Wales renews longstanding ties with Poland’s Silesia region

FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford is set to renew Wales’ longstanding relationship with the Silesia region of Poland.

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It comes more than 20 years after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two governments based on a shared history of industrial heritage.

The First Minister will sign a renewed agreement and Action Plan for Co-Operation, focusing on life sciences, cyber, science and innovation, and education.

The agreements between the Welsh Government and Silesian Voivodeship also focus on tourism, including sharing best practice around UNESCO World Heritage Sites based on former industrial landscapes, and green transformation of post-industrial landscapes, with particular focus on coal tip safety.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “This is a unique opportunity to learn from another country that shares a similar history to us and ambitions when it comes to transforming post-industrial landscapes and coal tip safety.

“We both have a history of mining and heavy industry and now a commitment to regeneration, land reclamation and sustainable development.

“I’ve seen myself how Katowice city centre has been transformed from coal mines when I was last here in 2005 to business and cultural zones, residential areas and sports arenas.”

The First Minister added: “The Memorandum of Understanding signed by Rhodri Morgan in 2002 was one of the very first following devolution in Wales.

“It is important we build on this and strengthening our global relationships, celebrating different cultures and embracing internationalism.

“We want to give Wales the strongest possible presence on the world stage, demonstrating Wales as a confident and outward-looking country.

“Learning from how others have tackled similar issues, particularly when it comes to the impact of coal tips on our landscape, will benefit not only our economy and culture, but also future generations too.”

Since devolution, the Welsh Government has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with a number of regions including Brittany, the Basque Country, Flanders and most recently Baden Württemberg.

Marshal of the Silesian region, Jakub Chestowski said: “We are delighted to host the First Minister and welcome him to Silesia to renew and refresh our longstanding relationship.

“It is important to strengthen ties with Wales and formalise government to government relationships where there are shared interests.

“It has been an honour to host him and shows what can be achieved when we join forces to tackle similar problems.”

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