Friday, August 26, 2005

"Sex Traffickers Prey on Eastern Europeans" :: View Story:

"UNESCO, the UN's cultural organization, has proclaimed August 23 as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. But despite laws against slavery in all of the world's countries, modern-day slavery continues to thrive in illegal underground forms. In the second of a two-part series, RFE/RL correspondent Ron Synovitz examines how the latest wave of sex-slave trafficking preys upon Eastern European women to fuel the global sex trade. "

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Games people play - for peace

Israel21c full article

"Working toward intercultural understanding and world peace may seem like serious business, but to Tamar Meshulam, it's a game.

"Not just any game, however, - a large, beautifully designed prize-winning game.

"A unique project that Meshulam designed and built, entitled 'Master Peace' won first place at the recent UNESCO Design contest in Japan, which has been held annually every five years in order to encourage young designers to develop creations that contribute to society and help to change the world for the better.

"The contest, which carried a $10,000 prize, included more than 700 entrants from around the world, with a different theme each year. This year's theme was interpersonal communication, with the title 'Love/Why?'"

Saturday, August 13, 2005

4th UNESCO Youth Forum

"The 4th edition of the UNESCO Youth Forum of the 33rd UNESCO General Conference, will be highly visible and is an opportunity for young people to express and exchange their ideas, make their voice heard and ensure their views are integrated in to UNESCO's programmes and policies.

"This year's theme will be 'Young People and the Dialogue among Civilisations, Cultures and Peoples - Ideas for action in education, the sciences, culture and communication'. In the field of science, dialogue-oriented initiatives focus on the link to sustainable development, the promotion of the natural and social sciences as a means for social transformation and increased networking and cooperation."

Friday, August 12, 2005

UNESCO Draft program's and Budget, 2006-2007

The 33rd session of the General Conference will take place from 3 to 21 October at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (France). The General Conference takes place every other year, and is the top governance body for UNESCO. The full budget is published and available for review now. It is a PDF file, and is 3.55 MB in length (448 pages.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 News - Entertainment - Arts - Lasers to recreate statues destroyed by Taleban full News story

"AFGHANISTAN'S famous Bamiyan Buddhas are due to be recreated by multicoloured laser images projected on to the cliffs where they once stood. The 1,600-year-old statues were destroyed by the Taleban in 2001.

"Artist Hiro Yamagata will use solar and wind power to drive fourteen laser systems and project 140 faceless images, standing up to 175ft (52.5m) tall, onto the cliff-face for four hours every Sunday night.

"Afghan government officials, who approached the Japanese artist in 2003, are awaiting approval from United Nations cultural organisation, UNESCO, who must assess whether the laser beams could damage the cliffs."

UNESCO Kicks Off 40th Youth Camp

The Korea Times full article.:

"One hundred thirty youths from 30 countries tomorrow will kick off the International Youth Camp (IYC) hosted by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO.

"The 40th annual camp will continue through Aug. 22 at the Korea UNESCO Culture Center in Ichon, Kyonggi Province, and seven other local venues. "

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

International Day of the World's Indigenous People - August 9

The Dag Hammarskjold Library website commemorating the day:

"By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the General Assembly decided to celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous People on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. In 2004 the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade by resolution 59/174. The goal of this Decade is to further strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, and social and economic development. "

Monday, August 08, 2005

Canadian software firm to help in the automation of central Iraq Museum in Baghdad full article:

"The Iraq National Museum supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO-Paris) has launched an initiative to automate their collections for documentation, research, preservation and the sharing of information. Through this project, the Iraq Museum will ensure that the important and unique antiquities of the Iraqi People will be available in electronic format to promote and protect the culture and heritage of Iraq. The project is funded by a generous contribution to UNESCO from the Swiss Government."

World conference for the UNESCO Clubs movement

The Times & The Sunday Times (Malta) full article

About 300 representatives from 120 countries participated in a recent conference of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs Associations. The UNESCO Clubs movement has developed hand-in-hand with UNESCO since the establishment of the first club in Sendai, Japan, on July 19, 1947.

"According to the results of the survey recently conducted by UNESCO, there are more than 3,600 UNESCO clubs, which are engaged in a range of activities in the fields of its competence in 89 member states. Over 1,400 clubs are to be found in the Asia-Pacific Region, 1,200 in Africa, over 600 in Europe and North American, 250 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and over 70 in the Arab States."

