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Improving school safety in Mozambique

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 16:00
focus_visus_mozambique10.jpg © UNESCO / Arianna U. & Jair Torres 15 December 2017

Disasters have a major impact on children, youth and education systems. Studies of disaster trends and the likely consequences of climate change suggest that each year 175 million children are likely to be affected by natural hazard related disasters alone. Mozambique is taking steps to improve the safety of its educational infrastructure, using a methodology developed by UNESCO and the University of Udine’s SPRINT-Lab, which facilitates risk assessments in school facilities and provides fact-based practical information to help decision-makers identify areas of concern and prioritize investments.

The pilot project involved a stakeholders’ workshop to introduce the method and establish key partnerships for its adaptation to the Mozambican context, and several workshops to build local capacities to use the methodology and train relevant staff. Mozambique’s Ministry of Education and Human Development aims to apply the UNESCO-VISUS methodology for multi-hazard school safety assessment to about 100 schools in this initial phase of implementation.

The stakeholders’ workshop, held in September 2017, was facilitated by Jair Torres, UNESCO, and Professor Edgar Peña, University of El Salvador, both VISUS experts who participated in the very first pilot implementation of this project in El Salvador in 2013. Implementation then began in November, with a series of trainings. The first covered the application and use of the UNESCO-VISUS methodology by decision makers. The second focused on the theoretical aspects of the methodology, to train teachers of the University of Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) as well as technical staff of the Ministry of Education and Human Development and of the National Institute for Disaster Management of Mozambique (INGC).

The third and last workshop focused on the practical use of the methodology for assessments on the ground. Participants included teachers of the Faculty of Architecture of the UEM, as well as last-year students, who are now able to conduct risk assessments in schools using the methodology. The training concluded with a practical exercise: to survey six schools in Maputo City. The six schools surveyed were EPC (Complete Primary School) 3 de Fevereiro, EPC “A luta continua”, EPC São António de Polana, EPC do Alto Mãe, EPC de Mikadjuine, and EPC Unidade 7.

With their training completed on 1 December, these professors, teachers, and students are now applying their knowledge to conduct a survey and assessment of 94 schools in the Maputo, Gaza, and Inhambane provinces. They are using VISUS paper codification forms as well as a dedicated mobile phone app, VISUS Finder. The data from the school survey and field assessment will be then processed and validated by the Safety and Protection Intersectoral (SPRINT) Lab of the Polytechnic Department of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Udine, Italy – UNESCO’s Scientific Partner for the VISUS methodology, and a UNESCO Chair on Safety Assessment.

Once the validation is complete, this data will be available as individuals school reports for each school, and as a collective report addressed to the decision-makers of the Ministry of Education and Human Development of Mozambique. The individual reports will then be shared in a mapping tool as geolocalized data (GIS format). The conclusions of the surveys conducted during the pilot phase will be presented to the Government of Mozambique in the beginning of 2018. They will provide ready-to-use science-based information on school safety, to enable Mozambican decision-makers to make informed decisions about school safety and upgrading, allowing them to improve budgeting and to prioritize interventions and expenditures.

The implementation of the UNESCO-VISUS methodology for multi-hazard school safety assessment in Mozambique was supported by UNESCO, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Belgian Development Cooperation Agency.

More information:

Categories: News

Improving school safety in Mozambique

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 16:00
focus_visus_mozambique10.jpg © UNESCO / Arianna U. & Jair Torres 15 December 2017

Disasters have a major impact on children, youth and education systems. Studies of disaster trends and the likely consequences of climate change suggest that each year 175 million children are likely to be affected by natural hazard related disasters alone. Mozambique is taking steps to improve the safety of its educational infrastructure, using a methodology developed by UNESCO and the University of Udine’s SPRINT-Lab, which facilitates risk assessments in school facilities and provides fact-based practical information to help decision-makers identify areas of concern and prioritize investments.

The pilot project involved a stakeholders’ workshop to introduce the method and establish key partnerships for its adaptation to the Mozambican context, and several workshops to build local capacities to use the methodology and train relevant staff. Mozambique’s Ministry of Education and Human Development aims to apply the UNESCO-VISUS methodology for multi-hazard school safety assessment to about 100 schools in this initial phase of implementation.

