Located in the southwest of Ecuador and northwest of Peru, Bosques de Paz seeks to be a model of participatory and citizen management that can strengthen peace, sustainability and ecological connectivity between both countries. This site, which was recognized this year as the first transboundary reserve in South America by the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, was presented officially by the Environment Ministers of Ecuador and Peru, Mr Tarsicio Granizo and Mrs Elsa Galarza, on 18 August 2017, in the city of Macará, Loja Province, Ecuador. It promotes sustainable development for the benefit of the more than 600 000 Peruvians and Ecuadorians that live in this area.
Bosques de Paz, which translates to “Forests of Peace”, has a total area of 1,616,988 hectares and is composed of the Bosque Seco Biosphere Reserve in Ecuador (501,040 hectares) and the Noroeste Amotapes - Manglares Biosphere Reserve in Peru (1,115,948 hectares). It includes the seasonally dry forests of Ecuador and Peru, which form the heart of the Endemic Region of Tumbes, one of the most important biodiversity hotspots of the world.
During the event, the Ecuadorian Minister of the Environment declared that his country was ‘pleased to have this Biosphere Reserve as an additional management tool for the conservation of this important and fragile ecosystem. Thanks to the will, inclusiveness and brotherhood of the people of both countries, this biosphere reserve is now officially launched. In addition to facilitate looking after the forests, it presents an alternative for sustainable development and the conservation of nature.’
The Peruvian Minister of the Environment highlighted the coordinated efforts between the two countries, through which a biosphere reserve could be established to promote the development and well-being of border populations, while further strengthening the friendship between both countries following the conflict of a few decades ago.
Both countries expressed their appreciation for the support received in this nomination process by the Government of Flanders of the Kingdom of Belgium through the BRESEP Project (Biosphere Reserves as a tool for management of coastal areas and islands in the South East Pacific). Ecuador and Peru both participate in this project, together with Chile, Colombia and Panama. BRESEP, which is coordinated by the UNESCO-MAB Programme, aims to create and strengthen existing biosphere reserves in coastal areas and islands of the South East Pacific coast of these five countries. BRESEP also aims to promote biosphere reserves as tools for innovative projects to bring added value to local socio-economical activities, and to sensitize and build the capacity of stakeholders in the area.
Thirty experts from some 20 countries will meet to examine examples of cultural cross-fertilization identified in UNESCO’s monumental General and Regional Histories and Routes of Dialogue projects to determine ways to boost intercultural dialogue today. The meeting, an international seminar entitled The Great Moments of Dialogue in Human History: Assessment, Lessons, and Prospects, will take place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on 29 and 30 August.
The seminar will serve to identify the great periods of dialogue in human history and highlight the main markers of these cultural interactions in different regions of the world so as to improve our understanding of the processes whereby cultures influence one another.
Participants will also explore the potential of today’s digital networks and the development of tools to disseminate existing knowledge in this area. They will finally propose concrete guidelines to develop educational materials and tools using ICTs to promote mutual understanding, dialogue and reconciliation.
The seminar is part of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), of which UNESCO is the lead agency.
In recent years, worsening of tensions, conflicts and terrorism in different parts of the world have once again given currency to long discredited ideas according to which clashes between civilizations and confrontations between peoples and nations are inevitable. Current tensions have also revived racial and cultural prejudices inspired by unscientific theories about a supposed hierarchy of races, cultures and religions. The fact that such ideas have gained ground in recent years has made new reflection on the common heritage and shared values of humanity topical and necessary.
The international seminar will be preceded on 28 August by an international conference on “Central Asian Renaissance in the History of World Civilization” organized by the Government of Uzbekistan, with support of UNESCO, on the occasion of the Sharq Taronalari (Melodies of the East) music festival, which is held biennially in Samarkand. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, will open the conference.
Contact: Natalia Wagner, email@example.com
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On 20 August 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, visited the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation, where she presented the town-island of Sviyazhsk its World Heritage certificate and named former President of Tatarstan, Mr Mintimer Shaimiev, UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue.
The Director-General handed the World Heritage designation certificate of the Assumption Cathedral of the Town-Island of Sviyazhsk, nominated last July in Krakow, to the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Mr Rustam Minnikhanov.
“The significance of Sviyazhsk for Tatarstan, for the Russian Federation and for all humanity goes well beyond the beauty and purity of its stones and buildings. This is about religious tolerance. This is about peaceful coexistence and intercultural dialogue”, Irina Bokova said.
“We need such message of tolerance more than ever today. We have to oppose the attempts of violent extremists to disseminate false narratives on religion or culture and distort history to spread hatred and we must share more examples of mutual understanding, more stories of encounter and mutual enrichment,” she added.
The Director-General also named Mr Mintimer Shaimiev, former President of Tatarstan, UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue, for his strong commitment to this issue as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the nonprofit organization “The Republican Foundation for the Revival of Historical and Cultural Monuments of the Republic of Tatarstan”.
Handing the Certificate to Mr. Shaimiev, Irina Bokova said: “Your life and your work have been guided by the conviction that cultural diversity is a force for the construction of sustainable and inclusive societies, as a source of resilience, adaptation and pride. You played a major role in the cultural revitalization of the region through funding of initiatives such as the reconstruction of the Mother of God Cathedral and the creation of a Bolgar Islamic Academy”, Irina Bokova added.
The Republic of Tatarstan is a region of the Russian Federation, with a long history of peaceful religious coexistence. It has developed a leading role within the Russian Federation in all fields of cooperation with UNESCO. It hosted the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI) in Kazan in July 2017. It is actively involved, with its religious communities, in the launch of UNESCO’s Cycle of Regional Thematic Consultations on sustainable management of the World Heritage properties of religious interest. It also hosts three UNESCO Chairs, including the new UNESCO Chair on Bioethics at Kazan State Medical University.