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Advocacy for Quality Education for All in Africa

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 23:26
dg-aa-afd.jpg © UNESCO/Christelle ALIX 19 January 2018

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, advocated for education as a priority investment for sustainable development at a conference organized by the French Development Agency (AFD) in Paris on 19 January 2018.

During a round table with the Ministers of Education of Senegal, Serigne Mbaye Thiam, and France, Jean-Michel Blanquer, as well as the CEO of the Global Partnership for Education, Alice Patricia Albright, the Director-General outlined priorities to meet the challenges of educational access and quality in a region that still counts 32 million out-of-school children and faces advancing urbanization as well as conflict and crises situations.

To implement the 2030 Education Agenda, the Director-General outlined three priorities for Africa. First, the relevance of teaching and learning, right through to higher education. This involves adapting curricula and pedagogies, training teachers and drawing on new knowledge from the field of cognitive sciences.

The second priority is to better articulate education, health and employment policies, while the third priority focuses on the transmission of values for responsible citizenship and peace education. In this regard, the Director-General shared UNESCO's initiative, led with with African Ministers of Education, to develop educational content based on the ten volumes of The General History of Africa.

In all of these dimensions, the Director-General stressed that priority attention should be given to gender equality, in particular to the education of young adolescent girls.

"The challenges are immense and we must all contribute through our mandates. UNESCO coordinates Sustainable Development Goal 4 and focuses on its added value: supporting public policies, sharing innovation and research, collecting statistical data and monitoring results," concluded the Director-General.

The event, opened by the Director- General of the French Development Agency, Rémi Rioux, was held in preparation for the Global Partnership for Education’s Replenishment Conference, to be co-hosted by France and Senegal, in Dakar on 1 and 2 February, in which UNESCO will participate. This conference is a unique opportunity to increase international mobilization and aid to education, which has been steadily decreasing since 2009.

Categories: News

Protecting biodiversity at the heart of UNESCO’s action

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 21:08
dg-aa-jane-goodall.jpg © UNESCO/Christelle ALIX 19 January 2018

On the occasion of the screening of Brett Morgen's film "Jane" at UNESCO Headquarters on 19 January 2018, in the presence of Dr Jane Goodall, primatologist, anthropologist, anthropologist, the Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, issued a powerful call for the protection of biodiversity.

"All great ape species are now threatened with extinction, said the Director-General, even as the work of Dr Jane Goodall has taught us how close we are to them. This is why UNESCO is committed to the protection of biodiversity."

This film, produced by National Geographic and directed by Brett Morgen, pays tribute to a lifetime’s work of an exceptional woman, Dr Jane Goodall, who devoted more than 50 years to the study and protection of great apes.

Jane Goodall is a laureate of the UNESCO 60 Years Gold Medal.

 

Categories: News

Republic of Korea to contribute resources for UN Decade of Ocean Science

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:17
article_koreaceremony.jpg © UNESCO

Paris, France – Barely a month after the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), the Republic of Korea announces a contribution of nearly US$230,000 to support preparations and enhance efforts to monitor the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 14 – to conserve and sustainable use the ocean and its resources.

The Korean contribution comes in the form of both financial and human resources to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), UN body responsible for coordinating UN Decade of Ocean Science preparations between now and the official kick-off date, 1 January 2021. 

Officials from the Korean Government and the IOC met at UNESCO Headquarters to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) framing a contribution of funds as well as staff support to build the UN Decade of Ocean Science. Among various preparatory activities, the resources will help set up a website, kick-start a dedicated Decade Secretariat, and organize global and regional stakeholder consultations to agree on a collective roadmap and scientific plan for the ten years ahead. 

“The Republic of Korea has participated in this project from its initial stage, and will continue to provide financial and human support and promote the joint use of high-tech equipment through this MOU that was concluded today for the successful implementation of the Ocean Decade,” stated in writing H.E. Young Choon Kim, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea.

“The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development has entered its development phase. IOC Member States are strongly behind this initiative, which will help federate and generate actionable ocean knowledge to meet the needs of society. Today, the Decade finds a champion in the Republic of Korea, and we are thankful for its commitments to support IOC’s role in this important initiative. I invite all IOC Member States and partners to contribute and engage in the preparation of a truly transformative and inclusive Decade,” said Mr Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC Executive Secretary.

Through the same agreement, the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries also commits to finance production and provide staff support toward the second edition of the Global Ocean Science Report (GOSR). The first edition of this UNESCO-IOC flagship report (June 2017) was the first-ever stocktaking of who, how and where ocean science is conducted around the world. Much of the funding is destined to build an online portal and data repository that will render all Global Ocean Science Report data open to the public and, in particular, to Governments wishing to share relevant information about national ocean science structures.

