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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

Director-General condemns killing of journalist Abdullahi Osman Moallim in Somalia

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:05
20 September 2017

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today denounced the killing of Abdullahi Osman Moallim, a Somali broadcast journalist who died on 13 September from injuries sustained during a suicide bombing in Beledeweyne three days earlier.

Two other Somali journalists, Abdi Shakur Mohamed Hassan and Abdulkadir Omar Ibrahim, were also injured when the attacker detonated an explosive vest outside a restaurant in the Hiiraan region. Mr. Moallim worked for the Somalian broadcaster Jubbaland TV. At least six people were killed and ten injured during the attack.

“I condemn the killing of Abdullahi Osman Moallim,” said Director-General Bokova. “Journalists the world over are being attacked based on their mission to keep the public informed. I call on the responsible authorities to investigate this attack and extend my condolences to the victims and their families.”

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

A Caribbean strategy to cope with climate change

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 10:32
focus_shutterstock_712532530_hurricane_irma_dpl.jpg © Drew McArthur /

The Caribbean has been buffeted by an exceptional number of intense storms and hurricanes this year. In the space of just a few days, Hurricane Irma has been followed by Hurricanes José and Maria, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Hurricane Irma formed near Cabo Verde towards the end of August and, according to the US National Hurricane Center, was the strongest hurricane on record to form in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Caribbean is the most tourist-intensive region in the world, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. This makes Caribbean economies particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of Mother Nature. Most Caricom countries(1) have at least a 10% chance of being struck by a hurricane each year, according to a 2013 study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that is cited by the UNESCO Science Report. The probability is even as high as 24% in Jamaica and 20% in the Bahamas. Even moderate storms can reduce growth by about 0.5% of GDP. For example, winds that were well beneath hurricane strength took a toll on the small economies of St Lucia, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines in December 2013.

The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that the Caribbean will become the most at-risk tourist destination in the world between 2025 and 2050.In 2015, the UNESCO Science Report observed that ‘the region would be hard-pressed to deal with a major meteorological disaster,’ and urged it to ‘take climate change adaption more seriously.’

Caricom has mandated the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre to mainstream climate change adaptation strategies into the sustainable development agendas of Caricom states and to help them switch to renewable and cleaner energy sources and reduce their vulnerability to the impact of a changing climate.

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centrehas produced an implementation plan for 2011–2021 and undertaken a number of assessments. This work has been supported by the region’s specialists, who have produced models for climate change and mitigation processes in Caribbean states and who play a major advisory role to the divisions in ministries responsible for climate change, such as Jamaica’s appropriately expanded Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.

High energy costs contributing to vulnerability

A vulnerability to hurricanes and overdependence on tourism are not the only challenges Caricom countries face. According to the UNESCO Science Report, high energy costs are also having anegative impact on the economic competitiveness of Caricom countries and the cost of living. In 2008,over US$ 14 billion was spent on importing fossil fuels, which provide over 90% of energy consumed in Caricom countries, according to estimates.

In 2013, Caricom approved its Energy Policy and the accompanying Caricom Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). Under this policy, renewableenergy sources are to contribute 20% to the total electricitygeneration mix in member states by 2017, 28% by 2022 and47% by 2027. A similar policy instrument is being developed for the transportation sector.

In July 2013, stakeholders participated in a resource mobilization forum for the first phase of C-SERMS. The forum was hosted by the Caricom Secretariat, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the GermanAgency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Considerable potential for renewable energy

The IADB has since provided the University of the West Indies (UWI) with agrant of over US$ 600,000 to develop capacity in sustainable energy technologies across the region. One area of interest is the utilization of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in managing energy and trainingin sustainable energy technologies, with an emphasis on enhancing the involvement of women. The participation ofenergy giants such as General Electric, Philips and the Scottish Development Corporation augurs well for technology transfer.

The region has considerable potential for hydro-electric, geothermal, wind and solar energy which, once significantly exploited (as opposed to sporadically, at present), could make a huge difference to the energy resilience of Caricom countries. Some of these resources are being exploited to a limited extent.

