Guy Arendt at UNESCO; Credit: MCULT

On Thursday 2 November 2017, Luxembourg's Secretary of State for Culture, Guy Arendt, waw in Paris to attend the 39th General Conference of UNESCO.

The conference brings together representatives of 195 Member States every two years and determines the general orientation, programme and budget of the United Nations for the next two years. Before this conference, the United States and Israel announced that they wanted to leave the organisation, which Luxembourg deeply regrets.

During the policy debate, Guy Arendt emphasised in his speech that "science can help to find technical solutions to reduce the impact of man on his environment, education helps to reduce inequalities and teach respect, culture brings women and men closer together, reminding us that humanity is profoundly one in its tremendous diversity."

The Secretary of State welcomed the emphasis placed by UNESCO on the protection of cultural heritage and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict and expressed Luxembourg's support for the organisation's action in this vital area, for cohesive societies.

In addition, the Secretary of State announced that Luxembourg intends to submit, in the near future, applications for two of Unesco's natural programmes; the "Global Geoparks" and "Man and the Biosphere". These programmes enable the practical implementation of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Finally, he noted the importance of free access to quality education for men and women throughout their lives, which is essential for the progress of human society.

The General Conference will continue its work until 14 November by addressing the major programmes of education, natural sciences, social and human, culture and communication and information.