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Working Meeting between the Director-General and Members of the Arab Group of UNESCO

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 18:54
unesco-entrance.jpg © UNESCO 12 January 2018UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with the members of the Arab Group of UNESCO (Group Vb), on 12 January 2018.    The Director-General commended the support of the Arab Group and its active participation in UNESCO’s activities both at the regional and international levels. She expressed her willingness to deepen UNESCO’s cooperation with the States of the Arab Group.   During the meeting, the Chairperson of the Arab Group and Permanent Delegate of Libya to UNESCO, Mr Abdulkader El Maleh, highlighted the Organization’s key role, especially in a region affected by massive destruction of cultural heritage and the rise of violent extremism.
Categories: News

Working meeting between the Director-General and the Bureau of Central and Eastern European Group

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 11:24
unesco-globe-flags.jpg © UNESCO 12 January 2018

On 11 January 2018, UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with the Chairperson of the Central and Eastern European Group to UNESCO (Group II), Alexander Kuznetsov, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation, and the Vice-Chairperson of the Group, Darko Tanaskovic, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Serbia.

The Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson recalled the need to continue UNESCO's reform and restore financial stability that is essential to the efficiency of the Organization and the implementation of its programmes. They also underlined the importance of setting clear programmatic priorities and mobilizing new sources of funding in this context.

The Director-General and the members of the Bureau of Group II also agreed on the need to increase the visibility of UNESCO across the world and to strengthen its role as an intellectual platform reflecting on new and emerging challenges in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.

Categories: News

Working meeting between the Director-General and Members of the Bureau of Western European and North American States of UNESCO

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 17:05
unesco-flags.jpg © UNESCO 11 January 2018

On 10 January 2018, UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with a delegation from the Western European and North American States Group (Group I) chaired by Matthew Lodge, Permanent Delegate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to UNESCO.

The Director-General reiterated her commitment to strengthening the management, effeciency and transparency of UNESCO, along with her intention to present concrete measures in this regard at the next session of the Executive Board. Referring to the political challenges facing the Organization, she expressed the need to return to dialogue and build consensus among Member States.

The Chairperson of Group I underscored the need to focus UNESCO's programmes and activities in areas where the Organization has added-value within the UN system and to integrate the reform of the Organization into the broader framework of the reform of the United Nations initiated by the UN Secretary-General.

Ms Azoulay and Mr Lodge agreed also on the importance of mobilizing the Organization's rich network of partners in the implementation of its mandate, including UNESCO’s National Commissions.

 

Categories: News

Working meeting between the Director-General and Members of the Bureau of the Asia-Pacific Group of UNESCO (ASPAC)

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:25
unesco-entrance.jpg © UNESCO 11 January 2018

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, met with the members of the Asia-Pacific Group of UNESCO (ASPAC) on 9 January 2018, to exchange views on issues of common interest, including the reform of the Organization.

The Director-General underlined the importance of dialogue with the representatives of the electoral groups, and took the opportunity to reiterate her commitment to working closely with Member States to take forward UNESCO's mission.

The Chairperson of ASPAC, Mr Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Thailand to UNESCO, highlighted UNESCO’s relevance particularly in the struggle against the consequences of climate change and in preventing violent extremism. He recalled the diversity and dynamism of the region within the framework of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Categories: News

Education 2030: Funding sustainable lifelong learning systems in Francophone countries

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:51
childrenvictimsmaliancrisisliteracytimbuktu.jpg © UNESCO

Organized by the Conference of Education Ministers of Francophonie member states and governments (CONFEMEN) and hosted by the Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research of Morocco, an international seminar on education financing took place from 5-7 December 2017 in Rabat, Morocco. The event meeting brought together close to 200 participants including Education Ministers, development partners, the private sector, civil society representatives and international organizations to reflect on education financing and propose relevant solutions in view of strengthening and improving education funding mechanisms towards national implementation of SDG4-Education 2030.

The seminar stimulated reflection and discussion on innovative internal and external education financing in a context of scarce resources, insecurity, high population growth of developing countries, massive and uncontrolled youth migration towards developed countries, high youth unemployment and underemployment, poverty and climate change. Against this backdrop the focus was on the changing landscape of education towards the vision of Education 2030 which calls for sustainable lifelong learning systems.

