Peace is about preferring ballots rather than bullets, arguments to weapons, democracy to violence," said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in an address at UNESCO before more than several hundred people, included among them the representatives of the Member States, and the organization’s governing bodies.
“But others do not see it that way. For fear, hatred and the desire for vengeance can weigh heavily (…) on the soul of a society," the President and winner of the 2016 Nobel peace prize added. "And our task – whether we're intergovernmental organizations like UNESCO or representatives of each nation in the world – our task is to ensure that those feelings and energies are replaced by the constructive power of love, tolerance, respect of society and compassion."
"I am saddened to say that in Colombia, we were losing our compassion, over the years of watching so many massacres and so many attacks being broadcast daily by the media. Our capacity to feel moral pain had been deadened."
"Today, we are starting to see the future under another angle and consider yesterday's enemies, who agreed to lay down their guns, as members of a society where everyone has their place, even if we might personally disagree," he continued.
"The tools we need to do that are the ones that UNESCO promotes and must keep promoting: education, culture, science and communication" Mr. Santos reiterated, pointing out that "for the first time in the history of Colombia, the biggest allocation in the national budget went to education, before security and defense." He also stated his willingness to launch a civics’ training plan with the support of UNESCO and its experts.
Referring to the organization’s Constitution, which urges the building of peace in the minds of men and women, President Santos stressed that it was "probably the most important written text in the world today, tackling fanaticism, extremism and rampant calls for hate and exclusion. "We, too, in Colombia want to build peace in our minds and we want peace to be a reality in the whole world," he declared.
The President of Colombia ended his speech by evoking five out of the ten points in the Charter of Bogota, signed in the Colombian capital during the Sixteenth World Summit of the Nobel Peace Prize winners, which was held in February 2017 in the presence of the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. These principles are "Peace is a right. We are one. We are many. We have to educate. We have to understand."
In her welcome address, Ms. Bokova reaffirmed the "total commitment of UNESCO to the support of Colombia during the process of peace consolidation,” adding, “at the end of five years of fratricidal war and intense suffering, Colombia showed us the power of dialogue and of the will to seek reconciliation. More than ever, we need your vision to inspire and guide the other leaders of the world to do the same," she said. "The people of Colombia and you, Mr. President, are now magnificently writing the history of your country, of your continent, for the world," she concluded.
During the visit, the President of Columbia held a bilateral meeting with the Director-General. The meeting was an opportunity for UNESCO to reaffirm its unfailing support to the peace process in Colombia, as the combatants had surrendered their weapons to the forces of the United Nations present in Colombia.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Maria Angela Holguin, the Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism, Maria Claudia Lacouture, the Ambassador of Colombia in France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Federico Renjifo, as well as other members of his government accompanied President Santos.
On 22 June, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, met with the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria, H.E. Boril Banov, and his team during their visit to Paris.
They discussed the situation of cultural heritage in Bulgaria and the measures to enhance its protection, as well as the role of the Regional Center for Intangible Heritage in Southeast Europe and other areas of mutual interest.
Mr Banov thanked the Director-General for her leadership in safeguarding cultural heritage and her visionary work at UNESCO. He commended the role of UNESCO in addressing contemporary issues regarding the protection of cultural heritage across the world, especially in conflict zones.
Mr Banov met also with Dr Mechtild Roessler, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center. He underscored his strong commitment to work closely with the Center to draft and implement an innovative approach for managing World Heritage sites in Bulgaria.
UNESCO is organizing, Friday, 30 June, from 9 am to 6 pm at its headquarters, a High-level Conference on “Fostering Women’s Empowerment and Leadership”, launching the series of events on “UNESCO’s Soft Power Today”.
The Conference will gather over 50 high-level personalities and renowned experts from around the world and will serve as a platform to identify promising pathways for inclusive and innovative partnerships to work on women and girls’ empowerment and leadership, building on UNESCO’s achievements to date.
