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Support to the wood value chain in Nicaragua

Europaid - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 18:00
Categories: News

The poet at the heart of society

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 14:13
courier_web_04.jpg © Ernest Pignon-Ernest 07 August 2017
Categories: News

Honduras holds second regional tsunami simulation

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 12:57
rsz_img_0522_typo_news.jpg © UNESCO

7 August 2017 - The inhabitants of the Honduran municipality of Omoa, in the department of Cortés, participated last Friday in a full scale tsunami evacuation drill, to perfect their knowledge in issues of Early Warning Systems (EWS).

Prior to the simulation, relief bodies, private companies, settlers and local and municipal authorities attended the 4-day workshop on “formation and training of tsunami action team at the local level," aimed at educating the people of Omoa on what to do in the event of a tsunami. The community is located in one of the most at-risk regions of Honduras, facing an important geologic fault.

“The important thing is for the Omoa community to reflect what has been learned in these workshops, it is crucial to learn how to prepare contingency plans, maps, and early warning mechanisms against tsunami waves. These tools will serve them for life, as long as they are constantly updated,” added Leonardo Serrano, Omoa’s Deputy Mayor and coordinator of the Municipal Emergency Committee (CODEM).

The workshop was held within the framework of the DIPECHO project "Building Resilient Communities and Integrated Tsunami Early Warning Systems in Central America" ​​which is implemented by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), with financing from the European Union.

Around 30 people participated in the training, including the following special guests and instructors: Pilar Álvarez, Director of the UNESCO Cluster Office for Central America and Mexico; Ricardo Alvarado, Mayor of the municipality of Omoa; Marcos Giraldo, Geologist Consultant and coordinator of the DIPECHO project; Alex Nuñez, Consultant for Honduras; and Juan José Reyes, head of the Early Warning System (EWS) Unit of Hondura’s Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO).

Simulation

A tsunami drill was held on the beaches of Omoa on 3 August to implement what was learned in the workshop. Omoa residents and authorities fully engaged in the simulation, hoping to generate even more popular participation than in the previous simulation in Cedeño, the first municipality in Honduras to receive the UNESCO Tsunami Ready recognition on 16 February.

"We do drills every year, but it is the first time that a tsunami drill is going to take place here on the north coast, so we are preparing in the best way we can. During the workshop we made visits to the Playa and Las Salinas neighborhoods, which would be the most affected places should the simulated scenario really happen. We estimate that more than 7 thousands people would have to be evacuated, "said the Deputy Mayor of Omoa.

Preparations for the drill included identifying all evacuation routes and bringing onboard the Local Emergency Committees, local council presidents and representatives of educational centers.

Through the mapping and identification of affected areas, authorities determined that the safest places to evacuate people to in the event of a tsunami are Las Acacias, Las Lomas and the water park, because they are located above 30 meters from the sea level.

Data provided by the CODEM of Omoa reveals that annually more than 115 thousand people come to these beaches to vacation during during Easter and holy week alone.

Previous Tsunamis

Authorities in the Omoa Mayor’s Office said there are records indicating that the highest-intensity tsunami to ever hit the Honduran coast was recorded on August 4, 1856, in the Gulf of Honduras near Belize. The tsunami waves bathed the entire North coast, including Tela, La Ceiba, Trujillo and reaching Gracias a Dios.

The Data

Tsunami is a Japanese word that comes from "tsu" (bay or port) and "nami" (wave). This phenomenon is a wave that spreads in the sea and is caused by an underwater earthquake, a landslide, a volcanic eruption or the fall of a meteorite. The vast majority of earthquakes occur in faults. These are fractures in the earth's crust that accumulate tension, which is released in the earthquake.

Edited version based on press release issued by the COPECO Directorate of Social Communication.

For further information, please contact:
Bernardo Aliaga (b.aliaga(at)unesco.org)

Categories: News

Director-General condemns the killing of Iraqi TV reporters Harb Hazaa al-Dulaimi and Soudad al-Douri

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 11:56
07 August 2017

Paris, 7 August—The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of two Iraqi journalists, reporter Harb Hazaa al-Dulaimi and cameraman Soudad al-Douri, whose bodies were found in the village of Imam Gharbi south of Mosul on 20 July.

