The conference “Interpreting and Representing Slavery and Its Legacies in Museums and Sites: International Perspectives” will explore the variety of approaches used at museums and sites around the Atlantic world to represent the history and legacies of the slave trade, slavery and emancipation. With experts from around the world, the conference will be the first international symposium of its kind hosted in North America (Charlottesville), from 19 to 22 March 2018.
UNESCO Global Geoparks, within the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP), are the mechanism that creates international cooperation which engages with their local communities in a bottom up approach in order to promote awareness of the geological heritage and sustainably develop the area. Through the IGGP, these areas can apply to UNESCO, for designation as a “UNESCO Global Geopark”, drawing upon the broader mandate of the Organization.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, will travel to Brasilia (Brazil) on 19 and 20 March to launch the United Nations World Water Development Report at the 8th World Water Forum. This will be her first visit to Latin America, following trips to Africa and the Middle East.
The Director-General will take part in the official opening ceremony of the Forum alongside the President of Brazil, Michel Temer, Heads of State, as well as Prince Albert of Monaco and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan. Ms Azoulay will plead the cause of those with limited access to water and advocate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially targets pertaining to water and Goal 6, which calls for access to safe water and sanitation.
After attending a luncheon hosted by the President of Brazil in honour of the Heads of State, the Director-General and UN-Water partners will lead the official launch of the United Nations’ World Water Development Report, whose theme this year concerns nature-based solutions. Coordinated by UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Programme, the Report brings together contributions from the 31 United Nations bodies and 39 international partners who make up UN-Water. It promotes nature-based solutions to improve fresh water quality and supply, and to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.
“We need new solutions in managing water resources so as to meet emerging challenges to water security caused by population growth and climate change. If we do nothing, some five billion people will be living in areas with poor access to water by 2050. This Report proposes solutions that are based on nature to manage water better. This is a major task all of us need to accomplish together, responsibly so as to avoid water related conflicts,” declared the Director-General of UNESCO.
During her official visit, the Director-General will have meetings with the Brazilian authorities, notably with President Temer accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister, Aloysio Nunes, and the President of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, Cármem Lúcia.
Held every three years, the Forum is the main global venue for members of the water community and decision-makers to join forces and determine long-term action plans concerning this invaluable resource. It brings together 150 countries with the objective of raising awareness and bolstering political commitment concerning water use and management.
The Forum coincides with the celebration of World Water Day on 22 March and the beginning of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development” (22 March 2018 to 22 March 2028). The Decade was proclaimed to reinforce international cooperation and mobilization to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The United Nations World Water Development Report is available on request. It is under embargo until 19 March, 7 am UTC.
Media Contact in Paris:
Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Media Section, +33(0)145681764, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacts at UNESCO Office in Brasilia:
Ana Lúcia Guimarães B. Pedreira, +55(61)21063536, email@example.com
Fabiana Sousa Pullen, +55(61)21063596, firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women discussions, UNESCO's Communication and Information Division will hold two panel disussions at the Commission's review theme: "Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women". UNESCO plays a key role in fostering freedom of expression online and offline, promoting the safety of journalists, advancing diversity and participation in media, and supporting independent media.
Both panels are part of UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC) partnership with The Netherlands that will address gender inequalities and violence against women through partnering with Organization the Global Alliance for Media and Gender (GAMAG) and the UNITWIN Network for Gender, Media and ICTs.Safe Journalists, Strong Democracies: How on and offline attacks on women journalists are hurting us all
The safety of women journalists has risen to become one of the pre-eminent issues for journalism in our digital era. During CSW, UNESCO will highlight and promote action on the safety of women journalists through a side event supported by The Netherlands and Sweden. Safe Journalists, Strong Democracies: How on and offline attacks on women journalists are hurting us all will discuss the many ways women journalists can be placed in vulnerable settings, both in the workplace, in the field and online, leaving them open to all kinds of harassment, intimidation and violence. Under the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and Issue of Impunity, panelists will share their first hand experiences of these threats and the consequences these actions have on the fundamental role that the press plays in strengthening democratic societies.
The event is supported by Sweden and The Netherlands.
The panel will explore and debate the wide range of gender and communication issues hitherto omitted from past considerations of the CSW Review theme, making the case for the centrality of communication in broader struggles for gender equality and women’s human rights, as well as for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Issues such as gender equality in media decision-making positions, media policy, gender and freedom of expression and the rights of women media workers will be discussed, identifying key areas for action and practical recommendations for media and ICT companies, Member States, civil society and others.