The stakeholders’ workshop, held in September 2017, was facilitated by Jair Torres, UNESCO, and Professor Edgar Peña, University of El Salvador, both VISUS experts who participated in the very first pilot implementation of this project in El Salvador in 2013. Implementation then began in November, with a series of trainings. The first covered the application and use of the UNESCO-VISUS methodology by decision makers. The second focused on the theoretical aspects of the methodology, to train teachers of the University of Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) as well as technical staff of the Ministry of Education and Human Development and of the National Institute for Disaster Management of Mozambique (INGC).

The third and last workshop focused on the practical use of the methodology for assessments on the ground. Participants included teachers of the Faculty of Architecture of the UEM, as well as last-year students, who are now able to conduct risk assessments in schools using the methodology. The training concluded with a practical exercise: to survey six schools in Maputo City. The six schools surveyed were EPC (Complete Primary School) 3 de Fevereiro, EPC “A luta continua”, EPC São António de Polana, EPC do Alto Mãe, EPC de Mikadjuine, and EPC Unidade 7.

With their training completed on 1 December, these professors, teachers, and students are now applying their knowledge to conduct a survey and assessment of 94 schools in the Maputo, Gaza, and Inhambane provinces. They are using VISUS paper codification forms as well as a dedicated mobile phone app, VISUS Finder. The data from the school survey and field assessment will be then processed and validated by the Safety and Protection Intersectoral (SPRINT) Lab of the Polytechnic Department of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Udine, Italy – UNESCO’s Scientific Partner for the VISUS methodology, and a UNESCO Chair on Safety Assessment.

Once the validation is complete, this data will be available as individuals school reports for each school, and as a collective report addressed to the decision-makers of the Ministry of Education and Human Development of Mozambique. The individual reports will then be shared in a mapping tool as geolocalized data (GIS format). The conclusions of the surveys conducted during the pilot phase will be presented to the Government of Mozambique in the beginning of 2018. They will provide ready-to-use science-based information on school safety, to enable Mozambican decision-makers to make informed decisions about school safety and upgrading, allowing them to improve budgeting and to prioritize interventions and expenditures.

The implementation of the UNESCO-VISUS methodology for multi-hazard school safety assessment in Mozambique was supported by UNESCO, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Belgian Development Cooperation Agency.

More information:

Categories: News

UNESCO Director-General Launches Global Report Re-shaping Cultural Policies

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 15:48
convention-2005-film.png © UNESCO 15 December 2017

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, together with Annika Markovic, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Sweden to UNESCO, representing  Alice Bah Kuhnke, the Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy, launched on 14 December UNESCO’s new 2018 Global Report, Re| Shaping Cultural Policies.

This Report, published with the support of the Swedish Government, monitors how countries around the world are designing policies pursuant to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005).

 “Diversity remains a battle, in 2018 as in 2005.  Culture is not a commodity: it carries values and identities, it gives markers to live together in a globalized world. Our role is to encourage, question, collect data, to understand and energize creative channels, to encourage the mobility of artists, to stimulate a rapidly changing sector in the new digital environment,” underlined Ms Azoulay, in opening a panel discussion with all assembled authors.

While acknowledging the increased integration of culture in national development plans and policies by governments around the world, especially the Global South, Ms Azoulay called for affirmative action to address a major funding gap in culture.  “Despite the well-established importance of the creative economy as a driver of growth and employment, the share of development aid spent on culture is today at its lowest level in over a decade. In 2015, 0.22% of total Official Development Assistance (ODA) was spent on culture, in decrease of 45% compared to 2005”, she noted.

Ambassador Markovic welcomed the new Report, stating that it is “the only global document that presents an overview of cultural development world-wide and monitors state action to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions at all levels.”

Referring to some of the key messages in the Report – robust copyright systems as prerequisites for fair remuneration of authors and other rights holders, civil society participation in decision-making, support to women as artists and producers of cultural goods and services, Ambassador Markovic called for enhanced action on freedom of artistic expression.  “Artistic voices are being silenced over the world. Censorship, imprisonment, threats or even killings are frequent. We need to cooperate internationally and join forces to strengthen and promote artistic freedom,” she urged.

