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Is science starting to oil the wheels of Ghana’s development?

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:56
focus_flickr_5130081_t3_en.jpg © UNESCO

Science, technology and innovation (STI) will be the bedrock for Ghana's socio-economic transformation in the coming years, if the new government’s policy statements are anything to go by. So says George Essegbey, Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) andlead author of the chapter on West Africa in the UNESCO Science Report. He delivers the following account of developments in Ghana since the report was published in November 2015.

Things have been moving fast in Ghana, since Nana AddoAkufo-Addowon the presidential election in December 2016. One of the government’s priorities has been to revise the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy adopted in 2010. The Minister for the Environment, Science and Technology (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frempong-Boateng, chairs the Technical Committee in charge of the revision. The minister’s deputy and chief directors also sit on the committee, along with representatives of stakeholder groups and the Director of STEPRI.

In August this year,MESTI organized a national consultative workshop of stakeholders to engage industrial players, civil society organizations and the media in discussing the Draft National, Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and to solicit their input.

The draft policy will be approved and adopted by the Cabinet once it has passed through Parliament. A science, technology and innovation bill is currently been drawn up to take the policy forward. It makes provision for establishinga Presidential Advisory Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (PACSTI).

PACSTI will strengthen the linkages between the central point of decision-making in Flagstaff House (the Presidency) and MESTI and its agencies. PACSTI is fundamentally an effort to embed science, technology and innovation (STI) at the pinnacle of Ghana's governance structure in the hope that STI will be more proactively harnessed and exploited in the national interest, in future.

PACSTI will be responsible for coordinating and monitoring implementation of the revised policy and other national STI programmes. It will also draw on the expertise of academia and other key stakeholders, including the diaspora.

A national fund for science, technology and innovation

The draft policy makes provision for setting up a National Science, Technology and Innovation Fund. The scientific community has been calling forsuch afund for years.

The previous government had set the wheels in motion forsucha research fund but its main purpose would have been to appease the academic community following the government’s decision to cancel the payment of research allowances to academic staff. The present government intends to pursue this policy. All research allowances will be cancelled and the new Research Fund will be placed under the Ministry of Education.

In parallel, the new National Science, Technology and Innovation Fund will be placed under MESTI. This fund will be accessible to researchers and all potential inventors and innovators from both the public and private sectors. Thus fund should help Ghana to reach its goal of raising investment in research and development (R&D) from 0.38% of GDP in 2010 to 1% of GDP in the short-to medium-term.

Investment in astronomy and space science

President Akufo-Addo reiterated this goal at the inauguration of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory in Kuntunsenear Accra on 24 August this year.(1)

Ghana is collaborating with eight other African countries(3) to build the world’s largest radio telescopein South Africa, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Each of the partners has committed to converting their redundant telecommunications dishes into satellite dishes as part of their contribution to the project. Once Ghana completes this process in 2019,it will becomeonly the second country on the continent after South Africa to host a Radio Astronomy Observatory. The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and SKA Africa have cosponsored the dish, whichhas beenbuilt by Ghanaians trained by South African expertswithin the SKA’s Human Capital Development Programme.(1)(2)

When Ghana joined the SKA project in 2007, it had no astronomy programme. Since then, numerous Ghanaian scientists and engineers have been trained in Ghana, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Although there were no articles on astronomy recorded in international journals between 2008 and 2014, the output of Ghanian scientists across other scientific disciplines almost tripled over this period.

Professor Dickson Adomako, Director of the Ghana Science and Technology Institute, explained at a media briefing how Ghana’s central geographical position enabled astronomers to observe both the northern and southern hemispheres, a drawcard for foreign astronomers. The data collected by the antenna would also help Ghanaian institutions to plan better in a wide range of domains, he said.(2)

Anita Loots, Head of the Africa Planning Office for the SKA project, described Ghana’s observatory as a ‘timely facility’, since attaining the Sustainable Development Goals would depend ‘very much’ on Africa’s ability to gather data in areas such as agriculture and sanitation to make informed decisions.(2)

President Akufo-Addo spoke of the role that the National Science, Technology and Innovation Fund would play in supporting research at the country’s public and private institutes and universities. He added that the government would be making an effort to ‘increase collaboration among research institutions, industry, especially the private sector, and political authorities at all levels. ‘These measures, I hope, will make the transition from research to product development and industrial production much easier’, he said.(1)

A need to diversify the economy

Ghana is one of several West African countries with industries producing value-added goods, according to the regional Policy on Science and Technology adopted by the Economic Community of West African States in 2011. The policy observes that both Ghana and Nigeria have specialized institutes for aeronautics, chemistry, metallurgy and other industries, as well as technology parks and cyber villages.