The session will explore a set of gender and media position papers prepared by GAMAG members, each proposing specific recommendations for governments, media organisations and civil society.
Moderator: June Nicholson, Virginia Commonwealth University
This panel is supported by The Netherlands
Contact Ms Alison Meston, email@example.com
Did you know that 95 % of the global population lives in an area covered by at least a 2G mobile network? The rapid growth of Internet access and connectivity has paved the way for the development of a digital economy across the world. However, there are major inequalities due to lack of digital skills in both developed and developing countries.
From 26 to 30 March 2018, Mobile Learning Week - UNESCO’s yearly flagship ICT in education event - will examine the types of skills needed in today’s connected economy and society, with an emphasis on digital skills and competencies. It will also focus on the challenges and strategies to offer digital skills development opportunities for all.
What are digital skills?
Digital skills are defined as a range of abilities to use digital devices, communication applications, and networks to access and manage information. They enable people to create and share digital content, communicate and collaborate, and solve problems for effective and creative self-fulfillment in life, learning, work, and social activities at large.
Entry-level digital skills, meaning basic functional skills required to make basic use of digital devices and online applications, are widely considered a critical component of a new set of literacy skills in the digital era, with traditional reading, writing, and numeracy skills.
At the advanced spectrum of digital skills are the higher-level abilities that allow users to make use of digital technologies in empowering and transformative ways such as professions in ICT. Major digital transformations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data analytics, change skills requirements and, in turn, impact capacity building and skills development for the 21st century digital economy.
To thrive in the connected economy and society, digital skills must also function together with other abilities such as strong literacy and numeracy skills, critical and innovative thinking, complex problem solving, an ability to collaborate, and socio-emotional skills.
Innovating skills for a digital economy
To realize opportunities presented by digitalization, governments need to understand how jobs—and the skill sets demanded by these jobs—are changing. Digital skills have moved from ‘optional’ to ‘critical’ and need to be complemented with transversal ‘soft skills’ such as the ability to communicate effectively in both online and offline mediums. In developing countries, digital skills are also in high demand and greatly improve prospects for decent employment. They are linked to higher earning potential, and experts have predicted a growing number of jobs for people with advanced digital skills. Not only are there new jobs available, some of them are actually going unfilled, making the provision of advanced digital skills part of a solution to unemployment.
Tackling inequalities and gender divide
There are major inequalities in digital skills in both developing and developed countries along a number of lines, notably socio-economic status, race, gender, geography, age and educational background. Gender divides in digital skills are severe: women are 1.6 times more likely than men to report lack of skills as a factor impeding their use of the internet. The proportion of women using the Internet is 12% lower than the proportion of men using the Internet, and the gender gap in Internet usage has widened between 2013 and 2017, in particular in least developed countries.
Without policy interventions, ongoing technological developments threaten to exacerbate the inequalities between those with and without digital skills. Integrated and comprehensive responses are urgently needed. Government and state actors need to play a pivotal role in setting up the fundamental principles for inclusive and equitable digital skills development, providing programmes and capacity development initiatives for disadvantaged groups, and re-skilling adults at risk for job displacement.
Ensuring that everyone has relevant digital skills helps promote inclusive and equitable education and lifelong learning for all.
Major technology breakthroughs in next ten years will impact forms of work and the structure of labour markets as well as other aspects of life such as education, health, and agriculture. From a skills development perspective, the implications of technological change are expected profound, both for the re- and up-skilling of adults and for the education of youth and children. In this context, developing capacities for anticipating the changing needs for digital skills for work and life is crucial for all countries. Policy-makers and other actors need to forecast future developments in order to orient and prioritise policy actions.
All over the world, young women are rising up – Exercising their rights to education; saying ‘no’ to early marriage and unintended pregnancy; and demanding equal employment opportunities. There is still a long way to go, but young women like Ethiopian girl-band, Yegna are paving the way to ensure that future generations of women and girls are even more empowered and supported. To find out more about their work harnessing the power of creativity for social change, we caught up with Teref; Zebiba; Eyerusalem; and Rahel as they endeavour to raise awareness of some of the biggest issues facing young women in Ethiopia and beyond!
“Girls in our country face serious challenges every day, including early marriage, harassment and violence. Given these challenges, it is not surprising that many fail to reach their potential and drop out of school or get married very young. It is so important that we start breaking down the barriers that are holding girls and their communities back. If more girls are encouraged to reach their potential, it is good for everyone!
