Monday, April 30, 2007
The meeting was planned to provide "a broad-based debate on the concept of Cultural Diversity: What does it mean, where do dangers lie and where does it offer particular opportunities? How can the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions be brought to life by cooperation when it comes into effect on March 18th 2007? What does this mean for the European Union?"
The participants, together with representatives of the international civil society, were to develop elements for a European action paper.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
The promotion of dialog in the service of peace – in order to build “peace in the minds of men” – is one of the main themes of UNESCO’s mission. Globalization and the emergence of new contemporary challenges and threats to humankind make the need for dialog among peoples ever more topical.
Click here for the website describing UNESCO's efforts to promote dialog among civilizations more fully.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Political and military violence targeting educational systems is depriving a growing number of children of the right to education, according to “Education under Attack”, a UNESCO report launched today at the Organization Headquarters in Paris.
Statistics to illustrate the state of cultural diversity:
- The approximately 6000 languages that exist in the world do not all have the same number of speakers: only 4 % of the languages are used by 96 % of the world population.
- 50 % of the world languages are in danger of extinction.
- 90 % of the world’s languages are not represented on the Internet.
- Some 5 countries monopolize the world cultural industries trade. In the field of cinema, for instance, 88 countries out of 185 in the world have never had their own film production.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
“The ability of the parties involved to achieve what, at the outset seemed unachievable, demonstrates UNESCO's unique ability – as a specialised agency within a reforming United Nations – to build bridges, generate solidarity, and, most especially, to help in our own way towards building a harmonized world, thus creating greater peace and relieving tensions in the Middle East.”Zhang Xinsheng
Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The discussion will include White House Conference on Global Literacy and the First Regional Literacy Conference in Doha, Qatar. The webchat will also carry expert opinions on literacy's importance in Education for All goals.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
UNESCO "is reorganizing its education sector and decentralizing its extensive literacy operation, with the aim of strengthening that work in the world’s neediest countries." While the attempt "has earned widespread support among member nations and experts in the field, a recent shakeup in its leadership, dissatisfaction over the restructuring process, and uncertainty about how the changes will play out have generated worries over UNESCO’s capacity for advancing the cause of universal literacy......
"The United States rejoined UNESCO in 2003 after a nearly 20-year absence because of the promise of straightening out the organization, which had long drawn complaints of mismanagement and of an anti-democratic agenda.......
"Since then, the education sector has halved the number of activities it supports, to 750, reduced high-level positions, and honed its focus on countries with the highest illiteracy rates to accelerate their progress toward universal basic education.
"The organization’s historic push for improving literacy has undergone some of the most visible changes. UNESCO is responsible for overseeing the U.N. Literacy Decade, which began in 2003, and the ambitious Education for All initiative, which aims to provide basic education for all the world’s people by 2015. Through its new Literacy Initiative for Empowerment, or LIFE, the organization is pressing for country-led education policies and a greater focus on nonformal educational programs targeting children, youths, and adults who are not in school."
Climate change, one of the major challenges of the 21st century, will endanger natural and cultural World Heritage sites around the globe, according to the new UNESCO publication, "Case Studies on Climate Change and World Heritage.” The report, supported by the United Nations Foundation and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom, features 26 case studies - including the Tower of London, Kilimanjaro National Park and the Great Barrier Reef - that represent the dangers faced by the 830 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Check out the Friends of World Heritage webpage devoted to the impact of climate change on World Heritage sites!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Safeguarding Traditional Cultures: A Global Assessment of the 1989 UNESCO Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore, Peter Seitel (Editor), Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, The Smithsonian Institution.
The following review of the book was provided by J. S. Jones:
This volume of collected writing was created from the conference “A Global Assessment of the 1989 Recommendation of the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore: Local Empowerment and International Cooperation. UNESCO-Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Smithsonian Institute-Center for Folk life and Cultural Heritage produced the conference and publication.
The three day event took place in
The importance of this subject brought together UNESCO and the Smithsonian to do this conference and then compiled this publication because of the value and importance of cultural heritage. The conference gathered 37 participants from 27 nations from an array of backgrounds and expertise.
This publication provides insight into the conference and the various reports, questionnaires and analyses that were discussed at the conference. The texts come from writing produced before, during and after the conference. All provide insight into the value of protecting traditional practices and culture.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Read more about UNESCO's anitdoping campaign.
