As part of UNESCO’s efforts to promote gender equality, UNESCO GCC and Yemen Office will organize several events for International Women’s Day 2018.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year, a date recognized by the United Nations in 1975. UNESCO marks it as a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, and in particular as a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. This year’s theme is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.”
Gender equality is one of two global priorities within UNESCO’s overarching objectives of peace and equitable and sustainable development. In support for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 and as the global SDG4, UNESCO aims to empower learners to be creative and responsible global citizens. UNESCO also aims to foster social development and creativity, promote heritage and access to information, and strengthen science and innovation.
To mark the day this year, UNESCO GCC and Yemen Office will organize a number of events in Doha. Within the above context and given the importance of career guidance, UNESCO GCC and Yemen Office will bring recognized and experienced Qatari women to share their paths to success with Qatari youth in a select number of schools in Doha. On and around 8 March, these schools will host lectures by high-profile Qatari women in the field of culture, arts, science, sports, education and communication. The objective of these events is to provide an opportunity to expose young women to exciting careers and to mobilize young people on gender equality. Speakers have been invited from the Qatar Olympic Committee, the Qatar National Commission for UNESCO, Ooredoo, Qatar University, Qatar Business Incubation Center and the field of culture.
More than 1,000 students from the following participating schools are expected to participate in the celebration including from Al Maha Academy, Lycee Franco-Qatari Voltaire, Aisha Bint Abu Bakr Secondary School for Girls, Al Bayan Preparatory School for Girls and Qatar Academy.
In addition, together with the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies, UNESCO Doha will organize a special panel on 11 March, featuring women in diplomacy in Qatar. The contributions of women in sustaining peace, and in implementing Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace, and security will be highlighted. Ambassadors in Qatar who have unique and diverse experiences to share, ranging from influencing a ‘feminist foreign policy’ to strengthening dialogue between cultures to serving as Goodwill Ambassadors, will share their experiences and efforts in peace and security. The panel will include:
H. E. Lulwah Al Khater, Official spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, H.E. Ivonne A-Baki, Ambassador of Ecuador to Qatar and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, H.E. Ewa Polano, Ambassador of Sweden to Qatar, H.E. Fatma Mohammed Rajab, Ambassador of Tanzania to Qatar, H.E. Rossana Cecilia Surballe, Ambassador of Argentina to Qatar, and H.E. Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Qatar. This is a public event beginning at 6am at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.
A study of the marine invertebrates living in the seas around Antarctica reveals there will be more ‘losers’ than ‘winners’ over the next century as the Antarctic seafloor warms. The results are published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
A team at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) examined the potential impact of computer-produced warming scenarios on over 960 species of seafloor marine invertebrates with known habitats south of 40°S. Southern Ocean seafloor water temperatures are projected to warm by an average of 0.4°C over this century with some areas possibly increasing by as much as 2°C.
The scientists used marine biodiversity data from the Ocean Biogeographical Information System (OBIS), the world’s largest marine biodiversity database, coordinated by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). The team also used data from the Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean, put together by the Scientific Committee on Atlantic Research.
The team found that warming temperatures alone are unlikely to result in the wholesale extinction of the Antarctic seafloor life, or even mass invasion by foreign species. In fact, within the 21st century, some species will actually benefit from higher temperatures. But the good news stops here.
The overall picture is much less rosy. 79% of Antarctica’s unique species will face a significant reduction in suitable temperature habitat. These species will have on average 12% less area where conditions allow them to survive and breed.
The scientific findings highlight the species and regions most likely to respond significantly (negatively and positively) to warming, and therefore have important implications for future management of the region’s ecosystems.
To produce the warming climate scenarios, scientists relied on 19 climate models of mean seafloor temperatures for 2099, developed under the auspices of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The most extreme of all the climate scenarios accounted for a continued rise in greenhouse gas emissions throughout the 21st century.
Reference: Griffiths, Huw J., Andrew JS Meijers, and Thomas J. Bracegirdle. "More losers than winners in a century of future Southern Ocean seafloor warming." https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3377.
For more information, please contact:
Ward Appeltans (w.appeltans(at)unesco.org)
Only 44% of countries have made full legal commitments through international treaties to the cause of gender parity in education, according to this year’s Gender Review, published by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report on 8 March, International Women’s Day. This is the key finding of its sixth annual Review, which surveyed 189 States to assess whether they ensured that girls and women fully benefit from the right to education.
“In 1990, the world committed to admitting equal numbers of boys and girls into primary school by 2005. Since then we have set ourselves a more ambitious set of gender equality targets with a deadline of 2030, but we must not forget that, despite considerable progress, one in three countries have yet to achieve the original goal,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.
“All of us – from governments to teachers, communities and families – have a role to play in pushing for change when discrimination arises,” added Azoulay.
The Review, produced with the support of United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), looks at the causes of slow progress towards gender equality in education, and how such issues may be addressed. Recalling countries’ legal commitments to the right to education for girls and women through international treaties, it focuses on three: the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention against Discrimination in Education (CADE), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Seven countries had not fully ratified the conventions.