Ghanian exports are dominated by only a handful of products, however. Gold and cocoa alone accounted for about 53% of exports in 2013, according to the UNESCO Science Report.

Ghana has only been exporting petroleum since 2011 but this accounted for 22% of exports by 2013. A 2014 study by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana pondered whether ‘the increased importance of oil in GDP signaled the risk of Ghana becoming oil-dependent. The study observed that ‘the advent of oil production seems to be changing the pattern of the country’s exports’ and questioned whether Ghana was ‘teetering toward an oil-dominant country, or might the proceeds be employed wisely to diversify the economy?’

Mixed signals coming from government

As recalled by the UNESCO Science Report, the main objectives of the original National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (2010) were to use STI to reduce poverty, increase the international competitiveness of enterprises and promote sustainable environmental management and industrial growth. The revised policy builds on this foundation.

If there are some strong signals that the government intends to match actions to its words, there have also been some weaker signals. The most obvious one is the exclusion of the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology from the Cabinet (although he is entitled to attend Cabinet meetings). This suggests that STI may not be considered such a top priority, after all.

How financial resources will be allocated to the agencies responsible for STI is another issue that is yet to be addressed appropriately. The old order of frugal and stringent government funding for research institutes, in particular, has not changed. Only when it does will the government be seen to be following through on its pledges.

Nevertheless, on the whole, there appears to be a lot of goodwill towards science, technology and innovation in Ghana at the highest levels of decision-making. The scientific community should be able to capitalize on this goodwill to pursue the country’s necessary socio-economic transformation.

1 Akufo-Addo launches Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory. 24 August, Accra.

2 Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (2017), Launch of Ghana radio astronomy observatory. Government news, Accra, 24 August.

3 Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia; see Box 20.3 of the UNESCO Science Report (2015) for details

Source : George Essegbey, with excerpts from the UNESCO Science Report : towards 2030.

Categories: News

Security Cooperation in Panama (SECOPA)

Europaid - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 01:27
Categories: News

Shahida Hasnain (Pakistan) and Samir Saha (Bangladesh) to receive Carlos J. Finlay UNESCO Prize for Microbiology

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:59
17 October 2017

Professor Shahida Hasnain of Pakistan and Dr Samir Saha of Bangladesh have been named as the two laureates of the 2017 Carlos J. Finlay UNESCO Prize for Microbiology. The Prize will be presented to them on 6 November during the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, which will bring together the Organization’s 195 Member State from 30 October to 14 November.

Founder and Chairperson of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Punjab in Lahore (Pakistan), Shahida Hasnain has won numerous distinctions for her work. Her department is today recognized as a centre of excellence both for its equipment and expertise.

Professor Hasnain significantly contributed to advances in research in environmental, agricultural and medical microbiology. She has notably worked on the heavy metal detoxification mechanisms, salt stress tolerance mechanisms, and bacterial morphogenesis.

Dr Samir Saha is the head of the Microbiology Department of the Dhaka Shishu Hospital for children (Bangladesh). He is also the Executive Director of The Child Health Research Foundation at the Bangladesh Institute of Child Health.

As leading researcher in paediatrics, he played a key role in introducing to Bangladesh  vaccines against two bacteria that cause meningitis, which had a direct positive impact on the health of children in the country. He has also led research into the resistance to treatment of some pneumococcal diseases.

The two laureates were named by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the recommendation of an international jury of experts in microbiology.

The Carlos J. Finlay Prize for Microbiology has an endowment of $10,000, which will be divided between the two laureates. Created in 1977 by UNESCO at the initiative of the Government of Cuba, the Prize rewards scientists whose research has made an outstanding contribution to microbiology and its applications.

Categories: News

Director-General condemns murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:00

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Categories: News

Stimulate youth civic engagement through media and information literacy

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 17:14
news_171017_mil_week.jpg © UNESCO 17 October 2017

The Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2017 Youth Agenda Forum will take place on the first day of the Global MIL Week 2017 Feature Conference, on 24 October 2017, in the Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) of the University of the West Indies.

The Youth Forum is an extension of the UNESCO Global Youth Forum in Paris and will include thematic panels and hands-on workshops by various young people and youth organizations and leaders. Workshops will be innovative and creative, incorporating music, memes, poetry etc.

It will be held under the same theme as Global MIL Week 2017, Media and Information Literacy in Critical Times: Re-imagining Ways of Learning and Information Environments.

