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Addressing land degradation and desertification

Europaid - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 13:29
Categories: News

An Ocean Pathway towards Sustainable Development

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 11:04

The COP23 host country Fiji has launched today the Ocean Pathway Partnership toward formal recognition of the links between ocean and climate change in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process by 2020. The initiative caps a climate summit marked by multiples calls for more science-based action from an emerging ocean community.

Two years after the historic signature of the Paris Agreement, the first international climate agreement to recognize the essential role of the ocean as chief climate regulator, the ocean continues to make headway to the center stage of global climate politics. Mounting challenges such as increasing CO2 and decrease in oxygen levels nevertheless pose grave threats to ocean health and, in turn, human wellbeing.

The ocean community gathered at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, to review the progress of international efforts, and reflect on the role of science in identifying and implementing effective ocean-based solutions to climate change.

Among the key outputs from the summit, the Fiji-led Ocean Pathway Partnership launched today proposes to enhance funding opportunities to support ocean health and the maintenance of critical ocean ecosystems, and encourages the insertion of ocean-based action into countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement.

Speaking at The Ocean Pathway launch event, Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), welcomed Fiji’s efforts to develop a specific work program on ocean within the UNFCCC. “This would be the culmination of many years of efforts from the IOC and its partners to raise awareness among the nations engaged in climate negotiations of the fact that the ocean is part and parcel of the climate change questions,” he explained.

Ocean science for action

As the international community issues calls for putting ocean front and center of the climate agenda, the race begins to fill the remaining scientific gaps around the interconnections between a warming ocean and a changing climate. Effective action to address either part of this puzzle will require the best possible scientific knowledge available.

To highlight the urgency of action on ocean issues, UNESCO’s IOC joined forces with over a dozen scientific institutions, international and civil society organizations, and governments to organize the COP23 Oceans Action Day on 11 November.

The all-day event focused on action on the ground and showcased lessons learned, best practices and recommendations for replication and upscaling of successful experiences, with a focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Following a high-level plenary opening session, seven parallel sessions were held under the leadership of partner organizations. IOC co-organized two of those sessions, namely the one on “Science and Oceans: IPCC Report and Other Developments”, together with the Ocean and Climate Platform and the “Blue Carbon and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Where and How” session together with IUCN and Conservation International.

In the day’s closing remarks, Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, stressed that “ocean action needs ocean science”. He expressed at the same time his support for IOC’s proposal for a United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), which will focus international efforts to advance oceanographic research and deliver breakthroughs in ocean knowledge and technology.

To cap the Oceans Action Day, the United Nations inter-agency mechanism for ocean affairs (UN-Oceans) hosted a side event to highlight the collective international and UN efforts to address climate related stressors on the ocean through improved scientific capacity, mitigation strategies and innovative adaptation approaches. Under UNESCO’s IOC coordination, eight UN bodies came together to address their joint cooperation through actions such as establishing and running global observations systems for ocean acidification, and assessing the state of coral reefs in World Heritage sites.

Strengthening alliances between ocean science and society

Whether in the context of the Ocean Pathway Partnership or the Decade of Ocean Science, it has become clear since COP21 in Paris that international organizations and national governments must rely upon civil society and private sector stakeholders to ensure effective and timely action on ocean and climate.

Many of these stakeholders were present and actively participated in COP23, notably to present the recently established Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance’s (OCIA), during a dedicated side event. This coalition of 70 non-governmental organizations, supported by the Ocean and Climate Platform and UNESCO’s IOC, was launched in February 2017 at UNESCO Headquarters with a mandate to federate ocean action to accelerate the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The OCIA side event was the opportunity to present a global overview of the Alliance and its main achievements since its creation. Side event panelists presented the first OCIA Report of Progress on Ocean and Climate Action, emphasizing key findings and conclusions for the future role of OCIA. The roundtable discussion highlighted the results generated from the strong cooperation between scientific researchers and NGOs working on ocean and climate issues, and called for a common framework of action to implement the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.

Science and civil society must share their expertise, knowledge and capacity of action to be even stronger and more efficient to protect the ocean.