“Having a signature on an international treaty does not always guarantee strong gender equality in education. The treaties do, however, provide a possible path for governments to be held to account, and should be considered an important measure of commitment to the rights of girls and women,” said Manos Antoninis, Director of the GEM Report.
Governments need to adopt laws and policies that remove obstacles preventing girls from attending school and enjoying equal treatment in the classroom, according to the Review, which calls on people to join the GEM Report campaign: #WhosAccountable.
In many countries, laws – especially those that permit early marriage or allow schools to exclude pregnant girls – act as barriers to education. According to a 2016 Human Rights Watch (HRW) study, Tanzania routinely tests girls for pregnancy, expelling more than 8,000 who test positive annually. Twenty countries, which have ratified the CEDAW, have expressed reservations on the article regarding child marriage, turning a blind eye to forced marriage and the denial of the right to education for girls.
The Review reports that 34% of countries have not achieved parity in primary, 55% in lower secondary, and 75% in upper secondary. It highlights a wide range of measures to remove barriers to education for girls and to hold governments to account for gender inequalities. These include periodic review of curricula, textbooks and teacher training programmes; adequate school infrastructure including single sex sanitation facilities; increased representation of women in education leadership positions; stronger policies to tackle school-related gender based violence, and establishing codes of conduct for students and teachers.
Media contact: Sarah Barden, +33 (0) 1 45 68 05 75 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, the Gender Review can be downloaded here.
#WhosAccountable campaign spreads the word that only 55% of countries allow their citizens to take their government to court over violations to the right to education.
Set to map the entirety of the global ocean floor by 2030, the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project has started operations, based on a seed money pledge of US$2 million-per-year from the Japan-based Nippon Foundation.
Officially launched during the United Nations Ocean Conference (5-9 June 2017) in New York, the project draws on the experience of international organizations and mapping experts under the coordination of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).
Having a comprehensive map of the ocean floor could assist global efforts to combat pollution, aid marine conservation, forecast tsunami wave propagation, and help inform the study of tides and wave action. It could also help in search and rescue operations, as in the disappearance of the MH370 Malaysian Airlines flight in March 2014.
Despite its obvious useful applications, detailed bathymetric data – the topography of the ocean floor – is still missing for much of the global ocean. More than 85% of the world ocean floor remains unmapped with modern mapping methods, and by any technological standards we know more about Mars than we do about the depths of the ocean.
The Seabed 2030 Project will make a significant contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: ‘to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’ as well as to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, proclaimed last December by the General Assembly.
“Between 2021 and 2030, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is set to provide a collective framework to bolster investments in ocean science and technology. Mapping the world’s ocean floor is expected to be a major achievement of this global partnership,” highlighted Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC Executive Secretary.
At a special event on 20 February in Tokyo, the Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, Mr Yohei Sasakawa, announced that the Seabed 2030 project is fully operational. He called for the “support of a large number of stakeholders, including world-leading technical experts. It is crucially important that the maritime community comes together to achieve this important goal,” particularly via financial commitments to expand the seed money pledged by the Nippon Foundation.
A panel of leading ocean-mapping experts under the IOC-IHO General Bathymetric Chair of the Oceans (GEBCO) participated in the Tokyo announcement event, including GEBCO Guiding Committee Chairman, Shin Tani, and Vice Chairman, Professor Martin Jakobsson. They emphasized that understanding the bathymetry of the global ocean is imperative, not only for improving maritime navigation, but also for enhancing our ability to predict climate change and monitor marine biodiversity and resources.
The Tokyo event introduced the Seabed 2030’s first Director, Mr. Satinder Bindra. Mr. Bindra, a former international journalist, will bring a wealth of experience to the project from previous positions at the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment, where he promoted key environmental initiatives and sustainable development. He will lead and coordinate the efforts of the international project team.
Mr. Bindra noted that “since its launch, the project has made rapid progress, drawing on the experience of some 28 international organizations and networks spread across more than 50 countries.” He further presented the project’s roadmap prepared by a team of renowned ocean mapping experts, and a structure based on four Regional Centers, each with responsibility for a region of the world’s ocean, and a Global Center tasked with producing the global map.
Regional Centers will be hosted by academic and research institutions in Germany, New Zealand, the United States, and Sweden, focusing on specific ocean basins. The Global Center, which is responsible for centralized data management and products, is based at the UK National Oceanography Center, Southampton.
In his concluding remarks at the Tokyo event, Mr Bindra stressed: “This is a challenging opportunity to build a global common good and do something meaningful for our future generations… As we strengthen our cooperation, we will deepen our understanding of the oceans and enhance our ability to map the remaining 85% of the ocean floor much faster than ever before.’’
The General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) partners with the Nippon Foundation in the Seabed 2030 Project. GEBCO is a joint project of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO – the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is the only organization with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor. It has its origins in the GEBCO chart series initiated in 1903 by Prince Albert I of Monaco and aims to provide the most authoritative, publicly-available bathymetric datasets for the world’s oceans.
The Nippon Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation, was established in 1962 for the purpose of carrying out philanthropic activities, using revenue from motorboat racing. The Foundation’s overall objectives include social innovation, assistance for humanitarian activities and global ocean management. Its philanthropic ideals embrace social development and self-sufficiency, and it pursues these principles by working to improve public health and education, alleviate poverty, eliminate hunger and help the disabled.
