Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Latin American Leaders Give Priority to Early Childhood Development Programs

The Copenhagen Consensus Center analyzes the world's greatest challenges and identifies cost efficient solutions to meeting these challenges. The Center works with multilateral organizations, governments and other entities concerned with mitigating the consequences of the challenges which the world is facing.

The Copenhagen Consensus for Latin America and the Caribbean took place in San José, Costa Rica, 22-25 October 2007. The challenges considered were:
  • Democracy,
  • Education,
  • Employment and Social Security,
  • Environment,
  • Fiscal Problems,
  • Health,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Poverty and Inequality,
  • Public Administration and Institutions, and
  • Violence and Crime.
An expert panel of nine distinguished economists considered research about each major challenge and its potential solutions.

The panel ended its brief report with the following paragraph:
Top priority was given to Early Childhood Development programs. These are interventions that improve the physical, intellectual and social development of children early in their life. The interventions range from growth monitoring, day-care services, preschool activities, improved hygiene and health services to parenting skills. Besides improving children’s welfare directly, the panel concluded these programs create further benefits for family members, releasing women and older siblings to work outside the home or to further their own education. Evidence shows that the benefits are substantially higher than the costs.
Of course, UNESCO has recognized the priority appropriate to Early Childhood Development programs long ago.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

UNESCO reaffirmes UNESCO’s commitment to education in Africa

© UNESCO/Lissac, P.
Chemistry class in Kenya

At a recent meeting of African Ministers of Education, UNESCO’s Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to education in Africa.

Ministers of Education from African Member States as well as the African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Professor Nagia Essayad, participated in discussions.

The meeting was held within the context of the 34th session of the General Conference and offered the opportunity to discuss UNESCO’s initiatives and activities in Africa in an informal way.

Related links

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Global University Network for Innovation

The Global University Network for Innovation - GUNI is composed of UNESCO Chairs in Higher Education, research centers, universities, networks and other institutions highly committed to innovation in higher education. More than 100 institutions from around the world are GUNI members.

GUNI was set up by UNESCO, the United Nations University (UNU) and the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) in 1999 with the aim of following up the decisions taken at the World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE) held in Paris in 1998.

The goal of GUNI is to contribute to the reinforcement of higher education by the application of the decisions of the World Conference on Higher Education.

Member States reach consensus after Ministerial Round Table

Following debates at the Ministerial Round Table on Education and Economic Development on 19-20 October, a communiqué has been issued based on recommendations by 96 Member States.

Related links

Co-Sponsors of a Resolution to Support Literacy Conferences

Following the White House Conference on Literacy held in conjunction with the last United Nations Summit, UNESCO is embarking on a series of conferences in support of global literacy including in Qatar, China, Mali, India, Costa Rica
and Azerbaijan.

A resolution was introduced asking member states to support this series. It was jointly sponsored by:

* SPAIN and

“International Forum of Civil Society – UNESCO’s Partners”

An International Forum of Civil Society was held by UNESCO on 25 October, during the 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference (16 October to 3 November).

Since its inception, UNESCO has recognized that non-governmental organizations and foundations play an important role in international cooperation in the service of peoples.

For more than a half-century, UNESCO has enjoyed cooperative relations with a number of such organizations in its fields of competence, thereby enabling it to work with civil society in achieving its objectives and to disseminate through them its democratic and ethical ideals.

Currently, UNESCO is enjoying official relations with 305 international NGOs and 27 foundations and similar institutions which are working in the fields of competence of the Organization. In addition to this formal framework, the Organization has been carrying out a range of activities hand in hand with NGOs, not only at international and regional levels, but also at national level.

Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations on 10 December 1948. UNESCO contributed to its elaboration and adoption, in particular by presenting a report which confirmed that the human rights standards included in the draft of the Declaration had their foundation in all cultures and all civilizations.

The adoption of the Declaration is commemorated on 10 December every year, proclaimed by the United Nations as Human Rights Day. Important events and celebrations are organized worldwide on and around this Day. The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration will be an opportunity for a major mobilization, especially taking into account the commitments of the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the 2005 World Summit, at which all Member States acknowledged the importance of human rights.

The 60th anniversary is an opportunity to assess the situation with regard to the rights within UNESCO’s competence (namely
  • the right to education,
  • the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information,
  • the right to take part in cultural life and
  • the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications).
To highlight the advancements and analyse the shortcomings with a view to determining the action required in order to promote their implementation, two international conferences are to be organized respectively around the themes:
  • The rights within UNESCO’s competence: achievements, obstacles, perspectives for the future;
  • Human rights education: current situation and perspectives for the future.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The UNESCO Literacy Portal

In today’s world, one in five adults is still not literate (two-thirds of them women) while 72 million children are out-of-school

Since its foundation in 1946, UNESCO has been at the forefront of global literacy efforts and is dedicated to keep literacy high on national, regional and international agendas. However, with some 774 million adults lacking minimum literacy skills, literacy for all remains an elusive target.

