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UNESCO Director-General pays tribute to the memory of HE Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, artisan of the safeguarding of Angkor

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 11:53
16 March 2017

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova paid tribute to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, HE Sok An, who passed away on Wednesday 15 March 2017.

"The passing away of HE Sok An is an immense loss for the world community committed to heritage preservation. He was the great architect of the international campaign to safeguard the archaeological site of Angkor and the inscription of the site on the UNESCO World Heritage list (1992). Through his unique authority and expertise, he has established himself as one of the few world figures capable of influencing and enhancing the preservation of natural and cultural sites, far beyond the borders of the Cambodia. He was a friend to UNESCO, alternately President of the National Commission of Cambodia to UNESCO, President of the APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor Sites), Chairman of the World Heritage Committee. He succeeded in placing heritage as a pillar of the dignity of peoples, and a driving force for dialogue for peace. The preservation of these sites will be remembered as his greatest contribution to the common history. His journey inspires us to continue what he started because the task is immense," said the Director-General.

Categories: News

Director-General to Attend Global Education & Skills Forum in Dubai

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 11:31

On 18 and 19 March, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will participate in the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, focusing on the theme “How do we make ‘real’ global citizens?”.

The Forum will debate the pressing need to educate students in how to become active global citizens as the world becomes ever more interconnected through trade, technology and the challenge of global warming, providing an opportunity to showcase UNESCO’s leadership on global citizenship education.

Ms Bokova will participate in sessions on delivering education in emergencies organized with Plan International, Dubai Cares and the World Food Programme; in a parliamentary style debate on a possible relationship between education and the rise of populism with former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, CAMFED’s Chief Executive Officer Lucy Lake and Colombia’s Vice Minister of Education Luis Garcia; and in the first meeting of the Atlantis Group, which brings together former Ministers of Education and interested former Heads of State to help address ongoing challenges in global education. She will attend the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, which awards USD 1 million to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

UNESCO is an institutional partner of this Forum, which brings together leaders from the public, private and social sectors seeking solutions to achieving education, equity and employment for all. The Forum was founded by Mr Sunny Varkey, Chairman of the Varkey Foundation and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Education Partnerships.

During her stay, she is expected to meet with Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry of the United Arab Emirates.


Categories: News

Five Serbian ministries of government joined forces to enable media and information literacy policies and strategies

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 16:53
news_160317_mil.jpg © UNESCO 16 March 2017A consensus on media and information literacy (MIL) as the impetus for addressing numerous contemporary challenges was reached among all key government ministries in Serbia. Their strong commitment to MIL development was demonstrated at UNESCO and European Commission-supported National Consultations on MIL policies and strategies, held in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade on 9 March.

“In the development of new Media Strategy, Ministry of Culture and Information will devote specific attention to further institutional development of media literacy,” said Nino Brajovic, State Secretary for information and media in the Ministry of Culture and Information in Serbia. He added that MIL is “one of the conditions for the enhancement of culture of information and dialogue in a society”.

The event gathered over 80 policymakers, media experts, professors, educators, librarians and other information intermediaries, youth, civil society and international community stakeholders. Amidst the challenges of information access and verification in the region of South East Europe, the government of Serbia is not standing still.

“Young people are faced today with numerous information that is difficult to assess based on quality. It is difficult to assess what is reliable information. As well, what are the dangers of insufficiently reliable information that can be found in a variety of media? This can negatively affect the behavior of youth, including their present and their future,” said Snezana Klasnja, Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports in Serbia. “The consultations highlighted that it is important to develop a system of values, an attitude towards information. This is, on one side, capability to understand information and use it in life and, on the other side, how to share this information with others and impact the value system,” she concluded. 

Road map for MIL in Serbia

Consultations were led by Media Education Center (MEC), Ministry of Youth and Sport, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Ministry of Culture and Information, with support with the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Commission of the Republic of Serbia for UNESCO. The multi-stakeholder event discussed opportunities and gaps of national MIL policies and strategies. Specific recommendations and a roadmap for MIL development came out of this meeting.  

“In the context of speeches and discussions that came from ministry representatives, we can expect the positive outcome of these consultations in successful development of policy and strategy of MIL in Serbia,” said Miomir Rajcevic, Director of MEC. Throughout the sessions, many different mechanisms were explored for MIL as a key for development of critical thinking. Participants emphasized the current media and information context, challenged with global realities of fake news emerging mainly through social media by different information providers. The assessment of all information is becoming increasingly complicated for all generations.

