Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ethics of Science and Technology

UNESCO Ethics of Science and Technology program website:

"Science and technology today is advancing in leaps and bounds. In order to utilize this growing potential to the benefit of humanity, ethical reflection on science and technology and its applications must develop alongside. In recognition of this need, the UNESCO Ethics of Science and Technology Programme was created in 1998 with the establishment of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) and has been a priority of UNESCO since 2002"

Science and Technology Diplomacy Initiative

StDEv Initiative website:

"This Initiative has been established at UNCTAD in accordance with Resolution 2001/31 of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), adopted in July 2001, following recommendations of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) and consultations with the Secretary-General of UNCTAD. This Initiative is being implemented by UNCTAD in collaboration with the Science, Technology and Innovation Program of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

"The Initiative will also seek to partner with other international organizations, most notably FAO, UNEP, UNESCO, WHO,WIPO,WMO, WTO and the United Nations University, as well as other international scientific organizations, such as the Third World Academy of Sciences.

"The main objective of the Science and Technology Diplomacy Initiative is to mobilize scientific and technological expertise to enable developing country diplomats and representatives to participate fully and to make informed decisions on emerging issues, where science and technology play an important role, particularly in the aftermath of the Doha WTO Ministerial meeting."

UNESCO and HP joint project reversing brain drain in South East Europe: UNESCO

UNESCO-Vienna release:

"Today, 30 academics from seven universities across South East Europe will gather together, demonstrating that UNESCO and HP's joint 'Piloting Solutions for Alleviating Brain Drain in South East Europe' project improves research capacities and international collaboration, while contributing to boosting human capital in the region.

"Over the past decade, South East European countries have suffered from emigration of up to 70 percent of skilled professionals, devastating scientific research and higher education capacities at many universities. Conceived by UNESCO in the framework of its strategy for South East Europe, the project was jointly launched with HP in 2003 to provide grid computing technology to universities and financial support to encourage young scientists to remain in the region and cooperate with the Diaspora."

UNESCO�s Audiovisual E-platform Presented at MIPTV

UNESCO Press Release

"UNESCO�s Audiovisual E-platform, an on-line catalogue allowing the access to 260 productions and 80 catalogues from 71 developing countries was recently presented at the International Market of Television Programmes (MipTV) that was held from 11 to 15 April 2005 at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes (France).

"The Audiovisual E-platform was one of the projects actively displayed at the United Nations booth. The E-platform currently has 1,000 users. Different television channels and 'Video on Demand' services expressed interest in obtaining programming from this unusual content source. UNESCO was congratulated on 'breaking out of the box and proposing creative formats for UN audiovisual projects'."

Click here to reach UNESCO's Audiovisual E-platform website.

UNCTAD goes for new partnership to boost up ICT applications News story:

"The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which aims at the development of friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy, is launching a new partnership on Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) to build concrete strategies toward improving access to and use of ICT applications in enhancing the economic competitiveness of developing countries..........

"These efforts would bring together key stakeholders involved in the statistical measurement of ICT, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UNCTAD, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Regional Commissions (ECA, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA), the World Bank and the United Nations ICT Task Force. The partners have agreed to work together to define and collect a set of common ICT indicators and to assist developing countries in producing information society statistics."

Friday, April 29, 2005

IPDC Emphasizes Need to Support Media Development for Public Sector Transparency

UNESCO-CI Press Release:

"The lack of public sector transparency is a major barrier to development in many countries today. Beginning April 11 and over the next three months, the quarterly Development Gateway Special on line discussion explores the practical issues of ensuring openness in government, as well as how transparency is being promoted and monitored around the world.

"Intervening in the on line discussion, Wijayananda Jayaweera, Director of UNESCO�s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), linked the transparency to media development possibilities in the developing countries and emphasized the need for more international development assistance to ensure free and pluralistic media developments."

Fully equipped tsunami early warning system to be launched by next year

Asian Tribune report on Sri Lanka's Minister of Science and Technology Comments:

"International experts and the donor agencies have shown keen interest to setup a Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation system for the Indian Ocean after a series of discussions with the countries in the Indian Ocean.

