Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Public Interest in UNESCO

Asian sites win UNESCO world heritage status
Inquirer.net - Jul 8 2008   
2,500 languages threatened with extinction: UNESCO
Times of India - Feb 19 2009   
UNESCO launches World Digital Library
Deutsche Welle - Apr 21 2009   
UNESCO strips Dresden of World Heritage site title
Vancouver Sun - Jun 25 2009   
Bulgarian diplomat wins UNESCO race
Philadelphia Inquirer - Sep 22 2009   
UNESCO adds 7 sites to World Heritage List
Ynetnews - Aug 1 2010  

The graph is from Google Trends. The top graph indicates that the number of search requests on Google for the term UNESCO has gone down since 2004. Three of the recent peaks in interest correspond to specific news related to UNESCO's World Heritage program, one to the launch of the World Digital Library (an initiative led by the United States Library of Congress), one to a UNESCO report on the threatened disappearance of many endangered minority languages, and one to the election of the Director General of the Organization.

The bottom graph indicates that the number of news articles recognized by Google about UNESCO has shown an increasing trend over the period from 2004.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Donate to UNESCO to help it help Pakistan Recover from the Floods

I quote extensively from the New York Times article today on the flood in Pakistan:
The destruction could set Pakistan back many years, if not decades, further weaken its feeble civilian administration and add to the burdens on its military.......

The flooding, which began with the arrival of the annual monsoons late last month, has by now affected about one-fifth of the country — nearly 62,000 square miles — or an area larger than England, according to the United Nations.

At the worst points, the inundation extends for scores of miles beyond the banks of the overflowing Indus River and its tributaries, said Cmdr. Iqbal Zahid, a Pakistani Navy battalion commander in charge of rescue operations in Sindh Province.

“You have to highlight that the infrastructure all the way from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to Sindh is ruined,” Commander Zahid said, referring to Pakistan’s northernmost and southernmost provinces. “It will take years to rebuild.”

Nearly 20 million people have been significantly affected, about the population of New York State, the United Nations said. The number in urgent need is now about eight million and expected to rise. More than half of them are without shelter.
UNESCO has a very limited budget, but with more money it could respond to:

  • help Pakistan's school system help Pakistan's kids deal with the trauma caused by the floods;
  • help Pakistan to plan to rebuild the schools it has lost;
  • help Pakistan protect its World Heritage sites and cultural heritage from the damage of the floods;
  • help Pakistan improve its hydrology and prepare to prevent such damaging floods in the future;
  • help Pakistan improve its disaster warning systems.
UNESCO has established a website to allow you to make donations to assist it in these efforts.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

UNESCO Report on Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Calls for Additional Protections

"Efforts by the governments of British Columbia, Montana, and the United Statesseemingly have removed mining-related threats to Glacier National Park andWaterton Lakes National Park. But an international team of scientists believes both Canada and the United States must work harder to protect the resources of the International Peace Park.
"Though the field team's final report to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage Committee presented in July in Brazil did not differ in tone from some of the tidbits that leaked out following the field team's visit to the two parks last September, its formal presentation put on record the team's concerns over the long-term health of the two national parks."

Fotopedia and UNESCO Launch World Heritage Application

Fotopedia, in collaboration with the UNESCO World Heritage Center, has created a new application for the iPhone and iPad. The app builds on the concept of a coffee table book, updating and enhancing the browsing experience for the web.
UNESCO World Heritage “seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.” Now you can access these sites as one comprehensive collection via your hand held device, thanks to the Fotopedia Heritage project.
This project was possible due to Creative Commons, as over 18,000 of the pictures in Fotopedia Heritage book are under one of the CC licenses. The pictures come from all around the world; as individual photographers and organizations license their high quality photos under Creative Commons, the book will only grow as a community contributed and shareable resource.

New figures from UNESCO on aid to education

According to new analysis by the Global Monitoring Report team, in 2008 global aid spending on basic education remained unchanged at US$4.7 billion.
Only US$2 billion of this aid went to the poorest countries compared to the US$16 billion in aid required annually for these countries to meet their basic education goals by 2015.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Education and the Millennium Development Goals

Education is a major catalyst for human development. As nations prepare for the High-level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG Summit) at the UN on 20-22 September, UNESCO looks at how rapid advances in education can help to achieve all of the MDGs.  In the year 2000, 147 heads of State and Government, and 189 nations pledged to halve extreme poverty by the year 2015.

