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The European Union increases its support for Haiti

Europaid - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 12:08
Categories: News

Fiji welcomes cooperation with UNESCO for next UN Climate Change Conference

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 20:13
focus_adg_pm_fiji_cop23_logo_ii.jpg © UNESCO 12 April 2017

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr Voreqe Bainimarama, welcomed UNESCO’s support to this year’s  UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23), during a meeting with UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Ms Flavia Schlegel, on 11 April. Fiji will preside COP 23, which will be held in Bonn, Germany in November 2017, with a special emphasis on vulnerable nations, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The meeting coincided with the unveiling of the COP 23 logo.
The logo captures the vulnerability of small island developing states to the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise and increasing storm intensity. It was unveiled by Prime Minister Bainimarama in the presence of the German State Secretary for Environment, Nature Conservation Building and Nuclear Safety, Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, and the Executive Director of the COP 23 Secretariat, Mr John Connor.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister sought cooperation with UNESCO on raising public awareness on mitigating and adapting to climate change and promoting healthy eco-systems. Flavia Schlegel commended the Prime Minister for his leadership on climate change and for Fiji’s preparatory efforts in the lead-up to COP 23, and she offered full support towards the Fijian Presidency in line with UNESCO’s motto “Changing Minds, not the Climate".
The Assistant Director-General visited several Member States in the Pacific region, including Samoa, the Cook Islands, New Zealand and Fiji. She also visited the National Trust of Fiji and meet Government officials to discuss disaster risk reduction, UNESCO designated sites such as Biosphere Reserves, freshwater management, climate change and traditional knowledge for sustainable development.  


Categories: News

Annual Meeting of UNESCO Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors 2017

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 19:38
gwambassadors_meeting_688px.jpg © UNESCO 20 April 2017

On 20 April, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova received UNESCO Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors on the occasion of the Annual Meeting 2017. The main objective of this meeting was to examine the priority activities of the Organization for months to come and to discuss the best way these personalities could contribute to the realization of these activities.

The Annual Meeting was also an occasion to share the details of the various projects and activities that the Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors have implemented in their respective domains since the last Annual Meeting in May 2017.  

The journey of 20 April 2017 was focused on the presentations of the World Humanities Conference, UNESCO’s actions for Youth, as well as the high-level United Nations Conference on Ocean.

Following the Director-General’s opening speech, the World Humanities Conference was presented by Professor Jean Winand, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Liège, Co-chair of the International Programme Committee, Professor Luiz Oosterbeek, Secretary-General of the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH), and Ms Nada Al-Nashif, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences. The World Humanities Conference will gather participants from all over the world working in the fields of science, politics, art and communication. The talks will focus on the six following main themes: Humans and the environment; Cultural identities, cultural diversity and intercultural relations; Cultural heritage; Boundaries and migrations; History, memory and politics; The humanities in a world in transition.

During the afternoon session, the Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors were informed about UNESCO’s various activities for Youth. During this presentation, Ms Nada Al-Nashif has recalled her field visit to Uganda in February last, accompanied by Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation. While emphasizing the importance of the projects that Forest Whitaker is implementing in Uganda and in South Sudan to support young people, Nada El-Nashif encouraged other UNESCO Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors to bring their support to the Organization’s actions related to Youth. She also recalled the support that Metin Arditi, Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue and Eijin Nimura, UNESCO Artist for Peace bring to the Organization in this crucial area.

The high-level United Nations Conference on Ocean and on Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which will be at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017, was also presented to Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors. This Conference, aiming to be the game changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our oceans, will also be solutions-focused with engagement from all.

The Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors such as Mrs Marianna Vardinoyannis, Mr Serge and Ms Beate Klarsfeld, Mr Jean-Michel Jarre, Mrs Bahia Hariri, Mr Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, Lady Cristina Owen-Jones, Mr Metin Arditi, Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola, Professor Jean Malaurie, Mrs Vera Michalski-Hoffmann, Mr Seidnaly Sidahmed Alphadi, Mrs Maha El-Khalil Chalabi, Mr Kudsi Ergüner, Mrs Zarifa Mgoyan, Mr Zurab Tsereteli, Mrs Marianna Nicolesco, Mr Herman Makarenko, Mrs Cecile Guidote-Alvarez and many others participated at this meeting. 

Categories: News

A former bonded labour girl gains a second chance at education in Nepal

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 17:52

Nepalese teenager Bipana Chaudary is pursuing her dream to further her education thanks to a literacy programme supported by the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education.

