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Director-General denounces murder of journalist Carlos Oveniel Lara Domínguez in Honduras

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 17:29
03 November 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has called for an investigation into the killing of television reporter and cameraman Carlos Oveniel Lara Domínguez in Copán, western Honduras, on 23 October.

“I condemn the killing of Carlos Oveniel Lara Domínguez and urge the authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to trial,” said the Director-General. “Violence against the media must not go unpunished as it undermines freedom of expression, prevents journalists from doing their work, induces some to practice self-censorship, and deprives society from its right to access information.”

Unknown assailers shot Carlos Oveniel Lara Domínguez on his way to Canal 12 Telemaya, the television broadcaster for which he worked as a reporter and camera operator.

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

Developing regional capacity for ocean acidification observations in the Western Indian Ocean in support of the Sustainable Development Goal 14

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 16:59
article_oceanacidificationworkshop.jpg © UNESCO

The ocean absorbs up to 30% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic CO2 to the atmosphere, helping to alleviate the impacts of climate change on our planet. However, this comes at a steep ecological cost, resulting in changing acidity levels in the ocean. On 24-25 October 2017, ocean acidification research and monitoring in the Western Indian Ocean region was promoted at a workshop in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Little is actually known about ocean acidification in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), as long-term observations and relevant experiments have not been carried out. This means that countries in the WIO region are not able to report towards target 14.3 of Sustainable Development 14, which asks to “minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification”.

The Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) Ocean Acidification Workshop therefore provided the platform for a range of stakeholders, including scientists and policymakers, to discuss how to improve knowledge on the current and expected impacts of reduced pH on marine life in the region.

Twenty-three international experts representing international organizations and six countries from the WIO (Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania) used this unique opportunity to develop strategies to improve their scientific capacity to detect and observe the effects of ocean acidification, based on their countries’ vulnerability to ocean change.

“From local to global – this workshop is only the starting point. New projects and new capacities with respect to ocean acidification arising from our discussions here will create new knowledge. This understanding will enable the Western Indian Ocean communities to get prepared for the impacts of ocean acidification at the local and regional level, and it will improve global predictions needed for global actions,” said Kirsten Isensee, IOC Project Specialist, to the participants.

Acidification is the decrease in seawater pH and closely linked shifts in the carbonate chemistry of the waters, including the aragonite saturation state, which is the main form of calcium carbonate used by key species to form shells and skeletal material (e.g. reef building corals and shelled molluscs).

Concerns about ocean acidification, first expressed in the early 1980s, are now confirmed. Observations in the open ocean and coastal areas have revealed that marine acidity has increased on average by about 26% since the start of the Industrial Revolution. In some regions, the changes are further amplified by natural processes such as upwelling (often cold, CO2- and nutrient-rich water travelling from the deep sea toward the surface), resulting in conditions outside biologically-relevant thresholds.

As atmospheric CO2 levels increase, estimates indicate that the ocean could be nearly 150% more acidic by 2100.

The two-day workshop was kindly hosted by WIOMSA and the Nairobi Convention Secretariat, supported by IOC-UNESCO, Future Earth Coasts, the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), and the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) of the IAEA.

For more information, please contact:

Kirsten Isensee (k.isensee(at)

Categories: News

Call for enrollments: Massive Open Online Course on freedom of expression for African judges

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 15:21
news_mooc_688x358_03112017.jpg © UNESCO 03 November 2017

Judges, judicial officers, prosecutors, parliamentarians and lawyers are invited to enroll in the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on freedom of expression, access to information and the safety for journalists. The free, online course starts on 13 November 2017, and is offered by the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria and UNESCO.

The five-week course will elaborate on the international and regional legal frameworks of freedom of expression and relates issues. It will furthermore expand on challenges to freedom of expression in the digital age, especially in the African context. Case studies will also be relied upon to ensure in-depth and multi-faceted understanding of the course content. The course is also open for journalists, civil society, bloggers, human rights advocates, academics and others interested in the topic.

Registration to the course is free and can be access on this link.

Video lectures will be given by the Vice-President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Justice Ben Kioko, and Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, former Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information and Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Other trainers of the online course are UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General of Communication and Information, Frank La Rue and the Director of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, Prof Frans Viljoen.

The online course was preceded by a three-day seminar in Pretoria, South Africa, where judges from 13 African countries participated as well as a judge from the Economic Community of West Africa Court. In a video message welcoming the judges, Frank la Rue said: “You, the African judges, are of great importance for the defense of human rights on the continent.”

By the end of the course, participants will be familiar with the existing international, regional and sub-regional legal frameworks and mechanisms for the promotion and protection of freedom of expression, access to information, safety of journalists and related issues in Africa. It will elaborate and use various examples of landmark decisions that have previously been given by regional and sub-regional courts in Africa. The ECOWAS Court of Justice as well as the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights delivered various judgements on the issue of defamation and investigating the murder of journalists.

