Mongolia’s Foreign Minister Highlights Need to Support Democratic Transitions

Mongolia will pursue efforts to support successful democratic transitions and build tolerance through education, culture, freedom of expression and intercultural dialogue, affirmed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Commission for UNESCO Mr Lundeg Purevsuren during a meeting with Director-General Irina Bokova at UNESCO Headquarters on 12 June.

The Minister expressed strong appreciation for UNESCO’s cooperation with Mongolia, stressing that education is the most valuable investment for the future and underlining the country’s resolve to contribute to the advancement of education for democracy. This follows the adoption of a UN resolution in November 2012, put forward by Mongolia when it held the presidency of the Community of Democracies, encouraging Member States to integrate education for democracy and human rights into the curriculum.

The Minister drew attention also to the recent creation of a Mongolia International Cooperation Fund aimed at sharing the country’s experience in democratic transition, noting recent cooperation with Myanmar on training public officers in the field of constitutional and election laws. He also highlighted the emphasis the country is placing, through a new Public Diplomacy and Communications Department within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the promotion of both cultural heritage and modern art forms, as well as people-to-people exchanges. The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Mongolia’s transition to democracy.

The Director-General praised the breadth of Mongolia’s contribution to UNESCO, ranging from its leadership through the United Nations Literacy Decade, its active promotion of education for democracy, which relates directly to fostering global citizenship among youth, and its commitment to the safeguarding of the country’s rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage. She also commended the Minister for the recent organization of the Freedom Online Conference in Ulaanbaatar, attended by the Deputy-Director General Mr Getachew Engida. Through inclusive economic development, intercultural dialogue and support to democracy building and governance, Mongolia’s experience provides key lessons for taking forward the post-2015 development agenda, concluded the Director-General.

In recognition of strong ties between Mongolia and UNESCO, the Minister confirmed that President Tskhiagiyn Elbegdorj would participate in the Leaders’ Forum of the 38th General Conference and conveyed the President’s decision to decorate the Director-General with Mongolia’s highest state honour awarded to foreign nationals, the Order of the Polar Star.