Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Earth Negotiations Bulletin report :

"The UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) was held from 18-22 January 2005, at the Portopia Hotel, in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Approximately 4,000 participants attended the WCDR, including representatives from 168 governments including more than 40 ministers, 78 UN specialized agencies and observer organizations, 161 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and 562 journalists from 154 media outlets. The WCDR aimed to increase the international profile of disaster risk reduction, promote its integration into development planning and practice, and strengthen local and national capacities to address the causes of disasters that hamper development in many countries."

"UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said the 2005-2015 UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development must include knowledge and training for disaster reduction. "

International Scientific Conference Biodiversity: Science and Governance

:: Manila Bulletin Online Article :::

"A conference on 'Biodiversity: Science and Governance' will be held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France on January 24-28, 2005. "

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Indian ocean tsunami warning system ready by next year

ABC Asia Pacific - News - Indian ocean tsunami warning system ready by next year:

"UNESCO chief, Koichiro Matsuura said a global early warning system would be in place by 2007. Mr Matsuura was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a UN conference on small islands."

World Year of Physics Launch Conference

The program for the launch conference for the World Year of Physics is available at

The Conference convenes at UNESCO Headquarters on January 13.

Monday, January 10, 2005

World Year of Physics 2005 Begins with Paris Conference article:

"The World Year of Physics 2005 ( will officially launch at the Physics for Tomorrow conference in Paris, January 13-15. Four American students have received scholarships from U.S. physics organizations to attend the historic meeting and help decide the future of physics and physicists. "

UNESCO Continues Support to Free and Independent Media in the Western Balkans: UNESCO-CI

UNESCO press release:

"Five new UNESCO projects supporting the development of free and independent media and freedom of expression in Former Yugoslavia recently started in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Croatia, and Slovenia as part of a comprehensive post-conflict media programme. "

"Tsunami patrol: Puerto Rico warning system may expand beyond Caribbean" News story:

"While governments are planning for a global tsunami-warning network in the wake of the South Asia disaster last month, scientists in this seismically volatile region of small and mostly developing nations are discussing a regional component that would cover the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Straits of Florida and the Bahamas.......

"Massive waves slammed into the Dominican Republic in 1946 and the Virgin Islands in 1867, swamping ships, washing away buildings and killing hundreds of islanders.

"The great Atlantic tsunami of 1755, which is thought to have closely resembled the Indian Ocean wave last month that now is blamed for the deaths of more than 150,000, sent swells as high as 20 feet crashing into the Eastern Caribbean..........

"Since that (Indian Ocean) catastrophe, officials around the world have discussed a global network similar to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center operated in Hawaii by the National Weather Service.

"'The tragic losses in the Indian Ocean would certainly have been reduced if a similar alert system had been in place,' said Koïchiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO. 'Anticipating, educating and informing are the keys to reducing the deadly effect of such natural disasters.'

"The United States is advancing such a system on several fronts. The State Department's Global Disaster Information Network is developing a proposal to be presented at the U.N.-sponsored World Conference on Disaster Reduction this month in Japan."

International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

ISDR website

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction is a United Nations program. UNESCO is one of the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force implementing the program.

Later this month, there will be a World Conference on Disaster Reduction sponsored by the ISDR,

World Conference on Science

UNESCO World Conference on Science Home Page

UNESCO and ICSU sponsored the World Conference on Science, held in Budapest, Hungary in July, 1999. This page on the UNESCO website is dedicated to the Conference and its followup. There are links to the report of the conference and to the report of progress in the first 30 months after the conference. There are also links to background documents and related materials.

South Asian Libraries Hit Hard by Tsunami

American Libraries Online article

"At a meeting held January 6–7 in Colombo, UNESCO and other organizations agreed to establish a library disaster committee to assess the extent of damage to Sri Lankan library buildings, collections, and equipment caused by the December 26 tsunami, which was responsible for more than 150,000 deaths in seven South Asian countries.

"According to a January 6 news release by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, the Sri Lanka National Library has identified 177 school libraries, 53 public libraries, and 68 religious libraries that were either destroyed or damaged. Additional library damage is expected to be found on the island’s east coast, where investigations have been hampered by seasonal monsoon floods."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

UNESCO Seismotectonic Map of the World

Buy a copy of the UNESCO map here

Seismotechtonic map Posted by Hello

"The Seismotectonic Map of the World is the result of a compilation of worldwide major seismic data spanning five millennia. Given the characteristics and frequency of earthquakes and their effects in society, it is of crucial importance to heighten awareness of these events and their secondary effects with a view to improving programmes of earthquake mitigation and safety measures."

UNESCO - UNESCO stands ready to extend tsunami watch system to Indian Ocean

UNESCO Press Release

"UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura has welcomed proposals by several countries to help create a tsunami alert system for the Indian Ocean, similar to the one established by UNESCO to protect the countries of the Pacific."

Pakistan National Club for UNESCO formed

Pakistan Link News story:

"Pakistan National Club for UNESCO has been formed for the first time in the country. The Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will be patron-in-chief of the club."

A talking computer for the visually-impaired

(South India) News Today article:

Access With Speech (JAWS) is a specially-designed screen reading software made available to by the Ability Foundation, to enable the visually impared to access the Internet.

"'We have initiated classes in National Center for Information and Communication Technology (NCICT), a pilot association with UNESCO, and cafés for the visually-impaired with the help of Job access with Speech (JAWS) for windows software and the service of a Braille printing unit,' said Jayshree Raveendran, Founder, Ability Foundation.

