Friday, December 31, 2004

Indonesian tsunami: Director-General convenes the Task force on prevention of natural disasters: UNESCO

Task force on prevention of natural disasters: UNESCO:

"As risk prevention is a major priority, the sciences sector will examine, in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the possibility of extending to the Indian Ocean the Tsunami Warning System established in the Pacific by the International Coordination Group. The system, created by the IOC in 1968, includes 26 Member States. As the expertise acquired in the Pacific can be usefully applied to the Indian Ocean, Mr. Matsuura has decided to bring up the question at international conferences upcoming in January in Mauritius and Kobe (Japan). The sciences sector will also work with the education sector to set up programmes in natural disaster prevention and sustainable development.

"The information and communications sector, relying on its experience in establishing community radios, will study the necessary means for participating, on one hand, in setting up a natural disaster warning system that will effectively alert populations, and on the other, providing support for distance education programmes for displaced people. "

Thursday, December 30, 2004

IT COULD HAPPEN HERE: S.F. coastline susceptible to huge quake-triggered waves

IT COULD HAPPEN HERE: S.F. coastline susceptible to huge quake-triggered waves:

"If a magnitude 9.0 shallow earthquake struck the Pacific Northwest today, it 'would most probably generate a large local tsunami that would attack Oregon, Washington, (California and Canada) within minutes to an hour,' said a leading tsunami scientist, Laura Kong, of UNESCO's International Tsunami Information Centre in Honolulu. "

UNESCO Calls for Proposals of Projects for Funding Under Information for All Programme: UNESCO-CI

UNESCO Calls for Proposals of Projects for Funding Under Information for All Programme: UNESCO-CI:

"UNESCO calls for proposals for projects to be funded by its Information for All Programme, an international information society initiative launched in 2001. Proposals with budgets ranging from approximately US$25,000 (national projects) to US$45,000 (international projects) should cover one of three areas: information literacy, preservation of information, and ethical, legal and societal implications of the information society."

"UNESCO’s Women on Science Chair established at LCWU"

Pakistan Daily Times Story

"Khalid Maqbool, the governor of Punjab, on Wednesday announced the establishment of a chair for ‘Women on Science’ at Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) and appointed LCWU vice chancellor Dr Bushra Mateen as the chairperson."

UNESCO offers tsunami assistance to countries in South Asia

UNESCO - UNESCO offers tsunami assistance

"Mr Matsuura said that 'UNESCO stands ready' to assist the national authorities within its fields of competence and “give whatever support it can to the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator’s efforts.

"Priority will be given to extending existing programmes regarding the study and monitoring of tsunamis and earthquakes to the Indian Ocean and other vulnerable areas such as the Caribbean, and teaching people how to prepare for, and cope with such disasters.

"Expert missions will be sent to assess immediate, medium and long-term needs in the Organization’s other fields of competence. In education, for example, UNESCO will mobilize its partners, including professional teachers organizations and NGOs, to provide psychological support to traumatized children and orphans. It will also look at ways of helping displaced children and children left handicapped by the disaster to continue their schooling.

"Several sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List were hit by the recent earthquake and tsunami. Among the damaged cultural sites are the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications in Sri Lanka; and, in India, Mahabalipuram and the Sun Temple of Koranak. Natural sites damaged include the Ujung Kulon National Park and Tropical Rainforest of Sumatra, both in Indonesia. UNESCO will send missions to assess damage to these sites and decide on appropriate action."

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2003-2004 ANNUAL REPORT


In 2003 and 2004, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) made major gains in data collection, analysis and dissemination. While UIS focuses strongly on education, a new strategy for the collection of data on science and technology provided the foundation for a new survey on human and financial resources in that sector. In addition, data on culture and communication were reviewed and validated, and new questionnaires are being designed on print and electronic media. in 2003 and 2004, the Institute also explored indicators for information and communication technologies.

Tsunami underscores need for U.N., UNESCO agencies

Decatur Daily Editorial

"An Asian tragedy serves as a reminder we cannot take earthquake monitors for granted.

"An earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean triggered tidal waves that killed tens of thousands of people. Many more will likely die from starvation and water-borne diseases in the weeks to come.

"The agency that warns many countries of earthquakes and other geological incidents that trigger tsunamis is the International Tsunami Information Center, based in Honolulu. The agency is one of the many golden eggs laid by the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization."

Similar quake disaster once struck state


"Scientists cannot predict when a mega-quake will happen. But once it does strike, they can warn people that a tsunami will follow -- up to 14 hours later.

"Yesterday, scientists in Western Washington received an alert from the Pacific Tsunami Warning system, but some of the affected nations did not. The lack of warning was the subject of e-mails posted on the Tsunami Bulletin Board of the International Tsunami Information Centre, in which scientists discussed the need for broadening the system.

"Peter Pissierssens of UNESCO wrote that it's time to speed up establishment of the Southwest Pacific and Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System as previously recommended, and to expand it 'to include all Indian Ocean countries, as the impact of today's disaster is clearly much wider than the Southwest Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean.' "

Monday, December 27, 2004

UNESCO: International Programme for the Development of Communication

International Programme for the Development of Communication:

"The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) promotes free and pluralistic media in developing countries and the countries in transition. Through media development IPDC helps strengthen communicative & analytical skills of the people and their participation in democratic governance. The priority is given to the projects promoting press freedom and media pluralism, development of community media, enhancing professional capacity and building partnerships for media improvements."

World Conference on Disaster Reduction - 18-22 January 2005, Kobe Hyogo, Japan

World Conference on Disaster Reduction website

The World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2005 was convened on direction of the U.N. General Assembly. The resolution that directed the conference specified that it be "at the senior-official level, designed to foster specialized discussions and produce concrete changes and results, with the following objectives:
(a) To conclude the review of the Yokohama Strategy and its Plan of Action, with a view to updating the guiding framework on disaster reduction for the twentyfirst century;
(b) To identify specific activities aimed at ensuring the implementation of relevant provisions of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (“Johannesburg Plan of Implementation”)6 on
vulnerability, risk assessment and disaster management;
(c) To share best practices and lessons learned to further disaster reduction within the context of attaining sustainable development and identify gaps and challenges;
(d) To increase awareness of the importance of disaster reduction policies, thereby facilitating and promoting the implementation of those policies;
(e) To increase the reliability and availability of appropriate disaster-related information to the public and disaster management agencies in all regions, as set out in the relevant provisions of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation."

UNESCO is organizing three sessions:
1. Education for sustainable development: towards effective disaster reduction and enhancing human security;
2. Cultural heritage risk management; and
3. Capacity-building through the International Programme on Landslides and Intl Flood Initiative.

Arab World Facing Water Shortage, Threat of War over Water

Egypt Today - Full Story:

With the threat of a major food and water shortage looming large, rapidly diminishing water sources will be one of the most critical challenges facing Egypt in the coming decades.

"Under a 1959 water-sharing agreement with the other African nations that share the Nile Basin, Egypt is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Nile water each year.....

"With a population of just 30 million in 1959, the 55.5 billion figure, giving the nation 2,100 cubic meters of water per person per year, must have seemed more than enough to the leaders of the July Revolution. Today, with a population of 70-72 million that grows at a clip of a little over 2 percent each year, Egypt has just 792 cubic meters of water per capita each year.

"The commonly accepted international definition of water scarcity is anything less than 1,000 cubic meters per person per year......

"Funding for the AWC should come largely from the World Bank, UNESCO and the UNDP, as well as Saudi Arabias Islamic Development Bank, which has funded a number of large-scale water projects in Africa and Asia since 1976."

International Tsunami Information Center - Honolulu, Hawai`i

International Tsunami Information Center - Honolulu, Hawai`i:

"The International Tsunami Information Center was established in 1965 by the IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). ITIC maintains and develops relationships with scientific research and academic organizations, civil defense agencies, and the general public in order to carry out its mission to mitigate the hazards associated with tsunamis by improving tsunami preparedness for all Pacific Ocean nations."

Sri Lanka Tsunami Warning Systems Failed in Spite of UNESCO halp

TamilNet: 27.12.04 A Nation Unprepared:

Sri Lanka's National Aquatic Resources Research & Development Agency (NARA) or the Meteorology Department do not have the resources to receive early warning information released by international organizations that monitor seismic activity and alert the population to impending tsunamic waves.

The International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC) established in 1965 by the IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) of UNESCO, monitors seismic activity. The ITIC also assists Member States in establishing national warning systems, and makes information available on current technologies for tsunami warning systems.

