On 3 August 2022, Prof. Hubert Gijzen met with the His Excellency Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, High Commissioner of South Africa to the Republic of Kenya. Prof. Hubert was delighted to meet the High Commissioner having served as UNESCO Representative to South Africa in his previous assignment as the Regional Director for the Southern Africa Region, based in Harare.
He recounted the very active engagement of the Government of South Africa in UNESCO programmes, such as several projects on water, biosphere reserves and other topics, and via the continued work on enlisting new Sites onto the UNESCO World Heritage List and ‘Man and Biosphere Programme’ (MAB).
HE Mahlangu re-confirmed his country’s strong interest to continue to engage with UNESCO and to further step up our programmatic cooperation. He identified water as a critical area, but also referred to the ongoing cooperation in the areas of education, the sciences, and culture. He also emphasized the importance to continue to work towards gender equality and expressed appreciation for UNESCO’s programmes in these areas.
Both parties continued to discuss future areas of cooperation, and agreed that South Africa’s capacity, expertise and experiences could also be mobilized to support other countries in Africa. UNESCO Regional Director pointed out the lead role that South Africa plays in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation, notably via the staging of the important Science Forum held every year in December, since 2015. Similarly, he mentioned to the High Commissioner that many African countries have a gap in enlisting World Heritage Sites, and he proposed that the South Africa experience and success in this area could also be used to support other countries.
After successful deliberation, they both agreed to continue discussions to identify concrete areas of cooperation, bilaterally, and tri-laterally (including Kenya and other countries in the wider region).
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