Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
RSS icon

You are here

UNESCO seeks nominations for the UNESCO-UNAM / Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in social sciences, humanities and arts

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 20:06
infocus_jtb_prize.jpg © UNESCO

UNESCO invites Members States in consultation with their National Commissions, and non-governmental organizations maintaining official relations with UNESCO and active in a field covered by the Prize to submit nominations for the UNESCO-UNAM Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts 2017.

Deadline for the submission of candidates: 30 May 2017.

Established by the Executive Board in 2014 and fully endowed by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Prize is intended to reward candidates who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in social sciences and humanities.

The Prize was inspired by the life from one of the founding members of UNESCO and Director-General of the Organization from 1948 to 1952. Eminent poet, novelist, essay writer and diplomat, Jaime Torres Bodet struggled for international social justice and against illiteracy. He promoted the reconstruction of the educational system, reinforced the importance of the Organization in the world, encouraged the access of women to education, and supported cultural development as a condition for international peace.

In accordance with its Statutes, the Prize consists of a monetary reward of USD 50,000, to be awarded every two years.

How to submit your nomination

Nominations for the Prize should be submitted, no later than 30 May 2017, by filling out the nomination form in either English or French.

Nominated candidates may be individuals, groups of people or international institutions. No self-nomination will be considered.

Download the Nomination Form

Send it, duly signed and stamped, to

Pedro Manuel Monreal Gonzalez
Secrétaire du Prix UNESCO-UNAM Jaime Torres Bodet
Secteur des sciences sociales et humaines- UNESCO
7 place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP FRANCE
Tél. : +33 (0)1 45 68 38 62
Courriel : pm.monreal-gonzalez(at)

Categories: News

UNESCO Convention against Discrimination consultation takes stock of Education 2030 progress

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 18:15

Following the launch of the 9th Consultation of Member States on the measures taken to implement the Convention against Discrimination in Education in 2016, 66 Member States have submitted their national reports to UNESCO.

The Convention, which celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2015, reflects UNESCO’s constitutional mission to build collaboration among nations to “advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunities without regard to race, sex or any distinctions, economic or social”.

The purpose of this international legal instrument, a cornerstone of the Education 2030 Agenda, is not only the elimination of discrimination in education, but also the adoption of concrete measures aimed at promoting equality of opportunities and treatment in this field. It covers the right to education comprehensively.

The objective of the Consultation is to illustrate actions taken by countries to implement the Convention, take stock of progress and identify the difficulties and challenges across nations.

The results of the 9th Consultation will be submitted to UNESCO’s Governing Bodies in fall 2017.

Civil society organisations have been encouraged to approach national authorities, work with them and mobilize their networks so that the process is participatory and involves relevant stakeholders.

The monitoring of the right to education in the context of Education 2030 and the Sustainable Development Agenda is of crucial importance to guarantee government accountability and transparency.

List of Member States who have submitted their national reports to UNESCO.

Categories: News

Call for conceptualizing graphical design proposal for the new version of the UNESCO World Atlas of Languages in Danger

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 17:05
news_070417_call_wall.jpg © UNESCO 07 April 2017

UNESCO is looking for a qualified individual/company delivering a conceptual graphic design proposal for the development of a global online platform entitled “UNESCO World Atlas of Languages (UNESCO WAL)”.

The WAL which will be developed as a new version of the existing UNESCO World Atlas of Languages in Danger aims to contribute to the safeguarding of the world’s diverse linguistic, cultural and documentary heritage, in multiple languages, and reinforce the modalities for implementation of UNESCO’s Recommendation concerning the Promotion of Universal Access and Multilingualism in Cyberspace (2003).

The final delivery date is 15 November 2017.

The qualified entity should prepare the proposal in line with UNESCO’s “Roadmap towards UNESCO’s World Atlas of Languages”.

In order to be considered, interested entities should submit the following information:

  • The Letter expressing their interest and motivation for carrying out this work (not more than 4 pages);
  • the Proposal for the conceptual graphic design of the global online platform entitled “UNESCO World Atlas of Languages (UNESCO WAL)” which could serve as a basis for further elaboration; and
  • the Financial proposal – quotation regarding the fees to carry out the work using recommended annexed form (see Annex I), including a provisional timeline.

The Expression of Interest and accompanying documents must be received by UNESCO no later than 7 May 2017, 18.00 p.m. Paris (France) time. Expressions of Interest can be sent by e-mails: i.kasinskaite(at)

More information on this call is available here.