As judicial officers are essential partners in the development, interpretation, implementation and enforcement of laws, the course will provide them with the opportunity to increase their knowledge on issues related to freedom of expression, press freedom and the safety of journalists. Hence, they will be able to further contribute to ensuring a safe environment for journalists, good governance and more transparency through improving access to public information. The participants completing the MOOC will receive a certificate from Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria and UNESCO.

 This project is implemented in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which aims to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers.

The project received the support of Denmark and Open Society Foundations, with a technical contribution supported by Norway.

Categories: News

Education for Sustainable Development Prizewinners awarded by UNESCO and Japan

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:38
esd-prize-2017-ceremony-c-unesco.jpg © UNESCO/Nora HOUGUENADE 03 November 2017

The three winners of the 2017 UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) received their awards at a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on 3 November. They were awarded the prize in recognition of their innovative projects at the local, regional and international level.

This was the third edition of the prize, funded by the Government of Japan and created in 2014 to honour outstanding projects and programmes in the field of ESD. The three laureates for 2017 are: the social enterprise Zikra from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; the Hard Rain Project from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and Sihlengeni Primary School from the Republic of Zimbabwe.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, presented the award, saying “The Sustainable Development Goals mark strong recognition by the international community that countries need ESD to make the transition to green societies” Each laureate received a diploma, an award and US $50,000.

Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Yoshimasa Hayashi congratulated the winners, and encouraged their future efforts: “Receiving the award is the start of a journey rather than the finish line. I look forward to the varied efforts by laureates leading to further progress on ESD and greater quality of education around the world.”

The future is bright!

Sihlengeni Primary School in Zimbabwe won its award for its “Permaculture” programme which implements ESD through a whole-institution approach, providing learners with life skills while reducing land degradation and deforestation. “The future is bright for our Green Oasis of Zimbabwe!” exclaimed Headteacher Sibanga Ncube accepting the prize on behalf of the school. He added that winning the prize had boosted motivation for the future ESD work of his school as well as adjacent communities,

Zikra won the prize for its “Popular Learning Programme” which promotes equity between rural and urban communities though ‘exchange tourism’. Representing the social enterprise, co-founder Lama Kathieb said: “Our work has been dedicated to rediscovering local knowledge and employ it in fabricating solutions to community’s current struggles. We thank the UNESCO and the government of Japan for awarding us with this great prize.”

The Hard Rain Project was rewarded for its international exhibition projects “Hard Rain” and “Whole Earth?” which bring arts and science together to reach a large audience of citizens and leaders. Founder Mark Edwards said: “Education is a key element in the transition to a sustainable society, yet it’s often these projects that are hardest to fund. Thanks to the prize we can start work on our next exhibition that will showcase the Sustainable Development Goals.”

In addition to the award, the three winning organizations will be invited to become key partners of the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP), driving the GAP implementation forward in close collaboration with UNESCO.

The call for nominations for the fourth edition of the prize will be launched in January 2018.

Categories: News

Director-General condemns killing of journalist Qays Al-Qadi in Syria

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:28
03 November 2017The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the killing of Qays al-Qadi in Eastern Ghouta, near the Syrian capital Damascus, on 29 October.   “I condemn the killing of Qays Al-Qadi,” the Director-General said. “I remind all parties of their obligation to ensure the safety of journalists in conflict situations, in keeping with the Geneva Conventions.”   Qays al-Qadi was the bureau chief of the al Al-Jisr, a television channel based in Turkey. He was killed during an attack on Eastern Ghouta.   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

UNESCO New Delhi hosts an International Workshop on Digital Library Design

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 11:22
news_workshopdigitallibrarydesign_031117.jpg Participants of the International Workshop on Knowledge Engineering for Digital Library Design.© UNESCO 03 November 2017

The International Workshop jointly organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India (MHRD) asserts the need and urgency of creating an inclusive and open global platform for knowledge sharing among the National Digital Libraries.

An International Workshop on Knowledge Engineering for Digital Library Design was held at UNESCO office at New Delhi from 25 to 27 October 2017. The objective of the workshop was to bring together professionals and experts from the field of Digital Libraries to deliberate on the state-of- the-art technology, internationally accepted practices and policies available in the domain of digital libraries. The workshop also aimed at creating a forum for regular and sustained interactions amongst professionals of the international digital library community.

The workshop was attended by more than 200 participants from sixteen countries, who enriched the conclusions of the workshop by sharing their experience and commitments to the National Digital Library of India. The workshop also benefitted from expert deliberations of dignitaries such as Mr. Kewal Kumar Sharma, Secretary, MHRD, Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, the Director or UNESCO New Delhi Cluster Office and UNESCO Representative for Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka and Dr. Indrajit Banerjee, the Director of  Knowledge Societies Division, UNESCO Paris.

Participants of the workshop also took the opportunity to commemorate the International Open Access Week for 2017 (23-29 October 2017) and World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, which is celebrated every year on 27th of October.  For the former,  a dedicated session was organized with a panel sourced from South Asia,  which tabled a draft sub-regional policy on Open Access of scholarly contents.