“I condemn the killing of Harb Hazaa al-Dulaimi and Soudad al-Douri,” said the Director-General. “Their death is a terrible reminder of the unacceptable toll paid by courageous media workers dedicated to keeping us informed. Targeting of journalists in conflict situations is an intolerable war crime, recognized as such by the Geneva Conventions.”

Both men were reportedly killed on 7 July while covering fighting for Iraqi TV channel Hona Salaheddinon.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray@unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

Categories: News

The end of the world’s most generous tax regime?

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 11:55
focus_noppasin_shutterstock_128161259_dpl_en.jpg © Noppasin / Shutterstock.com

When India introduced a weighted tax deduction in April 2010 of 200% on company expenditure on in-house research and development, it became one of only 16 countries to offer this kind of ‘super deduction’, defined as a tax incentive exceeding 100% of a firm’s expenditure on research. This year, a new fiscal policy enters into force which considerably reduces the size of this tax rebate. Sunil Mani, Director of the Centre for Development Studies in Trivandrum and author of the chapter on India in the UNESCO Science Report (2015), analyses the potential repercussions for India’s high-tech industry of a fiscal package that was originally designed to encourage companies to innovate.

According to the UNESCO Science Report (2015), the 200% tax rebate on company research expenditure gave India ‘one of the most generous tax regimes for R&D in the world’(1). The report observed, however, that ‘this regime has failed to spread an innovation culture across firms and industries’, since ‘innovation is still ‘concentrated in nine industrial sectors’. In 2010, more than half of business research expenditure concerned just three industries: pharmaceuticals (28%), automotive (14%) and computer software (10%). Moreover, most of the firms active in information technology were foreign-owned. Innovative firms were also geographically concentrated, being largely circumscribed to just six of India’s 29 states.

The alluring 200% tax incentive had the perverse effect of encouraging firms to relabel their non-research expenditure as research expenditure, although there are no clear estimates of the extent of this phenomenon.

The 200% tax break for businesses was to be short-lived, though, as the Union budget announced by the Minister of Finance in February 2016 reduced it to 150% of research expenditure from 2017 onwards and to 100% from 2020 onwards. This means that only genuinely innovative firms will henceforward be able to apply for the tax break.

Most industries seem to have taken the drop in their stride but it has come as a rude shock to the pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry, which had been lobbying the government to adopt a budget proposing a 250% tax break. Companies had also been lobbying to expand the scope of the benefit to include expenses incurred outside research facilities, such as bio-equivalence studies, clinical studies, patent filings and product registrations.

The move thus came as a double blow to the pharmaceuticals industry. Saumen Chakraborty, president and chief financial officer of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, reacted by saying that ‘the decrease in R&D weighted deduction to 150% may have an impact on innovation, as it could de-incentivise the industry to spend more on R&D’. Venkat Jasti, CEO of Suven Life Sciences Ltd, opined that the cut in the R&D tax break goes against the government’s “Make in India” slogan.(2)

The finance minister sweetened the pill by simultaneously announcing a patent box-type of incentives for the first time, wherein income received by Indian companies in the form of royalties and technology license fees would be taxed at a reduced rate of 10% from fiscal year 2016–2017 onwards. This move was designed to stimulate innovation by raising the revenue that companies could earn from their intellectual property.

The government has packaged its less generous tax policy as a means of simplifying the tax code. As the new policy sets out a predictably lower tax rate for the years to come, this fiscal stability should enable firms to plan their research budgets more effectively over the coming years. It will, of course, also allow the government to recoup some of the Rs 68 billion in lost taxes over 2015–2016.

The government’s revised tax policy would not seem to have been inspired by any empirical analysis of the situation, however, despite evidence-based policy-making having become a catchword in government policy circles. In 2015, the UNESCO Science Report itself had recommended that the government assess the effectiveness of existing tax incentives for R&D.

In 2011, public enterprises contributed 6% of total expenditure on research and development, compared to 30% for private enterprises, according to the UNESCO Science Report. The business sector as a whole has been playing a greater role in research, since it only contributed 29% of research expenditure in 2005. Four out of five patents granted to investors went to private enterprises in 2013. High-tech products accounted for 7% of manufactured exports at the time, a figure that was rising. Pharmaceuticals and aircraft parts accounted for two-thirds of these high-tech exports.

