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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. 

Categories: News

Migration policy-making

Europaid - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 12:25
Categories: News

UNESCO Publishing issues first ever manual on desalination and harmful algal blooms

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:24
12 October 2017

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission will launch the first ever guidebook on the growing problem harmful algal blooms pose to seawater desalination plants on 16 October.  The launch will take place at the International Desalination Association World Congress in São Paulo Brazil.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Desalination: A Guide to Impacts, Monitoring, and Management is published to help the desalination industry tackle an issue that represents a potential threat both to human health and to the distribution of desalinated water on which an increasing number of arid countries rely for their fresh water needs.

In eleven chapters, the manual covers multiple topics including twelve cases studies that contains practical information for desalination plant designers and operators.  Other chapters address fundamental features of algal blooms, species identification, HAB ecology, toxins, biomass, and extracellular products. It also discusses ways to maintain plant operations when challenged by an increase in suspended solids and organic loads associated with HABs.

A chapter in the manual furthermore describes risk assessment frameworks and approaches to secure safe drinking water in the face of a toxic marine HAB, along with an HAB Management Response Plan. 

The 517-page manual is a groundbreaking achievement built on the cooperation of 63 HAB and desalination industry specialists from multiple disciplines, some of which had rarely interacted in the past.  The publication was sponsored by the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). It was edited by Don Anderson, Siobhan Boerlage and Mike Dixon.

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Copies of the manual can be ordered online at http://www.ioc-unesco.org/HAB-desalination

Media Contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service, a.bardon@unesco.org +33(0)145681764

Categories: News

UNESCO Publishing issues first ever manual on desalination and harmful algal blooms

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:24
12 October 2017

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission will launch the first ever guidebook on the growing problem harmful algal blooms pose to seawater desalination plants on 16 October.  The launch will take place at the International Desalination Association World Congress in São Paulo Brazil.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Desalination: A Guide to Impacts, Monitoring, and Management is published to help the desalination industry tackle an issue that represents a potential threat both to human health and to the distribution of desalinated water on which an increasing number of arid countries rely for their fresh water needs.

In eleven chapters, the manual covers multiple topics including twelve cases studies that contains practical information for desalination plant designers and operators.  Other chapters address fundamental features of algal blooms, species identification, HAB ecology, toxins, biomass, and extracellular products. It also discusses ways to maintain plant operations when challenged by an increase in suspended solids and organic loads associated with HABs.

A chapter in the manual furthermore describes risk assessment frameworks and approaches to secure safe drinking water in the face of a toxic marine HAB, along with an HAB Management Response Plan. 

The 517-page manual is a groundbreaking achievement built on the cooperation of 63 HAB and desalination industry specialists from multiple disciplines, some of which had rarely interacted in the past.  The publication was sponsored by the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). It was edited by Don Anderson, Siobhan Boerlage and Mike Dixon.

****

Copies of the manual can be ordered online at http://www.ioc-unesco.org/HAB-desalination

Media Contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service, a.bardon@unesco.org +33(0)145681764

Categories: News

UNESCO promotes professional standards in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:23
news_121017_macedonia.jpg © UNESCO 12 October 2017

UNESCO together with its the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) organized a competition among FYROM journalists aimed to support professionalism and reward the best journalistic stories promoting human rights, in particular the rights of socially vulnerable and marginalised people.

“We are aware that newsrooms in the country often face a lack of staff and resources for continuous and consistent investigative work. Our role as a self-regulatory body mainly focuses on handling complaints about a potential breach of journalistic ethics in the country. Yet, thanks to this UNESCO project, we have been able to send a  positive message and shine a light on good journalistic work in the country. This award ceremony helps recognize media professionals who play an important role in advancing journalist work  and improving access to vital social information in the region,” said Marina Tuneva from CMEM.

In total, six talented journalists received an award from CMEM at a press conference organized in Skopje on 29 September 2017. Irena Mulacka received an award for the excellence of her journalistic work published in the weekly newspaper Focus. “The stories of Irena Mulacka has received high public interest and sparked serious debate both among citizens and the medical community of the country. The quality of her research and publication is a great example of quality investigative journalism,” said the members of the jury. Other laureates were Nikola Zdravkovic who received the second price for a story broadcasted within the 360-degree show of Alsat-M Television, Mirjana Mircevska-Jovanovic for a documentary broadcasted on Kanal 5 television, Marjan Nikolovski for a story broadcasted on Sitel TV, Maja Ravanska for an article published in the newspaper "Face to Face" and Zoran Jovanoski for a broadcasted on Alsat-M television.

"Today's awards are an acknowledgment for the authors' professionalism. We have repeatedly emphasized the importance of professionalism, the role of the media in publishing fair  information, the need to improve the working conditions of journalists and self-regulation in overcoming ethical challenges. All these issues are still current today," said Ambassador Samuel Zbogar, Head of the EU Delegation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during his address at the event.

The UNESCO Project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey” started in 2016 and aims at improving media good governance and respect for media professional standards. Within this framework, UNESCO is supporting press councils in the region through direct funding and through the implementation of activities with aims at improving both their functioning and visibility. This project is funded by the European Union.