Yegna is an acting and pop-group that uses the creative arts to raise awareness of issues such as migration, abuse, and school drop-out – issues that young girls in Ethiopia really face. The members of Yegna perform in a radio drama and a talk show but we also go on roadshows in order to bring our messages to the Addis and Amhara regions and to meet with young women, men and their parents.
Using the arts to communicate a message is so effective because we’re not preaching or telling people what to do, but providing young women with positive role-models and appealing to them through the things they love – music, drama and real-life stories. This has more strength than you can possibly imagine.
Yegna not only provides young women with an opportunity to come together to discuss challenges, but we also look at ways that together, those challenges can be overcome. Our aim is that, through doing this, we start to change how our society views girls and that this message is then passed on to future generations so that the impact is even bigger.
We want girls from Ethiopia, where I am from, and from everywhere else in the world to continue supporting and empowering each other. Let’s not let anything hold us back. Be brave – the future is looking bright!”
In early 2017, UNESCO contracted the independent Technopolis Group in Paris to conduct an Evaluation of the UNESCO Science Report published in late 2015. The evaluation was presented to UNESCO’s Executive Board in October 2017. Here, we compare the findings of a stakeholder survey conducted as part of this evaluation with those of a reader satisfaction survey available on the UNESCO Science Report portal since 2016.
In the Evaluation’s survey of 99 users of the UNESCO Science Report, almost half of respondents came from academia (21) and National Commissions for UNESCO (24). The latter are government relays in Member States for the implementation of UNESCO’s programme. A further 13 respondents identified themselves as policy-makers in government and four as employees in the private for profit or non-profit sector. Eleven were employed by UNESCO field offices or by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Two-thirds of respondents were men.
Respondents said they used the report most for conducting research (56%), for learning purposes (51%), for monitoring and benchmarking (48%) and for policy advocacy (47%). Only 16% of respondents declared using it for fundraising purposes.
Report ‘fully in line’ with mandate and 2030 Agenda
Drawing on the survey’s findings, the Evaluation concluded that ‘the production of the UNESCO Science Report is fully in line with UNESCO’s mandate’… This was confirmed by all of the members of UNESCO staff and Member State Permanent Delegations interviewed as part of this evaluation’. Users considered the UNESCO Science Report ‘to be relevant and coherent vis à vis other UNESCO initiatives and tools in the field of science, technology and innovation (STI)’
In particular, the Evaluation found the UNESCO Science Report to be ‘in line with the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Specifically, the UNESCO Science Report is compatible with Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9), the pledge by countries to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. Target 9.5 calls upon countries to encourage innovation and substantially increase the number of researchers, as well as public and private spending on research and experimental development (R&D).
The evaluators found that ‘the case for continuing to support the UNESCO Science Report is strengthened by its high degree of relevance and the overall positive appreciation expressed by readers, in particular with a view to the significant potential for the UNESCO Science Report in contributing to influencing and monitoring progress towards the SDG target 9.5’. The Evaluation found that ‘the UNESCO Science Report could also potentially contribute to monitoring the contribution of science, technology and innovation to reaching other SDGs’.
Report provides baseline indicators
Despite the fact that OECD members accounted for 66% of global research spending in 2013, compared to 5% for low income and lower middle-income countries, two-thirds of geographical coverage in the UNESCO Science Report concerns the developing world, as information and data for these countries tends to be less readily available.
In order to ensure that as many countries as possible are able to contribute data, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics limits its range to basic R&D indicators, such as researchers per million inhabitants and gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP, the two baseline indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 9.5.
‘UNESCO, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the UNESCO Science Report are seen as legitimate sources of information to monitor this target’, noted the Evaluation. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics ‘is generally considered as a complementary source of “raw data” on STI at the global level, rather than as a competing source of information’.
Report useful ‘bundler’ of information
For the Evaluation, stakeholders and users have clearly identified the uniqueness of the UNESCO Science Report vis à vis external information and data sources. ‘Almost half the evaluation survey respondents (53%) indicate that the information contained in the UNESCO Science Report is not available elsewhere, while a remaining 32% consider it to be only partially available elsewhere. In this sense, the USR appears to be considered by many as a “bundler” of information which may or may not be available elsewhere, which in itself represents an added value to the reader.