Building the MIL CLICKS Cloud

One of the main outcomes of the Youth Agenda Forum will be the MIL CLICKS Youth Pact, a commitment of youth to thinking critically and clicking wisely and engage in related advocacy through involvement in UNESCO MIL CLICKS social media innovation.  Youth will bond together to “building the MIL CLICKS Cloud”

MIL CLICKS is a social media innovation powered by UNESCO, partners, and you. It aims to share knowledge, tips, and resources on MIL so that people can acquire MIL competencies in their day-to-day use of social media in an atmosphere of playing, relaxing and connecting. Just as the internet grows and flourished organically.  More information about MIL CLICKS can be found at:

If you will not be able to attend the Youth Agenda in person, you can still get involved by building the MIL CLICKS Cloud or join the MIL CLICKS webinar. The Webinar will take place on 28 October on Twitter!

Global Youth Video Contest

In the framework of the Youth Agenda, UNESCO support our local partners who have launched a Global Youth Video Contest. Youth are invited around the world to create a 2-minute video of them explaining what MIL means to them and how MIL has touched their lives. Three winners will be announced at the Youth Agenda Forum.

Prize: 20,000 JMD (approx. 150 USD)

Deadline for submission: 20 October 2017

See how to submit a video here:

Feature Conference in Jamaica

The Global MIL Week 2017 Feature Conference, the Seventh MIL and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) Conference, will be held from 24 to 27 October, in the Jamaica Conference Centre, in Kingston, Jamaica.

If you have not yet registered for the conference, you can still do so, last minute registration is open until 9 October 2017. Register here

The draft conference agenda is now available online.

Plan and Register an event/activity to join the Global MIL Week Movement to put MIL on the Development Agenda

Your MIL-related event/activity can be online or offline to take place before, during or soon after the designate period of Global MIL Week 2017.

Your event/activity will be showcased on the Global MIL Week 2017 global events map as above, as part of the global celebrations!

Register your event/activity now. When we stand/sing together, we draw attention and create collective and positive change!

UNESCO and partners suggest to media, schools and libraries around the world respectively with 6 low-cost ways to celebrate Global MIL Week 2017. See below the links to the posters in multiple languages:

Low-cost Ways for Media (English, French, Spanish, Chinese), Libraries (English, French, Spanish, Chinese) and Schools (English, French, Spanish, Chinese) to Celebrate Global MIL Week 2017.

Global MIL Week 2017 official website: (English) (Français) (Español) (中文) (Русский)


Contacts: Alton Grizzle,; Isabel Viera,; and Jing Xu,

Categories: News

“Sulitest” results highlight level of awareness on challenges addressed by SDGs

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:45
17 October 2017

The Sustainable Literacy Test (Sulitest) evaluates knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among students in higher education. The  findings of 2017 report emphasizes a relative homogeneity in the level of awareness amongst the 17 SDGs, even if significant differences are identified with average scores of expected  correct answers ranging from 34% to 67%. The SDG4 stands at 57% meaning that the challenges addressed by this specific SDG need to be tackled more urgently in terms of education and awareness.

The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI), a partnership between United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNESCO, United Nations Environment, UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, United Nations University (UNU), UN-HABITAT and UNCTAD, was created in 2012 in the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

The Sulitest is introduced as an international initiative aimed at raising awareness on sustainability and assessing sustainability literacy through an online training and assessment tool: The Sustainability Literacy Test. The 2017 report was launched in July 2017.

Average awareness on challenges addressed by the 17 SDGs (% of expected correct answers)

The trends highlighted in the above graph rely on the results of the Core Module during the 2016 – 2017 academic year. The Sulitest Core Module uses 30 questions covering a comprehensive scope of sustainability. The Core Module uses the same question bank for every respondent worldwide.

In addition, each question is attached to one or up to 3 SDGs so that the results can be interpreted in line with the SDG framework. Taking the 30 questions used in the Core Module allows the full scope of the 17 SDGs to be covered. The sample of respondents for the academic year 2016-2017 is 16,575 students from 170 universities in 31 countries.

This global result indicates that the level of conscious on challenges addressed by the SDGs is relatively homogenous: there are neither SDGs with a very low level of awareness (i.e. under  10%) nor SDGs with complete awareness (i.e. over 90%). This heterogeneity highlights the need for the development of education and initiatives to raise awareness on specific SDGs.

The Sulitest has been created to make sure current and future decision-makers have sufficient awareness on sustainability challenges to take informed and effective decisions and to collectively build a sustainable future.

UNESCO remains committed to monitoring the progress towards the achievement of Target 4.7, with a focus on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship. Regular reports, news, analyses, publications and links to data sets produced by UNESCO and its partner provide evidence that indicate how the world is progressing towards the achievement of the Target.

Categories: News

Zimbabwean ‘green oasis’ school wins UNESCO sustainability education prize

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:03
zimbabwe_green_oasis-c-sihlengeni_primary_school-drupal.jpg © Sihlengeni Primary School 17 October 2017

A ‘whole institution’ approach to sustainable development has turned a primary school in an arid stretch of Zimbabwe into an oasis with a rehabilitated forest, fruit trees, nutrition garden and livestock. The project, which has improved the local environment while generating income, has been awarded the 2017 UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The prize, which is funded by the Government of Japan, consists of three annual awards of USD 50,000 for each recipient.

