UNESCO, serving as the lead UN agency for the organization of the International Year of Indigenous Languages beginning on 1st January 2019, organized open consultations on 11 July 2017 within the framework of UN Human Rights Council Expert Mechanism (EMRIP) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was attended by the members of the Permanent Forum on the Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), expert members of the EMRIP, representatives of the Member States as well as representatives of indigenous communities, civil society and other interested stakeholders.
The event was organized in response to the United Nations General Assembly’s Resolution (Ref.: A/RES/71/178) on “Rights of Indigenous peoples” adopted in December 2016 which proclaimed 2019 as the Year of Indigenous Languages and follow up to the consultations organized by UNESCO with UNPFII in May 2017.
Ms Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in her introductory remarks said that the Global Plan of Action for the organization of the 2019 Year require a long-term orientation in order to strengthen and support indigenous languages and speakers. It is therefore important that all stakeholders coordinate their involvement and share responsibilities.
Mr Alexey Tsykarev, Member of the EMRIP proposed to identify practices that proved to be successful in revitalization of indigenous languages. Among many suggestions, he also called upon to launch a global advocacy campaign, as a part of Global Plan of Action, in order to draw attention of all stakeholders, particularly governments, on the critical situation of many indigenous languages around the world.
Many experts and representatives of various organizations suggested establishing measurable and realistic goals for the 2019 Year and urge to go beyond traditional celebration of the Year limited to the cultural events and few gatherings. Some others proposed establishing an open repository for collection of good practices shared by the indigenous communities, academia, public and private bodies and linking it with other existing repositories. The idea of mapping “Points of interest” was raised by some participants proposing to involve indigenous communities through social media. Many speakers raised importance of mother tongue-based education and encouraged to work closer with local municipalities.
Ms Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg from UNESCO said that the Year 2019 is an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to raise awareness on the role of indigenous languages for sustainable development. The Year 2019 will serve as an international platform, which would provide space for all partners to better coordinate their actions, build new synergies and support indigenous languages speakers. The results of open consultations with UNPFII and EMRIP will be taken into account drafting the Global Plan of Action and Global Communication Strategy of the 2019 Year.
The 2017 World Conference on Computers in Education (WCCE), organised by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) and hosted by the Irish Computer Society, took place in Dublin from 3 to 6 July 2017.
The World Conference takes place every four years bringing together professionals and experienced teachers and learners, aiming to discuss the future of learning environments. The event focuses on the latest uses of technologies, on computing and technology learning resources, educational practices, and cutting edge educational research.
This year, the WCCE International Programme Committee chaired by Prof. Don Passey, Lancaster University (UK), selected a number of high-quality papers, many of which emphasizing the recent new practices of computing and Computer Science education, including in primary schooling. Several other presentations shared experiences on innovative ways of using digital technology in schools. From 3D printing and 3D learning to Facebook use in higher education, the conference gave the opportunity to participants to share their research works and findings, and to discuss about the future of ICTs in Education.
The conference theme, “Tomorrow’s Learning: Involving Everyone”, reflected the long-standing commitment to both learning and technology of the Technical Committee 3 (TC3) of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).
The conference’s programme included two keynote speeches from UNESCO. Dr Indrajit Banerjee, Director, Knowledge Societies Division, presented on “Open Educational Resources (OER) and the implications for future use”.
“We might be gradually approaching an inflection point in the mainstreaming of OER, where OER may one day become the default method of education”, said Dr Banerjee, highlighting the exponential growth of open-licensing.
Inviting WCCE participants to join the 2nd World OER Congress, organized and hosted by UNESCO and the Government of Slovenia from 18 to 20 September 2017 in Ljubljana, Dr Banerjee further stressed that the “OER movement is growing, but it needs more champions”, some of those “may be sitting in this room”. The OER Congress will be marking the 15th anniversary of OER, and the 5th anniversary of the 2012 Paris OER Declaration.
The second keynote informed the audience about UNESCO’s YouthMobile. It’s coordinator, Mr. Davide Storti, recalled how during the previous WCCE conference in Torun, Poland (2013), was born the idea of a UNESCO’s initiative aimed at sensitizing the youth to the use and understanding of technology as a mean for creating software (Apps) solutions.
“Why should a citizen care about the local authorities releasing data as exploitable open data?”, he challenged the audience. “Both teachers and learners should get a sense of confidence [in technology]”, he added, as “Software development is also a form of expression”. Mr. Storti then exposed the experience of several YouthMobile projects targeting young girls and women, particularly in Africa as well as in Central Asia. He further mentioned the support of UNESCO to the 2017 Africa Code Week, which aims at introducing 500 thousand children and youth to coding in 35 African countries. Organized in partnership with SAP, the week will run from 18 to 25 October 2017.
IFIP is a global Organization for researchers and professionals working in the field of information and communication technologies to conduct research, develop standards and promote information sharing. It was established in 1960 under the auspices of UNESCO. IFIP’s Technical Committee 3, in particular, aims at providing an international forum for educators to discuss research and practice in teaching informatics and the educational uses of communication and information technologies.
The UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative aims to provide young people with the high-level skills and confidence to develop, promote, and sell locally relevant mobile apps solving issues of sustainable development and provide employment.
Pavel Kolobkov, Sport Minister of Russian Federation emphasized the importance of a strong commitment to collective action in areas of Physical Education and Sport in his keynote address before the closing ceremony of the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI), which took place in Kazan, Russian Federation from 14 July to 15 July 2017.
The conference gathered nearly 600 participants, among them more than 60 sport ministers and senior officials representing 116 UNESCO Member states.They adopted a comprehensive vision of inclusive access to sport with a view to promoting sport, physical conditioning and physical activity among women and men of all ages in what has been dubbed the Kazan Action Plan.
The plan consists of 3 major policy areas and 5 actions. It marks an important shift from policy intent to implementation with first pledges made by China, France, Japan and Russian Federation to support the international implementation of the plan.
As countries work to achieve the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals, the Kazan Action Plan, reaffirms the need to align sport policy development with the overarching framework of the SDGs.
“Over the past two days we have, I believe, achieved a true breakthrough in international sport policy development," said Nada Al-Nashif, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences in her closing remarks. "Such consensus concerning the comprehensive Kazan Action Plan is a strong message to government decision-makers that we must celebrate.”
The opening ceremony of the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI) took place on 14 July 2017 in Kazan, Russian Federation, in the presence of nearly 600 people, among them Mr Pavel Kolobk, Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation, Mr Gert Oosthuizen, Deputy Minister for Sport and Recreation of South Africa, and other leading personalities.
Mr Vitaly Mutko, Deputy Prime-Minister of the Russian Federation, drew attention to the role of sport in his opening remarks, mentioning match-fixing and doping as threats that must be tackled. “We must do more to support sport as a learning tool for young people – to eliminate doping, to pass on the positive values of health and fair play – because this impacts society as a whole,” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, in her message to the Conference.
MINEPS VI will formalise the actions that need to be taken in order to enable a process for follow-up of commitments in physical education, physical activity and sport policy.
As the opening session continued the high level speakers highlighted the need to pool efforts and remove the barriers that hinder collaboration between governments, policy makers and national Olympic committees, and national sport federations in order to effectively use sport as a tool for social change.
Participants at the Conference will decide on the follow-up to the Declaration of Berlin adopted by MINEPS V and on a new International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport. They will furthermore examine how sport can contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030. The Kazan Action Plan is to be adopted during MINEPS VI in Kazan on 15 July 2017.
UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, Nada Al-Nashif, and FIFA Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, met on 14 July 2017 on the occasion of UNESCO’s 6th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials responsible for physical education and sport (MINEPS VI), in Kazan, Russian Federation.
During their meeting, Fatma Samoura took the opportunity to express FIFA’s support to the priority policy themes that were identified by UNESCO and discussed at MINEPS VI, namely, inclusive access for all to sport, maximizing the contributions of sport to sustainable development and protecting the integrity of sport.
The two women also exchanged views on potential areas of collaboration that fall within the realms of these policy themes, such as supporting specific actions related to fostering gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women in and through sport, quality physical education and education in sporting values.
Nada Al-Nashif also noted the active involvement of FIFA in the preparation of the Kazan Action Plan, which focuses on a comprehensive vision of inclusive access to sport with an aim to promote sport and physical activity among women and men of all ages and physical condition. The Kazan Action plan is to be adopted during MINEPS VI in Kazan on 15 July.