One survey respondent stated that ‘I mostly look for country/regional trends. These data are available but in disparate sources. The UNESCO Science Report can act as a one-stop-shop for such information’. A second respondent commented that ‘as it is public information, it can be obtained from other sources too but in the [UNESCO Science Report] it is presented in a convenient form for a researcher”.
The Evaluation observed that, ‘while other international organizations producing similar content (e.g. OECD) are also highly valued and recognized for the quality and value of their work, these tend to focus less on the social and economic implications of STI in countries outside of their constituencies (e.g. OECD member states, EU member states) and are thus to be viewed as less “global” in terms of data availability’.
Geographical balance and thematic relevance ‘good or very good’
‘Over 80% of [survey] respondents considered the geographical balance of the report to be good or very good (see Figure 9 from the Evaluation). Despite this, ‘a number of interviewees indicated that, rather than seeking to achieve a global coverage, the UNESCO Science Report should focus on countries – particularly developing ones – where the lack of reliable and up-to-date data on STI is still considered to represent a major roadblock to the promotion of STI policies and support’.
‘Around 90% of respondents considered the relevance of the themes covered by the report to be good or very good’ (see Figure 9). ‘In addition to this, the level of use and relevance of the different components and sections of the UNESCO Science Report appears to be roughly the same… The frequency of use of the different parts of the UNESCO Science Report appears to be spread evenly, according to survey respondents. The Executive Summary does appear however to be the most frequently consulted section of the report, but only by a slight margin’.
‘In spite of this, the qualitative interviews did reveal that there are specific chapters and sections of the 2015 edition of the UNESCO Science Report which are more frequently cited, when it comes to describing the value and use of the report. For instance, Chapter 3 of the report on the gender gap in science and engineering was frequently cited by interviewees as one of the pieces contained in the report of particular interest. In addition, readers tend to cite the country or regional chapters of their home countries and regions as the sections of the report they most often consult, or have read in detail. Yet, according to the website metrics analysis, the number of visitors to the individual chapters’ webpages differed significantly. Chapter 15 on Iran was visited the most, with 1,479 visitors [by early 2017], followed by Chapter 3 on ‘Tracking trends in innovation and mobility’, with 986 visitors, and by Chapter 1 (Executive Summary) entitled “A world in search of an effective growth strategy”, with 821 visitors.
Survey participants also expressed a high level of satisfaction with regard to the presentation and visual style of the report and its format: over 80% of respondents considered these aspects of the report to be good or very good.
Some respondents were critical of UNESCO’s communications on the report, the quality of the website and the frequency of release of the report. Many felt that a report that had grown to 800 pages, including the Statistical Annex, was now too voluminous a volume, even it did ensure global coverage.
Internaut survey mirrors findings of Evaluation
Readers surveyed on the UNESCO Science Report portal in 2016 in English and French also tended to appreciate the report. Three-quarters of respondents rated the report ‘excellent’ (27%) or ‘very good’ (47%). The remainder rated it ‘good’ (20%) or ‘adequate’ (6%). None considered it ‘poor’.
Thirty respondents to the online survey identified themselves as men and 21 as women. Originating from countries on every continent, they spanned all age groups: 5 were less than 30 years old, 10 were aged 30–39 years, 9 were aged 40–49 years, 7 were aged 50–59 years and 20 were 60 years of age or more. Two had retired from professional life.
The majority of respondents were researchers or policy analysts in the natural or social sciences and engineering. Many indicated more than one affiliation. For instance, some academics also worked for a private research institute, non-governmental organization or academy of science. One respondent described himself as a researcher, policy analyst, entrepreneur and journalist.
Only two respondents indicated that they worked for a government department or ministry. A third was a school teacher. Six stated that they were university students and eight that they worked in the private non-profit or for profit sector.
One-quarter of respondents (13) had heard about the report by word of mouth. Others had discovered it in the workplace (3), traditional press (2) on social media (3) and while surfing internet (3). Seven respondents said they followed the series, two had discovered the report at a library, six at a conference and one at an event presenting the report’s findings. Six had learned about the report through an academic article, one through a research project and another via a university course. (Tallies may not add up to 51, owing to some respondents not answering all questions.)
Almost half of respondents (24) said they had only read selected chapters from the report. A further 14 said they had read most of the report and six claimed to have read the full report. Four had only read the chapter on their country or region, one had searched for keywords and two had read none of the report.
