United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Signature of a cooperation agreement between UNESCO and the East African Community (EAC)

On 18 December Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, and Mr Juma Volter Mwapachu, Secretary General of East African Community (EAC), signed a cooperation agreement between their respective organizations.

This agreement was signed in the framework of UNESCO’s cooperation with African Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The agreement aims to carry out specific joint actions between UNESCO and EAC. It illustrates UNESCO’s strive to facilitate policy-dialogue processes with Regional Economic Communities. EAC is originally composed of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and recently has admitted Rwanda and Burundi as full members.

During the ceremony, Mr Matsuura welcomed the formalization of the cooperation between the two Organizations, at a time when the EAC is headed by Mr Mwapachu, former Tanzanian Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. He also noted that the Organization has over the years established strong bilateral cooperation with the respective EAC Member States. “We are looking forward to implementing this agreement through our Programme Sectors at Headquarters and also via our strong Cluster Offices in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam. We also have a National Office in Burundi, one of the new Member States of EAC”,” he added.

Mr Matsuura said that UNESCO maintains vibrant relations with the African Union on the continental level. Noting the strategic importance of Regional Economic Communities, including EAC, in the integration process in Africa, the Director-General recalled that he established the Forum of African Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations in support of cooperation between UNESCO and NEPAD (FOSRASUN) as a platform for dialogue and partnership with a view to achieving regional integration through education, science, culture and communication.

For his part, Mr Mwapachu thanked the Director-General for signing this “milestone agreement,” reflecting a new momentum in the cooperation between UNESCO and the EAC. He expressed the hope that EAC would continue to benefit from UNESCO’s expertise in the critical areas of socioeconomic development. In particular, he drew attention to ongoing initiatives such as the harmonization of curriculum for secondary and tertiary levels and the mutual recognition of academic awards, promotion of science and technology and research, conservation of Lake Victoria and the preservation of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible.

The meeting was attended by the Ambassadors and Representatives of Member States of EAC.

Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 208-2006 -  Publication Date: 20-12-2006

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