La Directrice générale de l’UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, se rendra à Bruxelles (Belgique) les 24 et 25 janvier prochains à l’occasion du premier Sommet européen de l’Education, organisé par la Commission européenne.
Ce Sommet a pour ambition de poser les fondements de l’espace européen de l'éducation d’ici 2025, adopté en novembre dernier, en mettant l'accent sur l’innovation, l’inclusion et l’éducation basée sur des valeurs. Réuni pour la première fois depuis novembre, il rassemblera des ministres européens de l’Education et des intervenants du monde de l’éducation.
La Directrice générale s’exprimera en ouverture de ce sommet sur les synergies entre les ambitions européennes et l’Objectif du développement durable 4, pour lequel l’UNESCO est en première ligne dans sa mise en œuvre au niveau mondial.
Ce premier déplacement à Bruxelles sera aussi l’occasion de rencontres bilatérales entre la Directrice générale et plusieurs Commissaires européens et notamment Mme Federica Mogherini, Haute représentante de l'Union européenne pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité et Vice-Présidente de la Commission européenne.
Mercredi 24 janvier
13h30 Réunion bilatérale avec Mme Federica Mogherini, Haute représentante de l'Union européenne pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité et Vice- présidente de la Commission européenne
Commission européenne / Berlaymont
17h45 Réunion bilatérale avec M. Christos Stylianides, Commissaire européen chargé de l'aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises
Commission européenne / Berlaymont
Jeudi 25 janvier
08h30 Réunion bilatérale avec M. Neven Mimica, Commissaire européen pour la coopération internationale et le développement
Commission européenne / Berlaymont
09h15 Premier Sommet Européen de l’Education
The Square, Monts des Arts
Accueil par M. Tibor Navracsics, Commissaire européen à l’éducation, la culture, la jeunesse et le sport
Vers 9h45 Intervention d’Audrey Azoulay
This year, the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserve (WNBR) will be involved in several events that form an important part of the international biodiversity agenda and help implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The MAB programme will contribute to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum (30-31 January 2018), the multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (5-6 June 2018) and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July 2018, under the theme ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’.
Participation in these events provides the UNESCO MAB World Network with a significant opportunity to share our collective impact and demonstrate how biosphere reserves play a unique role in tackling the SDGs.
With the support of the UNESCO Liaison Office in New York, the MAB Programme is planning to organize a series of briefing and side events. We would like to ask you to participate.
How can you contribute?
1) You can submit case study(ies) from your country/biosphere reserve(s) demonstrating how your biosphere reserve(s) are working to implement the SDGs. Please use the format indicated in the form below and send us your submissions by 15 April 2018.
2) You can produce and send us a 60-second film on how biosphere reserves are uniquely tackling the Sustainable Development Goals (guidelines below). The best movies will be presented at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York and at the MAB Council session and will be hosted on the MAB and UNESCO social media pages. The MAB Secretariat will organize a webinar to guide you through the creative process on Thursday, 1 February 2018. These will take place at 10 am Paris time (English), 3 pm (French) and 5 pm (Spanish). If you wish to participate in one of these sessions, please contact us at: MAB.circular.letters(at)unesco.org.
3) You can send us scientific and communication material such as leaflets, publications and posters on the implementation of SDGs within biosphere reserves that we can display and share during the side events to be organized at the HLPF in New York, and at the MAB Council 2018 session.
4) You can inform and mobilize your delegations in New York, contribute to the country voluntary report, and make explicit references to MAB and the WNBR.
5) You can write to us and indicate your interest in providing support and participating.
We hope to make a decisive impact in 2018 with our presence at these events, write an international MAB success story based on your unique and diverse contributions and share collectively the benefits of our increased visibility and credibility, as well as engage with new stakeholders through the side events, sharing of communication material and use of social media.
"Writing Peace" is a manual that invites young audiences to discover contemporary writings by introducing them to a sample of them. Its goal is to make the world appear a little closer and a little more familiar. "Writing Peace" encourages children (aged 8 to 14) to become aware of the interdependence of cultures through familiarization with contemporary writing systems, their history, and their borrowings.
