Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Final countdown: Kosovo’s new UNESCO bid

Hajrulla Çeku, prishtinainsight.com

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Only months away from the next opportunity to apply for UNESCO membership, Kosovo’s government is neglecting to take a deliberative decision on a very important matter.

Now that we are at the end of the first quarter of 2017 and we only have a few months left before the next UNESCO conference, the Kosovo government faces a countdown. An absolutely necessary step that the government must take is to open up the playing field for wide and transparent public discussions, which will bring about a deliberative decision about whether we should apply for membership in 2017 or wait until the next round of applications opens in 2019.
In case there is a decision to apply, all of the country’s capacities – from governmental bodies to the academy and civil society – should be mobilized around this objective. Without a comprehensive mobilization of all state and social structures, a renewed effort for membership would be a dangerous action. In 2015, we fell short of three votes, but nothing has been done in the meantime to change the votes. Another discouraging fact is the extremely small number of international recognitions of Kosovo’s independence in the past few years. In addition to lobbying through official diplomatic channels, these social groups need to be active in public diplomacy to convince UNESCO member states to vote positively and oppose the negative Serbian propaganda. And most of all, reforms in cultural heritage management and the improvement of quality in education and other fields related to the work of UNESCO are of vital importance.

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