Sunday's oceanic earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra was detected and a news bulletin published within 15 minutes of the onset of the quake. The tital wave would have taken a little less than two hours to travel between Sumatra and Sri Lanka. Had systems been adequate, warning could have been given to the people to evacuate the beaches and lives saved.

Friday, December 24, 2004

UNESCO Seed Funding for Universal Scripts Project Complemented US Research Grant: UNESCO-CI

Helping Computers deal with other alphabets:

"The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a two-year grant to the University of California at Berkeley for the Universal Scripts Project, a project that will support authoring of sixteen Unicode script proposals. The NEH grant represents complements seed-funding from UNESCO's Initiative B@bel, which has funded work on the N'ko and Balinese scripts.

"The grant, totalling $217,700 in outright funds and $40,000 in federal matching funds, will run from January 2005 through December 2006 and will be led by Deborah Anderson. The Universal Scripts Project is a continuation of the Script Encoding Initiative established at UC Berkeley in 2002.

"Five historic scripts are earmarked for immediate work on this project, including the basic set of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Eleven modern scripts will also be prepared for encoding. The modern scripts are used by minorities in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa. The number of minority language users of these scripts is over 20 million."

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Marrakech Action Plan on Media in the Information Society Now Available: UNESCO-CI

Marrakech Action Plan

"Organizers of the Marrakech conference on “Role of Media in the Information Society in Africa and the Arab States” have now published the Action Plan on the basis of the inputs provided by various working-groups during the conference held on 22-24 November in Marrakech.

"The Action Plan defines actions related to (1) media freedom, independence and pluralism (2) the place of traditional media in the information society (3) reducing the digital divide in the media (4) women media professionals (5) culture, multilingualism and the media in the information society and (6) internet governance.

"The Action Plan calls upon Arab and African States to proceed without delay to the general reform of laws limiting the right of freedom expression and opinion. It requests the States that have not already done so to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 and incorporate its principles and values of freedom expression and the right to information into their constitutions."

First Center for Peace in country opens in Frederick

The Gazette: First Center for Peace in country opens in Frederick:

"The country's first Center for Peace, promoting the ideals of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has recently opened in the City of Frederick."

Frederick's Center for Peace is at 23 W. Sixth St., Frederick. For more information, visit or e-mail

More coverage of NatComm appointments

El Paso Times Online - Two from El Paso appointed to U.S. National Commission:

"El Pasoans Adair Margo and Myrna Deckert have been appointed by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO......

"Margo, an El Paso gallery owner, is chairwoman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Deckert, who retired as executive director of the YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region, is a motivational speaker and volunteer."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Haaretz - UNESCO to offer courses to journalists

Haaretz - UNESCO to offer courses to journalists:

"The UN Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) will offer a course next month in Arabic for Israeli journalists and one in Hebrew for Palestinian journalists . The course for the Israelis will take place in the Western Galilee Academic College campus, and for the Palestinians at Bir Zeit University. The 100-hour course, almost entirely subsidized by UNESCO, will cost participants NIS 250. It will teach basic literary Hebrew and Arabic to participants, along with key concepts in Palestinian and Israeli communication. (Jack Khoury)"

Physics for Tomorrow:

Physics for Tomorrowa>

The International Year of Physics will be launched by Conference "Physics for Tomorrow". It will be open to the general public and will aim to attract the interest of the international media so as to focus attention on the events and celebrations organized around the world throughout the Year.

The Conference will include an opening ceremony, public lectures and round-table discussions by Nobel laureates and other renowned scientists. The public lectures and round-table discussions will focus on the role of physics in society and its impact on everyday life, the influence of Einstein on the science of the 20th and 21st centuries, the teaching of physics, and its links with other disciplines. Five hundred students (aged 16-18) from physics Olympiad teams from different countries will be invited to participate in the Conference.

The conference takes place 13-15 January 2005, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

A World of Science

October-December 2004

This is the latest edition of the UNESCO Natural Sciences Quarterly Newsletter.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory

World Network of biosphere reserve:

The UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory provides information on all UNESCO's declared biosphere reserves. The website provides the following facilities:
-- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on biosphere reserves;
-- an Interactive MAP including list of country focal points;
-- a search Engine: allowing search by country, by biosphere reserve, by research and monitoring activities, etc.; and
-- a complete, downloadable list of biosphere reserves.

UNESCO/IPDC Fosters Pluralist Media Development in Arab Region: UNESCO-CI

UNESCO/IPDC Fosters Pluralist Media Development in Arab Region: UNESCO-CI:

"Shaikah Ahmad Al-Mahmood, Qatar's Minister of Education, urged the Arab media 'to undertake their responsibilities towards addressing issues like democratic changes, freedom of expression and human rights in the Arab world'. She was addressing a seminar held on earlier this month in Doha, as part of a three-day meeting organized by UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) on 'Media Development in the Arab World'. "

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Director Appointed to U.S. Commission to UNESCO

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Director Appointed :

"WHOI President and Director Robert Gagosian has been appointed to the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). "

Joint Session of Bioethics Committees

Joint Session of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) :

"IBC and IGBC will hold a Joint Session at UNESCO Headquarters, in Paris, on 26 and 27 January 2005." The meeting is part of the process for elaboration of a declaration on universal norms on bioethics. Documents for the meeting are available from the website.

Monday, December 20, 2004

UNESCO: Guidelines for Compatibility of Media and the Judiciary Proposed for South Asian Countries

Guidelines for Compatibility of Media and the Judiciary Proposed for South Asian Countries:

"The importance of the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression while making and implementing the law on contempt of court, was the subject of intense debate during a three-day seminar on Media and Judicial Independence in South Asia held in Manesar, Haryana, India, earlier this month.

"The meeting that was held from 2 to 4 December 2004 ended with the recommendation of a series of strict measures to promote harmonious coexistence of the media and the judiciary in this respect. "

World Academy for Young Scientists Established

SciDev.Net -- World Academy for Young Scientists:

"The World Academy of Young Scientists (WAYS) has been set up largely at the instigation of the Hungarian government -- which hosted the World Conference on Science in Budapest in 1999 -- and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the main organiser of the conference."

Publishers Request Help from UNESCO Uganda: Publishers Ask for UNESCO Help:

"THE Uganda Publishers Association (UPA) has asked the United Nations Education and Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to assist them overcome problems hindering the growth of the publishing industry."

Building Scientific Capacity in Developing Nations

Building Scientific Capacity: A TWAS Perspective

The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, formerly known as the Third World Academy of Sciences, has just published this report.

Building Scientific Capacity: A TWAS Perspective

Building Scientific Capacity: A TWAS Perspective

The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, formerly known as the Third World Academy of Sciences, has just published this report.

Young Power in Social Action - Bangladesh

Young Power in Social Action - Bangladesh

Established in 1985, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) is a voluntary social development organisation seeking to engage Bangladesh's poor and marginalised youth in their own and their society's sustainable development. The YPSA Information and Communication Technology for Development Unit was established in October 2004. Its initiatives include "Youth-led Poverty Reduction through Digital Opportunities" (YPRDO), a UNESCO-supported project which aims to raise awareness about ICTs, video projects and research activities.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

UNESCO DG Presents Program Budget Options for 2006-7


"Four options have been foreseen, two based on a “zero real growth” scenario and two on a “zero nominal growth” scenario.

- Option 1 is the full zero real growth scenario because it includes cost increases that are due to inflation (US$ 37.8 million), reimbursement of the loan for Headquarters renovation (US$ 8.4 million) and new security measures at Headquarters and in the field (US$ 12.3 million). This option allows the Organization to maintain its “purchasing power” at the current level and, through internal adjustments, to continue pursuing the concentration and reform processes.

- Option 2 retains only cost increases that are due to inflation. The additional costs that are linked to the loan and to security (US$ 20.7 million) will be “absorbed” through austerity measures. Although this scenario implies redeployments and new economy measures, it should nevertheless permit the preservation of essential gains and would not slow down the reform process unduly.

- Option 3, built on a zero real growth hypothesis, would have an extremely negative effect on the Organization. This scenario provides for the absorption of the increases that result from inflation (US$ 37.8 million) but adds to the current base (US$ 610 million) the amounts needed for reimbursement of the loan and for security. The need to “absorb” nearly US$ 40 million (of which US$ 25 million are linked to rises in staff costs that the Organization is compelled to pay) will necessarily lead to a “cut” in programmes, with the maximum to be hoped for being a preservation of the “top priorities” at their current level.