Categories: News

Niveen M. Khashab: targeted diagnosis and improved treatments

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 14:30
focus_fwis2017_niveen_khashab.jpg © L'Oréal Foundation 07 April 2017

Each day, millions of drugs are taken to cure diseases. When delivered, these drugs travel through the entire body without targeting the specific cells to be treated. This produces lots of side effects and is inefficient. The nanoparticles designed by Professor Niveen M. Khashab address this issue, since they deliver the drugs where they are needed, allowing for targeted diagnosis and improved treatments with fewer side effects. Last week she received a L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award, in recognition of her research.

Oxidative stress is at the heart of many disorders, like brain diseases or cancer. Being able to detect the phenomenon earlier would allow for much better patient outcomes. In 2014, Prof. Khashab published an article on an innovative technique for detecting oxidative stress in living cells. Already tested in vivo, the approach might help in the development of made-to-measure diagnostics in the future.

Another important discovery by Prof. Khashab is the design and synthesis of new kinds of particle assemblies called “colloidosomes”. These particles, whose permeability and elasticity can be precisely controlled, can deliver the drugs on demand upon light irradiation and provide a revolutionary system for delivering large components, such as proteins and genetic materials, which are at present difficult to deliver with accuracy.

Prof. Khashab is aware of how important her research might be for society in the future but she also worries about the negative impact it might have on the environment. “Although nanotechnology is a highly useful area, we must consider the potentially harmful effects of nanoparticles employed in medical therapies” she says. To address this concern, she recently developed a new generation of nanoparticles that naturally degrade when exposed to light.

For Prof. Khashab, who is the mother of three children, another important part of her work is the impact it will have on future generations. “Scientific discoveries are not just a matter of increasing personal knowledge, but most importantly for passing on this knowledge. In this context, women play a crucial role as natural passionate educators,” says the scientist, whose already impressive track record holds her in good stead for becoming an important ambassador for the sciences in the Middle East. At just 35, she has more than 90 publications, and already supervised thirteen students and is supervising another eight at the moment (five women and three men). In 2010, she left the United States after a brilliant career there, to become part of an emerging scientific community in the Middle East – at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Today, her research is indeed a source of considerable inspiration for a new generation of scientists in this region of the world.

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

Director-General stresses the role of Education for Preventing Violent Extremism at Salisbury University

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 11:17

On 6 April, as part of her visit to the United States of America, Director-General Irina Bokova gave a lecture on “Preventing Violent Extremism in the 21st Century: Fostering a New Generation of Global Citizens” at Salisbury University in Maryland. Some 400 students and university staff attended the event, which was part of the “One Person Can Make a Difference” lecture series hosted by the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution.

On this occasion, the Director-General was awarded the President’s Medal of Salisbury University. "I present this medal to Ms Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, in recognition of her lifelong dedication and service to the global community of Nations, and for her major contribution to ensuring that girls have equal access to education and are empowered in their communities as women; advancing dialogue among people and nations by building our common heritage; and promoting diversity," said Dr Janet Dudley-Eshbach, President of Salisbury University. 

In her lecture, the Director-General reflected on ways for peace, the challenges of its construction and the difficulties related to its maintenance. “Across the world, we see conflicts changing shape, with culture moving to the frontline.  […] We have seen intentional destruction of irreplaceable cultural landmarks, and organized looting for illicit trafficking. […] All of this is part of the same strategy of “cultural cleansing”. This seeks to destroy identities by eliminating heritage and cultural markers”, she stated.

The Director-General highlighted the importance of soft power in the struggle against violent extremism, emphasizing that radicalization, false interpretations of faith, hatred and intolerance cannot be countered through the exclusive use of hard power. She emphasized the crucial importance of education in fostering peace and preventing radicalization, underscoring that combatting violent extremism begins on the benches of school.

“Violent extremists are made – they are fueled. Young people are learning to hate – we must teach them peace. Violent extremists promote fear and division – we must respond with skills, with opportunities for civic engagement, for intercultural dialogue. Violent extremists preach exclusion and hatred. We must teach human rights, dignity, tolerance and solidarity.”

Referring to UNESCO's programme on Global Citizenship Education, the Director-General commended Professor Brennen, UNESCO Chair for Rural Community, Leadership and Youth Development. "Professor Brennen is one of UNESCO's greatest champions in the United States. His contribution to Global Citizenship Education is outstanding" she said. 