Sihlengeni Primary School in Umzingwane District, in the heart of the arid Matabeleland South Province of Zimbabwe, was awarded for its remarkable Permaculture Project. The initiative has transformed not only the school but also the surrounding areas with practical and learning activities involving everyone from the 17 teachers and 738 learners to their parents and members of a neighbouring community.

Head teacher and project manager Sibanga Ncube said of the win: “We are very delighted especially as it was so unexpected. It is a tribute to the many sacrifices made by our teaching staff and to the tremendous cooperation of our parents, most of whom are low-income subsistence farmers who need assistance with so many aspects of their lives. They do everything from dig ditches to carrying out agricultural tasks.”

The project began in 1995 after the school received training in permaculture, a system of agricultural and social design, which draws on patterns and features in the natural ecosystem to develop and maintain the environment.

In a school situation, it uses the principles of ESD to provide quality education as well as increased access to a clean environment, food and water. It impacts on the alleviation of hunger and increases knowledge on food consumption habits.

In practice, this means that learners, parents and teachers at Sihlengeni plant exotic and indigenous trees, grass, millet and maize. They also introduce ground cover to mitigate land degradation and deforestation. They have rehabilitated a forest and also kept chickens and pigs. Some of the food produced is used to feed infants with the rest being sold locally.

“Visitors are so surprised that we have created this oasis with oranges, pawpaws and tomatoes and they want to know how they can do the same in such a dry area,” said Mr Ncube. “And as far as learning activities go the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of everything that our teachers do.”  

The school promotes inclusive and quality education, lifelong learning and gender equality through all of its activities. Alongside a conventional curriculum, it offers formal and informal instruction in crop and animal husbandry, horticulture, cookery and ICT training. This often leads to students forming their own small-scale businesses when they leave.

The school got its initial funding from small levies from parents as well as larger funding and is currently self-sustaining. This new boost will go towards expanding existing agricultural activities with more plant and animal husbandry.  There are plans to use manure from the pigs to produce biogas, keep bees, rear goats, cultivate mushrooms, fence the rehabilitated forest as well as undertake additional training and research.

“We would also like to improve water harvesting techniques by adding more reservoirs serving the school,” said Mr Ncube.

The school, which has already won a string of awards, has held two field days to share their achievements with others in the surrounding provinces and prize money from the UNESCO award will also be used for wider promotion.

UNESCO’s Director-General and the Japanese Minister of Education will award the Prize in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 3 November 2017. As with all winners of the UNESCO-Japan Prize, UNESCO will invite Sihlengeni Primary School to join its Partner Networks of the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP) to foster close, long-term collaboration.

Categories: News

Upcoming Event: ASEAN Forum of National Boiethics Committees (NBCs) on Haze Pollution in Jakarta, Indonesia

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:50

The ASEAN Forum of National Bioethics Committees (NBCs) on Haze Pollution will be hosted by UNESCO Jakarta Office on the 6th and 7th of December 2017.

The Forum will focus on the application of bioethical and human rights principles contained in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights to the social and environmental aspects of haze pollution in Southeast Asia. Participants of the Forum will include:

  • Members of the National Bioethics Committees from ASEAN countries
  • Representatives of other relevant national entities, such as the Environmental Agencies from the region
  • Regional and international environmental NGOs
  • Representatives of the private sector
  • International and national experts

The Forum is organized in the framework of Malaysian Funds-in-Trust project on addressing the problem of haze from bioethical and sustainability science perspectives. It uses the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, adopted with acclamation by UNESCO in 2005, to frame the debate on haze pollution, and to generate evidence-based, ethically derived recommendations for relevant actors and stakeholders.

To facilitate the discussions and to guide the generation of evidence-based recommendations during the Forum, UNESCO is partnering with institutions in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia to conduct collaborative research on the ethical, social and legal implications of haze in the region.

As a preparation for the Forum, two expert group consultations were held at the national level:

For more details of the background on the ASEAN Forum of National Bioethics Committees on Haze Pollution, please click here.

Categories: News

Coopération Sud-Sud : la Mauritanie s’inspire de l’expérience sénégalaise en matière d’alphabétisation (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 18:25
alphabetisationsenegal.jpg © UNESCO

Grâce au programme de renforcement des capacités (CapED) de l’UNESCO, le Sénégal a obtenu, ces dernières cinq années, d’importants résultats dans l’amélioration de la qualité des programmes d’alphabétisation, et notamment la professionnalisation du personnel d’alphabétisation.