- Option 4 – outright zero nominal growth, implying as it does an “absorption” or reduction of the budget by US$ 58.5 million – would have a catastrophic impact. To achieve the required savings, the gains made in the reform process, including the decentralization strategy, would have to be called into question and the programme, including the most urgent priorities, would need to be reduced, thus causing a drastic decline of the ratios (staff/programme; programme sectors/central services; Headquarters/Field) that have improved over the last few years. This would be a heavy blow against the progress made by UNESCO in strategic domains and against the recent progress observed in terms of efficiency and visibility."

WebWorld's Portals:


- UNESCO Libraries Portal
- UNESCO Archives Portal
- UNESCO Free Software Portal
- UNESCO Observatory on the Information Society

What is press freedom?

What is press freedom?

"Dr ST Kwame Boafo of the Communications and Information sector of the Unesco, Paris has noted that 'media institutions and practitioners will do well in serving the cause of democracy, good governance and peace in Africa if they would regard the provisions of information as a basic right which must be fulfiled in a public service fashion.'
He states further that 'the rights and collective responsibility or deontology of media professionals to be purveyors and disseminators of news and information call for adherence to professional code of ethics and standards in the collection, processing and dissemination of news and information. Media professionals who are well trained and who exercise their professional duties or tasks with ethical consciousness can help to create conditions for bringing about greater transparency and accountability,increased participation of different publication segments in societal decision making and reinforce peace.'”

UNESCO Communication and Information Program Progress

UNESCO Progress Report for the 170th Meeting of the Executive Board (The meeting was in October, 2004; the next meeting is in January, 2005.)


"165. During the first six months of the 2004-2005 biennium, a good start was made in the implementation of Major Programme V in line with the three principal strategic objectives assigned to the programme in the Medium-Term Strategy for 2002-2007 (31 C/4): (i) promoting the free flow of ideas and universal access to information; (ii) promoting the expression of pluralism and cultural diversity in the media and world information networks; and (iii) promoting access for all to information and communication technologies, especially in the public domain.

"166. Although it is still early in the biennium, certain trends and developments are already becoming apparent in Programme V.I, which contains the principal priority of “fostering equitable access to information and knowledge for development, especially in the public domain”. The Intergovernmental Council of the Information for All Programme (IFAP), the younger of the two intergovernmental programmes in the Communication and Information Sector, has been consolidated and its focus refined, following the third session of its Intergovernmental Council (May 2004) and two meetings of its Bureau (March and May 2004). The latter included a virtual meeting which brought together all eight Members in a virtual conferencing setting. Members agreed that this was a positive and productive experience and could be a role model for meetings of similar organs. The IFAP Council and its Bureau have submitted proposals for the preparation of the draft of document 33 C/5. In so doing, Council members identified needs and responded with suggestions for initiatives that could contribute greatly to achieving the IFAP goals and illustrate their potential benefits for people and communities. A major trend shaping implementation during the period under review was the Plan of Action adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS, Geneva, December 2003). To improve coordination and monitoring as well as provide information on the variety of activities initiated by UNESCO in this context, an online platform has been launched. The Organization also commenced a new round of discussions with members of the NGO community to identify examples of best practices and to guide UNESCO’s planning for the second Phase of the Summit (November 2005) and participated in the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee of WSIS held in Hammamet, Tunis (June 2004).

"167. There is a growing demand for the building of networks in, and facilitating access to, the huge collections of information contained in the world's libraries and archives. In this context, information infrastructure, such as libraries and specifically designed ICT tools, is increasingly being recognized as a valuable resource that is currently under-utilized in the policies and strategies to build knowledge societies. Those communities engaged in the preservation of their documentary heritage are reporting a continuing struggle for funding and profile, which is where the Memory of the World Programme and other awareness-raising efforts continue to have such a vital role to play in catalysing preservation work. Similarly, increasing emphasis is being given to the needs and opportunities for the use of ICTs in education, especially for (i) enhancing teaching and teacher skills through the integration of ICTs into pedagogy and curriculum design; (ii) sourcing relevant quality educational content; (iii) coordinating and sharing technical solutions in this field; and (iv) improving access to distance learning and reducing the costs of learning for professionals in developing countries. As lessons are learnt, previous shortcomings with regard to quality, relevance and affordability are being addressed and improvements will continue to ensure empowerment through ICT-based education, particularly for the exchange of curricula and new methods of ICT training in priority areas.

"168. Another noticeable trend during the period under review is the growing number of organizations working in the area of community access using a variety of models and technologies; this is increasing the need for closer coordination and collaboration. It is in this regard that, during the period, UNESCO continued its efforts to build alliances with significant stakeholders and partners, including other United Nations agencies and the private sector to achieve common development objectives in communication and information. Particularly noteworthy here is the letter of intent which the Organization signed with Microsoft for collaboration in promoting the effective use of ICTs in teaching and learning; improving lifelong learning opportunities for disadvantaged youth and adults; and exploring the potential to include a Microsoft-based Open Application Sharing platform to UNESCO’s global programmes.

"169. A concern which continues to shape part of UNESCO’s work in Programme V.2, promoting freedom of expression and communication development, is the need to enhance awareness about and respect for freedom of expression. Thus, a major thrust of activities in this period was the celebration of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the modalities of which ranged from seminars and conferences to the distribution of press freedom material to schools and through the media. Further ways of strengthening this work and collaboration with all relevant media professional organizations, international and national media NGOs will be developed in the course of the biennium. Recent successful activities in assisting governments in introducing media legislation conducive to freedom of expression will also be continued and reinforced. The comprehensive framework for providing assistance to media in open and post-conflict zones developed by UNESCO, together with key NGO and donor partners, proved successful in promoting the Organization’s special mandate and increasing its visibility in this field. Thus, UNESCO is now engaged in developing assistance to the media in Haiti, Iraq and Sudan, in addition to ongoing activities in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda.

"170. The promotion of the expression of pluralism and cultural diversity in the media and world information networks requires consistent work to (i) encourage the formulation of policies which create an enabling environment for pluralistic media and information networks; and (ii) ensure continuous support for communication media distribution systems and access facilities, in different languages and appropriate user orientations. UNESCO’s actions in the January-June 2004 period reflects the understanding of this interdependence between encouraging enabling policies and supporting the development of free and pluralistic communication media and the promotion of content diversity.

"171. On partnerships, it is worth noting that, in implementing its activities during the first six months of the 2004-2005 biennium, the Sector collaborated closely with a number of international, regional, and national NGOs, professional bodies, training and research institutions as well as civil society groups whose activities and concerns lie in the domains of the Programme. A number of actions undertaken by UNESCO in communication and information contribute to strengthening participation in decision-making about development programmes by different segments of society, particularly women and youth, which is considered essential for attaining the Millennium Development Goals."

The contribution of ICTs to the development of education, science and culture and the construction of a knowledge society

UNESCO Progress Report for the October 2004 Meeting of the Exec. Board

Progress is reported on the following initiatives in the second of UNESCO's two cross-cutting themes:

-- New opportunities for children and young people with disabilities;
-- The application of remote sensing for integrated management of ecosystems and water resources in Africa;
-- Information and communication technology in science and engineering education in Africa;
-- Small islands’ Voice (SIV);
-- UNESCO/IOC regional ocean subportals as part of the UNESCO knowledge portal;
-- ICTs as a tool to improve local governance in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean;
-- DIGI-ARTS subportal/UNESCO knowledge portal;
-- ICTs helping to fight HIV/AIDS: changing young people’s behaviour through preventive education schemes;
-- Harnessing ICTs for the audiovisual industry and public service broadcasting in developing countries;
-- ICTs for intercultural dialogue and diversity: developing communication capacities of indigenous peoples;
-- E-campus - Improving open distance learning;
-- ICTs as a tool for governance and democratic participation;
-- Strengthening telecentres in Central America;
-- Free open source software for information processing and education; and
-- UNESCO knowledge portal.

The other UNESCO cross-cutting theme is "Eradication of poverty, especially extreme poverty". UNESCO also has take specific efforts for "Coordination of action to benefit Africa".

UNESCO: Progress in the Social and Human Sciences Program

Progress Report for the 170th UNESCO Exec Board Meeting (The meeting was held in October, 2004; the next Exec. Board meeting is in January, 2005.)