The machinery needed to generate fossil-fuel-based electricity is also obsolete, inefficient and expensive to run. Jamaica has approved construction of new gas-fired electricity generation plants, to deal with this problem.

The efforts of Caricom countries to adopt sustainable energy technologies are contributing to implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. First adopted in Barbados in1994, this programme was updated in Mauritius in 2005 then again in Samoa in 2014.

A Plan to nurture innovation and creativity

Like the small island developing states of the Pacific, the countries of the Caribbean are embracing ‘regionalism’ to reduce their vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks. As Ralph Consalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, put it at Caricom’s 40th anniversary in 2013, ‘it is evident to all responsible persons of discernment that our region would find it more difficult by far to address its immense current and prospective challenges, unless its governments and peoples embrace strongly a more mature, more profound regionalism’.

One of the central aims of the first Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community, which covers the period 2015–2019,is to reinforce socio-economic, technological and environmental resilience of Caricom states. The overarching objective is twofold: to stimulate theproductive capability of domestic firms and correct the currentmismatch between training and the specialized knowledge and skills required by the market, in order to drive growth andcombat rising levels of unemployment among the young, inparticular. The plan outlines strategies for nurturing innovation and creativity, entrepreneurship, digital literacy and inclusivenessand for making optimum use of available resources.

With the exception of Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, which have significant hydrocarbon or mineral reserves, most states are small with too limited natural resources to support rapid economic development.

They will thus need to look elsewhere for wealth creation. The Strategic Plan focuses on the following areas: creative, manufacturing and service industries, with an initial focus on tourism; natural resources and value-added products; agriculture, fisheries and export development, to reduce dependence on food imports and foster sustainable fisheries; resource mobilization; ICTs; air and maritime transport infrastructure and services; and, last but not least, energy efficiency, diversification and cost reduction.

The two key enablers identified by the Strategic Plan for improving the Caribbean’s resilience are a common foreign policy, in order to mobilize resources effectively, and research and innovation.

Caricom governments currently commit little of their resources to science. The sluggish economic growth observed in the Caribbean in recent years offers some explanation but even the more affluent Trinidad and Tobago spent just 0.05% of GDP on research in 2012. When annual economic growth hit 8% in 2004,Trinidad and Tobago still devoted just 0.11%of GDP to R&D. Thus, pooreconomic performance alone cannot explain the extremely low commitment to science of Caricom governments.

The Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community: 2015–2019 proposes using advocacy to mobilize funding for business research from state and private sources, creating an enabling legislative environment for research and innovation, identifying opportunities for cooperation and devising national school-based programmes that drive, enable and reward research and innovation.

Importantly, the collective aspirations captured in the Strategic Plan to 2019 are similar to those of major national plans. For example, Trinidad and Tobago’s Vision 2020 (2002), Jamaica’s Vision 2030 (2009) and the Strategic Plan of Barbados for 2005–2025 all share a common aspiration to achieve socio-economic development, security, resilience to environmental shocks and an engagement in science, technology and innovation to improve the standard of living. Like the Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community, these national plans accord central importance to science, technology and innovation in realizing these aspirations.

Caricom countries(1): Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.

Source: Ramkissoon, H. and Kahwa, I. (2015) The Caricom countries. In: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030

Categories: News

Youth volunteering and dialogue: a response to current challenges

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 10:30
shutterstock_volunteers_mangostock.jpg © / mangostock 20 September 2017
Categories: News

Director-General meets newly appointed Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 10:16
dg-vladimir-voronkov.jpg © UNESCO

On 19 September 2017, on the margins of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, met with the recently appointed Under-Secretary-General of the new United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office (UNOCT), Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov.

Irina Bokova welcomed the creation of the new Office and pledged UNESCO’s fullest support to its work -- starting with its co-chairmanship of the CTITF Working Group on Preventing Violent Extremism, where UNESCO action is leading across the UN system.

Vladimir Voronkov thanked the Director-G‎eneral for UNESCO's leadership, underlining the vital importance of preventing violent extremism through education and culture "to work through hearts and minds." "This is why UNESCO is so very significant," he said.

