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Director-General condemns Mogadishu bomb attack that claimed hundreds of lives including that of journalist Ali Nur Siad-Ahmed

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:31
19 October 2017

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO today denounced the bomb attack in the capital of Somalia that killed hundreds of people, including freelance journalist Ali Nur Siad-Ahmed.

“I condemn this horrendous attack and the death of Ali Nur Siad-Ahmed,” said the Director-General. “There can be no justification for the slaughter of civilians and it is essential that violence should not be allowed to curtail freedom of expression and the media’s ability to do their work.”

Freelance video journalist Ali Nur Siad-Ahmed was reportedly on duty when a car bomb exploded at a busy intersection in Mogadishu on 14 October killing some 270 people. Among the hundreds of injured were at least four other journalists, Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulle , who worked for the Voice of America, Mohamed Omar Bakay of Goobjoog Radio, Abdullahi Osman of Mandeeq Radio, and two freelancers, Abdiqani Ali Adan and Ahmed Abdi Hadi.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray,, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

Categories: News

How can UNESCO better engage with youth – let’s ask them!

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 14:54
19 October 2017

Former child soldiers, young refugees, social entrepreneurs and environmental activists are all set to come together at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris from 25 to 26 October 2017 for the 10th edition of the UNESCO Youth Forum – Rethinking youth engagement with UNESCO.

In a shift from past practice, UNESCO is bringing a smaller group of 60 young change-makers to the global discussion table, treating them as actors and partners, and not just mere recipients of its work. The Forum will serve as a hub for concrete suggestions about how UNESCO can improve its engagement with young people. This represents a considerable change in direction for the Organization’s biennial event, and is the first forum organized in this way by a UN agency.

 “There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of ten and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever, and a huge opportunity to harness the power of younger generations to drive positive change,” says UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova.

One in ten of the world’s children live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school. Political instability, lack of jobs and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of young people around the world.

The new format of the Youth Forum will connect young women and men from all over the world, who are already leading initiatives in their communities on some of these primary challenges, to UNESCO with the aim of ensuring better collaboration and more responsive programming.

“We often ask ourselves how we can better respond to the needs of youth, but who understands these needs better than the young? It is therefore vital that we take the lead in moving away from treating young people as mere beneficiaries of our work to engage them as actors and partners in developing concrete solutions that meet the challenges they face,” added Irina Bokova.

This step towards working more closely with young change-makers factored into the 2030 Development Agenda – Leaving no one behind. UNESCO’s decision to transform the 10th UNESCO Youth Forum into a springboard for youth on the front lines of the world’s most pressing issues marks an important step towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Starting in 1999, the UNESCO Youth Forum has been an integral part of the Organization’s General Conference. At the end of the two-day Forum, the youth participants will compile a series of recommendations on how UNESCO can better engage with youth, as well as concrete suggestions for collaboration. The Forum will also help determine ways that UNESCO can continue working with young change-makers at a regional and sub-regional level.




Selection of participant profiles

Maha AlSalehi is a young researcher and activist from Yemen who leads #IAmYemen – a media campaign to advocate for peace and promote conflict resolution in the country. Maha also participated in the progress study on Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security.

Jose Pedro Gioscia is a young man from Uruguay who harnessed the power of video-gaming to encourage young men and boys to take a stand against the street harassment faced by many women in the region, by providing them with a virtual experience of what it is like to walk in a woman’s shoes.

Manyang Reath Kher is a young orphan from Sudan. Manyang lived in a refugee camp for 13 years before moving to the United States to study. He founded his own coffee company in Ethiopia to provide employment opportunities for Sudanese refugees.

Mark Lozano is a young social entrepreneur from the Philippines, who founded “One Million Lights”. This organization provides rural communities with solar-powered lighting, enabling children to do better in school and adults to work in safe environments away from the dangers of kerosene lamps.

Moitshepi Matsheng is a young woman from Botswana. Orphaned by AIDS, Moitshepi persisted with her education and co-founded Young 1ove, an organization that provides proven effective sexuality education to young women in southern and eastern Africa.