"94. The implementation of the programme has proceeded smoothly and at a reasonable pace during the first six months of the biennium. Moreover, efforts continued to increase the visibility of UNESCO action under the principal priority, ethics of science and technology, with emphasis on bioethics and under the other priorities. Under the principal priority, for example, brochures on the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data and on the General Conference resolution for its implementation were disseminated widely, in particular to Permanent Delegations and National Commissions for UNESCO in all regions. Under the second dimension of the principal priority, the work of the World Commission of Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), action was initiated to implement the new orientations of the programme approved by the 32nd session of the General Conference intended to bring the global debate on ethics of science and technology to the regional level, as well as the new emphasis placed by COMEST on the importance of the teaching of ethics.

"95. The objectives of UNESCO under its action on promotion of human rights and the fight against discrimination were significantly furthered by the successful organization of the World Forum on Human Rights by the City of Nantes in cooperation with UNESCO and the French National Commission for UNESCO (Nantes, France, May 2004), which brought together all actors working in the field of human rights. The Forum responded to the need for an open and free dialogue on contemporary priority human rights issues, such as terrorism and human rights, globalization and the struggle against all forms of discrimination and exclusion, and poverty as a violation of human rights.

"96. Under other priority areas of the programme, such as Foresight, Philosophy, Human Sciences and Human Security, or Management of Social Transformations (MOST – Phase II), efforts continued during the past six months in promoting better research-policy linkages. The first brainstorming session on the UNESCO Strategy on Philosophy was organized at Headquarters with the participation of representatives of 53 Permanent Delegations to identify the key issues which should be included in the Strategy.

"97. Support was consolidated to the Forum of Social Development Ministers linking 17 Member States of Latin America and the Caribbean and progress was made towards linking this network with similar entities proposed in Africa and Asia. With regard to Africa, progress was made in explorations with interested Member States towards establishing and institutionalizing a network of African Ministers of Social Development, beginning with a meeting of the Ministers of the 14 Member States of SADC (Southern African Development Community) planned in Cape Town, South Africa, on 28 and 29 October 2004.

"98. The Sector continued to improve its implementation of the decentralization strategy through the posting of more staff to field offices, subject to the constraints imposed by the relative size of the Sector and the proportion of its Staff establishment that can be posted in the field."

UNESCO: Progress in the Natural Science Program

DG Progress Report for the 170th Exec Board Meeting (The Executive Board meeting was in October, 2004; the next is in January, 2005.)


"50. The programme activities of the Natural Sciences Sector are being carried out in line with the relevant Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the World Summit on Sustainable Development Plan of Implementation, and the World Summit on the Information Society Action Plan. During the first six months of this biennium, the Sector’s programmes continued to support the principal priority of 'water and associated ecosystems'.

"51. Cooperation with UNESCO’s field offices has been further increased in order to address in a more efficient manner the needs of Member States and in particular those of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). At the same time the geographic focus of the programme activities continues to change towards Africa and the Small Island Developing States. In this respect, the consultation processes initiated for the 10-Year Review Meeting of the Barbados Plan of Action for Small Island Developing States (Mauritius, 2004) has been pursued and provided further guidance for the development of programmes and actions to prepare the Organization’s input to “Barbados + 10”. Likewise, since UNESCO was chosen by the African Union as the lead agency in Science, cooperation with Member States of the Africa region in the framework of NEPAD has been considerably reinforced: efforts are being made to develop a regional action plan for S&T, and UNESCO fosters the launching of a Pan-African initiative in science and technology policy.

"52. Programme activities under Major Programme II are also increasingly addressing crosssectoral issues, including the ethics of science and technology and the role of science in the peacebuilding and peace-maintaining context. Accordingly, the overall approaches have become more complex, rely on more disciplines working together and depend on the use of the latest technologies. This in turn has led to a reinforcement of interdisciplinary as well as intersectoral cooperation.

"53. The first six months of the biennium provided a strong continuation of the freshwater activities of UNESCO. The reinforced regular budget has allowed the start of significant initiatives such as the International Flood Initiative and the International Sedimentation Initiative, and the furtherance of other important lines of action such as the HELP (Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy) and FRIEND (Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data) projects and the thematic work of the Sixth Phase (2002-2007) of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP). The amount decentralized for the execution of the Subprogramme to the field offices has nearly tripled, enhancing significantly their resources. The World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) has already embarked on an intense course of action aimed at producing the second issue of the World Water Development Report (WWDR) to be presented at the Fourth World Water Forum (Mexico City, March 2006); IHP is actively collaborating in this endeavour. Work on SIMDAS (Sustainable Integrated Management and Development of Arid and Semi-arid Regions of Southern Africa) has started, particularly on the coordinating mechanisms in the SADC subregion.

"54. The programme on groundwater management has been further strengthened, in various aspects such as global hydrogeological mapping and management of transboundary aquifers. Other programmes, including ecohydrology (cooperation with MAB), conflict resolution and urban water management have continued their sustained action. The process of expansion and strengthening of the network of water-related regional and international centres under the auspices of UNESCO has continued strongly as work towards setting up the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management in Tsukuba, Japan and the Regional Ecohydrology Centre in Lodz, Poland have shown considerable progress, with a number of other proposals under process. The planning of the Seventh Phase of IHP (2008-2013) has started in earnest with a Task Force processing the inputs of Member States for the initial formulation of the plan.

"55. In the field of ecological sciences, the expansion of the network of Biosphere reserves is being prepared and their role in developing new approaches to sustainable development is being increased. The MAB Programme is actively helping to reduce the loss in biodiversity by reinforcing science and capacity-building in the service of ecological sustainability. Regarding the basic and engineering sciences, cooperation was reinforced within the framework of the newly created International Basic Sciences Programme, and through strengthening of links with ACTP & CERN institutes and development of the flagship project, “Science for Peace in the Middle East, SESAME”.

"56. With respect to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), four major developments took place during the first six months of the biennium: the Symposium on Quantitative Ecosystem Indicators for Fisheries Management, The Ocean in a High-CO2 World Symposium (the outcome of both activities are presented in the report), the establishment of “UNOceans” and the adoption of the framework document at the second Earth Observation Summit held in Tokyo. In addition, at its sixth session, in September 2003, the High Level Commission on Programs (HLCP) “approved the creation of an Ocean and Coastal Areas Network (…), building on SOCA and in line with the CEB’s call for a more dynamic arrangement which would enable non-United Nations actors to contribute to the achievement of JPOI targets” (Ref. CEB/2003/7). Following a request from the Secretariat of the Chief Executive Board (CEB), IOC, together with former members of the Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas (SOCA), contributed to the process that the HLCP is leading for the definition of Terms of Reference and the establishment of the Ocean and Coastal Areas Network (UN-Oceans). During the Fifth Informal Consultative
Process on the Law of the Sea (ICP V) in New York (7-11 June 2004), UN-Oceans met twice and confirmed the Terms of Reference and the preliminary list of members.

"57. The Earth Observation Summit (EOS), held in Washington DC, from 30 July to 2 August 2003, was organized by the Government of the United States of America (emphasis added) to “Promote the development of a comprehensive, coordinated and sustained Earth observation system or systems among governments and the international community to understand and address global environmental and economic challenges”. The ad hoc Group on Earth Observations (GEO) launched on this occasion set in place the necessary follow-up machinery with a view to preparing a Framework Document in time for a Ministerial Conference on Earth observations held on 25 April 2004 in Tokyo and a complete plan of implementation in time for a further ministerial conference to be hosted by the European Union during the first quarter of 2005. IOC has been fully engaged in the process, co-chairing with representatives of Australia and the United States of America the
International Cooperation subgroup (ICSG) of GEO
. (emphasis added) GEO entrusted ICSG with the task of
developing, for the 10-year implementation plan, international strategies, models, and organizational structures that could be used for effective long-term coordination of a comprehensive and coordinated Earth observation system or systems, building on existing mechanisms and structures. After considerable efforts by ICSG, the proposed principles for this process were agreed upon by GEO-3 (February 2004, Cape Town) and adopted as part of the framework document by EOS II (Tokyo, 25 April 2004)."

From UNESCO's Progress Report for the 170th Meeting of the Exec Board

Promoting education and capacity-building in science and technology (To be held 27 January 2005.)

"37. Six Member States are being assisted in reviewing and updating their national policies and curricula in STE (Cambodia, Bolivia, Romania, Ghana, Mali and Viet Nam). Efforts to train and empower teachers to better adapt national programmes to local needs through the preparation and dissemination of educational materials is ongoing. A Science Careers Guidance and Counselling Module to counter gender stereotypes with regard to science studies and careers in southern Africa, a UNESCO/UNEP Youth Exchange Toolkit (guidebook and website) for capacitybuilding on sustainable consumption in youth organizations, schools, local authorities and consumer
organizations, and a teaching tool on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), started in collaboration with the Natural Sciences Sector and targeted to secondary-school teachers and students, are among the educational materials developed. Nepal, Egypt, Burkina Faso and Argentina are benefiting from a project on capacity-building in gender-inclusive scientific and technological literacy (STL) for enhancing life skills under the EFA Capacity-Building Programme funded by the Nordic Funds. Extensive exchange of information and experiences among the science and technology education community was encouraged by the publication and dissemination of Connect in six languages, totalling 25,000 copies."

