Mr Mikhail Gorbachev, Former USSR President, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Dear Mr Gorbachev,

I would like to thank you for your message in which you congratulated UNESCO upon its 70th Anniversary and in which you informed us of your intention to establish World Forum, a non-commercial non-governmental organization, which would serve as open space for discussions among the representatives of civil society and authorities.

First of all, let me thank you for your positive assessment of UNESCO’s role in building durable peace on the basis of fundamental values, respect of cultural diversity and adherence to human rights. Humanist mandate of our Organization has clearly been reconfirmed at the historic 38th session of the General Conference, because in context of increasing contradictions that you describe in your message it is particularly important to strengthen solidarity, viability and social integration, to protect freedom of speech and facilitate the use of global cultural diversity of human heritage as a convening power.

New Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, which is characterized by agenda for people and by people, has resulted from an unprecedented consultative process. The implementation of this ambitious vision of the future in the coming 15 years may lead to success only if it is based on wide participation of all the stakeholders. Civil society has a crucial role to play in this process, including the development of global and national policy to implement goals and solve tasks of the new agenda, strengthening accountability as well as empowering people by knowledge and tools that can help them take part in transforming their societies.

In this regard, I welcome your initiative and highly appreciate your decision to use the approach based on wide participation to establish such an organization. At the recent 38th session of the General Conference Member States of UNESCO confirmed the significance and relevance of cooperation with non-governmental organizations for effective implementation of UNESCO’s mandate as well as for strengthening the impacts of its activities in global, national, and local levels. In this context, UNESCO is prepared to study the opportunities for coherence and cooperation with the World Forum in accordance with the mandate of our Organization.

Let me once again thank you for your unwavering commitment to enhancing international cooperation.


Irina Bokova