UNESCO has developed a website to help those interested to understand UNESCO's programs in support of education for the MDGs. Click here to go to that website!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Report from The Second World Conference on Arts Education:

The Second World Conference on Arts Education was held last May in Seoul, Korea under the auspices of UNESCO and the Korean Government. Now a report is available summarizing the conclusions of the meeting.

The main outcome of the Conference was the Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education, a comprehensive plan of action for all arts education stakeholders. In preparation for the Conference UNESCO prepared an Analysis of the Roadmap for Arts Education.

I heard from Joanna Tawfilis, the Executive Director of The Art Miles Mural Project, that the meeting was a "wonderful endeavor" due in part to the "incredible South Korean partners and colleagues in Seoul."

More on the Art Miles Mural Project

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

UNESCO Chief on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

9 August 2010

The world’s 350 million indigenous people are unique custodians of our planet’s biological and cultural diversity, beholders of traditional knowledge systems and ways of life developed over centuries in coexistence with nature. Sustainable development is indeed what best characterizes indigenous peoples’ relationship to their environment, from the natural to the cultural and spiritual.

Despite significant advances in recognizing their rights and heritage, indigenous peoples are still not the real designers and drivers of their own development initiatives. Earlier this year in New York, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples’ issues highlighted the disconnect that still exists between dominant development models and indigenous peoples’ cultures and worldviews.

The indigenous peoples’ claim for “development with culture and identity,” guided by the landmark 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, must be fully respected and taken on board by governments and the international community. This claim resonates strongly with UNESCO’s mandate and expertise.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The World Orchestra for Peace Designated UNESCO Artist for Peace

The World Orchestra for Peace, an exceptional ensemble of musicians representing more than 40 countries, was designated a UNESCO Artist for Peace by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. The formal designation took place on 5 August in the Royal Albert Hall in London). Later that day, Ms Bokova attended the BBC Proms concert celebrating the Orchestra’s 15th anniversary. The orchestra includes several musicians from the United States.  Read more!

News from the World Heritage Meeting

Hawaiian Archipelago, including the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
On July 30, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee inscribed Hawaii's Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument on the prestigious World Heritage List. This is the first new U.S. World Heritage site in fifteen years. Papahānaumokuākea is a vast and isolated linear cluster of small, low lying islands and atolls, with their surrounding ocean, roughly 250 km to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Archipelago and extending over some 1931 km. Read more!

In another action by the Committee, the Everglades National Park in Florida has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Danger List. The park was first inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1979 due to the exceptional variety of its water habitats. Read more!

Mt. Vernon, the historic home of George Washington, was withdrawn from consideration at this meeting. Apparently the nomination can be reconsidered at a future meeting of the committee. Read more!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Recommendation to the U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO

Boston’s Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, a sculpture by Saint-Gaudens

I recommend that the U.S. delegation to UNESCO arrange for a showing of the American Masters show on Augustus Saint-Gaudens. He was the greatest American sculptor of the 19th and early 20th century, and his sculpture includes important tributes to Lincoln and the Civil War memorial shown above. His work is included in the most important American museums, He was also the first American sculptor to be recognized in France. The Saint-Gaudens home and studio in New Hampshire, which was the center of an important art colony, is now maintained by the National Park service as a national historical site.

The hour long show is very good, and its showing by the U.S. delegation would both be entertaining and help acquaint the UNESCO related community in Paris with the depth and history of American high culture.

John Daly
(The recommendation is mine alone, and does not necessarily represent that of Americans for UNESCO).

Monday, August 02, 2010

The United Nations Foundation has decided to close the World Heritage Alliance and Friends of World Heritage.

The United Nations Foundation appreciates and acknowledges the important impact the World Heritage Alliance has had on World Heritage sites and communities in the seven countries where it operated. The World Heritage Alliance also demonstrated the important, yet often untapped, potential for multi-sector action for conservation and sustainable development in and around World Heritage sites.

The World Heritage Alliance will transfer appropriate training materials and other tools to the Tourism Sustainability Council for continued use. Linking with the Tourism Sustainability Council may be a logical next step for World Heritage Alliance members interested in improving their sustainability performance and receiving recognition for their work.

The Friends of World Heritage and World Heritage Alliance initiatives culminated in 2010, after four years of successful collaborations to protect and preserve World Heritage while promoting sustainable tourism.