Over the past decade, Indian companies have acquired state-of-the-art technology through a series of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. The UNESCO Science Report tells how, in the first wave in 2007, Tata acquired the Corus Group plc (today Tata Steel Europe), giving Tata access to car-grade steel technology. Two years later, Suzlon Energy Ltd acquired German wind turbine manufacturer Senvion. More recently, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has supplemented its in-house research capacity by opening a new monoclonal antibody manufacturing facility in Switzerland in 2014.

How will the new fiscal policy affect private sector investment in R&D? The move comes at a time when India’s domestic research effort is falling for the first time in over a decade: between 2011 and 2015, research spending shrank from 0.83% to 0.63% of GDP, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. This translates into a drop in expenditure per researcher (in full-time equivalents) from PPP$ 206 to PPP$ 149. This trend should be of concern to the government, for it means that the country is not on track to reach its target of devoting 2% of GDP to research and development by 2018.

Technology transfer fostering new industries

In addition to the tax rebate, government policy has been fostering new technology-based industries in other ways. In 2009, the government removed the ceiling on royalty payments and fees for technical expertise, the two major payments made by companies to import technology through licensing agreements. Quantitative restrictions on technology imports had been removed even earlier. This deregulation seems to have encouraged foreign multinational companies to transfer more of their state-of-the-art technologies to Indian firms, even though it could result in higher prices for technology and, thus, increase the cost of technology licensing.

One industry that seems to have benefited from the deregulation of technology imports is solar energy, which is attracting both foreign and domestic investment. Some 40% of the new 250 MW solar tender in Rajasthan in May this year at the Bhadla Phase IV solar park was won by SBG Cleantech, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises of India, Softbank of Japan and Foxconn of the Taiwan Province of China.(3)

Greater energy efficiency is fostering the development of renewable technologies like solar, wind and hydropower. Indians are now able to store renewable energy for longer, thanks to high-performance LED lighting, technological advances in pumped hydro-storage and the lower cost of lithium ion batteries.(3)

The government has plans to make India a leader in solar energy. In June 2015, the Cabinet raised the target for grid-connected solar power projects from 20 to 100 gigawatts by 2022 within the government’s National Solar Mission, which was launched in 2010. Over the past decade, the government has been investing in the construction of solar parks and helping cites across the country adopt solar power, such as by revising their by-laws.(4)

In December 2016, the government released its ten-year Draft National Electricity Plan, which recommends installing 275 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2027. The plan forecasts a drop in thermal power capacity from 69% of the country’s electricity mix in March 2016 to 43% by 2027.(3)

That drop is already occurring. The lower cost of solar energy is not only making it a more commercially viable endeavour. It is also making it uneconomical to build costly coal-fired power plants. In May this year, plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power plants across India were cancelled. Otheexisting plants may no longer be viable.

(1) See also Mani, Sunil (2014) Innovation: the world’s most generous tax regime. In Bimal Jalan and Pulapre Balakrishnan (eds) Politics Trumps Economics, The Interface of Economics and Politics in Contemporary India. New Delhi: Rupa, pp. 155-169.
(2) Pilla, Viswanath (2016) Budget 2016-17: Cuts in R&D tax breaks disappoints life sciences industry. The Mint
(3) Buckley, Tim (2017) India’s Electricity-Sector Transformation Is Happening Now. Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, 17 May.
(4) See Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Source : Sunil Mani and Susan Schneegans, with exerpts from the chapter on India in the UNESCO Science Report : towards 2030 (2015)

Categories: News

Youth voices at Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2017

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:44
news_040817_youth_voices.jpg © Shutterstock 04 August 2017Young people are key actors and part of the solution in the development of media and information literate societies. In engaging them, not just as target groups, voices of youth will resonate loudly in the global celebration of MIL Week as well as the feature event.

As a day that will kick start the Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2017 feature event, youth leaders and individuals from around the world will engage in thematic panels and hands-on workshops. This is Global MIL Week Youth Agenda. It is an extension of the UNESCO Global Youth Forum in Paris. Workshops will be innovative and creative, incorporating music, memes, poetry etc.

 “The new information age is boundless: Todays’ young people are millennials and they all belong to the next generation. The mode of knowledge acquisition is vastly different from those of previous generations. This is largely because of the reliance on compelling factors within our digital age that has completely transformed how we operate on a daily basis. Young people tend to reject spoon-fed education and prefer to pursue knowledge through exploration and discovery. The internet has undoubtedly become the nucleus of information.” said Adama Lee-Bah, Head of the Youth Committee of Global Alliance for Partnership on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL).

