The Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and UNESCO signed a new agreement this week to supplement the financing of UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) with US$2 million.
“More than ever, we need to respond quickly and efficiently to assess, secure and safeguard threatened heritage, said UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay “The Heritage Emergency Fund is a key tool for doing this and I see this renewed contribution by QFFD as a call to the international community to join forces with UNESCO in this regard.”
H.E. Khalifa Bin Jassim Al Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar Fund for Development, joined Audrey Azoulay, at the signing ceremony, which took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. This latest installment of US $2 million follows an earlier QFFD contribution of an equal amount, as part of a pledge Qatar made at the 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha in June 2014. On that occasion, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister, committed a total of US $10 million to support and strengthen UNESCO's ability to preserve cultural and natural heritage in areas that may be vulnerable to disasters or may be affected by armed conflict.
“The initial contribution by the Qatar Fund for Development towards the Heritage Emergency Fund and the continued funding of this instrument reaffirms Qatar's commitment to protecting and preserving the heritage of the world. We hope this donation will act as a catalyst that will trigger further contributions by other donors,” affirmed H.E. Khalifa Bin Jassim Al Kuwari.
UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund is a multi-donor fund established in 2015 as a pooled, non-earmarked funding mechanism that gives UNESCO flexibility to respond quickly and effectively to crises to ensure safeguarding of cultural heritage.
To date, it has been used for activities related to the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the earthquakes in Ecuador, Myanmar, Nepal and Iran, the hurricanes Matthew in Haiti and Irma in the Caribbean, as well as the floods caused by El Nino in Peru. Activities implemented range from rapid damage assessment and urgent safeguarding interventions to capacity building of professionals and the development of innovative partnerships.
Other donors that have joined the initiative include Norway, Canada, the Principality of Monaco, the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Republic of Estonia, the Slovak Republic, the Principality of Andorra, ANA Holdings Inc. and individual donors.
“On Air with Rural Women” will be inaugurated in Salle Miro on 8 March, 2018, to coincide with International Women’s Day. The exhibition built around real-life radio broadcasts gathered from local stations in 10 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Through audio, video and creative installations, the exhibition will present powerful stories of rural women benefiting from UNESCO’s “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” project.
Women are twice as likely as men to be illiterate, and rural women are especially at risk. Globally, only 39% of rural girls attend secondary school, and they often suffer from lower levels of civic integration and access to information, as well as exclusion from decision-making circles.
Radio often represents one of the only ways that these isolated communities can access information and engage in public debate and discussion. The inclusion of women's voices and gender-related issues on the air has the power to promote women’s empowerment by breaking the circle of inequality and dependence.
Following the training activities offered by UNESCO through the project, radio staff are better able to cover and confront gender issues through their programming, and the representation of women on-air is improved.
“After attending UNESCO trainings, I always mind the language I use while on air. It should not be demeaning to women or men,” said Prossy Nantume, a reporter from Mama FM in Uganda. “I ensure that both men and women benefit from the program by including the voices of both.”
Listener groups targeting rural women are one of the ways that supported local radio stations are increasing media and information literacy amongst women.
In Rwanda, Radio Isangano has helped create listener groups comprised of women farmers to better include women’s voices in public debate and promote healthy gender portrayals on air.
The “On Air with Rural Women” exhibition will be displayed in Salle Miró at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris until the 16th of March.
All materials featured in the exhibition were collected through UNESCO’s "Empowering Local Radio with ICTs" project, supported by Sweden, which aims to build the capacity of local radio to provide marginalized populations, particularly in remote and poor areas, with reliable and quality access to information on topics that affect their lives. By addressing gender equality, UNESCO is helping to empower women and forward gender equality in order to promote the autonomy of women, as in line with SDG 5.
For more information on how UNESCO is celebrating International Women's Day, click here.
The 2017 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize will be awarded to the CLIx programme (India) and the GENIE programme (Morocco) during a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters on 7 March (12 noon to 1pm, Room I). Founded in 2005, the Prize recognizes two outstanding projects that make innovative use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education.
Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, and Jawad bin Salem Al Arrayed, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, will open the award ceremony.
This year’s edition is dedicated to the “use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to increase access to quality education,” with a view to promoting innovations in leveraging ICTs for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for education, SDG 4.
Both projects were designated on the recommendation of an international jury. Each winner will receive a monetary award (USD 25,000) and a diploma.
Prior to the Award Ceremony, a Laureates’ Seminar will be organized from 10:00 to 11:30 in Room IV to present the two-prize winning projects.
CLIx (The Connected Learning Initiative), India
The CLIX programme developed by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, leverages ICTs to improve the chances of students from underserved communities to access secondary and higher education in India. It provides high quality platform-based, blended learning experiences in three languages: Hindi, Telugu and English. So far, the programme has reached 478 State high schools, 1,767 teachers and 46,420 students in four Indian States.
Through a multi-stakeholder partnership, the programme brings together universities, foundations and local governments to tackle the challenge of improving the quality of education, particularly in STEM education. It has designed a blended teaching and learning process that is accessible with basic digital devices and low internet connectivity. The blended learning is supported by quality open source digital educational materials developed in cooperation with respective partners. Over 15 blended learning modules in mathematics, science, English and digital literacy in three languages are offered. Data on online learning has been tracked and processed to assess the project results and promote evidence-based decision-making for national and local governments. The programme also prioritizes teachers’ engagement and professional development with appropriate incentive mechanism.
Launched in 2005, GENIE is a large-scale, long-term national policy and initiative developed and implemented by the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research of Morocco. It aims to incorporate ICT to improve access to, and quality of, education in primary and secondary schools. It incorporates key pillars for an effective national ICT in education policy such as infrastructure, teacher training, development of digital resources and transformation of teaching and learning practices.
It has provided infrastructure, digital devices and internet connectivity to more than 10,000 schools, and has promoted pedagogical innovations by providing more than 300,000 teachers and school administrators across the country with in-service training. It fosters the creative use of ICT to ensure an inclusive access to quality education in every school in the country and covers the four main languages used in education (Amazigh, Arabic, English and French). It has contributed to the increase of school enrollment in the country to 95% and works to increase its implementation so as to reduce the school dropout rate by 53%.
The holistic approach to the planning of the policy has contributed to the sustainability of the large-scale national programme and has catalyzed significant changes in Morocco’s educational system. GENIE places great emphasis on the initial training of teacher (ITT), ensuring that new teachers acquire the necessary competencies to incorporate ICT in their practice effectively. The provision of digital educational resources in four languages has ensured universal access to digital resources through a national ICT in education online platforms.
For press accreditation to cover the event contact: Djibril Kebe, UNESCO Media Section— email@example.com , +33 (0)1 45 68 17 41
To interview the laureates or H.E. Jawad bin Salem Al Arrayed, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, please contact: Laetitia Kaci, UNESCO Media Section—firstname.lastname@example.org
Le Directeur général adjoint de l’UNESCO, M. Getachew Engida a procédé au lancement officiel d’un projet visant à accroitre les connaissances disponibles sur le lac Tchad, restaurer les zones humides, réhabiliter les corridors de migration de la faune sauvage, et promouvoir les activités génératrices de revenus durables le 26 février 2018 à Abuja (Nigeria), lors de la Conférence internationale sur le lac Tchad. Le lancement du projet BIOsphère et PArimoine du Lac Tchad (BIOPALT)a réuni plus de 150 personnes constituées des représentants des cinq pays bénéficiaires du projet - Cameroun, Niger, Nigéria, République centrafricaine et Tchad ainsi que de leurs partenaires du développement. La société civile, les communautés locales et les peuples autochtones étaient également représentés et se sont réjouis de leur implication et du principe du projet BIOPALT qui ne veut « rien faire pour les communautés sans les communautés ».