Bipana, 17, lives in Bijaynagar of Kailali district, Nepal, where the traditional Kamaiya and Kamlahari (bonded labour) practice has left many families in poverty and forced children to drop out of school and go to work.

After the practice was abolished, Bipana had to work with her mother in a nearby market during the holidays to earn a living. Although she was unable to concentrate on her studies, she successfully passed yearly school examinations up to class 5. She was then persuaded by friends and her brother, who were in the same situation, to leave school and work full time. Today she has regained her access to education thanks to a literacy programme supported by the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, which promotes quality and relevant learning for adolescent girls in Nepal.

In September 2016, Bipana joined the literacy classes jointly conducted by the UNESCO Office and the Backward Society Education (BASE) NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal. The facilitators engaged with students through modules covering issues such as social norms and behaviours, gender-based violence, adolescence, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition and access to education. Bipana’s favorite module was "Dreaming of the future and planning the future", during which the facilitator, Sujita Chaudhary, narrated a story that inspired Bipana to continue her education. The story was about two girls: one who completed her education and found interesting and well-paid work and another who did not go to school and instead had to work for long hours with a low pay.

As a result, she asked the school principal of Karnali Secondary School for a scholarship and fee reduction which she obtained on the condition that she would attend all classes regularly. The facilitators supported her by talking to her parents about the value of her continuing studies. He explained how Bipana would be able to find better work if she completed her education, and that it would benefit the whole family. Her father said: “I am ready to support buying everything she needs to send her to school. If she is ready, I am also ready for her education." 

Bipana is now attending school on a regular basis and took part in the school examinations in December 2016. She said: “I am confident that I will be able to pass the examinations and that I will achieve my dreams for the future”.

Categories: News

UNESCO paper shows governments not keeping pace with growing demand for higher education

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 11:04
20 April 2017

A new policy paper from the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report and the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) at UNESCO shows that the number of university level students doubled to 207 million between 2000 and 2014. Governments are struggling to keep pace with rapidly rising demand and large disparities in access, with a large cost of higher education often falling to families, many of whom cannot afford it.

The new paper, Six ways to ensure higher education leaves no one behind, sets out a series of measures to make higher education more equitable and affordable, including to ensure that student loan repayments do not exceed 15% of a student’s monthly income. Anything more threatens to leave the disadvantaged behind.

“By creating and transmitting vital knowledge, skills and core values, higher education is a cornerstone for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. “Demand for higher education is going to continue rising. Governments must respond by introducing a range of new policies that will ensure expansion doesn’t leave the marginalised behind, and that access is based on merit, not privilege.”

Analyzing global trends, the paper also shows that only 1% of the poorest students have spent more than four years in higher education, compared to 20% of the richest. 

In South Africa, around one-sixth of blacks and coloreds attended higher education in 2013, compared to over 50% of whites. Similarly, in Mexico, less than 1% of the indigenous population attend higher education. In China, youth from rural areas are seven times less likely to attend university than students from urban areas.

Access to higher education has expanded most rapidly in wealthier countries: Only 8% of young adults are enrolled on average in the poorest countries, compared to 74% in the richest countries. The greatest gender disparities are found among the poorest countries as well. Women made up only 30% of bachelor students in low-income countries in 2014.

“In certain countries with deeply rooted social inequities, affirmative action through quota or bonus systems may be necessary to expand access to underrepresented groups, even if these mechanisms are controversial,” says Suzanne Grant Lewis, director of the IIEP.  

Private colleges and universities have expanded to cater to the growing pool of students, enrolling 30% of all students worldwide, rising to 50% in Latin America.

Governments can’t keep pace financially with this expansion and families are left with the tab. Across 26 countries in Europe, households paid for 15% of the cost of higher education in 2011. In other high-income countries, household expenditures were even higher: 40% in Australia, 46% in the USA, 52% in Japan, and 55% in Chile.

UNESCO, the only UN organization with responsibility for higher education, advises governments to use a combination of policies aimed at helping the disadvantaged, such as low tuition fees, need-based scholarships and loans repayments adjusted according to income, to help families manage the costs. The paper draws on a range of examples to show how different countries are expanding and diversifying higher education offerings to achieve greater equity.

“The last thing we want is for higher education to be the ball and chain around students’ ankles,” said Aaron Benavot, Director of the GEM Report. “Coping with dramatic student expansion is not easy, but there are policy solutions governments can put into place to stop the bill falling to households.”