UNESCO’s literacy programs aim to create a literate world and promote literacy for all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reflections on the Future Role of UNESCO: Some Key Issues, Trends and Challenges

This document was prepared by the Director-General for the global consultation on the long-term future role of UNESCO. It takes into account observations made during an international consultative process and reflects UNESCO’s latest proposals on the United Nations reform. The key discussion, contained for some reason in an Appendix, begins with a summary of the key international trends which will affect the future of UNESCO and the United Nations system in general.

It confirms the need for continued attention to:

  • reduction of global poverty
  • promotion of peace and dialog among nations
  • Promoting cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and multilingualism
  • Injecting ethical principles into globalization
  • Harnessing science for sustainable development and peace
  • Contributing to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases
  • Promoting gender equality
  • Building knowledge societies
Recongnizing that the United Nations reform will have major implications for UNESCO, the report calls for continued efforts of UNESCO reengineer its processes and structure in order to improve efficiency and to concentrate its resource in those areas in which it has comparative advantage within in the UN system,

The report states that UNESCO has several clear advantages on which it can build its future strategic location and interventions:
  • its role as undisputed global specialized agency for education, natural sciences, human sciences, culture and communication, providing an indispensable link between normativeand technical/operational functions;
  • its designation and recognition as lead agency for complex, multi-stakeholder and longterm tasks (e.g. related to EFA through its Global Action Plan and the World Water Assessment Programme, the various decades for which UNESCO has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly as lead agency, and the promotion of freedom of expression and media and information development);
  • its ability to develop evidence-based policies drawing on the statistical and analytical work of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and several flagship publications, such as the EFA Global Monitoring Report or the World Water Report;
  • its role as leader, manager and guardian of global lists of sites, inscribed upon request of Member States, such as for World Heritage, Biosphere Reserves or Intangible Cultural Heritage.
As UNESCO becomes more involved in capacity development, it will have to explore new modalities of cooperation and knowledge sharing. It will have to broaden its partnerships, extending beyond the traditional partners of government agencies and working more with civil society.

The discussion concludes:
The question may not be so much “what future for UNESCO”, but “what UNESCO for the future”. Faced with a complex, rapidly changing world, and a fiercely competitive environment, UNESCO needs to develop its responsiveness, flexibility and adaptability, advocacy, ability to build multi-stakeholders coalitions, and ability to mobilize and implement resources – at the global, regional and country levels.

Monday, October 22, 2007

e-Journal of the General Conference

UNESCO publishes an electronic journal of the General Conference. It provides you with an updated summary of the work of the General Conference on a daily basis. It goes online early every morning during the Session.

Each issue provides information on the day’s meetings, brief summaries of the debates of the previous day, the provisional agenda for the following day’s meetings, the list of speakers for the plenary meetings of the day, and announcements of official visits and other key official events.

EFA Global Monitoring Report 2007

Every year, the EFA Global Monitoring Report assesses where the world stands on its commitment to provide a basic education to all children, youth and adults by 2015.

EFA Global Monitoring Report 2007 features early childhood care and education

Find out...

Why is early childhood care and education so important to achieving EFA?

Why do disadvantaged children benefit the most?

Who are the 77 million out-of-school children?

How much is needed to meet the 2015 target date?

The Global Education Digest 2007

The Global Education Digest 2007 presents the latest education statistics from primary to tertiary levels in more than 200 countries. This edition focuses on the financing of education and provides a series of indicators to compare spending patterns across countries and levels of education.

Governments in sub-Saharan Africa spend only 2.4% of the world’s public education resources. Yet about 15% of the school-age population lives in these countries, according to the Digest. In contrast, the United States, which is home to just 4% of the world’s children and young people, spends 28% of the global education budget. This is mainly due to the large numbers of university students and the relatively high costs associated with this level of education.

East Asia and the Pacific has the second-highest share of global public spending on education at 18% (after the North American and Western European region). Yet governments in the region are investing considerably less than their share of global income (28% of GDP) and the school-age population (29%).

The opposite scenario is found in South and West Asia, where 7% of the world’s public education resources are spent on 28% of children and young people. A more balanced situation emerges in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region which accounts for 8% to 9% of global education spending, the school-age population and global wealth.