Further information:

Oceans Action Day at COP23

The Ocean Pathway

Report: Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA)

For more information, please contact:

Julian Barbière (j.barbiere(at)

Categories: News

Natural capital in Climate Change policies

Europaid - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 15:47
Categories: News

Natural capital in Climate Change policies

Europaid - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 15:47
Categories: News

Solving “fake news” starts with avoiding the term

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:58
news_151117_eu.jpg Participants listen to the speakers projected onto screens - Paolo Cesarini, from Media Convergence and Social Media in the European Commission Directorate for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, and Wout van Wijk of News Media Europe© UNESCO 15 November 2017As the European Commission engages on a broad-based consultation about how to deal with disinformation online, UNESCO’s Guy Berger, Director, Freedom of Expression and Media Development, has advised the institution to avoid the phrase “fake news”.

The UNESCO director was speaking on Tuesday at a Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Fake News, 13-14 November 2017, convened in Brussels, Belgium, by the European Commission: Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

He also called on news institutions to improve their related professional standards in order to provide credible alternatives to disinformation. This is why UNESCO works with the European Union to support press councils to transition to the digital age,” he elaborated.

The risk of using the phrase “fake news” was to undermine all news, said Berger. He noted that  Frank la Rue, the Assistant Director General (ADG) for Communication and Information at UNESCO, analysed “fake news” as a contradiction in terms.

“If it is news, then it isn’t fake; and if it is false, then it can’t be news,” Berger said, summarising the ADG’s view.

Combining the two words only served to sow seeds of cynicism and relativism, and to throw individuals into reliance on gut-feel and personal networks for their assessment of what is credible.

In his remarks, Berger also signalled the need to give attention to the narrative frameworks which give meaning to information, as these pointed to responses that went beyond the fact-checking and debunking of “imposter news”.

“News works within a narrative structure that supplies a context and a cloak of connections and significance – along with connotations of veracity, authenticity, and authority.”

He explained that news literacy empowered users to understand news as narrative in this sense, adding that this insight was a condition to be able to identify fraudulent news within the same system.

“More broadly, users – especially young people who are forming their identities - need the skills to understand how all narratives – including news, entertainment and propaganda - presume identities.

“Linked to this is the importance of understanding that participation in narratives (whether receiving, producing, and sharing) is performative. It cultivates our sense of belonging and whom we are.”

Berger said that the composite concept of media and Information literacy (MIL) could help to educate users about what were being called the new apps of “persuasion and addiction architectures”.

MIL could also prepare users for future digital creations that concealed manipulation in video and voice recordings, and for the abuse of Artificial Intelligence to perfectly customise bogus news to resonate with each targeted individual.

He urged Internet intermediaries to reconsider the way they served each individual with his/her own customised news feed and search results. “Instead of blindly following the market of prior individual preference, could they not also make money by leading the market - and including diversity in the news and views supplied within each individualised service?” he asked.

We cannot have real public access to information without Internet companies recognizing the value of supplying inclusive narratives, instead of them continuing to create individualized bubbles based on algorithms that privilege narcissism, said Berger

The combination of comprehensive MIL so as to educate users to see the power of narrative; of reinforced self-regulation among the genuine providers of news; and of changes in Internet business models, could all be elements of a holistic solution, he concluded.

Categories: News

New project to improve the education of indigenous girls and women in Guatemala

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:37
improve-education-indigenous-girls-women-guatemala-c-unesco-guatemala-news.jpg © UNESCO Guatemala 15 November 2017

Indigenous girls, adolescents and young women in Totonicapán, Guatemala, will assert their right to education in two UNESCO Malala Centers, which will be created as part of a new project supported by the UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education, set to start in 2018.

Francisca had no choice. When she reached third grade, she had to leave school. She started working in the fields and taking care of her siblings to help her parents. For most indigenous girls in Guatemala living in a poor family with many siblings, studying is out of the question.

As of 2018, the UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education will support the creation of an educational model for the girls, adolescents and young women of Totonicapán in Guatemala, through the establishment of two UNESCO Malala Centers. The new project, led by the UNESCO Guatemala Office, aims to facilitate the right to education for adolescent girls and indigenous young women, especially those marginalized from education because of gender, ethnicity, rurality and poverty.