The manual contains 24 activity sheets. Each section presents the characters of a writing system, an introductory text and historical background, the word “peace” and the word “hello,” the language(s) attached to the system(s), and an activity whose answers appear at the end of manual.
6,000 years after the advent of writing, what do we know about others, their systems of thought, and the transcriptions of their writing systems? How can different writing systems contribute to a better understanding of the world and our place within it? By beginning to learn about these writings and their fascinating beauty, the manual connects children to diversity, thus opening their eyes to the concept of peace and our awareness of it.
Following the release of the manual, the book is proposed to schools for experimentation for a fixed period, with the help of teachers and pilot facilitators. The objective of these pilot tests will be to demonstrate the impact on children's perception of cultural diversity and of the nature of cultures intrinsically linked to each other. A training series is planned with the network of UNESCO Offices and their local partners.
The first training session will be held in February 2018 in Rabat, Morocco, with support of the National Council for Human Rights, as intercultural dialogue cannot take place without respect for human rights and dignity. Several human rights clubs in Moroccan schools will be involved in an experimentation protocol conducted over several weeks.
The results will be assessed at the mid-term conference of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) scheduled for late 2018.
About the author:
Eric Cattelain provided scientific coordination of both the book and the catalog of the exhibition. He has a PhD in Linguistics, Language and Culture expert - Semio.logics and is an Associate Professor in Bordeaux’s Department of Multimedia and Internet (MMI). He is also behind the panthopie project. He edited the French manual, along with Michel Lafon, which then served as the basis for English and Arabic adaptations.
Contact: Amina Hamshari, UNESCO, email@example.com
The Technical Museum Nikola Tesla in Zagreb, Croatia, will be the beneficiary of an upcoming innovative shallow geothermal system, sponsored by the H2020 project Cheap-GSHPs - Cheap and Efficient Application of reliable Ground Source Heat Exchangers and Pumps. The management authorities of the museum, in cooperation with the municipality of Zagreb, are committed to replacing the heating system based on highly consuming, undersized and expensive electric heaters and strengthening the educational capacity on sustainable energy of the museum.
UNESCO believes that museums are places for the transmission of scientific knowledge, the development of educational policy, and laboratories of self-sustainability in line with the “Recommendation concerning the Protection and the Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society”, approved by the UNESCO General Conference on 20 November 2015.
In this context, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe is participating in the European Union H2020 project entitled Cheap-GSHPs (Cheap and Efficient Application of reliable Ground Source Heat Exchangers), altogether with the Italian National Research Council, the Institute of Atmosphere Sciences and Climate and other partners.
The project benefits from the strong support (including financial) of the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla in Zagreb (Croatia), the chosen demonstration site and from the assistance of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture at the University of Zagreb.
The project has progressed from the preliminary assessment and planning phase to a full-fledged operationalisation. The main goal is to show how sustainable energy based on an innovative shallow geothermal power system is applicable to listed buildings, case in point the large exposition room of the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla of Zagreb.
Additional important targets are the lowering of heating and cooling costs, curbing CO2 emissions, promoting education for sustainable development towards a broad public of visitors, in particular youngsters. The latter are the most frequent visitors since their teachers of scientific disciplines organise regularly educational visits to the museum’s technological collection.
Thanks to the Cheap-GSHPs project, the museum will be able to display its geothermal system, along with all its main components as one additional and running piece of the collection, becoming a structural component of the educational/awareness activities in the section devoted to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Its educational function will be further enhanced by the permanent presence of the geothermal installation control room, currently under construction, located in the main yard. The room’s concept is in line with the overall architectural style of the museum premises and inspired by relevant models of reference from the 40s of architects such as Mies Van Der Rohe and Philip Johnson.
The entire geothermal facility, whose launch is foreseen in March 2018, will hopefully build awareness to sustainable energy and a renewed interest to natural sciences and their societal applications in the mind of the young generations of visitors.
* * * * *
UNESCO, through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), joined a consortium of partners coordinated by the Italian National Research Council (CNR-ISAC) for the project “Cheap and Efficient Application of reliable Ground Source Heat exchangers and Pumps” (Cheap-GSHPs).
The Cheap-GSHPs project is funded by the European Union in the framework of “Horizon 2020”, call LCE-03-2014, under the technology-specific challenges in demonstrating renewable electricity and heating/cooling technologies. The lifetime of the project is 4 years, up to June 2019.
