UNESCO head meets with UN’s top gender equality, relief officials
The contributions that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) can make in the areas of gender equality and humanitarian aid were the focus of talks between the agency’s chief and top world body officials.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova underlined the importance of linking health and education during her meeting yesterday with Michelle Bachelet, former Chilean president and head of the newly-created UN Women, or the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
Established in July by a unanimous vote of the General Assembly, UN Women will oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs.
It merges four UN entities: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).
Gender equality is one of UNESCO’s two global priorities for the period of 2008-2013 and a pillar of her mandate, Ms. Bokova – the first woman to head UNESCO – said.
She also met yesterday with Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, detailing UNESCO’s expertise and successes in post-conflict and post-disaster situations.
Ms. Bokova also spoke of her agency’s vital role in restoring education in affected communities, including Haiti and Pakistan, and the establishment of early warning systems for tsunamis and other ocean-related hazards worldwide.
For her part, Ms. Amos, who also serves as UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, expressed her interest in strengthening cooperation among UNESCO and other UN entities, highlighting the importance of expanding the reach of early warning and prevention mechanisms around the world.