UNESCO participated actively in the seminar and facilitated the panel on increasing domestic resources allocated to education with a diverse panel representing different education stakeholders, and focusing on the leverages and leeway available to French-speaking countries, especially those of the South, to increase their domestic resources needed to implement SDG4.

UNESCO Dakar and its International Institute for Educational Planning through the Pole de Dakar, also represented the Education Systems’ Strengthening Task Team of the Regional Coordination Group on SDG4 (RCG4). The Task team will be jointly organizing a side-event during the GPE replenishment conference in February 2018 on funding education in West and Central Africa.

More information:

« Appel de Rabat » : Les ministres de la CONFEMEN incitent à agir en urgence pour renforcer le financement de l’éducation

Séminaire sur le financement de l’Éducation : Mettre en œuvre des mécanismes innovants pour financer les systèmes éducatifs

Categories: News

UN urges Comprehensive Approach to Sexuality Education

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:35
10 January 2018

Close to 10 years after its first edition, a fully updated International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education published today by UNESCO advocates quality comprehensive sexuality education to promote health and well-being, respect for human rights and gender equality, and empowers children and young people to lead healthy, safe and productive lives.

“Based on the latest scientific evidence, the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education reaffirms the position of sexuality education within a framework of human rights and gender equality,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “It promotes structured learning about sexuality and relationships in a manner that is positive and centred on the best interest of the young person. By outlining the essential components of effective sexuality education programmes, the Guidance enables national authorities to design comprehensive curricula that will have a positive impact on young people’s health and well-being.”

The Technical Guidance is designed to assist education policy makers in all countries design accurate and age-appropriate curricula for children and young people aged 5 – 18+.

Based on a review of the current status of sexuality education around the world and drawing on best practices in the various regions, the Guidance notably demonstrates that sexuality education:

  •  helps young people become more responsible in their attitude and behaviour regarding sexual and reproductive health
  • is essential to combat the school dropout of girls due to early or forced marriage, teenage pregnancy and sexual and reproductive health issues
  • is necessary because in some parts of the world, two out of three girls reported having no idea of what was happening to them when they began menstruating and pregnancy and childbirth complications are the second cause of death among 15 to 19-year olds
  • does not increase sexual activity, sexual risk-taking behaviour, or STI/HIV infection rates. It also presents evidence showing that abstinence-only programmes fail to prevent early sexual initiation, or reduce the frequency of sex and number of partners among the young.

 The publication identifies an urgent need for quality comprehensive sexuality education to:

  • provide information and guidance to young people about the transition from childhood to adulthood and the physical, social and emotional challenges they face.
  • tackle the challenges posed by sexual and reproductive health issues, which are particularly difficult during puberty, including access to contraception, early pregnancy, gender-based violence, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV and AIDS
  • raise awareness of HIV prevention and transmission, of which only 34 per cent of young people around the world can demonstrate accurate knowledge
  • complement or counter the large body of material of variable quality that young people find on the internet, and help them face increasingly common instances of cyberbullying.

The Guidance was produced in collaboration with UNAIDS, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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 Media Contact: George Papagiannis, UNESCO Media Section, g.papagiannis@unesco.org +33(0)145681706

Categories: News

UNESCO consults with participants of the Internet Governance Forum 2017 on the Internet Universality indicators

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:27
news_100118_igf_iu.jpg © UNESCO/Zhaocan Li 10 January 2018

As part of the second phase of its project to define Internet Universality indicators, UNESCO presented the first draft Internet indicators during a consultation session held on 20 December, 2017 at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Guy Berger, UNESCO's Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, opened the roundtable mentioning that this project “aims to identify constructive ways to improve national Internet environments and promote an Internet that is based on human Rights, that it is Open and Accessible to all and that is nurtured by Multistakeholder participation”. Based on the concept of Internet Universality and the related R-O-A-M principles adopted in 2015 by UNESCO Member States, the indicators’ project is a “step forward to support governments and other stakeholders assess and improve their national Internet environments”, he added.

David Souter, representing the Consortium led by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), then presented the project and released the first draft Internet Universality indicators. This framework includes qualitative, quantitative and institutional indicators. “The draft indicators were developed through an extensive programme of desk research and consultation. The online consultation platform attracted more than 165 participants and 25 face-to-face consultations were also held in 22 countries”. Anriette Esterhuysen (APC) added that “we are trying to encourage the practice of always gathering data around the Internet and making sure this data is aggregated”.