The launch was followed by another panel with film producers and distributors on “Towards Support Policies for Independent Cinema?” to address the challenges facing the independent film sector in terms of funding and distribution in the new digital environment.

A related UNESCO event on 12 December entitled “Cultural and Creative Industries: A New Agenda for the Development Community?” brought together representatives from various development banks and agencies, and governmental partners, to discuss new strategies to grow investments in the creative sectors through development aid (See News release).

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions worked further on these issues during its 11th session held at UNESCO Headquarters from 12 – 15 December.  The Committee selected seven projects from developing countries to be beneficiaries the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), which will boost implementation of the 2005 Convention.  These diverse projects support cinema, theatre, public art and policies, and cultural entrepreneurship, and include important models of South-South cooperation.

Within the framework of the Committee’s session, the film Dede was screened at UNESCO Headquarters and included a discussion between the young Georgian Director of the film, Mariam Khatchvani, and the public.  Dede is the winner of the Asia Pacific Screen Award 2017 Cultural Diversity Award, presented annually under the patronage of UNESCO.

Categories: News

Argentinean biosphere reserves specialists meet in Mendoza to discuss their contribution to sustainable development

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 15:37
argentina_br.jpg © UNESCO

Representatives of the 15 Argentine biosphere reserves met from 28 to 30 November 2017 at the Technological Science Centre (CCT) in Mendoza to discuss strategies, proposals for strengthening the National Network of Biosphere Reserves and exchange experiences.

The meeting was opened by Dr Sergio Roig, Director of the Argentine Institute of Arid Zone Research (IADIZA), Eng. Mabel Chambuleiron, Director of the Directorate of Natural Resources of the Government of Mendoza, and Ms Graciela Píen, Director of the Coordination Unit of MAB Argentina, from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, under the slogan ‘Argentinean Biosphere Reserves for Sustainable Development’.

Dr Roig explained that ‘During the creation of the IADIZA, by Provincial Law, we were given the care of fiscal lands that were not being used and that in the 1930s had been used for the cutting of carob forests. These lands are currently the Ñacuñan Biosphere Reserve and El Divisadero field. That is to say that the Institute was born from the hand of the Reserve and the maintenance and recovery of biodiversity in the area has been the primary task of our institution’.

During the three-day event, the Lima Action Plan for the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (2016-2025) was presented, alongside the Indicator System for the National Network of Biosphere Reserves, and the current status of the country’s reserves. In addition, the participants took part in workshops, exchanged experiences and examined the achievements and challenges of each biosphere reserve.

On the last day, the participants visited the Ñacuñán Biosphere Reserve and School No. 8-366 Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Cuyo, which has included study of the Ñacuñán Biosphere Reserve as part its curriculum. Its 24 students presented the activities they carry out in pursuit of the care and conservation of the biosphere reserve. Among other things, the schoolchildren plant organic gardens and accompany the park rangers as tourist guides.

The meeting was closed with a lunch prepared by local families who cooked food in solar ovens and presented their sustainable ventures to the attendees.

Categories: News

UNESCO advocates Internet freedom and Internet Universality at the forthcoming Internet Governance Forum 2017

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 15:19
news_151217_igf.jpg © Shutterstock 15 December 2017

The twelfth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017, on the theme, Shape Your Digital Future! The IGF is a global multistakeholder forum that promotes discussions and dialogue about public policy issues related to the Internet. It was convened for the first time in 2006 by the United Nations Secretary-General. This year, six main sessions and 80 workshops are included in the IGF programme.

During this event, a UNESCO delegation headed by ADG CI will convene 4 sessions on Internet Universality indicators, multistakeholder practices in Internet governance, artificial intelligence and big data and world trends in freedom of expression and media development. Several bilateral meetings are also organized with key stakeholders.

UNESCO Pre-event (17/12/2017 at 1PM): Towards Meaningful Multistakeholder Mechanisms in Internet Governance
UNESCO takes this occasion to present a comprehensive study which was commissioned to achieve better understanding of the ways in which multistakeholder participation mechanisms have evolved since the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) more than ten years ago. The session will welcome diverse actors and stakeholders that have been and remain involved in multistakeholder processes to compare and analyze their experiences as cited in the report.