Le projet BIOPALT vise à renforcer les capacités des États membres de la Commission du bassin du lac Tchad (CBLT) à sauvegarder et gérer durablement les ressources hydrologiques, biologiques et culturelles du bassin du lac Tchad, afin de contribuer à la réduction de la pauvreté et de promouvoir la paix. Le projet comporte une large gamme d’activités allant de la mise en place d’un système d’alerte précoce aux sécheresses et aux inondations à la restauration d’écosystèmes dégradés comme des habitats d’éléphants et de la vache Koury (espèce endémique emblématique jouant un rôle important dans la cohésion sociale) tout en accordant une attention particulière aux activités génératrices de revenus à travers la promotion de l’économie verte et la valorisation des ressources naturelles du bassin. Le projet mettra notamment l’accent sur l’accompagnent des Etats à la préparation d’un dossier de création d’une réserve de biosphère transfrontière dans le bassin et d’une proposition d’inscription du lac comme site du patrimoine mondial. D’une durée de trois ans , il est financé par la Banque africaine de développement pour un montant total de 6 456 000 $ US et mis en œuvre dans une approche multisectorielle, impliquant l’ensemble des secteurs de l'UNESCO au siège et sur le terrain.
Dans ses mots d’introduction, le Ministre fédéral des Ressources en eau du Nigeria, M. Suleiman Adamu a salué l’initiative du projet BIOPALT qui arrive à point nommé, selon lui, eu égard aux problématiques environnementales majeures auxquelles le lac est confronté. Il a formulé le souhait que le projet puisse contribuer efficacement à l’amélioration des conditions de vie des communautés locales riveraines confrontées à une situation de pauvreté extrême exacerbée par l’assèchement du lac.
M. Engida a souligné que le lac Tchad était en première ligne dans la lutte contre le changement climatique. Il a mis en avant la nécessité d’agir vite pour briser le cycle des catastrophes écologiques, des bouleversements des moyens de subsistance et des déplacements massifs. “Nous savons que c'est seulement en travaillant collectivement que nous pouvons surmonter ces défis” a-t-il ajouté. Le projet mobilisera l’ensemble de l’expertise de l’UNESCO, comme l’a démontré cet évènement de lancement auquel ont également participé Mme Flavia Schlegel, Sous-Directrice générale pour les sciences exactes et naturelles, M. Edouard Matoko, Sous-Directeur général pour l’Afrique, ainsi que les Directeurs des bureaux régionaux de l’UNESCO au Nigéria et au Cameroun.
Un panel de discussion a réuni les représentants des différentes catégories d’acteurs concernés (décideurs, experts, communautés locales,…) reflétant ainsi l’approche inclusive du projet. La Sous-Directrice générale de l’UNESCO pour les Sciences exactes et naturelles, Mme Flavia Schlegel et le Directeur technique de la CBLT, M. Boubakar Mana ont également pris part au panel. Mme Schlegel a notamment mis en lumière les contributions du projet BIOPALT dans la mise en œuvre Programme de développement durable à l'horizon 2030 des Nations-Unies. Quant à M. Mana, il a souligné les enjeux stratégiques du projet pour le renforcement de la coopération sous-régionale dans la gestion transfrontière de la biodiversité et du patrimoine du lac Tchad.
Cet évènement a permis de faire connaitre le projet BIOPALT à un large public en provenance de différentes parties du bassin ou en dehors et de mesurer le vif intérêt qu’il sucite.
UNESCO is working to develop indicators for Internet Universality, which could be useful for interested stakeholders in a country to map areas for possible improvement.
But a complexity for research and recommendations exists when there are relevant online actors and content based outside the country’s jurisdiction.
A call for suggestions and solutions was made this week at the Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference, Ottawa, by UNESCO’s Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger.
Participants from governments, Internet companies, academic, law firms and international organisations were present at the event, which was organized by the Internet and Jurisdiction Policy Network (IJP), in partnership with the Government of Canada. UNESCO was an institutional supporter of the conference which took place over 26-28 February 2018.