Temi Mwale is a young woman from the United Kingdom and a Forbes “30 under 30”. She grew up in one of the country’s most notorious public housing complexes where she particularly witnessed youth gang, violence from a young age. She currently leads the 4Front Project, which aims to address the root causes of youth urban violence.

Saddam Sayyleh is an orphan who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan. With no family support and suffering from both physical and emotional abuse at the hands of adults in the camp, he dropped out of school as a teenager. As an adult Saddam returned to education and founded ILearn, a programme that meets the very specific educational needs of young refugees and children that have been left behind.  He has since been awarded a US State Department fellowship and Ilearn has grown to serve 12,000 people in eight locations across Jordan and within refugee communities.




Journalists wishing to participate in the Conference should comtact: Djibril Kébé, UNESCO press service, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 41,

For more information about the Forum, please contact: Ashley Baldwin,


Categories: News

Pollution: Global Impact, Global Solutions

Europaid - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:33
Categories: News

Indigenous juvenile justice in Panama

Europaid - Thu, 10/19/2017 - 01:31
Categories: News

IntegrArte: Freedom workshop

Europaid - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 20:10
Categories: News

Director-General deplores attack on television executive in Afghanistan

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 14:19
18 October 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the attack of 12 October on television executive Shir Mohammad Jahish in Afghanistan’s Baghlan Province that left the television channel director injured and his bodyguard, Amanullah Haqiar, dead.

“I condemn the attack on Shir Mohammad Jahish and Amanullah Haqiar, during which the latter was killed,” said the Director-General. “Attempts on the life of media workers threaten journalists’ ability to carry out their work, which is essential for democracy and good governance.”

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on the vehicle of Shir Mohammad Jahish, director of the local television channel Tanweer TV, as he was driving home with his bodyguard Amanullah Haqiar, who died in the attack. Mr Jahish sustained light injuries during the shooting, which took place in the town of Pul-i-khumri, in northeastern Afghanistan.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray,, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”


Categories: News

Director-General urges investigation into killing of journalist Efigenia Vásquez Astudillo in Colombia

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 12:57
18 October 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the killing of radio journalist Efigenia Vásquez Astudillo on 8 October in Tumaco, in the southwest of Colombia.

“I condemn the killing of Efigenia Vásquez Astudillo,” said the Director-General. “I call on the authorities to investigate this crime, which undermines both freedom of expression and freedom of information, rights that are crucial to any democracy.”

Efigenia Vásquez Astudillo, a reporter and presenter for community radio station Renacer, was shot while covering clashes in Tumaco.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray,, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”


Categories: News

Is science starting to oil the wheels of Ghana’s development?

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:56
focus_flickr_5130081_t3_en.jpg © UNESCO

Science, technology and innovation (STI) will be the bedrock for Ghana's socio-economic transformation in the coming years, if the new government’s policy statements are anything to go by. So says George Essegbey, Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) andlead author of the chapter on West Africa in the UNESCO Science Report. He delivers the following account of developments in Ghana since the report was published in November 2015.

Things have been moving fast in Ghana, since Nana AddoAkufo-Addowon the presidential election in December 2016. One of the government’s priorities has been to revise the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy adopted in 2010. The Minister for the Environment, Science and Technology (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frempong-Boateng, chairs the Technical Committee in charge of the revision. The minister’s deputy and chief directors also sit on the committee, along with representatives of stakeholder groups and the Director of STEPRI.

In August this year,MESTI organized a national consultative workshop of stakeholders to engage industrial players, civil society organizations and the media in discussing the Draft National, Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and to solicit their input.

The draft policy will be approved and adopted by the Cabinet once it has passed through Parliament. A science, technology and innovation bill is currently been drawn up to take the policy forward. It makes provision for establishinga Presidential Advisory Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (PACSTI).

PACSTI will strengthen the linkages between the central point of decision-making in Flagstaff House (the Presidency) and MESTI and its agencies. PACSTI is fundamentally an effort to embed science, technology and innovation (STI) at the pinnacle of Ghana's governance structure in the hope that STI will be more proactively harnessed and exploited in the national interest, in future.

PACSTI will be responsible for coordinating and monitoring implementation of the revised policy and other national STI programmes. It will also draw on the expertise of academia and other key stakeholders, including the diaspora.