The event at Salisbury University was by Professor Brian Polkinghorn, Distinguished Professor and Executive Director of the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University and Professor Mark Brennen, UNESCO Chair for Rural Community, Leadership and Youth Development at the Pennsylvania State University. 

Categories: News

Senegalese Security Forces Trained on Freedom of Expression, the Safety of Journalists, and defenders of women’s rights

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/06/2017 - 20:34

The UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) in Dakar, in partnership with the West Africa Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, The United Nations Information Center, Article 19 West Africa, and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, organized two training sessions of Senegalese Security Forces on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, and defenders of women’s rights.

The objective of the two three day trainings, which occurred in Dakar from 20-25 March 2017, was to improve capacities of security forces to guarantee freedom of expression and the safety of journalists and facilitate dialogue and cooperation between security forces, media professionals, and defenders of women’s rights. The training occurred in the framework of the implementation by OHCHR and UNESCO of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, endorsed by the United Nations Chief Executive Board on April 12 2012 and welcomed by the UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/68/163) in 2013. “The reinforcement of the safety of journalists ensures that access to information is available for civil society which is, in the long term, crucial for the consolidation of peace, democracy, and sustainable development” underlined Andrea Ori, Representative of the West Africa Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In the framework of this workshop, the Declaration of Carthage, adopted during the UNESCO Conference for World Press Freedom Day in Tunisia in May 2012, played a particular role. The Declaration underlines the necessity to reinforce freedom of the press and improve the safety of journalists. It calls on all stakeholders to create an environment conducive to freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, working both on and offline on both traditional and new media platforms, and reinforce support to the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. In this regard, the training’s objective was to reinforce the capacities of security forces in the domain of communications and relations with the press. “If security forces wish to establish relationships based on trust with citizens, they have to establish professional relationships with the media in order to ensure that their work in service to the population is known” underlined Gwang-Chol Chang, Interim Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) in Dakar.

During 6 days, 40 policemen and gendarmes, as well as 10 journalists and women human rights defenders discussed the challenges related to the lack of communication and information they encounter on a daily basis in their professions. “Often, people only talk about where the work of security forces and media professionals goes wrong, and not the positive aspects of our work. We want people to see us as professionals worried about their well-being. Media professionals and security forces are both public servants, and we must work together for the good of the population” underlined one of the security force members participating in the workshop. During the training, the absence of dialogue between security forces and media was often evoked: “Security forces must improve their communication with the media, because ignoring the media means you are increasing the risk of divulging incorrect information that could even lead to civil unrest” underlined another security force member.

The ongoing question of trust between professionals was also evoked: “Security forces and media professionals have to communicate and break the lack of trust that exists between them. We expect a lot from journalists because they are the voice of the world,” declared one of the participants. A journalist present underlined their hope to “build confidence in order to work with security forces, and know that our right to freedom of expression and safety are guaranteed, and that good collaboration can exist between us.”

“It’s not about pointing fingers at one group and taking away responsibility from the other in this training, but about really underlining the responsibilities of all involved” highlighted the principal trainer, Commander Ian Lafreniere. In order to frame the practical exercises during the training, he drew from lessons learned during his experiences in the field, both in Canada and other parts of Africa, and a panel of specialists from the United Nations and local organizations defending freedom of expression.

In Senegal, at the National level, human and peoples’ rights are recognized in the preamble of the Constitution. The African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights equally recognizes the right to access to information. However, as evoked by Fatou Jagne Senghor, regional Director of Article 19 for West Africa, “even if freedom of expression is guaranteed in Senegal, practice is in advance of the legal texts that remain binding. This is a subject that is part of current debates because today journalists and media organizations are advocating for the decriminalization of certain media practices in the legal texts in Senegal.”

Madame Aby Coly, from the Platform of Women for Peace, also underlined the need to respect women’s rights, and human rights more broadly. Madame Eugenie Aw, journalist and former director of the CESTI school of journalism in Dakar, echoed Madame Coly’s statement by highlighting the specific experience of women media professionals in the field. She noted, for example, that in Senegal only 10% of media reports are given to women media professionals. In addition, she stressed, “the first gender-based violence is in the media. As it concerns the image of women, even if many television presenters are women, stereotypes remain abundant. How can we make sure that women can exercise their profession as journalists without having to specifically underline that they are women journalists?” she asked.