Some of the personalities include, Ms Rula Ghani, First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Ms Aïcha Bah Diallo, Founder of the Forum for African Women Educationalist, and Ms Miriam González Durántez, Founder of Inspiring Girls International.
The day will start with an opening ceremony followed by three parallel panels in the morning and afternoon.
The three morning sessions entitled “Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development - The Power of Women’s and Girls’ Education", "Breaking Gender Stereotypes - The importance of role models in changing cultural norms" and "Leadership and Power - Women in Politics" will take place from 11 am to 1pm .
The afternoon session will focus on "Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development - Women, Peace and Security", “"Breaking Gender Stereotypes - Challenging the status quo" and "Leadership and Power - Women in Business" from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
The event will conclude with a closing ceremony with all participants where a Statement will be presented to renew the commitment of the Organization as a champion for the promotion of Gender Equality in the international arena.
Journalists wishing to attend the conference should request accreditation.
Contact: Djibril Kebe, firstname.lastname@example.org; +33 145 681 741
On 22 June 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, participated in the opening session of a one-day conference, entitled ‘Madame de Staël: a woman of our times,’ on the occasion of the bicentennial of her passing. The event took place in the presence of several personalities, including the former President of the Swiss Confederation, H.E. Mr Pascal Roger Couchepin, the former Minister of National Education of France, Mr Xavier Darcos, and Mr Jacques Berchtold, the Director of the Bodmer Foundation (Switzerland).
Madame de Staël was a French woman of letters of Swiss origin. Through her culture and her passionate commitment to freedom, Germaine de Stael revolutionized political literature and contributed to the creation of modern Europe.
The event was organized at the initiative of the French, German and Swiss Permanent Delegations to UNESCO, and the French National Commission for UNESCO, to honor Madame de Staël’s unique voice and to share her universal message of mutual understanding and peace.
In her remarks, the Director-General highlighted Madame de Staël’s contribution to shaping European citizenship.
“It is perhaps her most precious legacy -- to affirm that one can be passionately French, Swiss or German, and at the same time deeply European, and citizen of the world”, said Irina Bokova.
“Germaine de Staël is also a symbol of an ambition at the heart of UNESCO’s work – the idea that culture, literature, a free press can change the world and societies”, underlined the Director-General, insisting on the strong links between de Staël’s writings and convictions, and UNESCO’s own mission and mandate.
Mr Daniel Janicot, President of the French National Commission for UNESCO, recalled the context in which this day of commemoration was organized, with the aim to shed light on the many insights offered by Germaine de Staël, and their strong relevance to addressing major contemporary challenges.
The Chairperson of the Executive Board, H.E. Mr Michael Worbs, speaking on behalf of the 58 Member States of the Executive Board, commended the organisation of this day of commemoration, reflecting on a unique European thinker, who can still provide, 200 years after her death, many sources of inspiration for contemporary societies.
H.E. Ambassador Stefan Krawielicki, Permanent Delegate of Germany to UNESCO, underscored one of the main dimensions of de Staël’s work, her promotion and defence of the “regards croisés” between nations, States, peoples, convinced by the idea that everyone should “see himself/herself through the other’s eyes”.
Mr Rainier d’Haussonville, descendent of Madame de Staël and co-heir of the Castle of Coppet, in Switzerland - de Staël’s last home - emphasized the importance of safeguarding, promoting and diffusing the spirit of her legacy, along the lines of the “Groupe de Coppet”.
A growing number of innovation funds are targeting specific socio-economic sectors, rather than fostering innovation across the board. The UNESCO Science Report cites the example of the USA, where the21stCentury Cures Act (2016) includes an innovation fund of US$ 1.75 billion per year for five years for one of the USA’s main science agencies, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in addition to the usual annual appropriation. The NIH innovation fund ensures multi-year funding for flagship government research projects such as the Precision Medicine Initiative and BRAIN Initiative (1).