The Department of State: The United States of America And UNESCO

The United States of America And UNESCO: Building Knowledge, Bridging Cultures:

"As a symbol of our commitment to human dignity, the United States will return to UNESCO. This organization has been reformed and America will participate fully in its mission to advance human rights and tolerance and learning."
President George W. Bush
September 12, 2002

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Asia Pacific Media Network :: INDONESIA: Media people criticized for lack of solidarity

Asia Pacific Media Network :: INDONESIA: Media people criticized for lack of solidarity:

"Jakarta: Prominent lawyer Nono Anwar Makarim criticized the Indonesian media on Thursday for its lack of cohesion in putting pressure on the government and the House of Representatives to revise existing laws that are often used against journalists and media enterprises.

'If media people can show solidarity, they can put pressure on the government and the House (to reform outdated laws). We must look to other countries that have reformed press laws,' he said in a discussion organized by the Press Council and UNESCO here on Thursday."

Ads to be allowed on community radio in India

Ads to be allowed on community radio:

"The draft guidelines for popularising community radio in India, which was submitted to the government last week, recommended extending community radios beyond educational institutions, besides permitting advertisements for a maximum of five minutes per hour, a senior official said here today."

"Advertisements have been restricted to avoid unhealthy competition with the commercial radios," said Rakesh Kakkar, addressing a valedictory session of a six-day, international workshop for community radio station managers, organised by the Commonwealth of Learning, UNESCO and the Anna University here. Kakkar is advisor (broadcasting), to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Biosphere Reserves in Central America

Biosphere Reserves in Central America

This is a map of the biosphere reserves in Mexico, Central America, and Panama, provided by UNESCO's Man in the Biosphere program. The United States continued a grant program to enable U.S. scientists to participate in the program even during the period that it was not a member of UNESCO.

CITW: Canadians & UN - James Harrison: A Brighter Side of UNESCO - Science

CITW: Canadians & UN - James Harrison: A Brighter Side of UNESCO - Science:

"The science program of UNESCO then (1973-76) received between 25 and 28 per cent of the total budget. It still does, and has suffered less than other parts of the organization from the U.S. and British withdrawal. Harrison says: 'There are a whole lot of misconceptions about UNESCO's budget. It now amounts to $180 million a year, which is about the same as a good-sized Canadian university. Most programs of UNESCO depend heavily on national support for any particular project, beyond the country's general contribution made to the organization. So nearly every program is a co-operative venture. Man and the Biosphere (MAB) is a good example. Each state plans its own program, and there is a MAB secretariat in Paris that acts as clearing-house, and an International Co-ordinating Council.'..............

""One of the things I discovered, when I came back in 1976, was that, while UNESCO may not be important to the U.S.A. or even to Canada, it is enormously important to Third World countries. I fear this is not recognized well enough by the industrialized world, who see it too much from their own individual point of view."

James Harrison, a Canadian, was Assistant Director-General (Science) of UNESCO for more than three years starting in 1973.

Director-General addresses the Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations: UNESCO

Director-General addresses the Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations: UNESCO:

"The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Ko�chiro Matsuura, today addressed the participants in the 45th meeting of the Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations, the Specialized Agencies and the International Atomic Energy Authority, being held at UNESCO Headquarters. He was introduced to the participants by Ms Sheila Fraser, UNESCO�s External Auditor."

International Union of Geological Sciences

USNC/IUGS -- International Union of Geological Sciences

This is the website of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). The International Geoscience Program is a co-operative enterprise of UNESCO and IUGS. It was launched in 1972 to facilitate geological co-operation across international borders, as geological processes and structures normally cut across such boundaries. The program’s major aim is to bring together scientists from around the world and to encourage the involvement of developing countries. The USNC website provides information on a representative sample of IGCP projects.

U.S. Civil Society Views of UNESCO

U.S. Civil Society Views of UNESCO

This is a summary of a meeting convened by the Board on International Scientific Organizations of the National Research Council on November 22, 2002. The opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the
Board. (This is not a report of the National Research Council, but it might interest those concerned about UNESCO.)

CAIP-Sponsored Roundtable on UNESCO and OAS Activities

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Consortium of Affiliates for International Activities (CAIP) sponsored a roundtable for interested parties from professional societies and the U.S. government. It was an informal information-gathering and discussion that covered both the Organization of American States ministerial process, which will next take up the issue of science and technology capacity building, and UNESCO programs and processes. It will set the stage for a full scale CAIP meeting in February.

Sid Passman provided the following comments on the meeting:


Alex Zemeck, Deputy Ex. Sec. of the U.S. National Commission on UNESCO (NATCOMM) outlined the structure of the NATCOMM. They need about 10 more NGOs to complete their membership.

Hank Hatch, designated coordinator of the Science Committee, welcomed advice from us
old timers and hoped we could help to identify US participants in UNESCO activities in recent years so that the NATCOMM would be able to appreciate US interests. (If Roger's database is still available it would be helpful for the secretariat.)
Since the NATCOMM is organized under the terms of the Federal Advisory Committee Act,
the meetings will be open to the interested public (within the room limits.). Announcements will be made at least 15 days in advance. The agenda of the meetings will be set by State and will be aimed at providing advice when requested.

There are 21 member organizations on the Science Committee of NATCOMM.

The first NATCOMM meeting will probably be in May.

Because UNESCO seems concerned about its bleak financial future (the State Department's Bureau for International Organizations (IO) representative defended the need to keep the budget zero growth with mandatory absorption of building and security costs), Amb. Oliver suggested ways in which UNESCO could become more efficient. She dispatched an advisory group (Engineer Russel Jones and academic in residence Melba Crawford), who just returned from an extended mission. They suggested an integration and consolidation of staff to create a capacity building task force. I hope that we will learn more about Amb. Oliver's activities and thoughts when she speaks at the very important AAAS annual meeting 19 February.

I made numerous interventions on the various questions and issues before the roundtable, some of which, I believe, were well received.

In conclusion, I believe things are going well but recommend that Americans for UNESCO stay closely in touch and offer advice wherever practicable.


I would add that NATCOMM will have four committees: Science, Education, Culture and Communication. Currently there is no plan to appoint a chairman for the overall NATCOMM, but the four committee chairs may form the core of an executive committee.

The zero-growth proposal for UNESCO's budget is in keeping with plans that were made two years ago, with the U.S. reentry into UNESCO. At that time, there was a significant increase in the budget, reflecting the added contribution that would be made by the U.S. to those of other nations. But, it was contemplated that the budget would not expand further in the next bieniums. The discovery of the need for tens of millions of dollars worth of repairs and renovations needed for the UNESCO headquarters, and the depreciation of the dollar against the Euro have lead UNESCO staff now to propose increasing the budget again (by US$58 million to US$210 million.)

There seemed to be confidence that ambassador Oliver is doing well since she assumed her post as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO. Her emphasis on building cross-cutting programs to break down the "stove-piping" that currently exists in UNESCO seemed especially well received. She has proposed a "Capacity Building Center" within UNESCO to promote cross-cutting efforts to build capacity in developing nations.

There was discussion of the need to increase the number of Americans on the staff of UNESCO, both to reflect the importance of the U.S. in UNESCO's support, and to improve the linkages between U.S. educational, cultural and scientific communities and UNESCO programs.

It was suggested that it would be worthwhile to revisit a study published by the National Academy of Sciences about 1985, that discussed the concerns of the U.S. scientific community at the time of the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO.

Saturday, February 19th, there will be a session at the Annual Meeting of the AAAS on UNESCO. Ambassador Oliver will speak, as will Walter Erdelen, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences of UNESCO. Also scheduled to speak will be Shirley Malcolm, Bruce Alberts, and Terry Garcia. There will be an hour for open, moderated discussion following the presentations. This will be an important meeting.

2005 has been named "The World Year in Physics". 2005 is the 100th anniversary of the year in which Einstein published his most remarkable contributions to the science. UNESCO and the American Physical Society will mount programs.

Bring on the judges!