On behalf of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) will oversee the implementation of the agreement with UNESCO’s IOC, including through the identification and selection of scientific staff to support the Ocean Decade and the Global Ocean Science Report online portal.

At the signing ceremony, Acting President of KIOST Young Je Park expressed his satisfaction with the various elements of the MOU. “I am delighted to conclude two Voluntary Funds-in-Trust Agreements for the Ocean Decade and the GOSR… Based on these agreements, we will encourage the experts of KIOST to actively participate in these projects.”

Dr. Sang-Kyung Byun of the Republic of Korea was the IOC Chair during the critical period when the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. With reference to the GOSR, the Republic of Korea has continuously supported its publication and hosted the second meeting of the GOSR Editorial Board in October 2016.

Mr Vladimir Ryabinin also reiterated the central role of the Korean Government in supporting the Global Ocean Science Report. He highlighted the importance of GOSR as a “quantitative mechanism to measure capacity in ocean science, which is so needed in all regions and most countries of the world, and the continuously growing cooperation in ocean science across developing and developed countries.”

For more information about the MOU or the Global Ocean Science Report, please contact:

Salvatore Aricò (s.arico(at)unesco.org)

For more information about the UN Decade of Ocean Science, please contact:

Julian Barbière (j.barbiere(at)unesco.org

Categories: News

UNESCO mobilizes to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:19
19 January 2018

On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated each year on 27 January, UNESCO is mobilizing to honor and reaffirm its commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and any other form of intolerance.

 

From 22 to 25 January, UNESCO, in partnership with the Holocaust Memorial, is organizing a series of events to commemorate the day whose theme this year is Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility.

- 22 January (8 pm, Room I): Screening of the film The Four Sisters: The Hippocratic Oath - Ruth Elias, in presence of the director, Claude Lanzmann and the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay. This is the first part of a tetralogy to be broadcast soon on French- German TV, ARTE.          

- January 25 (3:30 pm, Room IV): Round table on " Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility",with:

  • Serge Klarsfeld, lawyer, historian, UNESCO Special Envoy for Education about the Holocaust and the Prevention of Genocide;
  • Henri Rousso, historian, Research-Director at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS);
  • Floriane Hohenberg, Director of the International Tracing Service (Germany).

- 25 January 18h30 (Room I): Ceremony dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in the presence of the President of the Shoah Memorial, Eric de Rothschild and the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.

  • Testimony of Yvette Lévy, survivor of the Auschwitz camp.
  • Concert by the Austrian duo Ariela, who will perform pieces composed by survivors and victims of the Shoah.

- From January 22 to February 3 (Miró Room): exhibition on the Pogrom of the Night of Crystal, presented by the Shoah Memorial.

The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 established International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005.

 

***

 

More information

 

Journalists wishing to cover the event should request accreditation

Media Contact Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service, a.bardon@unesco.org
+33 (0)1 45 68 17 64

Accreditation: Djibril Kébé, UNESCO Press Service, d.kebe@unesco.org +33(0)1 45 68 17 41

 

 

Categories: News

Funds embracing innovation with a mission

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 15:27
focus_shutterstock_361944152_en_t3.jpg © UNESCO

A growing number of innovation funds are targeting specific socio-economic sectors, rather than fostering innovation across the board. The UNESCO Science Report cites the example of the USA, where the 21st Century Cures Act (2016) includes an innovation fund of US$ 1.75 billion per year for five years for one of the USA’s main science agencies, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in addition to the usual annual appropriation. The NIH innovation fund ensures multi-year funding for flagship government research projects such as the Precision Medicine Initiative and BRAIN Initiative (1).

Another example is Inova-Agro, a fund targeting the agribusiness sector that was launched by the Brazilian government in 2013. Inova-Agro is what is known as a sectorial fund, a concept introduced into Latin America by Brazil in 1999. The country has since established more than a dozen of these. There are Brazilian sectorial funds for aeronautics, biotechnology, space, hydroresources, information technology, research infrastructure, mining, oil and natural gas, health and soon. The funds receive money via taxes levied on specific industrial or service sectors, such as energy utility companies. Each fund is supervised by a steering committee composed of members drawn from academia, the government and industry.

Other Latin American countries have followed in Brazil’s footsteps. Both Mexico and Argentina have designed sectorial funds for the software industry, for instance. FONSOFT in Argentina and PROSOFT in Mexico provide small and medium-sized enterprises with competitive funding to help them improve their productivity and capacity to innovate. Mexico is also using a sectorial fund known as CONACYT-SENER to reach the targets outlined in its National Climate Change Strategy (2013) for improving energy efficiency and developing ‘clean and green’ technologies.

