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Minsk (Belarus), June 7-8 2006. The Cluster meeting of the UNESCO Moscow Office was held in order to discuss the Medium-term Strategy of UNESCO for 2008-2013 and Budget of the Organization for 2008-2009.

The event gathered Secretaries-General of the National Commissions for UNESCO of the Cluster countries and staff of the UNESCO Moscow Office: Ms. Karine Danielyan (Armenia), Mr. Emil’ Gassanov (Azerbaijan), Mr. Vladimir Schastniy, Ms. Elena Krasovskaya (Belarus), Mr. Konstantin Rusnak (Moldova), Mr. Grigory Ordjonikidze (Russian Federation), Mr. Dendev Badarch, Mr. Marius Lukosiunas, Ms. Lubava Moreva, Ms. Marie Prchalova, Ms. Maria Fedotova and Ms. Alla Ampar (UNESCO Moscow Office).

In the course of preparation to the meeting all National Commissions of the Cluster countries received a questionnaire on the draft Medium-term UNESCO Strategy for 2008-2013 and draft Program and Budget of UNESCO for 2008-2009, elaborated by the UNESCO Headquarters. Thus, the Cluster meeting was aimed at productive discussion on the questionnaire. Definition of common strategic priorities that reflect concerns of all Cluster countries was another focal issue of the meeting.

The answers to the questionnaire were formulated on the base of proposals provided by National Commissions of the Cluster. Priorities of Medium-term Strategy for 2008-2013 were approved in general. At the same time, participants of the meeting suggested to increase attention to the priorities focused on the needs of countries in transition. The latter were based on the prior consultations on each main program of UNESCO.

As a result of two days of constructive and rewarding cooperation the final strategic document was prepared to be presented at the Consultations of National Commissions for UNESCO of Europe and North America, which to be held in Athens, June 24-28. The Chair of the National Commission for UNESCO of Belarus Mr. Vladimir Schastniy was unanimously appointed to present the Cluster countries position and final document in Athens for its further promotion and reflection in the final UNESCO documents.

Participants stated the importance of such Cluster meetings, as they improve cooperation between UNESCO headquarters, UNESCO Moscow Office and Cluster countries. During the visit to Republic of Belarus all participants of the Cluster meeting had a chance to participate in the closing session of the International Seminar on establishing National Committee on Bioethics in Belarus held in Minsk. Also, the organizers of the Cluster meeting made it possible for the participants to visit sites of the World Heritage in Belarus: Mir Castle Complex and Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh.

Closing the Cluster meeting a. i. Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office Mr. Dendev Badarch expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the National Commission for UNESCO in Belarus, to Mr. Schastniy and Ms. Krasovskaya for excellent organization of the meeting and hospitality.

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