“We have to educate people in the path towards critical and analytical assessment of information that is transmitted to us, because many things are often not true, or not acceptable for certain age groups. In that sense, we concluded at the consultations that IT education in schools must have a segment of media literacy,” said Mr Brajovic, from the Ministry of Culture and Information.

The discussion also highlighted the importance of citizen participation in MIL. Specifically, this was explored through the role of the Coalition of Information and Media Users in South East Europe (CIMU SEE), led by South East European Network of Professionalization of Media (SEENPM). CIMU SEE is one component of the European Commission and UNESCO supported project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey”.

Sustainable public policies as foundation for MIL

National consultations are one of several important steps in the roadmap for MIL development in Serbia. Policy and strategy recommendations from the national consultations will be assembled jointly with cooperating ministries and reflected in the Position Paper.

“Policies are the foundation for MIL development. They are needed across the society. The public support for MIL needs to be articulated through strategic decisions grounded in specific policy solutions. They are needed at the national level, led by government and with multi-stakeholder participation,” concluded Alton Grizzle, UNESCO’s Programme Specialist, with direct responsibility for MIL.  

This is the second time in a single month that government officials in the region brought together a multi-stakeholder group to discuss national MIL policies and strategies and to agree on a road map to achieve this. The national consultations in Serbia followed similar engagements in Albania a few weeks ago. These activities are organized within the framework of the EU-UNESCO funded project, Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey.

Categories: News

Rising extreme inequality is a concern for us all

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 15:20

The richest 1 per cent of the world’s population now own as much as the rest of the world put together, affirming Oxfam’s assertion that extreme economic inequality is spiralling out of control.

This phenomenon is unfair and morally lacking, and its consequences are corrosive for everyone. Extreme inequality corrupts politics, hinders economic growth and stifles social mobility. It fuels crime and violent conflict. It touches a moral nerve in threatening the very health of our democracies when political and economic power is captured by elites. The rapid rise of extreme economic inequality is standing in the way of eliminating global poverty.

If India were to reduce inequality by 36 per cent, it could virtually eliminate extreme poverty by 2019 (Oxfam, 2014). Our research has indicated that inequality is the missing link that explains how the same rate of growth in different countries can lead to different rates of poverty reduction.

According to the Overseas Development Institute, 200 million of the 1.1 billion people living in extreme poverty in 2010 could have escaped extreme poverty if poor people benefited equally from the proceeds of growth during the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) period (Hoy and Samman, 2015). Projections by World Bank economists find that to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030, the poorest must benefit from growth 2 percentage points higher than the rest of the population (Lakner et al., 2014). An equal share in growth is not enough, and would leave almost 200 million additional people trapped in extreme poverty (Oxfam, 2015).

A high level of inequality constitutes a barrier to future economic growth because it obstructs productive investment, limits the productive and consumptive capacity of the economy, and undermines the institutions necessary for fair societies. Researchers at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that an increase in the income share of the poor and the middle class in fact increases growth, while doing the same for the top 20 per cent results in lower growth (Dabla-Norris et al., 2015).

Inequality extremes are, in the words of Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang, ‘a source of needless human and economic waste’ (quoted in Oxfam, 2014, p. iii). Extreme inequality is an immediately pressing concern for us all, and it must be addressed without delay. International bodies and governments must pay more attention to the gap between the richest and poorest, and track wealth and income transfers at the top and bottom of the inequality extremes. Access to good-quality data is imperative, to produce more in-depth research on the drivers of extreme wealth and income inequality, and their impact on poverty.

Inequality is not inevitable. Governments can reduce economic extremes by adopting a package of redistributive measures, including more progressive tax systems that redistribute incomes fairly, and by increasing investment in universal, good-quality and free public services and social protection programmes.

Increasing the number of decent jobs for decent pay is also essential. Good-quality jobs are inherently those that pay a living wage, provide job security and respect for workers’ rights, and ensure equal pay for women.

There is, however, a power dynamic to address, and civil society must hold decision-makers to account. Governments and public institutions must realize they are first and foremost servants to their citizens, not to vested interests. Governments are obliged to protect human rights, which involves preventing commercial interests from emasculating those rights. Only then will we successfully tackle the scourge of extreme economic inequality.