UNESCO's Executive Board is elected by UNESCO's General Conference and is one of the three constitutional organs of UNESCO. Its meetings provide a means for the representatives of the member states to monitor the work of the organization. While all of the reports provided by the secretariat for each meeting serve that end, or deal with proposed initiatives for UNESCO, some of the reports deal specifically with the results of recent evaluation studies or with the performance of UNESCO's monitoring and evaluation systems. Those reports for the current meeting of the Executive Board are linked below.
Report by the Director-General on conclusions and recommendations of the expert team on the overall review of Major Programmes II and III
Report by the Director-General on the evaluation of the first phase of the International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP) and proposals regarding Draft Document 34 C/4 and Draft Document 34 C/5
Report by the Director-General on the UNESCO Evaluation Policy and elaborated elements of the UNESCO Evaluation Strategy
Comments by the Director-General on the evaluations undertaken during the 2006-2007 biennium and the cost-effectiveness of the programmes evaluated during the period of the Medium-Term Strategy for 2002-2007 (31 C/4)
Monitoring of the implementation of UNESCO's standard-setting instruments
Comments by the Director-General on the implementation of the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) Strategy in 2006-2007: Annual report 2006
Report by the External Auditor on the procedures used to hire consultants for the restructuring of the Education Sector and Comments by the Director-General (176 EX/INF.12)
Progress report by the Director-General on the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)
Reports by the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) of interest to UNESCO and the status of implementation of approved/accepted recommendations of Joint Inspection Unit reports
Click here to read the full statement.
She began her remarks with thanks for the expressions of sympathy to the people of the United States after the shootings at Virginia Tech, and continued:
The numerous documents that have been given to us during the past month have made it clear that the Director General and his colleagues in the Secretariat have worked very hard to try to respond to the needs and desires of UNESCO’s member states, as well as to the variety of internal and external pressures currently faced by the Organization.
We would particularly like to commend the Director General for the efforts he has made to transform UNESCO into a more effective results-based organization, and to give it a stronger voice within the United Nations (UN) system as the UN searches for better ways to address the challenges of our world today.
As we all know, the process of reform is not an easy one, particularly in an intergovernmental organization. Because it tends to be disruptive and unsettling, the purpose of reform should be clearly articulated. At UNESCO the goal of reform must be to help the Secretariat do high quality work that achieves the objectives set by its Member States more effectively and efficiently.
The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls has been a World Heritage Site since 1981, and has been inscribed on the list of World Heritage sites in Danger since 1982. UNESCO'a Executive Board and General Conference have repeatedly requested the application of internationally recognized principles in protection of the sites, especially the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (the Hague, 1954), the 1956 New Delhi Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavations and the 1972 World Heritage Convention. In conformity with UNESCO's resolutions, financial aid for heritage restoration projects in Jerusalem has been requested from Member States. Favorable responses to these appeals have enabled UNESCO to finance the restoration and conservation of a number of monuments and religious and cultural properties in the city.
A UNESCO technical mission to the Old City of Jerusalem (27 February to 2 March 2007) has completed its technical assessment on the works conducted on the Mughrabi pathway leading to the Haram el-Sharif.
Koïchiro Matsuura sent this report and its conclusions to the Presidents of the Organization's Governing Bodies, the President of the World Heritage Committee, and the Permanent Delegates to UNESCO and convened an Information Meeting for UNESCO Member States on 19 March 2007, in the presence of the expert members of the mission.
The Executive Board of UNESCO, which met last week in Paris, discussed the situation in Jerusalem and the report of the technical mission.
Click on a title below to read key materials from the Board preparations:
Jerusalem and the Implementation of the General Conference Resolution (176 EX/20)
Latest Developments in the Situation of the World Heritage Site of the Old City of Jerusalem (176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting 1)
Report of the Technical Mission to the Old City of Jerusalem (176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting/INF.1)
Comments by the Director General on the Occasion of the Special Session (in French)
Friday, April 20, 2007
UNESCO administers the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) as part of its cultural program. ICH is manifested, among others, in the following domains:
* Oral traditions and expressions including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is an international distinction created by UNESCO in 1997. It concluded in 2006 with the entry into force of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Read:
* Performing arts (such as traditional music, dance and theatre);
* Social practices, rituals and festive events;
* Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;
* Traditional craftsmanship
* Cultural spaces.
