Kovachevski at UNESCO General Conference: North Macedonia a multicultural rarity, contributes to effective multilateralism
North Macedonia is a multicultural rarity and contributes to effective multilateralism, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski said in his address at the 42nd Session of the UNESCO General Conference.
Kovachevski is the first Macedonian PM to address UNESCO in the country’s 30-year membership to the UN Organization for Education, Science and Culture.
“It is a great honor to be the first Prime Minister from the Republic of North Macedonia to deliver an address here. The satisfaction is all the greater because this address takes place in the year when, as an independent country, we are celebrating thirty years of membership in UNESCO,” Kovachevski pointed out.
He pointed out that these two exceptionally important moments in the country’s modern history oblige him to deliver this first prime ministerial address in his native Macedonian language.
“With that, I’d like to thank UNESCO for supporting numerous projects, activities and resources important for our multicultural society, for our natural and cultural heritage, for the Macedonian language and for the other languages spoken in North Macedonia. Because my country is the heart of the “Balkan language contact”, as noted by the world-renowned linguist, professor Victor Friedman,” said Kovachevski.
In addition, he noted, the cooperation with UNESCO dates back to 1979 and 1980, when the Ohrid region came under the protection of UNESCO. And today, he added, it is proudly included among the 39 mixed heritage sites in the world.
“To us, this means continuity, wealth, as well as an obligation to preserve it. No other interest must be greater than the commitment to preserve and protect this, both ours and the world’s, natural and cultural good. We owe it to our ancestors and to the future generations.” the PM pointed out.
He added that it is the country’s imperative to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the Ohrid region, in cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Center. “Together with the Republic of Albania, let us be an example of good neighborly cooperation in the protection of this common and universal good.”
Kovachevski mentioned that at the 45th session held in September, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee recognized North Macedonia’s care for the rich Ohrid cultural heritage and its responsibility to Lake Ohrid, as well as the joint efforts of North Macedonia and Albania for preservation of the Ohrid region’s prestigious status as world heritage.
He added that the efforts made by the two countries towards reducing the factors that negatively affect the exceptional universal value of the Ohrid region were welcomed.
“The implementation of the measures recommended for the rehabilitation of the region will depend on our further strengthened cooperation. The foundations for neutralizing established and potential threats have been laid, but the need to protect this good requires great mobilization to preserve its exceptional universal value, as well as implementation of urgent measures that will bring all stakeholders together and be taken immediately. I call for unity and responsibility in the actions of every government,” Kovachevski said.
Kovachevski stressed that for the past 78 years, UNESCO has contributed to building a culture of peace, eradicating poverty, to sustainable development and especially intercultural dialogue. On behalf of the citizens of North Macedonia, which is also one of the founding members of the United Nations Organization alongside the other five federal republics in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), I would like to once again express my gratitude to UNESCO for its commitment in creating conditions for dialogue between civilizations, cultures and people based on respect for shared values.
“I mention these values because, today, when war is raging in Europe and the Middle East, and when the norms and rules of the international order are flagrantly violated, we need them more than ever before! A moral vision translated into an even more tangible and effective multilateralism, which will always and everywhere oppose the maintenance of structures of inequality, injustice, and any form of racism,” the Macedonian PM noted.
He pointed out that the democratic system of values is under serious threat.
“No country, no matter how powerful and strong, can handle today’s global challenges alone. The world is divided on various grounds. Therefore, democracies must strengthen their cohesion and resilience, regardless of geographical, demographic, political, economic or cultural differences between states. This is only possible through the instruments of effective multilateralism,” Kovachevski added.
Speaking about the principles on which North Macedonia conducts its foreign policy, Kovachevski said they are an e_xpression of the country’s internal policy for building and maintaining a multicultural democracy and permanent inclusiveness of diversity in democratic processes, protection and promotion of human rights and the rights of the various ethnic communities and vulnerable groups.
“A culture of dialogue and compromise, although based on dispute prevention, goes hand in hand with our commitment to active and effective multilateralism,” Kovachevski noted.
Because, Kovacevski pointed out, multilateralism allows small countries to show great success, and big ones to prove their greatness.
“Not with argument of force, but with force of argument and with the possibility to rise above the narrow national or geopolitical interests, and lead a joint action in the interest of all,” he added.
PM Kovachevski underlined that the Republic of North Macedonia will continue to be active in strengthening multilateralism, in all international organizations to which it is a member, and especially in UNESCO.
“We’ll continue to demonstrate that from a country that hosted peace-keeping missions 30 years ago, we are now a factor of stability and security in the region and beyond, as well as a promoter of the culture of dialogue,” said Kovachevski.