The Director-General participates in the fourth South-East European Summit in Opatija

The Director-General participates in the fourth South-East European Summit in Opatija

On 1 June, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, opened with Mr Stjepan Mesić, President of Croatia, and Mr Terry Davis, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the fourth Regional Summit Forum of South-East Europe on “Communication of Heritage”.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General stated that UNESCO was privileged to cooperate closely with the leaders of the region, underlining that the “earnest commitment to increased cooperation through genuine dialogue” had grown steadily over the past years, from the first regional meeting in Ohrid (2003), through Tirana (2004) and Varna (2005) to this year’s meeting in Opatija (2006). “This process has succeeded in reinforcing positive linkages and exchanges, including with European institutions and UNESCO”.

“Building on the Varna Declaration, the Opatija Summit takes the agenda one step further”, the Director-General observed. “It provides an exceptional opportunity to examine key features of these cultural corridors – in particular, the fundamental role played by cultural heritage in the development of South-East Europe, along with its promotion, safeguarding and transmission through specific approaches. In this era of accelerated interaction facilitated by information and communication technologies (ICTs), it has become important to systematically promote knowledge about heritage and to foster a sense of shared responsibility towards its preservation and safeguarding – hence, the theme of this summit: “Communication of Heritage”.

“Our collective task at this Regional Summit in Opatija”, Mr Matsuura continued, “is to promote dialogue among all countries of the sub-region and to advance cooperation and mutual understanding through dialogue in concrete ways. The practice of organizing annual summits in South-East Europe at Head of State level will continue in coming years in rotation among the countries of the sub-region. Be assured that UNESCO is by your side in this important endeavour.”

At the closure of the Regional Forum the six participating Heads of State adopted the Opatija Declaration. The Declaration outlines a set of eleven principles for future cooperation in promoting cultural diversity as a defining factor in South-East Europe. It also welcomes the Varna Declaration, inviting Ministers of Culture to adopt its Strategy and agree upon a related Action Plan on the cultural corridors of South-East Europe.

On the margins of the Regional Forum, Mr Matsuura held bilateral talks with President Stjepan Mesić of Croatia, President Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria, President Alfred Moisiu of Albania, President Sulejman Tihic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and President Filip Vujanovic of Montenegro.

In recognition of Mr Matsuura’s contribution to promoting Croatia’s reputation at the international level and to supporting regional dialogue and cooperation, President Mesić presented the Director-General with The Order of Prince Branimir with Ribbon, the highest distinction awarded by Croatia for extraordinary services in the promotion of the international position of the Republic and its relations with other countries.

At the closure of the Forum, President Mesić hosted a dinner at Poreč, the location of the Euphrasian Basilica, which since 1997 has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

  • Auteur(s):Flash Info n°083-2006
  • Source:Flash Info n°083-2006
  • 02-06-2006
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