The Director-General noted that UNESCO is leading in promoting global citizenship education, through guidelines for teachers and policy planners, as well as through capacity building in countries across the world. This work builds on close partnerships, including with the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development and the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding.

She underlined also that UNESCO works through initiatives to foster youth empowerment through information and communication technologies, along with critical thinking, tolerance and respect for universal values.

“Empowering young women and men stands at the heart of all UNESCO’s work,” she noted. Young people are the most affected by multiple and often interlinked forms of violence -- they also play vital roles as agents of positive change, to be empowered through skills development, training and new forms of engagement.

Irina Bokova also noted that in its action to prevent violent extremism, safeguarding cultural heritage and promoting cultural diversity as strengths for all to share, has pride of place. This takes in all UNESCO’s work to spearhead  implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2347 on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2199, which includes legally-binding measures to counter the illicit trafficking of artefacts from Iraq and Syria -- working with UNODC, WCO as well as the art world, to support Governments.

This includes also building positive counter-narratives to violent extremism. The #Unite4Heritage campaign is a global movement powered by UNESCO, starting through social media, to craft counter narratives rooted in heritage values, human rights and the respect for cultural diversity.

“In all this,” she underlined, “UNESCO works to take forward the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, launched in January 2016.”

The UNOCT was created to enhance coordination among United Nations entities and the work of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force to ensure overall coordination and coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system and to strengthen the capability of the UN system to respond to current needs and demands of Member States.

Vladimir Voronkov and Irina Bokova agreed on the need for further and deeper cooperation, including through joint projects.


Categories: News

Better Education for Africa’s Rise starts validation workshops in five countries

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:20
bear-validation-workshops-five-countries-c-unesco-unevoc-eyitayo_oyelowo.jpg ©UNESCO-UNEVOC/Eyitayo Oyelowo 20 September 2017

This month, UNESCO and the five beneficiary countries of the Better Education for Africa’s Rise project (BEAR II) - Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda - will organize two-day validation workshops to conclude the planning phase at country level.

The project is the second phase of a five-year joint initiative between UNESCO and the Republic of Korea, which aims to strengthen national Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems in selected African countries to strengthen the opportunities for decent employment and entrepreneurship for young people.

The beneficiary countries for this second phase of the BEAR project are Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. During the workshops, UNESCO will share findings from recent scoping missions to the national stakeholders, and propose interventions in the framework of UNESCO’s Strategy for TVET (2016-2021), outlining overall goals and the scope of the project.

The validation workshops will propose and discuss specific interventions for TVET in the chosen prioritized sectors and will provide a platform for building synergies between stakeholders to ensure an inclusive consultation process and national ownership. The participants will be concerned ministries, TVET authorities, TVET institutions, Vocational Training centres, and enterprises.

Three main areas of intervention will be discussed in working groups, concerning Relevance, Quality and Attractiveness of TVET. The validation workshops will also identify potential synergies that the BEAR II Project could help create in order to complement existing interventions.

About the BEAR II project

The first phase of the BEAR project collaborated with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Namibia.

In alignment with the Sustainable Development Goal on Education and the Education 2030 Framework for Action, the BEAR II project promotes the relevance of TVET systems in Eastern Africa to give young people a better chance to access decent employment and generate self-employment.

The BEAR II interventions will focus on specific sectors that are carefully chosen in each of the beneficiary countries for their potential to create jobs.  The project supports efforts in updating curricula, training teaching staff and engaging employers and enterprises to help create more relevant TVET Systems.

The BEAR project contributes to the global efforts for implementing the Education 2030 Agenda, the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (2016 – 2025), and the UNESCO Strategy for TVET (2016 – 2021).

Categories: News

We need deeper commitment to water cooperation

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 23:58
dg-water-decade-ny.jpg © UNESCO

On 19 September, within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Director-General Irina Bokova addressed the high-level event “Towards Implementation of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’ 2018-2028”.