Community Multimedia Centres

UNESCO Community Multimedia Centres website :

"UNESCO gives high priority to providing and strengthening communication and information facilities at the level of local communities. Such facilities offer basic tools for introducing and managing community-centred development and change."

UNESCO Appeal for $ 600,000 Immediate Assistance to Restore Radio Broadcasting in Aceh, Indonesia

UNESCO Appeal :

"Programmes and projects relating to emergency relief and post disaster response in the aftermath of the Tsunami in Indonesia will have major difficulties if there are no effective communication channels available to disseminate information. UNESCO therefore launches an a appeal for $ 600,000 for immediate assistance to restore radio broadcasting in Aceh, Indonesia. "

Schumacher mourns bodyguard who died in tsunami

Yahoo News/AFP article:

Seven-time world Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, who has donated 10 million dollars to the victims of last week's Asian tsunamis, revealed his bodyguard, Burkhard Cramer, was killed at Phuket in Thailand. chumacher, with an annual income of 80 million dollars, donated 1.15 million euros to UNESCO in 2004 and 770,000 euros the year before.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

IOC Homepage

The IOC of UNESCO provides member states of the United Nations with and essential mechanism for global cooperation in the study of the oceans. It assists governments to address their individualt and collective ocean and coastal problems through the sharing of knowledge, information and technology and through coordination of national programs.

SD @ International Conference on Biodiversity; 24-28 January, 2005; Paris, France

Conference website

The International Scientific Conference “Biodiversity: Science and Governance” will be held from 24-28 January 2005, at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in Paris, France.

The Conference is part of the ongoing global effort to curb the loss of biodiversity by 2010, and ensure the long term conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, as well as the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from genetic resources. Over 1000 participants from governments, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as from academia and the private sector are expected to gather in Paris for this event.

Herders' Whistled Language Shows Brain's Flexibility

National Geographic News Article

A new report in the scientific journal, Nature, indicates that Canary Island natives using the wistled language, Silbo Gomero, process the whistles with a part of the brain usually associated with language. Silbo Gomero is one of some 70 whistled languages still in use, though only 12 have been described and studied scientifically. The shepherds who use the language to communicate over long distances, usually use it to communicate commands, although it has the flexibilty to communicate anything that could be spoken in Spanish.

"Since 1999 Silbo Gomero has been taught in all of Gomera's elementary schools." In addition, "the local authorities are trying to get an award from UNESCO to declare [Silbo Gomero] as something that should be preserved for humanity," according to Manuel Carreiras, psychology professor at the University of La Laguna on the Canary island of Tenerife.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Sciences and Empires mail list

sciemp Info Page:

"The Sciences and Empires mail list is an 'unmoderated' list operated by the Sciences et Empires Groupe, a Commission of the International Congress of the History of Science. The group itself was founded in conjunction with an international meeting held at UNESCO in Paris in April, 1990. The theme of that meeting was 'Sciences and Empires: European Expansion and Scientific Development of Asia, Africa, America and Oceania.' "

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

UNESCO Archives Portal

UNESCO Archives Portal

"With the Archives Portal, UNESCO provides a single interactive access point to information for archivists and users of archives worldwide. Visitors to the UNESCO Archives Portal can browse through pre-established categories or search for specific words. They can add a new link or modify an already existing link. An electronic Newsletter provides information on new entries. The 'In Focus' section presents websites of archives which are particularly interesting."

Tsunami in South Asia:

UNESCO Communications and Information Tsunami Website:

UNESCO's Communications and Information theme portal offers this webpage as part of UNESCO's overall response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. It includes links to resources on ways ICT can help: Providing Tsunami warning, Educating people in Tsunamis, and Bringing families together. It also provides links to "Disaster recovery resources" and "Libraries and archives in affected countries." The site provides related news, such as the call for assistance to replace the libraries destroyed in Sri Lanka.

Reform urged for World Bank

The Canadian Globe and Mail Article:

"There has been something known as 'mission creep' infecting its (the World Bank's) ranks -- essentially branching out into new roles -- yet he (Sebastian Mallaby, a Washington Post columnist) lays the blame for this at the feet of wealthy countries like Canada and the United States.

"These countries would prefer to see the World Bank lead initiatives on education, health care, and other areas, simply because it operates much more efficiently than other public organizations of its size, like UNESCO, he said. "

UNESCO ready to create tsunami warning system in Indian Ocean


"UNESCO is ready to provide assistance to the tsunamis-hit countries in the Indian Ocean region in creating a warning system.
The system will be of the type currently in use by countries in the Pacific Ocean."

Monday, January 03, 2005

Emergency disaster summit to discuss Indian Ocean tsunami warning system

Yahoo! News Story - 2005/01/02:

"An emergency summit of world leaders in Jakarta to rally aid for disaster-hit countries will also discuss setting up an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system to prevent further tragedy, Indonesia said. "

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The New York Times > International > International Special > Early Warnings: Tsunami Group Will Expand Its Network

The New York Times article - January 2, 2005: (Registration required.)

"Officials in charge of the existing international tsunami warning system, which covers only the Pacific Ocean, have taken an initial step to broaden the network to the Indian Ocean and other possible trouble spots, agreeing to distribute their bulletins on earthquakes and possible waves 'to anyone who wants to receive the messages.'
Until now the bulletins had gone only to about 300 agencies and individual scientists tracking conditions mainly in the Pacific, which has historically experienced 90 percent of the world's underwater earthquakes and tsunamis.

"The Web site for the office of the tsunami monitoring service is"