Bring on the judges!:

"Last month, the range of theories broadened to include public international law when an alliance of NGOs and individuals, including the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy, Foro Ecologico del Peru and Pro Public (Friends of the Earth Nepal), submitted petitions to have world heritage glaciers and coral reefs placed on UNESCO's Danger List because of climate change."

UNESCO to Support Production of Eight Films on Human Rights and Tolerance: UNESCO-CI

UNESCO to Support Production of Eight Films on Human Rights and Tolerance: UNESCO-CI

"UNESCO has now selected eight proposals for film productions for its new project “ICT-enhanced Public Service Broadcasting: Contributing to the development of human rights, peace, tolerance and the fight against discrimination” (ICT@PSB). The selection was made out of 200 submissions that UNESCO received further to an international call to television and film professionals earlier this year."

Thursday, December 16, 2004

IngentaConnect Article: The UNESCO/BAC BETCEN for Africa

IngentaConnect Article: The UNESCO/BAC BETCEN for Africa

"The application of plant biotechnology can help facilitate sustainable food security in Africa. Appropriately trained scientists are needed to apply these techniques. The Biotechnology Education and Training Centre (BETCEN) for Africa was established at ARC–Roodeplaat by UNESCO during 1995. Since then 237 scientists from 27 countries have been trained. Training has primarily been in the fields of plant tissue culture and molecular markers. The courses consist of both the theory of the techniques and practical sessions."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

KJCT 8: Mesa State President Appointed to US Commission for UNESCO

KJCT 8: Mesa State President Appointed to US Commission for UNESCO:

"President of Mesa State College Tim Foster has been appointed to serve on a national commission. Foster is one of 13 state and local government representatives appointed by Secretary of State Collin Powell to the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. The national commission will function as a federal advisory committee. It will provide expert advice to the U.S. government on matters relating to UNESCO, including worldwide humanitarian development."

UNESCO, HIV/AIDS and Avian Flu

It may be time for the United States to encourage UNESCO to consider building capacity relative to the Asian Flu within its HIV/AIDS programs

Beside the UNESCO traditional Thematic Areas (Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information), it has created a number of Special Focus programs reflecting either a transdisciplinary approach or focus on current events or news related subjects (or both). UNESCO has a home website for its HIV/AIDS Special Focus Program.

Thanks to its interdisciplinary experience, and its worldwide mandate, UNESCO is well placed to play a lead role in delivering messages to a large audience about the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. UNESCO experience can help customize messages, change risky behavior, and promote discussion and action on the treatment of HIV/AIDS taking into account cultural values and human rights as well as defending the dignity of all. Through its educational and other programs, UNESCO can help nations deal with the impact of the AIDS epidemic.

The World Health Organization is especially concerned with a likely pandemic of Avian flu. While flu kills more than 40,000 people a year in the United States, and is likely to kill more this season due to the lack of flu vaccine, the pandemics do far worse. WHO predicts that, “even in the best case scenarios of the next pandemic, 2 to 7 million people would die and tens of millions would require medical attention.” Worse cast scenarios, with modern transportation networks, and the crowded conditions in developing nations, are desperate – the Spanish flu pandemic death toll has been estimated as high as 40 to 50 million worldwide.

The interrelation of a possible Avian flu pandemic and the HIV/AIDS epidemic have received relatively little public attention. HIV/AIDS causes immunodeficiency, and thus seems likely to make its victims more vulnerable to flu. Health services in countries already overwhelmed by HIV/AIDS are poorly prepared to deal with added millions of cases of flu. Countries seeking to deal with the economic and social impacts of HIV/AIDS may need to deal with exacerbating impacts of an Avian flu pandemic.

According to WHO, “the global spread of a pandemic cannot be stopped but preparedness will reduce its impact. WHO will continue to urge preparedness and assist Member States in these activities." The United States might encourage UNESCO to join with WHO in urging such preparedness.



Beside the UNESCO traditional Thematic Areas (Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information), it has created a number of Special Focus programs reflecting either a transdisciplinary approach or focus on current events or news related subjects (or both). The link is to the UNESCO home website for its HIV/AIDS related efforts.

Thanks to its interdisciplinary experience, and its worldwide mandate, UNESCO is well placed to play a lead role in delivering messages about the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS to a large audience. UNESCO experience can help customize messages, change risky behavior, and promote discussion and action on the treatment of HIV/AIDS taking into account cultural values and human rights as well as defending the dignity of all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

AP Wire | 12/14/2004 | Google to scan books from big libraries

AP Wire | 12/14/2004 | Google to scan books from big libraries:

"Google Inc. is trying to establish an online reading room for five major libraries by scanning stacks of hard-to-find books into its widely used Internet search engine.

"The ambitious initiative announced late Monday gives Mountain View, Calif.-based Google the right to index material from the New York public library as well as libraries at four universities - Harvard, Stanford, Michigan and Oxford in England."

CBC North | News

CBC North | News:

"The Yukon's Tatshenshini River has been designated a Canadian Heritage River System by the federal government.......

"The region the Tatshenshini flows through has already been recognized a World Heritage Site by the United Nations' Education, Science, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)."

Monday, December 13, 2004

Remark by Secretary Powel, December 8, 2004

Remark by Secretary Powel, December 8, 2004:

Question: "Do you yourself see an alternative to a UN, which logically is dysfunctional and little more than a international public works program?"

SECRETARY POWELL: "You put in the tail end of your comment, question, positions in my mind. I do not believe it is nothing more than a debating organization and a public works organization for bureaucrats. I think the UN does very, very important work. I worked with the UN in conflict resolution issues over many years. Whether it was in Central America or South America, whether it was in Cambodia or East Timor, the UN has done valuable work. The end of the Iraq-Iran war was negotiated, in 1988, by the UN. And so the UN does very, very important work but it is a body of a 191 or 192 nations and the General Assembly and 15 in the Security Council and so many other agencies that do work: UNICEF, UNESCO, so many others. I think it is a valuable organization and if somebody were to disband it tomorrow, we would recreate it a week later. Because it is needed."

Countries pledge to better protect Danube environment

Yahoo! News - Thirteen regional countries pledge to better protect Danube environment:

"Ministers from 13 regional countries endorsed a 'Danube declaration' here aimed at bolstering their cooperation to better protect the environment of the Danube river over the next decade."

"The delta's nature reserve was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1991. It harbours some 90 species of fish and 300 species of birds, a number of them endangered."

UNESCO "Heros for Kids" Honored in New York

Ukrainian Institute of America to Honor Heavyweight Boxing Champion Klitschko Brothers:

"The Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA) will honor Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko with its 2004 'Persons of the Year' Award, the Institute has announced. The official awards ceremony, with the Klitschkos in attendance, will be held in early 2005 in New York City, at a date to be announced.....

"Vitali retains his World Boxing Council heavyweight title by defeating Danny Williams in Las Vegas on December 11, 2004. Wladimir won Olympic gold for Ukraine in Atlanta in 1996......

"They were honored by UNESCO in 2002 as "Heroes For Kids" for their dedication to helping children in need worldwide."

International Coalition of Cities against Racism: UNESCO SHS

International Coalition of Cities against Racism: UNESCO SHS:

"The International Coalition of Cities against Racism is an initiative launched by UNESCO in March 2004 to establish a network of cities interested in sharing experiences in order to improve their policies to fight racism, discrimination and xenophobia."

Tirana Summit commits to foster Inter-ethnic and Inter-religious Dialogue

UNESCO Culture: Tirana Summit commits to foster Inter-ethnic and Inter-religious Dialogue

"The event, organized at the initiative of the President of Albania, Alfred Moisiu, and the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, ended today with the adoption of the Tirana Summit Declaration on Inter-Religious and Inter-Ethnic Dialogue in South-East Europe.

"'Everywhere, inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue represents a significant feature of social cohesion and stability,' said Mr Matsuura in his opening address. 'In South-East Europe, such dialogue carries particular importance both historically and in current political contexts,' he added."


"In the Declaration, the 150 participants 'reaffirm that mutual respect, rooted in open dialogue and nourished by multi-ethnicity, multi-culturality and multi-religiosity is indispensable for the preservation of peace" and that "religion must not be part of the problem, but part of the solution.' The text adopted at the Summit further states that 'minorities can constitute bridges of connection, friendship and understanding between peoples and countries.'"