Six specific recommendations are given to policy makers to make higher education equitable and affordable for all:

  1. Keep an eye on the target: Make sure those who need help the most are getting it.
  2. Put it into law: Guarantee equity and affordability in regulatory frameworks
  3. Step up monitoring: Establish national agencies to ensure equal opportunities
  4. Vary admissions criteria: Use different admissions criteria to respond to different individuals’ needs
  5. Provide varied student aid: Establish an agency to coordinate different forms of student aid, such as loans and grants
  6. Limit student loan repayments to <15% of their annual income.


Please contact Kate Redman for interviews or further information: +33(0)671786234

Notes to Editor: Download the full paper and its accompanying infographics.

Categories: News

L’Assemblée nationale en visite au Bureau de l’UNESCO à Dakar (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 20:04

Le jeudi 13 avril 2017, l’UNESCO organisait la cérémonie d’installation de l’exposition photo 7 sites exceptionnels et le lancement de l’application mobile VUE d’Afrique dans les jardins du musée d’Art africain Théodore Monod. Cet évènement qui célébrait le patrimoine culturel et naturel du Sénégal aux côtés de partenaires traditionnels tels que le ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, et la coopération bilatérale, a eu la particularité d’accueillir pour une première fois des membres de l’Assemblée Nationale du Sénégal.

Moins d’une semaine plus tard, l’UNESCO se réjouit d’accueillir à nouveau l’Assemblée Nationale en la personne de M. Mamadou Diop Decroix, Président de la Commission Culture et Communication de l’Assemblée Nationale, accompagné de Mme Coumba Hamidou Dème du Département de Matam, ainsi que de Mme Haoua Dia Thiam du Département de Dakar.

Si l’exposition photo 7 sites exceptionnels invitait à commémorer la beauté du Sénégal à travers son patrimoine, elle avait également pour objectif d’interpeller l’audience, et notamment les décideurs politiques sur les réels problèmes de conservation qui touchent le patrimoine mondial du Sénégal, tels que l’érosion maritime pour le cas de l’île de Gorée, l’exploitation clandestine de l’or et la contamination des eaux dans le Sud-est du Sénégal, la dégradation du tissu urbain dans l’île de St Louis, etc.

C’est ainsi que, cette rencontre du mardi 18 avril dans les locaux de l’UNESCO à Ngor, et présidée par le Directeur de l’UNESCO, a été l’occasion pour les secteurs de la Culture et de la Communication et Information, de présenter leur programme et actions dans la sous-région, mais aussi et surtout, de poser les bases d’une toute nouvelle collaboration entre l’UNESCO et l’Assemblée Nationale, dans le court et long terme, sur les questions relatives à la préservation du patrimoine culturel et naturel, ainsi que la promotion de la liberté d’expression et le libre accès à l’information.

Vous pouvez télécharger l’application Mobile VUE d’Afrique sur le lien suivant :

Lien vers la version numérique de l’expo photo :

Categories: News

L'UNESCO en visite dans les locaux du groupe de la chanteuse Coumba Gawlo Seck (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 19:23

Le 7 avril dernier, une délégation du Bureau régional multisectoriel de l’UNESCO à Dakar s’est rendue dans les locaux du groupe Go Media de la célèbre chanteuse et activiste sénégalaise, Mme Coumba Gawlo Seck, afin de visiter les installations de la toute récente radio de l’artiste ainsi que celles de son association « Lumières pour l’enfance »

La délégation a été accueillie par Mme Gawlo elle-même, accompagnée de l’ensemble de l’équipe dirigeante. L’artiste qui utilise sa musique pour défendre la cause de l’enfant et de la femme a créé des outils pour ce faire à savoir la radio Fem Fm et l'association Lumière pour l’enfance et une future télévision. Après une brève présentation du groupe, la délégation a pu visiter les locaux de l'association, les différentes installations techniques ainsi que le studio d’enregistrement.

Le groupe GO Médias est une entreprise de presse lancée par l’artiste qui a pour vocation d’être la voix des femmes, des enfants et de la musique. A travers sa chaine de radio, Fem FM, la chanteuse souhaite ainsi sensibiliser son public aux moyens d’autonomisation socio-économique et aux dangers de la drogue, de l`émigration, entre autres. La Plateforme de communication et d`information qui a également une envergure sous régionale, puisque présente au Niger, au Mali et bientôt au Burkina Faso, se veut d’être un vecteur important pour valoriser le combat et les actions en faveur des femmes, des enfants et des artistes en Afrique de l'Ouest.