* Definition, justification and objectives of the program
* Selection Criteria and procedure
Proclamations of Masterpieces were made in 2001, 2003 and 2005. Check out the website mapping locations and giving details about the proclaimed masterpieces:
The Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo communities in the Southwest come to mind as holding masterpiece cultural spaces as part of man's heritage.
UNESCO: What is it? What does it do? is a very helpful booklet published by UNESCO.
Click on the image above and you will see a word cloud from Many Eyes (A great set of tools for visualizing data). The size of each word is proportional to the number of times that word is used in UNESCO's booklet. The word cloud seems accurately reflects the nature of UNESCO's work. Play with it, and you may learn something about the organization!
A discussion now could inform the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO
when it meets this summer.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
UNESCO's Clearing House for Literary Translation, an initiative developed in the framework of the Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, and a center for information, guidance and encounter for all those (translators, publishers, researchers, archivists, teachers) working on the discovery and promotion of still unknown literatures.
Egyptian Sculpture Gallery
2007 - number 3
A guided tour of museums
Increasingly seen as not only as big business, but also formidable machines for promoting mass culture major Western museums are starting to go global.
The online database on Higher Education Systems includes information available on the higher education systems of some 180 countries and territories worldwide.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
"After a fact-finding mission to the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, a team from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today confirmed serious threats to the World Heritage site caused by encroachment by invasive species, uncontrolled tourism and other challenges, as it also welcomed measures to deal with these threats put forward by the country’s President.
"The visit, from 8 to 13 April, was led by Tumu te Heuheu, Chairman of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, Kishore Rao, Deputy Director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, and Berndt von Droste of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The trip took place at the invitation of Ecuador’s Government."
Monday, April 16, 2007
1st Expert Meeting of the UNESCO Working Group on Water Education and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development
The UNESCO Working Group on Water Education and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development is an intersectoral body established by the Science and Education Sectors of UNESCO. During the meeting, the Working Group advised UNESCO, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and their partners on key issues, initiatives and strategies for raising awareness and advancing water education for the community, via the mass media and other communication channels, and for the school and vocational education and training (VET) sectors.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
The National Park Service is responsible for compiling the tentative list from the United States, and does so with inputs from other U.S. government agencies and owners of property who wish that it be nominated. The tentative list of 72 sites from the United States was last revised in 1990.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in the United States - including elected officials - have no idea how, or by whom, the list was formulated, why it is being proposed, or what the significance of listing may be. The National Park Service does not seem to have opened the process to public comment, nor has the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO been invited to take part in the selection process.
Click here to read an article by Henry Lamb on the new additions.
Editorial comment: The list, as one might expect from the National Park Service, is quite strong on natural heritage sites, including some strong nominations from the Fish and Wildlife Service. To this observer, it seems weaker in terms of cultural heritage. The Nation Mall and Memorial Parks might for example have been listed to celebrate the United States contribution to the world heritage of freedom, equality and democratic governance. JAD
By celebrating this Day throughout the world, UNESCO seeks to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.
23 April: a symbolic date for world literature for on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.
Sea-lions, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
A UNESCO World Heritage Centre/ World Conservation Union (IUCN) mission is currently in Ecuador (April 8-12, 2007) at the request of the World Heritage Committee and at the invitation of the government of Ecuador, to assess the state of conservation of the Galapágos National Park and Marine Reserve.
The mission will include high-level meetings with senior government officials from the Ministries of Tourism, of Foreign Affairs and of the Environment. Read more
Global Action Week is organized by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a UNESCO partner. Actors at all levels of education are urged to sign up and take part in order to promote Education for all worldwide.
This pamphlet published by UNESCO in 2000 briefly describes UNESCO and its importance to the United States. Especially interesting is the partial list of organizations which had passed resolutions calling for the return of the United States to UNESCO during its 18 year absence. The list is shown below:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Council on Education
American Chemical Society
American Physical Society
American Bar Association
American Association of Museums
American Educational Research Association
American Library Association
American Psychological Association
American Association of University Professors
Americans for the Universality of UNESCO (Now Americas for UNESCO.)
Comparative/International Education Society
Council of Scientific Society Presidents
International Council on Monuments and Sites
International Reading Association
National Education Association
National Science Teachers Association
National Association of Professional Engineers
PEN American Center
United Nations Association of the USA
US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
Friday, April 13, 2007
at UNESCO Headquarters
This book, which can be downloaded from the Internet by clicking here, provides short descriptions of doctoral programs in several European countries, as well as a chapter on those in the United States (by Philip G. Altbach).