"The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission-IOC and the UNESCO said that both institutions would assist countries like Sri Lanka, Iran, Pakistan, India, Sumatra, Indonesia , Malaysia to protect their people from the repetition tsunami related dangers in the Sumatra plate or Macron Plate."

The Untold Stories of Darfur:

UNESCO-CI Press Release:

"A UNESCO-supported production team traveled recently to Darfur to start shooting 'The Children of Darfur', a 24' youth documentary about the daily stories of children living in Darfur�s refugee camps."

UNESCO Condemns Killing of Iraqi Cameraman Saleh Ibrahim and Calls for Improved Safety

UNESCO press release:

"UNESCO Director-General Ko�chiro Matsuura today condemned the killing of Iraqi cameraman Saleh Ibrahim in an attack in Mosul, which also left Iraqi photographer Mohammed Ibrahim seriously injured. Both worked for the Associated Press (AP) news agency. The Director-General went on to call for measures to improve the safety of journalists in Iraq.....

"UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to 'further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.' To realize this purpose the Organization is required to 'collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…'”

The 171st session of UNESCO’s Executive Board

The 171st session of UNESCO’s Executive Board closed Thursday, April 28th following more than two weeks of debate. There are 87 of documents produced for the meeting; many may be of interest. A complete list is available on the UNESCO website.

I have linked some below that may be of special interest to the readers of this blog:


Report by the Director-General on the execution of the programme adopted by the General Conference

Report by the Director-General on the follow-up of decisions and resolutions adopted by the Executive Board and the General Conference at their previous sessions

Report by the Director-General on the reform process

Jerusalem and the implementation of 32 C/Resolution and 170 EX/Decision 3.6.1.

Comments by the Director-General on the external evaluation reports submitted in the 2004-2005 biennium

Report by the Director-General on the revised and completed principles and guidelines regarding the establishment and operation of UNESCO Institutes and centres (category I) and Institutes and centres under the auspices of UNESCO (category II)

Report by the Director-General on the overall review of UNESCO prizes

Report by the Director-General on the implementation of the Participation Programme and Emergency Assistance

Proposals by Member States for the celebration of anniversaries in 2006-2007 with which UNESCO could be associated

Relations with international non-governmental organizations, foundations and similar institutions

Monitoring the Ratification of Conventions

Proclamation of 2007 as a United Nations International Year of Planet Earth

Report of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations

Draft decisions recommended by the Special Committee

Report and draft decision of the Committee on International Non-Governmental Organizations

Draft decisions recommended by the Programme and External Relations Commission

Address by the Director-General on the occasion of the general debate of the 171st session of the Executive Board on items 3, 4, 5 and 20

Consideration of the Draft Programme and Budget for 2006-2007 (33 C/5) and recommendations of the Executive Board

Comments of the Director-General on items presented by Member States which may have administrative and financial implications

Address by the Director-General on the occasion of the reply to the General Debate of the 171st session of the Executive Board

Intersectoral Programs

Report by the Director-General on an intersectoral strategy on philosophy

Report by the Director-General on an overall strategy for an intersectoral programme for languages at UNESCO

UNESCO's Co-action Programme

Creation of a World Philosophy Day

Establishment of a World Philosophy Day: a feasibility study

Natural and Social Sciences

Report by the Director-General on the feasibility study for the establishment of a Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education in India, under the auspices of UNESCO

Reactivation and Strenghtening of Centres of Excellence in the Fields of Biology, Molecular Biology and Tropical Ecology

Proposed establishment of the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (UNESCO-ICHARM) in Tsukuba, Japan under the auspices of UNESCO

Report by the Director-General on the drawing up of a declaration on universal norms for bioethics

Cross-sectoral activities in technical capacity-building

Organization of a UNESCO regional ministerial conference on the strategic role of renewable energies in sustainable development in Central Asia, Kazakhstan, first half of 2006

Proposal for the Establishment of a IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science at the University of Dundee, UK, under the auspices of UNESCO

International Programme for Environmental Development (IPED)

Information on a proposal for the granting to the Instituto de Matematica pura e aplicada (IMPA), in Brazil, of the status of an Institute under the auspices of UNESCO

Report by the Director-General on the drawing up of a declaration on universal norms for bioethics


Protection of the rights of broadcasting organizations

Check the UNESCO News: Education and Culture blog for links to other reports from the Executive Board meeting.


