This was the Minister’s first visit to the Organization’s headquarters, honouring the Director-General’s invitation given the large amount of programme initiatives between UNESCO and Afghanistan.
During the meeting the Director-General recalled the visit of Afghanistan’s President, Mr Hamid Karzai to the opening of UNESCO’s celebrations of its 60th anniversary in 2005. “This visit illustrated the Organization’s engagement in further promoting peace and democracy in Afghanistan, as well as its strong commitment to the country’s development,” said Mr Matsuura.
The Minister thanked Mr Matsuura on behalf of the Afghan government for his personal commitment to helping rebuild Afghanistan through UNESCO’s numerous projects in the country. Mr Matsuura highlighted the importance of education as a means of reconstructing Afghan society. Both agreed the first priority today is to further strengthen the education system in the country. Mr Matsuura also welcomed the news of the government’s satisfaction with the new head of UNESCO’s Kabul office, who is an education specialist.
The Director-General expressed his satisfaction with the growing cooperation between Afghanistan and UNESCO in the fields of culture and communication. Since his first visit to the country in 2002, there have been two heritage sites from Afghanistan added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List for the first time in its history. “UNESCO stands ready to continue assisting Afghanistan in the domain of Culture, specifically through strengthening collaboration with our office in Kabul,” stated Mr Matsuura.
The Director-General also underscored UNESCO’s role in the reform process of the media sector in Afghanistan. The Organization, along with national and international stakeholders, has been organizing awareness-raising initiatives with parliamentarians and government officials on the role of free and independent media in promoting peace, good governance and development.
To this end, Mr Matsuura suggested establishing UNESCO’s Community Media Centre Programme in Afghanistan with extra budgetary fundings. “UNESCO’s Community Media Centre Programme is very successful, they are a means of providing education to women and encouraging sustainable development,” he stated.
Auteur(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 204-2006 - Date de publication: 18-12-2006