The Director-General signs agreements concerning the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg

The Director-General signs agreements concerning the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg
  • © UNESCO/K. Pikkat

On 21 February 2007, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, and Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Foreign Minister of Germany, signed in Berlin agreements concerning the Headquarters and the administration of the Headquarters of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL).

These agreements give the Institute, which was established in Hamburg, Germany, in 1951 as a foundation under German Civil Law, the legal status of a fully-fledged international UNESCO Institute.

As one of UNESCO’s specialized institutes with responsibilities in the fields of literacy, non-formal education and adult learning, UIL was recently restructured in order to streamline the work of the Institute and align it closely with UNESCO’s priorities, namely the achievement of EFA and the education-related MDGs. It will also coordinate the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE), a UNESCO initiative launched within the framework of the UN Literacy Decade, and addressing the needs of the 35 countries that face the greatest literacy challenge – that is those with a literacy rate below 50 percent and/or a population of over 10 million adults without adequate literacy competencies.

In his bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister preceding the agreement signing ceremony, the Director-General expressed his appreciation of the long-standing commitment of the Federal Government of Germany as well as that of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, which have supported this Institute over the past 50 years.

The talks of the Director-General and the Foreign Minister also touched upon Germany’s current presidency of the European Union and G8, the priority of Africa, as well as UNESCO’s work in the field of cultural and natural heritage preservation, including in Jerusalem. The Foreign Minister informed the Director-General of Germany’s strong support for UNESCO’s normative action, in particular in the field of culture. In this regard, the Minister announced to Mr Matsuura the imminent deposit of the letter of ratification by Germany of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Welcoming Germany’s commitment to the protection of heritage, Mr Matsuura voiced his concerns with regard to the project to construct a bridge in the core zone of the World Heritage-listed Dresden Elbe Valley. The Director-General expressed his hope that the request of the World Heritage Committee, in July 2006, to stop the construction of the bridge, would be implemented.

In Berlin, the Director-General also met Mr Georg Boomgaarden, State Secretary at the Federal Foreign Ministry, and visited the Museum island inscribed on the World Heritage List.

In Hamburg, the Director-General visited the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning and attended a ceremony for the signing of the administrative agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg regarding the UIL. Mr Matsuura also had talks with Mr Jörg Dräger, Senator of Hamburg responsible for Higher Education and Research, Ms Alexandra Dinges-Dierig, Senator of Hamburg responsible for Education and Sports, and Mr Roland Salchow, State Secretary of Science and Research.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 028-2007
  • 23-02-2007
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