Parmi les principaux résultats on notera : la conception de modules de formation pour les facilitateurs et enseignants polyvalents, la formation de 2.260 enseignants polyvalents dont 655 femmes (2015 et 2016), la mise en place d’un dispositif de Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience (VAE) pour les facilitateurs, l’élaboration d’un modèle pédagogique de formation professionnelle pour les jeunes analphabètes et la définition d’un modèle d’éducation bilingue pour le système formel. Ces résultats démontrent un réel engagement de l’Etat du Sénégal, qui, suivant les orientations de l’Objectif de Développement Durable 4 (ODD4), et grâce à son savoir-faire avéré, sert ainsi de modèle.

Fort de ce constat, une délégation d’une quinzaine de personnes, composée essentiellement de cadres du ministère de l’Education Nationale et du ministère des Affaires islamiques et de l’Enseignement originel, séjournera à Dakar du 16 au 20 Octobre 2017. Cette visite d’étude permettra d’échanger les bonnes pratiques en matière de programmes d’alphabétisation entre les deux pays et de renforcer les capacités dans le domaine du dispositif de pilotage et suivi et évaluation.

Cette opportunité de coopération sud-sud a été facilitée par les bureaux de l’UNESCO à Dakar et à Rabat dans le cadre du programme CapED.

Pour plus d’informations, consultez notre page Facebook.

Alphabétisation et éducation non-formelle

Renforcement des capacités nationales de formation, de supervision et de gestion des enseignants

Le programme de renforcement des capacités (CapEFA) des enseignants au Sénégal

Categories: News

Underwater glider on record-breaking scientific exploration of the Indian Ocean

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:22
rsz_challenger_flags_typo_news.jpg © UNESCO

The underwater glider Challenger broke the world record for longest ocean glider nonstop journey after covering 6,200 kilometers between Fremantle, Australia, and the coast of Sri Lanka.

Launched on 5 November 2016, the Challenger reached its first recovery point off the Sri Lanka coast on 27 September 2017, completing the longest journey of an ocean glider to-date.

The Challenger Glider Mission is the first science expedition to circle the entire globe by completing a 128,000-kilometer-journey across the five ocean basins. Alongside UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), scientists and institutions made up a global team able to push the limits of technology to capture an unprecedented wealth of undersea data for the benefit of international scientific research.

The Challenger Mission has been conceived as an international concerted response to the urgent need for better understanding of our ocean’s critical role in regulating the changing climate. The scientific data collected will ultimately benefit the people who rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and wellbeing. In the Indian Ocean, alone, this means approximately three billion people affected by ocean currents and weather systems. Exploring the Indian Ocean is crucial to unveil trends and information needed for effective science-based management and decision-making.

The Challenger initiative also has an educational dimension, providing open access and real-time data that help improve ocean literacy all over the world. Ocean literacy – awareness of one’s impact on the ocean and the ocean’s impact on our wellbeing – is a theme of growing interest to scientists and policy-makers alike, as they seek to educate citizens about the importance of protecting and sustainably using the ocean and its resources, many of which are threatened by human activities.

From Sri Lanka, the Challenger will then move towards South Africa where it will be recovered and set on return course bound to Australia.

The Challenger Glider Mission was made possible by the collaboration of the University of Western Australia and Rutgers University, with support of UNESCO’s IOC and over 20 institutions across 13 nations. It is has also been endorsed by the Second Internaional Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) as an activity of key relevancy to the IIOE-2 Science Plan.

For more information, please contact:

Nick d’Adamo (nick.dadamo(at)

Categories: News

UNESCO and ICCROM Join Forces to Protect Cultural Heritage

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 14:43

Paris -- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) signed a landmark agreement on Friday 13 October in a new effort to address mounting threats to cultural properties worldwide.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, the two agencies agreed to intensify efforts to implement the 1972 World Heritage Convention. They will also boost cooperation in addressing a number of specific challenges, including destruction of cultural property in armed conflict, disaster risk management, illicit trafficking in heritage objects and new risks to intangible cultural heritage.

“The agreement stems from our joint commitment to protect cultural heritage endangered by ever-increasing hazards of both natural and human origin, including pillage and neglect,” said ICCROM’s Director-General, Dr Stefano De Caro.

“UNESCO and ICCROM have intensified their cooperation to respond to the new threats of cultural cleansing and systematic destruction of heritage. This agreement is a step further to foster new and long-term responses to protect sites and share a narrative about our shared heritage as a force for peace,” declared UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova.

The agreement represents a new milestone in the long-term partnership between UNESCO and ICCROM, who for many years have worked together to protect cultural heritage and preservation, most notably for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Under the agreement, the agencies will increase their cooperation on training and capacity-building, especially in the Middle East, the Arab world and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as on creating and sharing information resources and on public outreach and advocacy to support heritage conservation work.