GAPMIL Youth Committee will lead certain actions including activities on social media via MIL CLICKS, a social media initiative launched by UNESCO and partners. MIL CLICKS (Critical-Thinking, Creativity, Literacy, Intercultural Citizenship, Knowledge and Sustainability) is a bid to improve people’s critical thinking competencies online and offline. MIL CLICKS is the nucleus of a social media initiative about non-traditional, creative or innovative ways of acquiring MIL and intercultural dialogue competencies by people in their normal day-to-day use of all forms of media and other information environments.

Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2017 celebrations will take place worldwide from 25 October to 1 November. The Global MIL Week Youth Agenda Forum will take place on 24 October at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica. The Youth Agenda Forum will open the celebrations during the Global MIL Week Feature Conference that will take place on October 25-27, 2017, at the Jamaica Conference Centre. UNESCO leads the Global MIL Week 2017 in cooperation with the Media and Information and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) University Network, GAPMIL, United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), and the host for the feature conference, the University of the West Indies. 

Do you want to make your voice heard and collaborate with other young people from all parts of the world? Register now on the Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2017 official website: https://en.unesco.org/global-mil-week-2017.

If you cannot attend in person then participate by following MIL CLICKS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Contact: a.grizzle@unesco.org and ji.xu@unesco.org

Categories: News

Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2017: Celebrate with us and register your MIL events!

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:25
news_040817_mil_week.jpg © Shutterstock 04 August 2017

The 6th Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week is less than three months away. It will be celebrated from 25 October to 1 November 2017.  UNESCO is calling all stakeholders to join the celebration by organizing events or actions in their community, region or online.  Together we can draw the world’s attention to the importance of MIL. Celebrate with us!

Related events or actions, whether online or offline, can take place during the period of Global MIL Week in October and November 2017. Not sure what to do? You can organize a MIL day in your school or organization, present a research and prepare a lecture or discussion at the university or partner with local media, library or museum in organizing a local activity to mark the week. More ideas are available here, “10 Ways to Celebrate Global MIL Week”.

To ensure that your events or actions appear on the Global MIL Week web/online map and gain more visibility, you can register them HERE: http://en.unesco.org/global-mil-week-2017/register-your-event.

This year the theme of Global MIL Week is Media and Information Literacy in Critical Times: Re-imagining Ways of Learning and Information Environments. The feature conference of the Global MIL Week will explore, inter alia, how MIL can be a defense against misinformation, fake news, propaganda and manipulation in a post-truth era, the potential of media and libraries to support MIL, stimulating critical civic engagement in democracy through MIL empowerment, a platform for supporting production and distribution of youth media.

“The 2017 feature conference will reflect upon how stakeholders interpret ways of educating citizens in MIL in all types of environments. The aim is to build more bridges between learning outside of the classroom and learning inside the classroom” explained Alton Grizzle, UNESCO’s Programme Specialist.

This global call is open across the world. Global MIL Week celebration will take place from 25 October to 1 November. The feature conference will be held in Kingston, Jamaica from 24-27 October 2017.

UNESCO leads the Global MIL Week 2017 in cooperation with the Media and Information and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) University Network, the Global Alliance for Partnerships in Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL), United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), and the University of the West Indies. 

For further information, please contact Mr. Alton Grizzle, a.grizzle@unesco.org, or Mr. Xu Jing, ji.xu@unesco.org

Categories: News

Irina Bokova meets Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre Director, Yana Barinova

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 12:10
dg-holocaust-memorial-ukraine.jpg © UNESCO

On 4 August, at UNESCO Headquarters, the UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, met Ms Yana Barinova, Director of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre.

This was an opportunity for Ms Barinova to present the initiative behind the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre, launched in 2015, to pay tribute to the victims, to research the history of the Holocaust in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and to celebrate cultural dialogue and the values of human rights and democracy.

The Supervisory Board of the Centre comprises national and international personalities, including Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine; Joschka Fischer, former Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany; Alexander Kwasniewski, former President of Poland; Joe Lieberman, former U.S. senator from Connecticut; Victor Pinchuk, businessman; Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel; and Volodymyr Klitschko, former heavyweight boxer world champion, politician and UNESCO Champion for Sport.

The Director-General congratulated Ms Barinova on the spirit and goals guiding the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. She said that remembering and sharing widely the history of the Babi Yar mass shootings of September 1941 is essential, underlining that the massacre stands as one of the most atrocious episodes of the Holocaust and of the Second World War.