When asked to identify those parts of the report they found most useful (multiple answers were possible), 23 respondents highlighted the socio-economic and geopolitical background to trends in STI, 21 the country profiles, 14 trends in innovation and 13 data trends.
The next most popular categories of information were the policy recommendations in each chapter (12 responses), the development of a national policy framework (12) and national scientific infrastructure (12), science mobility (11) and science diplomacy (10), emerging priority areas for R&D (10), trends in international scientific collaboration (9) and sustainable development (8) gender-related issues (6) the quantifiable targets for trade, R&D and sustainable development (5) business R&D (5) and short essays on emerging issues (4). Six respondents ticked the option ‘all of the above’.
Some 55% of respondents (28) planned to use the report for policy- or other decision-making, 24 for an academic research paper or to prepare a report, 23 for their personal knowledge, 13 to inform project development and 11 to inform international cooperation, 11 for a presentation to a meeting, 11 for advocacy, 4 for market research the same number for a journalistic article or blog, and 3 as input to course teaching. Three respondents were exclusively interested in the data.
One in ten respondents said they found the report hard to find with a search engine and a similar proportion had trouble opening the full report in PDF format (82 MB).
It is still possible for internauts to make their opinion of the report known. All people need to do is answer the multichoice questions in the online reader satisfaction survey.
Source: Reader satisfaction survey and Evaluation of the UNESCO Science Report.
Professor Stephen Hawking was one of the greatest astrophysicists of our time recognized for his seminal work on cosmology and groundbreaking theories on space, notably on black holes and the Hawking Radiation. He was also an inspiration and icon for persons with disabilities around the world.
Diagnosed with a rare form of motor neuron disease at the early age of 22, he overcame his severe disability to develop and share his theories about the history of the universe with generations of scientists and members of the public through his book “A Brief History of Time”.
“Professor Hawking embodied the values of UNESCO, sharing knowledge and empowering people,” said Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, who also commended “his courage and commitment to science and to the betterment of the lives of persons with disabilities.”
UNESCO had the privilege of receiving a personal [it was not personal] message from Professor Hawking on the occasion of the first International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Persons with Disabilities, held in New Delhi, India in November 2014. The message is a true reflection of Prof. Hawking's compassion and commitment to the cause of persons with disabilities.
Professor Hawking also supported the UNESCO-led International Year of Light. A tribute will be paid to him during the International Day of Light on 16 May at UNESCO headquarters with a new musical composition inspired by Professor Hawking, called “Romance to the Stars” and interpreted by the internationally acclaimed soprano Katerina Mina.
With 4 billion Internet users and 7.5 billion mobile phone users, the Internet and the digital revolution is impacting all spheres of public and private life, including crucial issues related to access to information and knowledge. The ICT revolution is changing lives and livelihoods, and has been recognized as an important tool to accelerate the pace of achieving SDGs.
As the UN Agency with a mandate to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image and to uphold freedom of expression, UNESCO works to consolidate inclusive knowledge societies and empower local communities by increasing access to and preservation and sharing of information and knowledge in all of UNESCO’s domains of action and fields of competence.
UNESCO at the WSIS Forum 2018
As the main organizing partner of WSIS in partnership with the ITU, UNESCO is the facilitator for six action lines of the WSIS implementation process, and will be bringing together stakeholders in the framework of one high-level session and 4 action line sessions at the forum. The Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Getachew Engida, will attend and address the Forum on behalf of the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay.
Link to opening session:
Promoting Internet Universality Indicators as a comprehensive tool for achieving the SDGs
Building on the consultation that UNESCO conducted on defining the Internet Universality Indicators at the WSIS Forum in 2017, this high-level session hosted by UNESCO on March 21st will present the first draft Internet universality indicators. These indicators are a comprehensive tool to help Member States and all relevant stakeholders to measure Internet policies in support of achieving the SDGs at the national level. They can also serve as a recognized global research tool in assessing Internet developments. A panel of high-level speakers will share their views on the project and on how the indicators could play a valuable role to map Internet and contribute to evidence-based policy improvements at national level.
Online platform for Internet indicators consultation: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/internetuniversality
Link to program and remote participation information:
ESCWA Arab Inter-Regional Consultation meeting
On March 19th UNESCO will participate in the ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) Arab Inter-Regional Consultation meeting on “Digital technologies for Sustainable Development 2030 and related regional processes.” The objective of this consultation is to exchange experiences in view of the organization of an Arab Regional WSIS Forum in 2019. UNESCO will contribute with its experiences in implementing the six WSIS Action Lines under its responsibility and identify areas in which this work could be further reinforced in the Arab region.