La délégation a également pu rencontrer le personnel de « Lumière Pour l’Enfance ». L’association œuvre en faveur des enfants malades et déshérités. Elle mène des actions humanitaires destinées à l’éducation et au bien-être des enfants et porte de nombreux projets, dont « Aidons les Enfants à Grandir », qui vise la réhabilitation des écoles les plus démunies au Sénégal.

Le directeur p.i du bureau régional multisectoriel de l’UNESCO à Dakar, M. Gwang-Chol Chang, s’est félicité des valeurs communes en faveur de l’enfance et de la femme que l’UNESCO partage avec la chanteuse. Les spécialistes de programme, Mme Rubel Diamanka et M. Saip Sy, également présents lors de la visite, ont évoqué les projets de l'UNESCO qui rejoignent le travail de l'artiste en ce qui concerne notamment l'éducation des filles, y compris la formation technique et professionnelle pour développer les compétences, renforcer la participation et la contribution des femmes à la société ; la diversité culturelle par des initiatives sur la promotion de l’enseignement en langue maternelle ; mais encore la défense de la liberté d’expression et de l'égalité des genres grâce à la campagne les femmes font l'info ; ou bien encore de l’accès à l’information grâce à la plateforme Femmes dans l’histoire de l’Afrique qui s’inscrit dans le cadre du projet de l’Histoire générale de l’Afrique de l’UNESCO.

Cette visite avait pour objectif de renouer les liens déjà existants entre Coumba Gawlo et l’UNESCO. Pour rappel, l’artiste s’était investie auprès de l’Organisation en 2012 afin de promouvoir le développement, à travers la culture et l’éducation des filles, et notamment lors d’une tournée en Guinée accompagnée par le Grand Ballet du pays Bassari dans le cadre du projet conjoint , elle a aussi assuré les chœurs de la bande dessinée Bouba et Zaza produites par l’UNESCO et Michel Lafon.

Liens utiles :

Categories: News

Director-General calls on Mexican authorities to investigate killing of journalist Maximino Rodríguez Palacios

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 11:28
19 April 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the killing of Maximino Rodríguez Palacios in La Paz, the Mexican state capital of Baja California Sur on 14 April.

“I condemn the killing of Maximino Rodríguez Palacios,” said the Director-General. “We cannot allow criminals to attack the media for bringing information to the public. I call on the authorities to ensure that this crime is investigated and that its perpetrators are brought to justice in order to protect freedom of expression and freedom of information.”

Rodríguez Palacios wrote a regular column on politics and crime for the blog Colectivo Pericú, which covers current events in Baja California Sur, and was shot by unidentified assailants.

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

Giuseppina Nicolini, Mayor of Lampedusa, and SOS Méditerranée to be awarded Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:31
19 April 2017

The Jury of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize has decided to award the Prize to Giuseppina Nicolini, Mayor of Lampedusa (Italy) and to the nongovernmental organization SOS Méditerranée (France) for their work to save the lives of refugees and migrants and welcome them with dignity.

“After examining conditions around the world, the Jury of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize determined that refugees and migrants constitute one of the crucial issues of our day, notably in the Mediterranean where nearly 13,000 men, women and children have perished in shipwrecks since 2013,” declared the acting President of the Jury, Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique.

Since becoming mayor in 2012, Giuseppina Nicolini has been recognized for her boundless humanity and unwavering commitment to refugee crisis management and integration in response to the arrival of thousands of refugees on the shores of Lampedusa and elsewhere in Italy.  

SOS Méditerranée is a civic, European organization for the rescue of people in distress in the Mediterranean. Since launching its rescue operation in February 2016, the organization has saved more than 11,000 lives.

The Jury also appealed to the international community to ensure that the Mediterranean Sea becomes, once again, a place where solidarity and intercultural dialogue hold sway and that it cease to serve as a watery grave.

The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize was created in 1989 to honor individuals or public and private bodies or institutions that have made a significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace in conformity with the United Nations’ Charter and the Constitution of UNESCO.

Past laureates of the Prize have included personalities such as French President François Hollande, Nelson Mandela and Frederik W. De Klerk; Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat; King Juan Carlos of Spain and former U.S.A. President, Jimmy Carter.