For more information, please contact:
Tetsushi Komatsu (t.komatsu(at)unesco.org)
In a bid to strengthen higher education systems in Africa, UNESCO launched the project “Strengthening Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa” in The Gambia on Friday 16th February 2018. It was held as a prelude to a training workshop that will develop the capacity of both the Ministry of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology (MoHERST) and the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Agency (NAQAA) in order to establish a standard qualifications assurance framework.
In Africa, the main challenges for the development of higher education are funding and technical expertise to conduct quality assurance activities for the evaluation, accreditation and recognition of higher education programmes and institutions.
The Gambia has seen a rapid increase in the number of higher and tertiary institutions in recent years, most of which are led by the private sector. This raises a lot of questions with regard to regulation that can place them in a framework for quality assurance – something that has already been identified as a challenge in the country’s education sector policy. At the same time, there is also a mismatch between the labour market and the types of training offered by most institutions. Higher education institutions are also concentrated in the greater Banjul area, reducing opportunities for students in rural areas.
Nonetheless, there has been a strong commitment from the government to promote higher education, as well as growing support from international organizations in this area. As a regulatory body, NAQAA is gradually being strengthened, training content and curricula are being reviewed, with institutions responding very positively to these efforts made to strengthen quality assurance.
To overcome these critical problems, UNESCO launched in 2017 the project "Strengthening Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa" to be implemented until 2020 in ten African countries. Following the launch of the project in Senegal and Togo, the official launch ceremony in The Gambia was held as a prelude to a training workshop for MoHERST and NAQAA.
According to the Permanent Secretary of MoHERST, the project is a “shining example” of South-South Cooperation, with the focus institutional capacity building in quality assurance being particularly crucial for NAQAA, which was established under MoHERST in 2015: “The NAQAA Act of 2015 and the Tertiary and Higher Education Policy 2014-2023 will serve as the legal instruments to guide the implementation of the Project. I trust these instruments are robust enough to meet the challenges of implementation.”
Ms. Salmon from UNESCO stated that the expansion of higher education is happening in a context of internationalization and regional integration dynamics: “This expansion not only seeks to promote the mobility of students and teachers to meet specific learning and training needs, but also the acquisition of experiences outside their countries of origin and the strengthening of regional identity.”
Through this project, financed by Shenzhen Municipal Government in the People's Republic of China, UNESCO Dakar is supporting West African countries in the implementation of quality assurance activities in higher education. In Mali and Niger, the Office's mission is to support the creation of national quality assurance agencies and it will support the institutional capacity building of quality assurance agencies recently established in The Gambia and Senegal. It will also monitor the effective implementation of the project in the four beneficiary countries as part of one wider initiative.
Strengthening Higher Education Systems in Africa: https://en.unesco.org/themes/higher-education/quality-assurance-africa
Addis Ababa Convention: http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=49282&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
Higher Education at the UNESCO Office in Dakar: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/dakar/education/higher-education/
Quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) has the power to transform children’s lives. It can contribute to greater efficiency in education and health systems and a better skilled workforce. Attention to early childhood can also help build more equal and inclusive societies by providing excluded and disadvantaged children with a strong foundation in lifelong learning, and throughout their lives.
The right time is now
Early childhood is the time when promoting gender equality and a culture of peace makes a true difference, as the pace of brain development is at its peak. When children are exposed to values and attitudes that support gender equality and peace at an early age, they are likely to hold them in later stages in life.
“Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.” (Gabriela Mistral) Investing in ECCE is fundamental to the attainment of the Education 2030 Agenda, and the greater United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda.
The inclusion of ECCE in Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) as Target 4.2 recognizes the untapped potential of quality ECCE for individuals and societies and urges countries to “ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that children are ready for primary education" by 2030.
In 2007, UNESCO reminded the international community that half of the countries in the world did not have ECCE policies for children under three years old. Progress has been made on pre-school enrolment in many countries but more work is needed to make ECCE central to education systems and realize its tremendous societal benefits.
UNESCO has partnered with the French National Commission for UNESCO to organise the International Symposium “Early Childhood Care and Education: Cradle for Social Cohesion” being held on 5 to 6 March 2018 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The Symposium reflects UNESCO’s commitment to expand and improve ECCE globally. It builds on the momentum set by the international community for ECCE and increases countries’ awareness about the role of quality ECCE in fostering social cohesion.
The Symposium strengthens the international knowledge and evidence base on good ECCE policies and practices. It also aims to stimulate countries in integrating ECCE, in particular in their implementation of SDG target 4.5 (Inequalities in education), SDG target 4.7 (education for sustainable development, peace and human rights education), and the 2017 UN Resolution on the Declaration and Programme for a Culture of Peace, which sets ECCE as an essential strategy for peace building.
As the lead agency for the coordination of the Education 2030 Agenda, UNESCO promotes inclusion in education through holistic and quality ECCE for all children over the age of 3. UNESCO works on policy and the development of good practice, including in the area of teacher development with the Survey of Teachers in Pre-primary Education (STEPP) project.