UNESCO Workshop (20/12/2017 at 11:50 AM): Multi-stakeholder consultation on defining Internet Universality indicators to support 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
UNESCO takes the occasion to present its first draft of “Internet Universality Indicators” and engage with global stakeholders for their inputs and contributions. This is a kick-off of UNESCO’s phase 2 global consultation to develop a set of Internet Universality Indicators.

UNESCO Open Forum (21/12/2017 at 9AM): Exploring implications of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence for building inclusive Knowledge Societies and achieving SDGs
UNESCO organizes this Open Forum to trigger debates and reflections on the human rights and other implications of big data and Artificial Intelligence on building inclusive knowledge societies and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

UNESCO workshop (21/12/2017 at 10:20 AM): World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development
This session will provide a platform for discussion and building on the findings of the 2017/2018 report of UNESCO's flagship series on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development. The World Trends Report explores recent developments at the global and regional levels in media freedom, pluralism, independence, and safety, each examined through a gender-sensitive lens and with special attention given to transnational and digital media.

All these sessions of IGF will be live streamed, accessible to all at the link:

https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/igf-2017-online-participation-registration

UNESCO leaflet of its activities is downloadable at this link.

Categories: News

UNESCO publication on privacy and ethics on a global Internet to be launched in Spanish and Portuguese at Internet Governance Forum

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:20
news_151217_igf_keystones.jpg © UNESCO 15 December 2017

UNESCO will launch the Spanish and Portuguese versions of its publication Keystones to foster inclusive knowledge societies: access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy and ethics on a global internet, within the framework of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), to be held from 18 to 21 December 2017 in Geneva (Switzerland).

The work was made possible by the valuable contribution of Cetic.br, a UNESCO Category II Centre located in San Paulo (Brazil).

Welcoming the publication, Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, said: “Given the great interest of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Member States in Internet governance, it is very positive that UNESCO – with the help of CGI.br - is now able to offer this study in languages that are accessible to most citizens in these countries.”

Dr. Alexandre Barbosa, manager at Cetic.br, commented that: "UNESCO’s comprehensive Internet study provides important insights related to the Internet Universality Principles. Such principles, represented by the acronym R.O.A.M, reinforce that the Internet should be Human Rights-based, Open, Accessible to all and nurtured by Multi-stakeholder participation. As such it is comprises key concepts for policymakers, private sector representatives and other key actors.”

He explained that the study was very relevant for promoting discussions on important principles related to the development of the Internet among the international community.

This is why the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br), linked to the Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC.br), had taken up the work for translating the study into Portuguese and Spanish.

“This represents an effort to further disseminate this material in our region. In particular, it has resulted in the current development of Internet Universality Indicators aimed at enrichening the stakeholder’s capacity for assessing this theme. The translation of the publication, therefore, reinforces Cetic.br’s commitment to monitoring the building of information and knowledge societies and contributing to a more informed debate on topics related to the development of the Internet."

UNESCO’s vision of universal Knowledge Societies is dependent on a free, open and trusted Internet that enables people to not only have the ability to access information resources from around the world, but to also contribute information and knowledge to local and global communities in order to foster sustainable economic and social development worldwide.

To address this question, UNESCO’s Member States agreed on Internet Universality and its focus on four interdependent fields of Internet policy and practice perceived to be central to achieving sustainable development.

These are access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical norms and behaviour online. The four key fields were investigated using the Internet Universality framework, which is based on four normative principles agreed by UNESCO Member States: human rights, openness, accessibility and multistakeholder participation, summarised in the acronym R-O-A-M.

The research builds upon a series of UNESCO studies and reports on the Internet and Knowledge Societies. It draws upon an intensive consultation process, which included a series of UNESCO meetings with multiple stakeholders, and the analysis of 200 responses to a global questionnaire on the four keystones and the crosscutting issues of the Internet Study, the majority from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Addressing methodological aspects of the publication, Berger underlined that: "Arising out of global consultations, the Keynote study remains of major importance.  It laid the foundations for UNESCO Member States to adopt the concept of Internet Universality in 2015. The linked principles - Rights, Openness, Accessibility, and Multistakeholder participation - are signposts for an Internet that contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals".

