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Estonia Was Elected to the UNESCO Executive Board


Last night at the plenary session of the 37th General Conference of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, Estonia was elected with 166 votes to become a member of the UNESCO Executive Board.

According to Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, belonging to the UNESCO governing body is an important recognition for Estonia. “We have been a UNESCO member for over 20 years and our cooperation with this organization has constantly intensified,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

“Estonian cultural heritage is of great value and we pay a lot of attention on maintaining and sustaining it. Therefore, we are very aware of why it is necessary to value and protect the rest of the world’s tangible and intangible heritage as well. Active participation in UNESCO is the best opportunity to do so,” added Paet.

The Permanent Representative of Estonia to UNESCO Ambassador Marten Kokk emphasises that membership in the Executive Board is a substantial responsibility for Estonia. “As a member of the Executive Board, we will draw attention to topics that are important for Estonia, such as internet freedom, protection of cultural heritage, and educational questions,” noted Kokk.

Estonia’s application for membership in the UNESCO Executive Board for the years 2014-2015 is the first time it has done so. The Executive Board is a UNESCO governing body with a rotating membership that includes 58 states at a time, who are chosen by UNESCO member states at the plenary session of the General Conference.

Estonia became a member of UNESCO on 14 October 1991. Estonia is represented on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997 with the Tallinn Old Town and again since 2005 with the remains of the structures built for the Struve Geodetic Arc that was jointly presented by 10 countries. In 2009, the events of the Baltic Chain were also entered into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. The Seto polyphonic singing tradition, the Kihnu cultural space, and the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian song and dance festival tradition have become part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

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