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Making Waves: Local radio transforming perceptions of gender-based violence in Africa

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:00
news_171117_local_radios.jpg © Hector Conesa/Shutterstock 17 November 2017Local radio is raising awareness for gender violence across many hard-to-reach regions in Africa through dedicated gender-sensitive programming. Training in gender-sensitivity is assisting radio staff in the identification and removal of harmful biases and stereotypes from broadcasts and encouraging positive change in the communal perception of gender equality. UNESCO’s “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” project is helping radio stations to inspire intolerance for gender-based violence and hold perpetrators and duty-bearers responsible.

In one reported case from Tanzania, a woman attempting to press an identified suspect with allegations of rape faced only indifference among municipal authorities. When local leaders demanded a bribe in exchange for the arrest of the suspect, Dodoma FM, one of the stations involved in UNESCO’s project, took up the story. They publicized the woman’s ongoing struggle until the district commissioner was stirred into action. Dodoma’s coverage of the scandal resulted in the arrest of the perpetrator of the crime, as well as punitive measures taken against the three local leaders accused of blackmail.

Gender-sensitive training helps radio staff identify and cover relevant stories, but the interest to remove harmful stereotypes in pursuing these issues is coming from local reporters. “I’m interested in gender-sensitive reporting because gender equality levels are low and more knowledge is needed. Training helped me to report on stories dealing with gender violence and child marriages in ways that can improve the situation in the community,” said Ayo Rebecca, a reporter from Radio Apac FM in Uganda, during a workshop organised by UNESCO.

Even in hard-to-reach areas, local radio stations are creating awareness and broadcasts are sounding out favourable responses in the community. At the gateway to Virunga National Park, Dorika FM in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is receiving strong local support for its programs dedicated to positive action that can contribute to greater social independence and empowerment among women. The broadcasts have been so well-received as to result in the creation of a listener’s club and NGO that in turn supports and promotes the topics of the program.

Social perceptions and tolerance for gender-based violence, especially that occurring domestically, are significant obstacles faced in tackling this problem. Gender issues and their solutions require action that targets both men and women in order to change the social landscape that facilitates such behaviour. “Targeted radio programs have the capacity to challenge masculinity norms and the unfortunate tolerance for gender violence, as shown by Radio Ijwi ry’Umukenyezi (RIU) in Burundi,” said Mirta Lourenço, UNESCO’s Chief for Media Development.

RIU created a dedicated gender unit in their station to monitor the content of broadcasts and host awareness programs. They advocate positive behaviour amongst men and women that promotes intolerance for gender violence and disrepute for perpetrators. The program has been popular enough in the community that listeners’ groups have been formed and grateful residents have even begun to support the station by supplying RIU with water free of charge.

Aside from evoking support from the community, local radio stations are targeting duty-bearers and holding them accountable to the responsibilities of their office. Tumbatu FM in Zanzibar, Tanzania is bringing gender-based violence and the role of authorities to the forefront of social discussion through their programs. Broadcasts stressed the importance of intolerance and the necessity for reporting incidents to the local authorities rather than resolving the issue within the household. As a direct result of the awareness spread, the police have established gender desks at local stations where residents can receive information and report gender-based crimes.

To confront the issue of gender violence further, national policy can contribute in several ways through the creation and development of media regulatory bodies, as well as the promotion of media literacy amongst boys and girls to understand gender equality challenges and stereotypes. UNESCO’s “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” project (, supported by Sweden, is one such international initiative that is giving priority to gender in media, improving media access and control and supplying the tools to radio staff to make positive change in their communities.

The importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women have increased to become leading priorities in both developed and developing countries as nations strive to remove the social and economic disparities between men and women. To combat the cycle caused by gender misrepresentation in media, UNESCO has also created Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) to promote gender parity and women empowerment in all forms of media, as in line with the UN’s SDG 5. By addressing the significance of this issue, countries can help advocate for autonomy and the fair treatment of women, such as reducing the social tolerance for gender-based violence.