France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), in partnership with UNESCO, will host a conference on 26 January to launch the InsSciDE project, which aims to lay the foundations for a European-wide science diplomacy. The initiative is funded by the European Commission for a period of four years.
Coordinated by Pascal Griset, Professor of contemporary history at Paris-Sorbonne University and director of the Institute of Science Communication of the CNRS, InsSciDE will bring together 14 research and training institutes from 11 European countries, as well as UNESCO.
Organized by the CNRS at the French Academy of Medicine in Paris, the conference will be attended by stakeholders and members of the Scientific Advisory Board of InsSciDE including:
The InsSciDE project aims to engage scientists, diplomats, science historians, strategy experts and decision-makers to establish the origins of European scientific diplomacy and develop its conceptual basis.
UNESCO, one of the main partners in the project, plays an important role in science diplomacy. The Organization has fostered major international scientific undertakings which gave birth to, for example, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the International Hydrological Programme; the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and most recently the Synchrotron Radiation for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), inaugurated last year in Allan (Jordan).
For accreditation contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNESCO contact: Casimiro Vizzini, Natural Sciences Sector, email@example.com
On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated each year on 27 January, UNESCO pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence.
Last year, UNESCO released a policy guide on Education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide, to provide effective responses and a wealth of recommendations for education stakeholders.
What is education about the Holocaust?
Education about the Holocaust is primarily the historical study of the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.
It also provides a starting point to examine warning signs that can indicate the potential for mass atrocity. This study raises questions about human behaviour and our capacity to succumb to scapegoating or simple answers to complex problems in the face of vexing societal challenges. The Holocaust illustrates the dangers of prejudice, discrimination, antisemitism and dehumanization. It also reveals the full range of human responses - raising important considerations about societal and individual motivations and pressures that lead people to act as they do - or to not act at all.
Why teach about the Holocaust?
Education stakeholders can build on a series of rationales when engaging with this subject, in ways that can relate to a variety of contexts and histories throughout the world. The guide lists some of the main reasons why it is universally relevant to engage with such education.
Teaching and learning about the Holocaust:
What are the teaching and learning goals?
Understanding how and why the Holocaust occurred can inform broader understandings of mass violence globally, as well as highlight the value of promoting human rights, ethics, and civic engagement that bolsters human solidarity. Studying this history can prompt discussion of the societal contexts that enable exclusionary policies to divide communities and promote environments that make genocide possible. It is a powerful tool to engage learners on discussions pertaining to the emergence and the promotion of human rights; on the nature and dynamics of atrocity crimes and how they can be prevented; as well as on how to deal with traumatic pasts through education.
Such education creates multiple opportunities for learners to reflect on their role as global citizens. The guide explores for example how education about the Holocaust can advance the learning objectives sought by Global Citizenship Education (GCED), a pillar of the Education 2030 Agenda. It proposes topics and activities that can help develop students to be informed and critically literate; socially connected, respectful of diversity; and ethically responsible and engaged.
What are the main areas of implementation?
Every country has a distinct context and different capacities. The guide covers all the areas policy-makers should take into consideration when engaging with education about the Holocaust and, possibly, education about genocide and mass atrocities. It also provides precise guidelines for each of these areas. This comprises for example curricula and textbooks, including how the Holocaust can be integrated across different subjects, for what ages, and how to make sure textbooks and curricula are historically accurate. The guide also covers teacher training, classroom practices and appropriate pedagogies, higher learning institutions. It also provides important recommendations on how to improve interactions with the non-formal sector of education, through adult education, partnerships with museums and memorials, study-trips, and the implementation of international remembrance days.
Learn more about UNESCO’s on Education about the Holocaust.
Entitled “Girls Can Code”, the project aims at training teenagers between the ages of 11 and 14 from ten schools across the ten regions of the country. It has been designed under UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP) and is intended to bring equity and narrow the gap between men and women in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT).
At the ceremony that took place on 17 January 2018, Ms Akufo-Addo emphasized the role of technology in our rapidly evolving world, stating that it could be used to improve women’s economic outlook while addressing the gender gap. “As more and more women understand the value of ICT in terms of sustainable livelihoods, they will improve their quality of life and become more productive members of the society. Ultimately, we would be helping young girls to become critical thinkers and creators of technologies,” she said.