Secretary Spellings's Remarks at the UNESCO General Conference Plenary Debate

Secretary Spellings laughs with students at
T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia.
October 10, 2007

Secretary Spelling said at the Roundtable:
The United States strongly supports UNESCO's goal of ensuring every child has access to a quality education by 2015. We have also made a similar commitment in our own country: to provide every child with grade-level or better skills in reading and math by 2014.

These goals are historic and revolutionary. To achieve them, we must confront long-held assumptions about the ability of underprivileged children to perform as well as their peers. We must challenge longstanding habits in our education systems—including the ways in which we allocate resources like time, funding, and personnel. And we must hold ourselves accountable for supporting programs that have been proven to produce results.

UNESCO Courier: Special Edition for the 2007 General Conference

Six hundred and thirty-one million dollars – this is the minimum amount UNESCO needs to operate for the next two years. The budget will be set at the 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, which brings together - in Paris, from 16 October to 3 November - the representatives of the Organization’s 193 Member States who will also determine the 2008-2009 programme. A preview of the Organization’s future priorities is presented in this issue of the UNESCO Courier.

Related materials

Saturday, October 20, 2007

UNESCO General Conference - 34th Session

The 34th session of the General Conference, which every two years brings together the Member States of UNESCO, is being held from 16 October to 3 November in Paris.

Two ministerial round tables – on education and on science – a youth forum and an international civil society forum are on the agenda of the session. Close to 2,000 participants are expected, including numerous ministers and some ten heads of State and government who will take the floor before representatives of the Organization’s 193 Member States.

Interface between Education and Economic Development

A Ministerial Round Table was held on the theme of Education and Economic Development on October 19th and 20th. More than 100 ministers of education and another 250 observers participated in the meeting, which built upon two previous Round Tables focused on education quality (in 2003) and Education for All (in 2005). This Round Table concentrated on the key issues at the interface between education and economic development. It sought to identify new approaches and to elicit fresh ideas, to provide impetus for future national policies and strategies, and to give orientation to UNESCO’s action and priorities in this field.

Teleconference Regarding the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List Meeting Minutes

Member nations of UNESCO submit tentative lists of sites within their countries that may be nominated for recognition as World Heritage Sites. The U.S. is now being updated for the first time since 1990. The National Park Service is responsible for compiling the new list, and asked for inputs from the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO as part of the compilation process. A NatCom committee was formed to review the submission, and met held a phone consultation a couple of weeks ago. The minutes of the meeting provide a list of the potential sites considered this year, and the recommendations for inclusion or non-inclusion from the list.

White Sands was one of the sites highly recommended for inclusion on the tentative list.

UN Competitive Recruitment Examinations

The United Nations is holding a competitive recruitment examination in February 2008, for U.S. CITIZENS who are interested in entry-level professional posts. A maximum of 40 of the most qualified applicants in each field will be invited to take the exam. The UN must receive applications for it by October 31, 2007.

EXAMINATION CRITERIA ( all must be met)

  1. Be no more than 32 years old as of December 31, 2008 (UN requirement).
  2. Have at least an undergraduate degree (advanced degree is an advantage but is not required) in one of the following occupational fields or related areas:
    • Finance
    • Information Technology
    • Political Affairs
    • Program Evaluation
    • Environment
    • Statistics
  3. Be fluent in English and/or French, the two working languages of the Secretariat. Knowledge of additional official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish) is a definite advantage.
The competitive recruitment exam appears to have been given once a year, You can find out more about this and other UN employment examinations at the exam page of the UN Office of Human Resource Management website.

The United Nations Office of Human Resource Management website provides more information on employment opportunities and conditions in the United Nations system..

You may also find links to the job websites of many of the larger intergovernmental agencies on Thoughts About K4D (blog).

There is an earlier aritcle on how to get a job with UNESCO on the UNESCO in the Spotlight blog.

U.S. NatCom Newsletter: July/August/September 2007

The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO has published its third newsletter for the year. The contents are:

The issue also provides links to UNESCO sites describing its search for people to fit key jobs in the organization.

UNESCO: What is it? What does it do?; 2006

UNESCO has published this new edition of its very useful and informative booklet:

The document, in a PDF format, briefly describes UNESCO's history and charter, with sections devoted to each of UNESCO's major program areas.

This is an update of the 2003 edition by the same title.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

United Nations Day and Week

The anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter -- 24 October 1945 -- has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. It has traditionally been marked throughout the world by meetings, discussions and exhibits on the achievements and goals of the Organization. In 1971, the General Assembly recommended that Member States observe it as a public holiday.

Read more about UN Day Activities.

United Nations Day in the United States has been established by Presidential Proclamation to commemorate the establishment of the United Nations. It is celebrated very generally in all states and American possessions.