The Tirana Summit website

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Newly Published UNESCO Books

UNESCO Publising has released some books that may be of interest, and which may be purchased online:

Beyond Tropical Deforestation: From Tropical Deforestation to Forest Cover Dynamics and Forest Development

Human Rights: Questions and Answers

The future of values: 21st-Century Talks

Explaining Biosphere Reserves

Lankans for Manesar Declaration :

Lankans for Manesar Declaration :

"The sentencing of a Sri Lankan opposition leader and former Cabinet minister to two years' rigorous imprisonment for 'contempt of court' last Tuesday, and the intense political heat it has generated, has resulted in a chorus of voices demanding the implementation of the 'Manesar Declaration' in regard to contempt of court.

"Sri Lankan media on Sunday fully reproduced the recommendations made after a two-day meeting of top South Asian legal experts and media persons at Manesar in Haryana, India, on December 4. The declaration had sought urgent reform in contempt of court law and practice to make them accord with human rights, democracy, justice and equity. The conference was organised by AMIC-India with FES and UNESCO."

Taipei Times - UNESCO conference blends art and politics

Taipei Times - UNESCO conference blends art and politics :

"Taiwan recently held an international art conference that was political at heart."

For years Taiwan has attempted to gain membership to the UN, to no avail. It does manage to get its foot in the back door via cultural organizations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) such as the International Association of Art Critics (AICA, a French acronym). AICA held its annual international meeting, the AICA 2004 World Congress, in Taiwan recently.

Susan Kendzulak, Taipei Times, December 12, 2004

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Islam Online -- Conference Moots First Islamic Code for Medical Ethics

CAIRO, December 11 ( -- Conference Moots First Islamic Code for Medical Ethics:

"The eighth conference of the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences (IOMS), which opened here on Saturday, December 11, will moot, and likely endorse, the first Islamic code for medial and health ethics."

"The conference is organized by IOMS (Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences) in cooperation with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS), Ajman University Network and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)."

The Washington Times: Inside the Beltway - December 10, 2004 -- Duane Parde named to U.S. National Commission for UNESCO

The Washington Times: Inside the Beltway - December 10, 2004 -- Duane Parde named to U.S. National Commission for UNESCO:

"Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has appointed Duane Parde, executive director of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the nation's largest organization of state legislators, to the United States National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO for short."


"'As we look toward our children's future, it becomes extremely important to place a high value on communication, information and knowledge,' says Mr. Parde. 'This is precisely how we will break down the digital divide and create opportunities for all people, regardless of race, creed or economic sustainability.'"

UNESCO Small Grants Programme on Poverty Eradication: Call for applications

UNESCO Small Grants Programme on Poverty Eradication: Call for applications: UNESCO SHS:

"This programme aims at strengthening national capacities for research and policy analysis on poverty eradication.

The new deadline for submission of applications is 31 March 2005.....

UNESCO contribution under this programme is aimed at strengthening national capacities for research and policy analysis on poverty eradication, thus, assisting selected Member States in developing anti-poverty strategies and action plans based on human rights and in monitoring their implementation. This programme targets researchers in selected Member States in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean – the regions or sub-regions, according to prevailing trends, least likely to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal on halving extreme poverty by 2015."

This is part of the Social Science program of UNESCO -- First Group of Trainees Obtains “Microsoft-Certified Professionals” Certificate in Azerbaijan

First Group of Trainees Obtains “Microsoft-Certified Professionals” Certificate in Azerbaijan :

"Trainees from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan obtained 'Microsoft-certified Professional (MCP)' certificates this week after a 30-day UNESCO sponsored training course on advanced system technologies at the Regional Academy for Online Network Governance and System Administration (RAONGSA) in Baku, Azerbaijan."

Asia Pacific Media Network :: Media's role in social change discussed

Asia Pacific Media Network :: PAKISTAN: Media's role in social change discussed:

"Speakers at a seminar on Thursday lauded the role of media in highlighting local issues, especially facing people of rural areas, and stressed it should now focus on wrong doings and abuse of resources by elite class in urban areas.

"The seminar on 'Role of media as human rights educators' was organized by the Pakistan Press Foundation on Thursday in connection with Human Rights Day being observed on Dec 10, dedicated by office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO to human rights education."

Friday, December 10, 2004

Altshuler Tapped for UNESCO Commission | Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tapped for UNESCO Commission (registration required)

Altshuler has been appointed to serve on the United States National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a representative of the at-large community. Ms. Altshuler is a well known philanthopist, and is believed to be "a longtime close friend of the families of presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush."

Balkan Leaders Say Dialogue Key to Lasting Peace (

Balkan Leaders Say Dialogue Key to Lasting Peace (

"The presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro arrived in Tirana on Thursday (9 December) for a two-day summit, sponsored by Albanian President Alfred Moisiu, on interethnic and inter-religious dialogue in SEE. The forum, organised by UNESCO and the Albanian government, was also attended by about 100 political officials, experts, spiritual leaders and representatives of international and regional organisations."

UNESCO: The New Courier, October 2004.

UNESCO: The New Courier, October 2004.:

The October Issue of UNESCO's The New Courier has just hit the Internet.

The statistics on HIV/AIDS are heartbreaking, the human distress each case represents even more so. Two decades after the start of the pandemic, the New Courier takes stock and devotes its “Focus” dossier to shedding new light on this devastating epidemic. Improving medical treatment is crucial to limit damages, but the principal keys to checking the spread of the disease remain preventive action and education. Victories large and small – depend mainly on partners joining forces. Brazilian authorities, for instance, were able to:
-- put together the capacities of NGOs’ to contact marginalized populations,
-- rely on the competence of UNESCO’s office in Brasilia, and
-- involve the media, including directors and producers of extremely popular television series.

"The articles in this issue of the New Courier testify, each from a different angle, to UNESCO in action, illustrating its multitude of links to organizations of all kinds, corporations or individuals who want to act with it. We go to Kazakhstan, where innovative solutions using distance education are needed to alleviate the side-effects of nuclear testing. Then to Barcelona, where the first Universal Forum of Cultures mixed and mingled multiple forms of cultural expression for four months. Then to the 34 new sites just inscribed on the World Heritage List. We will meet Navarre Scott Momaday, Manu Dibango and Miyako Yoshida, recently appointed �Artists for Peace�. Everywhere, UNESCO pursues its ideals, seeking to build step by step the defenses of peace in people�s minds. "

UNESCO in action science: Sciences lose their glamour

UNESCO in action science: Sciences lose their glamour:

"The international Conference on the teaching of sciences and technology which was held at UNESCO Headquarters in June 2004 represented a new step in the collective approach to the problem (of increasing student disinterest in science). Several recommendations were made during this meeting, which was organised by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF)."

UNESCO's The New Courier, October 2004. - Southeast Asian students across could attend Virtual Institute of Science and Technology

Southeast Asian students across could attend Virtual Institute of Science and Technology :

"Students across southeast Asia could be attending a Virtual Institute of Science and Technology next year, according to the Science and Development Network. The project will allow universities to provide science and technology courses over the internet......

"Initial funding for the institute came from the ASEAN Foundation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)."

SABC News, December 10, 2004.



This article by William J. Shampine of the U.S. Geological Survey was published in Issue No. 102 (Winter, 1996) of Water Resources Update published by the Universities Council on Water Resources. This was a special issue, titled: "Water: The Emerging Crisis?". It is somewhat outdated, but relevant to the interest in UNESCO's scientific work, and especially to UNESCO's International Hydrological Program. I decided to post the link.

"Since the efficient development of water resources is a world-wide problem, international cooperation should be on a world-wide scale. People concerned with specific problems in one part of the world should be able to benefit by the knowledge gained in any other part of the world. In order to encourage and promote the necessary international cooperation in the field of hydrology, the International Hydrological Decade (IHD) was organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It was initiated on January 1, 1965 and extended through 1974. The IHD was very successful and UNESCO decided to continue providing support for the global cooperative spirit that was generated by continuing the effort as the International Hydrological Program (IHP). The IHP has operated continuously since 1974 in a series of six-year phases. Each phase has been planned around a central topic in order to narrow the focus of the program into a manageable work effort. The central topic then was further subdivided into a series of even more specific themes and projects......

"Individual countries throughout the world have formed groups known as National Committees in order to help coordinate and focus hydrologic work on IHP activities at a local scale. By the end of 1994, 113 National Committees had been established in the Member States of UNESCO. In addition, other groups with the same objective, but known as National Focal Points, also had been established in another 37 Member States. Thus, a total of 150 (out of 184) Member States of UNESCO have designated some type of national counterpart to coordinate local IHP activities."

Although not a Member State of UNESCO when this paper was published, United States' scientists continued to participate in the program via a National Committee on Scientific Hydrology. Now the United States again has a National Committee for the International Hydrological Progam of UNESCO.