Different contributors to the project – among whom Prof Xue Hong (China Normal University), Stephen Wyber (IFLA), Dorothy Gordon (UNESCO IFAP Chair on Information Literacy), Jasmina Byrne (UNICEF) and Raul Echeberria (ISOC) – then took the floor and discussed the five categories of indicators (Rights, Openness, Accessibility, Multistakeholder participation and crosscutting issues).

Stephen Wyber from IFLA talked about Accessibility indicators, referring to “information poverty, culture, people with disabilities, local content and services”. Jasmina Byrne from UNICEF proposed to develop indicators that would distinguish children from the youth as “there rights are distinctly guaranteed by different conventions and as they engage differently on the Internet”.

Participants were then consulted on the draft indicators and discussed about “the challenges to collect data in some countries”, the formulation of a “common and open methodology to implement the indicators” and the relevance of adding more indicators about people with disabilities.

Guy Berger closed the session saying that this draft framework of indicators will be improved after the second phase of the consultation in March 2018. The indicators will then be pre-tested and pilots will be done in different countries before being submitting to UNESCO Member States in November 2018.

In this second consultation, stakeholders are invited to review the first draft indicators document by 15 March 2018. All submissions should be sent via email (internetstudy@unesco.org), and/or through an online submission platform to be available in the six UN official languages in late December 2017.

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is leading the work on the project for UNESCO and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Internet Society (ISOC) are supporting the project.

Categories: News

UNESCO advocates for a human rights-based approach on big data and artificial intelligence at the Internet Governance Forum 2017

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:21
news_100118_igf.jpg UNESCO representative Xianhong Hu moderating the debate on the implications of big data and artificial intelligence at the Internet Governance Forum 2017.© UNESCO/Zhaocan Li 10 January 2018

“As big data and artificial intelligence are in constant progression, we need privacy and data protection more than ever to ensure that these technologies benefit us all in building inclusive Knowledge Societies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”.

UNESCO held a session on 21 December 2017 on the implications of big data and artificial intelligence in building inclusive Knowledge Societies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals at the Internet Governance Forum in Geneva, Switzerland.

UNESCO representative, Xianhong Hu, opened the debate stating that “new technologies involving artificial intelligence and big data are rapidly evolving, constantly reshaping our understandings of access to information." Reaffirming the importance of these technologies for human development, Xianhong Hu also insisted on "the crucial need to develop them along the values of UNESCO’s concept of Internet Universality which include human rights, openness, accessibility and multistakeholder participation".

Big data and open data are indeed evolving and contested concepts, as is the significance of the phenomena they point to. Debates exist over issues such as ownership, accountability and transparency, as well as human rights, evolving techniques, novel applications, reuse and interoperability of data. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly progressing. Intelligent machines are gaining the ability to communicate without human mediation via the Internet of things, learn, improve and make calculated decisions in ways that will enable them to perform tasks previously thought to rely solely on human skill and learning, raising issues for the future of learning and creativity.

Mila Romanoff from United Nations Global Pulse, a special initiative of the Secretary General on big data and artificial intelligence, said that “big data and artificial intelligence can be very valuable in understanding people’s needs, especially in times of humanitarian crisis. At the same time, these new technologies can present some risks, particularly in terms of privacy and data protection”.

In line with the previous speaker, Sophie Kwasny from the Council of Europe said that "the potential benefits of big data and artificial intelligence for humankind are huge. Great challenges also come with them, especially regarding human rights. At the Council of Europe, we are working on modernizing our 1981 Convention on the subject, including for example a right not to be subject to a decision solely based on the automatic processing of data".

Nanjira Sambuli from the Web Foundation then cautioned about “all the hope we may want to place in what big data and artificial intelligence will do for those who have been left behind traditionally. These technologies can be very harmful too, they can represent tools of oppression and further divides”. Nanjira Sambuli then concluded her presentation saying that “no technology will make up for the lack of political or social will to actually ensure human rights."

Tijani Ben Jemaa from ICANN/ FMAI addressed the data protection side of the debate and talked about how data can be collected, processed and analyzed to improve the quality of everyone’s life. In this sense, big data can be “a source of innovation and growth”. He then talked about how, at the same time, “collected data can be used for personal attacks, for business hijacking, for political interests, they can be sold, they may be used against us without our knowledge”. Hence the need to protect data with other technologies, with legal tools and digital literacy.

