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Moscow vows to prevent any attempts to politicize UNESCO

Moscow supports the Russian regions’ initiatives concerning their participation in the UNESCO Global Geoparks project

MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Russia will strive to prevent any attempts aimed at UNESCO politicizing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a session of the country’s Commission for UNESCO on Wednesday.

"We have been insisting, are insisting and will be insisting that any attempts to politicize the work of this very noble forum should be stopped and that we all will strictly comply with the organizations’ mandate."

Joint efforts are needed to find solutions to emerging crises in international relations, he added.

"Unfortunately, both international humanitarian cooperation and our work have felt an impact of steps aimed for politicizing the situation and resorting to rather opaque means," the minister said. "Among them were attempts to politicize UNESCO."

The Russian foreign minister recalled President Vladimir Putin’s words that culture, art and education are "a response to barbarism, intolerance and aggressive radicalism that pose a threat to our civilization."

"We focused our attention on appeals of UNESCO new Director-General to depoliticize and to join efforts for solving common pressing tasks," Lavrov said. "We hope the intentions will be put into practical use.".

UNESCO Global Geoparks

Moscow supports the Russian regions’ initiatives concerning their participation in the UNESCO Global Geoparks project, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said addressing a meeting of the Commission for UNESCO Affairs.

"The creation of global geoparks is one of the most popular UNESCO projects," he noted. "We welcome the interest in the project that our regions have been showing and are ready to encourage them," Lavrov added.

"With the active support of the Russian National Committee for International Geoscience Program (IGCP), we have filed an application for creating the first such park in Bashkortostan. The Altai and Irkutsk regions come next," the Russian top diplomat said.

According to earlier reports, work has begun to establish the UNESCO Baikal Geopark. Besides, in May 2018, experts from the Irkutsk Science Center of the Siberian branch of Russia’s Academy of Sciences and French researchers will discuss a project which stipulates setting up another UNESCO geopark on the banks of Lake Baikal.

Geoparks have been established in various countries since the 1990s, while in 2002, UNESCO launched a special program to support them, which currently involves 24 countries.

According to UNESCO, "UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development."

"In order to become a UNESCO Global Geopark, the area must have geological heritage of international value… UNESCO Global Geoparks require a management plan, agreed upon by all the partners, that provides for the social and economic needs of the local populations, protects the landscape in which they live and conserves their cultural identity," UNESCO added. Besides, "Global Geoparks promote sustainable local economic development mainly through geotourism. In order to stimulate the geotourism in the area, it is crucial that a UNESCO Global Geopark has visibility… UNESCO Global Geoparks need to provide information via a dedicated website, leaflets, and detailed map of the area that connects the area’s geological and other sites.".