The results of the study reinforce the growing awareness of how the digital revolution is influencing all spheres of public and private life. More and more personal and public information is collected, stored, processed and shared electronically. All this brings with it unparalleled opportunities for social and sustainable economic development, such as around ICTs for development, as well as diverse challenges in such areas as access, freedom of expression, privacy and ethics.

Concretely, the study proposes 38 possible options for consideration and future action by Member States. UNESCO hopes that these will keep stimulating and inform discussion, now particularly in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries around the world, which populations are estimated in 570 million and 266 million people of total speakers, respectively. 

The publication is now available now in Spanish and Portuguese.

Other versions: Arabic, Chinese,  English, French, Russian

Categories: News

UNESCO consults on its draft Internet Universality Indicators at the North African and African Internet Governance Forum in Egypt

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:32
news_141217_iu.jpg UNESCO representative Xianhong Hu presented UNESCO draft Internet Universality Indicators at African Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.© UNESCO 14 December 2017

Consulted on the future finalization of the draft Internet Universality indicators, the participants of  UNESCO consultation event held in Egypt stressed the importance of developing effective mechanisms to monitor Internet freedom including online freedom of expression and privacy at the national level as well as ensuring the participation of multiple actors in Internet governance.

UNESCO launched the second phase of its project to develop Internet Universality indicators at the fifth African School on Internet Governance, the first North African IGF and the sixth African IGF and took the opportunity to consult with African stakeholders gathered in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from 28 November to 6 December 2017. Representing UNESCO, Xianhong Hu presented the first draft Internet Universality indicators which combine both qualitative and quantitative indicators. The framework of indicators will seek to help governments and other stakeholders to assess online Rights, Openness, Accessibility, and Multistakeholder participation (known as the R-O-A-M principles). These first draft indicators are an interim outcome from UNESCO’s first phase of global consultation, which lasted from 29 March to 31 October 2017, included 24 face-to-face consultation meetings in 21 countries, and resulted in 165 online contributions.

The participants shared their views about how efficient the indicators would be to tackle issues related to online rights, including censorship, surveillance, protection of digital sources for journalists, or online harassment and intimidation. As underlined by Chris Kabwato from Highway Africa, these Rights indicators are especially important since “increasing challenges are witnessed widely in African countries concerning online freedom of expression, freedom of information, privacy, personal data protection, artistic expression and right to cultural and linguistic diversity in cyber space”. Other participants insisted on the online rights of migrants and refugees and said that “in the light of very strict laws in establishing NGOs, the Internet has become the last resort for refugees and migrants to discuss their own issues.”

On Openness indicators, some participants pointed out that “open data should be measured within a broader context, especially to see how digitized data are being used for public good, not only by governments but also by civil society and other stakeholders”.

Consulted on the Accessibility indicators, Koliwe Majama from the Association for Progressive Communication (APC) stressed the importance of measuring “the extent to which various local communities can preserve their own cultural knowledge, and express themselves artistically or politically.” Other participants said that “in order to reach accessibility, increasing media and digital literacy is vital”. Ephraim Percy Kenyanito from Access Now noted that “it would be easy to increase access if we could use the money currently spent by governments on surveillance”.

Regarding the Multi-stakeholder indicators, participants talked about how to measure a multistakeholder process and balance the different stakeholders’ interests. Xianhong Hu presented UNESCO’s new publication What if we all governed the Internet? Advancing multistakeholder participation in Internet governance which shares good multistakeholder practices based on inclusiveness; diversity; collaboration; transparency; equality; flexibility and relevance; privacy and safety; accountability and legitimacy; and responsiveness.

Several crosscutting issues were also raised by the participants. Most participants stressed the link between Internet Universality indicators and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Xianhong Hu confirmed that the Internet Universality indicators aim to highlight the Internet’s crosscutting role in enabling States to achieve all SDGs, along with other UNESCOs’ global priorities such as advancing gender equality and empowering youth through Internet governance.