In Guatemala, 11% of girls and adolescents between 11 and 19 years old have not received a formal education. In fact, adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 years represent the highest percentage of those who cannot read or write. The average national number of years of schooling for girls is 4 to 6 years; in areas with a predominantly indigenous population, it is 2.6 years on average (National Survey of Living Conditions (ENCOVI) of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), 2015).

Educational systems in many countries can be entrenched in traditional or patriarchal traditions. Guatemala, for example, has not yet established a gender equality policy that supports girls, adolescents and young women in situations of subordination and undervaluation. The new project will therefore also work to strengthen policies that promote girls’ and you women’s education as part of the national education system.

Two municipalities of Totonicapán, Santa María Chiquimula and San Andrés Xecul, were selected for the establishment of the two UNESCO Malala Centers. In these two municipalities, the indigenous population is over 98%, the family poverty index is between 73% and 89%, the illiteracy of young people is over 59%, access to health services is restricted and the number of births per 1000 women is over 69.8.

This new project builds on the “Saqilaj B'e: A clear Path to Assert the Rights of Indigenous Adolescent Girls in Guatemala” project, which was carried out by the education team of the UNESCO Guatemala Office between 2013 and 2017. It facilitated the educational reinsertion of more than a thousand girls and indigenous women from two departments of Guatemala: Huehuetenango and Totonicapán, and Francisca was one of the project beneficiaries. When Francisca turned 19, representatives of the project came to her community and offered her support to continue her studies in the Accelerated Primary Program of the Ministry of Education. With that support, Francisca was able to complete primary school. She is now working as a cook in a cafeteria where she earns money for herself and her family. Her dream is to complete high school and continue studying to become a professional chef. For Francisca, "education is a food that makes us grow".

Lessons have been learned with the Saqilaj B'e project on how to reduce the obstacles for girls and young women from Totonicapán to access education. Today, with the new project, UNESCO wants to continue supporting these girls, adolescents and young indigenous women and many others, so that they can achieve their dreams.

Categories: News

UNESCO Member States reaffirm their commitment to UNESCO at the close of General Conference

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:55
14 November 2017

UNESCO’s Member States on Tuesday closed the 39th session of the Organization’s General Conference with the adoption of a series of programme and budget decisions, reaffirming the pertinence of the Organization to the challenges facing the world.

During the session, the Organization’s Member States also elected Audrey Azoulay as the 11th Director-General of UNESCO.

Speaking of the pertinence of UNESCO’s mandate to foster solidarity and cooperation in education, the sciences, culture and communication during her investiture as Director-General, Ms Azoulay said that “facing the global challenges of today, against obscurantism and deadly oversimplification, we [UNESCO] hold the only sustainable and credible answer.”

Climate change and efforts to contain it featured prominently on the General Conference’s agenda and Member States stressed the need for UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector to work on the ethical and societal aspects of this crucial issue.

This concern led to the adoption of a Declaration of Principles in Relation to Climate Change, on the need to respect ethical principles to avoid damage and injustice. The Declaration also reaffirms the importance of a scientific approach to climate change, stating, “decisions should be based on the best available knowledge from the natural and social sciences.”

Also in the context of work concerning UNESCO’s Social and Human Science Sector, the General Conference updated the 1974 Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers. Key aspects of the updated recommendation, concern the responsibility of science with regard to the ideals of human dignity, progress, justice, peace, welfare of humankind and respect for the environment. It calls on States to promote science as a common good and calls for inclusive and non-discriminatory work conditions and access to science education and employment.

Within the framework of the Natural Sciences Sector, the General Conference adopted an updated strategy for action on climate change. It requires UNESCO to support Member States in the development and implementation of climate change education and public awareness programmes and policies. UNESCO is also to promote interdisciplinary climate knowledge and scientific cooperation for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The strategy notably upholds the principles of respect for cultural diversity and cultural heritage conservation and is mindful of the need for inclusive social development, intercultural dialogue and gender equality principles in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Also concerning the natural sciences, Member States adopted 16 May as International Day of Light and asked the Director-General of UNESCO to support efforts to have the United Nations’ proclaim 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.