Sectorial funds extend beyond Latin America

Sectorial funds are not only found in Latin America. Morocco has one in telecommunications, for instance. The National Fund for Scientific Research and Technological Development was adopted by law in 2001, at a time when domestic enterprises funded just 22% of domestic research. Within a decade, this share had risen to 30% (2010). Moroccan telecom operators were persuaded to cede 0.25% of their turnover to fund research in their sector. By 2015, they were financing about 80% of all public research projects in telecommunications supported through this fund.

Malaysia has introduced a similar scheme for its agribusiness sector. With palm oil being the country’s third-largest export after oil and gas and electronics, the government has imposed a cess (tax) on the oil palm industry to fund research in this sector. The fund is managed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, a government body, which levies a tax on every tonne of palm oil and palm kernel oil produced. Through this tax, the palm oil industry helps to fund the research grants provided by the, which totalled MYR 2.04 billion (circa US$ 565 million) over the 2000–2010 period. Thanks to this tax, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board commercialized 16 new technologies in 2013 and 20 a year later. Research has led to the development of wood and paper products, fertilizers, bio-energy sources, polyethylene sheeting for use in vehicles and other products made of palm biomass.

In 2013, South Africa launched its own Sector-Specific Innovation Fund. Priority industrial sectors partner with the government through the Department for Science and Technology through a co-funding arrangement for innovation. The fund was created to counterbalance a sharp drop in research spending by the private sector in recent years, even as public research spending has risen. It is hoped that the fund will help South Africa reach its target of spending at least 1% of GDP on research and development. This ratio peaked at 0.89% in 2008 before sliding to 0.73% of GDP in 2012.

Innovation funds may target several sectors

Some innovation funds target multiple economic sectors. For instance, the Argentine Sectorial Fund (FONARSEC, est. 2009) sets out to improve competitiveness in all of the following: biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, energy, health, agribusiness, social development, environment and climate change.

In Central Asia, the Turkmen government has introduced a special fund to encourage young scientists to introduce innovative technologies into agriculture; promote ecology and the rational use of natural resources; develop energy and fuel savings; chemical technology and the creation of new competitive products; construction; architecture; seismology; medicine and drug production; and information technology. Kazakhstan’s Science Fund (est. 2006) provides grants and loans for projects in applied research in priority areas for investment. For the period 2007−2012, these were: hydrocarbons, mining and smelting sectors and correlated service areas (37%); biotechnologies (17%); information and space technologies (11%); nuclear and renewable energy technologies (8%); nanotechnologies and new materials (5%); other (22%). According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, about 80% of the funds disbursed go to state research institutes.

India, meanwhile, is hoping to orient technologies developed by the defence industry towards commercial markets for civilian use. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is a major repository of new technologies, since it accounts for about 17% of domestic research spending and just under 32% of the government outlay in 2010. Despite this, military technology has rarely been transferred to civilian industry up to now, unlike in the USA. To remedy this, DRDO launched a joint initiative in 2013 with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for Accelerated Technology Assessment and Commercialization. A year later, 26 DRDO laboratories were participating in the programme, while FICCI assessed over 200 technologies from sectors as diverse as electronics, robotics, advanced computing and simulation, avionics, optronics, precision engineering, special materials, engineering systems, instrumentation, acoustic technologies, life sciences, disaster management technologies and information systems.

Start-ups hampered by lack of venture capital

Start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises often have difficulty accessing venture capital, despite playing avital role in broadening the national innovation culture. In India, for example, about 85% of research is concentrated in six industries which are dominated bya handful of large firms. More than half of business spending on research is distributed across just three industries: pharmaceuticals, automotive and information technology. In its budget for 2014–2015, India’s union government proposed setting up a fund of Rs 100 billion (circa US$ 1.3 billion) to attract private capital in order to provide equity, quasi-equity, soft loans and other risk capital for start-ups. Beneficiaries will include start-ups specializing in frugal innovation.

Iran’s Innovation and Prosperity Fund (est. 2012) is also supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. It offers them tax incentives and pays the partial costs of commercializing knowledge and technology; it also covers part of the interest on bank loans contracted for the purchase of equipment, the setting up of production lines, testing and marketing, etc. The Fund also offers financial support to private companies wishing to set up business incubators and science and technology parks then facilitates the establishment of these centres through such measures as the provision of rent-free premises and tax incentives.

Another example is Azerbaijan. In 2012, the government created a State Fund for the Development of Information Technologies to provide start-up funding for innovative and applied projects in information technology through equity participation or low-interest loans.

