From 8 March to 8 April 2017, UNESCO is celebrating the Women Make the News initiative by inviting media organisations, civil society and the general public to take part in our Gender Equality Checkup.
Launched annually on the occasion of International Women’s Day (8 March), Women Make the News is a global initiative first celebrated in 2000 and aimed at fixing global attention on an issue relating to gender equality in and through the media.
The action for this year is the Gender Equality Checkup that UNESCO has developed using the Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media, with the aim to encourage gender equality in the newsroom and the community as a whole, resulting in less gender bias in media and a fairer society for all.
“Women Make the News has been raising awareness about the need for gender equality in media for almost twenty years, so now is the perfect time for media organizations to take our Checkup and see how they have progressed,” said Mirta Lourenço, Chief of Section for Media Development and Society at UNESCO.
Designed primarily for news media organisations to continue their processes to achieving the 50/50 target – in sources, journalist bylines and advertising – the Checkup looks at stereotypes in the way news is presented, and examines gender equality in the workplace. It is also a way to encourage progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Journalism schools, NGOs, intergovernmental bodies and media tech companies are invited to participate as well. The general public can also take part by applying the Checkup to their favourite media source.
What people see and hear in the media can often inform their view of society as a whole. We are proud that Women Make the News will be once again supporting the wider International Women’s Day activities and drawing attention to these critical issues.
For more information on the campaign and how to get involved, visit the website: http://en.unesco.org/women-make-the-news-2017/.
"The liberation of the Mosul Museum by the Iraqi armed forces is a turning point for peace building, for the recovery of the Iraqi people and the protection of humanity’s cultural heritage."
"The museum suffered severe degradations and the entire world witnessed the images of the destruction of its collections in 2015. The emotion provoked at the time must now catalyze into concrete support from the entire international community. UNESCO will soon go on site, determined to work alongside the Iraqi government and with all its partners to mobilize all efforts to safeguard and transmit this heritage. This is a key resource for cohesion, resilience and peace in Iraq. The most recent International Conference on the Protection of the Heritage in the Liberated Areas of Iraq (organized by UNESCO in Paris, 23-24 March 2017) identified priorities for action and the liberation of the museum is a call to accelerate this effort. "said the Director-General.
Young artists, activists, professionals, academia and experts, and local authorities from Algeria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritania, Palestine, Switzerland and Syria, gathered at the regional conference “Cultural heritage and identity: an Arab youth perspective” organized by UNESCO in Tunis-Carthage, from 1 to 3 March 2017. One major question on the agenda: in a region where conflict and violence are pushing communities and societies to the edge, how are young people using the power of culture and arts to resist, preserve and rebuild their society and its diverse identities?
“You made a great achievement today – together youth formulated contextualized avenues of action that showcase culture can and will further leverage democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms in our societies in the Arab region,” said Salah Khaled, UNESCO Representative for the Maghreb.
In this context, participants emphasized the notion of “diversity” which is a fundamental condition for the development of cultures and arts, for democracy, and certainly for a sustainable peace, as stated in the 2001 “UNESCO universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity”. Amidst a world, that sometimes feeds despair and disillusion, cultural heritage and arts impel hope and foster awareness of a multilayered history and identities. They are what gives sense to human dignity; they are the conditions for a meaningful citizenship.
The Arab region is facing a historical turn. Young women and men are the central actors who could overcome in a unique way what Amin Maalouf calls “les identités meurtrières” *. To this end, UNESCO has been called upon to help operationalize the visions and the set of proposals collectively envisaged and put forward during the conference. These include the following:
1. Formal and non-formal education and training to cultural heritage needs to be more and better delivered, to overcome ignorance and misconceptions on the region’s cultural legacy, and also to use culture as a means of social and economic inclusion.
2. New models of youth-led and gender-sensitive social and private entrepreneurship must be encouraged and supported, capitalizing on cultural heritage resources, especially targeting the less qualified and most vulnerable youth affected by crisis and conflicts.
3. UNESCO shall advocate for cultural and artistic public policies that further protect artists, facilitate their works especially in the public space, increase dialogues collaboration between institutions and CSOs, support youth-led initiatives and innovations.
4. The issue of “Diversity” and “Reconciliation” must be addressed in artistic and cultural undertakings, in order to develop the sense of love, ownership and a culture of care for the cultural heritage, and overcome the illusion of exclusive and violent identities and foster intercultural dialogues.