This is one of the Studies on Higher Education published by The European Center for Higher Education (CEPES).
A related book is:
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Q. I'm researching literacy programs and the ways in which they are assessed. I am trying to figure out how UNESCO can assess contextual programs and convince donors to fund them if assessment cannot be fully explained through standardized, "scientific" testing. I've been reading the work of Phillip W. Jones on the political nature of literacy planning and funding... I really wasn't expecting to find out that literacy was so political within UNESCO. Maybe I was being naive but nevertheless, it's fascinating stuff. I was hoping that you could give me some direction in the way of websites, authors, publications, articles or anything of that nature.
A. This is a great question. Literacy programs are notoriously poorly assessed, in part because there are so many different types of literacy programs, with differing objectives, and the vast majority of literacy programs are provided by non-government entities, international and national (including religious groups) using funds they raise independently, making it difficult for public authorities and external funders to collect information and assess the programs. Further, externally funded programs increasingly bundle literacy programs as components of multi-functional projects for adult education, rural education, health education, maternal education, workforce development etc etc. Often, the literacy component assessment is not much more than a measure of the numbers of learners participating in or completing the program, with either no objective measure of competency or such project-specific measures that comparisons are not possible.
- You might look at the LAMP (Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Program) of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. This program is much needed, but it has been slow in developing due to a variety of technical difficulties with such measurement and reporting, and due to budget constraints. Development of the LAMP activities depends on funding from other international agencies and is beyond what UNESCO can carry on its regular budget, forcing a variety of compromises and delays.
- A good regional example is the Assessment, Information Systems, Monitoring and Statistics (AIMS) program of the UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok.As
- The UNESCO Institute for Education in Hamburg has been renamed/reinvented as the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning.
- You can find a listing of major international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research groups concerned with literacy and adult education on the members page of ALADIN (the Adult Learning and Documentation Information Network).
- See notes on major follow-up activities from Dakar on literacy and adult education, including contact people at this UNESCO Hamburg website.
- The Global Monitoring Report on EFA for 2006 focused on literacy and adult education. It is widely available in hard copy as well.
- In the US, the main center is the National Center for Adult Literacy, which also functions as the UNESCO International Literacy Institute, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. On the Institute's projects page you can find links to other research centers, clearinghouses and working groups concerned with literacy and adult education.
A couple things to keep in mind in discussion literacy programs.
- There is more progress on adult literacy than is apparent from the aggregate statistics. Basically, the older generations change very slowly and literacy is improving most for younger cohorts; since longevity is improving, the rate of illiteracy in the total population is not decreasing as quickly as that among young adults. The least progress is being made in the countries with failing governments, mired in conflict and with conditions which preclude large scale NGO-based programs.
- Large scale national literacy programs generally do not work. In some cases they have become political movements, and often have turned repressive, reinforcing correct thinking and official ideology and religious and political orthodoxy. The most effective and sustained large scale programs generally have involved large numbers of small programs each pursuing literacy in its own way. However, the composite result from all literacy programs is generally positive. Thus, there are serious public policy issues about whether it is even desirable to have standardized measures and criteria for literacy programs. Direct measures of literacy competencies are more possible and desirable.
- It is arguable that the major function of literacy programs is not just the actual achievement of literacy improvements but the deepening of civil society involvement generally in a variety of community activities. In fact, I have argued that the conventional relationship, assuming that NGOs are major agents for fostering literacy improvement, is backwards. Cultures which value and foster literacy, meaning access to information and political space for giving voice to opinion and exchange of information, are best evidenced by the emergence of complex and overlapping networks of civil society organizations. See Larry Diamond writing on the cultural foundations of democracy, or The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by by Fareed Zakaria.
A Challenge to Positive Psychology?"
by Adrian G. White
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The Executive Board, one of UNESCO’s three constitutional bodies, consists of 58 member states with four-year terms of office. It examines the program of work and corresponding budget proposals, and ensures the effective and rational execution of the program by the Director-General. As a member of the Board, with a term that expires in 2008, the United States participated in the semiannual Board Sessions in Paris in April and September 2005. The Board continued negotiations on two instruments, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. The United States engaged actively in negotiating both of these instruments. In September, the Executive Board recommended that the General Conference, which met in October, Cultural Expressions and the Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. The Executive Board examined the Director-General’s preliminary proposals concerning UNESCO’s Program and Budget for 2008–2009. The Board also recommended that the Director-General temporarily stop creating normative instruments, put more effort into implementing education for all, and implement a review of the Natural and Social and Human Science programs.