"Capacity-building in basic and applied sciences, engineering and technology is a critical aspect of reducing poverty and establishing sustainable economic and social development in developing countries.....

"According to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, capacity building 'encompasses a country’s human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional, and resource capabilities. A fundamental goal of capacity-building is to enhance the ability to evaluate and address the crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation among development options, based on an understanding of environmental potentials and limits and of needs perceived by the people of the country concerned'.

"The issues outlined above are at the heart of the goals of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, for which UNESCO will assume the lead role. More broadly, all of the goals outlined in the Millennium Declaration entail capacity-building.

"To that end, a unit has been established in the Natural Sciences Sector to coordinate the Sector’s capacity-building efforts. The unit will sponsor initiatives that contribute to capacity building in developing countries, and that enhance capacity and develop and promulgate educational materials at all levels.

"However, fully meeting these capacity-building needs requires cross-sectoral approaches. For example, the capacity-building unit within the Science Sector should develop closer links with the Communication and Information Sector to best utilize information technologies in developing countries. Educational activities to which the Education Sector could contribute might include: the development of training materials and programmes in science and engineering to train trainers for developing countries; the support of workshops for educators (e.g. on curriculum development, best practices and quality assurance); and the development of appropriate collaborations with industry."

This item has been included in the provisional agenda of the 171st session of the Executive Board at the request of the United States of America. A draft decision supporting the U.S. initiative was produced by the Executive Board and accepted by the Director General.

Water a global issue

Capital Press (Idaho) article:

"Water is the most widely occurring substance on earth, but only about 2.5 percent of it is fresh water, and 90 percent of that is found in the polar ice caps. There's still sufficient water for the world population's needs, said Dr. Richard A. Meganck, rector of the Institute for Water Education, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

"'The question is, then, do we actually have a crisis? The answer is a firm yes. The crisis is one of management, resulting from bad management, government, institutions and delivery systems,' Meganck said in his keynote address.

"UNESCO's goal is to provide drinkable water to within one kilometer of people who don�t have it by 2015, he said.

"'Clean water is at the heart of all poverty reduction,' he said. 'There are nations where women and girls spend four hours a day just hauling firewood and water. The most important single improvement we could do to relieve them of being beasts of burden is to bring water within one kilometer of all their homes.'"

The article is base on a two-day symposium sponsored by the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University.

Canada Post Issues Earth Day stamps

Canada Post Press Release

Canada Post and Irish Post team up to create the stampls, which showcase the beauty of Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta) and Killarney National Park (Ireland). Both parks are recognized as Biosphere Reserves by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

World Press Freedom Day Focuses on Media and Good Governance

UNESCO World Press Freedom Day website:

"Media and Good Governance is the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, May 3, which UNESCO is observing in Dakar with an international conference on the subject and the award ceremony of the 2005 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize."

UNESCO-led Multimedia Training Kit “Meeting Unmet Need”

UNESCO website with links to the kit:

"The Multimedia Training Kit (MMTK), which focuses on the needs of those working in grass-roots communication and information activities, such as those run by Community Multimedia Centres, is “meeting a previously unmet need” according to 87.4% of users questioned."

Session Of Unesco�s Executive Board Closes With Tangible Results

UNESCO News release:

"The 171st session of UNESCO's Executive Board, chaired by Ambassador Hans-Heinrich Wrede (Germany), closed today following more than two weeks of debate devoted notably to the preparation of UNESCO's General Conference to be held next October. The session was 'very intensive', dominated by the question of how to 'turn good ideas into good strategies, and from there, into solid application and follow up' said Ambassador Wrede. 'UNESCO will be relevant,' said Ambassador Wrede in his closing speech, 'when it flexibly responds to those most in need. We must agree on the best way to move forward. We have reaffirmed the unanimous conviction: Education is the priority. Approaching the MDG deadline, the pressure is on to ensure effective and swift implementation of the 'Education for All' objectives........