On the implementation of the indicators, Makane Faye from the African Union shared that the African Union has been working on education indicators as well as on indicators within the framework of the Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D). Moctar Yedaly from the African Union presented the Organization’s ongoing process to endorse the African Union Declaration on Internet Governance which aims to advance Africa’s digital economy, and expressed his willingness to collaborate with UNESCO on its indicators’ project.

This event was part of the four regional consultation fora that UNESCO will conduct globally to improve the draft Internet Universality indicators. UNESCO also welcomes online contributions in the six UN official languages until 15 March 2018. The indicators will be finalized and launched by June 2018. The project is being led by UNESCO in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications Consortium and with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Internet Society (ISOC).

Categories: News

World Arabic Language Day 2017: Looking to the Digital World

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:42
14 December 2017

The role of new technologies and how to harness them is the theme of this year’s World Arabic Language Day, which will be celebrated at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on 18 and 19 December. The annual event will also feature a concert by Iraqi oud player Naseer Shamma.

Organized in cooperation with the Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the support of the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation, the events acknowledge the Arabic language’s immense contribution to science and culture, including philosophy and the arts. With more than 290 million native speakers, and millions of others gaining some level of fluency, it is one of the five most spoken languages in the world.

Arabic is also a very diverse language, with numerous dialects. It has deep historical connections to other languages, many of which use or have historically used the Arabic alphabet.

The two-day roundtable discussions (Room IV) will explore the Arabic language’s relationship to science; language planning and its role in the dissemination of Arabic; language engineering and the use of new technologies in the teaching of Arabic language; as well as the future of the language.

Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO and Prince Saud Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Secretary-General of the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation, will open the event.

Other speakers include Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, President of the Arabic Language Academy in Sharjah (United Arab Emirates); Dr Saud Hilal Al Harbi, Director-General of the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science (ALECSO); and Mr Ghattas Khoury, Minister of Culture of Lebanon, as well as other renowned experts, academics, high-level representatives of international organizations and specialized institutions.

Naseer Shamma, renowned Iraqi composer, oud virtuoso and UNESCO Artist for Peace, will also perform an Oriental Jazz concert at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on 19 December 2017 (Room I, starting at 6.30 pm) to promote interreligious dialogue and peace. He will be accompanied by Amine Bouhafa (Piano), Tunisian multi-awarded composer, orchestrator and musical director; Jorge Bezeera (Percussion), internationally renowned Brazilian percussionist; and Ali Shaker (Zither), Iraqi Zither player.

This celebration also resonates with the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), for which UNESCO is the lead UN Agency.

****

Journalists wishing to attend are requested to contact UNESCO for accreditation. 

Media contact: Djibril Kebe, UNESCO Press Service, d.kebe@unesco.org, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 41

Categories: News

#WhosAccountable campaign & youth version of GEM Report launched

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 11:31
gem_2017_cover.png © David Tett Photography/GEM Report 14 December 2017
Categories: News

Seven new projects boosting creative economy receive UNESCO IFCD funding

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:54
con2005.jpg © Dean Hochman 13 December 2017

On 13 December 2017, seven initiatives to boost the creative economy around the world were selected as the new beneficiaries of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The projects awarded are:

 

Each project will receive funds of up to US$100,000. In discussing their selection, Yarri Kamara, Coordinator of the IFCD Panel of Experts that independently reviewed all the requests, stressed the importance of regional cooperation, noting that 12 countries are benefitting from the 7 projects, and that Albania and Ukraine are first-time recipients.  “These diverse projects, supporting cinema, theatre, public art and policies, and cultural entrepreneurship, include important models of South-South cooperation” she said. 

The projects were approved by the 24 members of the 2005 Convention’s Intergovernmental Committee, which met at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 12-15 December 2017. The Committee also decided that the next call for IFCD funding requests will go out in February 2018.

The IFCD is a voluntary multi-donor fund established under the 2005 Convention with the aim of promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries that are Parties to the Convention.  Beneficiaries of the IFCD support the emergence of dynamic cultural sectors in developing countries, particularly by strengthening the means to create, produce, distribute and have access to diverse cultural goods and services.  Projects cover a wide range of areas, from the development and implementation of cultural policies, to capacity-building for cultural entrepreneurs, mapping of cultural industries and the creation of new cultural industry business models.