In the Washington, DC metropolitan area that observance, coordinated by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, extends from October 20 to October 28, 2007.

UNESCO and US Library of Congress -- The World Digital Library

UNESCO and the US Library of Congress will join forces to build a World Digital Library, following the signing of an agreement by James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress and, Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 17 October 2007.

The World Digital Library initiative will digitize unique and rare materials from libraries and other cultural institutions around the world and make them available free of charge on the Internet. These materials include manuscripts, maps, books, musical scores, sound recordings, films, prints and photographs.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Singapore rejoins UNESCO

Singapore has become UNESCO’s 193rd Member State, following the deposition in London today of its instrument of adhesion. This ceremony marks return of Singapore to UNESCO after 22 years absence.

In recent years UNESCO has seen the return of the United States of America (2003), and the adhesion to the Organization of Serbia (2000), Timor-Leste (2003), Brunei Darussalam (2005) and Montenegro (2006). Tokelau became an Associate Member in 2001. UNESCO now has 193 Member States, one more than the United Nations.

Singapore will participate in the upcoming 34th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference, which will be held in Paris from 16 October to 3 November. Its delegation will be led by the Minister of Education and Manpower for Singapore, Gan Kim Yong.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Education and development to take centre stage at 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference (16 October – 3 November)

The next session of the General Conference which governs UNESCO will open on 16 October in Paris.

Two ministerial round tables – on education and on science – a youth forum and an international civil society forum are on the agenda of the session. Close to 2,000 participants are expected, including numerous ministers and some ten heads of State and government * who will take the floor before representatives of the Organization’s 192 Member States.

The E-9 Initiative

The E-9 Initiative was launched by heads-of-state or government of Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan in 1993. 'E' stands for education and 9 for those nine countries which were pledged to universalize primary education and to significantly reduce illiteracy in their respective countries. These nine nations include half the population of the world; their progress would necessarily imply global progress in education and literacy.

Since then the Ministers of Education of the E-9 countries have met occasionally to review achievements in basic education, reconfirm their commitment, exchange experiences and define possible joint programs. The education of girls and women has been at the top of the E-9 agenda, as well as teacher training and literacy. These areas of basic education are strategically considered the most important for reducing population growth and enhancing development perspectives.

Read the Monterrey Declaration promulgated by the E-9 Ministers of Education in February 2006.

Ambassador Oliver Calls For Focus, Supports Budget Increase

Ambassador Louise Oliver addressed the Executive Board of UNESCO on October 3. Her remarks are published on the website of the U.S. Permanent Delegation to UNESCO. After expressing support for the medium term strategy, she said:
However, despite the hard work of the drafting group and its excellent co-chairmen, we think that the C5 (report with the proposed program and budget) is still overly ambitious. Certainly we are pleased that the C5 includes expected results for UNESCO’s initiatives, but is it really possible for the Secretariat to achieve those results in only two years, especially if we insist that their work is of high quality?

And what will happen if Member States continue to add to the work of the Secretariat with resolutions that call for new activities and programs, instead of focusing on the ones we already have? Unfortunately it seems that we still have multiple visions for UNESCO.

Mr. Director General, we are pleased that your vision includes strengthening UNESCO’s organizational structure so that our programs can achieve long-term sustainable results. Although the United States has consistently advocated a zero nominal growth budget, and believe that was needed in past budget cycles to encourage UNESCO to become more efficient and effective, we have decided to support your $631 million dollar budget scenario because the additional funds will help reinforce UNESCO’s infrastructure, establish an ethics program for UNESCO staff, and strengthen initiatives focused on the needs of Africa and the developing world.

Friday, October 05, 2007

New UNESCO-American Museum of Natural History Program

Source: AMNH Tour Announcement
UNESCO World Heritage Tour: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala
November 08, 2008 - November 17, 2008

UNESCO’s World Heritage Center and the American Museum of Natural History have created a new World Heritage Expeditions program. It will be a new travel series exploring the ongoing efforts for the conservation and preservation of some of the world’s outstanding cultural and natural sites.

Last week in New York, at an event marking UNESCO’s partnership with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), UNESCO Secretary General Koïchiro Matsuura underlined the importance of the 1972 World Heritage Convention, under which 851 sites are protected in 141 countries, and explained how the conservation process relies on the active development of partnerships with national governments, the general public, the private sector, the media and with the scientific and research community.

The World Heritage Program was started by UNESCO as a result of a U.S. initiative. It is now seen by many as UNESCO's flagship program.