"'The budget,' said Ambassador Wrede, 'sparked a most animated and substantive debate. Many members emphasized a pragmatic approach and asked for a better use of existing resources. All agreed that UNESCO should better concentrate on its areas of expertise, before additional resources are invested. Members requested special attention for LDCs, E-9 countries and Africa.'

"The 172nd session of the Executive Board will be held at UNESCO Headquarters from September 13 to 29, just ahead of the 33rd session of the General Conference, which will take place from October 3 to 21."

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Proposed science centres to be discussed by the UNESCO Board

"Proposals for the establishment of two new science centres under the auspices of UNESCO will be examined at the Executive Board's current session from 12 to 28 April: the Instituto de Matematica Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) in Brazil; and the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management in Tsukuba (Japan). Moreover, the Director-General will be presenting a feasibility study for the establishment of a regional centre for biotechnology training and education in India, also under the auspices of UNESCO. Under an item proposed by Venezuela, the Director-General will be reporting on the reactivation and strengthening of centres of excellence in biology, molecular biology and tropical biology.

"In addition, the Director-General will be presenting the Draft International Implementation Scheme for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development to the Board and reporting on the drawing-up of a declaration on universal norms for bioethics."

Friday, April 22, 2005

UNESCO Supports Press Freedom in Brazil

UNESCO Press Release:

"The 'Press Freedom Network', an online tool to monitor and denounce press freedom violations in Brazil, was launched with support from UNESCO�s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in Porto Allegre on 11 April, during the 3rd Regional Meeting on Press Freedom."

Cultural Diversity in Knowledge Societies

UNESCO Meetomg webage.:

"UNESCO is organizing a three-day expert meeting on 'Cultural Diversity in Knowledge Societies' in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, from 17 to 19 May 2005. The event takes place in the framework of the conference 'UNESCO between the two phases of the World Summit on the Information Society' organized by the Russian authorities."

Early warning system in the Indian Ocean - "We are moving ahead," says Salvano Briceno

ReliefWeb article:

"Some 250 officials and experts from 25 countries from the Indian Ocean gathered in Mauritius from 14-16 April for The Second International Coordination meeting for the Development of a Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System in The Indian Ocean. The meeting was co-organised by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the UN/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction."

Happy Earth Day

Try celebrating with the Second Annual Chevy Chase Earth Day Auction. The auction will raise funds and awareness for The Center for Environmental Education Online. Included in the auction are a "VIP Today Show Tour with Katie Couric", "Daily Show VIP seats for four and handshake with host Jon Stewart", "Lunch with Paul Simon and Chevy Chase", and "Visit Glenn Close on the set of "The Shield" and meet with her for lunch during a break in the day".

From The Tale of The Two Earth Days

Earth Day -- on The Vernal Equinox -- was first proposed by John McConnell in early October 1969 to a few members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and other community leaders especially interested in caring for and improving our natural environment. On November 25, 1969, the final day of the UNESCO National Conference, "Man, and His Environment," Cynthia Wayburn, one of the youth leaders on Mr. McConnell's Earth Day Committee, presented the idea and showed the Earth Flag during this presentation at the luncheon. On March 21, 1970. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the City of Saint Francis, patron saint of ecology.

First Day of Spring, March 21, 1970 was designate Earth Day. Sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations, it is observed each year. The Vernal Equinox is the moment when night and day are equal throughout the Earth -- reminding us of Earth's beautiful systems of balance which humanity has partially upset and must restore. From Humanity's earliest history people of many cultures have celebrated this day as the beginning of spring - symbolizing renewal of life.

Earth Day -- April 22 -- In Seattle in September 1969, Gaylord Nelson announced there would be a national environmental teach-in in the Spring of 1970. In January 1970, the Environmental Teach-In, decided to call their one-off event on 22 April Earth Day. Check out EPA's website celebrating the 35th Earth Day, today!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Towards a declaration on universal norms on bioethics

UNESCO's Bioethics Declaration Website

UNESCO has undertake to draft a Declaration on Bioethics. "Since the 1970s, the field of bioethics has grown considerably. While it is true that bioethics today includes medical ethics issues, its originality lies in the fact that it goes much further than the various professional codes of ethics concerned. It entails reflection on societal changes and even on global balances brought about by scientific and technological developments. To the already difficult question posed by life sciences – How far can we go? – other queries must be added concerning the relationship between ethics, science and freedom."