“Debate at this conference focused on three Internet areas where jurisdictional issues can arise: online content; cross-border requests for digital data - such as for criminal investigation; and Internet website naming,” said Berger.
Participants identified some of the online content cases that could often have jurisdictional issues – such as those ranging from copyright, child abuse, defamation, “fake news”, and non-consensual sexual imagery.
“Much attention was also given to distinguishing the proper roles of governments and the array of Internet companies in regard to these kinds of contents, and what processes could address any issues arising,” Berger said.
The Director told the Ottawa Conference of UNESCO’s work to promote broad normative frameworks to help inform solutions, referring in particular to the Organization’s Internet Universality concept with its ROAM principles.
The ROAM schema advocates that the Internet can best serve humanity if it respects Rights, Openness, Accessibility, and Multistakeholder participation.
“Online content is implicated in each of these four ROAM principles,” Berger stated, adding that UNESCO’s draft indicators to assess ROAM at national level reflect this dimension.
Once finalized, the UNESCO indicators can help national stakeholders to map how the Internet functions in their country, and provide evidence for proposing policy improvements. “The complexity is when a domestic matter is impacted by extra-territorial dimensions,” added the Director.
“A question to ask is whether ROAM and its indicators could help to assess – and ultimately improve – systems at the interface between jurisdictions, especially when the issue concerns online content,” said Berger.
He urged participants to help UNESCO address this question, pointing out that the period for comment on the draft indicators closes in mid-March 2018.
Only 17% of biographies published on Wikipedia are about women.
UNESCO aims to increase the visibility of women in the digital space by organizing a global call for contribution, the "Edit-a-thon", on International Women’s Day, 8 March.
The objective is clear: everywhere in the world, people will be invited to create, edit or translate new Wikipedia pages of portraits of women who have played a key role or who still contribute today in the fields of education, science, culture, and communication.
Approximately 130 volunteers, among them students, journalists, retirees, representatives of civil society, and diplomats, will participate to the event from 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm at UNESCO Headquarters. They will receive training provided by the Wikipedia team. A guideline will also be available online.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, will open the ceremony. The event is co-organised in partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, with the support of Canada, Iceland, Sweden, the European Union, the French National Audiovisual Institute (INA) and the Chanel Foundation.
Gender Equality, one of UNESCO’s priorities, will be promoted through a series of events organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Wednesday, 7 March
• Launch of the book " Mujeres de America Latina y el Caribe " organized by Latin American and Caribbean Group Member States, followed by a reading of poems dedicated to women. [11.00am-1.00pm Room II, Fontenoy]
• Screening of a film about Boko Haram survivors, Boko Haram : Journey from Evil, in cooperation with the Permanent Delegation of the United States to UNESCO, followed by a debate in the presence of the director and producer of the film, Beth Mendelson. [3:00-5.30pm, Room II, Fontenoy]
Tuesday, 8 March
Friday, 9 March
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Discover on the latest issue of The UNESCO Courier magazine the portraits of four exceptional women:
Ada E. Yonath, 2008 Laureate of the L'Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women and Science and Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009;
Tebello Nyokong, L'ORÉAL-UNESCO Prize for Women and Science 2009 and Professor of Pharmacology and Nanotechnology at Rhodes University (South Africa);
Zeinab Badawi, British-Sudanese television personality – who transformed UNESCO’s General History of Africa into a nine-part series for the BBC and;
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize 2011 is a feminist and human rights activist and one of the leading figures of the Arab Spring in Yemen.
The some 150 participants were mainly from the Philippines government agencies and non-governmental organizations. The presenters from international agencies included UNESCO's Information for All Programme (IFAP) and Interpol. The speakers provided information and insights on the DarkNet and its role in extremism and terrorism.
The Permanent Delegation of the Philippines to UNESCO was actively involved in the organization of this workshop.
