United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The Director-General co-convenes the 7th South-East European Regional Summit Forum in Cetinje, Montenegro

On 4 June 2009, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, opened with Mr Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro, and Mr Terry Davis, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the 7th Regional Summit Forum of the Heads of State of South-East Europe.

Hosted by President Vujanović in Cetinje, the royal capital of Montenegro, the Summit Forum was devoted to the theme “Management of Heritage Diversity and its Promotion for Tourism”.

Speaking on behalf of the Heads of State of South-East Europe, President Vujanović expressed appreciation to UNESCO for promoting the dialogue of cultures and civilisations as the basis for mutual understanding and partnership. The President paid tribute to Mr Matsuura for his personal leadership in this regard, saying that “his cooperation in the region and extended mandate will be remembered and respected because of his full commitment to the implementation of this noble mission”.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General recalled that from the origins in a ministerial meeting at UNESCO in 2002, the Heads of State level Summit Forums, co convened by UNESCO in Ohrid (2003), Tirana (2004), Varna (2005), Opatija (2006), Bucharest and Sibiu (2007), and Athens (2008) have been significant for the entire region. “Through constant dialogue at the highest level, we have succeeded in constructing a new South-East Europe, based on mutual understanding and increased regional cooperation – something that appeared so elusive during the civil strife and war of the 1990s. We can take pride in this”, stated Mr Matsuura.

The Director-General continued by saying that these regional encounters have positioned culture at the heart of the regional development and cooperation agenda. Turning to the subject of this year’s Summit, Mr Matsuura explained that in addition to its obvious economic benefits, “heritage tourism can contribute to the conservation of heritage assets which constitute key attractions for local and international visitors. And if such tourism is developed in an integrated and participatory manner, it can be a powerful tool for regional integration”.

At the closure of the Summit, the eight Heads of State and the representatives of other countries participating in the Summit Forum adopted the Cetinje Declaration*, which defines a set of eleven principles to guide future cooperation in the development of regional cultural tourism. In his closing remarks, the Director-General expressed his hope that the tradition of these annual Summit meetings will continue, further increasing regional cooperation “through the political wisdom of its leaders and their belief in the pursuit of dialogue and exchange for the common good”.

On the margins of the Summit, the Director-General held bilateral talks with Mr Stjepan Mesic, President of Croatia; Mr Nebojša Radmanović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mr Georg Ivanov, President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Mr Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro; Mr Boris Tadić, President of Serbia; and Mr Danilo Türk, President of the Republic of Slovenia. The Director-General also met with the Minister of Culture of Montenegro, who expressed his thanks for UNESCO’s assistance in the preparation of the Management Plan for Cetinje, the site that the Montegrin authorities intend to include in the Tentative List of future candidates for World Heritage inscription.

On 5 June, before his departure from Montenegro, the Director-General visited Petrovac, the excavation site of Byzantine mosaics, and participated in a working lunch with the Director of the archaeological excavations and the Deputy Mayor of Budva.

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Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 107-2009 -  Publication Date: 09-06-2009

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