5. Wide and interconnected platforms for youth CSOs must be set up to efficiently and creatively advocate for the protection of cultural heritage, with the help of academia, professionals, policy makers, and local authorities.
6. The potential of ICTs and social media must be better exploited in the service of cultural and artistic projects. This is fundamental to facilitate youth’s access, understanding, interaction, and ownership of cultural artefacts.
7. Initiatives shall be conceived and supported in using ruins as a vehicule for youth-led and peer-to-peer powerful storytelling. This will build counter-narratives, and demonstrate youth’s civic engagement in documenting and reinterpreting the fragments of devastated heritage.
8. UNESCO shall provide labels for innovative youth-led projects that have been successful in strengthening and sustaining peace, democracy, and active citizenship, launch a UNESCO Prize for “Young Arab Heroes for Cultural Heritage Protection”, set up a programme of Young Goodwill Ambassadors for Heritage protection campaign, as well as a regional Arab competition for innovative ideas to engage young audience in protecting and rebuilding heritage.
9. All stakeholders shall advocate for an enabling environment of cultural mediation and creative management, allowing young creators to sustain their productions and ensure a wide social outreach.
10. UNESCO should advocate for international donors – public and private – to be more sensitive to support culture and arts as a powerful levers of development, peace, and democracy building. Such a task is to be carried out both in conflict, post-conflct, and transition period, as an articulated strategy of preventive conservation.
* In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong is a book by Amin Maalouf, published in 1998.
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, UNESCO opens the call for nominations for the second edition of the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education.
Funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Prize rewards innovative and outstanding projects by individuals, institutions and organizations that are advancing girls’ and women’s education. Laureates receive USD 50,000.
Last year, the Directorate of Early Childhood Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture from the Republic of Indonesia [link to Indonesia story] and the Female Students Network Trust from Zimbabwe were recognized for their innovative projects.
Governments of all Member States as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in official partnership with UNESCO can nominate up to three individuals, institutions or organizations. Nominations must be submitted online in English or French and need to focus on a specific project or programme.
Nominations are assessed by an independent jury of five international experts on the basis of their potential for impact, innovation and sustainability. Projects must have been running for at least two years, have the potential to be replicable, scalable and/or provide significant learning potential for other initiatives. They must also contribute to one or more of the five priority areas of the prize. Self-nominations are not accepted. Interested candidates should contact the National Commission for UNESCO of their country, or an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO.
All nominations must be submitted online by 5 May 2017 (midnight, Paris time) at this link, only accessible to UNESCO Member States and NGOs in official partnership. The two laureates will be announced by the Director-General in September 2017.
“I was born on the 5th of June, which is World Environment Day, so I’ve always felt that it was pre-ordained that I would grow up to become an eco-warrior,” said 16 year old Kehkashan Basu, from India, winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize for her extraordinary work mobilizing youth in the fight against environmental degradation.
Kehkashan’s work began at just eight years of age when she planted her first tree, and her interest in protecting the environment was further peaked after attending a lecture by the explorer and environmentalist, Robert Swan, who said that the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.
“Those words have always been tremendously motivating to me. Environmental apathy is one of the greatest challenges of my generation. It is vital that we overcome this hurdle if we are to achieve a sustainable future.”
Kehkashan went on to become the youngest international delegate to attend the Earth Summit in 2012 and realized that if young people were to become truly engaged in protecting the environment, it would take a fellow youth to motivate them!
“It is so important that young people are engaged and informed about all aspects of sustainable development because ultimately it is our future on the line. We are the ones who will inherit a dry, barren planet so we are the ones that must take action.”
This sentiment is echoed by UNESCO, which is recognized globally as the lead agency for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), coordinating the implementation on the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD.
Upon returning from the Earth Summit, Kehkashan founded Green Hope, a networking platform where children and youth can share information about local environmental projects and encourage others to get involved too. The organization has already amassed over 1,000 volunteers and partner organizations have been established by youth in Bahrain, Canada, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Nepal, Oman and Sri Lanka.
During the awards ceremony for the Children’s Peace Prize, Kehkashan was praised by Nobel Peace Laureate, Muhammad Yunus, for her efforts in working towards a sustainable future. “A healthy environment is essential for the survival, wellbeing and development of children, and therefore it is a precondition for the realization of the rights of the child,” he said.