Innovation performance down in European Union

The European Union (EU) funds innovation through its seven-year framework programmes and through the national innovation funds of its 28 members. Horizon 2020 is the bloc’s biggest programme yet, with an endowment of close to €80 billion. In July 2015, the European Commission adopted a stimulus package, the European Fund for Strategic Investment, to help the EU achieve its goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by 2020. The fund has raised a few eyebrows, though. Some find its ambition of using €21 billion to leverage a further €294 billion in private investment ‘unrealistic’. Others point out that it dips into the current framework programme, taking €2.7 billion from Horizon 2020. This has led to cutbacks at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which funds innovation across the bloc.

The European Fund for Strategic Investment comes at a time when the EU is still shaking off the economic crisis of 2008–2009. According to the UNESCO Science Report, the innovation performance of 13 out of the EU’s 28 members slipped between 2007 and 2014. EU-based companies still account for 30% of research spending by the world’s top 2 500 companies but only two EU-based companies figured in the top ten in 2014, both of them German and both in the automotive sector, Volkswagen and Daimler.

There are concerns that the EU is largely absent from the arena of innovative internet-based companies. Eleven of the 15 largest public internet companies are US-based and the remainder are Chinese. ‘The EU’s attempts to replicate a Silicon Valley-type experience have not lived up to expectations’, regrets the report. European innovation in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors has likewise been disappointing in recent years.

One sector that has flourished over the past decade is Europe’s environmental industry. In agriculture, environment, health, energy and materials, between one-fifth and one-third of research projects funded within the seventh framework programme between 2007 and 2013 concerned sustainability. Consequently, the EU is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% over 1990 levels by 2020. ‘Europe is in a historically unique position to usher in a more sustainable society through research and innovation’, concludes the report.

Consensus on the need for ‘green growth’

It is not only in Europe that sustainable development has become a key focus of innovation funds. In 2008, the Rwandan government introduced a National Fund for Environment and Climate Change in Rwanda (FONERWA), which acts as a cross-sectorial financing mechanism to further Rwanda’s objectives of green and resilient growth within the National Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy. FONERWA is involved in identifying funding for the pilot ‘green city’ to be launched by 2018. FONERWA’s sixth call for proposals resulted in 14 projects receiving funding. They included the provision of solar power to off-the-grid communities, the construction of micro hydropower plants and rainwater harvesting and re-use. These projects had been put forward by private companies, non-governmental organizations, Rwandan districts and the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Clean energy is even a growing focus in economies reliant on the oil and gas industries. In 2008, Canada's federal government announced that 90% of all electricity generated would come from non-greenhouse gas emitting sources by 2020, including nuclear energy, clean coal, wind and hydroelectricity. In its 2009 budget, the federal government created a Clean Energy Fund of more than CAN$ 600 million to fund various projects, with the majority of the money (CAN$ 466 million) going to carbon capture and storage projects. Canada also has programmes designed to support wind energy, small hydropower, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, marine energy, bio-energy and so on.

Nor is it always government funds that are driving the development of clean energy technologies. As of December 2013, 57 of Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s more mature companies had received CAN$ 2.5 billion in follow-on financing. Sustainable Development Technology Canada is a non-profit foundation (est. 2001). It operates three funds: the Sustainable Development Tech Fund has used CAN$ 684 million allocated by the federal government to support 269 projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water and clean soil; the NextGen Biofuels Fund supports the establishment of first-of-a-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels; and the Sustainable Development Natural Gas Fund supports efficient technologies in the residential sector: small-scale affordable combined heat and power units and ultra-efficient water heaters.

Innovation funds may bring in external partners

Given their modest budgets, it is hardly surprising that many developing countries are forming partnerships at home or abroad to promote innovation. In February 2014, the Kazakh National Agency for Technological Development, for instance, signed an agreement with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector and a private investor for the establishment of the Central Asia Renewable Energy Fund.

In 2010, the USA-based Blue Ocean Ventures launched the Lankan Angels Network. By 2014, the investors operating within this network had injected US$1.5 million into 12 innovative Sri Lankan companies, within a partnership with the Sri Lankan Inventors Commission (est. 1979). The Ministry of Technology and Research reported in 2013 that the Commission had disbursed just LKR 2.94 million (circa US$ 22 000) in grants through its own Inventor’s Fund the same year.

In January 2013, the Rwandan Ministry of Education established the Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, to foster industrial development. So far, the programme has sponsored five partnerships between private companies and the University of Rwanda’s two Colleges of Science and Technology and Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. The company contributes its idea for product or service development and the university provides the appropriate expertise.