Source: AMNH Tour Announcement
UNESCO World Heritage: Turkey
May 11, 2008 - May 25, 2008

Check out the AMNH Expeditions Website for information on future Expeditions.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


The aims of UNESCO Clubs are those of UNESCO itself:
"to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order 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."
UNESCO Clubs have three main functions:
  • training,
  • dissemination of information and
  • action.
Action is the essential condition for the existence of a UNESCO Club – the other functions do not take on their full value unless they lead to action.

Since the first UNESCO Club was founded in 1947, the Clubs have been very valuable partners for the Organization. In 2006, there were some 3.700 UNESCO Clubs in more than 100 countries throughout the world.

Originally, Clubs were mainly for young people; nowadays, adult and mixed Clubs (which bring together young people and adults) are becoming much more frequent.Club members include people of all ages and nationalities from every walk of life. they share a commitment to UNESCO’s ideals and work to translate them into reality on the ground. Members are therefore well placed to present the views of civil society to decision-makers.

Read "Frequently Asked Questions about UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations", a recent UNESCO publication with a succinct discussion of the UNESCO Club movement.

There is a good history of the UNESCO club movement available from the UNESCO website:

UNESCO Clubs, Paths of Light;
Towards a history of the Clubs (1947-1996)

Worldwide Action in Education, published by UNESCO in 1993 and focusing on its education program, has a brief discussion of UNESCO Clubs, and a longer, useful section titled "You and UNESCO".

If you know of a UNESCO Club or Association in the United States, please let us know. If you want to start one, contact Americans for UNESCO and we will try to help with information and advice.

"UNESCO: What is it? What does it Do?

UNESCO has just published a new version of this short, informative booklet on its objectives, programs, organization, and operation.

UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded on 16 November 1945. Its fundamental purpose, recognizing that wars begin in the minds of men, was to build in those minds the defenses of peace.

Today, UNESCO functions as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues. The Organization also serves as a clearinghouse – for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge – while helping Member States to build their human and institutional capacities in diverse fields. In short, UNESCO promotes international co-operation among its 192* Member States and six Associate Members in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.

Read more about UNESCO
from the UNESCO website.

Monday, October 01, 2007


The Director General of UNESCO prepared the following progress report on the education program in preparation for the upcoming meeting of the Executive Board:
Halfway towards the 2015 target date for achieving education for all (EFA), UNESCO has
given renewed impetus to its global coordination role, notably through the ongoing development of the EFA Global Action Plan, the resequencing of the main EFA mechanisms, and the establishment of an International Advisory Panel on EFA. At country level, the continued expansion of the UNESCO Education Support Strategy (UNESS) process is helping to improve the alignment of UNESCO’s work with country needs, while the Organization’s three EFA flagship initiatives are providing support in an increasing number of Member States in the priority areas of literacy, HIV and AIDS and teacher training.

In close collaboration with the two Deputy Assistant Directors-General for Education and the Education Sector Leadership Team, the Director-General has been actively managing the followup of the decisions related to the Education Sector reform, making all necessary adjustments to improve their effectiveness. The Education Staff Seminar held in Paris in June enabled staff members to become more closely involved in the implementation of some key reform decisions.The next benchmark for the reform’s implementation will be the preparation of the 34 C/5 work plans. It is at this stage that the new MLA structure and the process associated with accountable decentralization will go into effect. Regional bureaux are already exercising their new functions by guiding the work-planning process in their regions and assuring the quality of the activities proposed for the next biennium.

Following a rigorous recruitment process, the Director-General has appointed Mr Nicholas Burnett to the post of Assistant Director-General for Education. Mr Burnett will take up his responsibilities on 27 September. Having worked for nearly two decades at the World Bank before joining UNESCO in 2004 as Director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report, he brings to the position extensive knowledge of basic education, especially of education for all and in particular in Africa. His appointment will assure continuity in the implementation of the Education Sector’s objectives, above all UNESCO’s steadfast commitment to EFA, as well as the decisions related to the Education Sector reform.

Since the last Executive Board, the EFA Global Action Plan (GAP) has been more clearly and strongly linked with the wider mechanisms of United Nations reform, UNESS and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Progress has also been made in the process of applying the GAP at country level. As of August 2007, a strategy has been developed proposing criteria for the first countries where the GAP will be applied. The strategy puts a premium on building strong and effective partnerships through a joint situation analysis of country-level coordination, a clarification of respective responsibilities among agencies and a harmonizing of approaches and actions.

