KUALA LUMPUR - After being elected to the United Nations Security Council, Malaysia is now seeking to be on the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) executive board.
"We believe Malaysia will add strength to Unesco as a pillar of stability and reason for the betterment of humanity," said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Saying the country intends to be on the Unesco executive board for the 2015-2019 term, he said next year would serve as an important platform for Malaysia to be involved directly with Unesco's post-2015 agenda.
"Malaysia has always been proud to be a member of Unesco and honoured to be part of its noble aspirations for a better world across multiple spheres," he said when launching the Malaysia Unesco Day at Dataran Merdeka here yesterday.
Unesco regional office director Prof Dr Hubert Gijzen, who was present, handed to Muhyiddin the instrument recognising the Crocker Range in Sabah as a World Biosphere Reserve under the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme of Unesco.
Muhyiddin said the Crocker Range was the second site in the country to have been accorded such recognition, following Tasik Chini in Pahang in 2009.
"This shows the seriousness of the country in creating a balance between environmental preservation and development through the sustainable development approach," he said.
As a member state of the MAB International Coordinating Council (MAB-ICC) up to 2017, Malaysia is committed to promoting harmony in nature, consistent with the MAB goal of a sustainability-based relationship between communities and the environment, he said.
Muhyiddin, who is president of the Malaysian National Commission for Unesco (MNCU), said Malaysians were inspired by Unesco's commitment to sustainable development, peace-building, eradicating poverty and promoting inter-cultural dialogue.
He said the Government approved several projects early this year under the Malaysian Funds-in-Trust (MFiT), adding that two projects had started.
He said Malaysia was also listed among the donor countries under the Malaysia-Unesco Cooperation Programme (MUCP).
"The implementation of projects under the MFiT MUCP has opened a new chapter to further strengthen the close Malaysia-Unesco ties, and enhance the visibility of Malaysia as a member of Unesco," he said.
The two-day Unesco Day celebration themed "Our Heritage, World Heritage" is organised by the Tourism and Culture Ministry in collaboration with MNCU.
Malaysia boasts of several Unesco sites, including the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak and the Temple of the Green Cloud (Cheng Hoon Teng) in Malacca.