue its functions and it must continue its reforms”. The Minister of Foreign affairs also stressed that Hungary stands ready to help in any way possible. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban emphasized that his country highly appreciates the unique role and the work of UNESCO in providing a worldwide platform to address common global challenges.
The Director-General expressed appreciation of Hungary’s strong support to UNESCO’s mission and underlined UNESCO’s full commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation with Hungary. This was taken forward in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between UNESCO and Hungary.
At the Hungarian Parliament, she encouraged a more active cooperation between the National Assembly of Hungary and UNESCO, as well as greater participation by Hungarian parliamentarians in meetings organized by the Organization.
The Director-General opened the World Science Forum with the Prime Minister of Hungary and the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
At the opening, Irina Bokova declared that “science holds answers to key questions we must address over the next century – questions about equitable and inclusive growth, about sustainable development, about the resilience of our societies.”
Within the framework of World Science Forum, the Director-General awarded the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria with the Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation 2011. The Award was made in the presence of Madiha Ahmed Al Shaibani, Minister of Education of Oman.
In a lecture at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Director-General focused on the particular challenges, as well as opportunities in a world that is increasingly complex and connected, on the need for partnership in an interdependent world and on the conviction that a stronger multilateral order requires effective international organizations.
Throughout her visit to Budapest, Irina Bokova was accompanied by Ambassador Katalin Bogyay, Hungarian Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and President of the 36th General Conference.