This article was written by Winnie Byanyima in the framework of the World Social Science Report 2016.

About the author

Winnie Byanyima (Uganda) is executive director of Oxfam International. She is a leader on women’s rights, democratic governance and peace-building. She served eleven years in the Ugandan Parliament, and has served at the African Union Commission and as director of gender and development at the UNDP. She co-founded the sixty-member Global Gender and Climate Alliance and chaired a UN task force on gender aspects of the MDGs and on climate change.

Categories: News

UNESCO and the European Commission elaborate a common roadmap for the planning of maritime space

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 14:54
rsz_1abu_dhabi.jpg ©Shutterstock

Paris, 16 March 2017, the international conference on marine spatial planning currently brings together over 350 experts from all regions of the world at UNESCO’s Headquarters.

One major objective:

Triple the surface of territorial waters benefiting from marine spatial planning by 2025, i.e. one third of the total surface area of waters under national jurisdiction.

Towards this objective, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission will publish on March 24th a road map developed during the conference to encourage spatial planning in all the seas and ocean basins of the world.

Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning:

It is a process that consists in regulating human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives in order to prevent conflicts between sectors of activity and to promote international cooperation.

The intensification of maritime activities in coastal waters requires the establishment of such planning. Traditional activities, such as fishing and navigation, in addition to more recent practices that have arisen in the last decades such as tourism, offshore aquaculture or renewable marine energies can lead to overexploitation of resources and the marine environment as well as conflicts between different users.

As both a political process and a cross-sectorial instrument, marine spatial planning enables public authorities and stakeholders to apply a coordinated, integrated and cross-border approach. An ecosystem approach will further promote the sustainable development and growth of maritime and coastal economies and the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources.

At the end of the first day of the conference, we retain some key messages from the experts:

“Three days to develop a global road map for marine spatial planning”

"We care about people, we care about environment"

“MSP is not a win-win process, but a trade-off”

“Marine planners create order where no natural order exist"

"Marine planning challenges the status quo of marine governance"

“MSP is a must-have to shape the future…”

“Sustainability and governance are the first things when we think MSP”

"MSP is an ongoing process and takes time, but we need to find a compromise because there is no time to wait"

“MSP key ingredients: fishermen involved in process, shared vision, integrated global mechanism and cross-sector commitment”

For further information on the conference

Official Conference Website

Contact : Alejandro Iglesias Campos, Tel +33 1 45 68 40 23 | a.iglesias-campos(at)

Categories: News

We need new deal to bridge Digital Divides -- Call for Action from Hong Kong, SAR China

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 13:28

Hong Kong, 16 March 2017 – President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, co-chairman of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, called for innovation to reach all women and men who remain unconnected to mobile broadband, speaking today at the opening of the Spring Session of the Broadband Commission. The meeting was hosted by H‎uawei Technologies in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China.

President Kagame appealed “to connect the global community, especially the unconnected", underscoring broadband access gaps in Least Developing States. "We must succeed together -- governments, industry and civil society -- to link people for the benefit of economies and societies"

Carlos Jarque, speaking on behalf of Carlos Slim, warned that “the development divide will deepen” globally without a commitment to full digital inclusion. He defined the spirit and role of the Broadband Commission as: "inclusion, sustainability, innovation, and partnerships." 

The Broadband Commission – founded in 2010 and co-chaired by President Kagame and Mr Carlos Slim, chairman of the Carlos Slim Foundation, with UNESCO and ITU -  comprises eminent Broadband industry chief executives, experts, senior policy makers, academia and international agencies. 

The Commission engages major broadband actors to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including education, gender equality and health -- to leverage broadband and ICT to help eradicate poverty and leave no one behind.

 The Broadband Commission is vice-chaired by Secretary-General Houlin Zhao of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Director General Irina Bokova of UNESCO.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova noted that “ICT-specific targets (are) in four of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals – there are 38 targets whose achievement will depend upon universal and affordable access to ICT and broadband.”

 “I believe the framework for all our work is clear," she said. "It is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals. The digital revolution must be a revolution for human rights, to promote technological breakthroughs as development breakthroughs.”