Dr. Partha Pratim Das, Professor-in-Charge at IIT-KGP observed that the objectives of the International workshop were fully met.  “On behalf of IIT Kharagpur, we convey our sincere thanks and gratitude to UNESCO for the successful conclusion of this workshop and support to the National Digital Library of India. We look forward to a sustained collaboration as we enter the second phase of the project”, he noted.

The National Digital Library of India is virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility. Its feature includes filtered and federated search facility. NDL India is designed to hold content of any language and provides interface support for leading Indian languages (currently Hindi and Bengali). It is being arranged to provide support for all academic levels including researchers and life-long learners, all disciplines, all popular form of access devices and differently-abled learners. The National Digital Library also has a mission to collaborate and support South Africa, and South Asian countries in strengthening their digital libraries.

UNESCO, through its Knowledge Societies Division (KSD), promotes the application of ICTs to enhance the quality of and access to education, build scientific knowledge, promote open access to scientific research results, and empower local communities. UNESCO also promotes free and open source software, Open Access, open web and open standards, as well as protects and digitizes documentary heritage through the Memory of the World Programme. The organization also works to foster the role of libraries and archives and is responsible for further strengthening of the World Digital Library, among others.


For more information about this workshop contact

Categories: News

UNESCO and Sweden support countries to expand comprehensive sexuality education in Africa

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 11:11
unesco_and_sweden_support_comprehensive_sexuality_education_in_africa-c-adam_jan_figel-shutterstock-news.jpg Adam Jan Figel/ 03 November 2017

UNESCO and Sweden held an event 3 November 2017at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, to commemorate their partnership to support positive health, gender and education outcomes for adolescents and young people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Adolescents and young people in sub-Saharan Africa face many sexual and reproductive health challenges, including early and unintended pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, gender-based violence and child marriage. In the region, AIDS is the leading cause of death in young people aged 10-19 years, with adolescent girls and young women at disproportionate risk, acquiring HIV five to seven years earlier than men.

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, said the partnership between UNESCO and Sweden was empowering the youth of Africa to make informed and healthy decisions about their future. “The link between education and health is absolutely unequivocal. Healthy learners are better learners. Better educated learners have the knowledge and skills to stay healthy,” said the Director-General.

The event, Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future: Sweden’s support to UNESCO for expanding comprehensive sexuality education in Africa, was held during the 39th session of UNESCO’s General Conference. It featured interventions by UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, the Minister for Education of Sweden, Gustav Fridolin, and Ambassador to UNESCO for Zambia, Humphrey Chilu Chibanda, representing General Education Minister for Zambia, Dennis Wanchinga.

“Addressing the health challenges that undermine the well-being of sub-Saharan Africa’s young population is a top priority of Sweden’s development and foreign policy,” said the Minister for Education of Sweden, Gustav Fridolin. “All adolescents and young people deserve the opportunity to develop the skills and competencies they need to reduce early and unintended pregnancies, eliminate gender-based violence and prevent HIV.”

Ambassador to UNESCO for Zambia, Humphrey Chilu Chibanda, said he was pleased to join other African governments who will benefit from Sweden’s support to implement Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future. “The programme will support and accelerate our efforts and commitment to ensure that comprehensive sexuality education empowers adolescents and young people, while developing the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and competencies needed to sustain positive education, health and gender equality outcomes. We fully stand behind young people’s rights, lives and future.”

Through Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future, UNESCO and Sweden will support UNESCO Member States to provide adolescents and young people with CSE that promotes gender equality and human rights and addresses gender norms and stereotypes. The growing body of evidence confirms that well-implemented sexuality education programmes result in young people delaying age of first sex, reduced frequency of sex, reduced number of sex partners, and increased rates of condom use.

The programme directly contributes to the education, health and gender Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It expands on existing work in Eastern & Southern Africa through the ESA Commitment, with new projects in West & Central Africa. It focuses on Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC and Nigeria, with the benefits set to extend to Benin, Chad, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Lesotho, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

Sweden has committed 79.7 million SEK (approximately 10 million USD) over the next three years to the Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future project, bringing their total support for CSE to 220 million SEK (approximately 30 million USD) over an 8-year period.

Categories: News

The Union's External Investment Plan

Europaid - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 11:06
Categories: News

Director-General condemns assassination of journalist Arkan Sharifi in Iraq

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:43
03 November 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today called for an investigation into the killing of television cameraman Arkan Sharifi in the Iraqi city of Daquq, in the Governorate of Kirkuk, on 30 October.

“I condemn the murder of Arkan Sharifi,” said the Director-General. “In the interest of defending both freedom of expression and freedom of information, I urge the authorities to investigate this crime and take all legal steps available to end violence against the media.”

In the early hours of 30 October, armed men broke into the home of Kurdistan Television camera operator Arkan Sharifi and killed him.

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

Shaking up youth engagement at the 10th UNESCO Youth Forum

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 09:48
selfie_youthforum2017.jpg © UNESCO

Inspirational young change-makers from all over the world gathered at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for a pilot edition of the 10th UNESCO Youth Forum, from 25 to 26 October 2017.