Organized by the Permanent Missions of Canada, Ecuador, Japan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Tajikistan, as well as UNDESA, UNDP, UNESCO-WAPP and UN-Water, the event took place in the presence of the President of Tajikistan H.E. Mr Emomali Rahmon, champion of the International Decade, aiming to build support and momentum for the implementation of water related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

President Rahmon called for "continued cooperation and mobilisation of all resources for holistic measures" to drive forward the SDGs, including transborder cooperation and women's Empowerment. "This is the importance of this International Decade."

The President of the General Assembly. H.E. Mr Lajcak said "water is essential for a sustainable life on a sustainable planet and for decent lives."

“Water is the common denominator of many global challenges, in health, food, energy,” said the Director-General. “It can be the common solution also, but this requires deeper commitment. This is why water stands at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.”

"Water is vital for sustainable development but also for peace," said Minister Safadi of Jordan. "Water could be the cause of war, but could also be the cause of peace… the peace that we all deserve.‎"

‎The Honorable Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu spoke of water "as a security issue for many peoples around the world. We have to adapt as challenges of climate change and sea levels continue to rise"‎.

The Director-General highlighted that water cooperation is about fighting poverty, saving children from disease, allowing girls to go to school instead of walking for kilometres to fetch water. She underscored UNESCO’s work through its ‘water family’, which includes a global network of 36 water-related centres and 46 water-related Chairs, including the IHE-Institute for Water Education.

‎Minister Hussen of Canada spoke of his government's new feminist aid policy, to craft new solutions, because "water is undervalued and under threat."

“Fundamentally, water is about peace, between States and across regions. There is enough freshwater in the world – our goals are to share it sustainably, to link science more tightly with policy, and this is our message throughout the International Decade,” concluded Irina Bokova.

Categories: News

Giving young people a voice to shape their territories

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 19:07
focus_mab_youth_forum4.jpg Photo by Christian Leone 19 September 2017

Over 300 young people from 95 countries are gathered in the Po Delta Biosphere Reserve (Italy) to take leadership in the sustainable development of their environments. They either live or work in a biosphere reserve, areas that are committed to developing solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They are participating in the 2017 MAB Youth Forum, which aims to give them a voice in shaping the future of their territories and defining their engagement in their biosphere reserves.  

The forum began on Monday with a discussion on biosphere reserves’ contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a workshop on telling the story of territories through illustration and testimonies. “We are here all throughout the week, to listen to your ideas and your visions of how to work together, to take forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement, to build a better future for all” said UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, in her message to the young participants. “My only appeal to you is to be bold. The challenges we face are big -- we need to think big to overcome them, and we need to do this together, because I see partnership, truly, as the new leadership.

Creating job opportunities for young people in order to bring innovation to biosphere reserves and retain youth is important to the participants, who shared their priorities and needs ahead of the forum to shape the programme. In her welcome remarks, the Undersecretary of the Italian ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea, Barbara Degani, highlighted the potential of sustainable tourism to create jobs. This sector has grown by 76% last year in Italy, where 15 biosphere reserves have been established. “There is a need to diversify and create new services”, she continued. “In this process young people can make a difference, for example through digital tools and social media. We have great expectations for the forum’s outcomes about this topic. We know that it is a challenge, but it should be faced without fear.”

Other priorities include youth engagement in civil society, and the links between research and management practices. Together, they will exchange ideas and experiences on how communities an sustainably interact with their land and nature, creating jobs and livelihoods without endangering the environment and natural resources, taking advantage of green economy opportunities, strengthening resilience to climate change, and sharing responsibilities and benefits among all people involved.

You have heard the call to action launched by the Sustainable Development Goals and are here, as youth representatives or concerned citizens from all over the planet, ready to discuss in concrete terms what your engagement with UNESCO, the MAB programme and the Biosphere Reserves could and should be in the future,” observed UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for the Natural Sciences, Flavia Schlegel. “You are part of a large family. Biosphere reserves are home to about 240 million people, in 120 countries, and cover a surface roughly equivalent to that of China. It is a large and diverse network, one of hope, resilience and reconciliation.”

