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Carnivals around the world

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 17:54
montaje_web_1.jpg © UNESCO 27 February 2017

It’s carnival time! The exact dates of these traditional celebrations vary from one year to the next but they usually begin just before the Christian observance of Lent between February and early March. They generally start on a Thursday and end the following Tuesday, often referred to as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. In some parts of the world, revellers on the day following carnival practice the ritual Burial of the Sardine

Carnivals offer local adaptations and mixes of practices such as the wearing of masks and costumes and the holding of parades, and street parties. Carnival always suggests licence, revelling and a reversal of ordinary rules. They often feature pre-Christian elements and traditions such as the Roman Saturnalia and other festivities that honoured Dionysus or Bacchus in Antiquity. In the Americas, carnivals present elements of ancient celebrations rooted in pre-Columbian or African traditions.

Anthropologists generally consider carnival to be an heir to the ancient celebrations of the end of winter and the imminent arrival of spring.

From Oruro in Bolivia, through Recife in Brazil, Barraquilla in Colombia, El Callao in Venezuela, to Belgium and Austria, Croatia and Hungary, many festivities figure on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for you to discover and enjoy!












Categories: News

IFAP Bureau meeting discusses new strategic orientations and activities

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 16:35
news_280217_ifap_0.jpg Signature of a Letter of Agreement between UNESCO/IFAP and Electronic Village by Indrajit Banerjee, Secretary of IFAP, and Mahmoud Youssef Khidr, Legal Advisor of Electronic Village© UNESCO 28 February 2017The Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council of the Information for All Programme (IFAP) met for its 27th meeting at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 27 February 2017. The meeting provided an opportunity to review the substantial progress achieved in 2016 in the priority areas of information literacy, information preservation, information for development, information accessibility, information ethics and multilingualism in cyberspace. The meeting also addressed the future challenges for IFAP and its new draft Strategic Plan.

This strategic document will cover a five-year period (2017-2021) and will synergise with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the WSIS+ 10 review outcomes and the medium-term strategy of UNESCO.

In reflecting on the activities and projects implemented by IFAP during the past nine months since the last Council and Bureau meetings, Ms Chafica Haddad, IFAP Chair, underscored: "Our works during this past year has yielded better results and IFAP is now better recognized globally for providing leaderships in some of the key areas of knowledge societies including the Internet and Radicalization and Preventing Violent Extremism. We need to reinvigorate our efforts to achieve IFAP's mandate and priorities and make the interventions more meaningful. Our work is very important, as IFAP is the only intergovernmental programme focused on building inclusive knowledge societies”.

The meeting presented for endorsement the “The Call of Quebec”, the outcome document of international conference on “Internet and the Radicalization of Youth: Preventing, Acting and Living together’’ which was organized in Québec City, from 30th October to 1st November 2016. The Bureau acknowledged the improtnat role of IFAP in the organization of this international conference and endorsed the “Call of Quebec” and recommended its submission to the next session of the general Confenece in Nivember 2017.

In addition, a Letter of Agreement was signed between UNESCO/IFAP and the NGO Electronic Village for partnership with IFAP. The agreement was signed by Mr Indrajit Banerjee, Secretary of the Information for All Programme, and Mr Mahmoud Youssef Khidr, Legal Advisor of Electronic Village. 

The IFAP Bureau is composed of the following eight Member States: Ghana, Grenada, Netherlands, Peru, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Sudan and Switzerland. Ms Chafica Haddad (Grenada) chairs the Bureau. In addition to Bureau members, the meeting attracted participation from a number of Member States and international NGOs.

The Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information they can use to improve their lives.

Categories: News

Partnership with the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers to restore African cinema

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 13:00

UNESCO will start, in the context of its International Coalition of Artists for the General History of Africa, a partnership with the Film Foundation, chaired by Martin Scorsese, and the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) a long-term project to help locate, restore and preserve films made on the African continent. The African Film Heritage Project (AFHP) will identify 50 films with historic, artistic and cultural significance, and will then undertake the process of restoration. UNESCO envisages inscribing the films on the Memory of the World Register.

“UNESCO is proud to work with The Film Foundation (...) and the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) (...),” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General. “This partnership represents a unique opportunity to highlight the wealth of African artistic heritage and creativity, especially for young women and men. With the African Film Heritage Project (AFHP), we look forward to promoting cultural diversity through the expression of African filmmakers, and to facilitate access to African classics - in Africa and beyond - while fostering African creativity. This project resonates at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate for peace and echoes with the objectives of the Coalition of Artists to promote the General History of Africa.”