“When I met with the United Nations Secretary-General, he had a very simple message for me – “Misbehave.” That’s right! And over these two days, I want you all to misbehave too. Be bold in your advice, be unafraid to speak your mind. If we are not bringing new ideas to the table and challenging the status quo, then we are not going to change much at all,” said Jayathma Wikramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, in her opening address to the participants of the Forum.

The primary objective of this Forum was to bring young women and men, that are leading innovative initiatives in their countries and communities related to a UNESCO field of competence, together with UNESCO staff members working on youth actions to discuss “Rethinking youth engagement with UNESCO.”

The overall vision of the 10th UNESCO Youth Forum, that concluded two days of intensive work, is that UNESCO needs to be “a platform and catalyst for change where the youth co-creates what the youth needs.”

60 participants were selected from over 2,500 proposals. All are leading or co-shaping a social initiative related to a UNESCO area of specialization and most have first-hand experience of the many issues being tackled at UNESCO (including school drop-out, refugee issues, post-conflict and emergency contexts).

This grassroots experience was remarkably reflected in the discussions that took place at the Forum, which included youth engagement in thematic issues such as peacebuilding, addressing environmental degradation and youth as effective cultural ambassadors, as well as discussions on more regional-level engagement with youth.

The decision to pilot a new edition for the Forum followed a large-scale impact analysis, both of previous UNESCO Youth Fora, and of the implementation of UNESCO’s Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021. The results showed that Forum recommendations are rarely taken on board, the follow-up commitment of youth participants has been very low and when it comes to UNESCO’s youth actions across UNESCO, young people continue to be treated as mere beneficiaries and not as actors and partners. The message was clear – UNESCO needs to engage differently with youth!

In February 2016, UNESCO began interacting directly with young women and men from all over the world via digital media. The UNESCO Youth Facebook community was born, as was the #YouthOfUNESCO storytelling initiative, which aims to provide a platform for young people leading change in their communities.

Thanks to this community and the Forum, UNESCO is now in touch with young environmentalists and peacekeepers, social entrepreneurs, inventors, educators and youth activists from all continents, many of whom are already developing ground-breaking solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Categories: News

Dealing with tsunamis in the Caribbean - practical workshops

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:06
rsz_1dsc08772.jpg © UNESCO

Alongside its partners, the UNESCO-IOC Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) is organizing the second workshop of a training series to ensure that national officials can take the necessary action to save lives and property in the case of a tsunami in the Caribbean and neighboring regions.

With the financial, technical and administrative support of various partners, the UNESCO/IOC Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) is organizing a Regional Training Workshop on Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) Enhanced Tsunami Products in Cartagena, Colombia from 31 October to 02 November 2017. The training will benefit twenty-six participants from fifteen Member States of the Intergovernmental Coordinating Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS).

The Caribbean and its adjacent regions are prone to earthquake and tsunamis. Over the last ten years, there have been significant improvements in analyzing earthquakes, modelling tsunamis and distributing information, allowing national disaster management officials to effectively receive, analyze and take appropriate action based on the PTWC tsunami forecasts. Due to the impacts of extreme weather events during the 2017 hurricane season, lessons to be learned, particularly in relation to communications and observing systems, will notably be discussed during the training, in addition to exercises and teaching on various topics ranging from evacuation planning to awareness strategies.

Between 2014 and 2017, more than 250 staff from Caribbean governmental agencies received training on tsunami preparedness and over 1,400,000 people have participated in tsunami evacuation exercises.

For further information, please contact:

Bernardo Aliaga (

Categories: News

UNESCO releases new publication on advancing multistakeholder participation in Internet governance

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:52
news_021117_int_governance.jpg © Shutterstock 02 November 2017What if all interested stakeholders had a say on how the Internet is governed? And what if we – including governments, the private sector, academia, civil society groups and Internet users – could all define what values, principles and rules should apply online?

Addressing different issues related to Internet governance and multistakeholder participation practices, UNESCO’s new publication What if we all governed the Internet? unpacks assumptions on how the Internet is shaped and stresses the ongoing relevance of involving multiple actors in the development of a collaborative and sustainable Internet.

The study was elaborated in the effort to implement UNESCO’s Internet Universality framework (R.O.A.M.), which advocate for a Human-rights-based, Open and Accessible Internet, governed by Multi-stakeholder participation.  Specifically, it responds to the action recommended by the CONNECTing the Dots Outcome Document that UNESCO “support Member States in ensuring that Internet policy and regulation involves the participation of all stakeholders, and integrates international human rights and gender equality”.

As pointed out by this Study, written by independent expert Anri van der Spuy, our understanding of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance must adapt to meet new challenges as the Internet becomes more central to knowledge societies.

To strengthen UNESCO’s role in the field, this Study provides the results of a comprehensive investigation of the evolution of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance in theory and in practice.

Four good practices are assessed, covering the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), the Marco Civil da Internet, legal challenges in South Korea and the Internet Governance Forum’s “best practice forum on Gender”.

The research finds that there is no unitary “multistakeholder Internet governance” modality but different governance models that often work in relationship to other approaches. But it shows how genuine participatory processes can impact on policy-making mechanisms, legislation and norms in ways that advance human rights online, as well as the Internet’s role in sustainable development.