The two organizations also agreed to work closely to integrate fundraising activities and streamline management and administrative processes, so as to make their joint programmes more cost efficient and better aligned with the priorities of Member States and the donor community.

ICCROM was created as a result of a 1956 decision of UNESCO's General Conference in New Delhi to establish a centre dedicated to the study of questions related to heritage conservation and protection. ICCROM is located in Rome, Italy, and has a Regional Office in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.  UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, established in the aftermath of the Second World War, based in Paris, France and with 53 field offices around the world.


Categories: News

At Vatican, Director-General Affirms Education as Ethical Imperative

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:21

On 16 October 2017, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova shared her vision of education as a public, moral and societal responsibility in a special session on “Ethics in Action” organized at Casino Pio IV, seat of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican.

Gathering religious leaders from different faith traditions, academics, business and labor leaders and development practitioners, the session entirely dedicated to education was part of the “Ethics in Action” initiative, hosted by the Pontifical Academies, in partnership with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Religions for Peace and the University of Notre Dame.

Welcoming participants, Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy highlighted the importance of changing education to integrate new learning methods and foster inclusion.

Recalling the words of His Holiness Pope Francis when they met in 2016 when he affirmed that “education is an essential dimension of human dignity and for the fight against exclusion and poverty,” Ms Bokova traced the stakes of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular SDG4.

 “Today more than ever, we must educate for inclusion, for dialogue and tolerance, for living together -- we need to teach solidarity, mutual respect and peace. I see this as the frontline in our struggle to build a more just, more peaceful world.”

 “Education must be about more than transmitting information. It is about values, critical thinking, the ethics of development,” she affirmed.

 She warned that the exclusion of children and youth from education – especially of girls and young women – compounded by the humanitarian crisis - is “throwing a shadow over the development of entire societies.”

 She emphasized the fundamental role of faith leaders and community leaders for changing mindsets and speaking out against violence and intolerance.

 “We share with Pope Francis the idea that education is about practicing a ‘grammar of dialogue,” which is a foundation for exchange, for mutual understanding and respect, to make the most of cultural and religious diversity as a strength.”

She outlined UNESCO’s work to empower girls and women through education, advance the concept and practice of global citizenship as well as education for sustainable development.

Citing from Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical, in which he calls for “a distinctive way of looking at things” to find urgent responses to environmental decay, she affirmed that UNESCO’s leadership on education for sustainable development “is fundamentally about each of us leading the way through our behaviours, attitudes, consumption patterns and commitment to solidarity.”

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, focused his intervention on the urgency of access for all and scaled up financing, pointing to the direct correlation between education and economic growth.

"For hundreds of millions of children there is practically no way to get a rudimentary education. There is nothing more central to the SDG agenda than this, " he said, highlighting the $40 billion annual financing gap. "You would think it would be an easier sell, " he said, warning that development cannot be expected when less than 30% of African youth complete secondary school.

In a further keynote, Professor Dan Wagner, UNESCO Chair on Learning and Literacy at the University of Pennyslvania, defined the ethical  challenge as focusing on those at the bottom of the pyramid. "We need a learning equity agenda and index to reduce social gaps. We need to convince ministers of education  to invest in the bottom of the pyramid. Majority approaches will likely maintain and increase inequalities in the future."

The two-day programme encompasses sessions on social inclusion, science and technology, university and youth leadership, and a new ethical education, and will close with the adoption  of a shared statement.



Categories: News

Audrey Azoulay nominated by UNESCO Executive Board for the post of Director-General

Unesco Most Programme - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 01:26
img_4124.jpg Audrey Azoulay© UNESCO / C. Alix 13 October 2017

Paris — The 58 members of UNESCO’s Executive Board on 13 October nominated Audrey Azoulay of France for the position of Director-General of the Organization, replacing outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova.

The nomination will be submitted to the vote of the General Conference that brings together all 195 Member States of the Organization every two years on 10 November.

After five rounds of voting that began on 9 October, the Board’s Chairperson, Michael Worbs (Germany), announced the outcome congratulating Ms Azoulay: "Your previous experience as a government minister and in other senior national and international positions gives you the expertise, competence and depth of knowledge you will need if you are entrusted with the supreme leadership of our Organization."

Born in 1972, Audrey Azoulay served as France’s Minister of Culture from February 2016 to May 2017. She began her career in the offices in charge of supporting public broadcasting in France and went on to serve as rapporteur for the French public audit authority, Cour des Comptes, and legal expert for the European Commission in the fields of culture and communication. She successively held the positions of Deputy Director for Multimedia Affairs, Chief Financial and Legal Officer and Deputy Director-General of the French National Centre of Cinematography (CNC). Ms Azoulay is a graduate of France’s school of public administration, the Ecole nationale d’administration, and holds an MA in Business Administration from the University of Lancaster (UK) and a degree in political science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (France).