For the Communication and Information Sector, Member States reaffirmed UNESCO’s mandate to defend freedom of expression and access to information both on and off-line, as inalienable human rights. They also reaffirmed the importance of work to protect the safety of journalists with Member States and throughout the UN system, notably through the Organization’s leadership in the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

The General Conference also endorsed the Call for Action adopted at the end of the Quebec-UNESCO Conference, Internet and the radicalization of youth: preventing, acting and living together, co-organized by UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector. It furthermore mandated the Sector to continue working on a possible recommendation on Open Education Resources with a view to reinforcing international collaboration in this area.

As regards to education, the General Conference reaffirmed the Organization’s role in coordinating and monitoring progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’s Goal for education, SDG 4. It also mandated UNESCO to pursue work on the development of a Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications, to improve academic mobility, enhance international cooperation, and reinforce trust in higher education systems.

With regard to the Culture Sector, the General Conference revised the strategy it adopted two years ago for UNESCO’s work in protecting culture and cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict. The revised strategy now covers natural disasters alongside armed conflicts.

Member States also launched an Appeal on Protecting Culture and Promoting Cultural Pluralism as a key to lasting peace. The appeal calls for culture, cultural heritage and diversity to be factored into international humanitarian, security and peacebuilding policies and operations, building on UN Security Council Resolution 2347. The resolution, adopted in March this year, recognizes “attacks against sites and buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, or historic monuments may constitute, under certain circumstances and pursuant to international law, a war crime and perpetrators of such attacks must be brought to justice.”

The General Conference decided to allot an integrated budget of $1.2 billion to UNESCO for 2018-19. This includes a regular programme budget of $595.2 million as well as voluntary contributions for specific actions from both public and private sources.


Media contact: Clare Sharkey +33(0)145680431

Categories: News

La meilleure prévention contre le trafic illicite des biens culturels : la sensibilisation ! (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:50
illicittrafficworldheritage.jpg © UNESCO

Les 14 et 15 novembre 2017, se tient à Bandiagara au Mali, un atelier de renforcement des capacités et de sensibilisation à la lutte contre le trafic illicite des biens culturels (TIBC). Organisé au cœur du Pays Dogon, site classé sur la Liste du patrimoine mondial depuis 1989, cet événement est l’occasion d’inviter les communautés à prendre davantage conscience du danger qu’encourt l’art Dogon dans cette zone où le trafic est grandissant. Ainsi, le Bureau de l’UNESCO à Bamako s’associe à la Direction Nationale du Patrimoine Culturel pour perpétuer leur engagement à lutter contre ce fléau croissant en sensibilisant les acteurs concernés.


Cet atelier s’inscrit dans la Phase II du Plan d’action pour la réhabilitation du patrimoine culturel endommagé dans le nord Mali et répond à son Objectif 3 : « assurer le renforcement des capacités en vue de rétablir les conditions appropriées pour la conservation, l’entretien, la gestion et la protection du patrimoine culturel et la sauvegarde des manuscrits anciens » et plus particulièrement le renforcement de la lutte contre le TIBC. Il fait suite à l’atelier de Tombouctou en février dernier dont l’une des recommandations était la sensibilisation des parties prenantes au fléau du TIBC. Par ailleurs, cette rencontre fait également écho à la réunion régionale de Dakar, mettant en œuvre les recommandations qui en ont résulté, et encourageant notamment une meilleure prise de conscience de l’importance de la protection la conservation et la promotion du patrimoine culturel.

Entourés d’experts nationaux, seront entre autres présents à Bandiagara : représentants des communautés, forces de défense et de sécurité, antiquaires, gestionnaires de sites, associations à caractère culturel, agents de services techniques intervenant dans le domaine de la culture. Tous réunis pour réfléchir sur le phénomène de pillage et du TIBC et déterminer des pistes d’actions à mener au Mali et plus spécifiquement en Pays Dogon.


Pour plus d’informations :

Categories: News

UNESCO General Conference proclaims 16 May as International Day of Light

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 17:23
focus_fiber_optics_optoelectronics_research_centre-southampton-uk_dpl.jpg © Optoelectronics Research Centre Southampton-uk 14 November 2017

The 39th Session of the UNESCO General Conference has today proclaimed the date of May 16th as the International Day of Light.  The proclamation of this annual International Day will enable global appreciation of the central role that light and light-based technologies play in the lives of the citizens of the world in areas of science, technology, culture, education, and sustainable development. It will provide is an enduring legacy to UNESCO’s highly successful International Year of Light in 2015 that reached over 100 million people in over 140 countries. The proposal was adopted during the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, which just came to a close today in Paris, France.

