PARIS: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will be making a three-day working visit to France from March 17-20 during which she will be chairing two UNESCO Management of Social Transformation (MOST) meetings.
Malaysia’s Ambassador to France Datuk Dr Azfar Mohamad Mustafar said this is her first working visit to France since being appointed Deputy Prime Minister on May 12 last year.
“Wan Azizah will be chairing the MOST Bureau meeting on March 18 and the 14th Session of the Inter-Government Council (IGC) for MOST which will take place on March 19 and 20 at the Unesco headquarters in Place De Fontenoy here.
“She will be chairing the two meetings in her capacity as Women, Family and Community Development Minister and for the record, Malaysia holds the president’s chair of the IGC Bureau for the 2017-2019 term,” he told Malaysian journalists here Saturday in conjunction with the deputy prime minister’s visit.
MOST is a science programme involving 35 Unesco members on social transformation to encourage social science research to be used by policy makers at the global level. The members include France, Turkey, Russia, Argentina, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
Azfar said besides chairing the two meetings, Wan Azizah has a packed schedule with various events lined up starting with attending a briefing with the MOST secretariat on the meeting agendas at a hotel here shortly after arrival.
He said the same night (March 17), Wan Azizah will host a dinner for the Malaysian diaspora in France.
“On the second day, apart from chairing the IGC Bureau Meeting, Wan Azizah is also scheduled to attend the Malaysian Tropical Fruits Festival in the French capital to promote Malaysian fruits to the Unesco delegates, ” he said.
Azfar said on the third day, Wan Azizah will hold a bilateral meeting with Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay which is seen as extremely important to forward Malaysia’s position on social issues.
He added that the deputy prime minister would also be holding a meeting with French MPs and political leaders which holds a significant agenda, that is to convince them that Malaysian palm oil is good for the European market.
“The protracted issue of palm oil where the Europeans reject our oil will be addressed in this meeting. The Deputy Prime Minister will try to persuade the French about our efforts where oil palm plantations in Malaysia did not cause deforestation as claimed by Europe.
“Considering France is among the leading countries in the European Union (EU), we hope to convince their MPs to influence other EU member states,” he said.
During the visit, Dr Wan Azizah is also scheduled to visit the Grand Mosque of Paris before a meeting with the French Minister of State for Disabled People, Sophie Cluzel, to exchange views and efforts of both countries to help the disabled.
On the last day of the visit, Azfar said Dr Wan Azizah would meet Anouar Kbibech, the vice-president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith.
“After that, Dr Wan Azizah will attend the 14th Session of the IGC MOST meeting and will return home after it ends at noon,” he added. — Bernama