U.S. priorities at the Executive Board were to maintain budget discipline within UNESCO and focus UNESCO program efforts and budget resources on the areas of literacy, capacity building in science and engineering, and the preservation of cultural objects. In particular, the United States was pleased with UNESCO efforts in the area of education.
In 2005, UNESCO saw several successes in the area of education, a main priority for the United States. The United States worked with other member states to promote results-based education programs at the country level, where they will do the most good toward achieving the goals of education for all. The United States also worked closely with UNESCO in launching the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment, a literacy strategic framework with the goal of achieving concrete, measurable results in 34 countries with the highest rates of illiteracy. U.S. literacy experts were included in the preparation of this strategy, as a way to help ensure that U.S. research and experience in this critical area could be shared with others, including the promotion of an inter-generational, mother/child approach to literacy programming.
At the General Conference in October, the United States was able to join consensus on the Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights by heading off an intense effort to include a number of subjects that were inappropriate for the declaration. The United States, however, voted against the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions after it became clear that the Convention was going to be used to implement trade protections for “cultural expressions.” Negotiations on the Convention, which was heavily promoted by France and Canada, were set in motion by the adoption of a related Declaration before the U.S. reentry to UNESCO in 2003. In addition to concerns about the Convention’s potential effect on trade, the United States also expressed concerns about the impact of the Convention on the free flow of information. The vote on adoption of the Convention was 148 to two (U.S. and Israel), with four abstentions. Thirty countries must deposit their instruments of ratification with UNESCO for it to enter into force.
The UNESCO regular budget for 2005 was approximately $305 million; the U.S. assessment was $76.7 million. Since 1986, the United States has also regularly made voluntary contributions to UNESCO. The 2005 contribution totaled $837,000 and was used to support UNESCO-related international educational, scientific, cultural, and communications activities considered to be in the U.S. national interest. In 2005, of the 732 positions subject to geographic distribution, Americans held 30 posts, or 4.1 percent.
in seeking the very best of our human hopes for liberty, dignity and peace”
UNA-USA has done considerable work on UNESCO issues, including reports:
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
UNESCO is establishing a network of Science and Technology Education Clubs in secondary schools. Schools are invited to submit their applications to UNESCO.
Should you be interested to be affiliated to UNESCO’s network of Science and Technology Education Clubs, you can contact Orlando Hall Rose in UNESCO's section for Science and Technology Education: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, April 09, 2007
Read the full article from the Kuwait News Agency.
Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura has condemned the mortar attack launched against the Monastery of Decani, which is part of the ensemble of Medieval Monuments in Kosovo, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004 and put on the World Heritage in Danger List in 2006.
The Visoki Decani Monastery, situated in the western part of the UN administered Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohia, was built between 1327 and 1335. The monastery is settled in the valley of the Bistrica river. Although the monastery buildings suffered damage from the Turkish occupation, the church has been completely preserved with beautiful 14th century fresco paintings. Today 30 brethren live in the monastery. The brotherhood has developed various activities: wood carving, icon painting, book publishing and is also active in the missionary work.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
The International Institute for Educational Planning launched a research project on 'Ethics and corruption in education' in 2001. One of the aims or IIEP is to promote the circulation of information on the topic. The ETICO info exchange is an information platform, created for specialists to share relevant knowledge.
The ETICO information exchange is aimed at actors such as ministries, international organizations and agencies, NGOs, universities and research institutions. It includes:
* The ETICO database: about 280 references to publications, projects, policies and normsHere are a couple of the reports from the program that you can download:
* ETICO links: find out more about the activities of some 86 agencies, institutions and programs
* ETICO agenda: recent and forthcoming events
* In the news, a selection of articles available on-line.
* Corrupt schools, corrupt universities: What can be done? by Jacques Hallak and Muriel Poisson, Paris: UNESCO Publishing (2006)
* Adverse Effects of Private Supplementary Tutoring: Dimensions, Implications and Government Responses by Mark Bray, Paris, UNESCO (2003)
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Today, seven Institutes and two Centers work as part of UNESCO’s Education Sector to assist countries in tackling education problems.International Bureau of Education (IBE), Geneva, Switzerland.
Enhancing curriculum development and educational content.
International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), Paris, France and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Helping countries to design, plan and manage their education systems.