And for Kehkashan the award also enforces her belief that young women, and youth in general, have the power and ability to achieve whatever they set their sights on. All that is needed is a fair opportunity!
UNESCO works with young women and men, like Kehkashan, across all Programme sectors to ensure that they are provided with the tools they need to be actors and leaders in their communities. For more information on UNESCO’s work with youth visit our website. And if you’re a young person who would like to find out more about how to get involved with UNESCO, join our UNESCO Youth Facebook community!
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called on the Mexican authorities to spare no effort in investigating the killing of print and social media reporter Cecilio Pineda Birto on 2 March in Altamirano (Mexican state of Guerrero).
“I condemn the murder of Cecilio Pineda Birto,” said the Director-General. “Acts of violence against media workers threaten the profession’s freedom of expression and everybody’s recognized right to freedom of information. I call on the authorities to spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators of Cecilio Pineda Birto’s killing to justice.”
Pineda Birto was a contributor to several publications, including the dailies El Universal and La Jornada de Guerrero, and also reported on local issues and crime through a much-followed social media page, for which he received numerous threats. He was killed by two unidentified assailants.
The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, firstname.lastname@example.org, +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…”
On 6 March 2017, Director-General Irina Bokova took part in the third annual Partnerships Practitioners Forum organized by the US Department of State, USAID, Concordia and PeaceTech Lab, at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington D.C.
The Forum brought together leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors working in development and peace-building to share best practices in the creation and implementation of cross-sector collaboration. This year, the Forum focuses on SDG 17: on how partnerships can be used to support the achievement of the SDGs.
Speaking at the Forum’s opening plenary session, the Director-General presented the UNESCO's perspective on fostering partnerships towards the achievement of the SDGs and gave concrete examples of the Organizations multi-stakeholder approach to partnerships. She stressed that “multi-stakeholder partnerships are firmly embedded in UNESCO’s way of working to support countries in achieving the SDGs.”
Referring to the role of private sector companies in implementing the SDGs, Ms Bokova stressed that "public-private partnerships are about a common goal, a common understanding". In this regard, she noted that “private sector partnerships, such as the one with Procter and Gamble to support girls’ and women’s education and literacy in Africa and in the Middle East were making a significant difference in the lives of women and girls by providing them with opportunities to continue their basic education and pursue training opportunities.”
Other prominent speakers in the session included Ms Kathy Calvin, President and CEO, UN Foundation; Mr Trevor Davis, Global Head, International Development Assistance Service Institute, KPMG; Mr Claus Stig Pedersen, Head Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes; and Mr Tomicah Tilleman, Director, Bretton Woods II, New America. Mr Stig Pedersen emphasized the importance of developing new types of partnerships in order adapt to the needs of the most vulnerable. Mr Travis underlined that while SDGs implementation is a huge challenge it also creates new opportunities for companies, in particular in terms of job creation.
Lastly, the Director-General highlighted the role of the private sector in peace and security issues, including in preventing violent extremism, and how UNESCO fosters cooperation with the private sector in this regard. “Providing young people with technical and vocational education, and with skills and knowledge to be resilient is essential to address the current world challenges and the private sector can play an essential role in this regard" she concluded.
Throughout one week each March, GPW encourages public and private organizations everywhere to engage in events that celebrate existing public-private partnerships and explore the potential for shared value collaborations. From large-scale events to intimate networking gatherings and everything in between, GPW events connect governments, corporations, civil society and faith-based organizations, diaspora communities and academic institutions to each other as potential partners, supporters and solution providers, providing opportunities to embrace and explore creative collaborations that enhance diplomacy and development throughout the international community.
Following her participation is the Forum, the Director-General met with Ms Nancy Lindborg, President of the United States Institute of Peace, to share experiences and explore avenues for cooperation between UNESCO and the Institute on the prevention of violent extremism, Holocaust education and genocide prevention, as well as promotion and protection of cultural heritage as a means for reconciliation.
While in Washington, the Director-General also had a meeting with Ms Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Mr Peter Yeo, the Foundation’s Vice-President for Public Policy and Advocacy.
UNESCO will celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March) at its Headquarters and field office with a roundtable debate on gender equality in the art world, an advocacy campaign for women to be better represented in the media, and an international art exhibition.