Another example is Inova-Agro, a fund targeting the agribusiness sector that was launched by the Brazilian government in2013. Inova-Agro is what is known as a sectorial fund, a concept introduced into Latin America by Brazil in 1999. The country has since established more than a dozen of these. There are Brazilian sectorial funds for aeronautics, biotechnology, space, hydroresources, information technology, research infrastructure, mining, oil and natural gas, health and soon. The funds receive money via taxes levied on specific industrial or service sectors, such as energy utility companies. Each fund is supervised by a steering committee composed of members drawn from academia, the government and industry.
Other Latin American countries have followed in Brazil’s footsteps.Both Mexico and Argentina havedesigned sectorial funds for the software industry, for instance. FONSOFT in Argentina and PROSOFT in Mexico providesmall and medium-sized enterprises with competitive funding to help them improve their productivity and capacity to innovate. Mexico is also using a sectorial fund known as CONACYT-SENER to reach the targets outlined in its National Climate Change Strategy (2013)for improvingenergy efficiency and developing ‘clean and green’ technologies.
Sectorial funds extendbeyond Latin America
Sectorial funds are not only found in Latin America.Morocco has one in telecommunications, for instance. The National Fund for Scientific Research and Technological Development was adopted by law in 2001, at a time when domestic enterprises funded just 22% of domestic research. Within a decade, this share had risen to 30% (2010). Moroccan telecom operators were persuaded to cede 0.25% of their turnover to fund research in their sector. By 2015, they were financing about 80% of all public research projects in telecommunications supported through this fund.
Malaysia has introduced a similar scheme for its agribusiness sector. With palm oil being the country’s third-largest export after oil and gas and electronics, the government has imposed a cess (tax) on the oil palm industry to fund research in this sector. The fund is managed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, a government body, which levies a tax on every tonne of palm oil and palm kernel oil produced. Through this tax, the palm oil industry helps to fund the research grants provided by the, which totalledMYR 2.04 billion (circa US$ 565 million) over the 2000–2010 period.Thanks to this tax, theMalaysian Palm Oil Boardcommercialized 16 new technologies in 2013 and 20 a year later. Research has led to the development of wood and paper products, fertilizers, bio-energy sources, polyethylene sheeting for use in vehicles and other products made of palm biomass.
In 2013, South Africa launched its own Sector-Specific Innovation Fund. Priority industrial sectors partner with the government through the Department for Science and Technologythrough a co-funding arrangement for innovation. The fund was created to counterbalance a sharp drop in research spending by the private sector in recent years, even as public research spending has risen. It is hoped that the fund will help South Africa reach its target of spending at least 1% of GDP on research and development. This ratio peaked at 0.89% in 2008 before sliding to 0.73% of GDP in 2012.
Innovation funds may target several sectors
Some innovation funds target multiple economic sectors. For instance, the Argentine Sectorial Fund (FONARSEC, est. 2009) sets out to improve competitiveness in all of the following: biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, energy, health, agribusiness, social development, environment and climate change.
In Central Asia, the Turkmen government has introduced a special fund to encourage young scientists to introduce innovative technologies into agriculture; promote ecology and the rational use of natural resources; develop energy and fuel savings; chemical technology and the creation of new competitive products; construction; architecture; seismology; medicine and drug production; and information technology.Kazakhstan’s Science Fund (est. 2006) provides grants and loans for projects in applied research in priority areas for investment. For the period 2007−2012, these were: hydrocarbons, mining and smelting sectors and correlated service areas (37%); biotechnologies (17%);information and space technologies (11%); nuclear and renewable energy technologies (8%); nanotechnologies and new materials (5%); other (22%).According to the United Nations Commission for Europe, about 80% of the funds disbursed go to state research institutes.