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, in his welcome remarks, said that, “because of the global nature of cybercrimes, no single nation can fight this alone. As cybercrimes increase, we must show our commitment to come up with more efficient and effective security measures to address this grave threat to our collective security.” Secretary Lorenzana expressed confidence that the overall quality of cybersecurity in the country can be raised and the Philippines can contribute to regional and international efforts to build a safer and more secure cyberspace “by investing in our people, capabilities and international networks and cooperation.”
For her part, Ms. Chafica Haddad, Chairperson of the UNESCO/IFAP Intergovernmental Council, presented the current efforts by the international community, particularly UNESCO/IFAP in establishing effective measures to prevent online radicalization, and stimulate the use of Internet for peace, understanding and inter-cultural dialogue.
Ms. Haddad underscored that “when we talk about DarkNet, Internet and the prevention of violent extremism, one of the fundamental issues is related to youth and appropriate policies. Young people are key to reducing and eliminating radicalization. We need to get them involved, seek out their opinions, listen to them, and, above all, give them the tools they need to become involved and vigilant users of the internet”.
The IFAP Chair also spoke about the ethical implications of DarkNet. The anonymity provided by the DarkNet gives cover for people in repressive regimes that need the protection of technology in order to surf the Web, access censored content and otherwise exercise their genuine right to free expression.
In the session on “Good Practices: Effective Government Strategies and Policies” the IFAP Chair referred to four columns for Governmental interventions to combat radicalization: supporting multidisciplinary research; empowering youth online communities; strengthening cooperation between media professionals; and supporting creative media campaigns.
In the working group on Education and Youth the IFAP Chair called for preventing violent extremism by education.
Reference was made to the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) in New Delhi, India, and to the concept of Global Citizenship Education (GCED). In addition, the role of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) was underlined to empower citizens by understanding the functions of media and other information providers, to critically evaluate their content, and to make informed decisions.
In her closing statement the IFAP Chair pointed out that disarming processes of radicalization leading to violence must begin with human rights, the rule of law, and with intercultural dialogue.
Link to the event: https://dndwebmaster.wixsite.com/darknetworkshop
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.
The latest edition of UNESCO’s World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development has been published and is now available online.
Current developments paint a picture of both vast opportunity and steep challenge. Among the major trends over the past five years identified by the report are:
The World Media Trends Report analyzes developments across the four key focus areas of media freedom, pluralism, independence and the safety of journalists.
Under the period of analysis, continued legal restrictions including criminal laws against defamation, national security concerns such as anti-terrorism laws and large-scale shutdowns of internet access have been seen on the rise. Such trends have seriously affected media freedom, while posing a serious threat to freedom of expression.
Wholesale disruptions (like internet shutdowns) have become much more common. ‘Fake news’ has emerged as a phenomenon in some regions undermining media legitimacy with a consequent challenge for appropriate and proportionate government responses that do not weaken media freedom. Gender gaps in journalism and law continue to affect the implementation of full media freedom.
The Report also notes that the availability of media content has dramatically increased, largely through user-generated content on social media, while large internet companies have emerged as key platforms for individuals to access news and information. Yet, these transformations have been marked by the proliferation of unverified news across internet companies’ networks and the raise of ‘echo chambers’ and ‘filter bubbles’ due to algorithm-ranked search results.
Additionally, the Report recognizes the worsening problem of news media losing money and becoming less sustainable. Disruptions in business models have been seen as contributing to increasing dependence on government and corporate subsidies in some circumstances, and thereby raising concerns about potential impacts on editorial independence.
Disempowered and marginalized peoples continue to have great difficulty reporting their stories or having their stories fairly reported on, large numbers of people remain digitally unconnected and women remain unequal in the media. Furthermore, a limited number of large players, particularly algorithm-driven internet companies and the rise of mobile apps, are increasingly structuring how users may or may not be able to reach specific information.
Declining autonomy of independent regulators, disruptions in business models have been seen as contributing to increasing dependence on government and corporate subsidies in some circumstances, and thereby raising concerns about potential impacts on editorial independence. In some cases, there has been an increase in highly antagonistic criticism, including from leaders, about media and the practice of journalism.
