By Xinhua | 12 February 2018
PARIS, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — The United Nations education body, UNESCO was here Monday to participate in the international conference on the reconstruction of Iraq, with a major focus on educational improvement and preserving cultural heritage.
At the three-day meeting that began Monday, UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay “will reaffirm UNESCO’s commitment to the process of national reconciliation,” said the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
During her first visit to the Arab world since her election at the end of 2017, Azoulay “will highlight the organization’s work and role in support of emergency education and heritage protection as factors of national cohesion.”
Organized by the governments of Kuwait and Iraq with the support of the World Bank, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), the conference aims to mobilize civil society, the private sector and all international powers to help reconstruct Iraq, a country ravaged by years of civil war.
According to the UN educational body, 11 million Iraqis are in need of humanitarian assistance, 3 million people have been displaced over the country, and 70,000 Iraqis per week return to the territories they fled during the war.
As part of its plan to promote access to quality education and capacity building, UNESCO said it had helped about 10,000 displaced secondary school children benefit from educational support.
However, it added that there was an “enormous” need to improve access to education which “require an increase in international aid.”
In 2017, the organization also held the international coordination conference on safeguarding cultural heritage in liberated areas of Iraq which led to the adoption of an action plan to safeguard the country’s archaeological sites, historical cities, museums, and religious heritage.