‎Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU and co-Vice Chair of the Broadband Commission stated, “Our central conviction is that broadband and ICTs are critical if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. ICTs underpin vital achievements and modern services in many sectors, and governments and industry must increasingly work together to create the conditions so badly needed to facilitate the growth of broadband for sustainable development.”

 Discussions of the Broadband Commissioners – which are taking place in advance of UNESCO's flagship Mobile Learning Week (20-24 March 2017) – focused on the need to advance connectivity and content, notably through new digital literacy and new approaches to education, as well as more relevant content, in multiple languages.

The Commission today officially launched a new report -Recommendations for Action: Bridging the Gender Gap in Internet and Broadband access and use  - which highlights 32 tangible actions and good practices from 14 organizations to address barriers women face in access and use of the Internet.‎

According to the report, the global gender gap of Internet users widened from 11% in 2013 to 12% in 2016, with the gender gap highest in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) (31%) and Africa (23%). The Internet penetration rate remains higher for men than women in every region of the world. Sustainable Development Goal 9 sets a target for universal and affordable access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) in LDCs by 2020. The report is available online.

“To be sustainable, all new opportunities must be available to all, to empower all, for the benefit of all - especially girls and women," said Irina Bokova. "For this, we need a new focus on access and skills, connectivity and education, to empower every woman and man, every society."


Categories: News

Nine Nominations received for the post of Director-General of UNESCO

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 09:26
unesco_hq_688px.jpg UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France© UNESCO/Ignacio Marin 16 March 2017

Paris –The Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO, Mr. Michael Worbs, today officially announced the names of the nine candidates received for the post of Director-General of UNESCO.

The nominees are listed below in the order of receipt of their candidature, within the deadline set by the Executive Board.

Name of candidate

Date complete file received


Proposed by







Mr PHAM Sanh Chau 




Viet Nam 


Ms Moushira KHATTAB 






Mr Hamad bin Abdulaziz AL-KAWARI 






Mr Qian TANG 






Mr Juan Alfonso FUENTES SORIA 


















Ms Audrey AZOULAY 






The Director-General is nominated by the Executive Board and appointed by the General Conference for a period of four years. These nine candidates will be interviewed during the 201st Board session on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 April 2017. The person to be nominated by the Executive Board shall be chosen by secret ballot, during a vote that will take place during the Board's 202nd session in October 2017. Subsequently, the Chairperson of the Board shall inform the General Conference, during its 39th session in November 2017, of the candidate nominated by the Board. The General Conference shall consider this nomination and then elect, by secret ballot, the person proposed by the Executive Board.

Information pertaining to the candidates, together with the procedure for the nomination of the Director-General of UNESCO, is available on the Executive Board website at:


Media Contact:  George Papagiannis,; Tel: +33 1 456 817 06

Categories: News

Call for contributions to consultation on strengthening journalists’ safety

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 17:17
15 March 2017Member States, media, academics and civil society are invited to send in information ahead of a meeting on protecting journalists on 29 June at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Organized by UNESCO and OHCHR, the event is titled the “Multi-stakeholder Consultation on Strengthening the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity” (UN Plan).

All actors interested in the UN Plan are invited to send their contributions to reflect on key challenges, lessons learnt and the way forward to foster safety of journalists and ending impunity. These contributions will feed into a draft outcome document that will be discussed during the meeting.

Member States in particular are encouraged to send their contributions setting out their previous activities and proposing ways forward to strengthen implementation of the UN Plan.

The UN Plan was originally elaborated consultatively over a two year period and provides a comprehensive, coherent, and action-oriented UN-wide approach to the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity.

Since its launch, it has become a guiding framework for activities in this area. Following its endorsement by the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination in 2012, the UN Plan of Action has been recognized by UNESCO’s Executive Board and welcomed by the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

UNESCO has provided leadership to the UN Plan, and worked with actors outside the UN, including media, civil society, academic and various regional bodies to foster a spirit of co-operation within this framework.

Representatives from all key stakeholders, including UN agencies, Member States, civil society, governmental actors, academia and media houses, will gather in Geneva to examine recent developments and to identify key priorities and give new impetus to the UN Plan.

The meeting is intended as an opportunity to combine inputs and help to prioritize further strides toward securing safety of journalists and an end to impunity, in both conflict and non-conflict situations.