Categories: News

UNESCO promotes professional standards in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:23
news_121017_macedonia.jpg © UNESCO 12 October 2017

UNESCO together with its the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) organized a competition among FYROM journalists aimed to support professionalism and reward the best journalistic stories promoting human rights, in particular the rights of socially vulnerable and marginalised people.

“We are aware that newsrooms in the country often face a lack of staff and resources for continuous and consistent investigative work. Our role as a self-regulatory body mainly focuses on handling complaints about a potential breach of journalistic ethics in the country. Yet, thanks to this UNESCO project, we have been able to send a  positive message and shine a light on good journalistic work in the country. This award ceremony helps recognize media professionals who play an important role in advancing journalist work  and improving access to vital social information in the region,” said Marina Tuneva from CMEM.

In total, six talented journalists received an award from CMEM at a press conference organized in Skopje on 29 September 2017. Irena Mulacka received an award for the excellence of her journalistic work published in the weekly newspaper Focus. “The stories of Irena Mulacka has received high public interest and sparked serious debate both among citizens and the medical community of the country. The quality of her research and publication is a great example of quality investigative journalism,” said the members of the jury. Other laureates were Nikola Zdravkovic who received the second price for a story broadcasted within the 360-degree show of Alsat-M Television, Mirjana Mircevska-Jovanovic for a documentary broadcasted on Kanal 5 television, Marjan Nikolovski for a story broadcasted on Sitel TV, Maja Ravanska for an article published in the newspaper "Face to Face" and Zoran Jovanoski for a broadcasted on Alsat-M television.

"Today's awards are an acknowledgment for the authors' professionalism. We have repeatedly emphasized the importance of professionalism, the role of the media in publishing fair  information, the need to improve the working conditions of journalists and self-regulation in overcoming ethical challenges. All these issues are still current today," said Ambassador Samuel Zbogar, Head of the EU Delegation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during his address at the event.

The UNESCO Project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey” started in 2016 and aims at improving media good governance and respect for media professional standards. Within this framework, UNESCO is supporting press councils in the region through direct funding and through the implementation of activities with aims at improving both their functioning and visibility. This project is funded by the European Union.

Categories: News

Casa de las Américas, winner of the 2017 UNESCO-UNAM/Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in social sciences, humanities and arts

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 14:28
infocus_winner2017_casa2.jpg © Casa de las Américas

Casa de las Américas (Cuba) was designated as winner of the 2017 Edition of the Prize by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, on the recommendation of an international jury. The Award Ceremony will be organized early in 2018.

Casa de las Américas was founded in April 1959 for the purpose of developing and extending the socio-cultural relations with the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and the rest of the world. It has developed into one of the best-known and most prominent cultural institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The institution awards the Casa de las Américas Prize, one of the oldest and most prestigious prizes in Latin American literature. It also researches, supports, and publishes the work of writers, social scientists, humanists, sculptors, musicians, and other artists and students of literature and the arts. Its official organ is the journal Casa de las Américas, published since 1961.

Awarded every two years, the UNESCO-UNAM/Jaime Torres Bodet Prize is intended to reward the efforts of a person, group of people or international institution that has contributed to the development of knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in social sciences and humanities. It is meant to promote pioneering initiatives that may contribute to the development, diffusion and consolidation of the values of humanity.

The Prize was named after Jaime Torres Bodet, eminent poet, novelist, essay writer and diplomat from Mexico and  one of the founding members of UNESCO and Director-General of the Organization from 1948 to 1952. The Prize, created at the initiative of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), highlights the close links between UNESCO and UNAM.

Categories: News

Casa de las Américas, winner of the 2017 UNESCO-UNAM/Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in social sciences, humanities and arts

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 14:28
winner2017_casa2.jpg © UNESCO

Casa de las Américas (Cuba) was designated as winner of the 2017 Edition of the Prize by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, on the recommendation of an international jury. The Award Ceremony will be organized early in 2018.

Casa de las Américas was founded in April 1959 for the purpose of developing and extending the socio-cultural relations with the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and the rest of the world. It has developed into one of the best-known and most prominent cultural institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The institution awards the Casa de las Américas Prize, one of the oldest and most prestigious prizes in Latin American literature. It also researches, supports, and publishes the work of writers, social scientists, humanists, sculptors, musicians, and other artists and students of literature and the arts. Its official organ is the journal Casa de las Américas, published since 1961.

Awarded every two years, the UNESCO-UNAM/Jaime Torres Bodet Prize is intended to reward the efforts of a person, group of people or international institution that has contributed to the development of knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in social sciences and humanities. It is meant to promote pioneering initiatives that may contribute to the development, diffusion and consolidation of the values of humanity.

The Prize was named after Jaime Torres Bodet, eminent poet, novelist, essay writer and diplomat from Mexico and  one of the founding members of UNESCO and Director-General of the Organization from 1948 to 1952. The Prize, created at the initiative of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), highlights the close links between UNESCO and UNAM.

Categories: News

Girls Refugees Can Succeed

Europaid - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 11:31
Categories: News

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