The Director General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, addressed the meeting. He is quoted as saying, "The UNESCO Clubs movement must be one of UNESCO's most important partners in civil society, the UNESCO Clubs are a distinctive, indeed unique, asset within the UN system. This reflects the fact that, at meetings of our governing bodies over the years, member states have reaffirmed their interest in and support for this movement........I see potential roles of UNESCO clubs, complementary to those of governments, non-governmental organisations and other civil society organisations at national, regional and international levels, as crucial in achieving the goals of the decade, and this is just one example."

In 2004, UNESCO's formal associate relations with the world Federation of UNESCO clubs was suspended, on an interim basis, due to a number of reasons. Since that time, an Ad Hoc Committee for the renewal of WFUCA, has been working to re-examine WFUCA's rationale and to identify its best way forward. The article states that a possible solution was reached that the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs might again resume to function within the scope of its creation.

Friday, August 05, 2005

U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, Newsletter published

U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, Volume 1, Issue 5, June/July 2005:

The contents are:

- Highlights
- U.S. National Commission Annual Meeting
- U.S. Candidacy for World Heritage Committee
- Francesco Bandarin Visit
- International Oceanographic Committee
- Creative Cities -- Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Young Professionals Program
- UNESCO External Relations and Cooperation
- Job Vacancies

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

IAAF Withdraws Proposal for Lifetime Bans

AP story via Yahoo! News:

"USA Track & Field withdrew its proposal Wednesday for lifetime bans for first-time steroid violations after the sport's world governing body promised to push for an increase of suspensions from two years to four years for all serious doping offenses.

"USATF wanted life bans for a first steroid infraction as part of its zero-tolerance policy on doping. But it withdrew the measure after the International Association of Athletics Federations said it would lobby for a return to four-year suspensions for all sports in 2007.

"The IAAF switched from four-year bans to two-year suspensions in 1997 to avoid costly litigation.

"The IAAF fears that life bans would lead to drawn-out court cases and undermine the World Anti-Doping Code, which calls for two-year suspensions. The code has already been adopted by major international sports federations, while national governments are scheduled to sign a UNESCO convention accepting the treaty this fall."

Monday, August 01, 2005

UNESCO, International Law and Internet Governance

The UN Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) has completed its Report for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

UNESCO in turn has issued a Position Statement on Internet Governance. The preamble to that Statement reads:

The Internet is a major opportunity to improve free flow of information and ideas throughout the world. Internet governance mechanisms should be based on the principle of “openness”, encompassing interoperability, freedom of expression in Knowledge Societies and measures to resist any attempt to censor content. There should be no changes in Internet governance mechanisms that impede the free flow of information and ideas on the Internet. The effect of these mechanisms should be to enable greater use of the Internet by citizens with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

The WGIG report makes a number of recommendations to address Internet-related issues. Among these are three that I believe to be of special relevance to UNESCO:

23. Intellectual property rights (IPR)

Application of intellectual property rights to cyberspace.

• While there is agreement on the need for balance between the rights of holders and the rights of users, there are different views on the precise nature of the balance that will be most beneficial to all stakeholders, and whether the current IPR system is adequate to address the new issues posed by cyberspace. On the one hand, intellectual property rights holders are concerned about the high number of infringements, such as digital piracy, and the technologies developed to circumvent protective measures to prevent such infringements; on the other hand, users are concerned about market oligopolies, the impediments to access and use of digital content and the perceived unbalanced nature of current IPR rules.

81. Freedom of expression

• Ensure that all measures taken in relation to the Internet, in particular those on grounds of security or to fight crime, do not lead to violations of human rights principles.

85. Multilingualism

(a) Domain names:

• Ensuring bottom-up and inclusive development of a transparent policy for the introduction of multilingual domain names.

• Strengthening the participation and coordination of all Governments and all stakeholders in the governance process. This is required to push forward the development and implementation of multilingual domain name solutions, including multilingual e-mail addresses and key word lookup.

• Strengthening cooperation between IETF and IDN registries,[15] thus creating a sound international environment for the further development of technical standards and action plan for global deployment.

(b) Content:

• More effort should be put into developing content development tools to facilitate the creation of multilingual content.

• Governments, the private sector and civil society are encouraged to promote and create more content in local languages to be posted on the Internet.

Intellectual Property Rights

UNESCO has a lead role among UN agencies in the field of copyrights, and would seem to be a logical entity to take an expanded role in copyright aspects of Internet governance.