According to Ms Melody Boateng, National Programme Officer for Natural Sciences in UNESCO’s Accra Office, young girls selected for the project have a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of the country. She, therefore, urged them to take advantage of this. She commended the First Lady for her support and paid tribute to Ambassador Johanna Odonkor Swankier for her tireless effort in initiating the project.
The Founder and President of Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa (HACSA), Ms Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, the former Ambassador of Ghana to France and former Permanent Delegate of Ghana to UNESCO, under whose tenure the project was initiated, chaired the event.
“Girls Can Code” will be implemented by UNESCO, is collaborating with Advance Information Technology Institute-Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE), Ghana Education Service (GES), Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa (HACSA), DreamOval and Soronko Solution.
The Information for All Programme (IFAP) was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP is a unique UNESCO intergovernmental programme that focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information they can use to improve their lives.
UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, advocated for education as a priority investment for sustainable development at a conference organized by the French Development Agency (AFD) in Paris on 19 January 2018.
During a round table with the Ministers of Education of Senegal, Serigne Mbaye Thiam, and France, Jean-Michel Blanquer, as well as the CEO of the Global Partnership for Education, Alice Patricia Albright, the Director-General outlined priorities to meet the challenges of educational access and quality in a region that still counts 32 million out-of-school children and faces advancing urbanization as well as conflict and crises situations.
To implement the 2030 Education Agenda, the Director-General outlined three priorities for Africa. First, the relevance of teaching and learning, right through to higher education. This involves adapting curricula and pedagogies, training teachers and drawing on new knowledge from the field of cognitive sciences.
The second priority is to better articulate education, health and employment policies, while the third priority focuses on the transmission of values for responsible citizenship and peace education. In this regard, the Director-General shared UNESCO's initiative, led with with African Ministers of Education, to develop educational content based on the ten volumes of The General History of Africa.
In all of these dimensions, the Director-General stressed that priority attention should be given to gender equality, in particular to the education of young adolescent girls.
"The challenges are immense and we must all contribute through our mandates. UNESCO coordinates Sustainable Development Goal 4 and focuses on its added value: supporting public policies, sharing innovation and research, collecting statistical data and monitoring results," concluded the Director-General.
The event, opened by the Director- General of the French Development Agency, Rémi Rioux, was held in preparation for the Global Partnership for Education’s Replenishment Conference, to be co-hosted by France and Senegal, in Dakar on 1 and 2 February, in which UNESCO will participate. This conference is a unique opportunity to increase international mobilization and aid to education, which has been steadily decreasing since 2009.
On the occasion of the screening of Brett Morgen's film "Jane" at UNESCO Headquarters on 19 January 2018, in the presence of Dr Jane Goodall, primatologist, anthropologist, anthropologist, the Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, issued a powerful call for the protection of biodiversity.
"All great ape species are now threatened with extinction, said the Director-General, even as the work of Dr Jane Goodall has taught us how close we are to them. This is why UNESCO is committed to the protection of biodiversity."
This film, produced by National Geographic and directed by Brett Morgen, pays tribute to a lifetime’s work of an exceptional woman, Dr Jane Goodall, who devoted more than 50 years to the study and protection of great apes.
Jane Goodall is a laureate of the UNESCO 60 Years Gold Medal.
Paris, France – Barely a month after the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), the Republic of Korea announces a contribution of nearly US$230,000 to support preparations and enhance efforts to monitor the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 14 – to conserve and sustainable use the ocean and its resources.
The Korean contribution comes in the form of both financial and human resources to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), UN body responsible for coordinating UN Decade of Ocean Science preparations between now and the official kick-off date, 1 January 2021.
Officials from the Korean Government and the IOC met at UNESCO Headquarters to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) framing a contribution of funds as well as staff support to build the UN Decade of Ocean Science. Among various preparatory activities, the resources will help set up a website, kick-start a dedicated Decade Secretariat, and organize global and regional stakeholder consultations to agree on a collective roadmap and scientific plan for the ten years ahead.