Organized in cooperation with the French National Committee of UN Women, the roundtable discussion The courage to create: gender equality and the arts will focus on the challenges encountered by female artists, art as a forum for expression for women, and the part the arts can play in deconstructing gender-based stereotyping (8 March, 2.30 pm to 6 pm, Room IV).
Bringing together experts and artists, the roundtable will be introduced by Laurence Rossignol, France’s Minister for Families, Children and Women Rights, along with Fanny Benedetti, Executive Director of the French Committee for UN Women, and Eric Falt, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for External Relations and Public Information.
Notable participants will include: Deeyah Khan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Artistic Freedom and Creativity, Ole Reitov, Executive Director of Freemuse, a nongovernmental organization advocating freedom of expression for musicians and composers, Jackie Buet, Director of the Créteil International Women’s Film Festival (France), Suzanne Combo, songwriter and composer, Jepchumba, artist and founder of African Digital Art, Pia MYrvoLD, artist, and film directors Maysaloun Hamoud and Shlomi Elkabetz.
The debate will be followed by a concert (7.30 pm, Room II) by Louane with the band Her, and a dance performance, Des oiseaux (the birds) choreographed by Axelle Migé.
Also on 8 March, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO is organizing an online conference with women oceanographers who will speak about their careers and answer questions from young people interested in marine science (3.30pm to 5.30 pm, Central European Time).
International Women’s Day will serve as an occasion to call for candidates for the first UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education, created to honour outstanding innovation and contributions to this field by individuals, institutions and organizations.
Furthermore, on 8 March, UNESCO will launch the 2017 Women Make the News awareness raising campaign on the need to improve the representation of women both in newsrooms and in the choice of subjects the media report on. The campaign is organized with the Global Alliance on Media and Gender and UN Women targeting editors in chief, journalists, bloggers, journalism schools, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations.
Online, UNESCO will also mark the Day with the launch of a new edition of the eAtlas for Gender Inequality in Education to show where girls and women are making progress and where they are being left behind at every level of education. The eAtlas was created by the UNESCO Institute for Statistic (UIS).
An exhibition on the creativity of young women in shaping our future, will be held at UNESCO Headquarters from 8 to 17 March featuring works by artists from ten countries (Azerbaijan, Belgium, China, Cook Islands, Egypt, Greece, Honduras, Poland, Dominican Republic and Tunisia).
Media contact: Laetitia Kaci, UNESCO Media Section, email@example.com, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 72
On February 23rd, the Director a.i. of the UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) met with the newly inaugurated President of the Republic of the Gambia Adama Barrow. Recalling the congratulation letter to the President by UNESCO Director-General who assured of UNESCO’s every support within its fields of competence to The Gambia, the Director a.i. of the UNESCO Regional Office underlined the Organization’s continued commitment to supporting the development of the media in the Gambia through providing training and equipment in the framework of an EU-funded media capacity building initiative in the Gambia.
Further underlining the need to revise existing regulatory and legislative frameworks concerning freedom of expression and access to information in the country to align them with international human rights standards, the Director a.i. of the UNESCO Regional Office reiterated the Organization’s commitment to accompany the Gambia in ensuring the development of an independent press and diverse media landscape through the establishment, with international partners, of a platform for dialogue between Government, media, and civil society. Furthermore, he evoked the necessity to reestablish trust between security forces and media professionals in the Gambia, and ensured the President of UNESCO’s commitment to training security forces on the issue of the safety of journalists and freedom of expression in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
Recognizing the pressing issue of youth empowerment and skills development in the Gambia, the Director a.i. reiterated UNESCO’s readiness to provide support for the transformation of the technical and vocational training system and the acquisition of relevant skills and competencies for life and the world of work in collaboration with development partners.
In response, the President of the Gambia Adama Barrow thanked UNESCO for the Organization’s steadfast support in promoting access to education and human rights, including freedom of expression and access to information, in the country. Underlining the important role media plays in ensuring democracy, President Adama Barrow reiterated his continued commitment to ensuring the development of an independent media landscape in the country through promoting journalism education and a revision of existing laws related to freedom of expression and access to information, and thanked UNESCO for the delivery of equipment in the framework of the media capacity building initiative funded by the European Union in the country and implemented by UNESCO.
President Barrow posited that UNESCO’s mandate is particularly relevant to building peace and sustainable development in the Gambia including in education and culture and appreciated UNESCO’s endeavour to help improve the quality and relevance of education that can contribute to job creation, employment, and socio-economic integration of Gambian youth.