Malawi is prioritizing the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors through the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund, which is endowed with US$ 8 million from the United Nations Development Programme and the UK Department for International Development. Through this competitive facility, businesses can apply for grant funding for innovative projects that have potential for making a strong social impact and helping the country to diversify its narrow range of exports. The fund is aligned on the three clusters selected within the country’s National Export Strategy: oil seed products, sugar cane products and manufacturing. The fund provides a matching grant of up to 50% to innovative business projects to help absorb some of the commercial risk in triggering innovation. This support should speed up the implementation of new business models and/or the adoption of technologies. The first round of competitive bidding opened in April 2014.

Iran’s Innovation and Prosperity Fund also hopes to convince foreign parties to invest in technology transfer and research ‘but this ambition has been somewhat thwarted by the international sanctions’, notes the UNESCO Science Report.

Funds encouraging university-industry ties

Iran’s Innovation and Prosperity Fund is also striving to strengthen university–industry ties. As of December 2014, public and private universities from four Iranian provinces (Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd and Mashhad)had applied to the fund to establish knowledge-based companies in special economic zones.

Many innovation funds encourage co-operation between academia and industry. In Argentina and Mexico, FONSOFT and PROSOFT are doing just that. A 2014 study by the Inter-American Development Bank forecast that, by 2025, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, San José, Córdoba and Santiago would be the five most important poles in Latin America for the development of software and related industries. By that time, business process outsourcing is expected to employ 1.2 million people and generate sales of US$ 18.5 billion in Latin America.

(1) Precision Medicine Initiative and BRAIN Initiative

Source: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030, published in November 2015.

Categories: News

Casa de las Américas, laureate of the UNESCO-UNAM / Jaime Torres Bodet Prize

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 11:19
18 January 2018

The Cuban cultural institution Casa de las Américas is the 2017 laureate of the UNESCO-UNAM / Jaime Torres Bodet Prize in social sciences, humanities and arts. Casa de las Américas, founded in April 1959, promotes research, publishing and the works of writers, social scientists, artists and students in literature and the arts.

The institution also awards a literary prize that is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Latin American literature. Since 1961, it has published the cultural magazine Casa de las Américas.

The award ceremony will be held on 24 January in Havana in the presence of Abel Prieto, Cuban Minister of Culture; Roberto Fernández Retamar, Director of Casa de las Américas; and, Ambassador Óscar León, President of the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO. Nuria Sanz, Head of the UNESCO Office in Mexico, will present the award on behalf of UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay.

The UNESCO-UNAM / Jaime Torres Bodet Prize, awarded every two years, includes a 50,000 US$ award, and recognizes the work of a person, group of people or an international institution that has contributed to the advancement in knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in the social sciences and the arts.

Created on the initiative of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Prize is named after the poet, novelist, essayist and Mexican diplomat, Jaime Torres Bodet, a founding member of UNESCO and Director-General of the Organization from 1948 to 1952. The laureate is chosen based on an international jury’s recommendation, which is currently composed of Jordanian anthropologist Seteney Shami, Senegalese philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne and Chinese professor Liqun Liu, President of the Women's University of China.
 

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The ceremony will take place at 6 pm in the "Manuel Galich" Room of Casa de las Américas headquarters, Havana Cuba.

Media contact: Lucía Iglesias Kuntz, l.iglesias@unesco.org, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 02.

 

Categories: News

Director-General condemns murder of journalist Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez in Mexico

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:21
18 January 2018

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, today condemned the killing of veteran Mexican journalist Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez who was murdered in the city of Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, on 13 January.

“I condemn the assassination of Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez in Mexico and urge the authorities to ensure an effective investigation,” the Director-General declared. “Bringing journalists’ killers to justice is crucial to end violence against those who defend the public’s right to know.”

Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez, an experienced reporter and columnist, worked for the Noreste Digital and Horizonte de Matamoros news website. In his reporting, he denounced abuses by local and national government officials, political violence, corruption and failures of the justice system.

He was attacked and killed while travelling in his car. In one of his last reports, published a couple of days before his killing, he denounced impunity for political violence and the weakness of public security.

In the spirit of Article 1 of the Constitution of UNESCO, the Director-General of the Organization issues statements on violations of press freedoms condemning the killing of media workers, in line with its action to take forward the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray@unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

Categories: News

Internship Announcement - Education

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 17:48

Categories: News

UNESCO seeks nominations for the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence 2018

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:45
shutterstock_tolerance_475px.jpg © UNESCO

"Tolerance is an act of humanity, which we must nurture and enact each in our own lives every day, to rejoice in the diversity that makes us strong and the values that bring us together." - Audrey Azoulay, 16 November 2017

UNESCO invites governmental and non-governmental entities, civil society actors and individuals active in strengthening foundations for peace and tolerance to propose candidates for the 2018 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence.