India, meanwhile, is hoping to orient technologies developed by the defence industry towards commercial markets for civilian use.The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is a major repository of new technologies, since itaccounts for about 17% of domestic research spending and just under 32% of the government outlay in 2010. Despite this, military technologyhas rarely been transferred to civilian industry up to now, unlike in the USA. To remedy this, DRDO launched a joint initiative in 2013 with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for Accelerated Technology Assessment and Commercialization. A year later, 26 DRDO laboratories were participating in the programme, while FICCI assessed over 200 technologies from sectors as diverse as electronics, robotics, advanced computing and simulation, avionics, optronics, precision engineering, special materials, engineering systems, instrumentation, acoustic technologies, life sciences, disaster management technologies and information systems.
Start-ups hampered by lack of venture capital
Start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprisesoften have difficulty accessing venture capital, despite playing avital role in broadening the national innovation culture. In India, for example, about 85% of research is concentrated in six industries which are dominated bya handfulof large firms. More than half of business spending on research is distributed across just three industries: pharmaceuticals, automotive and information technology. In its budget for 2014–2015, India’s union government proposed setting up a fund of Rs 100 billion (circa US$ 1.3 billion) to attract private capital in order to provide equity, quasi-equity, soft loans and other risk capital for start-ups. Beneficiaries will include start-ups specializing in frugal innovation.
Iran’s Innovation and Prosperity Fund (est. 2012) is also supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. Itoffers them tax incentives and pays the partial costs of commercializing knowledge and technology; it also covers part of the interest on bank loans contracted for the purchase of equipment, the setting up of production lines, testing and marketing, etc. The Fund also offers financial support to private companies wishing to set up business incubators and science and technology parks then facilitates the establishment of these centres through such measures as the provision of rent-free premises and tax incentives.
Another example is Azerbaijan. In 2012, the government created a State Fund for the Development of Information Technologies to provide start-up fundingfor innovative and applied projects in information technology through equity participation or low-interest loans.
Innovation performance down in European Union
The European Union (EU) funds innovation through its seven-year framework programmes and through the national innovation funds of its 28 members.Horizon 2020 is the bloc’s biggest programme yet, with an endowment of close to €80 billion.In July 2015, the European Commission adopted a stimulus package, the European Fund for Strategic Investment, to help the EU achieve its goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by 2020. The fund has raised a few eyebrows, though. Some find its ambition of using €21 billion to leverage a further €294 billion in private investment ‘unrealistic’. Others point out that it dips into the current framework programme, taking €2.7 billion from Horizon 2020. This hasledto cutbacks at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, whichfunds innovationacross the bloc.
TheEuropean Fund for Strategic Investment comes at a time when the EU is stillshaking off the economic crisis of 2008–2009. According to the UNESCO Science Report, the innovation performance of 13 out of the EU’s 28 members slipped between 2007 and 2014. EU-based companies still account for 30% ofresearch spending by the world’s top 2 500 companies but only two EU-based companies figured in the top ten in 2014, both of them German and both in the automotive sector,Volkswagen and Daimler.
There are concerns that the EU is largely absent from the arena of innovative internet-based companies. Eleven of the 15 largest public internet companies are US-based and the remainder are Chinese. ‘The EU’s attempts to replicate a Silicon Valley-type experience have not lived up to expectations’, regrets the report. European innovation in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors has likewise been disappointing in recent years.
One sector that has flourished over the past decadeis Europe’s environmental industry.In agriculture, environment, health, energy and materials, between one-fifth and one-third of research projects funded within the seventh framework programme between 2007 and 2013 concerned sustainability. Consequently, the EU is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% over 1990 levels by 2020. ‘Europe is in a historically unique position to usher in a more sustainable society through research and innovation’, concludes the report.