Since 2010, the IFCD has provided over US$ 7 million in funding to 97 projects in 53 developing countries.  

To learn more about other IFCD funded projects, click here

Categories: News

UNESCO and UNWTO Sign Muscat Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Fostering Sustainable Development

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 16:59
09375-big.jpg © Ministry of Heritage and Culture of Oman 13 December 2017

Culture, in all of its wondrous expressions, inspires more than 1.2 billion tourists to pack a bag and cross international borders each year.  It is an important means to promote inter-cultural dialogue, create employment opportunities, curb rural migration, and nurture a sense of pride among host communities. Yet unmanaged, it can also harm the very heritage cultural tourism relies on.

Recognizing that a sustainable, approach with buy-in from all partners, is crucial to cultural tourism, peacebuilding and heritage protection, on 12 December, the Muscat Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Fostering Sustainable Development was signed by representatives of UNESCO, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), delegations, private sector, local communities and NGOs. 

This concluded the two-day World Conference on Tourism and Culture co-organized by UNESCO and the UNWTO and hosted by the Sultanate of Oman. Through the Declaration, some 30 Ministers and Vice Ministers of Tourism and Culture, and 800 participants from 70 countries, reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the synergies between tourism and culture, and to advance the contribution of cultural tourism to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

“Cultural tourism is growing, in popularity, in importance and in diversity embracing innovation and change. Yet, with growth comes increased responsibility, responsibility to protect our cultural and natural assets, the very foundation of our societies and our civilizations” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, emphasized that we need to create a positive dynamic between culture and tourism “that promotes sustainability while benefiting local communities. This dynamic must contribute to safe and sustainable cities, decent work, reduced inequalities, the environment, promoting gender equality and peaceful and inclusive societies.”

Ministers from Cambodia, Libya, Somalia, Iraq and Vietnam discussed the role of cultural tourism as a factor of peace and prosperity, and shared views on the capacity of tourism to support the recovery of their countries.

The Declaration calls for cultural tourism policies that not only empower local communities, but also employ new, innovative tourism models that advance sustainable development, host-guest interaction, and cultural exchange.  It promotes integrating sustainable cultural tourism and the protection of heritage in national, regional and international security frameworks.  The Declaration also references UNESCO’s 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in relation to these objectives.

Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism of the Sultanate of Oman, highlighted the importance of exchanging experiences and ideas to achieving sustainable tourism development. Participants shared best practices on issues such as community engagement, visitors’ management, and use of resources from tourism in conservation in such diverse locations as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, the Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates or the Palace of Versailles in France.  Entrepreneurship, SME's and the protection of traditional knowledge were viewed as compatible with developing sustainable tourism, with examples from India in the hotel sector and in other regions developing local food initiatives. Other examples included World Bank projects revitalizing cultural heritage for sustainable tourism development, and Seabourn Cruise Line’s partnership with UNESCO to raise awareness of World Heritage with their guests.

Following the first UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Cambodia in 2015, this second Conference was part of the official events of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism, so declared by the United Nations.  Istanbul (Turkey) and Kyoto (Japan) will host the 2018 and 2019, editions respectively.

 

Useful links

Official Conference website: http://tourismandculture.cvent.com

UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme: here

Categories: News

UNESCO Member States discuss what works in national systems to protect journalists

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 10:58
news_111217_safety_0.jpg UNESCO Director-General and Ambassadors stand united for the safety of journalists.© UNESCO/Christelle ALIX 13 December 2017Around 150 representatives of Member States, civil society and the media gathered at UNESCO HQ in Paris on Tuesday 12 December to discuss national initiatives for the safety of journalists.

The interactive event was organized with members of the UNESCO Group of Friends for the Safety of Journalists, a group of 31 UNESCO Member States committed to enhancing protections for journalists. 

The workshop commenced a series of events to celebrate the forthcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stipulates the freedom to seek, receive and impart information.