Deadline: the closing date for submissions is 30 April 2018 at midnight CET.

Its purpose is to reward individuals, institutions and other entities or non-governmental organizations that have made exceptional contributions and demonstrated leadership in the promotion of tolerance and non-violence.

The Prize was established in 1995 on the occasion of the United Nations Year for Tolerance and the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. It was also the year when UNESCO Member States adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. The creation of the Prize has been inspired by the ideals of UNESCO’s Constitution that proclaims that “peace, if it is not to fail, must be founded on the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”.

Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.

In recognition of a lifelong devotion to communal harmony and peace, the Prize bears the name of its benefactor Madanjeet Singh, who was a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Indian artist, writer and diplomat.

Awarded every two years, on the occasion of the International Day for Tolerance (16 November), the Prize is marked by a ceremony and the winner is presented with the sum of US$ 100,000.

How to submit your nomination

Nominations for the Prize should be submitted by filling out the nomination form in either English or French, no later than 30 April 2018, by post or by e-mail.
Additional materials (publications, video, audio and other teaching materials, etc.) may be attached to the nomination form.

Download the Nomination Form

Send it, duly signed and stamped, to

Ms Golda El-Khoury
Secretary of the Prize
Social and Human Sciences Sector - UNESCO
7 Place de Fontenoy, 75007 Paris Cedex 15 FRANCE
Tel.: +33 1 45 68 17 70
E-mail: tolerance.prize(at)unesco.org

Categories: News

UNESCO Creative Cities Establish the Santos-Bandung Film Festival and Highlight Sustainable Development

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:02
01_debate_among_filmmakers_santos_and_bandung_selfie_santos.jpg Film makers debate Santos and Bandung© David 2017 16 January 2018

Two Members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), Santos, Brazil, a Creative City of Film, and Bandung, Indonesia, a Creative City of Design, collaborated to promote their independent film industries and draw their citizens together around tolerance, peace and sustainable development.  The first Santos-Bandung Film Festival – SBFF - took place in both cities from 20 to 29 October 2017, screening 34 Brazilian and Indonesian films, and engaging over 2000 participants in each city. The second film festival is now being planned for October 2018.

The idea for the festival originated during the UNESCO Creative Cities Network 2017 11th Annual Meeting, in Enghien-les-Bains, France, when Niedja dos Santos, Director, Economic Innovation Office, Santos City Hall, met Tita Dwinita Larasati, Chair, Bandung Creative Economy Committee & Bandung Creative City Forum.  “We discovered the socio-economic similarities between our cities and decided to develop a joint project involving cinema and design that would create an opportunity for cultural and professional exchange, amplify the perspectives of film-makers from Santos and Bandung, as well as promote the UN 2030 Agenda. The films selected touch on the strategic sustainable development goals such as gender equality, zero hunger, and life on land” explained Larasati.

Sofyana Ali Bindiar, an Indonesian film director on the Bandung Film Council, coordinated the festival in Bandung and Niedja Santos coordinated the festival in Santos. The challenge of organizing a joint film festival between Brazil and Indonesia meant that all the planning, and transfer of the films, subtitles, and other materials, was done online.  Most important was the goal of bringing the communities from the two cities together, virtually. Thus the festival included online debates and interviews between the film directors from one city with the public and media from the other city.  Filmmakers from both cities had a unique opportunity of professional exchange, sharing their knowledge about cinematography techniques and equipment, and receiving reviews on their films.

The novelty of the Santos Bandung Film Festival is that film directors can exchange with audiences on the other side of the globe on the impact of their works and their inspiration to create them, and generate discussion about the UN 2030 Agenda.  “The films and debates prompted audiences in both cities to discuss universal questions such as the environment, peace, violence against women, education, and hunger.  SBFF encouraged massive collaboration in both cities. In Bandung, it has become a momentum for a collaborative movement among film communities - production, exhibition, critics, academia, industry sector, and municipality,” said Bindiar. 

The success of this first Santos-Bandung Film Festival included dissemination of films and raising public awareness on sustainable development; but above all, it fostered important exchange as the public in Santos got to know about Indonesian culture and those in Bandung got to know about Brazilian culture. “Through this festival, our citizens both in Santos and Bandung, with so many cultural differences, realized that, in fact, they are the same. Regardless of belief or social status, we all take care of our children, work, have dreams, and we need to take care of the planet in a sustainable way for the next generations. ” dos Santos said.