A national fund for science, technology and innovation

The draft policy makes provision for setting up a National Science, Technology and Innovation Fund. The scientific community has been calling forsuch afund for years.

The previous government had set the wheels in motion forsucha research fund but its main purpose would have been to appease the academic community following the government’s decision to cancel the payment of research allowances to academic staff. The present government intends to pursue this policy. All research allowances will be cancelled and the new Research Fund will be placed under the Ministry of Education.

In parallel, the new National Science, Technology and Innovation Fund will be placed under MESTI. This fund will be accessible to researchers and all potential inventors and innovators from both the public and private sectors. Thus fund should help Ghana to reach its goal of raising investment in research and development (R&D) from 0.38% of GDP in 2010 to 1% of GDP in the short-to medium-term.

Investment in astronomy and space science

President Akufo-Addo reiterated this goal at the inauguration of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory in Kuntunsenear Accra on 24 August this year.(1)

Ghana is collaborating with eight other African countries(3) to build the world’s largest radio telescopein South Africa, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Each of the partners has committed to converting their redundant telecommunications dishes into satellite dishes as part of their contribution to the project. Once Ghana completes this process in 2019,it will becomeonly the second country on the continent after South Africa to host a Radio Astronomy Observatory. The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and SKA Africa have cosponsored the dish, whichhas beenbuilt by Ghanaians trained by South African expertswithin the SKA’s Human Capital Development Programme.(1)(2)

When Ghana joined the SKA project in 2007, it had no astronomy programme. Since then, numerous Ghanaian scientists and engineers have been trained in Ghana, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Although there were no articles on astronomy recorded in international journals between 2008 and 2014, the output of Ghanian scientists across other scientific disciplines almost tripled over this period.

Professor Dickson Adomako, Director of the Ghana Science and Technology Institute, explained at a media briefing how Ghana’s central geographical position enabled astronomers to observe both the northern and southern hemispheres, a drawcard for foreign astronomers. The data collected by the antenna would also help Ghanaian institutions to plan better in a wide range of domains, he said.(2)

Anita Loots, Head of the Africa Planning Office for the SKA project, described Ghana’s observatory as a ‘timely facility’, since attaining the Sustainable Development Goals would depend ‘very much’ on Africa’s ability to gather data in areas such as agriculture and sanitation to make informed decisions.(2)

President Akufo-Addo spoke of the role that the National Science, Technology and Innovation Fund would play in supporting research at the country’s public and private institutes and universities. He added that the government would be making an effort to ‘increase collaboration among research institutions, industry, especially the private sector, and political authorities at all levels. ‘These measures, I hope, will make the transition from research to product development and industrial production much easier’, he said.(1)

A need to diversify the economy

Ghana is one of several West African countries with industries producing value-added goods, according to the regional Policy on Science and Technology adopted by the Economic Community of West African States in 2011. The policy observes that both Ghana and Nigeria have specialized institutes for aeronautics, chemistry, metallurgy and other industries, as well as technology parks and cyber villages.

Ghanian exports are dominated by only a handful of products, however. Gold and cocoa alone accounted for about 53% of exports in 2013, according to the UNESCO Science Report.

Ghana has only been exporting petroleum since 2011 but this accounted for 22% of exports by 2013. A 2014 study by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana pondered whether ‘the increased importance of oil in GDP signaled the risk of Ghana becoming oil-dependent. The study observed that ‘the advent of oil production seems to be changing the pattern of the country’s exports’ and questioned whether Ghana was ‘teetering toward an oil-dominant country, or might the proceeds be employed wisely to diversify the economy?’

Mixed signals coming from government

As recalled by the UNESCO Science Report, the main objectives of the original National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (2010) were to use STI to reduce poverty, increase the international competitiveness of enterprises and promote sustainable environmental management and industrial growth. The revised policy builds on this foundation.

If there are some strong signals that the government intends to match actions to its words, there have also been some weaker signals. The most obvious one is the exclusion of the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology from the Cabinet (although he is entitled to attend Cabinet meetings). This suggests that STI may not be considered such a top priority, after all.