Frits Bussemaker, Chair of the Institute for Accountability and Internet Democracy said that “we talk about consent, about ethics, about values. But the translations and definitions of those differ from countries and cultures. We therefore need a law for the Internet and we need to make those who are collecting and using data accountable”.

Other participants talked about the misuse of data for oppression purposes, data leaks, as well as data and information literacy and the development of guidelines. Xianhong Hu concluded the session inviting all present stakeholders to consult UNESCO’s ongoing work to promote Internet Freedom and to define Internet Universality indicators.

Categories: News

Creation of the “UNESCO - POSCO 1 % Foundation” Fund

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 13:49
dg-aa-posco-agreement.jpg © UNESCO/Christelle ALIX 10 January 2018

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, and Jeong-shik Kwak, Director-General of the South Korean Conglomerate “POSCO 1% Foundation”, signed a partnership framework agreement on 8 January 2018, establishing the “UNESCO-POSCO 1% Foundation” Fund.

The Fund will provide USD 900,000 over the next three years to carry out common projects in the fields of culture and education. 

The Director-General of UNESCO thanked Jeong-shik Kwak for his active support to the Organization’s work and underscored that this agreement represents an important contribution to UNESCO’s broader efforts in education and culture to move forward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for which she highlighted the crucial role of the private sector.

Established in 2013 by the South Korean Conglomerate POSCO, “POSCO 1% Foundation” supports philanthropic projects focusing on local communities, rising generations, green planet issues, diversity and cultural heritage.  The Foundation is operated by a Fund to which employees, affiliate companies and outsourcing companies share 1% of their salary for philanthropic projects.

Categories: News

Director-General condemns killing of journalist Souhaib al-Hiti in Iraq

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:05
06 June 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the attack that killed broadcast journalist Souhaib al-Hiti and at least 16 other people on 30 May in the city of Heet in Iraq’s Anbar province.

Al-Hiti was a freelancer for the TV network Asiasat. He was covering a candlelit vigil for the victims of a car bomb attack that exploded in Baghdad on 29 May when he was killed by a suicide bomber.

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

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray@unesco.org, +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 denounces murder of citizen journalist Luís Gustavo da Silva in Brazil

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 14:54
22 June 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, denounced today the killing of blogger Luís Gustavo da Silva in the northeast of Brazil on 14 June.

Two assailants killed Luís Gustavo da Silva, author of the blog De Olho em Aquiraz, near his house in the coastal town of Aquiraz. Da Silva had reported on local issues, as well as crime, national politics and entertainment.

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

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray@unesco.org, +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

UNESCO Director-General and France’s Sport Minister issue joint declaration against racism in Sport

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 18:10
08 January 2018

Paris, 08 Janaury, The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, and the French Minister of Sport, Laura Flessel, condemned the racist slurs that clouded the world of football over the weekend.

“Racism has no place on the playing fields of sport or outside them. We condemn without reserve the racist slurs directed at Blaise Matuidi, who plays for the Juventus Football Club of Turin and for France’s National Team. We denounce all the racist acts that regularly mar sporting events around the world. Sport must remain a vector of excellence, mutual understanding and tolerance. Nothing can justify the use of sport to fuel hatred, discrimination and rejection.”

UNESCO and Juventus Football Club have been partners in the fight against racism since 2014. UNESCO’s 2015 report, Colour? What Colour? takes stock of the situation in both amateur and professional football with recommendations for future action. The Gioca con me initiative furthermore enables children from underprivileged backgrounds to take part in an annual training programme operated by the Juventus Academy.

On this occasion, France and UNESCO reiterate their commitment to support the values of tolerance in and through sport. France is also actively engaged in the work of the International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS), organized by UNESCO. The country intends to play a leading role in the implementation of the Action Plan adopted at the latest session, MINEPS VI, with a view to reinforcing sport education policies, the fight against doping and the transmission of the values of respect, ahead of its hosting of the 2024 Olympic Games.

“People are not born racist, they become racist. Millions of passionate people follow sport and football whose purpose is to bring out what is best in us, and serve education for tolerance and respect. We call on all those responsible for sport policy at all levels to rally around this important cause,” the Minister and the Director-General declared.

 

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More about UNESCO and sport :

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/physical-education-and-sport/

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/physical-education-and-sport/about-physical-education-and-sport/

 

Media Contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Media Section +33 (0) 1 45 68 1764, a.bardon@unesco.org

 

 

 

Categories: News

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