The UNESCO President's visit to the Basque Country consolidates cooperation with the Basque Country and the region's position as a reference point
At the invitation of the Lehendakari, Patxi López, acting in coordination with the Basque Government's General Secretariat for Overseas Action, the highest representative of UNESCO, Mr Davidson Hepburn, will visit the Basque Country, in an official capacity, between the 2nd and 4th of May.
The objective of the visit is to consolidate links and extend cooperation with the Basque Executive and authorities, within the spheres of culture and heritage, education and the culture of peace, biodiversity and cooperation for development. Mr Davidson Hepburn, President of the UNESCO General Conference, the United Nations' Agency for education, science and culture, iniates his visit to the Basque Country with a meeting next Monday with the Lehendakari, Patxi López, who will be accompanied by the Basque Government's General Secretary for Overseas Action, Guillermo Echenique, and the Director of International Relations, Ainhoa Alday.
The meeting with the Lehendakari commences an extremely busy agenda that will take in the 3 days of the visit to the Basque Country. For the General Secretary for Overseas Action, the upcoming visit of the President of the UNESCO General Conference, demonstrates that, in the view of the United Nations, the Basque Country is becoming a reference point in terms of heritage, culture, education, the environment and human rights.
According to Echenique, "Mr Hepburn's visit reinforces the executive's role in promoting initiatives that garner overseas recognition".
The visit of the highest representative of the UNESCO to the Basque Country is even more significant when we consider that the United Nations has declared 2010-2011 as International Years of Culture and Peace.
Extremely busy institutional agenda of UNESCO in the Basque Country
Subsequent to the reception offered by the Lehendakari in Ajuria Enea, Mr Hepburn will have a very occupied agenda over the course of his 3-day stay, holding meetings with the Basque Government Ministers Blanca Urgell and Pilar Únzaluel, Basque public and academic authorities along with the two UNESCO Centres (UNESCO Etxea and UNESCO San Sebastián) and Chairs in the Basque Country and the mayors of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Bilbao and Donostia-San Sebastian.
Mr Hepburn will also have the opportunity of becoming better acquainted with a number of sites registered on the World Heritage List, such as the Vizcaya Bridge and the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.
The highest representative of the UNESCO has also expressed his interest in visiting the walls and Cathedral of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the Sailburua wetlands and the salt flats of Salinas de Añana, areas that form a part of the Road to Santiago as it passes through the Basque Country, the Aiete House of Culture and Peace and the San Telmo Museum.