Read more about UNESCO’s work on Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media here.

Categories: News

Director-General condemns the killing of journalists Alaa Kraym and Mohamed Abazied in Syria

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:37
10 August 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has denounced the killing of journalists Alaa Kraym, known as Mohammed Al Qabouni and Mohamed Abazied, also known as George Samara, in Syria.

“I condemn the deaths of journalists Alaa Kraym and Mohamed Abazied,” said the Director-General. “I call on all parties to the conflict in Syria to protect the safety of journalists and respect their civilian status, in keeping with the Geneva Conventions.”

Alaa Kraym, alias Mohammed Al Qabouni, was killed on 4 May while covering fighting in Qaboun, a suburb east of Damascus. He had been working for the Qaboun Media Center, the Syrian Media Observatory and the Syrian Revolutionary Forces’ media office.

A reporter for satellite television Nabd Syria and Syria Media Organization (SMO), Mohamed Abazied, aka George Samara, died on 12 March while covering the war in the southwestern Syrian city of Daraa.

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

Norway steps up its support to UNESCO’s strategic work with new agreement for over USD 14 million

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 13:06
dg-aa-signing-norway-drupal.jpg © UNESCO/Christelle ALIX 17 November 2017

A range of programs from education to freedom of expression to the protection of African World Heritage Natural sites, among others, will benefit from a new annual funding agreement between UNESCO and Norway for  approximately USD 14 million, representing a nearly 30% increase in the government’s voluntary contribution compared to last year.

While signing the first funding agreement of her mandate, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay expressed her deep appreciation for Norway’s outstanding support to the Organization. “I am grateful for your generous commitment to the Organization over and above your assessed contributions. You set an example for other Member States against the backdrop of the current financial challenges faced by the Organization. Your decision to increase your annual contribution, and provide funding with such flexibility is also a mark of confidence in UNESCO that is highly valuable.”

H.E. Ms. Elin Østebø Johansen, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Norway to UNESCO, reinforced her government’s confidence in UNESCO’s capacity to deliver.

“Norway’s support is based on the Organization’s performance and results, also reflecting Norway’s priorities. We are confident that UNESCO will use it strategically, especially to lead the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.”

In addition, Ambassador Østebø Johansen emphasized education as the number one priority of the Norwegian Government. “We are a strong supporter of UNESCO’s normative work and will continue supporting the convention on recognition of higher education qualifications. The monitoring function is critical and this is the reason why Norway has decided to increase its contribution to the Global Monitoring Report and to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Norway is happy to also contribute to other important areas such as freedom of expression and safety of journalists, ocean-related work through the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the protection of natural heritage in Africa.”

In education, the funding agreement will focus on supporting Member States in their efforts to develop sector-wide policy and planning including literacy, Technical and Vocational Education and Training, higher education, teachers, health education, and monitoring progress towards Education 2030.

Categories: News

Protecting Migrants during Emergencies

Europaid - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:21
Categories: News

Proposing principles for today’s media policy

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:47
news_161117_belgrade.jpg UNESCO’s Guy Berger with Gordana Jankovic, Head of Media Department, OSCE Mission to Serbia© UNESCO 16 November 2017Media policy in the digital age should be founded on the enduring right to freedom of expression, according to Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

“Freedom of expression is not an option, it is an obligation in media policy – especially if the aim is to build knowledge societies and achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda,” he said.

The UNESCO official was delivering a keynote speech on “Essential principles for contemporary media and communications policy making”, at the conference in Belgrade, Serbia this week. The event was titled “Agenda for change: developing media in the digital age”, and was organised by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on 16-17 November.

Berger suggested that a rights-based policy-making for contemporary media could be understood in terms of building social consensus based on common interest, but it should also be kept in mind that policy was also invariably about power contests.

“In addition, digital media policy is sometimes chaotic and piecemeal, and at times it serves mainly as symbolic theatre,” he said.