Media contact: George Papagiannis, +33 1 45 68 17 06;

Categories: News

UNESCO Highlights Women in ICTs at the New African Woman Forum

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 18:45

On April 13 2017, UNESCO participated in the New African Woman Forum in Dakar in order to highlight the importance of promoting women’s and youth leadership in the technology sector in Africa. Bringing together leaders from business, academia and civil society and key decision makers from the public and private sectors, the aim of the forum, in which UNESCO is a partner, was to find innovative solutions and strategies to enable sustainable transformative growth in Africa, putting gender equality at the center.

In the framework of UNESCO’s partnership with the New African Woman Forum, Marema Toure Thiam moderated the panel discussion “Women in Tech: Supporting African Growth through Technology,” bringing together leaders in the technology sector and partners of UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative on the Continent to discuss challenges and opportunities women have in pursuing careers in the ICT Sector. In developing countries, up to 43% fewer women have access to internet than men. Underlining that women are major actors in economic and social life in both developed and developing countries, Mrs. Thiam encouraged the audience to reflect on the ways access to technology can lead to economic freedom and women’s empowerment in Africa.

“We need to highlight, through media platforms, success stories of women in technology so that decisionmakers can see them and make needed change in ICT policies and programmes,” underlined Mariam Tendou Kamara Diop, CEO of BAANTOU and Founder of Inter’Actes-MadameDigital. Underlining that 90% of jobs in Africa are created by entrepreneurs, making the role of the digital economy in African growth undeniable, and recognizing the economic impact women have in both the informal and formal sector, Mariam Diop noted that though women inject 90% of their income into their families and communities, their greatest barrier is that they often do not have access to funding opportunities or formal training necessary for future success. This is crucial as 50-60% of women are engaged in international commerce but without access to technology to make tracking, invoicing, and other activities more efficient, and therefore their businesses suffer.

“When you say the word ‘geek’ you think about a guy with glasses who spends all night in front of a computer, and you don’t think of a young woman. This idea needs to be changed so people understand technology is not a male-dominated field,” added Djiba Diallo, Head of Innovation for Microsoft4Afrika. Currently working on challenging stereotypes of women in technology in order “to demystify the notion of women in technology,” Djiba Diallo underlined that Microsoft4Afrika currently supports 80 start-ups in Africa, with only 5 directed by women, making up less than 10% of tech start-ups they have supported in Africa. Emphasizing that there is work to be done to encourage women entrepreneurs in the digital economy, Diallo outlined three pillars necessary for technological advancement in Africa; 1) encouraging access to technology; 2) capacity building, and 3) supporting women innovators on the Continent. Proposing Microsoft’s DigiGirlz initiative specifically developed to involve young girls in the ICT field from a young age, Diallo reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to partnering with actors on the Continent to ensure the bridging of the gendered digital divide and combat ongoing stereotypes in the ICT sector.

Gnima Diop, Marketing Manager at Maersk Line, emphasized the need to recognize that encouraging digital literacy is crucial, especially when between 50-60% of the informal economy in Africa is female. As mobile internet access and use continues to increase on the Continent, Gnima Diop underlined the need to ensure access to information for all. Smartphone ownership and locally relevant applications can be a key to women’s empowerment, shattering their isolation and unleashing their powers. But enabling them to make mobile apps themselves can give them an even bigger push as it enriches their skillset, creates job opportunities and gives them a platform in emerging digital economies. Mobile Technology could help lift 5.3 million women out of illiteracy by 2020.

“The Senegalese woman is a natural entrepreneur,” said Rokhaya Solange Mbengue Ndir, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Orange-Sonatel. In the framework of her work, and through initiatives such as Mwoman, hackathons, coding camps, and prizes for women’s digital entrepreneurship, Sonatel centralizes the importance of making digital literacy education available to women of all ages. A continuing impediment to this goal, she underlined, is women’s lack of self-confidence. Committed to changing stereotypes and prejudices, including educational choices available to young women and a prevalent idea that women are not “made” for technology, Rokhaya Solange Mbengue Ndir underlined the Sonatel’s corporate strategy in line with the UN’s HeforShe campaign, and emphasized the need to involve Governments, policymakers, and decisionmakers in the discussion to ensure institutional support at the highest level for gender equality in the ICT Sector.

“In order for women to help other women succeed we need to remove obstacles that hinder these efforts,” affirmed Karim Sy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Jokkolabs. He noted the importance of integrating a cultural approach when talking about gender equality in the tech world in order to create sustainable change. Underlining that the educational systems of many countries haven’t changed in more than 50 years, Karim Sy stressed that in order to ensure sustainable change, countries must “rethink education” in order to equip young people with the necessary skills for the changing world of work in Africa, including digital competencies.