The study identified those values underpinning multistakeholder mechanisms to be inclusive; diverse; collaborative; transparent; flexible and relevant; private and safe; and accountable. It concludes with certain lessons and recommendations that can strengthen multistakeholder approaches in practice.

This 11th edition is part of the UNESCO publication series on Internet Freedom that started in 2009 and that addresses issues related to the Internet, privacy, encryption, human rights, media and information literacy and journalistic sources. This series aims to provide UNESCO’s Member States and other stakeholders with policy recommendations to foster freedom of expression on the net. UNESCO thanks the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for their support.

UNESCO started to launch and advocate this publication in a number of Internet governance events including at the ICANN Conference in Abu Dhabi 2017 and the forthcoming Internet Governance Forum in Geneva, December 2017.

The publication and a summary information brochure are available at:

Categories: News

Robotics ethics: a technology-based ethical framework for today and tomorrow

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 20:13
robots_shutterstock_razum.jpg © UNESCO

A report aiming to raise awareness and promote public consideration and inclusive dialogue on ethical issues concerning the different use of contemporary robotic technologies in society was finalized by the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology of UNESCO (COMEST) in September 2017, and publicly released in October 2017.

Robotic technologies blur the boundary between human subjects and technological objects. In doing so, they do not only have societal implications which can be ethically evaluated, but they also affect the central categories of ethics: our concepts of agency and responsibility, and our value frameworks. Given the increasing autonomy of robots, the question arises who exactly should bear ethical and/or legal responsibility for robot behaviour. This is one of many issues that COMEST addresses in its report.

Robotic technologies have been used for industrial and military purposes since the mid-20th century. Since then, these technologies have been increasingly applied in other areas, such as transportation, health care, education, agriculture, and the home environment. Robotic technologies come in many forms, from the rapidly developing concept of autonomous vehicles, to the use of robots in surgery, therapeutic care, elderly care, and as educational tools for children.

Robotics today is increasingly based on artificial intelligence (AI) technology, with human-like abilities in sensing, language, interaction, problem solving, learning, and even creativity. The main feature of such ‘cognitive machines’ is that their decisions are unpredictable, and their actions depend on stochastic (random) situations and on experience. This is very different from robots whose behaviour are determined by the program that control their actions (deterministic robots). The question of accountability of actions of cognitive robots is therefore crucial.

The rapidly increasing presence of cognitive robots in society is becoming more challenging. They affect human behaviours and induce social and cultural changes, while also generating issues related to safety, privacy, and human dignity.

In its report, COMEST proposes a technology-based ethical framework to consider recommendations on robotics ethics based on the distinction between deterministic and cognitive robots. COMEST further identifies ethical values and principles that can be helpful to set regulations at every level and in a coherent manner, from engineers’ codes of conduct to national laws and international conventions. These relevant ethical principles and values include: (i) human dignity; (ii) value of autonomy; (iii) value of privacy; (iv) “do not harm” principle; (v) principle of responsibility; (vi) value of beneficence; and (vii) value of justice. The principle of human responsibility is the common thread that joins the different values that are enunciated in the report.

In this regard, COMEST also makes a number of specific recommendations concerning the application of robotic technologies. These recommendations cover a wide variety of areas, from the further development of codes of ethics for roboticists, to the need for retraining and retooling of the work force, as well as to the advice against the development and use of autonomous weapons.

See also:

Categories: News

Education Ministers focus on strengthening accountability and financing

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 19:38
1stnov_sc-meeting.jpg © UNESCO-Alix 01 November 2017

At the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference, two ministerial panel debates explored the different mechanisms established by governments to promote accountability and transparency, including public monitoring and reporting. The high-level event with Education Ministers examined how greater accountability can benefit funding for education, and move the Education 2030 agenda forward.   

“The presence of so many Ministers, from so many parts of the world, testifies to the strength of the commitment to education we share,” said UNESCO Director-General Ms Irina Bokova. “Education as a fundamental human right […] to eradicate poverty, to empower people, to prevent violent extremism, to protect our planet.”

A presentation on accountability in education helped frame the two panel discussions by clarifying the notion of accountability in education, the diversity of approaches, as well as the critical issue of accountability in the financing of education. Accountability aims to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of education systems, to improve individual, social and development outcomes for all. It needs timely, reliable, and transparent data that can inform decisions to deploy funds and regulate education institutions. 

“Accountability helps show who is responsible for what, and how problems can be fixed,” said Mr Manos Antoninis, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM) during his presentation on Accountability in education. “Everybody has a responsibility in education, but accountability starts with governments.”  

Accountability in the Financing of Education

The first panel focused on the diversity of approaches in accountability and its aims to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of education systems, ultimately in view of improving individual, social and development outcomes for all. By featuring the multitude of approaches, policy measures, strategies and tools used by governments in the context of SDG, this panel discussion identified the enabling environments required for effective accountability across the diversity of contexts. The debate included the Ministers of Education of France, Finland, Estonia, Bolivia, China, Liberia and Palestine.