“Nevertheless,” elaborated the Director, “seriousness and co-ordination is certainly needed for media policy in the light of the recognition in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the need for public access to information and fundamental freedoms.”

He went on to highlight the policy relevance of countries now adopting, and adding to, global SDG indicators in order to be able to assess their individual progress towards public access to information as part of sustainable development.

Berger listed examples of long-standing media policy issues that were being intensified in the digital era. These include matters like press freedom, licensing independence, fairness of state advertising, various subsidies, professionalism, concentration of ownership, community media, transparency of ownership, content and staffing diversity, whistle-blowers, confidential sources, freedom of information, criminal defamation, insult laws, media role in elections, and local content amongst others.

New policy issues included matters like: Broadband Internet access and affordability, new media sustainability, digital television transition, filtering and blocking, the interlinked aspects of surveillance-privacy-data retention, digital safety, disinformation, ‘the right to be forgotten’, self-regulation and co-regulation of internet platforms, jurisdictional questions, and the power of technology companies.
He commented that the evolution of the European Union’s digital single market would further enable traditional non-media actors to enter into mass communications, requiring existing media entities to anticipate and respond to increased competition. “This is another issue that Serbia’s policies on media development may need to consider,” he said.

Referring to UNESCO’s new report, World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development, the Director highlighted four areas of relevance to contemporary policy-making:

  • Media Freedom globally is experiencing increased state curbs on the imparting of information, which at the same time also contrast with improvements in people’s rights to access information held by the state.  
  • Media Independence is facing increasing political and business pressures on professional standards of journalism, although there is renewed interest in self-regulation in the media and Internet sectors.
  • There are increased verbal, physical and digital attacks on the media, although many actors are pushing back under inspiration the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. UNESCO is closely watching the work of the Commission for Investigating Killings of Journalists in Serbia, said Berger.
  • On whether people globally have increased media choice, the World Trends report notes increasing pluralism of content, but also concern with the decline of newspapers as the primary generators of news, and the lack of progress in gender equality in the media.

It would be of interest for Serbia to assess how it compared to these international trends, said Berger.

UNESCO’s concept of “Internet Universality” is a useful tool for for holistic policy-making, added the UNESCO official, because it covered the principles of rights, openness, accessibility and multistakeholder participation.  The project of developing related indicators could help a country assess gaps where digitally-related policy could be improved, he said.

Categories: News

Partner power speeds climate change education, UN summit in Bonn hears

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:53
education-day-cop23-bonn-news.jpg © UNESCO 16 November 2017

The critical importance of education in international responses to climate change was the key message of “Education Day”, held at the UN climate conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany on 17 November 2017. 

UNESCO, together with national, international and UN partners, held a series of side-events and discussion rounds all day, comprising a high-level panel discussion “Uniting for Climate Education – Further, Faster, Together through Partnerships”, co-organized with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the COP Presidency, Fiji.

High-level governmental representatives and international organizations discussed how education and global partnerships can accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and engage a critical mass of children, youth, professionals, decision-makers and wider society in climate action.

Need for education and strong partnerships to enable societal transformation

Speaking at the event, Mr Shyamal Majumdar, Head of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training said: “Climate action needs more implementation, implementation needs education and skills.”

Ms Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, said:  “I believe we stand at the edge of an incredible transformation - one with enormous economic opportunities. But transformations don’t happen in isolation. Education is key. And good education requires good partnerships.”

Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco, President of Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, said: “There is no need to dwell on the crucial role of education in order to rise to the climate challenge. However, what is of the utmost importance is to regularly pool and compare our approaches in order to enrich them.”

Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Fiji, called for long-term solutions: “We need to restore a respectful relationship with nature, and for this we need education. We need to get children out of the classrooms and see, understand and judge for themselves for needs to be done.”