These questions and reflections in the framework of the training are central elements of UNESCO’s work in support of freedom of the press, the safety of journalists, freedom of expression, gender equality in the media, and access to information. The dialogue allowed for security forces, media professionals, and defender’s of women’s rights to better understand each other, the importance of their work, and their respective roles in improving cooperation and dialogue between them. At the end of the training, the first of its kind in Senegal following similar trainings by UNESCO in Tunisia, Somalia, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Mali, participants were provided with a pedagogical tool kit allowing them to reinforce their newly acquired knowledge, put it into practice, and train their colleagues to work across disciplines and professions while respecting human rights.

This training, based on the UNESCO curriculum on Freedom of Expression and Public Order, is part of a broader effort in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, led by UNESCO, with the intention of coordinating the work of different stakeholders in this domain. The training occurred in the framework of UNESCO’s work in promoting an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom, and the safety of journalists in order to facilitate media pluralism and support sustainable and independent journalism. The training also benefitted from additional technical support from the Kingdom of Norway.

Categories: News

Education 2030 in the spotlight at UNESCO Associated Schools Network conference in China

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/06/2017 - 16:48
aspnet-conference-china-copyright-unesco-aspnet-drupal.jpg © UNESCO ASPNet

An International Conference of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network: Contributing effectively to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 and Education 2030 will take place for the first time in Sanya, China from 8 to 10 April 2017.

The gathering will bring together actors from the global ASPnet community actors from 50 countries, and representatives from policy makers and partner institutions to explore and identify the opportunities and challenges on how they effectively contribute to the implementation of SDG 4 and Education 2030. SDG 4 ensures inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

The Chinese National Commission for UNESCO is organizing the conference in cooperation with UNESCO, to further reform and revitalize the network in order to better guide and support the work of its over 10,000 member institutions and to increase their prospects for cooperation and exchange.

The conference presents a unique opportunity to bring together actors from the global ASPnet community to discuss how the network can be strengthened and further developed in the SDG context. This will help translate UNESCO’s values and priorities into teaching and learning and to ensure that its innovative practices inform national education policy.

The UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet), as a driver for innovation and quality in education, can make a major contribution to the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda, in particular for reaching targets 4.7 and 4.a of SDG 4 and Education 2030. In this context, UNESCO is reforming and revitalizing the network in order to better guide and support the work of its over 10,000 member institutions and to increase their opportunities for cooperation and exchange. Furthermore, efforts are made to feed ASPnet good practices into policy debate and national reform in order to transform teaching and learning and equip children and young people to be agents of change, global citizens and peace-builders.

The conference presents an outstanding opportunity to provide the ASPnet actors with a collective and shared ambition to strengthen and further develop the SDG perspective, to translate UNESCO’s values and priorities into teaching and learning, and to ensure that their innovative, creative and inspiring practices inform national education policy. It aims at engaging the participants in a national, regional and international dialogue that serves as a forum for networking and exchanging on all-inclusive perspectives on the implication of the SDGs in the context of ASPnet. The conference brings optimal outlooks to put forward the network building and collaborative learning across countries and ways to leverage knowledge connection and action.

Founded in 1953, ASPnet is a global network of 10,000 educational institutions in 181 countries.

Categories: News

Peacekeeping School and Ministry of Security and Civil Protection in Mali Adopt UNESCO Curriculum on Freedom of Expression and Public Order

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/06/2017 - 13:56

From March 28-30th in Bamako Mali, a training of 26 trainers from the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, the Peacekeeping School (Ecole de Maintien de la Paix-EMP), and Media professionals was held at the EMP. The objective of the training was to strengthen the skills of pedagogues to train Malian security forces on how to guarantee the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and access to information and ensure the safety of journalists in the country. The three-day training occurred following four previous trainings of Malian security forces on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists held in June and November 2016. The training, developed following the recommendation of previous participants to reinforce the capacity of pedagogues on the subject in order to officially adopt the UNESCO curriculum on freedom of expression and public order at the Peacekeeping School and Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, was coordinated by UNESCO in partnership with the United Nations Office...

