Azerbaijan`s Permanent Delegate addresses General Policy Debates of 38th session of UNESCO General Conference

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Paris, November 8, AZERTAC

Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCO Anar Karimov has addressed the General Policy Debates of the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris.

He highlighted the activity of UNESCO, saying the organization “has passed through 70 years of honorary pathway, with the sacred goal of “Building peace in the minds of men and women” as it is clearly stated in its Constitution”. “Several legal instruments were established, important conferences were held, and messages were sent all around the world in order to stronger protect and promote culture of peace, to establish and ensure the continuity of intercultural dialogue, make better access to education for all, preserve environment and thus create better social and economic conditions for citizens of the world without difference of their race, religion or ethnic background.”

Mr Karimov expressed his regret that “we are still witnessing wars and conflicts, extremism, radicalization, destruction of cultural and religious heritage and the international community cannot stay indifferent vis-a-vis such violence and should provide sufficient response to that”. “We are glad that UNESCO through its existing mechanisms and resources spares no efforts to keep this issue higher on agenda. In this regard, we welcome the campaign Unite4Heritage launched by the Director General, as well as elaboration of the strategy to reinforce UNESCO’s action for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict.”

"We are living through historical moments, when United Nations just recently adopted new Sustainable Development Goals with the aim to achieve better and safer world built upon sustainable economic and social development. As we all know, in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “quality education” is set as a one of the SDG Goals. UNESCO’s active involvement in elaboration of SDG on Education, resulted in the adoption by the high-level Ministerial meeting here in UNESCO 2 days ago of the Education 2030 Framework for Action document, which is going to provide guidance to countries for the implementation of education agenda. I’m confident that with its expertise and knowledge on Education, UNESCO will successfully lead the international community to achieve the targets incorporated in SDGs," he said.

The Permanent Delegate provided an insight into Azerbaijan`s partnership with UNESCO. "Azerbaijan attaches great importance to cooperation with UNESCO. My country joined UNESCO 23 years ago and during this period we have actively cooperated and contributed to UNESCO’s mission in all spheres of its competence." "This cooperation has become more intensive after the signing of the Framework Agreement on Cooperation between UNESCO and Azerbaijan in July 2013. Azerbaijan decided to sign this agreement with the primary aim to support UNESCO in its difficult time to advance its activities in core areas. This includes supporting UNESCO in such priority areas as education for all, girl’s education, safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage, science and innovation technologies, disaster risk preparedness and many others." "Let me give you a few examples of the projects are being implemented within the Framework Agreement. Several projects on girl’s education in Eastern African countries, as well as project to support TVET sub-sector through CapEFA Programme in Liberia. Avicenna Virtual Campus in Central Asia - a large scale programme for teacher training in science and technology, as well as in the framework of our commitment for safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage I am pleased to inform about projects for strengthening Capacities in Asia and Latin America in Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Development."

Mr Karimov hailed first lady Mehriban Aliyeva`s role in developing and expanding Azerbaijan-UNESCO cooperation. " I am delighted to underline tremendous support of Her Excellency Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady of Azerbaijan and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, in making these projects possible, as well as in promoting the message of UNESCO and its core values worldwide."

He also drew the audience`s attention to Azerbaijan`s contribution to intercultural dialogue. "Situated on the crossroads of civilizations, cultures and religions, Azerbaijan became a place of intercultural dialogue. And we are proud of that. The World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue held in Azerbaijan this year for the 3rd time is one of the best examples of the commitment of my Government in promoting inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. I would like to thank UNESCO, which is among other international organizations as official partner of the Forum, for its support and contribution to the work of this important event."

He also spoke of Armenia`s occupation of Azerbaijani lands: "However, it is with profound regret I must add that peace, security and stability in our region continue to be endangered and UNESCO’s principles and values remain violated by an ongoing military occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by armed forces of Armenia. In fact, the deliberate acts of destruction of cultural heritage in different parts of the world which we are witnessing with feeling of pain nowadays is not something new for my people; such and similar acts have taken place many years ago as a result of cultural cleansing policy by Armenia in the occupied territories.” “Not a single historical monument, mosque or cemetery testifying centuries’ old historical presence of Azerbaijani population escapes destruction or desecration in these territories and in Armenia itself. And what is interesting that while being involved in all these crimes, and being a unique mono-ethnic and mono religious country in a very diverse region, Armenia is trying to teach others," Mr Karimov added.

Shahla Aghalarova

Special Correspondent

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