In order to give greater strategic focus and coherence to the EFA movement, and in
response to the request by the 33rd session of UNESCO’s General Conference, the sequence of key annual EFA events has been re-organized. An advance copy of the EFA Global Monitoring Report will now be made available to the EFA Working Group, which this year is scheduled to meet in Paris from 13 to 14 November. This will enable the Working Group to distil the report’s findings into strategic policy recommendations for consideration by the EFA High-Level Group, thereby facilitating the latter’s deliberations and providing for a more focused and action-oriented agenda. The 2007 EFA High-Level Group will take place in Dakar, Senegal, from 11 to 13 December. The 2008 EFA Global Monitoring Report will be officially released on 5 December, with a major launch planned for 12 December in Dakar, alongside the seventh High-Level Group meeting. This report will provide an overall review of progress towards the six EFA goals.

The Director-General has set up an International Advisory Panel (IAP) on EFA to support the resequencing of meetings, maintain and enhance momentum on EFA, and provide a structured year-round consultation and follow-up process among the main EFA partners. The IAP comprises the four main EFA constituencies: developing countries; donors; multilateral agencies; and civil society, including the private sector. It has so far met twice, at UNESCO Headquarters (21 May 2007) and at Georgetown University, Washington DC (20 September 2007), with subsequent meetings planned in association with the EFA Working Group and High-Level Group events later in the year.

UNESCO has consistently emphasized the close relationship between achieving EFA and reaching other development objectives, in particular the Millennium Development Goals. The Director-General organized a ministerial round table breakfast during the ECOSOC high-level segment in Geneva, focused on exploring ways to strengthen education’s role in poverty eradication. During the 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, a ministerial round table will be held on “Education and economic development” (19 and 20 October) to address strategies for reinforcing these linkages still further.

As part of its lead coordinating role, UNESCO convened the fourth meeting of the Collective Consultation of Non-Governmental Organizations on Education for All (CCNGO/EFA) in Dakar, Senegal, from 3 to 5 September 2007. Participants called for: strengthened capacity for evidencebased advocacy at all levels; scaling up the broad-based movement to include all civil society organizations; and greater awareness-raising of education- and child-related rights. Efforts to harness and help deliver private sector contributions to achieving EFA have been enhanced through the UNESCO-World Economic Forum (WEF) initiative “Partnerships for Education” (PfE). A workshop was held in Geneva in June to identify principles and models for successful multistakeholder partnerships for education (MSPEs). The workshop also provided input for a comprehensive review and database of MSPEs, to be completed in November 2007 and launched at the WEF annual meeting in Davos in January. Progress has further been made in developing a strategy on awareness-raising and advocacy for MSPEs.

UNESCO is coordinating regional EFA Mid-Term Reviews with a view to both monitoring progress towards the EFA goals and strengthening national capacity in data collection and analysis. Within this context, UNESCO/Santiago presented to Ministers of Education at the Second Intergovernmental Meeting on the Regional Project of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (PRELAC II, Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 2007) an assessment of the region’s progress towards EFA. The Dakar Pole and UNESCO/BREDA launched in September in Bamako the report on “Dakar+7: Africa’s Achievements and Challenges in EFA”. The regional review for Asia and the Pacific has been led by the Assessment, Information System, Monitoring and Statistic Unit (AMIS), a joint programme of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Regional Office and the Regional Bureau for Education. This assessment includes subregional syntheses, a regional report and sub-regional thematic studies on “reaching the unreached”.

With respect to UNESCO’s country-level action, the UNESCO Education Support Strategy
(UNESS) process is instrumental in ensuring the effectiveness and relevance of the Organization’s education programme in response to Member States’ needs and priorities. It is helping UNESCO position itself strategically in the “Delivering as One” approach, improve alignment with national education policies and strategies, and work in closer synergy with other development partners, including United Nations organizations, financial institutions and bilateral donors. The overarching aim is to include an education component into each common United Nations programming document at the country level in response to national development priorities. To that end, the UNESS planning tool can serve as a basis for developing, in collaboration with all relevant United Nations organizations in country, common United Nations education strategies and joint programmes.

The 11 first-round Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) countries have undertaken a range of activities including research, advocacy, communication, partnership-building, and capacity-building for policy development and delivery of good-quality literacy programmes. The 11 second-round countries will start preparatory activities after the General Conference. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has reviewed and refined the LIFE strategy to reflect new data and facilitate implementation by countries. A monitoring and evaluation strategy was also prepared during a workshop from 9 to 10 July in Hamburg with participants from different LIFE countries.