In the debate with participants of the Forum, women from across the Continent underlined the need to encourage mentorship between women in the ICT Sector, and the need to link creativity and technology specifically as it concerns possible solutions mobile applications can provide developed by women on the Continent to address local challenges. Mobile technology has become a medium for women’s empowerment, activism and an engine for change. The number of mobile internet connections is rapidly increasing in developing countries and smartphones are often the only computer people in developing countries have. This connectivity can have a profound impact on all aspects of a woman’s life, particularly the world of work, allowing them to create solutions to personal challenges and problems faced by the local community and reach economic empowerment.

Participants further called on UNESCO, through the Organization’s policy work as co-chair of the Internet Governance Forum and participation in the Broadband and Gender Working Group of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, to continue to document and disseminate best practices that promote gender equality in order to bridge the digital divide.

Participants further called on UNESCO to ensure young people, and particularly young women, are equipped with the necessary skills and confidence to develop, promote, and sell locally relevant mobile applications through the Organization’s YouthMobile Initiative, which aims to create employment opportunities and solutions in different fields such as agriculture, health and education to contribute to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Categories: News

Regional coordination group on SDG4-Education 2030: from commitments to actions

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 13:52

The fifth plenary meeting of the Regional Coordination Group on SDG4-Education 2030 for West and Central Africa (RCG4-WCA) was held on 6 April at UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar. The meeting, which brought together participants representing about ten member organizations, provided an overview of the activities carried out by the plenary group and its task teams since its December retreat and allowed to discuss the future work plan and to make decisions for its implementation.

As usual, the plenary meeting was an opportunity for the different task teams to inform on progress made in their activities. Among the three fully active teams, the one on strengthening education systems is undertaking actions to integrate SDG4-Education 2030 into the Education Sector Plans in the region.The second task team, TALENT, which devotes its efforts to improving the quality of teaching and learning, is moving forward with its project to establish standards of professionalization for teachers. The gender equality and inclusive education task team, for its part, is continuing to develop a mapping of actors in inclusive education and a policy brief on girls’ education in West and Central Africa. Additional task teams on early childhood education and higher education will soon be launched.

The launch of the group’s new internet platform, planned for the month of April, is another development to be noted. This platform will be used to improve the coordination of the different actions of the group, as well as to share experiences and information on education throughout West and Central Africa.

Finally, positive developments in terms of coordination were made in the context of the ADEA Triennale, held in Dakar in March 2017. The organization of a joint RCG4-WCA event on the sidelines of the conference allowed to highlight the links between SDG4 and CESA 16-25 (African Union’s Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025) and opened the way for closer collaboration with the African Union in support to the implementation of the two agendas, in particular within the framework of the RCG4-WCA.

Categories: News

Professor Nicola Spaldin: creating materials for next generation technologies

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:58
focus_fwis2017_nicola_spalding.jpg © L'Oréal Foundation 18 April 2017

The ubiquitous electronic devices that make our lives easier (cellphones, GPS, computers) all contain two types of components, which either store or deliver information in the electronic circuits. Should new components be able to do both –store and process, two-in-one– they would allow for a new generation of technologies that are lighter, smaller and more energy-efficient. Professor Nicola A. Spaldin has conceived and developed a new class of “two-in-one” materials, called multiferroics, which are both ferromagnetic and ferroelectric. She received the 2017 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award for Europe, in recognition of her research.

While ferroelectricity was first hypothesized by Pierre Curie in the late 1800s, it took another hundred years before Prof. Spaldin’s demonstrated that ferroelectricity could be combined with magnetism. Her work set the theoretical foundations that have made it possible to understand and develop the materials. Multiferroics are rarely found in nature and must be developed in the laboratory. Prof. Spaldin begins by designing the physical and chemical structure of new materials using computer simulations and then uses the results of these simulations to create them with her team and with external collaborators.

Since 2010, she has headed the Materials Theory Group at the Swiss Federal Technical University (ETH) in Zürich, where her work focuses on understanding and developing these materials. She works closely with computer sciences experts, such as IBM, and at large-scale facilities like the Swiss Light Source, as well as universities worldwide to make these new materials and measure their properties.