“The Republic of Korea has participated in this project from its initial stage, and will continue to provide financial and human support and promote the joint use of high-tech equipment through this MOU that was concluded today for the successful implementation of the Ocean Decade,” stated in writing H.E. Young Choon Kim, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea.
“The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development has entered its development phase. IOC Member States are strongly behind this initiative, which will help federate and generate actionable ocean knowledge to meet the needs of society. Today, the Decade finds a champion in the Republic of Korea, and we are thankful for its commitments to support IOC’s role in this important initiative. I invite all IOC Member States and partners to contribute and engage in the preparation of a truly transformative and inclusive Decade,” said Mr Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC Executive Secretary.
Through the same agreement, the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries also commits to finance production and provide staff support toward the second edition of the Global Ocean Science Report (GOSR). The first edition of this UNESCO-IOC flagship report (June 2017) was the first-ever stocktaking of who, how and where ocean science is conducted around the world. Much of the funding is destined to build an online portal and data repository that will render all Global Ocean Science Report data open to the public and, in particular, to Governments wishing to share relevant information about national ocean science structures.
On behalf of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) will oversee the implementation of the agreement with UNESCO’s IOC, including through the identification and selection of scientific staff to support the Ocean Decade and the Global Ocean Science Report online portal.
At the signing ceremony, Acting President of KIOST Young Je Park expressed his satisfaction with the various elements of the MOU. “I am delighted to conclude two Voluntary Funds-in-Trust Agreements for the Ocean Decade and the GOSR… Based on these agreements, we will encourage the experts of KIOST to actively participate in these projects.”
Dr. Sang-Kyung Byun of the Republic of Korea was the IOC Chair during the critical period when the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. With reference to the GOSR, the Republic of Korea has continuously supported its publication and hosted the second meeting of the GOSR Editorial Board in October 2016.
Mr Vladimir Ryabinin also reiterated the central role of the Korean Government in supporting the Global Ocean Science Report. He highlighted the importance of GOSR as a “quantitative mechanism to measure capacity in ocean science, which is so needed in all regions and most countries of the world, and the continuously growing cooperation in ocean science across developing and developed countries.”
For more information about the MOU or the Global Ocean Science Report, please contact:
Salvatore Aricò (s.arico(at)unesco.org)
For more information about the UN Decade of Ocean Science, please contact:
Julian Barbière (j.barbiere(at)unesco.org)
On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated each year on 27 January, UNESCO is mobilizing to honor and reaffirm its commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and any other form of intolerance.
From 22 to 25 January, UNESCO, in partnership with the Holocaust Memorial, is organizing a series of events to commemorate the day whose theme this year is Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility.
- 22 January (8 pm, Room I): Screening of the film The Four Sisters: The Hippocratic Oath - Ruth Elias, in presence of the director, Claude Lanzmann and the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay. This is the first part of a tetralogy to be broadcast soon on French- German TV, ARTE.
- January 25 (3:30 pm, Room IV): Round table on " Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility",with:
- 25 January 18h30 (Room I): Ceremony dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in the presence of the President of the Shoah Memorial, Eric de Rothschild and the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.
- From January 22 to February 3 (Miró Room): exhibition on the Pogrom of the Night of Crystal, presented by the Shoah Memorial.
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 established International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005.
Journalists wishing to cover the event should request accreditation
Media Contact Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service, firstname.lastname@example.org
+33 (0)1 45 68 17 64
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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 the 21st Century 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 in 2013. 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 have designed sectorial funds for the software industry, for instance. FONSOFT in Argentina and PROSOFT in Mexico provide small 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 improving energy efficiency and developing ‘clean and green’ technologies.
Sectorial funds extend beyond 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 totalled MYR 2.04 billion (circa US$ 565 million) over the 2000–2010 period. Thanks to this tax, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board commercialized 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 Technology through 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 Economic 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 it accounts for about 17% of domestic research spending and just under 32% of the government outlay in 2010. Despite this, military technology has 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 enterprises often 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 handful of 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. It offers 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 funding for 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 has led to cutbacks at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which funds innovation across the bloc.
The European Fund for Strategic Investment comes at a time when the EU is still shaking 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% of research 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 decade is 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 a key 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 micro hydropower 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 are driving 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 Canada is 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; and the 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 encouraging university-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 PROSOFT are 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.