The proclamation of this annual International Day will enable global appreciation of the central role that light plays in our daily lives in areas of science, culture, education, sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy. On the most fundamental level, through photosynthesis, light is at the origin of life itself,  and the many applications of light have had a transformative impact on society. Light-based technologies are increasingly providing solutions to global challenges in, energy, education, agriculture, and community health. Applications of light-based technologies are key enablers to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the developing world.

The broad theme of light will allow many different sectors of society to participate in activities around the world that will raise awareness of science and technology, as well as art and culture and their importance in achieving the goals of UNESCO in promoting education, equality and peace. The first International Day of Light celebration is planned for 16 May 2018. This date marks the anniversary of the first operation of a laser beam, on 16 May 1960 by Theodore Maiman.

The International Day of Light was introduced to UNESCO by sponsors Ghana, Mexico, New Zealand and the Russian Federation, and supported at the UNESCO Executive Board and the General Conference by 27 countries: Argentina, Colombia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Iran, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Serbia, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Nigeria, Paraguay, Qatar, Togo, Vietnam, Uganda and Zimbabwe. 

Partners worldwide are now making plans for an ambitious series of outreach and education activities in May 2018, with special focus on students, young people and the public at large. In addition, a flagship inauguration leaders in areas of education, industry, design and lighting will take place on 16 May 2018 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

The International Day of Light is administered from UNESCO’s International Basic Science Programme by a Steering Committee that also includes representatives from: the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), Bosca, the European Centres for Outreach in Photonics (ECOP), the European Physical Society (EPS), the International Association of lighting Designers (IALD), the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), - the international network of accelerator based light sources, Light: Science and Applications, The Optical Society (OSA), Philips Lighting, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) and Thorlabs.

UNESCO welcomes all partners who wish to get involved in the International Day of Light either through organizing their own activities or by supporting the flagship event on May 16 2018 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. For event registration, enquiries about partnership opportunities, and any other questions, please contact:

  • Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga:
    International Basic Sciences Programme, UNESCO, Paris, France                                                                                    
  • Jorge Rivero González:        
    International Day of Light Secretariat & Press Officer

More information



Categories: News

UNESCO Member States adopt recommendations of Education Commission

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 16:40
general-conference-ed-commissionc-c-unesco-christelle-alix-news.jpg © UNESCO/Christelle ALIX 14 November 2017

UNESCO Member States adopted the recommendations presented by the Education Commission at the 39th General Conference, which concluded today - 14 November 2017.

Among the key items approved were UNESCO’s role in the implementation of SDG4-Education 2030, the Draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2021 and “Academic Mobility Convention”.  

Implementation of SDG4-Education 2030

Member States endorsed UNESCO’s role in the implementation of SDG4-Education 2030. This includes leading and coordinating the Education 2030 and acting as the focal point for education within the overall 2030 Agenda.

UNESCO has been entrusted with the challenging task of leading and coordinating SDG 4-Education 2030 by: undertaking advocacy to sustain political commitment; facilitating policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and standard setting; monitoring progress towards the education targets; convening global, regional and national stakeholders to guide the implementation of the agenda; and functioning as a focal point for education within the overall SDG coordination architecture.

The General Conference also emphasizing the importance of human rights education and training, particularly in relation to target 4.7, for the fulfilment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. 

The Draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2021

The Draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2021 was approved at the Plenary, ensuring that UNESCO fully aligns its programme and resources to meet the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal 4 and other education-related targets. This will be driven by two-pronged approach, structured around two Main Lines of Action:

  1. Supporting the implementation of SDG 4-Education 2030 at country level, through eight Expected Results; and
  2. Leading the coordination and review/monitoring of SDG 4-Education 2030 at global and regional levels, through two Expected Results.  

In operationalizing Main Lines of Action 1 and its eight Expected Results, UNESCO, including its education-related Institutes, will seek to support Member States in making progress towards the seven targets and two means of implementation of SDG 4 and five other SDGs. Actions under these Expected Results will be contextualized to be responsive and attentive to distinct regional needs and local realities.