How financial resources will be allocated to the agencies responsible for STI is another issue that is yet to be addressed appropriately. The old order of frugal and stringent government funding for research institutes, in particular, has not changed. Only when it does will the government be seen to be following through on its pledges.

Nevertheless, on the whole, there appears to be a lot of goodwill towards science, technology and innovation in Ghana at the highest levels of decision-making. The scientific community should be able to capitalize on this goodwill to pursue the country’s necessary socio-economic transformation.

1 Akufo-Addo launches Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory. 24 August, Accra.

2 Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (2017), Launch of Ghana radio astronomy observatory. Government news, Accra, 24 August.

3 Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia; see Box 20.3 of the UNESCO Science Report (2015) for details

Source : George Essegbey, with excerpts from the UNESCO Science Report : towards 2030.

Categories: News

Security Cooperation in Panama (SECOPA)

Europaid - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 01:27
Categories: News

Shahida Hasnain (Pakistan) and Samir Saha (Bangladesh) to receive Carlos J. Finlay UNESCO Prize for Microbiology

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:59
17 October 2017

Professor Shahida Hasnain of Pakistan and Dr Samir Saha of Bangladesh have been named as the two laureates of the 2017 Carlos J. Finlay UNESCO Prize for Microbiology. The Prize will be presented to them on 6 November during the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, which will bring together the Organization’s 195 Member State from 30 October to 14 November.

Founder and Chairperson of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Punjab in Lahore (Pakistan), Shahida Hasnain has won numerous distinctions for her work. Her department is today recognized as a centre of excellence both for its equipment and expertise.

Professor Hasnain significantly contributed to advances in research in environmental, agricultural and medical microbiology. She has notably worked on the heavy metal detoxification mechanisms, salt stress tolerance mechanisms, and bacterial morphogenesis.

Dr Samir Saha is the head of the Microbiology Department of the Dhaka Shishu Hospital for children (Bangladesh). He is also the Executive Director of The Child Health Research Foundation at the Bangladesh Institute of Child Health.

As leading researcher in paediatrics, he played a key role in introducing to Bangladesh  vaccines against two bacteria that cause meningitis, which had a direct positive impact on the health of children in the country. He has also led research into the resistance to treatment of some pneumococcal diseases.

The two laureates were named by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the recommendation of an international jury of experts in microbiology.

The Carlos J. Finlay Prize for Microbiology has an endowment of $10,000, which will be divided between the two laureates. Created in 1977 by UNESCO at the initiative of the Government of Cuba, the Prize rewards scientists whose research has made an outstanding contribution to microbiology and its applications.

Categories: News

Director-General condemns murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:00

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Categories: News

Stimulate youth civic engagement through media and information literacy

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 17:14
news_171017_mil_week.jpg © UNESCO 17 October 2017

The Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2017 Youth Agenda Forum will take place on the first day of the Global MIL Week 2017 Feature Conference, on 24 October 2017, in the Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) of the University of the West Indies.

The Youth Forum is an extension of the UNESCO Global Youth Forum in Paris and will include thematic panels and hands-on workshops by various young people and youth organizations and leaders. Workshops will be innovative and creative, incorporating music, memes, poetry etc.

It will be held under the same theme as Global MIL Week 2017, Media and Information Literacy in Critical Times: Re-imagining Ways of Learning and Information Environments.

Building the MIL CLICKS Cloud

One of the main outcomes of the Youth Agenda Forum will be the MIL CLICKS Youth Pact, a commitment of youth to thinking critically and clicking wisely and engage in related advocacy through involvement in UNESCO MIL CLICKS social media innovation.  Youth will bond together to “building the MIL CLICKS Cloud”

MIL CLICKS is a social media innovation powered by UNESCO, partners, and you. It aims to share knowledge, tips, and resources on MIL so that people can acquire MIL competencies in their day-to-day use of social media in an atmosphere of playing, relaxing and connecting. Just as the internet grows and flourished organically.  More information about MIL CLICKS can be found at:

If you will not be able to attend the Youth Agenda in person, you can still get involved by building the MIL CLICKS Cloud or join the MIL CLICKS webinar. The Webinar will take place on 28 October on Twitter!

