At his meeting with Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet noted that Estonia feels its participation in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is very important. “Estonia’s priorities in UNESCO are tied to valuing and protecting the world’s physical and spiritual heritage,” stated Paet.
The primary responsibility of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is to ensure the preservation of the world’s cultural and natural heritage. Since 2009 Estonia is participating in the work of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for a four-year period. “This gives Estonia a good opportunity to further strengthen its activities in protecting spiritual cultural heritage,” stated Foreign Minister Paet. “Estonia’s cultural heritage also includes many valuable things, and we must turn our attention to preserving and protecting them,” Paet noted. Of the 186 nations that have joined the World Heritage Convention, only 21, including Estonia, belong to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. This summer a session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will take place in Brazil, where Estonia will be participating as a member of the committee for the first time.
Estonia has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997 for Tallinn’s Old Town and since 2005 for the Struve geodetic arc, which was proposed by ten countries in co-operation. In July of 2009 the events of the Baltic Way were added to the UNESCO Memory of the World programme. The Seto singing tradition has been added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
UNESCO Director General Bokova stated that the work of Estonian experts in various UNESCO activities is highly regarded. “Contributing experts to the work of UNESCO gives Estonia a chance to help developing nations with its expertise and also gain new experiences,” stated Foreign Minister Paet. In the first half of 2010 Estonia is the chairman of the group of Central and East European and Central Asian nations and co-ordinates communication with UNESCO organs and among the nations within the group.
Foreign Minister Paet said that Estonia would like to be a candidate for the UNESCO International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme for 2011.
SPOKESPERSON' S OFFICE
Paet met with Director General of UNESCO