The Director General has just published a report on progress to date in drafting the Declaration.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

UNESCO and Helen Keller International Join Forces to Support CMCs in Mali

UNESCO press release:

"The scale-up of Community Multimedia Centres in Mali has been given a boost by a new cooperation agreement between Helen Keller International Mali (HKI) and the UNESCO Bamako Office. 'It makes great sense to join forces and I hope that we will be able to extend our cooperation to related activities, in particular those involving people with disabilities', commented HKI Mali director Lina Mahy."

The Tehran Statement on Bioethics

Islam Online publication of the Statement

The statement was promulgated at the close of the International Congress of Bioethics held from 26 to 28 March 2005. UNESCO was a sponsor of the Congress.

NatCom Monthly Update, April 2005.

The new monthly update has arrived.

U.S. Proposal to UNESCO Executive Board

Proposed Draft Decision

The U.S. formally proposed to the Executive Board that UNESCO undertake activities building capacities in developing countries to address elements of Millennium Development Goals. The proposal welcomed "the establishment of a unit within the Science Sector to coordinate activities in capacity-building focused on:
(i) Basic science and mathematics education – activities to include development of training materials and programmes in science and mathematics;
(ii) Engineering – activities to include strengthening of the existing engineering programme, including training educators for developing countries, support of workshops for educators in curriculum development, best practices, and quality assurance, and development of appropriate collaborations with industry;
(iii) Water-related efforts – activities to include enhancement of the current hydrology effort as it relates to capacity-building efforts in engineering and water sciences to address water-related needs.

REDcom – New Website on Freedom of Expression and the Press

redcom website (In Spanish.)

Direct access to more than 100 organizations active in promoting freedom of expression and press freedom, as well as the right of access to information, are now available on REDcom, a new website developed by UNESCO´s Regional Office for Communication and Information for Latin America and the Caribbean, based in Quito.

REDcom was developed with financial support from the Consell Insular de Menorca, Baleric Islands, Spain. It is a key component of the project “Strengthening the Capacities of Communication Media in the Andean Countries" (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) that is being supported by Menorca.

The project, whose fundamental objective is to strengthen freedom of expression and the independent media in the Andean countries has so far carried out, in addition to REDcom, eight national workshops, a national encounter of community radios in Bolivia, the creation of journalists network in Colombia, a radio series on multiculturalism and communication, a manual on digital communication, a demographic study on radio audiences in Ecuador and a radio series on the Information Society and its impact in the Andean region.

UNESCO Assists Democratic Republic of the Congo to Draw up Directives for National Press:

UNESCO News Release:

"UNESCO has recently supported a workshop on directives on national press by the Ministry of Press and Information in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This workshop, which was held in Kinshasa from 18 to 21 January 2005, brought together media professionals, and aimed to promote independent and pluralistic media in the country."

Virtual Engineering Library for Sustainable Development

VELSD website:

"The UNESCO / WFEO Virtual Engineering Library for Sustainable Development (VELSD) is the name of a new web-based information network which is being established by the International Council for Engineering and Technology (ICET), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO). "


THE GLOBAL MICROSCIENCE PROJECT Teaching and Learning Packages(3.01b)

A world-wide project on Microscience Experiences supported by UNESCO, IUPAC, IOCD, IFSE and RADMASTE . The website provides Contents, Teachers' Guide & Students Worksheets online.

"The project has been in existence for several years, during which time it has grown from strength to strength as the need for practical microscience experiences is realised. Already, 75 countries have benefited from introductory microchemistry workshops and training courses, all of which have had positive review by local experts and teachers alike. In some countries, UNESCO-Associated Centres have been established to further develop the microscience project."

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ewango is environmental hero

The Current Online (the University of Missouri St. Louis student paper) article.