Both cities are very committed to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network mission. Since 2004, the UCCN 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. The Network also supports artistic exchange, partnerships between its members as well as between public and private sectors, and research.  SBFF proves that collaboration among UCCN cities is open to all sub-networks; the fact that Santos is a City of Film and Bandung City of Design does not limit the shared expressions and productivities.

“The benefits the Santos-Bandung Film Festival brought to our citizens and to our film producers were tremendous. Were it not for the UCCN, the festival would never have been established” said dos Santos. Plans for the 2018 festival include increasing the number of films screened and audience outreach, as well as generating partnerships with the private sector so film production and distribution can get support and expand.

Krakow and Katowice, respectively Creative Cities of Literature and Music from Poland, will host the XII UCCN Annual Meeting in June 2018.  This will be the occasion for representatives of Santos and Bandung Creative Cities to meet again and work on the 2018 festival.  It will also be the opportunity for them to share their experience with the other Creative Cities, as a concrete impact of the UCCN. 

Categories: News

Country representatives are informed about project launch to promote peace in the Lake Chad basin through the sustainable management of natural resources

Unesco Most Programme - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:08
biopalt.jpg © UNESCO

An information meeting on the new project, ‘Applying the model of transboundary biosphere reserves and World Heritage sites to promote peace in the Lake Chad basin through the sustainable management of natural resources’ (BIOPALT), was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 9 January 2018. The meeting, a joint initiative of the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Ms Flavia Schlegel, and the Assistant Director-General for the Africa Department, Mr Edouard Matoko, brought together ambassadors and representatives from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria with representatives from UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector, Africa Department and World Heritage Centre.

The BIOPALT project aims to strengthen the capacities of the Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission – Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Niger and Nigeria – to safeguard and sustainably manage the hydrological, biological and cultural resources of the Lake Chad basin across their borders, in order to support poverty reduction and promote peace. This three-year project is financed by the African Development Bank for a total of US$ 6,456,000 and is being implemented through a multisectoral approach by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, the World Heritage Centre and the International Hydrological Programme (IHP).

In her introductory remarks, Ms Schlegel highlighted the importance of Lake Chad as a common good that supports nearly 50 million people in West and Central Africa. Lake Chad is the fourth largest lake in Africa, and the largest in Western and Central Africa. Unfortunately, it has lost 90% of its area over the past three decades, a process that is exacerbated by climate change.

Ms Schlegel highlighted the challenges of the BIOPALT project in terms of resilience, reconciliation, peace and development, in the face of the severe degradation of the lake’s environmental resources and the problems of conflict and migration that ensue. ‘If the water has life, the fish have life’ is the African quotation with which she concluded her intervention.

Mr Matoko highlighted the support and the strong attention given to the project at the highest level of UNESCO and underlined its cross-sectoral and inclusive nature, which constitutes an opportunity to promote sub-regional integration in the Lake Chad basin. As BIOPALT is a visionary project in a risk zone, it requires strong political and technical support on the part of the countries of the Lake Chad Basin.

The interventions were followed by a presentation of the context, objectives, components and implementation strategy of the project, in order to ensure a common understanding of the project among all participants, and to stimulate exchanges.

Ambassadors and representatives of the countries welcomed the start of the project, which they hailed as timely in view of the urgency of safeguarding Lake Chad. They recommended the close involvement of relevant UNESCO Category II Centres and Chairs as well as relevant United Nations agencies.

The countries expressed their appreciation of the transversal approach adopted by the project, which combines operational research and knowledge improvement, training and capacity-building, and the implementation of pilot actions for the rehabilitation of ecosystems and the promotion of green economies.

Categories: News

UNESCO launches first in-depth survey about journalism education in South East Europe

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 17:13
news_150118_see.png © SJPR 15 January 2018

The survey entitled Back to the Drawing Board: Crafting the Ideal Journalism Education Curricula for South East Europe has been conducted by the School of Journalism and Public Relations (SJPR) in Skopje as part of the UNESCO Project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey, supported by the European Union.

Carried out in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244), this research forms part of a wider UNESCO strategy to strengthen freedom of expression, access to information, and free, independent and pluralistic media in South East Europe.

“Journalism and journalism education in South East Europe have been undergoing tremendous changes during the past two decades. All of the countries share the fate of social transition, which is reflected in the structure and profile of journalism and the respective education. At the same time, global technological, economic and social changes impose an inexorable need of their re-conception and modernization,” highlights SJPR in the survey.

Building on existing research and publications on this topic, such as the UNESCO Model Curricula for Journalism Education, the survey presents the findings of an analysis of 26 journalism curricula across the SEE region, focussing on issues such as the level and quality of journalism education, the impact of formal journalism education on the democratic process in the relevant state, and the measures by which journalism education across the region can be improved.

