A new deal that will boost cooperation, dialogue and help to share information and best practice between the European Union (EU) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was signed between the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, and the Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.
The Memorandum of Understanding sets out clear, strategic priorities and encourages increased policy dialogue on areas of mutual interest between the two organisations, such as education, culture, science and technology, maritime policy and freedom of expression.
Today’s Memorandum of Understanding is based on long-standing cooperation between the EU and UNESCO, which include multistakeholder initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education to promote aid effectiveness and policy dialogue on education, supporting education in 48 partner countries; the International Task Force on Teachers for Education for All to help countries, especially in Africa, secure an adequate number of competent and motivated teachers; and the Global Learning Cities Network to promote adult and lifelong education. UNESCO has been particularly active on access to knowledge including through Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in education – in particular on its plans for an innovative, online platform offering free and open learning resources, as well as in science, technology and innovation.
Building on UNESCO’s lead in the development of international legal standards in the area of cultural heritage preservation and promoting cultural industries, partnership between the EU and UNESCO also supports efforts for the governance of culture and national and local level through the effective grass-root implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The EU supports the implementation of this Convention through an Expert Facility for the Governance of Culture, from which 13 countries currently benefit.
A range of other projects are also implemented in partnership with the EU, including safeguarding world heritage, intangible cultural heritage (such as Egyptian traditional festivals and inventorying Mediterranean living heritage), preserving World Heritage sites (such as old Havana and Nablus old city), media development and promoting sustainable marine and coastal archaeology.