In regards to the trends in safety of journalists, according to UNESCO report, the number of journalists killed in a five-year period increased substantially (216 journalists were killed in 2007-2011 in comparison to 530 journalists in 2012-2016). From the other hand, 2017 was the first year of decline of killings of journalists. At the same time, trends in arbitrary detention, abduction and torture are reportedly growing in some regions.
With a special focus on gender equality in the media, the World Media Trends Report highlights that only one in three reporters and only one in four media decision-makers are women. Moreover, the ongoing issue of online harassment of women journalists can have a chilling effect on women working in the media, further detracting from media pluralism.
The 2017/2018 edition was co-produced with the University of Oxford, in close co-ordination with lead researchers at the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Pennsylvania. A global network of regional researchers, graduate research assistants and an expert Advisory Group also contributed to the Report.
Specific overviews analyzing the media trends in six regions will also be published by the end of May.
Since its first publication in 2014 thanks to the support of Sweden, the World Trends Report has become a key reference for Member States, international and civil society organizations and academics seeking to understand the opportunities and challenges facing press freedom at the global and regional level.
For more information, visit: https://en.unesco.org/world-media-trends-2017
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The tiger on the wall. A sign of strong leadership and commitment to lead through achievements and challenges. In the Chinese calendar, the year of the tiger is also when Qian Tang, the outgoing UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, was born. “In China, the tiger is considered to be the head of all animals,” he says. “If you’re leading a Sector at UNESCO, you need to be strong, committed and you really have to make great efforts to meet multiple challenges. This is also the character of the tiger, and it is the character that I need to drive this Sector. I am the type of person that strives to do his best at a job and I am not easygoing when it comes to my responsibilities.”
After leading the Education Sector for eight years and a career at UNESCO that goes back 25 years, Mr Tang is leaving the organization this week. We asked him a few questions to get some insights into his time with UNESCO.
What are some of your best memories at UNESCO?
One of them is the adoption of the Incheon Declaration in 2015 that paved the way to the Education 2030 Agenda and Goal 4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At the time, we were fighting to make the Education for All movement into a global commitment. When I became ADG, we faced many challenges due to the financial problems of the organization. We decided to focus on key priority areas and themes that UNESCO can do best. The post MGD discussions gave a golden opportunity for UNESCO to demonstrate its capacity. We are the intellectual organization of the UN and we are supposed to indicate a strategic long-term plan for the global education development. Through Member States’ support and our directions, we were able to eventually have a separate goal for education and specific targets. I will always remember when the Incheon Declaration was adopted: it was one of the proudest moments of my career, to see how UNESCO can lead and make education a global priority in order to change people’s lives.
What have been some of the most challenging aspects of your job?
As a leader of a Sector, you need to set up the orientation of the Sector and make sure that you have the right people in the right positions in order to effectively mobilize your human resources. The big challenges at the start of my tenure was that we were spread too large with few people. We had to convince everybody that we needed to focus, especially in the midst of financial problems. There was also a need to create a favourable environment for people to work harmoniously. Today, we have a streamlined programme and we allocate adequate resources to obtain targeted results. Therefore, our Sector is now focused and our programme is solid. UNESCO as a whole should also be more focused in order to facilitate the programme implementation.
What advice would you give to yourself if you could back (25 years) in time – or to new colleagues joining the organization?
I would say first, you should always believe in the mandate of this organization. Whatever happens, you must be committed to the cause of UNESCO and the work that it does to make the world a better place. You will then be able to resist any situation and challenges – whether it is personal, working relationships or financial constraints of the Sector. The ultimate goal of UNESCO will always make you stronger and you will be able to withstand many challenges.
You have to be able to learn through experience but also from your failures along the way. Smart people do not make the same mistake twice. Learning from your mistakes is very important and is key to improving your capacities and advancing in your career. The worst thing you can do is to think that you are perfect and that you have nothing to learn. UNESCO recruits intelligent and talented people, but everyone has shortcomings – and everyone must be open and willing to learn, improve and adapt.
