UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova met with President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah during a three-day visit to Afghanistan that highlighted the importance of cultural heritage, literacy and press freedom.
Ms. Bokova took part in a series of high-level meetings, signed a partnership agreement with the government, discussed press freedom issues with journalists, visited a key literacy programme and launched a cultural history publication.
Ms. Bokova and Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, the Minister of Finance, signed the Multi-Partner Trust Fund and national programme for the promotion of culture and creative economy. The initiative aims to improve employment opportunities in the creative economy through a long-term national policy, harnessing the potential of culture as a driver and enabler of sustainable development.
Ms. Bokova met with journalists and media professionals, discussing key issues in the field of freedom of expression and access to information, along with the role of women in media.
“I am impressed by the leadership you demonstrate and by all the actions and progress made over the past few years,” said Ms. Bokova.
“The adoption of the Access to Information law in 2014 is truly a success story for Afghanistan, and now it needs to be fully implemented.”
Also during the visit, the Director-General met with teachers and students from literacy classes facilitated by a major Afghan literacy programme which is led by UNESCO.
Ms. Bokova participated at the launch of publication “Keeping history alive”, which showcases decades of UNESCO’s work in the country for the protection and promotion of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage. This includes the safeguarding of the remains of the Bamiyan Valley and the Minaret of Jam.
UNESCO -- the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -- is a specialized agency of the UN set up to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific and cultural reform.
UNESCO is part of the UN family in Afghanistan. More than 20 different UN entities are present in the country, working to support the Afghan government’s priorities through a broad spectrum of development and humanitarian activities, including through support for development planning, resource mobilization, and coordination of international donors and organizations.