UNESCO is an essential pillar of the multilateral system, a global force for the protection and promotion of cultural diversity and heritage, the strongest supporter of the universal right to education and of freedom of expression. We congratulate Audrey Azoulay on her election as new Director General of UNESCO: we will continue to work together to protect, strengthen and relaunch UNESCO, as part of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' broader work to reform the UN system.
The European Union will continue to invest in strong multilateral institutions, including UNESCO. Only through our shared commitment to education, culture, free speech, intercultural dialogue, or against climate change, can we achieve a truly sustainable development and a more peaceful world.
Investing in UNESCO is also investing in our own security: the protection of cultural heritage can contribute to peace, security and reconciliation, to strengthening a country's resilience, as well as to tourism and economic growth. Investing in education empowers our youth, facilitates mutual understanding and contributes to our work to prevent radicalisation.
Our commitment to UNESCO is a matter of interests as much as of principles. We regret the decision by the United States of America and Israel to withdraw from UNESCO: our goal is to make UNESCO deliver fully on its mission, and our support to UNESCO is here to stay. The EU is and will continue to be an indispensable partner in support of the UN system and multilateralism.