“I believe that it is vital today for a place of commemoration and education to ensure that the legacy of the victims is not forgotten,” said Irina Bokova.

The Director-General presented the wide range of UNESCO’s work in this field, notably to  advance Holocaust education –- a unique programme in the United Nations system -- to never forget and to fight antisemitism, racism and discrimination today. In this light, she said UNESCO has created University Chairs in Holocaust education at Krakow University and University of Aix-Marseille, on Genocide Prevention at Rutgers University, as well as the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education, at the University of Southern California.

“We must do everything to counter antisemitism in all forms today,” said the Director-General. “ And this should begin with education, to cultivate critical thinking, to foster new forms of global solidarity, and to engage young people in combatting and refusing all prejudice.”

These goals underpin all of UNESCO's work to support Member States in educating about the history of the Holocaust, and about the causes, dynamics and consequences of atrocity crimes. In particular, UNESCO’s work focuses on supporting education systems, along with memorials and museums. In this spirit, the Director-General looked forward to further exploring on how UNESCO can support the realization of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, in line with UNESCO values and priorities.

Categories: News

UNESCO Director-General meets the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 17:24
dg-macron-drupal.jpg © UNESCO

On 3 August 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, met the President of the Republic of France, HE Mr Emmanuel Macron, at the Palais de l'Elysée in Paris.

The Director-General expressed her satisfaction with the close and long-standing cooperation between UNESCO and France, as host country, in all areas of competence of the Organization.

The Director-General thanked France for its strong commitment to the protection of heritage in conflict zones. In this context, she recalled Resolution 2347 unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council last March and warmly thanked France for its commitment to this historic Resolution. She stressed the need for greater international coordination for the protection of heritage at risk.

In the field of education, the Director-General highlighted the importance of UNESCO's action in the priority areas of education for Global Citizenship, prevention of violent extremism and the fight against the radicalization of young people, including in cyberspace.

The discussion continued on UNESCO's role in Africa, particularly in the Sahel, as well as in the Middle East. The President underlined the importance he attaches to strengthening cooperation in the fields of education and culture.

The President expressed his commitment to UNESCO and his intention to strengthen France's action within the Organization in all areas of competence.

"We must act on a long-term basis to strengthen a multilateralism of intelligence and culture in the face of the tensions and fragmentations in the world," said President Macron.

The President and the Director-General discussed the challenges the Organization is facing in a global context and agreed on the need to strengthen UNESCO's role in peacebuilding.

France is a founding member of UNESCO, a Member State since 1946. There are 33 UNESCO Chairs in France and 4 UNITWIN Networks, as well as 191 Associated Schools, France joined the network of Associated Schools in 1953. France is home to 14 Biosphere Reserves and 6 Global Geoparks.

This year, the World Heritage Committee, which held its last session in July 2017 in Cracow, inscribed the cultural landscape of Taputapuātea in French Polynesia on the World Heritage List, bringing the total number of French sites on the List to 43.

 

Categories: News

Culture Provides Sustainable Livelihoods for Women in Northern Jordan

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 16:58
jordan_umm_el_jimal.jpg Women showcase their creations at bazaars around Jordan and at their storefront (L to R).©UNESCO 03 August 2017

 In one of Jordan’s poorest communities, women have been working hard to create livelihoods using newfound skillsets spanning from rock art to heritage tours, through a UNESCO capacity-building project.

 

In response to poverty and gender marginalization challenges in northern Jordan, what began as a project to sell souvenirs to tourists passing through, has blossomed into the provision of comprehensive hospitality and cultural education services.  The women participants have discovered that culture can act as a source of resilience in a part of Jordan where women’s economic participation is extremely low and where tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have settled.

 

The project began in 2014 and initially attracted 12 participants who learned to use the black basalt stone native to the area to carve attractive rock art.  As women began to see their friends and neighbors lifting themselves out of poverty by selling their artwork, more joined and today they number fifty. Participants in the project then developed a storefront to display their artwork for purchase, and they now attend bazaars and markets around Jordan to reach an ever-wider market.  Artisans Umm Mahmoud and her teenage daughter Muna explained that prior to the project, they did not possess the skills to create and sell rock art. “I enjoy making the artwork, and the income it brings to my family is indispensable,” said Muna, who was 15 when she married and now has two children to support.