Link to program and remote participation information:
Youth, Access to Knowledge, and the SDGs: Strategies for Building Youth Skills in Digital Technologies
This session, hosted by UNESCO on March 19th, will evaluate recent progress across WSIS Action lines C3 (Access to information and knowledge), C4 (Capacity building), and C7 (ICT Applications: E-environment and E-science). Building on the experience of many worldwide initiatives such as UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative that introduces young people to computer science programming (learning-to-code) and problem solving (coding-to-learn), the session will highlight policies and programmes that encourage youth involvement in ICTs. The session will also review approaches to improve access to multilingual information as well as strategies to develop youth-sensitive content and youth-focused learning tools. It will end its work with a set of recommendations for action.
Link to program and remote participation information:
Ljubljana OER Action Plan
This session, hosted by UNESCO on March 22nd, will examine elements from the Ljubljana OER Action Plan adopted at the 2nd World OER Congress 2017 and its contribution to a UNESCO OER Recommendation that will be developed in the 2018/2019 period. Specifically, this session will examine the five action areas of the Ljubljana OER Action Plan and their potential contribution to a UNESCO Recommendation in this area, and invite stakeholders, following an online consultation, to provide feedback on the development of such Recommendation that will guide OER policy at the global level.
Link to program and remote participation information:
Strengthening the role of media and social media in relation to the SDGs
This session, hosted by UNESCO on March 22nd, will focus on strengthening the role of media, including social media, in relation to the SDGs. This meeting will provide a platform for discussion on these issues, building on the findings of the 2017/2018 report of UNESCO's flagship series on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development as well as several new UNESCO commissioned studies. The session will also shed light on the issue of freedom of artistic expression in relation to the media and SDGs, as a crosscutting aspect related to WSIS Action Line 8 “Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content.”
Official website of WSIS Forum 2018: https://www.itu.int/net4/wsis/forum/2018/
In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Youth of Costa Rica, Parque La Libertad, the Costa Rican National Human Rights Institution and the Spanish Cultural Centre in Costa Rica, UNESCO conducted the third pilot of the UNESCO Manual on Intercultural Competences based on Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica, from 7 to 9 March 2018.
Building on the previous pilot sessions in Bangkok, Thailand, and Harare, Zimbabwe, the Costa Rican pilot provided an additional opportunity to test the manual’s adaptability and effectiveness in different contexts, both from the perspective of facilitation, and with regard to its ability to build individual capacities for intercultural dialogue and understanding.
Over the course of three days, UNESCO led a training of trainers session with national authorities, local NGO leaders, educators and other community leaders, as well as two pilot sessions – facilitated by the newly trained local personnel – with over 70 participants from a broad cross-section of Costa Rica’s population. The pilot sessions included a particular focus on indigenous groups, and community-level work for youth-focused violence prevention.
Ms Viviana Boza, Vice-Minister of Youth from Costa Rica, opened the proceedings, highlighting “the importance of this collaboration which allows us to enhance our comprehension of the cultural differences and challenges facing Costa Rica to advance the resolution of intercultural and intergenerational conflicts”.
Against the backdrop of growing cultural diversity and intercultural interaction within the sub-region, the methodology proposed in this manual provides an accessible activity based on story-telling to bring people together to reflect upon their differences and challenge their preconceptions. It provides a unique opportunity for participants to improve their capacity for empathy, tolerance, listening and understanding, and therefore reflect on sources of conflict and misunderstanding.
Indeed, given the serious global challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, learning how to live together is an imperative for advancing sustainable and inclusive development. To this end, learning to be intercultural competent - in other words, having the skills needed to enhance connections and understanding across difference – is essential.
The lessons learnt from this pilot session will inform final adaptions to the manual to maximize its relevance once publically released, including within the Latin American and Caribbean context. It also contributed to the building of a strong foundation of trained facilitators to help mobilize the manual’s wide dissemination and use following its expected publication before the end of 2018.
Countries bordering the Caribbean will hold an exercise aiming to assess and update their tsunami preparedness.
Known as Caribe Wave 18, the exercise will test the early warning systems established for tsunami and other coastal hazards in the region since 2005 under the aegis of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. It will also allow for an assessment of warning systems put in place by regional actors in charge of managing emergencies the region.