Global Youth Video Contest

In the framework of the Youth Agenda, UNESCO support our local partners who have launched a Global Youth Video Contest. Youth are invited around the world to create a 2-minute video of them explaining what MIL means to them and how MIL has touched their lives. Three winners will be announced at the Youth Agenda Forum.

Prize: 20,000 JMD (approx. 150 USD)

Deadline for submission: 20 October 2017

See how to submit a video here:

Feature Conference in Jamaica

The Global MIL Week 2017 Feature Conference, the Seventh MIL and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) Conference, will be held from 24 to 27 October, in the Jamaica Conference Centre, in Kingston, Jamaica.

If you have not yet registered for the conference, you can still do so, last minute registration is open until 9 October 2017. Register here

The draft conference agenda is now available online.

Plan and Register an event/activity to join the Global MIL Week Movement to put MIL on the Development Agenda

Your MIL-related event/activity can be online or offline to take place before, during or soon after the designate period of Global MIL Week 2017.

Your event/activity will be showcased on the Global MIL Week 2017 global events map as above, as part of the global celebrations!

Register your event/activity now. When we stand/sing together, we draw attention and create collective and positive change!

UNESCO and partners suggest to media, schools and libraries around the world respectively with 6 low-cost ways to celebrate Global MIL Week 2017. See below the links to the posters in multiple languages:

Low-cost Ways for Media (English, French, Spanish, Chinese), Libraries (English, French, Spanish, Chinese) and Schools (English, French, Spanish, Chinese) to Celebrate Global MIL Week 2017.

Global MIL Week 2017 official website: (English) (Français) (Español) (中文) (Русский)


Contacts: Alton Grizzle,; Isabel Viera,; and Jing Xu,

Categories: News

“Sulitest” results highlight level of awareness on challenges addressed by SDGs

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:45
17 October 2017

The Sustainable Literacy Test (Sulitest) evaluates knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among students in higher education. The  findings of 2017 report emphasizes a relative homogeneity in the level of awareness amongst the 17 SDGs, even if significant differences are identified with average scores of expected  correct answers ranging from 34% to 67%. The SDG4 stands at 57% meaning that the challenges addressed by this specific SDG need to be tackled more urgently in terms of education and awareness.

The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI), a partnership between United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNESCO, United Nations Environment, UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, United Nations University (UNU), UN-HABITAT and UNCTAD, was created in 2012 in the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

The Sulitest is introduced as an international initiative aimed at raising awareness on sustainability and assessing sustainability literacy through an online training and assessment tool: The Sustainability Literacy Test. The 2017 report was launched in July 2017.

Average awareness on challenges addressed by the 17 SDGs (% of expected correct answers)

The trends highlighted in the above graph rely on the results of the Core Module during the 2016 – 2017 academic year. The Sulitest Core Module uses 30 questions covering a comprehensive scope of sustainability. The Core Module uses the same question bank for every respondent worldwide.

In addition, each question is attached to one or up to 3 SDGs so that the results can be interpreted in line with the SDG framework. Taking the 30 questions used in the Core Module allows the full scope of the 17 SDGs to be covered. The sample of respondents for the academic year 2016-2017 is 16,575 students from 170 universities in 31 countries.

This global result indicates that the level of conscious on challenges addressed by the SDGs is relatively homogenous: there are neither SDGs with a very low level of awareness (i.e. under  10%) nor SDGs with complete awareness (i.e. over 90%). This heterogeneity highlights the need for the development of education and initiatives to raise awareness on specific SDGs.

The Sulitest has been created to make sure current and future decision-makers have sufficient awareness on sustainability challenges to take informed and effective decisions and to collectively build a sustainable future.

UNESCO remains committed to monitoring the progress towards the achievement of Target 4.7, with a focus on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship. Regular reports, news, analyses, publications and links to data sets produced by UNESCO and its partner provide evidence that indicate how the world is progressing towards the achievement of the Target.