Furthermore, the survey explores observations made during 60 interviews carried out with members of the academic community, journalists and editors, and representatives of civil society organisations working in the areas of media and journalism in the SEE region, providing deeper insight into perceptions of the current state of journalism education in the region.

The findings of the research highlight ongoing issues in the media across the SEE region such as the deteriorating levels of safety for journalists, the political influence of media content, low labour conditions and the widespread intrusion of business interests in editorial policies. The research also found that journalism education across the region is currently weakened due to a number of factors such as a shortage of modern equipment and up-to-date textbooks, and a shortage of renowned university lecturers with professional journalism experience. Furthermore, a lack of quality practical education and traineeship programs, means that theory learned at university does not always prepare students for the realities of the journalism profession.

“The quality of the education in journalism both at the state and private faculties is affected by the low number of staff with professional journalistic experience, as well as the insufficient inclusion in the teaching process of external guest lecturers and professors with practical experience in the media. The professors who teach at the faculties are most often communicologists, journalism theoreticians, sociologists, but, essentially, not journalists. Adding to this is the issue of the severe lack of textbooks and other books for the students of journalism, or rather the use of out-dated literature,” underlines the report.

The survey suggests that improving journalism education would lead to a higher level of professionalism within the sector and a more democratic media as a whole across the region. Possible solutions include developing more practical training alongside theoretical knowledge, placing more importance on media literacy and ethics in the curricula, modernising curricula to correspond to current trends in the sector and developing more cooperation between universities and the media.

The main outcome of this research is the creation of 6 indicators that can allow faculties of journalism in the region to determine whether their curricula enables students to gain the necessary journalistic skills to maintain a high level of professionalism and ethical standards throughout their careers. These indicators help to identify the deficiencies of existing journalism curricula across the SEE region and are divided into the following categories: the content of journalism curricula; the role that journalism faculties play in society; the methods of funding and conducting research; student practise in media and media organisations during journalism studies; literature and teaching material used in studies; the teaching staff and administrative conditions in implementing journalism studies.

It is hoped that by encouraging higher education institutions to follow the recommendations and indicators identified in the survey, journalism programmes can be evaluated and modified and journalism education overall can be improved in the region.

The full report is available here.

Categories: News

Pour un lait durable au Sud comme au Nord

Europaid - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 15:46
Categories: News

Anti-Semitism: Learning the lessons of history

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 15:16
badinter_688.jpg Robert Badinter, à l'UNESCO, le 6.12.2016© UNESCO/Christelle ALIX 15 January 2018

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To mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (27 January), Robert Badinter, former French Minister of Justice, shares with the UNESCO Courier the lessons and warnings he draws from anti-semitism throughout history.

Categories: News

UNESCO presents QNRF’s Roundtable on Biodiversity in Qatar

Unesco Most Programme - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 14:36
qnrfroundtablebiodiversityjan2018.jpg © UNESCO

Anna Paolini, Director of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the GCC and Yemen, presented UNESCO's initiatives in the field of Natural Sciences during Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF)’s Research Outcome Seminar (ROS) and Roundtable on Biodiversity held on 14 January 2018 at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Doha.

QNRF, a member of Qatar Foundation Research and Development, held the roundtable under the theme "Impact of Biodiversity Research in Qatar Ecosystem”. 

In her keynote speech, UNESCO Representative to the GCC and Yemen, Anna Paolini highlighted the Al Reem Man and Biosphere Reserve as an example of natural heritage protection and preservation and presented its integrated management and zoning plan. She also introduced UNESCO's main programs for the safeguarding of natural heritage including the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments. 

The seminar highlighted topics in the following areas: coral reefs, Sahara dust, genetic diversity of plants, desert truffles, marine biodiversity and ecological threat, mobile dunes, ecosystem metabolism, toxin production in arid mangroves, and potential native plants for urban landscapes.

During the roundtable discussion on biodiversity, specialists including Dr. Radhouane Ben-Hamadou from Qatar University, Dr. Christopher Warren from ExxonMobil Research Qatar and Dr. Talaat Abdel-Fattah Ahmed from Qatar University discussed people's present knowledge on the biodiversity in Qatar, what can be done, the role of the private and industry sectors in environment and biodiversity conservation.

Over the last ten years QNRF has been supporting research projects in the field of biodiversity. This seminar gathered the local community dealing with such challenges in Qatar and highlighted the outcomes of some of the projects and their integrated role in developing strategies to protect the environment and conserve the natural ecosystem in Qatar. 

Categories: News

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