A theoretical chemist by training, Prof. Spaldin’s expertise lies in making detailed quantum-mechanical calculations to understand the properties of complex materials. She is passionate about teaching her subject, in venues ranging from world-leading universities to remote mountain valleys in Nepal. Outside the laboratory, she loves hiking in the mountains thanks to a childhood spent in the beautiful and hilly Lake District in the north of England; it was there that the surrounding geology first sparked her interest in science, which developed through studies in mineralogy and chemistry to her current specialty of materials physics (which are not so far removed from each other as one might think, she says). Dialogue is another essential fuel, she adds. “Discussions with my research group are always very stimulating and the diversity of our team allows new ideas to emerge.”

The 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards

The 2017 Edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards Ceremony celebrated 5 eminent women scientists and their excellence, creativity and intelligence. For the past 19 years, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme has worked to honour and accompany women researchers at key moments in their careers. Since the programme began, it has supported more than 2,700 young women from 115 countries and celebrated 97 Laureates, at the peak of their careers, including professors Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Ada Yonath, who went on to win a Nobel Prize. The Awards are presented every year to five women, one from each world region (Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America).

Categories: News

New UNESCO publication explores five decades of literacy progress

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 04/18/2017 - 11:54
literacy_708x368.jpg © Mahidol PMT project

UNESCO has recently launched the anniversary publication ‘Reading the past, writing the future: Fifty years of promoting literacy’, which takes stock of literacy progress over the past five decades and looks at how the nature of the challenge has changed.

Based on data from UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) and information from UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL), the publication analyses trends and impacts of literacy programmes on 50 countries around the world.

Reading the past, writing the future was also the slogan for last year’s International Literacy Day, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day on 8 September 2016.

There has been an unprecedented spread of literacy since the first ILD in 1966, but millions still lack access to its benefits.

Voices of learners and the evolving conception of literacy

The publication outlines both the progress and the challenges, tracing the changes in the conception of literacy and how policies and programmes have reflected this development.

Throughout the review, the voices of learners and others engaged in literacy programmes reflect the ways in which acquiring literacy has affected their lives, families and communities.

“Since I have followed the literacy programme, I feel free,” says Louise Cheftaine, a learner from a programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I am involved in trying to resolve problems in my community, and thanks to the collaboration and discussion with local leaders, I have been instrumental in removing the insecurity.”

In Jamaica, Cleopatra Francis was able to having a second chance at learning. “My literacy level was discouragingly low,” she says. “But I had the passion and ambition that I wanted to get some subjects, because I did not want to remain at the level I was at.”

Last year marked the beginning of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to further work on solutions in closing the literacy gap for millions around the world who still lack basic literacy skills.

UNESCO has been at the forefront of global literacy efforts since its foundation in 1946. Visit UNESCO’s literacy website to learn more about projects that promote literacy, and stay up to date with the International Literacy Prizes and International Literacy Day 2017. 

Categories: News

World Book and Copyright Day 2017 celebrated at UNESCO

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 12:05
14 April 2017

 World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated every year on 23 April, the date on which both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died. On this occasion, publishing houses, bookstores, libraries, cultural institutions and associations of authors mobilize across the world to promote reading, publishing, and protection of intellectual property.

This year the focus will be on the blind and the visually impaired for whom there is difficulty accessing books and other printed materials, which constitutes an obstacle to their full and effective participation in society. According to the World Blind Union (WBU), among the millions of books published worldwide each year, less than 10% are published in formats that are accessible to the blind. A rate that drops to 1% in developing countries.

“World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote our vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens,” UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova said in her message given on the occasion of the World Book and Copyright Day 2017.

In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO advocates for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities and encourages the effective use of accessible, adaptive and affordable ICTs.

In this context, UNESCO is organizing a conference on accessibility issues, Accessibility, what are the challenges in publishing? (Monday, 24 April, 9 am to 12pm, ROOM II) with its partner Asfored (a French association for professional training and development in the field of publishing).

The Day also marks the beginning of the term of Conakry, capital of the Republic of Guinea, as World Book Capital (2017-2018). Conakry has been singled out by UNESCO and its partners "on account of the quality and diversity of its programme," in particular " its focus on community involvement,” as well as “for its well-structured budget and clear development goals with a strong emphasis on youth and literacy.”

The city of Conakry, along with the rest of the African continent, will be featured during the celebrations of the Day that will promote African literature at UNESCO headquarters on Monday, 24 April from 1pm to 5:30pm. Workshops, activities, reading clubs, musical performances and roundtables will be organized in the presence of African authors.