Integral to the mandate of the United Nations is the promotion of an environment conducive to freedom of expression, press freedom and the safety of journalists, as well as the facilitation of media pluralism and sustainable and independent media institutions. This training workshop occurred in the framework of the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, led by UNESCO and endorsed by the United Nations Chief Executive Board on April 12 2012 and welcomed by the UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/68/163) (2013). The UN Plan of Action was developed with the aim of coordinating the efforts of various actors in this field. “We must recall that the promotion and protection of human rights, including those of journalists and women human rights defenders, contributes to ensuring access to information in all societies, particularly in conflict and post-conflict situations. The protection of human rights, in the long term, ensures the consolidation of peace, democratic governance, sustainable development, and the fight against impunity” underlined Guillaume Ngefa, representing the West Africa Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “This is why security forces must be conscious of fundamental principles of human rights, including the protection and safety of journalists in a democracy, as well as their important role in ensuring an enabling environment for security so essential to guaranteeing freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and human rights at large” underlined Pierre Saye, representing the UNESCO Office in Mali.

During the three day training, participants discussed how to train security forces on managing relations with the media and journalists and developed practical exercises based on the UNESCO curriculum for officers and members of the press on how to solve specific cases that could generate incidents. Furthermore, participants were trained on international standards concerning freedom of expression and access to information, the jurisprudence of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and national legislation concerning freedom of expression and access to information in Mali.

“I appreciated the pragmatic approach of the training, with concrete examples and practical exercises based on the curriculum that allowed us as trainers to easily adapt the content to the Malian context and ensure sustainable dialogue between media and security forces. Following the trainings in June and November where I was a participant and then an assistant pedagogue, I can feel the difference in my daily work and at the police station regarding my relationship with the media. This training of trainers is important to ensure institutional continuity so that our relationship continues to grow” underlined Kaly Diakité, Police Sergeant and pedagogue of the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection. “Through this training, I understood the importance of ensuring that stakeholders see that media professionals and security forces have the same objective of ensuring access to public information, despite our different approaches. This training is an important step in ensuring platforms for cooperation between us. I also understand that professional standards for both journalists and security forces, and training in this regard, are essential in ensuring respectful relations between us. Journalists and security forces, through this training, have understood that they are not adversaries, but collaborators that work for the same community” underlined Seydou Traore, Media Professional from Mikado FM Radio. “Both security forces and media professionals are indispensable and complementary in safeguarding the development dynamic and stability in West Africa” said Kouider Zerrouk, Chief Communications and Public Information at UNOWAS.

On March 31st, a technical meeting was held between UNESCO and OHCHR representatives, pedagogues from the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, and pedagogues of the Peacekeeping School. The main outcome of the meeting was the official adoption by the Peacekeeping School and Ministry of Security and Civil Protection of the UNESCO produced training manual on Freedom of Expression and Public Order. “All components necessary for cooperation exist, but often media professionals and security forces don’t understand each other. These trainings and the adoption of the curriculum are an opportunity to ensure that stakeholders and defenders of freedom of expression dialogue with one another, with a shared objective which is the construction of peace, a condition sine qua non of security” underlined Colonel Joseph Calvez, representing the Director General of the Peacekeeping School in Bamako. Reflecting on the importance of ensuring the sustainability of trainings for security forces on freedom of expression and human rights in Mali, Colonel Deh, Representative of the Minister of Security and Civil Protection underlined, citing Koffi Annan, that “there is no development without security, and no security without development. There is neither security or development without human rights.” Evoking that, since 1993, Mali has celebrated annually World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, the Ministry recalled that Mali guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Article 7 of its Constitution adopted in 1992, and applauded the adoption of the UNESCO curriculum as another step in guaranteeing fundamental human rights in the country.

As follow up, plans are underway to ensure further training, in partnership with the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection and the EMP, of pedagogues of Malian security forces on freedom of expression and human rights to ensure the availability of the training in other regions in Mali, the translation of relevant modules of the curriculum into Bambara, and the development of a module specifically concerning regional and national regulation and legislaton on freedom of expression and access to information. With high level pedagogues at the Peacekeeping School and Ministry of Security and Civil Protection now trained in the domain, UNESCO will continue to accompany the school and the Ministry in the integration of the course in their core curricula, and ensure pedagogues are equipped to train other security force members from the sub-region.

To listen to the debate (in French) on Radio Mikado FM between security forces, the media, and UNESCO on the impact of the training click here:

Categories: News

Adolescent girls in Tanzania become agents of transformational change through education

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/06/2017 - 11:42

More than 300 vulnerable girls from secondary schools in the Tanga Region of Tanzania are developing skills and attitudes to remain in school and avoid early marriage and unintended pregnancy.

Adolescent girls in the region face many obstacles to access a quality education. In cases where parents do not value education often girls are married early and/or drop out of school. Insufficient support from their teachers and a lower level of self-esteem than boys, especially in maths and sciences, also contributes to school dropout or poor performance.