International Workshop: WATER AND DISASTERS

International Workshop: WATER AND DISASTERS

"Between 1991 and 2000, the number of people affected by natural disasters rose from 147 million per year to 211 million per year. In the same period, more than 665,000 people died in 2,557 natural disasters, of which 90 percent were water-related. Of these water-related disasters, floods represented about 50 percent, water-borne diseases about 28 percent, and droughts 11 percent.....

"Recorded economic losses from natural catastrophes have grown from US$30 billion in 1990 to US$70 billion in 1999. These figures understate the true scale of loss, which is believed to be double or more than the recorded figures."

The Workshop is to provide an interdisciplinary environment to discuss a variety of international, national and local initiatives aimed at minimizing the negative impacts of water-related disasters. It is to be held at the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction of The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada (December 13 - 14, 2004).

The workshop is sponsored by several organizations including the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and UNESCO's International Hydrological Program.

UNESCO - Vitit Muntarbhorn from Thailand wins 2004 UNESCO prize for Human Rights Education

Vitit Muntarbhorn from Thailand wins 2004 UNESCO prize for Human Rights Education:

"Director-General of UNESCO Ko?chiro Matsuura has named Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand the winner of the 2004 UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education."

Vitit Muntarbhorn, Professor of Law at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, is an expert and consultant for several United Nations organizations. He is also the author of numerous publications and learning tools (including board games with a human rights theme). Since July 2004, he has been the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea.

The UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education, awarded every two years, was established to celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to honour efforts of institutions, organizations or individuals that have made a particularly significant contribution to human rights education and the promotion of human rights.

The award was announced today, Human Rights Day!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The State of the World

Several recent reports have been published by U.N. agencies that might be of interest to those interested in UNESCO:

The Human Development Report 2004: Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World
This is the annual report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which has become famous for its “human development index” which serves to complement the economic indicators of the past. This year’s report focus on culture, and thus is especially close to UNESCO’s interests.

"Childhood Under Threat: The State of the World's Children 2005"
While UNESCO focuses on children’s education, more than ten million children die each year before they can go to school. Sixty percent of those deaths are from preventable causes. The number of children under the age of five who die each year is equal to the total number of children under five in France, Germany, Greece, and Italy combined. The report is from UNICEF.

"The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2004"
According to FAO's latest estimates, the number of hungry people in the developing world has declined by only 9 million since the World Food Summit in 1996, despite commitments to eradicate hunger by 2015. “The number has actually increased over the most recent five years for which numbers are available. In three of the four developing regions, more people were undernourished in 2000-2002 than had been the case in 1995-1997. Only Latin America and the Caribbean registered a modest reduction in the number of hungry people.” The report is from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.

"World Employment Report 2004-05: Employment, Productivity And Poverty Reduction"
“Today there are 550 million people who work, but still live on less than US$ 1 a day. These "working poor" represent 20 per cent of total world employment. In spite of the record levels of global unemployment, the reality for most of the world’s poor is that they must work – often for long hours, in poor working conditions and without basic rights and representation – at work that is not productive enough to enable them to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. While it is clearly the case that employment is central to poverty reduction, it is "decent and productive" employment that matters, not employment alone.” The report is from the International Labor Organization.

English to be spoken by half of the world's population within 10 years

English to be spoken by half of the world's population within 10 years :

"The model charted likely student numbers through to 2050. It was compiled by looking at various estimates from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on education provision, demographic projections, government education policies and international student mobility figures. The impact of educational innovations and other developments affecting the world population including the Chinese govern-ment's policy of one baby per family were also factored in."

By James Burleigh, The Independent Online Edition (UK), 09 December 2004.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hospitality Net - Industry News - Brazil welcomes the first Annual Summit of the World Tourism Forum

Hospitality Net - Industry News - Brazil welcomes the first Annual Summit of the World Tourism Forum:

"Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, The historic city of Salvador de Bahia in north-eastern Brazil welcomed 'Destinations2004', the first Annual Summit of the World Tourism Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development, set for December 1 to 6."

The Forum is a joint initiative of: the World Tourism Organization; UNESCO, the UNDP, the Brazilian Government and the Tourism for Peace and Sustainable Development Foundation.

Mathaba.Net News -- Human Cloning, Bioethics, Priorities and Perspectives for Africa

Mathaba.Net News -- Human Cloning, Bioethics, Priorities and Perspectives for Africa :

"The need for African ethical guidelines covering all issues raised in the field of Bioethics is increasingly felt by specialists and decision-makers as well as by civil society as it is also the case at the level of international community. In this respect, the �Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge� and the �Science Agenda � Framework for Action�, adopted in 1999 in Budapest, highlighted the ethical dimension of the present-day development of science and technology."

"Certain key texts, such as the Hippocratic Oath and other medical traditions, have defined some of the principles and forged the corresponding concepts on which bioethics is predicated. However, modern bioethics is indisputably founded on the pedestal of the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Other texts of different legal force have established rules for the protection of persons in the wide field of biomedicine. These include the principles of Nuremberg adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) of the World Medical Association (WMA) – some of whose features are spelled out in greater detail in the Declarations of Tokyo (1975), Venice (1983) and Hong Kong (1989) – and the International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects (1992) prepared and recently revised by the Council for International Organisations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS). Finally, given the magnitude of the ethical issues raised by genetics and thanks to the political will expressed by the international community, UNESCO has contributed to the formulation of fundamental principles in bioethics through the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, which was adopted unanimously and by acclamation by the General Conference in 1997 and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1998."

Mathaba.Net/African Union News; December 8, 2004.

UNESCO | Education - Skills development for employment and citizenship in Southeast Europe

UNESCO | Education - Skills development for employment and citizenship in Southeast Europe:

"What are the skills needed to improve employability and citizenship? What kind of lifelong learning policies exist? These are just two of many issues discussed at a recent meeting on 'Skills Development for Employability and Citizenship: The Southeast European Experience within a Global Context'. The meeting was held in Vienna, Austria, 21-24 November 2004."

U.S. Newswire : Releases : "ALEC's Executive Director Appointed to U.S. National Commission for UNESCO..."

U.S. Newswire : Releases : "ALEC's Executive Director Appointed to U.S. National Commission for UNESCO...":

"Duane Parde, executive director of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation's largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators, has been appointed by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United States National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Mr. Parde will serve as a representative of state and local government interests."

Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2004, Index

Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2004, Index:

Abstract: "The Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2004 report documents how human activities continue to be the primary cause of the global coral reef crisis. The report details many new initiatives aimed at reversing this degradation such as by conserving the biodiversity, the economic value and beauty of coral reefs. The report recognises that the major stresses to coral reefs are: natural forces that they have coped with for millions of years; direct human pressures, including sediment and nutrient pollution from the land, over-exploitation and damaging fishing practices, engineering modification of shorelines; and the global threats of climate change causing coral bleaching, rising sea levels and potentially threatening the ability of corals to form skeletons in more acid waters. If reefs are to survive as our natural heritage, we need to act locally to reduce direct human impacts and, globally, to combat greenhouse emissions."

"The co-sponsors of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) have provided substantial assistance, advice and support: Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO; United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); IUCN - The World Conservation Union; The World Bank; Convention on Biological Diversity; AIMS; The WorldFish Center; and the ICRI Secretariat." The report notes "a particular dedication is to the Government of the USA, which has provided considerable support and encouragement to the GCRMN though the Department of State, the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and Ruth Kelty."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

United Nations Fund for International Partnerships

United Nations Fund for International Partnerships

The United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) is an autonomous trust fund, headed by an Executive Director and operating under the leadership of the UN Deputy Secretary-General. UNFIP seeks to facilitate partnerships between the United Nations System and the United Nations Foundation (UNF) -- the public charity responsible for administering, over a period of 15 years, Ted Turner’s US$1 billion contribution in support of United Nations causes.

UNFIP collaborates with UNF to encourage private sector investment initiatives, campaigns and projects on the ground to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in four priority areas:
1. Children’s Health;
2. Population and Women (focus on adolescent girls);
3. Environment (biodiversity, energy and climate change); and
4. Peace and Security, and Human Rights.

Hi Pakistan -- UNESCO recommendations lead to education budget increase

Hi Pakistan:

"Responding to the demands for an increased education budget, the education minister said that UNESCO had recommended to the countries to allocate an amount equivalent to 6 per cent of GDP for education.

"He admitted that the allocation in Pakistan was not satisfactory, saying that the government was trying to increase it. "