UNESCO will coordinate and review/monitor SDG 4-Education 2030 at global and regional levels. Under Main Lines of Action 2, work will focus on two areas.

First, it will facilitate global and regional coordination within the context of the evolving global governance structure of education, build and strengthen partnerships with UN agencies, international organizations and civil society, conduct high-level advocacy for Education 2030 and report on SDG 4 as part of UN SDG reporting.

Second, it will ensure a global Education 2030 observatory function through research and foresight to guide global policy and inform dialogue on the future of education, as well as a review and monitoring function for the implementation of SDG 4-Education 2030. This will contribute to the overall attainment of SDG 4 and SDG 17.

“Academic Mobility Convention”

Member States approved the continuation of the preparation of UNESCO’s Academic Mobility Convention (Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications) and its possible adoption at the next session, in November 2019. This future Convention aims to provide a global framework of universal principles and rules for the recognition of higher education titles, diplomas and certificates. The General Conference reaffirmed that a global convention will improve academic mobility, enhance international cooperation in higher education, and will represent a significant step forward towards global academic mobility and trust in higher education systems. 

The future Convention will be a major step forward for the rights of students to have their higher education qualifications assessed in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner by national competent authorities. It will also strengthen cooperation in higher education and enhance trust in higher education systems in view of ensuring quality in education, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.


  • Find out more about the 39th General Conference
  • Watch UNESCO’s new animation explaining the ten targets of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 here.
Categories: News

Migration: evidence for policy making

Europaid - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 15:28
Categories: News

Guatemala donates to UNESCO a sculpture of Guatemalan Nobel Laureate in Literature, Miguel Ángel Asturias

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 10:30
dg-bust-guatemala-mins-clt.jpg © UNESCO

In the framework of his visit to the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, the Minister of Culture and Sports of Guatemala, José Luis Chea, met today with the Director-General Irina Bokova, to present UNESCO with a bust of the late writer and Nobel Literature Prize winner Miguel Ángel Asturias, which is the work of the artist, Manolo Gallardo.

Minister Chea expressed the gratitude of Guatemala for the work accomplished by the Director-General during her eight years at the head of the Organization and reaffirmed the firm commitment of his country to continue promoting the close cooperation between Guatemala and UNESCO. The bust was donated by the G & T Foundation and delivered by its Executive Director, Mariflor Solís.

On this occasion, Minister Chea recalled that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Asturias, which he described as a "universal man and precursor of magical realism", who had sustained a strong relationship with Paris. The writer donated his personal library to the National Library of France and his remains rest in the Père Lachaise cemetery in the French capital.

Thanking the Minister for the donation, Director-General Irina Bokova described the bust as a symbol of the close ties that unite Guatemala and UNESCO, as well as the work of an artist and an intellectual committed to humanistic values.

During the bilateral meeting, the Minister mentioned the intention to inscribe the ruins of El Mirador on the World Heritage List, and the new findings in the Tak'alik Ab'aj National Park (inscribed in the tentative list of Guatemala since 2013). The Ambassador Permanent Delegate of Guatemala to UNESCO, Marco Tulio Chicas Sosa, highlighted the support provided by UNESCO in the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural goods, through training provided to the country. He confirmed his county’s support to UNESCO and Guatemala's commitment to cultural diplomacy. For her part, the Director-General highlighted the active participation of Guatemala in the work of UNESCO and thanked the country for its efforts after ratifying the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alicia Castillo Sosa and the Vice Minister of Sports, Juan Alberto Monzón, were also present at the ceremony to donate the bust to UNESCO.

Categories: News

UNESCO more necessary than ever, declares Audrey Azoulay

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 18:55
dg_azoulay_investiture_688px.png Audrey Azoulay, nouvelle Directrice générale de l'UNESCO© UNESCO/N. Houguenade 13 November 2017

Audrey Azoulay was sworn in as the new Director-General of UNESCO on Monday before the 39th session of the General Conference. Invoking the challenges facing the Organization, she focused on the pertinence of UNESCO’s mandate in her investiture speech.

“Despite many limits and constraints, UNESCO has been able to demonstrate throughout its history a real capacity to bring creative responses to the challenges of the times,” said Ms Azoulay, after the Chairperson of the Organization’s Executive Board, Michael Worbs, the outgoing Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and representatives of Member States congratulated her on her appointment.