Samples of the women’s rock art pieces, constructed from Basalt stone. © UNESCO

 

The ‘Ladies of Umm el-Jimal District Women’s Association’ soon expanded from rock carving and art sales to hospitality. The women recently established a restaurant above their storefront, just steps from the archaeological site of Umm el-Jimal. Inscribed on the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage sites, it represents a key tourist destination in northern Jordan, attracting approximately 3,000 visitors a year.

‘Umm el-Jimal Gourmet’ provides traditional Bedouin dishes to visitors. To develop menus with tourists in mind, the women attended cookery courses at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. Project participant Wafa explained “though we learned to cook from our grandmothers, this program helped us to explore new cooking methods.” Previously, visitors exploring this far-flung area had limited dining options. “Now that these services are being provided by the local community, tourists will feel encouraged to visit us again and again” added Wafa.  The women have been clever in filling this niche while sharing their culture and traditional food; and their brand-new restaurant is enjoying considerable traffic.

 

© UNESCO

Cookery classes at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. © UNESCO

Additionally, a number of members of the women’s association received training on the history and cultural significance of the archaeological site and its sustainable preservation.  They developed the ‘Umm el-Jimal Education’ team and now transmit this knowledge to local children using interactive, stimulating thematic activities and tours. “I have learned that Umm el-Jimal is an ancient city that witnessed 5 civilizations; each has left its fingerprints on the city” said Eman Al-Quirian, a student in the course.  Thus far, 750 children aged 8-13 have enjoyed the activities of the ‘Umm el-Jimal for Children’ component of the project.

Local schoolchildren prepare to simulate the effects of an earthquake on the Umm el-Jimal site. © UNESCO

Throughout the project, the women have participated in a range of training courses, and a key component is the focus on women’s rights and empowerment, an element crucial to the promotion of a gender-responsive business environment in Umm el-Jimal.  Participant Ahlam Al-Masaeid explained that “through the sessions, we have been able to raise awareness in the local community about our right to work.”  Along with learning about the marketing and quality control of their products, the life-skills classes have served to boost the women’s confidence.

The project was generously supported by Amman’s Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and UN Women. While great strides have been made during the past 3 years, the progress will only be cemented with further donor support as the women work to continue to develop their skills and potential. UNESCO is currently seeking new partners to extend the project.  Muna, a young mother and project participant, said “We have strengthened our community and our families count on this income.  It is essential that we keep up the training courses and build on what we have accomplished.” 

 

To inquire about this initiative, please contact: Dania Dirani @ d.dirani@unesco.org

Categories: News

Humanitude, or how to quench the thirst for humanity

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 11:01
courier_03_web.jpg © Dima Vazinovich 03 August 2017
Categories: News

UNESCO Director-General pays tribute to the memory of French actress Jeanne Moreau

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 21:33

"At a time when a historical figure of cinema and the world of theater has passed, I would like to pay tribute to the memory of Jeanne Moreau," said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

"We will always remember her exceptional journey as an actress, from the dawn of the Festival d'Avignon in 1947 to the stage of Comedie Francaise, and the roles she played, as moving as they are powerful, under the direction of Louis Malle, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and so many others," said the Director-General. "It is rare to see a career mix life with art and art with life, with so much energy, brilliance and passion, with genuine enthusiasm and a real desire to transmit."
 
"Jeanne Moreau had a phrase that sums it up well: "A character is like a skin that we shed but leaves traces behind. So it's a wonderful way to grasp humanity," said Irina Bokova. "The wealth and variety of her artistic career, her temperament as a "complete" actress, driven by convictions and freedom, the generosity and the variety of her roles all of this speaks to us all," said the Director-General.
 
"The first woman elected at the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France, she will always remain a precious voice and presence that speaks to all generations and transcends all borders," concluded Irina Bokova.

Categories: News

Updated international consensus on skills for work and life

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 17:27
updated-international-consensus-tvet-c-pr-image-factory-shutterstock-drupal.jpg PR Image Factory/Shutterstock.com

A statement document from the recent conference in the People’s Republic of China on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is updating the Shanghai Consensus by reviewing major trends and policy developments in TVET since the Third International Congress on TVET in 2012.