The Cuban cultural institution Casa de las Américas is the 2017 laureate of the UNESCO-UNAM / Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in social sciences, humanities and arts. Casa de las Américas, founded in April 1959, promotes research, publishing and the works of writers, social scientists, artists and students in literature and the arts.
The institution also awards a literary prize that is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Latin American literature. Since 1961, it has published the cultural magazine Casa de las Américas.
The award ceremony will be held on 24 January in Havana in the presence of Abel Prieto, Cuban Minister of Culture; Roberto Fernández Retamar, Director of Casa de las Américas; and, Ambassador Óscar León, President of the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO. Nuria Sanz, Head of the UNESCO Office in Mexico, will present the award on behalf of UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay.
The UNESCO-UNAM / Jaime Torres Bodet Prize, awarded every two years, includes a 50,000 US$ award, and recognizes the work of a person, group of people or an international institution that has contributed to the advancement in knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in the social sciences and the arts.
Created on the initiative of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Prize is named after the poet, novelist, essayist and Mexican diplomat, Jaime Torres Bodet, a founding member of UNESCO and Director-General of the Organization from 1948 to 1952. The laureate is chosen based on an international jury’s recommendation, which is currently composed of Jordanian anthropologist Seteney Shami, Senegalese philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne and Chinese professor Liqun Liu, President of the Women's University of China.
The ceremony will take place at 6 pm in the "Manuel Galich" Room of Casa de las Américas headquarters, Havana Cuba.
Media contact: Lucía Iglesias Kuntz, firstname.lastname@example.org, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 02.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, today condemned the killing of veteran Mexican journalist Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez who was murdered in the city of Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, on 13 January.
“I condemn the assassination of Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez in Mexico and urge the authorities to ensure an effective investigation,” the Director-General declared. “Bringing journalists’ killers to justice is crucial to end violence against those who defend the public’s right to know.”
Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez, an experienced reporter and columnist, worked for the Noreste Digital and Horizonte de Matamoros news website. In his reporting, he denounced abuses by local and national government officials, political violence, corruption and failures of the justice system.
He was attacked and killed while travelling in his car. In one of his last reports, published a couple of days before his killing, he denounced impunity for political violence and the weakness of public security.
In the spirit of Article 1 of the Constitution of UNESCO, the Director-General of the Organization issues statements on violations of press freedoms condemning the killing of media workers, in line with its action to take forward the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, email@example.com, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12
"Tolerance is an act of humanity, which we must nurture and enact each in our own lives every day, to rejoice in the diversity that makes us strong and the values that bring us together." - Audrey Azoulay, 16 November 2017
UNESCO invites governmental and non-governmental entities, civil society actors and individuals active in strengthening foundations for peace and tolerance to propose candidates for the 2018 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence.
Deadline: the closing date for submissions is 30 April 2018 at midnight CET.
Its purpose is to reward individuals, institutions and other entities or non-governmental organizations that have made exceptional contributions and demonstrated leadership in the promotion of tolerance and non-violence.
The Prize was established in 1995 on the occasion of the United Nations Year for Tolerance and the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. It was also the year when UNESCO Member States adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. The creation of the Prize has been inspired by the ideals of UNESCO’s Constitution that proclaims that “peace, if it is not to fail, must be founded on the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”.
Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.
In recognition of a lifelong devotion to communal harmony and peace, the Prize bears the name of its benefactor Madanjeet Singh, who was a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Indian artist, writer and diplomat.
Awarded every two years, on the occasion of the International Day for Tolerance (16 November), the Prize is marked by a ceremony and the winner is presented with the sum of US$ 100,000.
How to submit your nomination
Nominations for the Prize should be submitted by filling out the nomination form in either English or French, no later than 30 April 2018, by post or by e-mail.
Additional materials (publications, video, audio and other teaching materials, etc.) may be attached to the nomination form.
Download the Nomination Form
Send it, duly signed and stamped, to
Ms Golda El-Khoury
Secretary of the Prize
Social and Human Sciences Sector - UNESCO
7 Place de Fontenoy, 75007 Paris Cedex 15 FRANCE
Tel.: +33 1 45 68 17 70