|Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Audrey Azoulay. AFP/VNA Photo
At the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Việt Nam, General Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, has been on an official visit to Việt Nam from September 5-7.
Prior to the visit, she talked to Vietnam News Agency about her thoughts on the cooperation between Việt Nam and UNESCO and her upcoming activities.
This year marks 45 years of Việt Nam - UNESCO relations. What is your assessment of Việt Nam's efforts to promote the cooperation with UNESCO over the years?
Việt Nam is a model for effective cooperation with UNESCO. The country joined the organisation in 1976, shortly after its reunification and a year before joining the United Nations. Since then, we have built a solid relationship.
Together we have developed many joint science projects, most recently of which are two training and research centres in mathematics and physics, launched in 2021. Both sides support educational development, especially girls' education.
Regarding culture, Việt Nam has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and another 13 properties inscribed on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Việt Nam has also been an active member of the Executive Board of UNESCO, elected in 2021 for a four-year term.
What are the advantages and challenges in promoting the cooperation between Việt Nam and UNESCO in the future to achieve the millennium development goals and sustainable development worldwide?
In the context of rapid economic growth, Việt Nam has been able to build a development model based on substantial investment in education. The country has also made specific commitments to protect heritages, one of the pillars of identity and development. In both fields, Việt Nam has made significant progress, but these efforts also need to be properly sustained to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
One of the biggest challenges we're facing right now, in my opinion, is climate change. This is a global challenge, requiring the participation of all member nations. UNESCO has proposed a number of solutions, particularly the Man and Biosphere Programme, which was initiated in 1975 and is the precursor to the concept of sustainable development. This programme aims at balancing and ensuring harmony between human activities and the environment.
In recent years, Việt Nam’s investment has been following this direction and today, the country has had 11 biosphere reserves recognised by UNESCO.
Another positive point is that the country has adopted the National Strategy on Climate Change for 2050 since July last year.
What are your plans and expectations during the official visit to Việt Nam this September?
I would be pleased to travel to the north and central of the country to work, especially in the field of education and culture.
In Hà Nội, I will meet Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính and visit Ngô Sĩ Liên High School, a part of UNESCO Associated Schools Network.
|Director General of the UNESCO Audrey Azoulay attended the new school year opening ceremony at the Hà Nội-based Ngô Sĩ Liên Secondary School on September 5. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng
In the northern province of Ninh Bình, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention and the 35th anniversary of Việt Nam’s ratification of the Convention. I will also visit the Tràng An scenic complex, which was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2014 and a good example of environmental conservation and sustainable tourism development.
Finally, I will travel to Huế, whose monuments have also been recognised as World Heritage Sites and where UNESCO has contributed to a number of restoration projects.
I also want to go the south where there is so much to discover and I will have to come back. Each visit will be an opportunity to review cooperation projects and identify next action plans to implement the Memorandum of Understanding that I signed with the Vietnamese government in November 2021, during the visit of Vietnamese PM to UNESCO headquarters in Paris. VNS