Categories: News

Zimbabwean ‘green oasis’ school wins UNESCO sustainability education prize

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:03
zimbabwe_green_oasis-c-sihlengeni_primary_school-drupal.jpg © Sihlengeni Primary School 17 October 2017

A ‘whole institution’ approach to sustainable development has turned a primary school in an arid stretch of Zimbabwe into an oasis with a rehabilitated forest, fruit trees, nutrition garden and livestock. The project, which has improved the local environment while generating income, has been awarded the 2017 UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The prize, which is funded by the Government of Japan, consists of three annual awards of USD 50,000 for each recipient.

Sihlengeni Primary School in Umzingwane District, in the heart of the arid Matabeleland South Province of Zimbabwe, was awarded for its remarkable Permaculture Project. The initiative has transformed not only the school but also the surrounding areas with practical and learning activities involving everyone from the 17 teachers and 738 learners to their parents and members of a neighbouring community.

Head teacher and project manager Sibanga Ncube said of the win: “We are very delighted especially as it was so unexpected. It is a tribute to the many sacrifices made by our teaching staff and to the tremendous cooperation of our parents, most of whom are low-income subsistence farmers who need assistance with so many aspects of their lives. They do everything from dig ditches to carrying out agricultural tasks.”

The project began in 1995 after the school received training in permaculture, a system of agricultural and social design, which draws on patterns and features in the natural ecosystem to develop and maintain the environment.

In a school situation, it uses the principles of ESD to provide quality education as well as increased access to a clean environment, food and water. It impacts on the alleviation of hunger and increases knowledge on food consumption habits.

In practice, this means that learners, parents and teachers at Sihlengeni plant exotic and indigenous trees, grass, millet and maize. They also introduce ground cover to mitigate land degradation and deforestation. They have rehabilitated a forest and also kept chickens and pigs. Some of the food produced is used to feed infants with the rest being sold locally.

“Visitors are so surprised that we have created this oasis with oranges, pawpaws and tomatoes and they want to know how they can do the same in such a dry area,” said Mr Ncube. “And as far as learning activities go the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of everything that our teachers do.”  

The school promotes inclusive and quality education, lifelong learning and gender equality through all of its activities. Alongside a conventional curriculum, it offers formal and informal instruction in crop and animal husbandry, horticulture, cookery and ICT training. This often leads to students forming their own small-scale businesses when they leave.

The school got its initial funding from small levies from parents as well as larger funding and is currently self-sustaining. This new boost will go towards expanding existing agricultural activities with more plant and animal husbandry.  There are plans to use manure from the pigs to produce biogas, keep bees, rear goats, cultivate mushrooms, fence the rehabilitated forest as well as undertake additional training and research.

“We would also like to improve water harvesting techniques by adding more reservoirs serving the school,” said Mr Ncube.

The school, which has already won a string of awards, has held two field days to share their achievements with others in the surrounding provinces and prize money from the UNESCO award will also be used for wider promotion.

UNESCO’s Director-General and the Japanese Minister of Education will award the Prize in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 3 November 2017. As with all winners of the UNESCO-Japan Prize, UNESCO will invite Sihlengeni Primary School to join its Partner Networks of the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP) to foster close, long-term collaboration.

Categories: News

Upcoming Event: ASEAN Forum of National Boiethics Committees (NBCs) on Haze Pollution in Jakarta, Indonesia

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:50

The ASEAN Forum of National Bioethics Committees (NBCs) on Haze Pollution will be hosted by UNESCO Jakarta Office on the 6th and 7th of December 2017.

The Forum will focus on the application of bioethical and human rights principles contained in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights to the social and environmental aspects of haze pollution in Southeast Asia. Participants of the Forum will include:

  • Members of the National Bioethics Committees from ASEAN countries
  • Representatives of other relevant national entities, such as the Environmental Agencies from the region
  • Regional and international environmental NGOs
  • Representatives of the private sector
  • International and national experts

The Forum is organized in the framework of Malaysian Funds-in-Trust project on addressing the problem of haze from bioethical and sustainability science perspectives. It uses the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, adopted with acclamation by UNESCO in 2005, to frame the debate on haze pollution, and to generate evidence-based, ethically derived recommendations for relevant actors and stakeholders.

To facilitate the discussions and to guide the generation of evidence-based recommendations during the Forum, UNESCO is partnering with institutions in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia to conduct collaborative research on the ethical, social and legal implications of haze in the region.

