UNESCO will support wider policy dialogue and cooperation in Central Asia

Central Asia has one of the richest cultural and scientific heritage in the world. The region has served as a bridge between East and West over millennia and laid a solid basis for many dimensions of modern sciences and humanities.

Building on this foundation, the international Forum “Central Asia at the Crossroads of World Civilizations” was organized from 14 to 16 September 2021 in Khiva, Uzbekistan, by the Government of Uzbekistan at the initiative of President H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, under the auspices of UNESCO. Deputy Prime Minister Ochilboy Ramatov, Minister of Culture Bakhtiyor Sayfullaev, and Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to UNESCO Umid Shadiev chair the Forum’s proceedings, which followed a major cultural show sharing the beauty and richness of the region’s music and dance traditions.

In her speech, Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, expressed her admiration for the region as a crossroads of many prominent cultures, a land of notable scholars, and a centre of Silk Roads exchanges. The region being endowed with significant human and political capital to confront modern challenges, Ms Ramos expressed her support to make the Khiva Forum the beginning of a wider ‘Khiva Process’ – a platform for policy dialogue and cooperation that regularly gathers local and regional stakeholders to work towards solutions to the challenges facing Central Asia today.

UNESCO’s support will be based on the knowledge and experience gained through its Silk Road Programme and in publications, such as the multivolume “History of Civilizations of Central Asia”.

The Forum was also an important occasion to further study the contributions of commercial, scientific, and cultural exchanges to the development of Central Asian heritage, and to modern sciences and humanities. It brought together 150 renowned experts in culture and science from all over the world, several high-level ministerial delegates of science, education, and culture from the countries of Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, and Turkey, and representatives of international and regional organizations.

During her visit, Ms Ramos also had a bilateral meeting with Mr Aziz Abdukhakimov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Chairperson of the National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO, to discuss further strengthening of cooperation.