10 December 2008
On 8 December 2008, Mr Marcio Barbosa, Deputy Director-General, on behalf of the Director-General of UNESCO, and Mr Tahir Mansurov, Secretary-General of the Eurasian Economic Community (EURASEC), signed a Memorandum of Understanding between UNESCO and EURASEC. Ambassador Kalamanov, Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, and Ambassador Suleimenov, Permanent Delegate of Kazakhstan to UNESCO, were present at the ceremony.Established in October 2000, the Eurasian Economic Community (EURASEC) is an intergovernmental organization comprising six member states – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The UN General Assembly had granted EURASEC observer status in 2003 and subsequently invited UN Specialized Agencies to develop direct contacts with EURASEC.
When meeting the Secretary-General of EURASEC in March 2008, Director-General Matsuura had discussed possible areas of cooperation between the two organizations. At its 180th session, the Executive Board had approved the establishment of official relations between UNESCO and EURASEC, and authorised the Director-General to sign an agreement on behalf of the Organization.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Deputy Director-General highlighted a number of areas of common interest to the two organizations. ”It is therefore only natural”, said Mr Barbosa, “that we explore ways and means of strengthening regional cooperation in such fields as education, the sciences, culture and communication and information”.
Mr Mansurov explained that EURASEC countries wished to cooperate with UNESCO in all its fields of competence. Whereas UNESCO’s cooperation with the six EURASEC countries was already well developed in the fields of education and culture, the countries hoped henceforth to benefit from UNESCO’s experience in the sciences, in particular as concerns innovative technologies and nanotechnology.
The Deputy Director-General highlighted that it would be important to develop a mechanism to help translate the Memorandum of Understanding into concrete projects and to seek funding for and monitor their implementation. “Let us work hard to make this cooperation a success”, concluded Mr Barbosa.