Ms Azoulay highlighted the challenges posed to the world today by environmental degradation, terrorism, attempts to discredit scientific findings, attacks on cultural diversity, the oppression of women and the massive displacement of populations, saying, “I believe in the need for concerted strategies in the framework of multilateralism to face these challenges today and tomorrow. This is what we achieved collectively with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement,” she added.

Audrey Azoulay © UNESCO/C.Alix

The new Director-General, who was named by the General Conference on 10 November, also spoke of the financial and political difficulties of the Organization: “In this time of crisis, I am convinced that it is more necessary than ever to be committed to UNESCO, to support it, to seek to strengthen and reform it, rather than make it more fragile.”

“We are facing a moment of truth in which we become collectively liable at a time when the need for UNESCO is greater than ever. Together, we must take the right decisions to take it into the 21st century and shape it […] The dream of UNESCO’s founders has yet to come true, and we owe it to the young to maintain that ambition, with them and for them,” she concluded.

Audrey Azoulay is the 11 Director-General of UNESCO and the second woman in that position. She will take office on 15 November. 


Images for TV (b-roll)

Categories: News

Five Laureates Named for 2018 L’ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:59
loreal-laureates_2017_large.jpg © reserved 13 November 2017

Paris, 13 November–The L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have selected five outstanding women scientists from Argentina, Canada, China, South Africa, and the United Kingdom who will receive the 2018 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards in life sciences on 22 March  2018 in Paris.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards recognizes women who are still under-represented in various fields, including science, where the glass ceiling remains a reality. Nowadays, barely 28% of researchers are women. All of this year’s nine scientific Nobel Prizes were awarded to men and, since the creation of the Nobel Prizes in science, fewer than 3% have been awarded to women.

Yet, numerous women are making major contributions to science. For almost 20 years, the L’Oréal Foundation, in partnership with UNESCO, has celebrated five exceptional female researchers every year and has been committed to promoting equality between women and men in science.

The five women scientists celebrated by the 2018 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science awards were selected by an independent jury of ten high-profile members of the international science community, chaired this year by Professor Elizabeth H. Blackburn, laureate of the 2008 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award and of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.

Each Laureate will receive €100,000 in prize money for her outstanding contribution to advances in science. They will be celebrated in a ceremony to be held on 22 March 2018 in Paris, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme.

Africa and Arab States
Professor Heather ZAR , South Africa,

Professor, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital  and Director Medical Research Council Unit (MRC), University of Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA.

Medicine and Health Sciences/Pediatrics
“For establishing a cutting-edge research program in pneumonia, tuberculosis and asthma, saving the lives of many children worldwide.”

Professor Meemann CHANG,

Professor, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, CHINA

Biological Sciences/Paleontology
“For her pioneering work on fossil records leading to insights on how aquatic vertebrates adapted to life on land.”

Professor Caroline DEAN,
United Kingdom

Professor, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park

Biological Sciences/Molecular biology
“For her groundbreaking research on how plants adapt to their surroundings and climate change, leading to new ways for crop improvement.”

Latin America
Professor Amy T. AUSTIN,

Professor, Agricultural Plant Physiology and Ecology Research Institute (IFEVA) - CONICET, School of Agriculture, University of Buenos Aires

Ecology and Environmental sciences
“For her remarkable contributions to understanding terrestrial ecosystem ecology in natural and human-modified landscapes.”

North America
Professor Janet ROSSANT,

Senior Scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, University Professor, University of Toronto, President, Gairdner Foundation (CANADA),

Biological Sciences/Developmental biology
“For her outstanding research that helped us to better understand how tissues and organs are formed in the developing embryo.”

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Categories: News

UNESCO Member States adopt Declaration of Ethical Principles in relation to Climate Change

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:09
shutterstock_romolo_tavani_infocus.jpg © / Romolo Tavani 13 November 2017

UNESCO has just announced the adoption of a global Declaration of ethical principles in relation to climate change, at the 39th Session of its General Conference (Paris, 30 October to 14 November). UNESCO’s 195 Member States have solemnly proclaimed a broad consensus on the text, as a recognition that, at its core, climate change is an ethical issue.