“Accountability provides a powerful tool for change,” said Mr Andreas Schleicher, Director of the OECD’s Directorate of Education and Skills, who led the panel debate. “To move education ahead, very significant progress is needed.” 

Mr Dankert Vedeler, Co-Chair of the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, emphasized the importance of efficient and credible monitoring mechanisms, with timely and relevant data at all levels, including at the UN level.

Accountability in the Financing of Education

The second panel examined ways in which improved accountability can improve financing, both domestic and international financing, for education. Financial accountability is key to the success of Education 2030. The two obligations are that institutions report on how resources have been spent and that institutions act in accordance with the rule of law. Ministers of Education from Canada, Slovenia, Cuba, Cook Islands, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh participated in the debate.

“Financing is one of the greatest challenges faced by the low income and middle income countries in achieving SDG 4 by 2030,” said H.E. Mr Nurul Islam Nahid, Minister of Education of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the E-9 Group. “Through “Dhaka Declaration” we, the E-9 countries, have reaffirmed our commitments regarding increased government funding for education and ensuring accountability through its efficient use.”

“Financing education matters to children and families,” said Ms Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education, who led the panel on accountability in financing education. “They care about whether the financing that has been promised is being delivered.”  

UNESCO’s 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report highlights the responsibility of governments to provide universal quality education and stresses that accountability is indispensable in achieving this goal. The Report warns that disproportionate blame on any one actor for systemic educational problems can have serious negative side effects, widening inequality and damaging learning. 

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Russian journalism community and academia engage in UNESCO’s project to develop Internet Universality indicators

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 13:30
news_011117_russia.jpg UNESCO consultation event on Internet indicators held during the annual European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) conference, 19 October 2017 in Moscow, Russia.© Igor Anisimov 01 November 2017While the emerging digital environment offers great opportunities for journalists, it also poses challenges regarding human rights online, the safety of journalistic sources, the public access to information, the digital divide and also the gender gap in the media. This was the overall message of Russian experts, academics and journalists at a recent event in Moscow.

This assessment was part of the dialogue around UNESCO’s project to develop Internet Universality indicators, convened during the annual European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) conference, 19 October 2017, held at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

“It is crucial to consult with journalism and media community to develop Internet indicators, as the indicators’ project draws on UNESCO’s experience with the Media Development Indicators, and it helps to measure an expanded communication and media ecosystem,” stated UNESCO’s Xianhong Hu at the event.

She explained that the project aims to help governments and other stakeholders assess the extent to which Internet Universality principles govern their national Internet environments according to five categories of indicators, concerned with: human Rights (R), Openness (O), Accessibility (A), Multistakeholder participation (M) and Crosscutting issues (X).

The Moscow meeting is part of global consultations and drew from participants at the annual European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) conference– whose theme was “Journalism Education Across Borders”.

“Internet should be understood as something broader than access to social media” pointed out by Elena Vartanova, Dean of the Faculty of Journalism at Lomonosov Moscow State University. She suggested “a majority of countries are still facing the digital divide and access to the Internet should possibly be seen as a human right”.

Tao Zhan, UNESCO Director of Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), opened the consultation by asking a key question: “what is the future of education?” According to him, all answers lead to the Internet, hence the relevance of developing a safer and more sustainable Internet environment. He shared that the mission of the UNESCO IITE is the promotion of the technologies in this sphere along with ensuring reaching Sustainable Development Goals and improving the level of media and information literacy of the audience.

“Internet indicators should allow us to promote a more positive Internet environment and develop more complex approaches to tackle those complex challenges” pointed out Prof. Pál Tamás from the Hungarian Academy of Science. He expressed concerns about communicative media being used for promoting intolerance and cultivating a blind acceptance of reality, and negative experiences of disintermediation, “fake news”, hate speech, radicalization, polarization, post-factualism and sensationalism on the Internet.

“Human rights on the Internet should be prioritized when assessing Internet development” asserted Elena Sherstoboeva from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.  She suggested the use of sub-indicators such as: whether the legal framework is transparent, whether the laws promote adequate measures for human rights, and how they are implemented.

Nadezhda Azhgikhina from the Lomonosov Moscow State University stressed the gender issues that women journalists and bloggers face more and more threats online and that these issues could only be solved by a multistakeholder approach and the active participation of government, scholars and businesses.

“Modern Internet technologies should be used to prevent Internet from compromising social relations by supporting preservation of language diversity, ensure digital vitality of languages and equal possibilities and asses the rare mobility” stated Tatyana Murovana representing UNESCO IITE. She stressed “Media and Information Literacy for the well-being and progress of the individual, the community, the economy and civil society” as an integral component for accessibility indicators.

UNESCO’s project to define Internet universality indicators also provides for online contributions, which can be made in any of the six UN languages (EN, FR, ES, RU, AR, CH) at the online platform

The project is supported by Sweden and the Internet Society, and the elaboration of the indicators will be finalized by June 2018, in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications Consortium.