The contributions of the Member States will be an essential resource in preparing the draft outcome document for the multi-stakeholder consultation on 29 June in Geneva.  

UNESCO has created a template for interested parties to structure their contribution (maximum of four pages). The deadline for submissions is 8 May 2017, and these should be sent to

Categories: News

Director-General denounces murder of documentary film maker José Feliciano Yactayo Rodríguez in Peru

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 17:08
15 March 2017

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, today condemned the killing of documentary film maker and journalist José Feliciano Yactayo Rodríguez whose dead body was found on 27 February near Lima, the capital of Peru.

“I condemn the murder of José Feliciano Yactayo Rodríguez,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to investigate this killing and bring those responsible to justice. Violence cannot be allowed to silence those reporting on, or documenting matters of concern for society, nor can murder be allowed to deprive us of the fruit of their labour.”

The body of José Feliciano Yactayo Rodríguez was found in the rural Andahuasi region close to Lima, on 27 February 2017, a couple of days after his disappearance. After a career in television, Yactayo Rodríguez became a producer and director of documentary films.

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

UNESCO’s Frank La Rue thanks Ambassador Pekka Puustinen

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 15:20
news_150317_ipdc.jpg UNESCO’s Frank La Rue thanks Ambassador Pekka Puustinen© UNESCO 15 March 2017Ambassador Pekka Puustinen, Permanent Representative of Finland to OECD and UNESCO, signed a commitment to financially support the forthcoming evaluation of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), in a ceremony at UNESCO today.

“The grant goes a long way to helping make the evaluation possible,” said Frank la Rue, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information. “In turn, the evaluation will help us identify where to strengthen the media development work of the IPDC,” he added.

Finland’s contribution comes in addition to its annual generous donation to the IPDC special account, which helps to support grassroots media projects in developing countries. The IPDC was chaired by Finland’s Jyrki Pulkkinen from November 2012 to November 2014. 

The decision to evaluate the IPDC was agreed by the Council of the IPDC at its 30th session in November 2016, updating the previous evaluation, which took place a decade earlier. 

The forthcoming exercise will also fulfill a recommendation by UNESCO’s external auditors, accepted by the Organization’s Executive Board. This is to assess the cost-benefit ratio of IPDC’s specific form of governance.

UNESCO’s Internal Oversight Services are managing the evaluation, and have issued a call for proposals. Once the evaluators have been selected, an inception report will be shared with all IPDC Council members.

The final evaluation report will be shared with both the Council and the Executive Board.

Categories: News

Mobile Learning Week 2017 focuses on the potential of mobile technologies to serve educational needs in crisis situations

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 13:43
15 March 2017

The theme of this year’s flagship UNESCO event about the intersection of technology and education will be ‘Education in Emergencies and Crises’. From 20 to 24 March, Mobile Learning Week will bring together experts, practitioners, ministers of education and ministers of ICT to examine ways to maximize the use of cheap and widely available mobile technologies for the education of refugees and other displaced persons.

Mobile Learning Week 2017 will feature a symposium with over 70 breakout sessions, exhibitions, and a mix of panel discussions and plenary addresses focusing on the educational needs of displaced persons, whose unprecedented numbers exceeded 65 million in 2015, when an average of 24 people were displaced every single minute.

Fifty-one percent of refugees are children and most of them live in developing countries where many schools are already struggling to educate students in the local community. Even in wealthy countries, an influx of new learners presents considerable logistical, pedagogical and political challenges.

Recognizing the fact that mobile devices are among the few possessions taken by people forced to leave their homes, and that mobile technology can also open doors to education and empowerment, Mobile Learning Week will examine ways to support learners, teachers and systems.

In crafting the programme of this event UNESCO and its partners are seeking to strengthen inclusion in education, preserve the continuity of learning in conflict and disaster contexts, open and enrich learning opportunities for refugees and other displaced people, facilitate the integration of learners in new schools and communities, and serve as a catalyst for innovation in the education sector and improve the impact of humanitarian interventions.

A press room will help journalists find their way around the numerous events of Mobile Learning Week—including live learning demonstrations in a refugee tent—and identify participants they may wish to interview. In the press room, journalists will also find a media pack with information about the event and the issues it seeks to address.

Mobile Learning Week 2017 is organized in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).


Media accreditation: Djibril Kebe,; +33 (0)1 45 68 17 41


Categories: News