“There are so many films in need of restoration from all over the world. We created the World Cinema Project to ensure that the most vulnerable titles don’t disappear forever,” said Martin Scorsese. “Over the past 10 years the WCP has helped to restore films from Egypt, India, Cuba, the Philippines, Brazil, Armenia, Turkey, Senegal, and many other countries. Along the way, we’ve come to understand the urgent need to locate and preserve African films title by title in order to ensure that new generations of filmgoers—African filmgoers in particular—can actually see these works and appreciate them. FEPACI is dedicated to the cause of African Cinema, UNESCO has led the way in the protection and preservation of culture, and I’m pleased to be working in partnership with both organizations on this important and very special initiative.”

“Africa needs her own images, her own gaze testifying on her behalf, without the distorting prism of others, of the foreign gaze saddled by prejudice and schemes. We must bear witness to this cradle of humanity which has developed a rich and immense human, historical, cultural and spiritual patrimony,” stated Cheick Oumar Sissoko, FEPACI Secretary General. “From the beginning, African filmmakers have strived to celebrate this patrimony through the wonderful art of the cinema. Preserving this filmic heritage is both a necessity and an emergency. These images must be located, restored and shown to Africans and to the world in movie theaters and state-of-the-art cinémathèques. We pledge to work toward achieving this goal with our partners from The Film Foundation and UNESCO who have long dealt with heritage issues.”

Through the partnership, UNESCO will work with the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, in association with its partner and FIAF member archive Cineteca di Bologna, for the investigation, location and restoration of an initial selection of 50 films as identified by FEPACI’s advisory board made up of archivists, scholars and filmmakers active across the African Continent. An exhaustive survey to locate the best existing film elements for each title will be conducted in African cinémathèques and film archives around the world.

A press conference will be held on 2 March during the 2017 Pan African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) with representatives from The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, FEPACI, and UNESCO in attendance to further announce details of the project and partnership.


For more information, please contact:

Coalition of Artists for the General History of Africa
7 Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP – France
Phone: 33 00 1 45 684 527
Email: t.nguma(at)

The Film Foundation World Cinema Project
Kristen Merola
Cecilia Cenciarelli
7920 Sunset Blvd., 6th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Phone: 323-436-5060
Email: kmerola(at)
Email: cecilia.cenciarelli(at)

Dr Aboubakar Sanogo
Professor of Film Studies, FEPACI Regional Secretary for North America
44 Bertrand Street
Ottawa, ON K1M 1Y6, Canada
Phone: 613-744-3195
Email: aboubakar.sanogo(at)

Categories: News

Director-General deplores the death of journalist Shifa Zikri Ibrahim in Iraq

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 12:22
28 February 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has called for better measures to protect media workers following the death of TV anchor Shifa Zikri Ibrahim in western Mosul on 25 February.

“I condemn the killing of Shifa Zikri Ibrahim,” said the Director-General. “Ms Zikri Ibrahim’s courage and commitment to bringing news and information to the public should not have cost her life. I call on both media organizations and the authorities to spare no effort in ensuring that reporters covering conflict situations benefit from security training and all other measures possible to ensure their safety.”

Shifa Zikri Ibrahim, professionally known as Shifa Gardi, was killed by a roadside bomb while covering the military offensive on Mosul for television broadcaster Rudaw, a Kurdish media network.

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,, +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…”


Categories: News

Cinq pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre réunis pour répondre à la violence de genre en milieu scolaire (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 12:57

Phénomène qui concerne des millions d’enfants partout dans le monde, les violences de genre en milieu scolaires (VGMS) sont l’un des principaux obstacles à l’égalité filles-garçons dans l’éducation. C’est pourquoi l’UNESCO, en partenariat avec l’Ambassade de France, UNICEF et Plan International, ont organisé un atelier de renforcement de capacités et de planification en réponse aux VGMS, pour une quarantaine de responsables des ministères de l’éducation du Cameroun, de Côte d’Ivoire, du Mali, du Sénégal et du Togo. Ces journées visaient à trouver des solutions concrètes aux violences qui nuisent au développement physique et psychologique des enfants en milieu scolaire. L’atelier, qui s’est tenu à Dakar au Sénégal, du 14 au 17 février 2017, a également été l’occasion de lancer les Orientation mondiales sur la lutte contre la violence de genre en milieu scolaire.

« Oui, ils m’ont attrapée sans ménagement et m’ont poussée de tous les côtés. J’avais des bleus sur les bras. En fait, les garçons se moquent des filles et les insultent. Parfois, l’un d’entre eux pousse une fille, puis un autre, ce qui fait rire tout le monde. Mais ce n’est pas drôle pour une fille. » Le témoignage poignant de cette jeune fille relate ce qu’un grand nombre d’enfants subissent chaque jour dans le monde.

246 millions, c’est le nombre d’élèves pouvant faire l’objet de harcèlement ou d’agressions et 99 millions, celui de filles et de garçons subissant des abus sexuels sur le chemin ou dans l’enceinte de l’école chaque année, selon le Rapport mondial de suivi sur l’Education (2016). Ces données témoignent de l’omniprésence des violences de genre à l’école.

L’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre (AOC) est la région du monde où les filles sont les plus désavantagées en termes d’éducation. Les VGMS expliquent en partie la différence entre filles et garçons dans l’achèvement de l’enseignement primaire et secondaire. Le contexte d’inégalité de normes de genres et des relations de pouvoir joue en la défaveur des femmes et des filles, qui sont plus assujetties aux abus physiques, au harcèlement sexuel, aux attouchements non consentis et autres formes d’agressions sexuelles à l’école et dans les alentours. Malgré les inégalités de genre les VGMS affectent également les garçons qui sont plus souvent confrontés aux châtiments corporels que les filles, et sont censés réagir « en hommes ».

Les conséquences des VGMS sont nombreuses. Par exemples elles augmentent la vulnérabilité des jeunes aux infections sexuellement transmissibles dont le virus de l’immunodéficience humaine, et aux grossesses précoces et non désirées. Tous ces éléments entravent le plein exercice du droit à une éducation sûre, inclusive et de qualité pour les enfants et les jeunes.

L’UNESCO soutient les réponses nationales aux VGMS par des interventions à plusieurs niveaux : programmes scolaires, formation des enseignants, renforcement de la règlementation du système éducatif, modification des politiques sectorielles, implication de la communauté, et renforcement des liens avec les services de protection des enfants et de justice.

La rencontre de Dakar s’est déroulée en prélude au projet de réponse aux VGMS au Cameroun, au Sénégal et au Togo. Il s’agissait d’un atelier technique de partage et de renforcement des capacités avec les acteurs clés du secteur de l’éducation desdits pays, ainsi que de la Côte d’Ivoire et du Mali. L’occasion était de mieux comprendre ces problématiques et leurs conséquences, d’analyser les données disponibles sur ces questions, pour permettre aux institutions éducatives d’y faire face, de protéger les enfants et de faire de l’école un espace plus sûr.

A la suite de l’atelier, les ministères de l’éducation de plusieurs pays en AOC sont mieux préparés pour faire face aux VGMS. En créant des environnements scolaires plus sains et plus sûrs, ils créeront de meilleures conditions pour atteindre l’objectif de développement durable sur l’éducation : « Assurer l’accès de tous à une éducation de qualité, sur un pied d’égalité, et promouvoir les possibilités d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie ».

Categories: News

Celebration of the International Mother Language Day in Senegal (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 11:55

A l’instar de la communauté internationale, le Secrétariat d’État à l’Alphabétisation et à la Promotion des Langues Nationales du Sénégal a célébré, le mardi 21 février 2016, la Journée internationale de la langue maternelle sous la présidence effective de Monsieur Youssou Touré, Ministre Secrétaire d’État, de Monsieur Chang, Directeur du bureau Régional de l’UNESCO à Dakar, des directions techniques du Secrétariat d’État à l’Alphabétisation et à la Promotion des Langues Nationales, des partenaires techniques et financiers (UNICEF, British Council), des Organisation Non Gouvernementales ainsi que des militants pour l’intégration des langues nationales dans les systèmes éducatifs et de la presse. Cette journée avait pour thème cette année : "Vers des avenirs durables grâce à l’éducation multilingue".

Dans son allocution, Monsieur le Ministre a rappelé que le Sénégal célèbre cette journée depuis 2007 et qu’elle constitue un moment de fort plaidoyer pour une meilleure prise en compte des langues nationales, notamment dans le système d’éducation formelle. Certes des avancées notables sont enregistrées avec l’introduction de la traduction simultanée pour quatre langues nationales à l’assemblée nationale et la validation d’un modèle consensuel d’éducation bilingue dans le système d’éducation formelle et non formelle. Monsieur le Ministre a lancé un appel pour passer à l’action et, c’est dans cette dynamique, que le gouvernement du Sénégal a prévu de dépasser l’étape de l’expérimentation et de démarrer la mise à l’échelle, à partir de la rentrée scolaire 2017 / 2018, dans six régions.

Monsieur Chang, Directeur a.i du bureau Régional de l’UNESCO à Dakar, a délivré le message de la Directrice Générale de l’UNESCO qui a rappelé que la célébration de cette année donne l’opportunité de se mobiliser pour les Objectifs du Développement Durable, et notamment l’objectif 4. Son message se concluait sur une note d’espoir : « je lance un appel pour que le potentiel de l’éducation multilingue soit reconnu partout, dans les systèmes éducatifs et administratifs, dans les expressions culturelles et dans les médias, le cyberespace et les échanges commerciaux. Plus nous saurons valoriser les langues, plus nous aurons d’outils pour construire un avenir de dignité pour tous. »

Suite à la cérémonie d’ouverture, un panel a été organisé pour partager la note conceptuelle de la conférence internationale sur langue et développement Durable que le British Council organise, avec ses partenaires parmi lesquels le CODESRIA, l’UNESCO, SIL, en novembre 2017, au Sénégal avec plus de 300 participants. Le panel a aussi permis la présentation du paquet de ressources pour la formation des formateurs en éducation bilingue pour l’éducation formelle et non formelle, destinée aux pays francophones de la CEDEAO. Ce paquet de ressources, lancé en 2013 en partenariat avec le bureau régional de l’UNESCO à Abuja et l’UIL, trouve son ancrage dans l’ODD4 cible 1, pour contribuer à l’amélioration de la qualité de la formation des enseignants. Ce paquet de ressources contient un guide politique, quatre études diagnostiques (Burkina Faso, Niger, Gambie et Sénégal), un cadre d’orientation pour la formation des formateurs en éducation bilingue (CoFEB) et enfin un Programme de formation pour les formateurs de l’éducation bilingue (ProFEB), composé de trois modules, et qui sera mis à l’essai dans les pays francophones de la CEDEAO courant 2017.

Categories: News

UNESCO partners with Syrian Ministry of Education to develop national education strategy in Syria

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 02/27/2017 - 10:12

Within the context of UNESCO’s Education Response Strategy for the Syria Crisis, “Bridging Learning Gaps for Youth”, that aims at mitigating the detrimental impact of the Syria crisis on the education sector in the country, and upon request from Syrian national authorities, the Beirut-based regional bureau of UNESCO organized a national consultation mission in Damascus, on 19-21 February 2017, to discuss UNESCO-Syria partnership in education.

Three working groups were formed to identify areas of collaboration between UNESCO and education actors in Syria, and to brainstorm on a strategic action plan to expand access to education, develop quality education, and strengthen existing systems.

After the joint meeting it was agreed that UNESCO, in cooperation with the Syrian Education Ministry, will begin drafting the national plan for education, including revising curricula, training educational staff, and preparing a psychological and social support guide. In addition, UNESCO is providing technical, logistical, and financial support to help in rehabilitating schools in Aleppo and opening two prefabricated schools to accommodate the children of the city.

In a statement to journalists, Director of the Beirut-based Regional Bureau of the UNESCO for Education in the Arab States Hamad Bin Saif al-Hammami pointed out that in addition to developing a strategic plan for Syria to meet the needs of the education sector, the UNESCO also seeks to convey what is happening to Syria abroad via international and regional conferences and fora. 

Categories: News

Promoting investigative journalism in Afghanistan

Europaid - Sun, 02/26/2017 - 12:39
Categories: News

UNESCO calls on international community to help revive Iraq’s cultural heritage in the wake of massive destruction

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 19:46
ashur_2017_688px.jpg Ashur, Iraq, February 2017© UNESCO 24 February 2017

A two-day International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq ended at UNESCO’s Headquarters on Friday, laying the ground for an emergency, medium and long term action plan to preserve the country’s rich, diverse millennial archaeological sites, its museums, religious heritage, and historic cities.

The Iraqi government officials and some 80 heritage experts from all over the world at the meeting agreed to appoint a joint UNESCO-Iraqi Steering Committee to coordinate and advocate the many national and international initiatives to rehabilitate the cultural heritage of Iraq.

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, said that damage was even greater than had been feared and she described today’s meeting as the start of a long heritage rehabilitation process which is likely to require decades of work. “This is a turning point for the Iraqi people and for the world’s understanding of the role of heritage for societies in conflict situations.” Less than three months after sending emergency missions to Nineveh and Nimrud, and, more recently, a damage assessment mission to the World Heritage site of Ashur, Ms Bokova said that “UNESCO is already mobilizing on the ground to support Iraq in protecting heritage and objects most at risk, and to fence off and guard sites.”

According to Qais Rasheed, Iraq’s Vice-Minister of Culture for Antiquities and Tourism Affairs, violent extremists have wreaked severe damage to archaeological sites of world importance, destroying up to 70% of Nineveh and 80% of Nimrud. They systematically dug tunnels in Mosul and other heritage sites in search for antiquities to sell on the Internet and black market. Mohammad Iqbal Omar, Iraq’s Minister of Education, stressed that “we must stop the trade in Iraqi antiquities, adhere to UN Security Council Resolution 2199 [banning all cultural trade from Iraq and Syria], and dry up Daesh’s money flow.”

“As we reclaim our country,” said Fryad Rawandouzi, Minister of Culture, “We need help from UNESCO, the UN and others to rehabilitate museums, cities and sites, and return stolen objects. We need a plan with a timeline, as well as technical and financial support.”

The meeting also included an information session for representatives of UNESCO’s 195 Member States, crucial to raise funds for strategic safeguarding priorities identified during the meeting: archaeological sites; museums and museum collections; World Heritage sites and those on the “Tentative List” [slated to apply for World Heritage status in the future]; historical manuscripts; historical buildings and urban heritage; as well as religious heritage.

Many of the actions identified, were qualified as urgent, notably the need to conduct thorough damage assessment and protection measures such as the fencing off of exposed sites.

“Daesh tried, but will never erase our culture, identity, diversity, history and the pillars of civilization. I call on the world to help us,” declared Mohammad Iqbal Omar, the Education of Iraq.

The meeting was organized by UNESCO and the Iraqi Ministry for Culture, with financial support by the Government of Japan in the framework of the project Preventive Conservation of Iraq’s Museum Collections and Cultural Heritage at Imminent Risk, carried out by the UNESCO Iraq Office in Baghdad.


Images for TV (B-Roll):  Cultural Heritage in Iraq 

Photo gallery

Media Contact: George Papagiannis, +33 1 45 68 17 06;

Categories: News

Launch of the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 16:06

The launch meeting of the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance brought together worldwide multi-stakeholder initiatives around a common action framework to implement the Paris Agreement to address climate change.

The launch of the Alliance took place at UNESCO Headquarters under the auspices of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the Ocean and Climate Platform, and the French Government. The goal is to build further on the strong community of intergovernmental, state, scientific and civil society actors that arose around the ocean and climate mobilization at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Paris.

The opening session of the day-long launch meeting saw keynote interventions by the three key partners behind the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance: Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s IOC; Gilles Boeuf, Scientific Advisor to the French Minister of the Environment, Energy and the Sea; and two representatives of the Ocean and Climate Platform, Eric Banel, President of the Steering Committee and Françoise Gaill, Coordinator of the Scientific Committee. Patricia Ricard, also of the Ocean and Climate Platform, gave introductory remarks and moderated the keynote session.

The Ocean and Climate Platform, cradle and co-founder of the new Initiatives Alliance, was itself created at UNESCO Headquarters during the 2014 edition of World Oceans Day. Since then, ocean and climate mobilization around and beyond the UNFCCC policy frameworks have resulted in important achievements, notably the inclusion of oceans in the Paris Agreement (2015) and the launch of a Special Report on the ocean and the cryosphere by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Special Report will complement the IPCC regular reporting cycle with an ocean and climate focus.

Welcoming Alliance members, meeting participants and the media to UNESCO, IOC Executive Secretary Vladimir Ryabinin reiterated that “having achieved our first objective, which was to get the political support and agreement that ocean can and should be addressed within the UNCCC framework… it is now time to move into much more operational and solution-oriented mode, moving forward of the cutting edge of science and ensuring that advantages are available to all.”

The new Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA) hopes to accelerate the implementation of mitigation and adaptation to climate change measures by uniting parallel ongoing initiatives under a joint action framework. OCIA initiatives cover thirteen thematic areas: ocean acidification, marine protected areas, marine ecosystems resilience – including coral reefs and blue carbon, sustainable fisheries, low carbon maritime activities, climate-led migration, and coastal populations’ resilience to climate change, among others.

IOC took the opportunity to introduce the main ocean and climate initiatives in which it has been actively engaged, including the joint Blue Carbon Initiative; the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), and the Strategic Action Roadmap on Oceans and Climate: 2016 to 2021.

The launch meeting aimed to gather and initiative collaborations between all ocean and climate initiatives, associating different organizations and state actors, in particular the 22 states signatory parties to the “Because the Ocean” Declaration (2015). Representatives of the different initiatives joining the Alliance have committed to working together for the development and promotion of concrete actions in the context of the major ocean and climate events planned for 2017, such as the UN Ocean Conference (New York, 5-9 June), the Our Ocean Conference (Malta, 4-6 October), and the 23rd UNFCCC Conference of Parties (Bonn, 6-17 November).

For more information, please contact:

Rejane Hervé (

Categories: News

Ministers, experts urge inclusive access and quality education through open educational resources

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 15:58
news_240217_oer.jpg L to R: Indrajit Banerjee, the Ministers Maja Makovec Brencic of Slovenia and Evarist Bartolo of Malta© UNESCO 24 February 2017On 23 February, ministers, policy makers and experts from 26 countries took part in the opening of the European Regional Consultation on Open Educational Resources (OER), held in Malta from 23 to 24 February.

In her keynote address, H.E. Dr Maja Makovec Brencic, Minister for Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia, highlighted that “OER have a central role to play in the Education 2030 Agenda and particularly in the framework of SDG4 (Inclusive and Quality Education). Slovenia recognizes that governments have a key fundamental responsibility for successfully implementing the 2030 Agenda.” She noted that “the Education 2030 Agenda reaffirms a political commitment to establish legal and policy frameworks. It entrusts UNESCO to lead and coordinate the 2030 Education Agenda by undertaking advocacy to sustain political commitment, facilitating policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and standard setting.”

For his part, H.E. Mr Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment of Malta, urged new pedagogies that meet the individual needs of each student, leveraging ICT and Open Educational Resources for achieving quality education outcomes.

The meeting is the second of six regional consultations organized in the lead up to the 2nd World OER Congress, to be hosted in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 18 to 20 September. The World OER Congress will mark 15 years since the term “Open Educational Resources” was first coined at UNESCO and five years since the inaugural World OER Congress took place at UNESCO Headquarters, resulting in the 2012 Paris OER Declaration.

“OER” refer to any educational materials made available by authors and institutions under an open-license to freely use and adapt for teaching, learning and research purposes. In all regions of the world, the growth of OER initiatives and policies supports the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 by providing quality, affordable educational materials adaptable to the broadest range of teaching and learning needs.

To date, OER Surveys have been received from 55 Member States, including 22 African countries, according to Asha Kanwar, president and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, the organizer of the regional consultations. Preliminary findings suggest that 26 report that OER-related policies exist at national level, while slightly more than half reported that national OER strategies were under development.

Representing UNESCO, Indrajit Banerjee, Director of the Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, said that the next World OER Congress must be a step forward toward improving capacity, language and cultural relevance, and assuring inclusive and equitable access to quality OER. He stressed the need to develop supportive policy environments, and catalytic “ecosystems” that place OER at their centre. He underscored that the “larger challenge is to open up education itself.”

The 2nd World OER Congress in Ljubljana will address three central objectives in support of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

  • Examine solutions to meeting the challenges of mainstreaming OER practices in education systems worldwide;
  • Showcase the world´s best practices in OER policies, initiatives and experts;
  • Provide recommendations for the mainstreaming of OER with links to best practices.

The Congress will build on the outcomes of six OER regional consultations hosted in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Valletta (Malta), Doha (Qatar), Port Louis (Mauritius), Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Auckland (New Zealand), organized by the Commonwealth of Learning.

Categories: News