Corneille Ewango, a UM-St. Louis biology graduate student, won the Goldman Environmental Prize on April 18, 2005. The prestigious prize is given in recognition of significant and sustained contributions to environmental issues. It is usually given to a community organizer, but rarely to a scientist.

In 2002, Ewango worked at an ecological research station in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as one of its Senior scientists. As the Congo war continued and eventually overran the research station, other scientists left until only Ewango remained of the scientific staff. He not saved the Center's equipment by hiding it in the forest, but saved research data. He continued his research under these difficult conditions, and provided a symbol for the 2,000 villagers who depended on the research station.

Eventually soldiers seeking loot invaded the station, and interogated and beat Ewanga. At that point he used a laptop computer with satellite connection that he had hidden in the forest to contact his UNESCO and other colleagues to inform them he was leaving. He also got an email, informing him of his acceptance in a graduate program at the University of Missouri. He walked and hitched out (hitching a ride on a bicycle), and today is at the U.S. campus.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Employment Opportunities for U.S. Citizens in U.N. Organizartions

State Department's U.N. Jobs website

The Bureau for International Organization Affairs of the Department of State seeks to assure that qualified U.S. citizens are considered for positions in the United Nations agencies, including UNESCO. As part of that effort, It provides this website with frequently updated lists of positions available, and other resources useful to those seeking such positions.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

China Joins UNESCO's World Heritage Preservation article

"China has signed an agreement to join UNESCO in the Open Initiative on the Use of Space Technology in Support of the World Heritage Convention."

"Dams Control Most of the World's Large Rivers"

Environment News Service (ENS) article:

"More than half of the world's large rivers are fragmented and regulated by dams, including all the largest and the most biologically diverse rivers, according to new research from the University of Umea in Sweden and the Nature Conservancy in the United States.

"The study shows that flow in 172 of the 292 largest rivers is regulated by dams, and that this number would be larger if irrigation were included. There are dams in the world's 21 largest rivers and in the eight rivers that are biologically and geographically most diverse."

The study's results are published in the journal "Science", in an article entitled "Fragmentation and Flow Regulation of the World's Large River Systems". "The research project was funded by WWF Sweden, the UNESCO/World Water Assessment Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, and World Resources Institute."

Media training for the information age


"The proposed transformation of the training arm of the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC) into a Media Technology Institute (MTI) should help to better prepare the next generation of young Jamaicans to meet the professional challenges of the ever-changing media landscape...........

"But from a study we are now undertaking with financial support from UNESCO, I know that the media industry right across the Caribbean region want to have more of their staff better trained to deal with the complexity of issues our societies face. It's important that our policy makers and training institutions get it right."

Saturday, April 16, 2005

World Press Freedom Day

UNESCO World Press Freedom Day website:

"Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession."

Friday, April 15, 2005

171st Neeting of the Executive Board of UNESCO

The meeting is taking place from April 12 to April 28, 2005 in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

The Agenda


UNESCO Employment

UNESCO Employment website

"UNESCO offers a broad range of work opportunities. Posts in the Organization are mainly filled by people in occupations linked to the Organization's main activities -- culture, education, science and communication. There are also opportunities for employment in other occupational fields such as administration, finance, human resources and information technology."

Science and the UNESCO World Heritage sites

InterAcademy Council description of the study:

"The UNESCO, World Heritage Centre wishes to promote increased scientific research and scientific activities related to management at World Heritage sites. At their request, the InterAcademy Council will undertake a study to review the role of science at both World Heritage natural and mixed Sites. The study's goal will be to outline opportunities to increase the involvement of science at the sites including opportunities to; i) bolster pure research, including the use of scientific information in identifying potential sites and designing nomination strategies; ii) increase sciences' role in applied activities related to site conservation and management, and iii) generate technical information to facilitate decision making by national policy makers on issues affecting World Heritage."