Changing minds not the climate

Another side-event, co-organized with nine other UN Agencies, also explored how partnerships at all levels and in all sectors are key to boosting the contribution learning and skills make to climate change adaptation and mitigation It presented new types of partnerships that can help more actors, with examples coming from different sectors from all parts of the world.

One of the examples presented was the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) which mobilizes more than 11,000 schools around the world. The schools use UNESCO’s guidelines for “Getting climate-ready”, and develop partnerships with their communities. Jan Hendrik, a 14 year-old student of a German ASPnet school, said that international school exchanges were enablers for changing minds towards climate action: “I can now contribute to changing my school towards sustainable learning.”

Good practices show how education leads to climate action

During a press conference entitled “Good Practice in Action for Climate Empowerment”, organized by the Centre for Environmental Education (CEE), India, UNESCO and UNFCCC a compilation of case studies on climate change education for mitigation and adaptation in all parts of the world was launched. Representing UNESCO, Ms Julia Heiss, Team Leader on Education for Sustainable Development, said: “The case studies are an important proof and example of how education efforts lead to action which involves people in adapting and contributing to climate change mitigation. I hope they will inspire many more people and associations to follow a similar path.”

Throughout the day, short discussion rounds and presentations were held at the UNESCO Pavilion on a variety of subjects, including schools’ climate readiness, teacher education for climate change, youth leadership and greening technical and vocational education and training. These discussions were led by UNESCO, ASPnet schools, partners, experts, practitioners and youth representatives from around the world.

COP23 participants also visited UNESCO’s thematic booth on SDG 4 on quality education, co-organized with UNEP and UNITAR, to learn about the UN’s joint work in climate change education.

This year’s COP, which is taking place from 6 to 18 November, focuses on vulnerable nations and aims to develop a full set of guidelines to help government and non-government actors meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, to be finalized in 2018. The role of education and training in climate change was strongly emphasized at the Paris Climate Conference COP21 and again at COP22 in Marrakesh.

UNESCO promotes climate change through its Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme, and through the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD, the follow-up to the UN Decade for ESD (2005-2014). UNESCO and partners seek to support countries to mainstream climate change into their education and training systems. Harnessing partnerships is one of the key strategies for the implementation of the GAP on ESD.

Categories: News

Addressing land degradation and desertification

Europaid - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 13:29
Categories: News

An Ocean Pathway towards Sustainable Development

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 11:04

The COP23 host country Fiji has launched today the Ocean Pathway Partnership toward formal recognition of the links between ocean and climate change in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process by 2020. The initiative caps a climate summit marked by multiples calls for more science-based action from an emerging ocean community.

Two years after the historic signature of the Paris Agreement, the first international climate agreement to recognize the essential role of the ocean as chief climate regulator, the ocean continues to make headway to the center stage of global climate politics. Mounting challenges such as increasing CO2 and decrease in oxygen levels nevertheless pose grave threats to ocean health and, in turn, human wellbeing.

The ocean community gathered at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, to review the progress of international efforts, and reflect on the role of science in identifying and implementing effective ocean-based solutions to climate change.

Among the key outputs from the summit, the Fiji-led Ocean Pathway Partnership launched today proposes to enhance funding opportunities to support ocean health and the maintenance of critical ocean ecosystems, and encourages the insertion of ocean-based action into countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement.

Speaking at The Ocean Pathway launch event, Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), welcomed Fiji’s efforts to develop a specific work program on ocean within the UNFCCC. “This would be the culmination of many years of efforts from the IOC and its partners to raise awareness among the nations engaged in climate negotiations of the fact that the ocean is part and parcel of the climate change questions,” he explained.

Ocean science for action

As the international community issues calls for putting ocean front and center of the climate agenda, the race begins to fill the remaining scientific gaps around the interconnections between a warming ocean and a changing climate. Effective action to address either part of this puzzle will require the best possible scientific knowledge available.