The youth representatives were warmly welcomed by the local community of the Po Delta Biosphere Reserve and representatives of the Veneto and Emilia Romagna regional governments. More than 25 young volunteers from the Po Delta and other parts of Italy are helping the organizers in making the forum possible. The forum is organized by UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere programme (MAB), UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe based in Venice and the Po Delta Biosphere Reserve, under the auspices of the Italian Ministries of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea; of Foreign Affairs; of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism; and of Education, Universities and Research. It counts with the support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo, the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna Regional Governments and the PiùInForma association.

The forum is organized as part of UNESCO’s efforts to ensure that young women and men are engaged in policies and programmes affecting them, and lead action to promote peace and sustainable development in their countries and communities. It is the first MAB Youth Forum. A delegation will come to Paris in October 2017 to present the main outcomes of this meeting to the participants of the UNESCO Youth Forum.





Categories: News

Second World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress opens in Ljubljana

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 16:43
news_190917_oer.jpg CC BY SA 19 September 2017

Milan Brglez, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, today welcomed over 500 experts, national delegates and Ministers of Education and Science to the 2nd World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress, organized by UNESCO and the Government of Slovenia from 18-20 September 2017 in Ljubljana.

"Education is a basic human rights that must be guaranteed to all individuals, regardless of the age, gender, material and social status or any other personal circumstance," Milan Berlez stated, adding that "the digital transformation of education is not a question of if or when, it is merely a question of how," and that quality and accessible education adapted to new learning environments and ICTs provide the most important tool for addressing global developmental imbalances.

In her opening video message, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova highlighted that: “good practices can be found at every level, from primary to vocational and higher education, and in every region, from North America to Sub-Saharan Africa.” She noted that “while steep challenges remain, this Congress provides a powerful opportunity to explore together ways to tackle them and take forward the 2030 Agenda where it matters most, at the national level.”     

The Congress, which has brought together 550 registered participants from 111 countries, marks 15 years of growth and development in open-licensed learning and teaching resources since the term “OER” was first coined at UNESCO in 2002. 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 a greater flexibility to use, share and adapt knowledge, OER rest within the framework of intellectual property rights that fully recognizes authorship of work, as defined in the relevant international conventions.

“OER must play a key role if all countries have a chance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of quality and lifelong education, and build peace through Knowledge Societies that are open and accessible to all,” said UNESCO Deputy Director-General Getachew Engida, in his welcoming address. Mr Engida underscored that OER combined with widening access to mobile smart devices will broaden access to knowledge resources. “Data connectivity fees required to read an open-licensed book on a mobile phone can cost as little as 2 or 3 cents,” Mr Engida said. “OER will amplify this impact, through fully recognizing authorship while being free to further share, retain, copy, redistribute or remix, including translating into local languages and cultural contexts.”

The Ljubljana Congress follows five years after the 1st World OER Congress was convened at UNESCO Headquarters. The 2012 Paris OER Declaration notably encourages governments to make open-licensing a requirement for all public and taxpayer funding allocated toward textbooks and other educational resources.

OER demonstrate a range of benefits from K-12 to technical, vocational and higher education levels addressing quality, relevance, adaptability, affordability, and pedagogic innovation. In a number of countries, OER offers the potential, if well-planned and executed, to help close the wide gap to achievement Sustainable Development Goal 4, supporting mobile and digitally-based access to near cost-free educational materials, or adaptation and translation of OER made available in multiple and especially indigenous languages.

At the Congress, a ministerial panel comprised of 12 Ministers of Education and Science underscored the need inter alia to develop greater diversity of languages for learning materials, policies to develop capacity of and partnership with teachers, and the need for both online as well as offline access options to broaden the reach of OER.

The 2nd World OER Congress follows on six regional consultations which brought together experts and policy makers from more than 100 countries, organized by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) in partnership with UNESCO. These were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (December 2016); Valletta, Malta (February 2017); Doha, Qatar (March 2017); Port Louis, Mauritius (March 2017); Sao Paulo, Brazil (April 2017); and Auckland, New Zealand (May 2017). National OER survey results also have been received to date from around 100 countries, reporting on current levels of progress in mainstreaming OER and the status of national and regional implementation of the 2012 Paris OER Declaration.