Consensus on the need for ‘green growth’
It is not only in Europe that sustainable development has become akey focus of innovation funds. In 2008, the Rwandan government introduced a National Fund for Environment and Climate Change in Rwanda (FONERWA), which acts as a cross-sectorial financing mechanism to further Rwanda’s objectives of green and resilient growth within the National Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy. FONERWA is involved in identifying funding for the pilot ‘green city’ to be launched by 2018. FONERWA’s sixth call for proposals resulted in 14 projects receiving funding. They included the provision of solar power to off-the-grid communities, the construction of microhydropower plants and rainwater harvesting and re-use. These projects had been put forward by private companies, non-governmental organizations, Rwandan districts and the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Clean energy is even a growing focus in economies reliant on the oil and gas industries.In 2008, Canada's federal government announced that 90% of all electricity generated would come from non-greenhouse gas emitting sources by 2020, including nuclear energy, clean coal, wind and hydroelectricity. In its 2009 budget, the federal government created a Clean Energy Fund of more than CAN$ 600 million to fund various projects, with the majority of the money (CAN$ 466 million) going to carbon capture and storage projects. Canada also has programmes designed to support wind energy, small hydropower, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, marine energy,bio-energy and so on.
Nor is it always government funds that aredriving the development of clean energy technologies. As of December 2013, 57 of Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s more mature companies had received CAN$ 2.5 billion in follow-on financing. Sustainable Development Technology Canadais a non-profit foundation (est. 2001). It operates three funds:the Sustainable Development Tech Fund has used CAN$ 684 million allocated by the federal government to support 269 projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water and clean soil; the NextGen Biofuels Fund supports the establishment of first-of-a-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels; andthe Sustainable Development Natural Gas Fund supports efficient technologies in the residential sector: small-scale affordable combined heat and power units and ultra-efficient water heaters.
Innovation funds may bring in external partners
Given their modest budgets, it is hardly surprising that many developing countries are forming partnerships at home or abroad to promote innovation.In February 2014, the Kazakh National Agency for Technological Development, for instance, signed an agreement with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector and a private investor for the establishment of the Central Asia Renewable Energy Fund.
In 2010, the USA-based Blue Ocean Ventures launched the Lankan Angels Network. By 2014, the investors operating within this network had injected US$1.5 million into 12 innovative Sri Lankan companies, within a partnership with the Sri Lankan Inventors Commission (est. 1979). The Ministry of Technology and Research reported in 2013 that the Commission had disbursed just LKR 2.94 million (circa US$ 22 000) in grants through its own Inventor’s Fund the same year.
In January 2013, the Rwandan Ministry of Education established the Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, to foster industrial development. So far, the programme has sponsored five partnerships between private companies and the University of Rwanda’s two Colleges of Science and Technology and Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. The company contributes its idea for product or service development and the university provides the appropriate expertise.
Malawi is prioritizing the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors through the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund, which is endowed with US$ 8 million from the United Nations Development Programme and the UK Department for International Development. Through this competitive facility, businesses can apply for grant funding for innovative projects that have potential for making a strong social impact and helping the country to diversify its narrow range of exports.The fund is aligned on the three clusters selected within the country’s National Export Strategy: oil seed products, sugar cane products and manufacturing. The fund provides a matching grant of up to 50% to innovative business projects to help absorb some of the commercial risk in triggering innovation. This support should speed up the implementation of new business models and/or the adoption of technologies.The first round of competitive bidding opened in April 2014.
Iran’s Innovation and Prosperity Fund also hopes to convince foreign parties to invest in technology transfer and research ‘but this ambition has been somewhat thwarted by the international sanctions’, notes the UNESCO Science Report.
Funds encouraginguniversity-industry ties
Iran’s Innovation and Prosperity Fund is also striving to strengthen university–industry ties. As of December 2014, public and private universities from four Iranian provinces (Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd and Mashhad)had applied to the fund to establish knowledge-based companies in special economic zones.
Many innovation funds encourage co-operation between academia and industry. In Argentina and Mexico, FONSOFT and PROSOFTare doing just that. A 2014 study by the Inter-American Development Bank forecast that, by 2025, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, San José, Córdoba and Santiago would be the five most important poles in Latin America for the development of software and related industries. By that time, business process outsourcing is expected to employ 1.2 million people and generate sales of US$ 18.5 billion in Latin America.
Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, published in November 2015.
Media and information literacy has never been more indispensable than ever, in today’s information and media climate plagued by misinformation, propaganda, false news, sensationalism and distortions named as “alternate facts”. The North American (NA) Sub-Chapter of the UNESCO-initiated Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) has restated this.
Launched in September 2016, NA Sub-Chapter will meet on 26 June 2017 in Chicago. A main objective of the (NA) Sub-Chapter meeting is to establish a Steering Committee and Working groups.
“We hope to attract more people to GAPMIL so that more understanding and commitment may be gained for GAPMIL goals, to fulfill the Charter that NA GAPMIL is undertaking. We are action-oriented and want people to have a way to connect, to get involved and to contribute nationally and globally”, said Ms. Tessa Jolls, Director of US-based Center for Media Literacy and North America Sub-Chapter Co-Chair from the U.S. who will lead the meeting.
She noted that it is important to reach across national borders to solidify the foundations for media and information literacy as a global movement, a development intervention and a pedagogy. GAPMIL network is invaluable including to replicate, measure, and scale media and information literacy.
Learn from each other’s successes
“Working coalitions that draw together resources and energy productively from individuals and organizations enable more and better work. Rather than everybody working on their own, and repeating each other’s mistakes, we work together and we learn from one another’s successes” highlighted Mr. Michael Hoechsmann, Professor at Lakehead University and NA Sub-Chapter Co-Chair from Canada. The upcoming meeting will focus on the formation of four working groups: Advocacy/Policy Development, Research/Policy Development, Outreach/UNESCO Liaison Working Group and the Steering Committee. Find more information about the Agenda and the Working Groups HERE.
North American perspective in global conversation
“Without the competencies connected to an expanded definition of literacy, people will be significantly disadvantaged and disempowered in the digital age. Better-informed citizens can participate more fully in the democratic processes of their countries, and with this group we’re looking forward to helping bring the North American perspective to the global conversation” said Ms. Carolyn Wilson, chair of GAPMIL International Steering Committee and Instructor and Program Officer at Faculty of Education, Western University, Canada.
The GAPMIL NA Sub-Chapter was launched in September 2016 and the meeting resulted in London Declaration. Since than, a Facebook page was initiated in order to start communication and expansion towards people who are interested into MIL. The NA Sub-Chapter also identified top priorities for their work, within policy development, professional networking, funding, teacher’s education and strategic partnerships.
Working groups will focus on these priorities, and jointly with the the Steering Committee provide for the administrative structure. As well, the Sub-Chapter will represent the interests of the group and provide coordination and oversight to ensure that UNESCO and GAPMIL NA mandates are aligned, say the organizers. It will also enable them to establish stronger liaisons with the European Sub-Chapter that NA GAPMIL is connected to.
GAPMIL NA also presented their initiatives at the Third Conference of Media Education and Digital Competence, that was held in Segovia, Spain in June 2017.
“The success of this global Alliance is about how we work together as partners with common goals. We are calling on all organizations working in the field of media, journalism, information, communication and education to join the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy. We need all of you” said Mr. Alton Grizzle, UNESCO Programme Specialist who manages the organization global actions on MIL. Membership form can be reached through the link available HERE. Membership in GAPMIL is free.
The UNESCO-initiated Global Alliance for Partnership on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) was formed in 2013 and organized into five chapters. One of them is the North American and European Chapter, which operate jointly as two sub-chapters. The NA Sub-Chapter is a joint effort between Canada and the U.S. through UNESCO’s support, aiming to promote international cooperation to ensure that all citizens have access to media and information competencies.
Leaders of this Sub-Chapter are organizing the meeting at the NAMLE Conference 2017, in Chicago.