As a preparation for the Forum, two expert group consultations were held at the national level:

For more details of the background on the ASEAN Forum of National Bioethics Committees on Haze Pollution, please click here.

Categories: News

Coopération Sud-Sud : la Mauritanie s’inspire de l’expérience sénégalaise en matière d’alphabétisation (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 18:25
alphabetisationsenegal.jpg © UNESCO

Grâce au programme de renforcement des capacités (CapED) de l’UNESCO, le Sénégal a obtenu, ces dernières cinq années, d’importants résultats dans l’amélioration de la qualité des programmes d’alphabétisation, et notamment la professionnalisation du personnel d’alphabétisation.

Parmi les principaux résultats on notera : la conception de modules de formation pour les facilitateurs et enseignants polyvalents, la formation de 2.260 enseignants polyvalents dont 655 femmes (2015 et 2016), la mise en place d’un dispositif de Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience (VAE) pour les facilitateurs, l’élaboration d’un modèle pédagogique de formation professionnelle pour les jeunes analphabètes et la définition d’un modèle d’éducation bilingue pour le système formel. Ces résultats démontrent un réel engagement de l’Etat du Sénégal, qui, suivant les orientations de l’Objectif de Développement Durable 4 (ODD4), et grâce à son savoir-faire avéré, sert ainsi de modèle.

Fort de ce constat, une délégation d’une quinzaine de personnes, composée essentiellement de cadres du ministère de l’Education Nationale et du ministère des Affaires islamiques et de l’Enseignement originel, séjournera à Dakar du 16 au 20 Octobre 2017. Cette visite d’étude permettra d’échanger les bonnes pratiques en matière de programmes d’alphabétisation entre les deux pays et de renforcer les capacités dans le domaine du dispositif de pilotage et suivi et évaluation.

Cette opportunité de coopération sud-sud a été facilitée par les bureaux de l’UNESCO à Dakar et à Rabat dans le cadre du programme CapED.

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Alphabétisation et éducation non-formelle

Renforcement des capacités nationales de formation, de supervision et de gestion des enseignants

Le programme de renforcement des capacités (CapEFA) des enseignants au Sénégal

Categories: News

Underwater glider on record-breaking scientific exploration of the Indian Ocean

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:22
rsz_challenger_flags_typo_news.jpg © UNESCO

The underwater glider Challenger broke the world record for longest ocean glider nonstop journey after covering 6,200 kilometers between Fremantle, Australia, and the coast of Sri Lanka.

Launched on 5 November 2016, the Challenger reached its first recovery point off the Sri Lanka coast on 27 September 2017, completing the longest journey of an ocean glider to-date.

The Challenger Glider Mission is the first science expedition to circle the entire globe by completing a 128,000-kilometer-journey across the five ocean basins. Alongside UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), scientists and institutions made up a global team able to push the limits of technology to capture an unprecedented wealth of undersea data for the benefit of international scientific research.

The Challenger Mission has been conceived as an international concerted response to the urgent need for better understanding of our ocean’s critical role in regulating the changing climate. The scientific data collected will ultimately benefit the people who rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and wellbeing. In the Indian Ocean, alone, this means approximately three billion people affected by ocean currents and weather systems. Exploring the Indian Ocean is crucial to unveil trends and information needed for effective science-based management and decision-making.

The Challenger initiative also has an educational dimension, providing open access and real-time data that help improve ocean literacy all over the world. Ocean literacy – awareness of one’s impact on the ocean and the ocean’s impact on our wellbeing – is a theme of growing interest to scientists and policy-makers alike, as they seek to educate citizens about the importance of protecting and sustainably using the ocean and its resources, many of which are threatened by human activities.

From Sri Lanka, the Challenger will then move towards South Africa where it will be recovered and set on return course bound to Australia.

The Challenger Glider Mission was made possible by the collaboration of the University of Western Australia and Rutgers University, with support of UNESCO’s IOC and over 20 institutions across 13 nations. It is has also been endorsed by the Second Internaional Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) as an activity of key relevancy to the IIOE-2 Science Plan.

For more information, please contact:

Nick d’Adamo (nick.dadamo(at)

Categories: News