UNESCO’s Declaration aims to help governments, businesses, and civil society mobilize people around shared values on climate change. lt sounds the alarm that, unless ethical principles become the basis of climate action, both climate change and responses to it could create unacceptable damage and injustice.

Among other ethical principles, a science-based approach to decision-making about climate is crucial. "Decision-making based on science is critically important for meeting the mitigation and adaptation challenges of a rapidly changing climate. Decisions should be based on the best available knowledge from the natural and social sciences," the text says.

At every level, climate action requires a responsible approach. This could improve decision-making, by framing interests in terms of shared values. In addition, UNESCO’s Declaration advocates for sustainability, solidarity and the prevention of harm.

Assisted by leading experts, including negotiators of multilateral climate treaties, scientists from the lntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and ethicists, UNESCO has for the past ten years facilitated discussion on ethics of climate change, examining how to promote fairness and address climate change at the same time.

The process was initiated in 2008, when the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology ("COMEST"), a global advisory body of experts, started framing the issues and urging policy responses.

In 2015, the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, followed by the Paris Climate Agreement, marked a turning point in the history of international cooperation on climate change
Taken together, these embody a new global agenda for poverty reduction, human rights and dignity, social inclusion and dialogue, and more sustainable paths to development. This agenda fully includes - in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 – the idea that everyone should address the challenge of climate change urgently.

The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, has been crystal clear: "Implementing the Paris Agreement requires governments - not only national governments - governments at all levels, civil society, scientists, private sector - everybody needs to be mobilized."

In a show of support for this UNESCO Declaration, government representatives have asked UNESCO to disseminate and promote the Declaration. UNESCO will continue to be fully engaged in this endeavour.

Categories: News

UNESCO releases new publication: Survey on Privacy in Media and Information Literacy with Youth Perspectives

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 15:52
news_131117_privacy_survey.jpg © UNESCO 13 November 2017The Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week 2017 was the launching pad for a new comprehensive UNESCO study that explores MIL as defense of one’s privacy.

The publication, “Survey on Privacy in Media and Information Literacy with Youth Perspectives, combines two studies. One addresses how MIL providers globally - schools, teachers, practitioners, experts etc. - are responding to the need for people to comprehend the privacy of both themselves and others.

The second study investigates young people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to privacy and online safety, and how they perceive MIL in relation to this.

The 1735 youth surveyed do not portray passivity or obliviousness in their online activities. On the contrary - most of them indicated that privacy is important to them.

Over 90% place heavy emphasis on self-empowerment as the most effective means of staying safe online through the acquisition of information, media and technological competencies.

Their responses to questions like “My Government has the right to know all personal information about me if it will keep me safe online” or “The Internet should be an open space free from control by government or big business” underscore  the need for critically engagement by youth themselves. 

The research also reveals that MIL education programmes of the 231 providers surveyed addressed minimally privacy.  When addressed, it is most often covered as a minor topic absorbed into other MIL topics and not as a standalone topic or module. 

This research is published as part of the UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom that began in 2009 and that explores the changing legal and policy issues of the Internet.

The UNESCO-UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) and UNESCO conducted one aspect of the research, with the other aspect was implemented by UNESCO.  

Authors of the publication are Sherri Hope Culver, Director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy (CMIL) at Temple University, USA and Alton Grizzle, UNESCO’s Programme Specialist.

Mr Joe Cannataci, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, in the Foreword noted, this “is a work of enormous scope and ambition, with the result that it has made me realize how important it is to be sustained and built upon for the next several decades.”

He continued, “ …the next new projects we should pursue is to research and devise privacy-rich MIL curricula for all children and youth… starting points to be considered should include the conceptual and development frameworks for MIL so usefully outlined in Chapter 1.”

The study also theorizes how privacy and MIL relate to the context of sustainable development.  It illuminates the social, economic and environmental implications for both individuals and organizations alike.

In addition, the study provides recommendations on building privacy literacy via MIL. This includes development of multimedia strategies, online and offline, to reach young people in rural and remote communities with interventions like MIL MOOCs. It also urges stronger proliferation of MIL training, more transparency from both government and business on how they access and use peoples’ personal information, and the inclusion of youth in the entire process as actors and not only as beneficiaries or part of the problem.  


Contact: Alton Grizzle,

Categories: News