Categories: News

Heads of State and Government voice powerful support for multilateral action and UNESCO at Leaders Forum

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 11:20
leadersforum2017_688px.jpg ©UNESCO/Nora Houguenade 01 November 2017

Leaders from Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and the South Pacific today delivered resounding pleas for multilateral efforts to tackle the challenges facing the world at UNESCO’s Leaders Forum on 31st October.

Highlighting the importance of concerted action to tackle disparate challenges including extremist radicalization and climate change, the leaders took the floor during the third edition of the Leaders Forum, which, since 2013, has been coming together during UNESCO’s General Conference, which assembles its 195 Members States every two years.

Zohour Alaoui, the President of the 39th session of the General Conference welcomed participants to what she described as a prospective dialogue entitled this year, The Sustainable Development Goals and UNESCO’s Role in the Multilateral System. “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development was adopted two years ago,” the President of the 39th session of the General Conference said. “Since then, UNESCO has been working to ensure that Member States manage the transition of their societies in the most inclusive manner possible and that nobody is left behind.”

In her address, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO declared: “Today, when we see the rise of doctrines based on withdrawal and rejection of others, I believe we need the same courage and the same commitment towards peace, dialogue and empathy,” as were needed in 1945 when UNESCO was created in the wake of World War II. “This is what I have called a new humanism,” she added. “In these times of limits – limits of resources, limits of the planet - we must invest in the potential of human ingenuity, in the power of innovation, quality education and scientific research, in the power of dialogue. This is our ultimate renewable energy.”

Olivier Solonandrasana Mahafaly, Prime Minister of the Republic of Madagascar, welcomed the theme for the forum. “Madagascar believes that the time has come to share all available resources to focus UNESCO’s programmes on the challenges facing our States in education, the enhancement of human resources, the protection of the environment, to name but a few. In the face of these challenges, multilateralism is our greatest asset. We must work in solidarity, pool our actions and expertise to achieve the SDGs. I also invite UNESCO to promote the innovative funding methods needed to support actions already undertaken.”

Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, highlighted the progress achieved by the UN over 72 years and cited recent multilateral agreements on climate change, security and peace. “These agreements are not like regular contracts. They do not tell us what will happen if a party is in breach, or does not fulfil its duties. That is because the challenges which brought them about are too urgent and interconnected for this,” he argued. “UNESCO plays a critical role in our multilateral system. It has rallied actors from all over the world to protect our shared cultural heritage. It has promoted cooperation for advances in education, science and technology, which benefit us all. […] I regret the decision of Member States to withdraw from membership of UNESCO. […] Make no mistake, any loss for multilateralism is a loss for people and our humanity.

In his address, Bakir Izetbegovic, Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, described UNESCO as a true partner to the government and people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably thanks to its contribution to the preservation of the country’s “cultural and multicultural heritage.” […] “The peace agreement [of 1995] integrated cultural heritage preservation. This was a first in a peace agreement,” he said. “We all remember when the Old Bridge of Mostar was destroyed, but we also all remember the date of when it was rebuilt. The reconstruction of the old bridge initiated a process of fruitful regional cooperation to preserve culture.” Mr Izetbegovic went on to argue “there can be no lasting peace when injustice and inequalities are the daily reality of so many people. Injustice and inequality make our societies vulnerable. […] In many places of the world, people cannot rebuild bridges without the help of the international community. UNESCO has always had a role in building bridges in education, science, culture and communication, let us keep it so.”

Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan spoke of his government’s progress in UNESCO’s fields of competence, since the fall of the Taliban. Invoking progress in education, notably girls’ education and in the development of independent media, the Vice-President highlighted the crucial role of international cooperation in protecting these achievements from the attacks of terrorists from all over the world. “Let us lead a global cultural movement against terrorism by repairing destroyed historical sites and protecting other remaining heritage and strengthening of cultures of all nations. UNESCO should take the lead of this movement. We believe a world with UNESCO is more beautiful and brighter. A World without UNESCO would be a dark and lightless world. In a world without education, science and culture, only terror, fear and violence would rule.”

Henry Puna, Prime minister of Cook Islands, spoke of the interconnection between all the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. “While UNESCO obviously responded to those of its direct mandate, such as SDG 4 on education, SDG 5 on gender, the work of IHP on SDG 6 and on water and sanitation or the role of both the Communications and SHS programmes in contributing to SDG 16 as examples, the reality is, UNESCO contributes to all the goals of our global agenda,” he argued.

“There is huge diversity amongst the starting point of Member States both across, and within, the goals. How UNESCO programmes areas develop their own plans, will need to ensure a modality of working from the ground up, finding the points of commonality, whilst supporting individual results. Dare I say it, much like a teacher planning a lesson for a class of different levels, and learning styles.”

Boil Banov, Minister of Culture, Special Representative of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria, described UNESCO as a unique institution. “One of its core values is to spread humanism,” he said. “We need to make very responsible decisions because the future of the human species is at stake. UNESCO must play a very important role. The 2030 agenda is an innovative agenda in that it recognizes that there can be no development without lasting peace,” which underscores the importance of UNESCO for its implementation. “This is an organization that has taken innovative action in the fields of education, science culture and youth. It has stood in opposition of violence, racism and discrimination. UNESCO has always upheld the view that culture shapes identity and self-image and we wouldn’t know who we were without the heritage of thousands of years of culture. Safeguarding cultural heritage is therefore important to recognize the efforts that have been undertaken before us and promote mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue.