As part of a major global effort to mobilize international support for literacy, and within the context of LIFE and the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), UNESCO has held the second and third of a series of UNESCO regional conferences in support of global literacy. Participants include first ladies, education ministers, policy-makers, civil society and private sector representatives, academics, education professionals and staff of bilateral and multilateral organizations. The Regional Conference on “Addressing Literacy Challenges in East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific: Building Partnerships and Promoting Innovative Approaches” took place in Beijing, China, on 31 July and 1 August 2007. The third regional conference on “Renewing Literacy to Face African and International Challenges” was held in Bamako from 10 to 12 September. UNESCO’s main celebration for International Literacy Day was held within the framework of this conference and marked by the awarding of the 2007 International Literacy Prizes. From 29 to 30 November 2007, India will host in New Delhi the fourth regional conference for South, South-West and Central Asia. Two further conferences are scheduled for 2008: in Costa Rica in May for Latin America and the Caribbean; and in Azerbaijan in September, as a wrap-up event. Further information on the implementation of UNLD is provided in document 177 EX/8.

The Teacher Training Initiative for Sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA) was launched in January 2006 from 17 pilot countries. Meetings, seminars and workshops have been organized by UNESCO and national coordinators have been appointed in conjunction with the authorities of 17 countries. A meeting, attended by national officials and partners in the initiative, is to be held at UNESCO Headquarters from 6 to 9 November 2007 in order to evaluate TTISSA’s first two years, which will make it possible to identify new lines of emphasis under the initiative for 2008-2009 in terms of both logistics (number of countries, financial and human resources, maintenance of coordinators and so on) and its operational scope (level of decentralization, distribution of tasks and responsibilities, projects, activities and so on).

Significant progress has been made in improving Member States’ ability to implement education responses to HIV and AIDS through the UNESCO-led UNAIDS Global Initiative on Education and HIV and AIDS (EDUCAIDS). This has been achieved by strengthening the capacity of in-country and international stakeholders, developing the Organization’s ability to tap into country-level funding, and reinforcing its field presence. To enhance UNESCO’s work in countries where it does not have a regular presence, part of its $10.6 million allocation through the UNAIDS Unified Budget and Workplan (UBW) for the 2008-2009 biennium will be used to establish four UNESCO regional AIDS advisers. Located in Bangkok, Johannesburg, Moscow and Santiago, these advisers will help deliver technical support and services to Member States, and link up with other UNAIDS co-sponsors in support of joint programming and strengthened United Nations coordination. UNESCO and UNHCR recently released a joint publication on Educational Responses to HIV and AIDS for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: Discussion Paper for Decision-Makers, which focuses on the key components of Education Sector responses to HIV and AIDS in emergencies and reconstruction.

A major cross-cutting aspect to all of the Education Sector’s work is fostering South-South cooperation. To give greater focus to action in this area, UNESCO is developing in collaboration with the Group of 77 and China a South-South cooperation programme. A Special Account for managing funds donated to this programme is being created. The Government of India generously provided a first donation. Additional funds have been earmarked from China’s contribution to UNESCO for South-South cooperation, and recently the Kingdom of Morocco pledged its financial support. Guinea, Malaysia and Togo have also indicated their intention to contribute. Supplementary funding is being allocated from the Sector’s regular budget to South-South cooperation pilot projects. Each regional bureau has developed and proposed a pilot project for immediate implementation. In the field of higher education and research, South-South cooperation is being strengthened through the new strategic direction given to the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs programme. More than 20 new Chairs/UNITWIN Networks have been established since the last Executive Board session, with the South-South or North-South-South dimension being augmented in their research and training activities.

From 13 to 14 September 2007, UNESCO held in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of
Tanzania, the Third Global Forum on International Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications, an important complement to efforts to promote international cooperation and exchange. Drawing together over 140 participants representing key stakeholders in higher education, the 2007 event focused on “Learners and New Higher Education Spaces: Challenges for quality assurance and the recognition of qualifications”. It promoted global dialogue and policy debate on these issues and presented tools to inform the education choices of students and other stakeholders.

In 2009, UNESCO will hold the World Conference on Higher Education+10 (WCHE+10).
Bringing together representatives of the academic community, decision-makers and other key stakeholders, this event will provide an opportunity both to review national, regional and global developments since the WCHE in 1998, and to define the challenges and perspectives for the future. The preparatory process will begin with a series of regional meetings aimed at providing for policy discussions that are action-oriented and relevant to country needs.

UNESCO’s action in support of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development has focused on consultation, coordination and advocacy. The Organization is working together with the DESD Monitoring and Evaluation Experts Group (MEEG) to prepare the Global Framework for the monitoring and evaluation of DESD and a set of indicators. The MEEG held its second meeting from 19 to 21 September 2007 in conjunction with the second meeting of the DESD Reference Group, which brings together leading ESD experts from around the world. This meeting strengthened dialogue between ESD and EFA, with attention focused on identifying mechanisms to enhance synergies and linkages at country level and with the DESD Mid-Decade Review process. Further details on progress under the UNDESD is given in document 177 EX/9.