To highlight the urgency of action on ocean issues, UNESCO’s IOC joined forces with over a dozen scientific institutions, international and civil society organizations, and governments to organize the COP23 Oceans Action Day on 11 November.

The all-day event focused on action on the ground and showcased lessons learned, best practices and recommendations for replication and upscaling of successful experiences, with a focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Following a high-level plenary opening session, seven parallel sessions were held under the leadership of partner organizations. IOC co-organized two of those sessions, namely the one on “Science and Oceans: IPCC Report and Other Developments”, together with the Ocean and Climate Platform and the “Blue Carbon and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Where and How” session together with IUCN and Conservation International.

In the day’s closing remarks, Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, stressed that “ocean action needs ocean science”. He expressed at the same time his support for IOC’s proposal for a United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), which will focus international efforts to advance oceanographic research and deliver breakthroughs in ocean knowledge and technology.

To cap the Oceans Action Day, the United Nations inter-agency mechanism for ocean affairs (UN-Oceans) hosted a side event to highlight the collective international and UN efforts to address climate related stressors on the ocean through improved scientific capacity, mitigation strategies and innovative adaptation approaches. Under UNESCO’s IOC coordination, eight UN bodies came together to address their joint cooperation through actions such as establishing and running global observations systems for ocean acidification, and assessing the state of coral reefs in World Heritage sites.

Strengthening alliances between ocean science and society

Whether in the context of the Ocean Pathway Partnership or the Decade of Ocean Science, it has become clear since COP21 in Paris that international organizations and national governments must rely upon civil society and private sector stakeholders to ensure effective and timely action on ocean and climate.

Many of these stakeholders were present and actively participated in COP23, notably to present the recently established Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance’s (OCIA), during a dedicated side event. This coalition of 70 non-governmental organizations, supported by the Ocean and Climate Platform and UNESCO’s IOC, was launched in February 2017 at UNESCO Headquarters with a mandate to federate ocean action to accelerate the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The OCIA side event was the opportunity to present a global overview of the Alliance and its main achievements since its creation. Side event panelists presented the first OCIA Report of Progress on Ocean and Climate Action, emphasizing key findings and conclusions for the future role of OCIA. The roundtable discussion highlighted the results generated from the strong cooperation between scientific researchers and NGOs working on ocean and climate issues, and called for a common framework of action to implement the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.

Science and civil society must share their expertise, knowledge and capacity of action to be even stronger and more efficient to protect the ocean.

Further information:

Oceans Action Day at COP23

The Ocean Pathway

Report: Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA)

For more information, please contact:

Julian Barbière (j.barbiere(at)

Categories: News

Natural capital in Climate Change policies

Europaid - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 15:47
Categories: News

Natural capital in Climate Change policies

Europaid - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 15:47
Categories: News

Solving “fake news” starts with avoiding the term

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:58
news_151117_eu.jpg Participants listen to the speakers projected onto screens - Paolo Cesarini, from Media Convergence and Social Media in the European Commission Directorate for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, and Wout van Wijk of News Media Europe© UNESCO 15 November 2017As the European Commission engages on a broad-based consultation about how to deal with disinformation online, UNESCO’s Guy Berger, Director, Freedom of Expression and Media Development, has advised the institution to avoid the phrase “fake news”.

The UNESCO director was speaking on Tuesday at a Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Fake News, 13-14 November 2017, convened in Brussels, Belgium, by the European Commission: Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

He also called on news institutions to improve their related professional standards in order to provide credible alternatives to disinformation. This is why UNESCO works with the European Union to support press councils to transition to the digital age,” he elaborated.

The risk of using the phrase “fake news” was to undermine all news, said Berger. He noted that  Frank la Rue, the Assistant Director General (ADG) for Communication and Information at UNESCO, analysed “fake news” as a contradiction in terms.

“If it is news, then it isn’t fake; and if it is false, then it can’t be news,” Berger said, summarising the ADG’s view.