To address the many obstacles hindering girls’ attendance and completion of education in the region, UNESCO is actively engaging boys and girls through safe spaces and youth clubs in schools. With support from the UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education, and in collaboration with education officials at district and school level, the UNESCO Dar es Salaam Office in Tanzania organized a safe space training from 24 to 29 October 2016 in five secondary schools in the Muheza district. Seventy students were trained in each school, reaching 350 students (300 girls and 50 boys).

The training introduced safe spaces or youth clubs, which are student-led extracurricular groups where members come together to discuss their concerns and identify solutions. Through the safe spaces, girls have access to counselling and advice on issues that may affect their school attendance, academic performance or safety, and right to education. For example, one of the major issues highlighted in the training was the practice of “Boda boda”: motorbike taxi drivers offer girls rides to and from school in exchange for sex, which may lead to girls becoming pregnant and eventually drop out of school. 

Safe space clubs have proven to be effective platforms to enhance adolescent girls’ self-confidence and determination in remaining in school and contributed to improving girls’ school performance. The format of the safe space also means that girls benefit from peer support. UNESCO will continue to support the creation of safe spaces to empower adolescent girls to become their own agents of transformational change through education.

Categories: News

UNESCO taking forward the Multi-stakeholder debate at RightsCon 2017 Brussels

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 04/06/2017 - 11:35
news060417_rightscon_multistakeholderdebate.jpg © UNESCO/Adeline Hulin 06 April 2017

Has the word “multistakeholder” lost a shared sense and become like the words “fake news” – being used to mean whatever a person wants to mean?

This was the start of a debate at RightsCon in Brussels last week, in a UNESCO session based on ongoing global research into good practices of “multistakeholderism”, with support of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Society (ISOC).

Highlighting the debate were questions about whether “trolls” should be taken as being stakeholders in Internet governance, or whether a culture of civility was a necessary condition for multistakeholder participation.

What could be learnt from failure of some regional Internet Governance Fora, was also seen as key in terms of pinpointing the conditions conducive for genuine, rather than co-opted, multistakeholderism.

Issues of recognising power differentials and avoiding “capture” of decision-making processes, were revealed as being at the heart of what counts as authentic multistakeholder governance of the Internet.

The seven expert panelists in the debate included UNESCO’s Assistant Director General Mr Frank La Rue, ICANN’s CEO Goran Marby and representatives from ISOC, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), European Digital Rights, and the Netherlands government.

Ms. Anriette Esterhuysen from APC emphasized the need to measure the outcomes of multistakeholderism in order to prove its relevance and legitimacy as a means rather than an objective. For her, in spite of all these imperfections, multistakeholderism is a model that creates more channels for civil society participation.

Mr. Goran Marby, CEO and President of ICANN insisted on the need to develop formal structures for successful multistakeholder engagement, so that all participants know how and when to engage, and what the objective should be. This experience at ICANN had proved the value of multistakeholderism, even though the wider process continues to be experiment.

For Ms. Elena Plexida from the EU Commission, multistakeholderism has proven to be a model that works. For the EU, questions related to accountability were the most important regarding how to understand multistakeholderism.   

Joe McNamee from EDrI was more sceptical and considered that multistakeholderism had produced both good and bad effects in different cases. One problem was a result of unequal access.

The whole philosophy of multistakeholderism was to draw from collective wisdom, proposed Constance Bommelaer de Leusse from ISOC.

 Ms Carmen Gonsalves from Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for more dialogue around models of multistakeholderism. In her country, there were attempts to to institutionalize it such as with an advisory council on cyber security issues.

Mr. Frank La Rue, ADG for Communication and Information at UNESCO insisted fact that multistakeholderism gave everyone an opportunity to share views, but it was not to be confused with a democratic representative process.

In brief, it is an open dialogue inviting different sectors to talk and find common ground and advocacy,” he said.

UNESCO will taking stock of the insights and aims to complete its study of the issues by May 2017. The research is being conducted as one of the pillar principles of “Internet Universality” framework as endorsed by UNESCO’s 195 Member States in 2015.

Summarised in the acronym ROAM, the four principles of Internet Universality are: Human-Rights, Openness, Accessibility and Multi-stakeholder participation. This project will strengthen understanding of the Multi-stakeholder principle, enriching the way that UNESCO can use its status and networks to promote knowledge and uptake of this practice.

To read: Keystones to Foster Inclusive Societies

Categories: News