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UNESCO signed an agreement with Italian Government to support girls' right to education and safeguarding of cultural heritage through education in Pakistan

 
Islamabad, Thursday 7 September 2017: UNESCO Islamabad and the Government of Italy signed an agreement of approximately USD 1.7 million for a two-year project titled "Support to girls' right to education and safeguarding cultural heritage through education in Pakistan". H.E Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian ambassador to Pakistan and Ms. Vibeke Jensen, UNESCO Director/ Representative signed the agreement in the presence of Mohammad Baligh-ur-Rehman, the Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training and Syed Junaid Akhlaq, the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Natural Heritage. Senior government officials, UN Officials and media representatives also marked the ceremony with their presence.

Extending her welcome remarks, Ms. Vibeke Jensen appreciated the Italian support to expand the outreach of the UNESCO's on-going Girls Right to Education Programme to district Bahawalpur in South Punjab and district Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Italian funding will also enable UNESCO to support the efforts of the Government of Pakistan in the protection of cultural heritage through enhancing the role of young people and communities in safeguarding cultural heritage through capacity building in protection.

H.E. Ambassador Pontecorvo commended UNESCO's contributions for promotion of girls' education in Pakistan and expressed his satisfaction for partnering with UNESCO to achieve the shared objective of girls' education. Highlighting the importance of culture component of the project, the Ambassador said that Pakistan is a culturally rich country and he is honored to work with UNESCO for preservation of the country's cultural heritage.

H.E Baligh-ur-Rehman shared that the Government of Pakistan contributed USD 10 million to the Malala Funds-in-Trust for Girls Right to Education as seed money to mobilize donor funding for girls education. The Italian support is of immense importance to both the Government of Pakistan and UNESCO to expand the geographical coverage of Girls Right to Education Programme in two more districts. He said that both Bhahawalpur and Swat districts are known for their rich cultural heritage and he is delighted that Italian support will be partly used for safeguarding cultural heritage in Pakistan.

The Italian funded project is an inter-sectoral initiative where education and culture sectors of UNESCO cross cuts each other. The Education component aims to support the Governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in increasing access, retention and improving the quality of girls' education through capacity building and targeted interventions at both institutional and community levels. The Culture component is aimed at supporting the Government of Pakistan in the protection of cultural heritage through enhancing the role of young people and communities in safeguarding cultural heritage through capacity building in protection.

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