The interest of the organization should always come first. Your own interest should come second. But of course, as managers and leaders we also have to be able to take care of our staff and their career development. We are not living in a perfect world, but we must all learn to adapt and do our best with the interest of UNESCO at heart.
Who or what is your source of inspiration for your work in education?
I cannot think of a role model. I am not a philosopher, but rather a practitioner. I am a third generation from a family of educators and professors. However, it was at UNESCO that I realized the long-term impact and transformative power of education. Without education, we have nothing. We need people to be enlightened in order for them to implement the various aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals that we are trying to achieve. We want to create a generation of responsible citizens. It all starts with quality education and that is what is needed to change the world for the better. Throughout my travels in different parts of the world, I have met children who are eager to learn and continue their education even in the most challenging circumstances. That always serves as an important reminder to myself about the significance of UNESCO’s mandate. It stresses that we have more obligations and responsibilities to help people change their lives through the power of education.
I am going to miss the great people that I have worked with over the years who are devoted to the noble cause of UNESCO. I am very happy and satisfied with my career especially because I have seen the impact of what we have been able to achieve together.
Qian Tang started his UNESCO career in 1993 and was appointed Assistant Director-General for Education in 2010.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder and Chairperson of the Education Above All Foundation, called for stronger engagement to prioritize education on the human development agenda during a joint event at UNESCO headquarters, on 28 February 2018.
On the occasion of this visit, UNESCO and Educate A Child, a programme of the Education Above All Foundation, signed a project agreement to reach 150,000 out-of-school children in Iraq, building on a first phase that enrolled over 37,000 children and trained some 1,000 teachers. UNESCO and Education Above All work together in 11 countries.
“Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education conditions the achievement of the entire 2030 Agenda,” affirmed UNESCO’s Director-General. Citing figures of education’s impact on alleviating poverty, improving health and combating early marriage, she affirmed that “transforming our world starts with education. To receive a quality education is to acquire a mindset open to understanding others, it is to nurture critical thinking, the best rampart against the temptation of extremism. It is to develop responsible citizenship in order to understand the challenges we face and to craft solutions for a sustainable future.”
© Education Above All
The event, titled “Connecting the SDGs: The Key Role of Education,” coincided with the opening of the SDG-Agenda 2030 Steering Committee meeting, which brings together 38 members to provide strategic guidance and recommendations on the implementation of the global education goal.
During her speech, Her Highness Sheikha Moza, UNESCO Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, highlighted why investment in education is key to human development and described the multi-sectoral approach of her Foundation. “We know that quality education impacts development well beyond the walls of the classroom, which is why multi-sectoral solutions have been so critical to achieving quick, on-the-ground results and long lasting impact, but there is still much to be done, which is why we need political commitment.”
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, urges the Slovak authorities to investigate the killing of journalist Jan Kuciak, in Veľká Mača, located 50 kilometers from the Slovak capital, Bratislava.
“I condemn the murder of Ján Kuciak,” the Director-General said. “Journalists have the right to fulfill their mission to inform without fearing for their lives. I call on the authorities to thoroughly investigate this case and bring the perpetrators of this crime to trial”.
Ján Kuciak, a 27-year-old investigative journalist, worked for the news portal Aktuality.sk. He had been investigating issues of tax fraud.
The murder of Mr Kuciak is the first killing of a journalist in Slovakia since the country became a member of the European Union in 2004.
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.”
UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity building and a range of actions, notably the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
See also: UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
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New figures on the number of children out of school worldwide reveal that despite decades of efforts to get every child into the classroom, progress has come to a standstill. According to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), about 263 million children, adolescents and youth worldwide - one in every five - are out school, a figure that has barely changed over the past five years.
The new numbers are published as delegates gather in Paris for the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-Education 2030 Steering Committee meeting. The Committee is a unique body providing strategic guidance on the advancement of the Education 2030 Agenda. SDG4 includes a concrete commitment to ensure that every girl and boy is completing a good quality primary and secondary education by 2030.
