This week, President Artur Mas travelled to Paris to sign an agreement to strengthen collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The new arrangement is the third collaborative agreement signed by the Government of Catalonia and UNESCO, which was represented by Director General of the Paris-based United Nations Agency, Irina Bokova. The agreement authorizes the Catalan Government to participate in UNESCO led forums, activities and programs, it also consolidates the Catalan Government’s commitment to support the agency’s programs dedicated to education, culture, human and social and natural sciences, all of which fall under UNESCO’s domain. One of the projects which President Mas highlighted was the transformation of Barcelona’s Hospital de Sant Pau, itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is currently being converted into a hub to host international organizations.
During UNESCO’s Global Conference Opening Plenary Session that followed the signing of the treaty, President Mas detailed the Catalan Government’s strategies for adhering to the European Union’s 2020 Agenda as a means to improve the competitiveness of Catalonia, highlighting that the strategy works towards “reviving the economy while preserving the country’s social cohesion model”.
Mas also noted the progress Catalonia has made in the area of sustainable development, highlighting its leadership on the issue through its current presidency of the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD), an international network of regional governments with a shared commitment to sustainable development. Through this and other forums, the Government of Catalonia is playing an active role in the Rio+20 and the Post-2015 Development Agendas.
Other participants that took part in the session included Néstor Osorio, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and Permanent Representative of Colombia at the UN; Christian Courtin-Clarins, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Clarins Group, Bernard Gainnier, Partner in charge of Development and incoming President of PricewaterhouseCoopers France, Maghreb and French-Speaking Africa; and, Jakob Von Uexkull, President and Founder of the World Future Council. The session was moderated by Vincent Beaufils, Chief Editor of Challenges.