The President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita focused on the ordeals experienced by his country due to fundamentalist violence and thanked the commitment of the Director-General of UNESCO. “Under your initiative, UNESCO launched an ambitious campaign to rebuild World Heritage in Mali. […] Our indignation is great at scenes of destruction of properties that belong to humanity as a whole and bear testimony to the creativity of human civilizations. Just as great as our indignation, is our open wrath at the dallying of the international community. The world cannot just watch as mercenaries erase centuries of traces of our shared history.”

“The world is facing violent extremism and other challenges that threaten peace in the world, the condition for any development. These challenges justify the need to reinforce the role of UNESCO and our collaboration with it,” said the President before invoking the need for us to be worthy of the Organization’s founders who were convinced that, in the words of UNESCO’s Constitution, “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”

Categories: News

64 cities join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 17:19
guadalajara_688px.jpg © UNESCO 31 October 201764 cities from 44 countries have been designated as UNESCO Creative Cities by Director-General, Irina Bokova. They join a Network at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development. This network attracts growing interest from local authorities.   “These new designations showcase an enhanced diversity in city profiles and geographical balance, with 19 cities from countries not previously represented in the Network” declared the Director-General. She added, “The cooperation framework proposed to foster candidate cities from the Africa region – a UNESCO Global Priority – has been a true success with 9 African cities now joining the Network.”   The new 64 UNESCO Creative Cities are:
  • Alba (Italy) – Gastronomy
  • Almaty (Kazakhstan) – Music
  • Amarante (Portugal) – Music
  • Auckland (New Zealand) – Music
  • Baguio City (Philippines) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Barcelos (Portugal) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Braga (Portugal) – Media Arts
  • Brasilia (Brazil) – Design
  • Bristol (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Film
  • Brno (Czechia) – Music
  • Bucheon (Republic of Korea) – Literature
  • Buenaventura (Colombia) – Gastronomy
  • Cairo (Egypt) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Cape Town (South Africa) – Design
  • Carrara (Italy) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Changsha (China) – Media Arts
  • Chennai (India) – Music
  • Chiang Mai (Thailand) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Chordeleg (Ecuador) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Cochabamba (Bolivia [Plurinational State of]) – Gastronomy
  • Daegu Metropolitan City (Republic of Korea) – Music
  • Dubai (United Arab Emirates) – Design
  • Durban (South Africa) – Literature
  • Frutillar (Chile) – Music
  • Gabrovo (Bulgaria) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • [City of] Greater Geelong (Australia) – Design
  • Guadalajara (Mexico) – Media Arts
  • Hatay Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) – Gastronomy
  • Istanbul (Turkey) – Design
  • João Pessoa (Brazil) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Kansas City (United States of America) – Music
  • Kolding (Denmark) – Design
  • Kortrijk (Belgium) – Design
  • Košice (Slovakia) – Media Arts
  • Kütahya (Turkey) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Lillehammer (Norway) – Literature
  • Limoges (France) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Łódź (Poland) – Film
  • Macao Special Administrative Region, China (Associate Member, UNESCO) – Gastronomy
  • Madaba (Jordan) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Manchester (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Literature
  • Mexico City (Mexico) – Design
  • Milan (Italy) – Literature
  • Morelia (Mexico) – Music
  • Norrköping (Sweden) – Music
  • Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Panama City (Panama) – Gastronomy
  • Paraty (Brazil) – Gastronomy
  • Pesaro (Italy) – Music
  • Porto-Novo (Benin) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Praia (Cabo Verde) – Music
  • Qingdao (China) – Film
  • Québec City (Canada) – Literature
  • San Antonio (United States of America) – Gastronomy
  • Seattle (United States of America) – Literature
  • Sheki (Azerbaijan) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Sokodé (Togo) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Terrassa (Spain) – Film
  • Tétouan (Morocco) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Toronto (Canada) – Media Arts
  • Tunis (Tunisia) – Crafts and Folk Art
  • Utrecht (Netherlands) – Literature
  • Wuhan (China) – Design
  • Yamagata City (Japan) – Film
Since 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network highlights its members’ creativity within seven fields:  Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. It now counts a total of 180 cities in 72 countries.   While differing geographically, demographically or economically, all Creative Cities commit to develop and exchange innovative best practices to promote creative industries, strengthen participation in cultural life, and integrate culture into sustainable urban development policies.   Within the framework of the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, the Network provides a platform for cities to demonstrate culture’s role as an enabler for building sustainable cities.    The next Annual Meeting of the Creative Cities Network is scheduled to take place in Krakow and Katowice (Poland) in June 2018.     ***   More information on the Creative Cities Network   Media Contact: Lucía Iglesias, UNESCO Press Service Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 02,
Categories: News