UNESCO’s set of copyright tools includes its Network of Copyright Chairs in universities in a number of developing countries and countries in transition, UNESCO publications, including the e-Copyright Bulletin, now in five languages, the Collection of national copyright laws, the studies of copyright issues carried out in the framework of the administration of the Universal Copyright Convention and the Guide to the Collective Administration of Authors’ Rights, a useful tool for the development of collecting societies.

A number of Conventions administered by UNESCO set the current international legal framework for copyright issues:
- Multilateral Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Copyright Royalties, with model bilateral agreement and additional Protocol.
Madrid, 13 December 1979
- Convention relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite
Brussels, 21 May 1974
- Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms
Geneva, 29 October 1971
- Universal Copyright Convention as revised at Paris on 24 July 1971, with Appendix Declaration relating to Article XVII and Resolution concerning Article XI
Paris, 24 July 1971
- International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
Rome, 26 October 1961
- Convention concerning the Exchange of Official Publications and Government Documents between States
Paris, 3 December 1958
- Convention concerning the International Exchange of Publications
Paris, 3 December 1958
- Universal Copyright Convention, with Appendix Declaration relating to Articles XVII and Resolution concerning Article XI
Geneva, 6 September 1952
- Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials, with Annexes A to E and Protocol annexed
Florence, 17 June 1950
- Agreement For Facilitating the International Circulation of Visual and Auditory Materials of an Educational, Scientific and Cultural character with Protocol of Signature and model form of certificate provided for in Article IV of the above-mentioned Agreement
Beirut, 10 December 1948

Within the framework of the Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, UNESCO is working on the theme of Copyright, Piracy and Cultural Industries, and is currently developing new initiatives and projects in order to fight against piracy.

Freedom of Expression and UNESCO

UNESCO has a long standing program on Freedom of Expression. Indeed, UNESCO held a conference on Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace in 2002, in its headquarters, as part of the preparation for WSIS. The report of that meeting is now online.

Important international understandings form the basis for this program. Article 19 of the Univesal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The Constitution of UNESCO also designates its functions with regard to Freedom of Expression. UNESCO's first given purpose is:

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 UNESCO website affirms that "Since the adoption of the New Communication Strategy by the General Conference in 1989, UNESCO has contributed to a wider recognition and public awareness of the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of information as a fundamental human right......The Organization has also continuously provided assistance to media organizations in setting up legal statutes to ensure independent flow of information, editorial independence, financial autonomy and safety of media professionals."

Multilingualism and UNESCO

UNESCO held two meetings directly pertinent to this topic in preparation for WSIS:

- Multilingualism for Cultural Diversity and Participation of All in Cyberspace(6-7 May 2005, Bamako, Mali)

- Cultural Diversity in Knowledge Societies
(17-19 May 2005, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation)

The reports of these meetings are available online.

The concern for multilingualism relates to UNESCO's larger interest in Cultural Diversity, as expressed in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. UNESCO is currently working towards a Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions.

UNESCO also is responsible for international cultural conventions that help establish an international legal framework for some of the broader aspects of Internet governance including multilingualism and endangered languages:
- Convention For the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
Paris, 17 October 2003
- Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property
Paris, 14 November 1970

UNESCO, Participation and Capacity Building

The WGIG report also calls for efforts to promote "meaningful participation in global policy development" by and "capacity-building" for developing nations. UNESCO is well placed to assist in these efforts. This is especially true since the United States representative presented a draft decision for the Creation of a Cross-Sectoral Program in Technical Capacity Building which was accepted by the last meeting of UNESCO's Executive Board, and is likely to be accepted by UNESCO's General Conference later this year. Capacity building for Internet governance, as well as for the larger issues in entry into the Information Society might well form an important part of this new initiative.

UNESCO: Action in favour of Indigenous Peoples

UNESCO website on its relevant actions:

"The International Decade of the World's Indigenous People was officially launched on 10 December 1994 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is in this framework that International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is celebrated every year on 9 August, being the anniversary of the opening of the first session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982.

"In partnership with the United Nations and its agencies, UNESCO plays a key role in the Decade which is intended to 'strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health'. In this respect the programme of activities of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People recognizes the value and diversity of the cultures of indigenous communities and of their specific forms of social organization, and attaches value to the contributions that they can make to humanity."