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In his capacity as Chairman of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, Secretary Albert F. del Rosario met with UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 31 May. 

DG Bokova warmly welcomed the Philippine Foreign Secretary and recalled the memorable first official visit she made in Manila in 2011. 

Today’s meeting in Paris was an opportunity for the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to discuss the Philippines’ candidature for a seat in the World Heritage Committee, as well as the developments related to the protection and conservation of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. 

The Tubbataha Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of five sites in the Philippines that have been deemed to have outstanding universal value.  As such, it is the focus of heightened international awareness and commitment for conservation and preservation.  The other World Heritage sites in the country are: Baroque churches in the Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, the Historic Town of Vigan and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
In addition to culture, another important competency of UNESCO is education.   The establishment in the Philippines of a UNESCO Category 2 center—the Southeast Asian Center for Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development-- is also a notable mark of the country’s commitment to contribute to regional education development.   

The meeting was also an occasion to exchange views on the challenges being faced by UNESCO and on various regional and international issues.  For his part, Secretary del Rosario shared with the Director General information on recent political and economic developments in the Philippines and that of ASEAN.  He remarked that ASEAN countries, and the Philippines in particular, is experiencing an economic resurgence that not only bodes well for the region but also for world growth. 

In Paris for political consultations with his French counterpart, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Secretary del Rosario also took the opportunity to engage in further advancing Philippine interests in the international stage by meeting the UNESCO Director General. 

UNESCO, with 196 Member States, is a specialized agency of the United Nations.  Its mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. 

Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova

From left: UNESCO Assistant Director General Eric Falt, Director General Irona Bokova, Secretary Albert del Rosario and Ambassador Cristina Ortega