Thursday, April 14, 2005

ASEAN SchoolNet Sets the Stage for Telecollaboration

UNESCO-CI News Release:

"Two regional workshops were held back-to-back, from 28 March to 6 April 2005, to build capacity and develop a plan of action for piloting telecollaboration among selected schools in eight ASEAN countries. This is part of the ASEAN SchoolNet Project implemented by the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok with support from Japan and the ASEAN Foundation. "

UNESCO grants 25,000 dollars to Marburg victims in Angola

People's Daily Online report:

"The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has granted 25,000 US dollars to help the victims of Marburg fever, which already killed 210 people in Angola. "

Who's Who in the State Department

There are many people in the U.S. State Department who have responsibilities connected to the UNESCO. As UNESCO further decentralizes, it seems likely that U.S. embassies in many countries will have increasing UNESCO responsibilities. Below I have linked to biographies of key policy level officials of the State Department who might have UNESCO interests.

John Bolton is of course in the news as the U.S. Ambassador designate to the United Nations. Bolton's biography on the State Department Website. Bolton’s Resume from the American Enterprise Institute.

Louise V. Oliver, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Kim Holmes, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs (Which has oversight of relations with U.N. agencies, including UNESCO.)

R. Nicholas Burns; Under Secretary, Political Affairs (With oversight over State/IO as well as other Bureaus.)

Patricia de Stacy Harrison, Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. (Karen P. Hughes has been nominated for this post, but not yet confirmed.)

and Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. (Dina Powell has been nominated for this post, but not yet confirmed. Powell's White House biography.)

John F. Turner, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary, Global Affairs (With oversight of State/OES and several other bureaus.)

George H. Atkinson, Special Adviser, Science and Technology. (The Science Advisor to the State Department.)

Monday, April 11, 2005

The World Academy of Young Scientists

WAYS website

WAYS is a permanent global network open to all scientists under the age of 40. Launched in 2003 as follow-up to the World Conference on Science (1999), WAYS functions under the aegis of UNESCO and today boasts more than 1000 individual members from close to 100 countries and all disciplines.

ICT for Development Grants to be made by UNESCO

UNESCO announcement

"UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP)* will grant financial assistance to twenty-four projects related to information literacy, preservation of information, and ethical implications of information and communication technology (ICT). The allocations from IFAP’s “Special Fund” of contributions from UNESCO Member States, were decided by the Bureau of IFAP’s Intergovernmental Council, which met in Paris, April 4 - 6."

John Steadman named to NatCom.

Mobile Register College briefs:

"John Steadman, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of South Alabama, recently was appointed by the U.S. Department of State to the newly re-established U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Steadman was selected to serve a two-year term on the National Commission for UNESCO as a representative of a select group of non-governmental organizations."

UNESCO and NASA strengthen ties

Read the entire article in A World of SCIENCE (Vol. 3, No. 2, April–June 2005).

"On 1 March, UNESCO's Director-General and Frederick D. Gregory, Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), signed an agreement at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. (USA). Through this agreement, UNESCO will benefit from NASA’s expertise in the earth sciences and space technology."

A World of Science in April

Download the issue in a PDF file.

"With the Indian Ocean still reeling from the massive earthquake and tsunami which devastated its coasts last December, killing over 270 000 people in a single day, A World of Science looks at plans to ensure that we see the next tsunami coming, wherever in the world it strikes. UNESCO is co-ordinating efforts to put in place a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean by 2007, within a global programme for all types of natural hazards launched by the United Nations in January.

"In this issue, we interview four young scientists from different corners of the world, who explain why their governments should be interested in what they have to say on science policy matters.

"In Horizons, we discover a new deadly weapon against malaria, that “silent tsunami … which takes every month the number of people who died in the Asian tragedy” last December. An Iranian biotechnologist has come up with a biolarvicide which proves fatal to the malaria-bearing Anopheles mosquito but is innocuous to all other living species, including humans. The Biotechnology Research Centre in Tehran belongs to the international network of Microbial Resource Centres developed by UNESCO over the past 30 years together with UNEP and UNDP.

"Horizons also visits the ‘sea gypsies’ of the Andaman Sea, a group of semi-nomads who have roamed the waters straddling southern Thailand and Myanmar for centuries and whose knowledge of the sea saved them from last December’s tsunami."