As part of efforts to develop innovative mechanisms for financing EFA, UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Argentina co-hosted the second meeting of the Working Group on Debt Swaps for Education in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 12 to 13 July 2007. The main purpose of the meeting was to further exchange lessons learnt on debt swaps for education, formulate guidelines for their future use, and discuss the Working Group’s draft report to be submitted to UNESCO’s Director-General. The Director-General will bring the Working Group’s findings and recommendations to the attention of UNESCO’s General Conference, in particular the Ministerial Round Table on Education and Economic Development, as well as to the EFA Working Group and High-Level Group and other relevant fora.

Over the past six months, UNESCO has given specific attention to addressing violence – both violence in schools and in the form of targeted attacks against the education system – as a major obstacle to achieving EFA. From 27 to 29 June 2007, an experts meeting was convened at Headquarters on “Stopping Violence in Schools: What Works?”. The meeting produced a number of recommendations in whose implementation UNESCO can play a fundamental role including the pooling of research findings for data dissemination, research and awareness-raising of the costs and consequences of school violence, and the sharing of good practices. In late April, UNESCO launched the study “Education under attack”, which highlights the increase of violent attacks on education personnel, students, institutions and premises. Symposia have been held in Paris and Geneva, with a third meeting planned in New York in November. These events aim to improve understanding of the reasons behind these attacks and identify prevention strategies.

Institutes and centers under the auspices of UNESCO (category 2) and indication of “parent” sector (as of February 2007)

1. International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED), Baoding, China
2. Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), Inchon, Republic of Korea
3. Guidance, Counselling and Youth Development Centre for Africa (GCYDCA), Lilongwe, Malawi
4. Regional Centre for Educational Planning (RCEP), Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
5. International Centre for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa (CIEFFA), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Natural sciences
6. International Research and Training Centre on Erosion and Sedimentation (IRTCES), Beijing, China
7. Regional Humid Tropics Hydrology and Water Resources Centre for South-East Asia and the Pacific (HTC Kuala Lumpur), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
8. Water Centre for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC), Panama (note: the agreement between UNESCO and the Government of Panama expired in December 2006 and its renewal is pending)
9. Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM), Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran 10. International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics (ICPAM), Nice, France
11. Regional Centre for Training and Water Studies of Arid and Semi-arid Zones (RCTWS), Egypt
12. International Centre on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures (ICQHHS), Yazd, Islamic Republic of Iran
13. Latin American Physics Centre (CLAF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil*
14. Regional centre for biotechnology training and education, India
15. International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), Tsukuba, Japan
16. Regional Water Centre for Arid and Semi-arid Zones of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC), La Serena, Chile
17. European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology, Łódz•, Poland
* Established in 1962 prior to the formulation of guidelines pertaining to UNESCO institutes and centres.
18. International IHP-HELP Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
19. International Research and Training Centre on Urban Drainage (IRTCUD), Belgrade, Serbia
20. Regional Centre on Urban Water Management for Latin America and the Caribbean – Instituto de Investigación y Desarrollo en Agua Potable (CINARA), Cali, Colombia (note: the signing of the agreement between UNESCO and the Government of Colombia is pending)
Social and Human Sciences
21. International Centre for Human Sciences (ICHS), Byblos, Lebano
22. International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS), Samarkand, Uzbekistan
23. International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations (IISNC), Ulan Bator, Mongolia
24. Nordic World Heritage Foundation (NWHF), Oslo, Norway
25. Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Latin America
(CRESPIAL), Cusco, Peru
26. Regional Centre for Book Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLALC) Bogotá, Colombia
Communication and Information
27. ISSN International Centre for the Registration of Serial Publications (ISSN), Paris, France Cross-cutting
28. International Children’s Centre (ARTEK), Ukraine

NatCom Phone Conference on World Heritage List

Governments are asked to provide a tentative list to UNESCO of sites that they may nominate for designation as World Heritage Sites. The U.S. government has been, for the first time in many years, revising our list. The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO (the NatCom)has been asked to review the proposed tentative list. The NatCom secretariat has in turn assigned the task to a subcommittee.

In conjunction with this review, the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO will hold a conference call on Thursday, October 4, at 11 a.m. The recommendations from the conference call discussion will be forwarded from the Department of State to the Department of the Interior. The meeting is planned last until approximately 12:00 p.m., and the call is open to the public.

The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO is chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and provides advice to the Department of State on matters involving the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The purpose of the teleconference meeting is to consider the recommendations of the Commission’s World Heritage Tentative List Subcommittee.

More information on the World Heritage Tentative List process can be found at http://www.nps.gov/oia/topics/worldheritage/tentativelist.htm.

For more information on this meeting, please contact the Executive Secretariat of the National Commission at: 202-663-0026.