The Congress is expected to conclude with the adoption of the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan. This Action Plan will reflect the recommendations from the six regional consultations; an open consultation on these recommendations which were posted online in the months leading up to the Congress; as well as the deliberations that will take place during the Congress itself. The Action Plan identifies concrete actions to mainstream OER to support governments to achieve SDG 4 on Quality Education.

UNESCO and the Government of Slovenia co-organized the Ljubljana OER Congress, with the generous support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. UNESCO is the lead UN agency for coordinating and monitoring Sustainable Development Goal 4 on “Quality and Lifelong Education” and is mandated by its 195 Member States to promote the mainstreaming of OER.

Categories: News

Know Your City

Europaid - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:58
Categories: News

Forest Whitaker and Irina Bokova at Concordia Summit on power of connecting for peace

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:53
dg-concordia-whitaker.jpg © UNESCO

On 18 September 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, participated in the 2017 Concordia Annual Summit, held in New York, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

Every year, the Concordia Summit convenes the world’s most prominent business, government, and non-profit leaders to enable effective partnerships for impact.  Thought leaders and innovators gather at this global affairs forum to examine the world’s most pressing challenges and identify avenues for collaboration. 

On this occasion, the Director-General took part in a conversation with Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Special Envoy, in which they advocated for the frontline role that education plays in peace building and reconciliation, as well as the need for strengthened partnerships to unlock progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The session was moderated by CNBC Chief International Correspondent and “Power Lunch” Co-Anchor, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

Describing his foundation's work in South Sudan and Uganda and his partnership with UNESCO, Forest Whitaker said that "we create an environment where education and learning are key elements - we train youth to be leaders in their community, to be social entrepreneurs, we give a sense of identity and place, and do literacy work through community learning centres."

Ms Bokova asserted that education is the number one demand of parents displaced by conflict and crisis. "We are seeing innovative approaches but we are still not there - fifty percent of Syrian refugees are not in school - education is critical for peace, for fighting distorted visions of faith and history." 

She further emphasized that "partnership is the new leadership," noting that national ownership of the SDGs is key, together with citizen responsibility to craft new paths to development and peace.

Categories: News

Director-General deplores the killing of journalist Carlos William Flores in Honduras

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:04
19 September 2017

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, today condemned the killing of Carlos William Flores. Mr. Flores was killed on 13 September in the Honduran department of Cortes on the border with Guatemala. 

Unknown attackers on motorcycle shot Mr. Flores and a female colleague. He died shortly after in hospital, while his injured colleague survived. Carlos William Flores worked for Canal 22 in the town of Cuyamel. 

“I condemn the killing of Carlos William Flores,” said Director-General Bokova. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and plays an essential role in democracy. I urge the authorities to investigate this crime and to bring the perpetrators to justice.” 

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

Director-General chairs global initiative against violent extremism

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 09:57
dg-global-hope-ny.jpg © UNESCO

On 18 September, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, chaired the Global Hope Coalition Summit in New York on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, an initiative bringing together public leaders, private sector ‎and civil society advocates in the fight against intolerance and violent extremism.

On this occasion, a special tribute to everyday Heroes in the Global Campaign against Violent Extremism and Intolerance was held in the New York Public Library. The event highlighted individuals leading the struggle to prevent and counter violent extremism -- including Muzoon Almellehan (Syria), Dr Waleed Arian (Afghanistan), Colonel Matthew Bogdanos (USA), Jim Estill (Canada), May Makhzoumi (Lebanon),  Dr Denis Mukwege (Congo), Mansour Al-Nogaidan (Saudi Arabia), Sammy Rangel (USA), Lt. Kochar Saleh (Iraq) and Latifa Ibn Ziaten (France-Morocco). The event was moderated by CNN journalist, Brooke Baldwin.

The occasion brought together high-level speakers and guests including the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta; the President of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev; the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca; His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid of Marocco, HE Dr Ibrahim Al Jafaari Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, HE Minister Falah Mustafa, former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair; former First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush; and UNESCO Special Envoy, Forest Whitaker.