Combining the two words only served to sow seeds of cynicism and relativism, and to throw individuals into reliance on gut-feel and personal networks for their assessment of what is credible.

In his remarks, Berger also signalled the need to give attention to the narrative frameworks which give meaning to information, as these pointed to responses that went beyond the fact-checking and debunking of “imposter news”.

“News works within a narrative structure that supplies a context and a cloak of connections and significance – along with connotations of veracity, authenticity, and authority.”

He explained that news literacy empowered users to understand news as narrative in this sense, adding that this insight was a condition to be able to identify fraudulent news within the same system.

“More broadly, users – especially young people who are forming their identities - need the skills to understand how all narratives – including news, entertainment and propaganda - presume identities.

“Linked to this is the importance of understanding that participation in narratives (whether receiving, producing, and sharing) is performative. It cultivates our sense of belonging and whom we are.”

Berger said that the composite concept of media and Information literacy (MIL) could help to educate users about what were being called the new apps of “persuasion and addiction architectures”.

MIL could also prepare users for future digital creations that concealed manipulation in video and voice recordings, and for the abuse of Artificial Intelligence to perfectly customise bogus news to resonate with each targeted individual.

He urged Internet intermediaries to reconsider the way they served each individual with his/her own customised news feed and search results. “Instead of blindly following the market of prior individual preference, could they not also make money by leading the market - and including diversity in the news and views supplied within each individualised service?” he asked.

We cannot have real public access to information without Internet companies recognizing the value of supplying inclusive narratives, instead of them continuing to create individualized bubbles based on algorithms that privilege narcissism, said Berger

The combination of comprehensive MIL so as to educate users to see the power of narrative; of reinforced self-regulation among the genuine providers of news; and of changes in Internet business models, could all be elements of a holistic solution, he concluded.

Categories: News

UNESCO Member States reaffirm their commitment to UNESCO at the close of General Conference

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:55
14 November 2017

UNESCO’s Member States on Tuesday closed the 39th session of the Organization’s General Conference with the adoption of a series of programme and budget decisions, reaffirming the pertinence of the Organization to the challenges facing the world.

During the session, the Organization’s Member States also elected Audrey Azoulay as the 11th Director-General of UNESCO.

Speaking of the pertinence of UNESCO’s mandate to foster solidarity and cooperation in education, the sciences, culture and communication during her investiture as Director-General, Ms Azoulay said that “facing the global challenges of today, against obscurantism and deadly oversimplification, we [UNESCO] hold the only sustainable and credible answer.”

Climate change and efforts to contain it featured prominently on the General Conference’s agenda and Member States stressed the need for UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector to work on the ethical and societal aspects of this crucial issue.

This concern led to the adoption of a Declaration of Principles in Relation to Climate Change, on the need to respect ethical principles to avoid damage and injustice. The Declaration also reaffirms the importance of a scientific approach to climate change, stating, “decisions should be based on the best available knowledge from the natural and social sciences.”

Also in the context of work concerning UNESCO’s Social and Human Science Sector, the General Conference updated the 1974 Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers. Key aspects of the updated recommendation, concern the responsibility of science with regard to the ideals of human dignity, progress, justice, peace, welfare of humankind and respect for the environment. It calls on States to promote science as a common good and calls for inclusive and non-discriminatory work conditions and access to science education and employment.

Within the framework of the Natural Sciences Sector, the General Conference adopted an updated strategy for action on climate change. It requires UNESCO to support Member States in the development and implementation of climate change education and public awareness programmes and policies. UNESCO is also to promote interdisciplinary climate knowledge and scientific cooperation for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The strategy notably upholds the principles of respect for cultural diversity and cultural heritage conservation and is mindful of the need for inclusive social development, intercultural dialogue and gender equality principles in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Also concerning the natural sciences, Member States adopted 16 May as International Day of Light and asked the Director-General of UNESCO to support efforts to have the United Nations’ proclaim 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.