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), former UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg, Germany
Promoting literacy, non-formal education, and adult and lifelong learning.
Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), Moscow, Russian Federation.
Assisting countries to use information and communication technologies in education.
International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC), Caracas, Venezuela.
Developing and transforming higher education in the region.
International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Strengthening Africa’s educational institutions.
European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES), Bucharest, Romania.
Promoting cooperation and reform in higher education in Europe.
International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC), Bonn, Germany.
Improving education for the world of work.
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), Montreal, Canada.
Providing the global and internationally comparable statistics that today’s world of education needs.
Institutes and Centres under the auspices of UNESCO
Comment: There are no UNESCO Education Institutes nor Centers in the United States. Given this country's leadership in areas such as higher education and the applications of information and communications technology for development, perhaps there should be one or more!
* Coordination of United Nations Priorities, andwere newly created. The other two divisions
* Education Strategies and Field Support
* Basic Education andwere streamlined and reorganized. A new decentralization framework was put in place that realigns accountability between Headquarters and the field for the Education Sector.
* Higher Education
The Director General of UNESCO reports that these changes have resulted in a greater concentration of staff resources in support of EFA – the Education Sector’s priority program – at Headquarters and in the field, and will therefore provide the necessary support for the fulfillment of the EFA mandate. He also reports that the transfer of six posts to the Regional Bureaus for Education and two to cluster offices will reinforce the Sector’s capacity to deliver at regional and country levels. In 2008-2009, it is planned to further strengthen the Regional Bureaus for Education and possibly the cluster offices, depending on the approved budget scenario. In addition, roles and responsibilities are currently being defined in line with the new structure. The new Deputy Assistant Director General for ED Program Management has also taken up her functions as of the beginning of 2007. Recruitment is under way to fill the four other new positions.
* the February 2007 REPORT BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REFORM PROCESS to the Executive Board.
* last years report by the UK National Commission for UNESCO on the reform.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
If you doubt that people are willing to pay for the preservation of cultural and natural heritage, think about the governments that spend taxpayers dollars on national parks, monuments, and cultural heritage sites! Consider also the donations that people make every year to the Sierra Club or World Wildlife.
Economists have even done surveys documenting that people value the knowledge that cultural and natural heritage is being preserved even in sites they will never themselves visit.
UNESCO's World Heritage Convention has more signatories than any other international treaty or convention. It gives UNESCO no legal authority to protect world heritage sites, nor to impose sanctions where sites are not being protected. It simply provides a mechanism by which sites nominated by the governments of the countries in which they exist can be subjected to impartial review and judgment. The World Heritage List is the best, most valid list of the wonders of the world. Incidentally, every site nomination is reviewed by one of three independent organizations:
- The World Conservation Union
- The International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
- The International Council on Monuments and Sites
Essentially, the World Heritage Convention is an agreement among the vast majority of the nations of the world that "if you will protect the world heritage sites in your country, I will protect those in mine". For fractions of a penny per person per year, the World Heritage Center provides a mechanism that enables the nations of the world to cooperate to protect and maintain the common heritage of mankind!
It deserves all our support.
Of course, one problem is that not everyone values our world heritage equally, and not everyone has the ability to pay for its preservation. The problem is especially severe in communities and countries that possesses world heritage sites but are too poor to conserve and protect them properly without outside help. UNESCO's World Heritage Fund has some resources to help such countries. Simply listing as a World Heritage site helps countries and communities to raise funds needed for protection of the site, especially encouraging national governments to provide support to local communities for the purpose.
The development of concepts of sustainable tourism and sustainable management of natural parks and nature reserves has helped in the recognition that poor local communities must be able to support themselves while they safeguard the sites in their neighborhood. Thus mechanisms for the creation of buffer zones with limited use, and the creation of jobs in conservation, protection and the tourism industry have been promoted. (Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area know just how valuable cultural tourism can be to a city!) Again, designation of a site as a World Heritage Site has real economic value to the community that protects that site.
Here are some resources to help understand the economists views on the economic valuation of world heritage:
UNESCO's Open Training platform makes available training and capacity-building resources developed by a variety of stakeholders worldwide. The objective of this platform is to provide trainers and learners with the learning resources they need, and a space where they can share and use material. Most of the training programs featured on the platform have open licenses, such as Creative Commons, which make them accessible to anyone to use for non-commercial purposes such as teaching and learning.