116 cities, 54 countries, mayors and delegations from every continent: from 30 June through 2 July, the French city of Enghien-les-Bains will host the XIth meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Today 116 cities in 54 countries make up the Creative Cities Network that UNESCO launched in 2004. At the heart of the initiative lies a solid fact: more than half of the world's population now lives in cities – cities that generate the bulk of economic activity. This trend is expected to continue; estimates indicate that by 2050, the urban population will represent 70 percent of the 9.5 billion global inhabitants.
Covering seven creative fields (Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music), the Network aims to stimulate and strengthen cooperation, sharing and exchange of good practice between cities that recognize culture and the creative industries as motors for development. During three days in Enghien-les-Bains, mayors, delegates and experts will share their experiences during plenary sessions and thematic workshops. This will also be an opportunity to strengthen the links between them.
"Cities are at the forefront of international efforts for peace and sustainable development", declared Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. "This Network seeks to expand and capitalize on the best of what cities offer: their experience in cultural co-operation; their innovation; and their transformative power" she added.
The Network is based on the idea that cities inspire and enrich one another and place their common experience in the service of sustainable development. The UNESCO Creative Cities are also key actors in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations. The meeting in Enghien-les-Bains will be an occasion to recall that commitment.
Creative City of Media Arts since 2013, Enghien-les-Bains is interested in how digital technologies can positively impact the ecosystem of cities, especially their public spaces. It has also developed partnerships in the field of digital arts through the Digital Arts Network (RAN), which includes some forty international members and strengthens cooperation with Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia.
In parallel to the work carried out during the meeting, Enghien-les-Bains has planned an ambitious artistic program called “Data Cities” that will allow the public to discover the strength of the Network and its seven creative fields through exhibitions, interactive presentations and concerts held across the city and the banks of its lake.
For more information : http://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/
Contact : Lucía Iglesias Kuntz, UNESCO Press Service + 33 (0) 1 45681702
The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted yesterday a new Resolution on the right to education within the framework of its 35th session, which stresses UNESCO’s lead role for Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).
The Resolution reaffirms the importance of ensuring the human right to education as defined by international conventions, including notably UNESCO’s Convention against Discrimination in Education.
The Resolution calls upon States to give full effect to the right to education, notably by “putting in place a regulatory framework for education providers guided by international human rights obligations”, and to promote technical vocational education and training as a means of ensuring the realization of the right to education. The Resolution also encourages States to measure progress in the realization of the right to education, such as by developing national indicators, and to consider justiciability when determining the best way to give domestic legal effect to the right to education.
For years, the Human Rights Council has expressed serious concerns about the situation of millions of children and adults unable to fully enjoy their right to education and has issued an important number of resolutions reaffirming commitments towards making the right to education a concrete reality for all.
To learn more about what UNESCO does on the right to education:
To learn more about the Human Rights Council:
On 8 June 2017, the Kingdom of Sweden announced a financial contribution to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) during a meeting between UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and Swedish Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog, on the margins of the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York.
Among the various areas of cooperation discussed, the field of ocean literacy was particularly highlighted as it constitutes one of IOC’s voluntary commitments to the Ocean Conference, in partnership with over a dozen intergovernmental, scientific and civil society organizations.
This initiative, entitled “Ocean Literacy for All: A global strategy to raise the awareness for the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our ocean”, aims to develop an improved public knowledge base across the world’s population regarding our global ocean and the close links between ocean and human well-being. It is also strategically linked to UNESCO’s work on Education for Sustainable Development.
“All of us need to know more about how the ocean influences us, and how we influence the ocean. Sweden is happy to provide financial support to the voluntary commitment on Ocean Literacy for All,” said Ms Skog. “When kids get the possibility to feel for example a starfish in their hands or learn about our ocean, a new world opens to them. To feel and learn is the first step to take action to save our ocean.”
Sweden will also support the IOC’s proposal for an International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) at the 29th Session of the IOC Assembly (21-29 June), and the importance of ensuring that the appropriate space is made available to ensure that policy-makers are developing policies based on sound science.