Several publishing houses will join the celebration, including À dos d'âne, Éditions Dagan, L'Harmattan Guinée, Editions Nubia, Michel Lafon Éditions, Présences Africaines and Librairie-Galerie Congo.


Visit our World Book and Copyright Day page

More information about Conakry, UNESCO World Book Capital City 2017


Journalists wishing to attend the event are requested to contact UNESCO’s Media Section
Contact: Djibril Kebe, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 41;


Categories: News

How to stop School-Related Gender-Based Violence

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 14:42

Gender and education focal points from 12 Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) countries met for an orientation workshop on how to prevent and respond to SRGBV in their region.

Across the African continent, gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy and HIV continue to be serious issues that are preventing young people from achieving their full potential. These issues are interconnected, with many of the same root causes and consequences - poverty, unequal gender and social norms and lack of access to education, including sexuality education.

Bringing the Global Guidance to the ESA region is a priority for UNESCO and its partners

Since its official launch in New York in December 2016, the UNESCO/UN Women Global Guidance on addressing School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) is being successfully used as a key resource to strengthen the capacities of education ministries and their partners to end SRGBV.

The launch of the Global Guidance in the ESA region took place on the 20 March 2017 in Harare, Zimbabwe, hosted by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, in collaboration with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and UN Women. The launch was followed by a three-day orientation workshop with representatives of ministries of education and other stakeholders on how the Guidance can be used in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region.

SRGBV is a major obstacle in ensuring a quality education for all

School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) violates children’s fundamental human rights and is a form of gender discrimination. It also negatively affects school performance and can lead to school drop-out, especially when the school environment is not perceived as safe for learners. SRGBV is therefore increasingly recognised as a major obstacle to the achievement of a quality education for all children, and particularly negatively affects gender equality in education.

“It is important to note that sexual violence affects both boys and girls in all countries regardless of the levels of economic development,” said the Zimbabwe Child President Mbavari (Head of the Zimbabwe Junior Parliament) who attended the event, adding that there was need for the educational curriculum to incorporate strategies to deal with SRGBV.

Ensuring that all stakeholders understand how to address SRGBV is critical

With support from the Senior Programme Specialist from the UNESCO Section for Health and Education, Ms. Joanna Herat, the participants were provided with an overview of the Global Guidance focusing on the Eastern and Southern African context. Participants explored in detail the recommended responses to support victims of gender-based violence in school, and the most effective approaches to prevent this violence from happening. The workshop was an opportunity for all country teams to work together and to develop draft action plans to address SRGBV and its related issues.

The regional launch of the Global Guidance and the following orientation workshop on addressing SRGBV represents an important step towards ensuring that communities, governments and civil society organizations are sensitized on the issues of SRGBV and empowered with tools and strategies to eliminate it in all forms thereby allowing children to reach their full potential.

Categories: News

Share your views and contribute to the forthcoming 2019 GEM Report

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 13:32

The 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report will look at the issue of migration and education, as approved by the GEM Report International Advisory Board in June 2016.

Migration and education are multifaceted processes involving individuals, schools, communities, regions and countries. They invoke temporal, spatial and intergenerational dimensions. The 2019 GEM Report will enhance understanding of migration and education dynamics. It will give voice to educational challenges and opportunities facing both voluntary and involuntary migrants in host and home communities. It will draw upon wide-ranging evidence from both quantitative and qualitative studies, and the analyses, conclusions and recommendations will advance the aims of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the global goal on education (SDG4).

This concept note discusses the issues and themes that the 2019 Report intends to address.

Specifically the 2019 GEM Report will explore two overarching questions:

A.    Does migration accelerate or hamper progress in access to education? How?

B.    How do migration patterns influence quality education?

It will also look at two key cross-cutting issues:

1.    In what ways do policies focusing on educational equity and inclusiveness improve educational outcomes among migrants and refugees?

2.    In what ways can the voices of migrants improve our understanding of how migration and education are interlinked?

The GEM Report team would like to hear from people on the intended content of the 2019 Report through an on-line consultation by the 15 May. The team is particularly interested in receiving thoughts on issues related to migration and education, as noted above, including suggestions on relevant literature, data analysis and case studies. Ressources such as web links to research reports, policy papers, evaluations, and other documents or datasets that would be useful and informative for the GEM Report team can be submitted.  

The views of researchers, academics, governments, non-governmental organizations, aid donors, teachers, youth and anyone with an interest in migration, education and sustainable development are welcome. 

To learn more, download the concept note and join the consultation

Categories: News