Professor Vladimir Fortov awarded UNESCO Albert Einstein Gold Medal

UNESCO Press Release

"UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will award the UNESCO Albert Einstein Gold Medal to Professor Vladimir Fortov, of the Russian Academy of Sciences, during a ceremony at the Organization’s Headquarters on April 11 (5 p.m, 7th floor). The medal is awarded to Professor Fortov in recognition of his contribution to the advancement of physical sciences and the promotion of international collaboration and fruitful cooperation between the Russian Federation and UNESCO."

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Chinese journalist thanks UNESCO for press freedom award

Interactive Investor news article.

"Chinese journalist Cheng Yizhong has thanked the United Nations for awarding him the 2005 World Press Freedom Prize, but said he could not speak to the media apparently due to restrictions placed on him by the Chinese government..........

"Chen was named as the laureate of the 2005 United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize by UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura yesterday in Paris.

"'As editor of Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis Daily) Cheng, 40, broke new ground in Chinese journalism,' UNESCO said.

"'His editorial independence and professional know-how helped turn his paper into one of the most successful dailies in the country, publishing articles revealing the SARS epidemic and a case of death in a Canton (Guangzhou) police station.'"

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Space technology to protect mountain gorillas

UNESCO News Release

"Accurate and detailed maps of inaccessible zones in Central Africa that will allow authorities to monitor the habitat of the region’s threatened mountain gorillas, have been produced for the first time by the European Space Agency (ESA) and UNESCO."

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Indian Ocean countries still squabbling over tsunami warning system

The Independent Online Edition News story:

"Squabbling and foot-dragging among countries bordering the earthquake-prone Indian Ocean is endangering the establishment of an effective tsunami early-warning system, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.........

"UNESCO's Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre did issue an immediate alert to Indian Ocean countries, warning that the earthquake had "the potential to generate a widely destructive tsunami" and advising the evacuation of coasts with 600 miles of its epicentre.

"But it still did not have a systematic system of government bodies around the ocean to which to send the warning. In the three months since the December tsunami - the most devastating in human history - only Sri Lanka had set up an official "national focal point" to receive warnings and pass them on its citizens......

"Instead, a top UNESCO official admitted late last week, the centre contacted the US State Department, which passed the message on to its embassies in Indian Ocean countries, with an instruction to inform governments. And it sent messages to people and organisations who had specifically asked to receive them since December."

Saturday, April 02, 2005

UN-backed ecological report warns of potential new diseases and ‘dead zones’

UN News Release

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) Synthesis Report, compiled by 1,300 scientists in 95 countries, was just launched simultaneously at several UN headquarters around the world.

“The challenge of ensuring the future of our environment is pressing and concerns us all, whether we work in education, science, culture or communication,” UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in the Paris UNESCO launching.

CERN's Early History Revisited - Physics Today April 2005

Physics Today letters, April 2005

I. I. Rabi and the Birth of CERN

Physics Today article on the US role in the Birth of CERN:

The European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), sponsored by 20 neations (not including the United States), plays a key role in the international physics community, and hosts many U.S. researchers. Isidor I. Rabi, Columbia University physicist, Nobel laureate, and scientific statesman, played a key role in the creation of CERN.

"Rabi has been honored as the father of CERN in recognition of a pathbreaking intervention he made as a member of the US delegation to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) meeting in Florence, Italy, in June 1950. During that meeting, Rabi had an enabling resolution passed, after authorization by the US State Department, and after consultation with some European physicists. In essence, the resolution called for the establishment of regional research centers grouping together countries -- above all, in Western Europe -- that had previously made major contributions to science: countries like France, West Germany, and Italy. By pooling their human and financial resources, member nations could acquire the expensive instruments of modern research that they could not afford alone. As for the fields that ought to be explored at such centers, Rabi specifically mentioned physics, biology, and computing, with accelerator physics as the initial priority."

Friday, April 01, 2005

"Community Radio and Local Elections in India… Live!"

UNESCO story of the role of radio in the election

Namma Dhwani (Our Voice), a community radio station supported by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), plays a part in ensuring a free and fair local election as well as greater degrees of transparency, accountability and community participation in the voting process.