The rate of progress, or the lack of it, varies by age group, according to a UIS paper released today. At primary level, the out-of-school rate has barely moved at all over the past decade, with 9% of children of primary age (about 6 to 11 years), or 63 million, out of school.
In addition, 61 million adolescents of lower secondary age (about 12 to 14 years) and 139 million youth of upper secondary age –one in every three – are not enrolled in school. These youth, between the ages of about 15 to 17 years, are four times more likely to be out of school than children of primary age, and more than twice as likely to be out of school as those of lower secondary age.
“These new figures show starkly the size of the gap that needs to be closed to ensure universal access to education,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “We need much more comprehensive and targeted approaches together with more resources to reach those children and youth who are denied the right to education, with a special emphasis on girls and on improving the quality of education for all. This is the greatest urgency for unlocking progress towards SDG4.”
The UIS figures confirm that across sub-Saharan Africa one in every three children, adolescents and youth are out of school - with girls more likely to be excluded than boys. For every 100 boys of primary age out of school, there are 123 girls denied the right to education.
The new data also highlight a gulf between out-of-school rates in the world’s poorest and richest countries, with an upper-secondary out-of-school rate of 59% across the world’s low-income countries, compared to just 6% in high-income countries.
According to Silvia Montoya, Director of the UIS, “Access to education is only part of the picture. We also have a learning crisis, with one in six children and adolescents not reaching minimum proficiency levels in reading or mathematics; the majority of them are in school. Education has to deliver for every child, which requires effective monitoring to ensure that all children are in school, and that they are learning what they need to know. That is why the UIS, which is the official data source for SDG 4, is developing new indicators on equitable education and learning outcomes.”
The new figures reinforce calls for far greater global investment in education at all levels to ensure progress towards SDG 4, including more resources for data gathering and analysis to monitor the pace and equity of that progress.
These issues will be on the agenda of the fourth SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, the main global consultation and coordination mechanism for education in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Committee meets once or twice a year to provide strategic advice on policies, financing, monitoring and reporting and advocacy. It is composed of 38 members representing a majority from Member States, together with eight UN agencies, the Global Partnership for Education, the OECD, regional organizations, teacher organizations, civil society networks, in addition to representatives from the private sector, foundations, youth and student organizations.
Link to new paper on out-of-school children: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs48-one-five-children-adolescents-youth-out-school-2018-en.pdf
Link to data on learning crisis: http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/fs46-more-than-half-children-not-learning-en-2017.pdf
For more information contact:
Amy Otchet, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (Montreal, Canada), email@example.com. tel: +1 514 343 7933
Situated in Ghor Province in Afghanistan, around 200 kilometers east of Herat, at the confluence of the Hari Rud and Jam Rud rivers, the Minaret of Jam’s isolated location may have prevented the monument from intentional destruction over nearly 900 years. In return, this isolation now poses serious challenges in terms of accessibility, feasibility of conservation and stabilization works and long-term maintenance.
Last September, with international assistance from the World Heritage Fund,the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, and with the support of the Afghan government, which provided all of the security and logistical arrangements, a mission took place for a thorough documentation of Minaret of Jam.
The video of this expedition brings to life the intense commitment of UNESCO to its mission to preserve and protect cultural heritage.
Believed to have been built between 1163 and 1203 during the reign of the Ghurid sovereign Ghyias-ud-Din, the Minaret of Jam, has been on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Properties in Danger since 2002.
During the mission the UNESCO experts, along with Afghan officials from the Ministry of Information and Culture, remained on site for four days to complete the collection of field data. The combined technology used to collect the data has allowed the first thorough survey of the inner and outer portions of the Minaret, along with a general survey of the surrounding area.
The comprehensive and detailed onsite documentation created through this mission will be the baseline of a long-term stabilization and conservation plan for the Minaret of Jam. The produced data will also be used to raise public awareness of cultural heritage in Afghanistan.