UNESCO Member States presented nine candidates for the position: Polad Bülbüloglu (Azerbaijan), Qian Tang (China), Moushira Khattab (Egypt), Audrey Azoulay (France), Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria (Guatemala), Saleh Al-Hasnawi (Iraq), Vera El-Khoury Lacoeuilhe (Lebanon), Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari (Qatar), Pham Sanh Chau (Viet Nam).

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4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit Declaration

Europaid - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 14:55
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Les journalistes à l'école du genre (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 11:48
formationjournalistesgenre1.jpg © UNESCO

La formation des professionnels des médias sur le Genre et les Violences Basées sur le Genre qui enregistrait dès son ouverture la présence effective de 26 responsables appartenant à 13 organes de la presse, écrite, audiovisuelle et en ligne, répond aux besoins des professionnels de la presse n’ayant jamais bénéficié d’une formation dans ce domaine.

Les participants –tes- ont manifesté un intérêt particulier pour la thématique, avec la surprenante révélation que, pour plus de 90 % d’entre eux, c’est la première fois qu’ils suivent une formation de ce genre, y compris, des responsables d’émission destinées aux femmes depuis plusieurs années. L’appropriation de la perspective genre s’est donc révélée d’une importance capitale pour ces professionnels des médias. Elle est aussi fondamentale dans toute stratégie de lutte contre les Violences Basées sur le Genre (VBG).

Suite à la présentation des objectifs de l’atelier, à savoir la promotion d’une culture de genre, de respects des droits humains et d’inclusion sociale à travers les médias, l’approche genre des principes et thèmes transversaux des Nations Unies pour l’éradication des VBG a été abordée, à travers des présentations variées. Ainsi les grandes lignes du programme conjoint, l’approche multisectorielle, l’introduction aux concepts de genre et de sexe, la promotion et de la protection des droits de l’homme, l’inclusion sociale, la citoyenneté mondiale, la culture de la paix et la gestion des conflits etc. ont été tour à tour présentés avant la séance d’information sur le programme d’éthique et de bioéthique de l’UNESCO.

La présence des représentants du ministère de la Femme de la Famille et du Genre et du ministère de la Communication traduit la nécessité d’une démarche inclusive et transversale pour l’atteinte des objectifs fixés.

L’atelier trace d’ores et déjà les pistes futures d’une collaboration nécessaire qui aura sans nul doute un impact global sur l’orientation du travail des lauréats –tes-. Il sera un facteur de transformation positive au bénéfice des populations dans l’équité, la justice, le respect de la dignité et la paix.

Categories: News

Les journalistes à l'école du genre (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 11:48
formationjournalistesgenre1.jpg © UNESCO

La formation des professionnels des médias sur le Genre et les Violences Basées sur le Genre qui enregistrait dès son ouverture la présence effective de 26 responsables appartenant à 13 organes de la presse, écrite, audiovisuelle et en ligne, répond aux besoins des professionnels de la presse n’ayant jamais bénéficié d’une formation dans ce domaine.

Les participants –tes- ont manifesté un intérêt particulier pour la thématique, avec la surprenante révélation que, pour plus de 90 % d’entre eux, c’est la première fois qu’ils suivent une formation de ce genre, y compris, des responsables d’émission destinées aux femmes depuis plusieurs années. L’appropriation de la perspective genre s’est donc révélée d’une importance capitale pour ces professionnels des médias. Elle est aussi fondamentale dans toute stratégie de lutte contre les Violences Basées sur le Genre (VBG).

Suite à la présentation des objectifs de l’atelier, à savoir la promotion d’une culture de genre, de respects des droits humains et d’inclusion sociale à travers les médias, l’approche genre des principes et thèmes transversaux des Nations Unies pour l’éradication des VBG a été abordée, à travers des présentations variées. Ainsi les grandes lignes du programme conjoint, l’approche multisectorielle, l’introduction aux concepts de genre et de sexe, la promotion et de la protection des droits de l’homme, l’inclusion sociale, la citoyenneté mondiale, la culture de la paix et la gestion des conflits etc. ont été tour à tour présentés avant la séance d’information sur le programme d’éthique et de bioéthique de l’UNESCO.

La présence des représentants du ministère de la Femme de la Famille et du Genre et du ministère de la Communication traduit la nécessité d’une démarche inclusive et transversale pour l’atteinte des objectifs fixés.