The exercise consists of three scenarios. It will simulate a tsunami generated by a powerful earthquake along the Southern Lesser Antilles, another off the Caribbean coast of Colombia and a third off the west coast of Porto Rico. Dummy messages will be sent from the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) to the 47 countries and territories involved in the exercise.
Following the success of previous exercises that mobilized 330,000 people in 2016 and 740,000 in 2017, Caribe Wave 18 will engage representatives of national emergency management organizations, weather forecast services, coastguards, school and university students as well as representatives of hotel industry.
Over the last 500 years, 75 ocean tsunami have occurred in the Caribbean, nearly 10% of the worldwide total over the same period. Tsunami caused by earthquakes, landslides or volcanic activity have claimed more than 3,500 lives in the region since the middle of the 19th century (according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA). The region has become ever more vulnerable to such risks due to massive population growth and the development of tourism in coastal areas.
The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions ((ICG/CARIBE EWS) was set up under the aegis of the IOC in 2005 to help Member States establish tsunami warning and response systems.
Contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Division of Public Information:+33 (0) 1 45 68 17 64; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, has denounced the killing of Syrian journalist Abdul Rahman Ismael Yassin in eastern Ghouta (Syria) on 20 February.
“I deplore the death of Abdul Rahman Ismael Yassin,” the Director-General said. “I call on all parties to mobilize in order to guarantee the safety of reporters and enable them to carry out their mission without fearing for their lives.”
Abdul Rahman Ismael Yassin worked as a freelance photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and the Hammouriyeh and Ghouta Media Centres. He was seriously injured by shrapnel during a bomb attack while preparing a report on the effects of the airstrikes on the city of Hammouriyeh and died from his wounds.
UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity-building and a range of actions, notably the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, email@example.com, +33 (0)1 45 68 08 91
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) - Education 2030 Steering Committee has issued recommendations focusing on financing education as a public good, strengthening national ownership and addressing data gaps as part of its work to steer progress towards meeting internationally agreed targets for education. The Committee has now released its recommendations, made during its fourth meeting, at UNESCO’s Headquarters from 28 February to 2 March.
Established in 2016, the Committee is the main consultation and coordination mechanisms for education in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Entrusted with providing strategic guidance on the advancement of SDG4, it numbers 38 members, a majority of whom represent Member States, alongside eight UN agencies, the Global Partnership for Education, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), regional organizations, teacher organizations, and civil society networks, in addition to representatives from the private sector, foundations, youth and student organizations.
“The commitments of SDG4 are ambitious - only a ‘collective intelligence’ focused on strategies that are sensitive to place, culture, socio-economic needs and environmental realities will make it possible to build education systems. A fundamental principle must guide our work: education is a public good, a collective responsibility,” explained UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “It is through the cooperation between all educational stakeholders that we will succeed in meeting the challenges of the 2030 Agenda for education.”
“We have an ambitious agenda and it calls for urgency,” said Dankert Vedeler, co-chair of the Steering Committee. “We must keep the banner of education high in the overall SDG framework through advocacy, policy guidance, and monitoring.”
“What is most important for us is to achieve an alignment, a convergence between multilateral organizations and the region,” said Roberto Iván Aguilar Gómez, Bolivia’s Minister of Education and a member of the Steering Committee. He explained that the Committee “sets the stage for the work that we should look at to provide quality education.” Ahead of the UN High Level Political Forum Review that will review progress towards SDG4 in 2019, consultations are foreseen in Kenya, Bolivia, Thailand, Tunisia and France this year, to be followed by the Global Education Meeting scheduled to take place from 3 to 5 December 2018 in Brussels (Belgium).
The Committee congratulated Argentina on its presidency of the G20 and commended the priority it gives to education focusing on skills for lifelong learning and financing of education.
Emphasizing that education is a right for which governments are accountable, the Committee endorsed a yearlong advocacy campaign bringing together civil society networks, UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM), UN agencies, regional organizations and countries. According to the GEM, only 55% of countries have national legal frameworks that allow citizens to challenge violations against the right to education in court. As stated by youth representative, Victoria Ibiwoye, “We must never forget that education is not a privilege. It is a human right.”
With regard to education funding, the Committee stressed the importance of a harmonized focus across three pillars, domestic financing, official development assistance and innovative financing. It called for:
Data, monitoring and reporting
In the area of strategic policy guidance, the Committee: