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Orbicom set to publish book on media, peace and conflict resolution

Unesco Most Programme - 3 hours 33 min ago
news_220917_orbicom.jpg Prof. Andi Faisal Bakti (Middle); L-R: Fackson Banda (UNESCO); Bertrand Cabedoche (Orbicom President); Andi Faisal Bakti; Wahono Sumaryono (Rector of Pancasila University); Mohamad Nair (Indonesia’s Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education)© UNESCO 22 September 2017

The freedom, independence and safety of journalists is vital for peace and dialogue.

This is the key argument made in a forthcoming compendium set to be published by Orbicom – the international network of UNESCO Chairs in Communication.

It will bring together over a dozen of papers presented at the sixth edition of the Orbicom symposium held in May in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The symposium, held alongside UNESCO’s global World Press Freedom Day conference in May, was opened by Dr Mahathir Mohammad, Malaysia’s former prime minister and subsequently hosted for dinner by Mr Rudiantara, Indonesia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology.

The central theme of the forthcoming book concerns the media conditions needed for creating space for peace and resolving conflicts.

This argument is developed in a paper presented at the Jakarta symposium, by Guy Berger, Director of the Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO.

Berger’s paper highlights the interface of the norm of free expression with the issues of culture and peace, and highlights UNESCO’s promotion of conflict-sensitive journalism amongst reporters, along with media and information literacy competencies amongst social media users.

A UNESCO-sponsored speaker at the symposium, Wallace Chuma of Cape Town University, pointed to the different factors impacting on journalism and peace in Africa, including organisational and professional (media) cultures, media funding and financing, ownership and structural factors, as well as political factors.

The forthcoming book is expected to feature other papers presented by African journalism professors who were supported by UNESCO to participate in the Jakarta symposium.

These include an analysis of the “International Court of Justice as an agent of peace journalism” in Kenya by Levi Obonyo of Daystar University.

Other papers by UNESCO-sponsored participants are:

  • "Language dynamics and the construction of peace around the Malagasy crises: Lived and projected through the media" by Madagascar’s Lucie Rabaovololona.
  •   "Media narrative construction of human rights abuse in Nigeria" by Abiodun Salawu of South Africa’s North-West University.

The publication is being spearheaded by Prof. Andi Faisal Bakti, the newly established UNESCO Chair for Communication and Sustainable Development at Indonesia’s Pancasila University.

Prof. Bakti was the host of the symposium, which was attended by almost 70 participants.

The next Orbicom symposium is scheduled for Lima in 2018. Such symposia are held annually to bring together the over 30 UNESCO Chairholders in communication and 300 associate members of the Orbicom network.


Contact: Fackson Banda (

Categories: News

Inauguration ceremony for the 25th Anniversary of MOW Programme opened by the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO

Unesco Most Programme - 5 hours 11 min ago
news_220917_mow.jpg © UNESCO 22 September 2017

In 2017, UNESCO celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its Memory of the World (MOW) Programme.  A special event launching the MOW exhibition was held yesterday at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. This exhibition runs from 15 September to 30 October 2017. The inauguration of the exhibition and the celebration of the 25th Anniversary took place in the presence of Ambassadors and Permanent Delegates to UNESCO, representatives of partner institutions and experts, who gathered to mark the event and witness the achievements of the Programme.

In his inauguration speech, Mr Getachew Engida, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General, highlighted that “Today is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the tremendous benefits of cultural diversity, through humanity’s rich documentary heritage, and to reaffirm our commitment to building a more peaceful world, founded on the values of mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue. Even as we celebrate the inauguration of the Memory of the World exhibition today, we must remember that documentary heritage is increasingly under threat. Across the world, violent extremists have targeted cultural minorities and destroyed our shared heritage, in an attempt to weaken the essential links between people and their own history.”

The participants in the inauguration ceremony were also addressed by the Chairperson of the Executive Board, Ambassador Michael Worbs, who underlined on that occasion: "I am very impressed by this exhibition and pleased to be with you this evening. The Memory of the World Programme is important for UNESCO and for its Member States. Its significance was demonstrated during the discussion, which took place this morning during the intersessional meeting. I look forward to the debate that will take place during the 202nd session of the Board in October and to a successful outcome of the Programme’s review".

Documentary heritage in archives, libraries and museums constitute a major part of the memory of the peoples of the world and reflect the diversity of language and cultures. The MOW Programme’s vision is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected and should be permanently accessible without hindrance.

The 2017 Memory of the World exhibition is a pictorial exposition of invaluable items listed on the MOW International Register. This documentary heritage is recorded on films, audiotapes, sculpted into stone or handwritten in paper and covers events and discoveries that have transformed our world.

The catalogue of the exhibition and the inauguration ceremony were prepared with the generous support of the UAE National Archives.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme in 1992 to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination. The Programme is thus intended to protect documentary heritage, and to help networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation of, and the access to, documentary and archival collections of valuable records.

Categories: News

UNESCO’s Director General calls on all parties to cease violence and to protect the World Heritage Site of Sabratha in Libya

Unesco Most Programme - 6 hours 16 min ago
sabratha_drupal.jpg Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Libya)© Editions Gelbart 22 September 2017

UNESCO was informed, by several sources on 21 September that military action is intensifying within and around the Archaeological Site of Sabratha in Libya, inscribed on the World Heritage List since 1982.

In view of this situation, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, calls on all parties to cease violence and ensure the protection of Sabratha’s invaluable cultural heritage, including its archaeological museum. The Director-General underscored the need to protect cultural heritage in times of conflict, as recently urged by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2347, notably.

"I call on all parties to ensure the safeguarding of Sabratha’s unique cultural heritage. I appeal to all to refrain from any military use or targeting of cultural heritage sites and their immediate surroundings, in respect of the provisions of the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Libyan heritage is the expression of a shared memory of the country, and its protection represents a corner stone for long lasting national reconciliation, resilience and peace. It must be kept out of conflicts," said Ms. Bokova.

The World Heritage Archaeological Site of Sabratha, once a Phoenician trading-post that served as an outlet for the products of the African hinterland, was part of the short-lived Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before being Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. 

"UNESCO is committed to work with all Libyan cultural professionals to reinforce emergency measures for cultural heritage protection, and enable the rapid assessment, documentation and monitoring of heritage. We will spare no efforts in supporting Libyans to protect their heritage, as a source of dignity and confidence for the future of all Libyans.” continued Irina Bokova.

Categories: News

Director-General meets with the President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly

Unesco Most Programme - 8 hours 43 min ago
dg-president-unga-2017.jpg © UNESCO

On 22 September 2017, the Director-General met the President of the General Assembly, Mr Miroslav Lajcak.

The President outlined his three main priorities for the General Assembly session under the theme “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet”: prevention and mediation for sustaining peace; migration; and UN Reform.    

The Director-General pledged UNESCO's continuing and full support to the work of the General Assembly, particularly in the field of prevention in which the Organization has a specific mandate "building peace in the minds of men and women notably through education and culture" but also through its work in the areas of youth. 

Irina Bokova informed the President about UNESCO’s work on preventing violent extremism and fighting youth radicalization as well as in promoting lifelong learning and skills. In this context, the President and the Director-General discussed about UNESCO’s contribution to the high-level thematic debates, which will be organized in the framework of the General Assembly in 2018.

Stressing that diplomacy is about prevention, and in particular preventing conflicts, the President thanked the Director-General for her support and stressed that UNESCO’s contribution will be essential to implementation of his priorities.

The Director-General and the President then exchanged about UN Reform and how to strengthen the role of the United Nations in order to successfully implement the international agenda for development.

In ending, the Director-General invited Mr Lajcak to attend the Leaders Forum of the 38th session of the General Conference, which will be held on 31 October and 1 November at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Categories: News

Young Mauritian singer Jane Constance named UNESCO Artist for Peace

Unesco Most Programme - 9 hours 40 min ago
22 September 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will name the young talented Mauritian singer Jane Constance as a UNESCO Artist for Peace in a ceremony that will be held at the Organization’s Headquarters on 26 September at 6.30 pm.

Jane Constance will be named in recognition of her commitment to promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, her work for their empowerment and inclusion and for her dedication to the ideals of the Organization.

As a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Ms Constance will lend her support to the Organization’s work in favour of the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Born in Mauritius in 2000, Jane Constance was blind at birth. She took up singing at the age of five and started learning to play the piano at seven. Ms Constance went on to study piano and singing at the Royal School of Music in London (UK).

In 2015, Jane Constance won the French television competition The Voice Kids and released her first album, A travers tes yeux, the following year.

UNESCO Artists for Peace are internationally renowned personalities who use their influence, charisma and prestige to help promote UNESCO’s message and programmes. UNESCO works with them to heighten public awareness of key development issues and of the Organization's action in these fields.


Journalists wishing to cover the event are requested to apply for accreditation with Djibril Kébé, UNESCO Media Section,  +33 (0)1 45 68 17 41,'; // -->




Categories: News

Director-General condemns killing of journalist Shantanu Bhowmick in India

Unesco Most Programme - 10 hours 6 min ago
22 September 2017

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, today urged an investigation into the killing of broadcast journalist Shantanu Bhowmick, who died during violent political clashes outside Agartala, capital of the northeastern state of Tripura, on 20 September.

“I condemn the killing of Shantanu Bhowmick,” said the Director-General. “I trust the authorities will conduct an investigation into this killing and bring its perpetrators to justice. It is essential that journalists be able to keep us informed of events without fearing for their lives.”

Shantanu Bhowmick, a reporter for cable television channel Dinraat, was attacked while covering clashes between supporters of rival political factions. Police found the journalist after the violence subsided and took him to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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

Our responsibility to protect cultural heritage from terrorism and mass atrocities

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 23:33
dg-heritage-italy-unga-infocus.jpg © UNESCO

There is an urgent need to enhance the protection of cultural heritage targeted by terrorists and perpetrators of mass atrocities -- this was the message of the high-level meeting on 21 September on the margins of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

At the initiative of the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations and the European Union, UNESCO, UNODC, and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect shared their expertise during a high-level panel discussion with world leaders and senior government officials.

The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage not only affects peoples’ historical identity but also hampers post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding.

Beyond possibly constituting a war crime itself, intentional destruction of cultural heritage is part of a wider effort by terrorists and violent extremists to destroy a group and its history. Mass atrocity crimes are often committed against an identified population, which can be singled out by specific characteristics, ethnic, religious, linguistic or other.

The UN Security Council recognized the link between the illicit trafficking of cultural objects and the financing of terrorism with its adoption under Chapter VII of the UN Charter of resolution 2199 in 2015, as well as the devastating impact of cultural heritage destruction in conflict situations with the unanimous adoption of resolution 2347 in 2017.

UNESCO and UNODC have joined forces to support Member States in the implementation of these resolutions, launching an international platform against illicit trafficking, strengthening cooperation among customs, police forces and cultural experts that will be featured in an upcoming  Secretary-General report this autumn.

Rallying partners to enhance the protection of cultural heritage, Angelino Alfano, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, declared: "Acts of intentional destruction of cultural heritage re huge obstacles to peace therefore Italy has placed culture at the center of the agenda for peace and security."

He further highlighted that ”culture is more powerful than any threat, or  any bomb" and this is why Italy has spearheaded the inclusion of culture in the recent G 7 Declaration as “political and security imperative”.

EU High Representative Mogherini said, "Culture is about the economy, sustainable development, peace and reconciliation -- this has been for too long a side issue and it is now at the heart of European foreign policy with the adoption of the first European Union Strategy on International cultural relations".  

She added that the European Union will include the protection of cultural property in all EU military and civil missions, including through the appointment of a cultural property protection expert in each one.

Advocating for increased political commitment, Irina Bokova called for “better integration of heritage protection in all strategies of response and prevention of violent extremism – notably, in education”. 

She added that “safeguarding the stones of Palmyra is important, but sharing the message of Palmyra is vital. This is not about temples and buildings – this is about preventing threats driven by distorted interpretations of history or religion. This is about protecting human rights and the humanity we all share.”

The Executive Director of UNODC Mr Yuriy Fedotov stressed that “while the safeguarding human lives remains the priority, actions against illicit trafficking of cultural property should constitute a key part of the response to threats to peace and security”.

Referring to the recent ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the case of the destruction of shrines and mausoleums in Timbuktu (Mali), the prosecutor Ms Fatou Bensouda emphasized that it “sent a clear signal that intentional targeting of cultural property is a serious crime and will not go unpunished”.  

Categories: News

UNESCO Director-General welcomes UN Security Council Resolution on “Da’esh Accountability”

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 17:12
un_sec_council_800px.jpg © UNESCO

New York, 21 September 2017 - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova welcomed the unanimous adoption today of a new UN Security Council Resolution 2379/2017 on Da’esh Accountability and the preservation of evidence of crimes and mass atrocities in Iraq. The Resolution was at the initiative of the United Kingdom. The main purpose of this resolution is to seek accountability for the crimes committed in Iraq, which includes the establishment of a UN "investigative team" for this purpose.

The Resolution condemns "the commission of acts by ISIL(Da’esh) involving murder (...), attacks on critical infrastructure, as well as its destruction of cultural heritage, including archaeological sites, and trafficking of cultural property", highlighting the link between the destruction of heritage and attacks on human lives.

“The deliberate destruction of heritage is a war crime. It has become a tactic of war to tear the fabric of societies over the long term in a strategy of cultural cleansing. Defending cultural heritage is more than a cultural issue, it is a security imperative, inseparable from that of defending human lives” declared Director-General Bokova, underscoring the need to end impunity for such crimes.

“I see this Resolution as further recognition of the importance of heritage protection to consolidate the prospects for peace and security – after the recent adoption of historic Resolution 2199 in 2015, which prohibits trade in cultural property from Iraq and Syria and Resolution 2347 this year, on the protection of cultural heritage in situations of armed conflict,” said Ms. Bokova.

UNESCO stands ready to cooperate with the Investigative Team, to be established by the Secretary General, to support domestic efforts to hold ISIL (Da’esh) accountable by collecting, preserving and storing evidence in Iraq of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the terrorist group ISIL.

UNESCO is guardian of a wide array of legal instruments that are of vital importance in the protection of cultural heritage. These include the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954, The Hague) and its two protocols; as the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972).

Categories: News

Global Ocean Oxygen Network: Scientists meet to discuss progress and future activities

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:20
article_go2nemeeting2017.jpg © UNESCO

Oxygen is critical to the health of the ocean, of the planet. It affects the cycles of carbon, nitrogen and other key elements, and is a fundamental requirement for marine life from the seashore to the greatest depths of the ocean. Nevertheless, deoxygenation is worsening in the coastal and open ocean because of human activities.

From 11 to 13 September 2017, the Global Ocean Oxygen Network (GO2NE), a working group established by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in 2016, met for the second time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Monterey, USA. The goal of the workshop was to further advance the Network’s efforts in providing a global and multidisciplinary view of deoxygenation, with a focus on understanding the full scale of the problem and offering scientific advice to policy makers to counter this concerning trend.

“A lot happened since GO2NE’s last meeting in 2016,” explained Kirsten Isensee, IOC Project Specialist. “The Network contributed to side events at the UNFCCC COP22 as well as organized a side event at the United Nations Ocean Conference, which helped to increase awareness among different stakeholders. Further capacity building activities, such as expert workshops and a summer school, are currently in the pipeline and will further help to build capacity among young scientists and senior researchers.”

The meeting touched on various questions related to the Network’s scientific work as well as outreach and capacity building, in particular the submitted voluntary commitment to the UN Ocean Conference OceanAction 15767, the upcoming international Ocean Deoxygenation Conference in September 2018 in Kiel, Germany, several scientific publications, and specific capacity development activities in 2019.

On the last day of the meeting, GO2NE was joined by a group of experts that focuses particularly on the Variability in the Oxycline and its ImpaCts on the Ecosystem (VOICE) to explore possibilities for joint actions in the upcoming years. The VOICE workshop continued its discussions on 14-15 September 2017.

A wide range of actions are planned for the upcoming years to raise awareness on current and future impacts of declining oxygen concentrations on ocean and human health. For more information, please check regularly GO2NE and

For more information, please contact:

Kirsten Isensee (k.isensee(at)


IOC working group – Global Ocean Oxygen Network, 11-13 September 2017, Monterey, USA: upper row – Mike Roman, Marilaure Gregoire(co-chair), Veronique Garçon, Kirsten Isensee, Moriaki Yasuhara, Wjih Naqvi; middle row – Grant Pitcher, Damodar Shenoy, Denis Gilbert, Maciej Telszewski, Dimitri Gutierrez, Denise Breitburg (co-chair), Ivonne Montes, Andreas Oschlies, Nancy Rabalais; lower row – Lisa Levin, Karin Limburg, Francisco Chavez, Gil Jacinto, Kenneth Rose.

Categories: News

A Joint Call to Step Up Education Financing

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:49

On 20 September, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova called for increased financing to reach the global goal of inclusive and equitable quality education in a series of events organized in the context of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Leading a panel on country-led reform during the high-level side event on “Financing the Future: Education 2030”, she stated that “ownership is at the heart of implementing the 2030 agenda.” 

The starting point is that “education is a right and the single most important factor in beating poverty.” But one in four countries are not meeting the call for governments to allocate at least 4 to 6 per cent of GDP and/or 15 to 20 per cent of public expenditure to education. 

“The call for external financing is just as crucial,” she said. “Now we must act through political will, sound policies and partnerships.”

During the panel, the Secretary-General of the Maghreb Economic Forum, Amel Karboul, stressed the need to transform education systems to deliver because putting more money into broken systems devalues education. 

The Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Michaëlle Jean emphasized the urgency of investment in qualitative improvements, in skills training and learning in mother tongue. 

The former Minister of Education of the Republic of Korea, Ju-ho Lee, recalled the impact of his country’s historic investment in education, while the Chief Executive Officer of the African Women’s Development Fund Theo Sowa stressed the role of civil society in holding governments to account, while also partnering with them to reach the most marginalized populations.

The event brought together the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, French President Emmanuel Macron, the President of Senegal Macky Sall and the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg. It was co-hosted by Norway, France, Malawi and Senegal, in partnership with the Education Commission, UNESCO, UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education, the Malala Fund and the One Campaign. Emphasis was placed by all leaders on increased investment; conflict and crisis situations; girls and young women and lifelong learning to cope with rapid transformations. 

During the event, the Presidents of France and Senegal announced the co-hosting of the Global Partnership for Education’s Replenishment Conference in Dakar on 8 February 2018, which will aim to mobilize USD 3.1 billion dollars for 2018-2020.

On the same day, the Director-General also took part in a side event on “Sustainably Financing Education”, hosted by the Global Campaign for Education. She asserted that “civil society is vital to continue pushing for education to be at the top of policy agendas and to hold governments to account.” 

She reiterated that effective mobilization of both domestic and external resources calls for innovative means and new financing sources. 

“But, first and foremost, we need substantial and consistent increase in domestic financing of education to meet the expanded scope and scale of the new education agenda.”  

At the event, Global Campaign President Camilla Crosso called for a strengthening of public education, while Education International President Susan Hopgood echoed this appeal, calling for a national and global approach to tax justice.

The same day, the Director-General joined the annual event organized by the Global Business Coalition for Education focusing on the private’s sector role in bridging the skills gap and preparing youth for a more collaborative economy. During the event, the Coalition’s Executive Chair, Sarah Brown, recognized the Director-General’s contribution to expanding educational opportunity for young people and children.  

Asked why she had made education a priority of her mandate, Ms Bokova asserted in that “in the past eight years, we have succeeded in creating a global movement to mobilize for education. This has happened through partnership,” she said. “This collective engagement is the only way to hold governments and all society to account – and make the future safer, more inclusive and prosperous for ultimate renewable resource – today’s children and youth."

The event saw the launch of the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative launched to bring young people, business and government officials together to look for the most effective ways to improve youth and innovation skills, with special emphasis on marginalized populations. It will make recommendations on how to develop and scale training, content and technology for the jobs of tomorrow. The Director-General is a member of this Commission, co-led by the Coalition and Intel.

Emphasis was also placed on children and youth in crisis situations, with several donors, including the European Union and Denmark, announcing commitments to Education Cannot Wait, the fund established in 2016 to mobilize resources, advocate and bridge the humanitarian to development divide.

Categories: News

617 million children and adolescents not getting the minimum in reading and math

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:34
21 September 2017

New data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. This signals “a learning crisis” according to the UIS, which could threaten progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda.

The data breakdown shows more than 387 million children of primary school age (56%) and 230 million adolescents of lower secondary school age (61%), will not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading and maths.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the single largest number: 202 million children and adolescents who are not learning these fundamental subjects. Across the region, nearly nine out of ten children between the ages of about 6 and 14 will not meet minimum proficiency levels in reading and math. Central and Southern Asia has the second highest rate, with 81%, or 241 million, not learning.

Most kids not learning are in school

Most surprising – and alarming – is that two-thirds of the kids who are not learning are in school. Of the 387 million primary age children unable to read proficiently, 262 million are in a classroom. There are also about 137 million adolescents of lower secondary age who are in classrooms, but unable to meet minimum proficiency levels in reading.

The data suggests the new numbers are rooted in three common problems. First, lack of access, with children who are out of school having little or no chance to reach a minimum level of proficiency. Second, a failure to retain every child in school and keep them on track, and third, the issue of the quality of education being delivered in the classroom.

A wake-up call

“The figures are staggering both in terms of the waste of human potential and for the prospects of achieving sustainable development,” says Silvia Montoya Director of UIS, “yet many of these children are not hidden or isolated from their governments and communities – they are sitting in classrooms with their own aspirations and potential.  We can reach these kids, but not by simply hoping that they stay in school and grasp the basics. These new data are a wake-up call for far greater investment in the quality of education.”

The global goals for education are clear: Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) signals a commitment from governments to ensure an “inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.” The new data are the very first to be gathered on progress towards SDG target 4.1, which requires primary and secondary education that lead to “relevant and effective learning outcomes.”


For more information

See the UIS paper, More Than One-Half of Children and Adolescents Are Not Learning Worldwide


Amy Otchet, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (Montreal, Canada), tel: +1 514-343-7933, email:
Katja Frostell, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (Montreal, Canada), Tel: +1 514-343-7705, email:



Categories: News

Call for nomination: UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:47

UNESCO calls for candidatures for the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. Awarded since 2001, the Prize was established in 1998 in collaboration with the Government of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) and is now at its 15th edition.
Call for Nominations - 15th Edition

With a view to increasing the visibility of this Prize further, UNESCO and the government of Sharjah would like to encourage you to propose qualified candidates who deserve to be rewarded for their literary, scientific or artistic achievements, as well as for their global outreach devoted to promoting Arab culture and its worldwide dissemination – independent of any religious considerations.

Extension of deadline for submissions of candidatures : 30 October 2017 at midnight.

Who is eligible?

The Prize fulfils its fundamental mission in highlighting the core message of the organization by promoting a dialogue among culture, and by rewarding significant contributions made by two eminent personalities, groups of persons or institutions (one from the Arab States and the other from elsewhere) to the development, knowledge and spread of Arab culture by means of artistic, intellectual or promotional outreach aimed at enhancing intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding. Proposed candidates should have earned an international reputation for meritorious action extending over several years.

Taking into account the important contribution of women, please take this opportunity to propose renowned female candidates, to bring a better gender balance to the list of Laureates.

How to submit your nomination

The Organization has established a rigorous process for selecting candidates. We encourage you, therefore, to propose the most qualified candidates from your country. You may wish to note that candidatures can be submitted online only.

Send an e-mail to the Secretariat of the Prize, prix.sharjah(at); tel.: +33 1 45 68 42 71, with the name and e-mail of the person authorized to submit your nominees on your behalf.

The Secretariat will then send all necessary information to the person concerned, notably on how to submit the candidature online. The Secretariat stands ready to respond to any queries you might have.

Nominations for the Prize should be submitted no later than 30 October 2017.



About the Prize ...

Established in 1998, the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture rewards, each year, two laureates – individuals, groups or institutions – who, through their work and outstanding achievements, endeavour to disseminate greater knowledge of Arab art and culture. 

Applicants to the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab culture must have contributed significantly towards the development, dissemination and the promotion of Arab culture in the world. The winners are chosen by the Director-General of UNESCO, on the recommendation of an international Jury of experts in the field of Arab Culture and having distinguished themselves, over several years, by meritorious actions. Thus, the winners contribute to the promotion of cultural dialogue and the revitalization of Arab culture. 

Twenty-two laureates have so far been awarded the Prize (with an amount of US$60 000, divided equally between the two laureates), in recognition of their contribution – in their respective disciplines – to Arab art and culture, or for participating in the dissemination of the latter outside the Arab world. Together, the prize winners have come to represent a new generation of researchers, artists, philosophers, authors and translators with a profound desire to achieve a genuine dialogue between Arab culture and other cultures. 

In an era of globalization and profound political and social changes facing the world, this Prize fully meets the values of mutual understanding that is cited in the Constitution of the Organization. By rewarding careers, lives, whose efforts have been to promote a culture to which they own so much, the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab culture strives to foster a better understanding of other civilizations, thus promoting, or encouraging international exchange. Arab arts and culture have left traces all over the world, not only has the mosaic of cultures in the Arab region benefitted mutually but also cultures far beyond. One cannot find a better tread for cultivating peace.



  • Shama Chokkam-Sunderraj
    Focal Point
    UNESCO-Sharjah Prize
    History and Memory for Dialogue Section
    Social and Human Sciences Sector - UNESCO
    7 place de Fontenoy
    75352 Paris 07 SP FRANCE
    Tel.: + 33 1 45 68 42 71
    E-mail: s.chokkam-sunderraj(at) / prix.sharjah(at)
Categories: News

Turkmenistan hosts 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:37
asia_games_turkmenistan2017.jpg © UNESCO

In an opening ceremony based on Turkmenistan’s ancient history and cultural heritage, the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games kicked off on 17 September in Ashagbat, Turkmenistan with historical scenes of the ancient Silk Road, camels, Turkmen horses, traditional music from the country’s five regions, and the Turkmen art of carpet making. These are also the first Asia Games to be hosted in Central Asia.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov officially opened the games, twice mentioning UNESCO in his welcoming remarks, focusing on his country’s willingness to participate actively in the Organization’s Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS) to promote the role and value of sport and its inclusion in public policy. He also emphasized that sports, health and physical education were important priorities for his government.

In addition to this being the first Asia Games hosted taking place in Central Asia, these games will feature other firsts, including the first time that the countries of Oceania are participating and also the first time that the refugees’ team competes in the Asian Games.

Ten refugee athletes made history by competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as members of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team. One year later, five refugee athletes from South Sudan are making history, yet again, by competing in the Games in Ashgabat. Tegla Loroupe, a Kenyan Olympian who is also a United Nations Ambassador for Sport and Peace, leads the refugee athletes.

Many Heads of State, government officials, representatives of international organizations and other dignitaries attended the opening ceremony. Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office represented UNESCO.

Learn more about UNESCO’s work in sports and physical education.

Categories: News

World leaders commit to tackling global education crisis that is holding back millions of children and threatening progress and stability

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:39
21 September 2017

NEW YORK, 20 September 2017 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres; United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed; heads of state of France, Norway, Malawi and Senegal; and other global education leaders today committed to tackling the global ‘education crisis’ holding back millions of children and threatening progress, at a high-level event in New York City.

Around 264 million children and adolescents are not in school and only 1 in 12 young people in low-income countries is on track to gain secondary level skills. Despite some progress in achieving gender equality in the world’s poorest countries, far more girls than boys still do not have access to a quality education. 

"Investing in education is the most cost effective way to drive economic development, improve skills and opportunities for young women and men, and unlock progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Financing education is indeed the best investment we can make," said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Financing the Future: Education 2030 – aimed at securing political commitment and investment in quality early-childhood, primary and secondary education – was co-hosted by Norway, France, Malawi and Senegal in partnership with the Education Commission, Global Partnership for Education, Malala Fund, ONE Campaign, UNICEF and UNESCO.

"I have decided to set education as a top priority of French development and foreign policy. Education deserves our collective ambition. With Senegal, the UN, GPE, and all our partners, we will increase the global commitments next year at the Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference in Dakar,” said Emmanuel Macron, President of France.

“Education, particularly for girls, is the single most effective investment in sustainable development. This is why Norway has doubled its financial support for education over the last four years,” said Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway. Having been re-elected to another term in office last week, she will continue her engagement for education. Solberg also emphasized the importance of national ownership, stating that “The most important work lies within each country.” Prime Minister Solberg also pointed out that a successful replenishment for the Global Partnership for Education and further work on establishing an International Finance Facility for Education will be important to filling the external financing gap in education.

"Delivering an education to all – and not just some children – is the civil rights struggle of our time. Confronted by the largest refugee crisis since the close of the Second World War, and with education receiving less than 2% of humanitarian aid, it is vital we marshal the funds to provide an education for all children – especially those left out and left behind: refugee children,” said Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, former UK Prime Minister, Education Commission Chair.

“By funding Education Cannot Wait to address these emergencies; supporting the Global Partnership for Education to build strong education systems – and successfully securing its replenishment target so GPE is a $2 billion fund by 2020; and establishing the International Finance Facility for Education for longer-term financing so countries avoid the middle-income trap, we can close the funding gap. Funding our education goal will do far more than place a child at a desk. It will unleash opportunity and hope," continued Brown.

“Investing in education has a high return, and the benefits flow well beyond the individual. Improved education outcomes, particularly for girls and women, reduce poverty and boost economic prosperity, strengthen health and promote peace and security. We owe it to the children of the world to invest in education now. The upcoming GPE Financing Conference will be an opportunity for donors and developing countries alike to step up their commitments,” said Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education and former Prime Minister of Australia.

"130 million girls are out of school today. They are pushing back against poverty, war and child marriage to go to school. The Sustainable Development Goals were a promise that we would fight with these girls. So far, we have failed. We have big goals, but we will not reach any of them unless we educate girls. If we want to grow economies, improve the air we breathe, promote peace and advance public health, we must invest in girls," said Malala Yousafzai, Malala Fund co-founder and UN Messenger of Peace.

“If we don’t take action on education now, we risk threatening progress and stability, and further trapping children in cycles of poverty and depravation. We cannot risk giving up on our mission to get every child into school and learning. The world has too much to lose. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to the next generation,” said Muzoon Almellehan UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

“Every development success story starts with education. This is why country ownership is at the crux of the 2030 Agenda and the strongest impetus for unlocking progress. From adequate financing to effective learning at all ages, countries hold the reins to making education equitable, inclusive and transformative,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

“Today must be the day that the world turns a corner and tackles the global education emergency. Over 130 million girls are out of school -- that’s over 130 million potential engineers, entrepreneurs and politicians whose leadership the world is missing out on. It’s a resource waste of epic proportions and a global crisis that perpetuates poverty. The latest data, from 2015, showed the number of girls missing out on school actually increased for the first time in over a decade,” said Gayle Smith President and CEO of the ONE Campaign.

“Senegal and France today set the ambition, now the world must exceed it.  For donors it starts with fully funding the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait. For other governments it means committing to work towards delivering 20 percent of national budgets to education. For both it means radical new partnerships with civil society and the private sector to deliver significantly better results for the funds spent. This is not just about getting more girls into school, it’s about the women they grow up to be: educated, empowered and employed. ONE’s eight million members around the world will be hustling Governments every step of the way to make sure it happens -- over 130 million girls deserve nothing less than our best,” continued Smith.

At the high-level event, held during the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the following commitments were made:

  • The European Union will increase its support for education in crises by dedicating 8 per cent of its humanitarian budget to education in emergencies in 2018, way above the global average of 3.6 per cent.
  • The European Union pledged a further US$13.2 million to the Education Cannot Wait fund.
  • Denmark committed US$16.1 million to the Education Cannot Wait fund.
  • In the next year, Malala Fund will increase its investment in local educators and activists by US$3 million.
  • The Global Partnership for Education is committed to raising more and better finance, and by 2020 to provide and leverage US$2 billion a year to support 870 million children in 89 countries.
  • Dubai Cares committed US$500,000 to the Education Cannot Wait fund.
  • Hewlett Packard will reach one million learners by 2020, working with Intel to seed 1,700 School Clouds; and through Education Cannot Wait explore the use of technology in crisis-affected countries.


Note to Editors:

The following took part in the event: António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi; Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and SDG Advocate; Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, former UK Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, Chair, Global Partnership for Education and former Prime Minister of Australia; Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania and Education Commissioner; Heads of State or Government, business leaders, foundations and civil society; Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO; Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; Malala Yousafzai, co-founder of Malala Fund and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on girls’ education; Muzoon Almellehan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; Priyanka Chopra, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador;  


For more information or interviews, please contact:

Francyne Harrigan, UN Department of Public Information,, +1 917 428-7505

Kensuke Matsueda, UN Department of Public Information,, +1 212 963-0564

Georgina Thompson, UNICEF New York,, +1 917 238 1559

Alexandra Humme, Global Partnership for Education +1 202 492 8890

Ian Koski, ONE Campaign,, +1 202 714 8423

Trude Måseide, Office of the Prime Minister - Norway, +47 957 265 10

Lily Gray, UNESCO,, +1 (202) 374-5443

Reid Lidow, The Education Commission,, +1 212 521

Categories: News

Education is our greatest ‘soft power’ for peace

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 22:24
dg-president-romania-infocus.jpg © UNESCO

On 20 September 2017, on the margins of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, took part in a high-level side event on “Making Education for Peace”.

Organized by the President of Romania, H.E. Mr Klaus Werner Iohannis, moderated by Mr Igor Remus Pricopie, Rector of National ‎School of Political Studies, with participation from the Moldova Prime Minister Pavel Filip and Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, as well as former Afghan Education Minister Haneef Atmar and David Malone, Rector of UNU.

President Iohannis stated "education for peace is the key stone of our vision for the future of our countries." 

The President called for education for peace and civic education at the heart of conflict prevention and peacebuilding -- as a human right for every child.

Prime Minister Filip was clear: "security measures are not enough to prevent conflict and terrorism -- we need comprehensive measures starting with education, with support to children, to their rights and their full development, especially in situations of tension."

“Education is a basic human right that provides sustainability to all development – it is also our greatest ‘soft power’ force for peace, a force to prevent violent extremism and advance respect and tolerance,” declared the Director-General. “This is why education stands at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as a stand-alone goal that is essential for all goals.”

“Education today cannot only be about learning to read, write and count,” said the Director-General. “Every generation is faced with a unique challenge – our challenge today is to promote the values of inclusion and peace, to build new forms of solidarity based on human rights, global citizenship and tolerance.”

“This must begin on the benches of schools,” concluded Irina Bokova.

As former Minister Haneef Atmar said, "we need to teach peace to prevent terrorism from teaching our children."

Education for peace has become one of the main priorities for UNESCO and other UN bodies, starting with the concept of education for peace as a fundamental right. UNESCO is acting across the board, through teacher training, through education planning, media literacy and literacy for young people. This includes teaching the history of the Holocaust and other genocides to fight discrimination and anti-Semitism, UNESCO’s literacy programme in Afghanistan providing skills to 6 000 000 women and men, and capacity building to prevent violent extremism through education with countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa and the Sahel. In addition, education and skills for young women and men are the heart of UNESCO’s work with Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, in Mexico, South Sudan and Uganda.

"The pen is my sword, a girl inscribed on the Aysweha--Durrani Girls School in Kabul -- this is our message," said Irina Bokova.

Categories: News

Director-General meets Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 21:07

On 20 September 2017, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, met with the Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Mr Rashid Alimov.

The meeting was an opportunity to review the state of cooperation between the SCO and UNESCO, including on education, youth empowerment and promoting intercultural dialogue.

Mr Alimov spoke of the "tremendous richness" of the 128 world heritage sites on the territories of SCO countries -- "this is a resource for tolerance, for dialogue and mutual understanding." He briefed on the wide range of work led to promote educational mobility and new forms of intercutlrual dialogue.

The Director-General underlined UNESCO's leading actions to support cooperation in education and culture, including through the Silk Road initiatives, to support sustainable development, social cohesion and peace. She thanked for the work of the SCO and looked to further deepen cooperation.

Categories: News

Three winners to receive UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:58
esd-prize-2017-laureates-c-zikra_for_popular_learning.jpg © Zikra for Popular Learning 20 September 2017

Paris, 20 September — The three winners of this year’s UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development have been named. They are Zikra for Popular Learning from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; the Hard Rain Project from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and Sihlengeni Primary School from the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Zikra was selected for its “Zikra for Popular Learning Program”, which offers a creative and dynamic response to social, economic and environmental challenges in marginalized communities of the Arab region. Through ‘Exchange Tourism’, Zikra empowers people to reconnect with their local culture and traditions, and to inspire sustainable solutions while generating economic gains. Other activities comprise capacity building workshops and trainings in educational institutions.

The Hard Rain Project was selected for its international programme “Hard Rain” and its follow-up “Whole Earth?”, which bring art, science and education together to raise awareness on pressing global issues such as poverty and climate change, and to stimulate thinking and action towards more positive futures. It works with world-renowned artists, scientists and communicators to carry its message to schools and universities, and to a wider public, through exhibitions, books, films, talks and events.

Sihlengeni Primary School, located in a dry rural area of Zimbabwe, was selected for its remarkable “Permaculture” programme involving not only its 17 teachers and 738 students – mainly children of low-income subsistence farmers – but also the adjacent community. Through an inspiring, participatory whole-institution approach, Permaculture uses the principles of ESD to provide quality education as well as increased access to a clean environment, food and water.

This year’s winners were selected by an international jury from more than 100 nominations, submitted by the governments of UNESCO Member States and organizations in official relations with UNESCO.

Funded by the Government of Japan, the Prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board in the framework of the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP), to showcase and reward outstanding ESD projects and programmes. This is the third edition of the Prize, which is endowed with USD 150,000 to be divided between the three winners.

UNESCO’s Director-General and the Japanese Minister of Education will award the Prize to the three laureates in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 3 November 2017, during the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference.


For more information on the awards, contact Miriam Tereick:
For more information on the programme:

Categories: News

Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017 adopted to support quality open-licensed educational resources to build knowledge societies and achieve SDG 4

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 15:42
news_200917_oer.jpg CC BY SA 20 September 2017

The second World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress closed today as experts and national delegates from 111 countries adopted by acclamation the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan.

The 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan presents 41 recommended actions to mainstream open-licensed resources to help all Member States to build Knowledge Societies and achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 4 on “quality and lifelong education.”

The accompanying Ministerial Statement called for a “dynamic coalition to expand and consolidate commitments to actions, strategies and legislation” in OER, with a “call on all educational stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017.”

OER refer to any teaching, learning and research materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution with no or limited restrictions. While offering education systems a greater flexibility to use, share and adapt quality resources, OER rest within the framework of intellectual property rights and fully acknowledge authorship.

The 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan provides recommendations to stakeholders in five strategic areas, namely: building the capacity of users to find, re-use, create and share OER; language and cultural issues; ensuring inclusive and equitable access to quality OER; developing sustainability models; and developing supportive policy environments.

“This has been the most widespread consultation undertaken at UNESCO that I have witnessed,” noted Indrajit Banerjee, Director of UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, as he introduced the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan for formal adoption by acclamation.

He noted that the Ljubljana Action Plan is the product of an extensive regional, global and online stakeholder consultation that had incorporated major inputs from:

  • Recommendations compiled at six OER regional consultations2 attended by OER experts and policy makers from more than 100 countries, organized from December 2016 to May 2017 by the Commonwealth of Learning in cooperation with UNESCO, through the generous support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  
  • An open, online consultation on the draft Action Plan held from July to September 2017 incorporating more than 100 additional inputs and feedback from UNESCO Member States and the global OER community.
  • Key recommendations from the sessions and debates of the 2nd World OER Congress, 18-20 September, compiled through a high-level drafting group chaired by the president of the Congress, governmental representatives of each region, non-governmental and civil society stakeholder groups including teacher and student representatives, as well as the UNESCO secretariat and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia.

The Action Plan invites multi-stakeholder commitments at local, national and international levels around the five strategic areas.  Invited to the OER Congress and addressed within the Action Plan are: educators, teacher trainers, librarians, learners, parents, educational policy makers at both the governmental and institutional level, teacher and other professional associations, student associations, teacher and student unions  as well as other members of civil society, and intergovernmental organizations and funding bodies.

In his closing remarks, UNESCO Assistant Director for Education Qian Tang urged that UNESCO be seen as “your partner in a joint effort to use OER to push the SDG agenda in the next 15 years, and in the end to provide education for a new generation who will grow up as global citizens, appreciate other cultures and can build a more peaceful world.”

The Assistant Director-General added that: “to meet the education challenges, we can’t use the traditional way. In remote and developing areas, particularly for girls and women, OER are a crucial, crucial mean to reach SDGs. OER are the key.”

“What I am proud of is the comprehensive OER Action Plan. We truly believe in the Action Plan and plan to not only support it but be true actors in implementing,” said Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič, Minister of Education, Sciences and Sport of Slovenia, in her closing remarks to the Congress. “This Action Plan can be a great background for a UNESCO Recommendation on OER which is our final goal.”

Categories: News

Food Systems for Improved Nutrition: Why and How

Europaid - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 13:34
Categories: News