For the Communication and Information Sector, Member States reaffirmed UNESCO’s mandate to defend freedom of expression and access to information both on and off-line, as inalienable human rights. They also reaffirmed the importance of work to protect the safety of journalists with Member States and throughout the UN system, notably through the Organization’s leadership in the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

The General Conference also endorsed the Call for Action adopted at the end of the Quebec-UNESCO Conference, Internet and the radicalization of youth: preventing, acting and living together, co-organized by UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector. It furthermore mandated the Sector to continue working on a possible recommendation on Open Education Resources with a view to reinforcing international collaboration in this area.

As regards to education, the General Conference reaffirmed the Organization’s role in coordinating and monitoring progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’s Goal for education, SDG 4. It also mandated UNESCO to pursue work on the development of a Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications, to improve academic mobility, enhance international cooperation, and reinforce trust in higher education systems.

With regard to the Culture Sector, the General Conference revised the strategy it adopted two years ago for UNESCO’s work in protecting culture and cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict. The revised strategy now covers natural disasters alongside armed conflicts.

Member States also launched an Appeal on Protecting Culture and Promoting Cultural Pluralism as a key to lasting peace. The appeal calls for culture, cultural heritage and diversity to be factored into international humanitarian, security and peacebuilding policies and operations, building on UN Security Council Resolution 2347. The resolution, adopted in March this year, recognizes “attacks against sites and buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, or historic monuments may constitute, under certain circumstances and pursuant to international law, a war crime and perpetrators of such attacks must be brought to justice.”

The General Conference decided to allot an integrated budget of $1.2 billion to UNESCO for 2018-19. This includes a regular programme budget of $595.2 million as well as voluntary contributions for specific actions from both public and private sources.


Media contact: Clare Sharkey +33(0)145680431

Categories: News

La meilleure prévention contre le trafic illicite des biens culturels : la sensibilisation ! (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:50
illicittrafficworldheritage.jpg © UNESCO

Les 14 et 15 novembre 2017, se tient à Bandiagara au Mali, un atelier de renforcement des capacités et de sensibilisation à la lutte contre le trafic illicite des biens culturels (TIBC). Organisé au cœur du Pays Dogon, site classé sur la Liste du patrimoine mondial depuis 1989, cet événement est l’occasion d’inviter les communautés à prendre davantage conscience du danger qu’encourt l’art Dogon dans cette zone où le trafic est grandissant. Ainsi, le Bureau de l’UNESCO à Bamako s’associe à la Direction Nationale du Patrimoine Culturel pour perpétuer leur engagement à lutter contre ce fléau croissant en sensibilisant les acteurs concernés.


Cet atelier s’inscrit dans la Phase II du Plan d’action pour la réhabilitation du patrimoine culturel endommagé dans le nord Mali et répond à son Objectif 3 : « assurer le renforcement des capacités en vue de rétablir les conditions appropriées pour la conservation, l’entretien, la gestion et la protection du patrimoine culturel et la sauvegarde des manuscrits anciens » et plus particulièrement le renforcement de la lutte contre le TIBC. Il fait suite à l’atelier de Tombouctou en février dernier dont l’une des recommandations était la sensibilisation des parties prenantes au fléau du TIBC. Par ailleurs, cette rencontre fait également écho à la réunion régionale de Dakar, mettant en œuvre les recommandations qui en ont résulté, et encourageant notamment une meilleure prise de conscience de l’importance de la protection la conservation et la promotion du patrimoine culturel.

Entourés d’experts nationaux, seront entre autres présents à Bandiagara : représentants des communautés, forces de défense et de sécurité, antiquaires, gestionnaires de sites, associations à caractère culturel, agents de services techniques intervenant dans le domaine de la culture. Tous réunis pour réfléchir sur le phénomène de pillage et du TIBC et déterminer des pistes d’actions à mener au Mali et plus spécifiquement en Pays Dogon.


Pour plus d’informations :

Categories: News