Sweden, alongside Fiji, was co-chair of the Ocean Conference.
Representatives of partner organizations involved in the “Ocean Literacy for All” commitment gave their views at a side event on Ocean Literacy for All at the Conference:
Wendy Watson-Wright, former IOC Executive Secretary and currently Chief Executive Officer of the Ocean Frontier Institute (Canada), added that “ocean literacy does more than teach about the sea. It supports the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, increasing both learner and teacher engagement. It’s a key step forward to making a positive impact on the entire planet.”
Ana Noronha, Executive Director of Ciência Viva (Portugal), explained that the initiative is “addressing educators to include more ocean topics in their practice, to share resources and to create new pedagogical materials. We also network with science centers, aquaria and museums to mobilize citizens, decision-makers and industry actors to take action for a sustainable use of the ocean. Being able to communicate a sense of urgency while helping to find solutions will be more important than ever.”
Gail Scowcroft, from the Consortium for Ocean Science Exploration and Engagement (COSEE), for her part insisted on the need for more cooperation at all levels. “We rely on the ocean to moderate our climate, provide food for us and other life on Earth, and support our well-being. Partnerships and collaborations between ocean scientists, education professionals, policy-makers, and business leaders are critical if we are to have a truly ocean literate citizenry,” she said.
All details about the initiative can be found on The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments alongside other commitments undertaken by Governments, international organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector, scientific institutions and other stakeholders towards the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – to conserve and sustainable use our ocean.
For more information, please contact:
Francesca Santoro (f.santoro(at)unesco.org)
Magaly Solier, Peruvian actress and singer, will be designated UNESCO Artist for Peace on June 26th. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova made the designation “in recognition of her efforts to protect and promote indigenous languages and music throughout her artistic career and for her commitment to the ideals of UNESCO.”
Born in a Quechua family in the Huanta Province (Ayacucho region), Peru, Magaly Solier Romero worked in the fields with her parents and brothers. She started her singing career when she won a prize at the Ayacuchana Song Festival in 2003. A year later, she had her first acting role in the Peruvian movie, Madeinusa, directed by Claudia Llosa. Thanks to this first full-length feature film, she was doubly awarded “Best actress” in 2006: at the Cartagena de Indias Film Festival in Columbia and at the Montreal Ibero-Latino-American festival in Canada.
In 2009, she acted in Claudia Llosa’s movie Fausta (La Teta Asustada), which brought her worldwide recognition. She then received roles in Altiplano, directed by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth, and in Amador, directed by Fernando León de Aranoa. This movie was entered in the Guadalajara International Film Festival in Mexico, where Ms Solier received the “Best Actress” award. That same year she released her first album – Warmy. Most of the songs are sung in Quechua and it was awarded “Best Music Album” in Peru.
In 2014, she released her second album, Coca Quintucha, which includes Andean traditional songs performed in Quechua. Following the album’s release, she performed several concerts in indigenous languages such as Quechua, Aymara, Ashaninka and Muchik.
Magaly Solier’s artistic career reflects her commitment to peace, human rights, social justice, environmental protection, and rights for children to study in their mother tongue. Through her creations, she also expresses her support for the struggle against gender inequality and violence against women. One of her missions as a UNESCO Artist for Peace will be the promotion of the Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019, as well as the promotion of the UNESCO Atlas of languages, which is being prepared.
UNESCO Artists for Peace are internationally-renowned personalities who use their influence, charisma and prestige to help promote UNESCO’s message and programmes. UNESCO works with these distinguished personalities in order to heighten public awareness regarding key development issues and to inform the public what our Organization's action is in these fields.
The nomination ceremony will take place at 1:00 pm at the 7th Floor Restaurant. Journalists wishing to attend the event are requested to contact UNESCO’s Media Section.
Contact: Djibril Kebe, email@example.com ; +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 41