In her opening remarks, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay reminded participants that “a free media is not a luxury. It cannot be an add-on to development – it is the heart of democracy – it is a force for individual empowerment and human dignity – it is a condition for good governance and the rule of law.”

Zohour Alaoui, President of the 39th UNESCO General Conference, alerted participants to the increasing number of women journalists facing gender-based threats, online and offline, and the need for initiatives to effectively address this aspect. She highlighted options for action in the Outcome Document of the UNESCO-led global consultation on strengthening the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

A panel of experts presented lessons learned from experiences in Afghanistan, Colombia, Serbia, Sweden and the African continent in preventing, protecting against, and prosecuting attacks against journalists.

Ambassadors of many UNESCO Member States also took the floor to showcase initiatives implemented in their own countries to create a safer environment for journalists and media workers.

There was widespread consensus about the importance of multi-stakeholder participation involving government, civil society, media houses, academia, the judiciary, and security actors. Building cooperation and mutual trust was identified as a key factor towards success. As noted by Leticia Casati, Chargée d’Affaires of Paraguay, capacity-building, commitment and confidence-building measures are essential components.

Participants highlighted the need to pay special attention to prevention, with Diego Fernando Mora Arango, Director of the National Protection Unit in Colombia, stating that while protection was very important, “the majority of resources that a state can assign to the safety of journalists should go towards prevention of attacks.”

The importance of tailoring mechanisms to local contexts was another point made in the discussion. Najib Sharifi, head of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, explained that “local knowledge is key” and that particularly “in a conflict situation, there is no precise recipe, you must engage everybody, and most importantly, you must engage journalists.”

Esben Harboe of the NGO International Media Support explained five principles for developing national systems arising from the recent seven-country study Defending Journalism. These were Strategy, Presence (of local leadership), Collaboration (via named focal points), Influence (positions of power), and Sustainability.

Swedish ambassador Annika Markovic explained her country’s recent adoption of a plan to protect journalists and artists in the face of expressions of hatred.

Gabriel Baglo of the Federation of African Journalists said that media literacy was key for prevention of attacks on journalists, so that society and government could understand and stand up in favour of the safety of journalists. He urged more African delegations to join the Group of Friends.

From Serbia, the director of the country’s commission on ending impunity, Veran Matic, explained how this collaboration between government, police and media was working to resolve cases of killed journalists dating back 15 years. “But we should not miss what is coming in the form of new threats,” he noted.

The meeting follows the adoption in November of Resolution 61 by the 39th UNESCO General Conference, encouraging Member States to strengthen voluntary implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity at country level.

The event was organized thanks to the support of Austria, Canada, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United States of America.  

For more information, please contact Saorla McCabe.

Categories: News

UNESCO joins world leaders at One Planet Summit

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:56
polar_bears.png © UNESCO 12 December 2017

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, joined world leaders at the One Planet Summit organized by the United Nations and the World Bank, at the initiative of the French Government in Paris today.

The event was an opportunity for UNESCO to share key messages of UNESCO’s updated Strategy for Action on Climate Change (2018-2021), adopted by the 195 Member States in November at the General Conference under the motto “#ChangingMindsNotTheClimate”.  The objective of the Strategy is to enable Member States to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact through education, sciences, culture and information and communication, in line with their respective National Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the COP21 Paris Agreement, and in the overall context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDG 13. As such UNESCO helps to mobilize and guide investments towards sustainable development and climate action, a key objective of the One Planet Summit. 

Key actions focus on several UNESCO programmes, which promote interdisciplinary climate knowledge and scientific cooperation for climate change mitigation and adaptation, including those related to hydrology, geosciences, and biospheres, as well as the work of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. With the Declaration of Ethical Principles in relation to Climate Change and the Policy on Engaging with Indigenous People, UNESCO is well equipped to help Member States address these challenges.  UNESCO is also one of the founders of the Megacities Alliance for Water and Climate, which aims to provide an international cooperation forum for dialogue on water to help megacities adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

The One Planet Summit marks the 2nd anniversary of the historic Paris Climate Change Accord. It is an alliance of hundreds of global leaders from all sectors, determined to demonstrate the power of collective action in addressing such a global issue as the fight against climate change. The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, took part in the Summit.

 

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