UNESCO BRINGS TOGETHER SOUTH-EAST EUROPE MINISTERS TO STEP UP COOPERATION IN EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND CULTUREParis - Ways to reinforce regional co-operation in South-East Europe in UNESCO's fields of competence, will be discussed by ministers and other senior representatives from the region and their international partners at UNESCO Headquarters on April 4 and 5.
The High-Level Conference on Strengthening Cooperation in South-East Europe will give participants (*), who will include decision-makers from the region, representatives of interested countries and intergovernmental organizations, an opportunity to discuss priorities for future co-operation, contribute to better coordination of the action of major intergovernmental organizations in the region, and sensitize the international community to the need for concerted efforts.
Journalists will be able to attend the opening session of the meeting (April 4 at 9.30 a.m. in Room X), which will feature addresses by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer, and Alexandros Rondos, Chairman of Working Table I of the Stability Pact. The rest of the debates will be private session. The participants are expected to produce a communiqué at the end of their work.
The meeting marks a further step in UNESCO's ongoing commitment to help foster conditions for stability andpeaceful development in the region.
Over years, UNESCO has worked with its South-East European Member States to strengthen the process of mutual understanding and convergence between a wide range of cultures through a common heritage and shared ethical values.
UNESCO's action in South-East Europe is now focusing in a more in-depth regional analysis taking into account the close cultural and historical links among the countries of the region and the active participation of the governmental authorities and civil society.
Some of the areas on which future action may focus are as follows:
- Improving the quality of education through the diversification of contents and methods, and the promotion of universally shared values;
- Enhancing scientific, technical and human capacities for participation in the emerging knowledge society;
- Protecting cultural diversity and encouraging pluralism and dialogue among cultures and civilizations;- Promoting access to information and means of communication and awareness-raising regarding related ethical issues.
(*) Representatives from the region - including seven government ministers, two deputy ministers and senior government representatives - (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Republic of Moldova, Romania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Yugoslavia); senior officials from the UN system (United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF, United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo, United Nations Information Centre); the Council of Europe, the European Commission; the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and the World Bank. The following countries will also be represented at the meeting:Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Journalists wishing to attend the opening session, should contact UNESCO's Press Service for accreditation: tel (+33) (0)1 45 68 17 48