The Prime Minister was accompanied by Mr Ali Ahmed Jama, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Mohammed Ali Hamud, Minister of Economic Development and Finance, and Mr Saïd Hagi Mohamed Farah, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Somalia to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.
During their bilateral meeting, the Prime Minister started by briefing the Director-General on the political developments in Somalia, stressing the new cabinet’s endeavours towards achieving its major challenges, namely peace and stability for development through an all-inclusive reconciliation. The Director-General welcomed the positive signs towards lasting stability, following the National Reconciliation Conference of Somalis which took place last year.
The Director-General and the Prime Minister expressed their appreciation at the cooperation between Somalia and UNESCO, in which and the UNESCO Nairobi Office and UNESCO’s PEER play an important role. The main focus of the discussions was on how to strengthen cooperation further, in particular in the field of education and culture. The Prime Minister stressed the urgency for the reconstruction of a viable education system and called on UNESCO to assist his country in the effective implementation of the recommendations which emanated from the Expert Meeting on the Rehabilitation of Somali Culture that was held in June 2007 in Nairobi, co-organized by the Government and UNESCO. He also requested UNESCO’s technical assistance in addressing the right to education in the Constitutional consultations under way in Somalia. Furthermore, given the transitional phase leading to the planned general elections to be held in 2009, he stressed the important role that UNESCO should play in the field of Communication and Information, through the establishment of community multimedia centres.
Mr Matsuura pledged UNESCO’s continued support to the reconstruction efforts in Somalia. “As a member of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) for Somalia, currently based in Nairobi, UNESCO will continue to play a catalytic role in mobilizing extrabudgetary resources for the reconstruction efforts in the Organization’s fields of competence,” Mr Matsuura said. In this regard, he noted that during his visit to Nairobi in May 2007, he convened a joint meeting on Somalia notably attended by Mr François Fall, then Special Representative for Somalia, members of the United Nations Country Team for Somalia and Ambassadors of several donor countries. UNESCO through its PEER programme co-chairs the working group on education in Somalia and is leader of the sub-sector education (Social Services Cluster) of the UN Transitional Plan for 2008-2009 (UNTP). The Director-General also mentioned UNESCO’s participation in the UN Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for Somalia which notably resulted in a project being funded by the Italian Government with an ICT support for teacher education component, to be implemented by UNESCO-PEER.
Mr Matsuura welcomed the renewed focus on the right to education and the need to preserve cultural heritage and pledged UNESCO’s technical support notably on the basis of the Expert Meeting recommendations. He noted that the request for the establishment of community multimedia centres will be given appropriate attention by the Communication and Information Sector. He expressed the hope that security conditions will be created soon to allow the UNCT for Somalia to relocate to Mogadishu. In conclusion, he accepted the invitation to visit Somalia in late September.
Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 018-2008 - Publication Date: 15-02-2008