More than 500 participants from 65 countries came together on 4 – 6 July 2017 at the conference in Tangshan, People’s Republic of China with the aim to discuss how to meet the current and future demand for skills development, and overcome economic and social inequalities through TVET in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The conference resulted in an outcome statement: “From Shanghai to Tangshan. Shanghai Consensus updated: working together to achieve the Education 2030 agenda”, which updates the strategic directions in the Shanghai Consensus, and acknowledges the new developments and challenges that are linked to the emergence of green and digitized economies and societies.

The conference statement both emphasizes the importance of collaboration across the international community to achieve TVET-related targets within the Education 2030 Framework for Action and other Sustainable Development Goals, and encourages governments and other TVET stakeholders in UNESCO’s Member States to take into account the updated strategic directions.

In essence, the four main key areas for which Member States should consider strategies

and actions in the “Updated Skills Agenda” are the following:

  • Anticipate and identify skills needs by using labor market intelligence, partnerships and assessment techniques;
  • Ensure inclusive, quality and relevant skills development opportunities for all and promote gender equality;
  • Make skills and qualifications more transparent and better recognized to meet the changing skills needs, and develop common principles for the quality assurance of skills certifications within and across countries;
  • Contribute to a better use of skills in the world of work and support entrepreneurship and the personal development and career opportunities for TVET learners.

The conference gathered representatives of international organizations; high officials from TVET ministries and TVET institutions, employers, the private sector, youth representatives, UNESCO-UNEVOC Centres; and UNESCO Chairs.

The conference was a follow-up to the Third International Congress in Shanghai five years earlier, which inspired the current UNESCO Strategy for TVET (2016-2021).

The Strategy supports TVET systems of Member States to promote youth employment and entrepreneurship; equity and gender equality; and the transition to green economies and sustainable societies.

Read more about the conference and what has been done in the field of TVET since the Third International Congress in Shanghai. Visit UNESCO’s TVET webpage to learn more. 

Categories: News

Learning new skills to better promote girls’ education in Ghana

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 16:03
learning-new-skills-better-promote-girls-education-ghana.jpg © UNESCO

Staff from the Girls’ Education Unit (GEU) of the Ghana Education Service (GES) are enhancing their capacity to better promote girls’ education and coordinate girls’ education interventions in Ghana, as part of the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women Education.

Since 1997, Ghana’s Education Service (GES) has a Girls’ Education Unit (GEU) with a mandate to eliminate all forms of gender discrimination in the education sector and improve the enrolment and retention of girls in school. Yet, a capacity assessment in 2016 revealed weaknesses in the institutional capacity of the GEU to play its role effectively. In particular, the report highlighted ineffectiveness of the GEU in coordinating the many girls’ education interventions that non-state actors are implementing in the country.

To address this as well as other structural issues, such as inadequate public funding for girls’ education or lack of female role models in some schools and communities, the UNESCO Office in Accra is facilitating a series of capacity-building trainings to enhance the GEU’s capacity in promoting girls’ education in Ghana, through the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education.

A first training programme was organized on 24-28 April 2017 in Larteh, in the Eastern Region of Ghana, targeting 32 staff members from the GEU (30 women and 2 men), including all the nine headquarters staff and selected staff members from various regions and districts. The training focused on results-based programme management, resource mobilization and report writing. It was facilitated by the West Africa Civil Society Institute with a mix of techniques such as PowerPoint presentations, group work, quizzes, brainteasers, case studies and plenary discussions.

Participants shared how the training helped enhance their skills: “I have acquired the skills of local resource mobilization to fund activities in my metropolis,” said Vida Owusu, Kumasi Metropolis Girls’ Education Officer. “I have also been equipped as to how to coordinate my activities in the district as well as how to write a better report”. Another participant, Greater Accra Regional Girls’ Education Officer Christiana Azure Ayimzoya indicated how she was going to apply her knew knowledge: “I now know how to mobilize resources to run programmes for girls in my region,” she said. “Report writing is another skill I have learnt at this workshop. I will organize a capacity-building workshop for the Girls’ Education Officers in my region when I get back”.

To ensure adequate follow up to the training, UNESCO staff and the facilitators have scheduled follow up visits to the participants’ offices to ascertain what they have done differently after participating in the training. The visits will also enable the facilitators to provide the requisite technical support to participants in their respective offices. The second training is scheduled to take place from 21-25 August 2017, targeting 35 Girls’ Education Officers. In total, through the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, the project aims to train 235 staff members to enhance their capacity to better promote girls’ education and coordinate girls’ education interventions in Ghana.

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