L’atelier trace d’ores et déjà les pistes futures d’une collaboration nécessaire qui aura sans nul doute un impact global sur l’orientation du travail des lauréats –tes-. Il sera un facteur de transformation positive au bénéfice des populations dans l’équité, la justice, le respect de la dignité et la paix.

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Statement by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the Withdrawal by the United States of America from UNESCO

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 15:04
dg_bokova_blue_688px_drupal.jpg Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO© UNESCO/Ania Freindorf 12 October 2017

After receiving official notification by the United States Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, as UNESCO Director-General, I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO.

Universality is critical to UNESCO’s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity.

In 2011, when payment of membership contributions was suspended at the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, I said I was convinced UNESCO had never mattered as much for the United States, or the United States for UNESCO.

This is all the more true today, when the rise of violent extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term responses for peace and security, to counter racism and antisemitism, to fight ignorance and discrimination.

I believe UNESCO’s work to advance literacy and quality education is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to harness new technologies to enhance learning is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to enhance scientific cooperation, for ocean sustainability, is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to promote freedom of expression, to defend the safety of journalists, is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to empower girls and women as change-makers, as peacebuilders, is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to bolster societies facing emergencies, disasters and conflicts is shared by the American people.

Despite the withholding of funding, since 2011, we have deepened the partnership between the United States and UNESCO, which has never been so meaningful.

Together, we have worked to protect humanity’s shared cultural heritage in the face of terrorist attacks and to prevent violent extremism through education and media literacy.

Together, we worked with the late Samuel Pisar, Honorary Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Education, to promote education for remembrance of the Holocaust across the world as the means to fight antisemitism and genocide today, including with, amongst others, the UNESCO Chair for Genocide Education at the University of Southern California and the UNESCO Chair on Literacy and Learning at the University of Pennsylvania.

Together, we work with the OSCE to produce new tools for educators against all forms of antisemitism, as we have done to fight anti-Muslim racism in schools.

Together, we launched the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education in 2011.

Together, with the American academic community, including 17 UNESCO University Chairs, we have worked to advance literacy, to promote sciences for sustainability, to teach respect for all in schools.

This partnership has been embodied in our interaction with the United States Geological Survey, with the US Army Corps of Engineers, with United States professional societies, to advance research for the sustainable management of water resources, agriculture.

It has been embodied in the celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Washington D.C in 2011, with the National Endowment for Democracy.

It has been embodied in our cooperation with major private sector companies, with Microsoft, Cisco, Procter & Gamble, Intel, to retain girls in school, to nurture technologies for quality learning.

It has been embodied in the promotion of International Jazz Day, including at the White House in 2016, to celebrate human rights and cultural diversity on the basis of tolerance and respect.

It has been embodied in 23 World Heritage sites, reflecting the universal value of the cultural heritage of the United States, in 30 Biosphere Reserves, embodying the country’s vast and rich biodiversity, in 6 Creative Cities, as a source of innovation and job creation.

The partnership between UNESCO and the United States has been deep, because it has drawn on shared values.

The American poet, diplomat and Librarian of Congress, Archibald MacLeish penned the lines that open UNESCO’s 1945 Constitution: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” This vision has never been more relevant.

The United States helped inspire the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

In 2002, one year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the late Russell Train, former Head of the US Environmental Protection Agency and founder of the World Wildlife Fund, who did so much to launch the World Heritage Convention, said: “At this time in history, as the fabric of human society seems increasingly under attack by forces that deny the very existence of a shared heritage, forces that strike at the very heart of our sense of community, I am convinced that World Heritage holds out a contrary and positive vision of human society and our human future.”

UNESCO’s work is key to strengthen the bonds of humanity’s common heritage in the face of forces of hatred and division.

The Statue of Liberty is a World Heritage site because it is a defining symbol of the United States of America, and also because of what it says for people across the world.

Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed, is a World Heritage site, because its message speaks to policy-makers and activists across the globe.

Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon are World Heritage sites, because they are marvels for everyone, in all countries.

This is not just about World Heritage.

UNESCO in itself holds out this “positive vision of human society.”

At the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred, it is deeply regrettable that the United States should withdraw from the United Nations agency leading these issues.

At the time when conflicts continue to tear apart societies across the world, it is deeply regrettable for the United States to withdraw from the United Nations agency promoting education for peace and protecting culture under attack.

This is why I regret the withdrawal of the United States.

This is a loss to UNESCO.

This is a loss to the United Nations family.

This is a loss for multilateralism.

UNESCO’s task is not over, and we will continue taking it forward, to build a 21st century that is more just, peaceful, equitable, and, for this, UNESCO needs the leadership of all States.

UNESCO will continue to work for the universality of this Organization, for the values we share, for the objectives we hold in common, to strengthen a more effective multilateral order and a more peaceful, more just world. 

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