"If there is one lesson we learned in the struggle for human rights, it is the importance of hope,” said the Director-General. “Today, more than ever, we need new heroes to inspire hope to defend the values and freedoms that make us who we are…”

The Summit brought together Heads of State and government and United Nations heads of agencies, business leaders, cultural icons, philanthropists and human rights activists to launch the Global Hope Coalition to prevent and counter violent extremism and intolerance, preserve cultural and promote intercultural dialogue.

‎"With the newly formed Global Hope Coalition," said Irina Bokova, "we're coming together as a global community to help fight violent extremism and intolerance, protect cultural heritage, and encourage intercultural dialogue."

On the same occasion, Ambassador Ron Lauder presented a special tribute to the late Samuel Pisar -- UNESCO Special Envoy -- for his championship of human rights and dignity in the fight against anti-semitism, represented by Judith Pisar, UNESCO goodwill Ambassador and Special Envoy.

In the same context, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan presented a special award to Ms Laura Bush, former First Lady.

On the same day, the Director-General took part in the Global Hope Panel Discussion on “Women, Children, and the trauma of Extremism: An Urgent Call to Action” in the presence of the First Ladies of Mali and Rwanda, where they discussed the need to protect the most vulnerable victims of terrorism and violent extremism.

"We need strong measures to tackle this challenge, starting as early as possible, through education for human rights and for a culture of peace," said H.E. Ms Keïta Aminata Maïga, the First Lady of Mali, reminding all of the millennial history of Mali as a hub of learning and model of tolrance and living together.

"We have lived through great pain and loss during the genocide," said H.E. Ms Jeanette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda‎, reminding of the urgent need to act as early as possible against the warning signs of violent extremism.

“Women and children stand on the frontline of this struggle, and shoulder its heaviest burdens, for which we must support them,” said Irina Bokova. "At the same time, girls and women are increasingly vulnerable to the lure of radicalisation.”

“We must respond with the most powerful weapon we have,” declared Irina Bokova. “Education is the way to disarm processes that can lead to violent extremism, and to address the trauma of extremism."

In addition, the Director-General opened the Global Hope Coalition Leadership Council conversation on the theme of “Cultural heritage under attack : how to fight back ?” opened by Deborah Lehr, chaired by Ambassador Ron Lauder, with Fouad Makhzoumi, Juan Zarate, as well as Richard Kurin, Ambassador at Large, the Smithsonian Institution, Emily Rafferty, President emerita of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Professor Iber Ortayli‎ and HE Minister N'Diaye Ramatoulaye Diallo of Mali.


Categories: News

Irina Bokova meets Inger Andersen, Director-General of IUCN

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 00:11
dg-andersen-inger.jpg © UNESCO

New York, 18 September. In the context of the 72nd session of UNGA, the Director-General met Ms. Inger Andersen, Director-General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one of the two advisory bodies to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

"We have to go further together in terms of dialogue with Member States and stakeholders to preserve the integrity of the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention," said Irina Bokova, referring to the challenge and opportunity of fostering a better understanding of the links between various intergovernmental programmes and frameworks for the conservation of protected areas ranging from World Heritage, to Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO Geoparks.‎ "Our ultimate responsibility is to ensure long-term protection and conservation of sites and preserve the values underpinning these concepts and programmes for the future".

IUCN Director General Andersen pointed to the ‎importance of preservation efforts, in particular sustaining local efforts and training of managers of protected areas to ensure the long-term sustainable conservation of biodiversity.

Both Principals concurred with the need for respective organizations to better explain different regimes under the various UNESCO intergovernmental programmes in order to ensure enhanced understanding and support from countries to these concepts and to the values and requirements under the various programmes.

Ms. Andersen also shared recent initiatives by IUCN, such as the Green List initiative, which provides the opportunity to give worldwide recognition to the effective and sustainable management of national parks and protected areas, based on a two-year assessment of the biodiversity of species and serving as a counterweight to the IUCN Red List of endangered species.

While commending IUCN for its initiatives, Irina Bokova invited Ms. Andersen to strengthen dialogue cooperation between UNESCO and IUCN ever more in the future in the face of growing challenges for the conservation of world's biodiversity.


Categories: News