UNESCO Cuba Co-Operation Reaffirmed

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, welcomed for the first time this morning to UNESCO the President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez. She had met with Cuba's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, last May.

"We welcome the renewed support today by the President of Cuba to UNESCO by stressing the importance of our intellectual contributions in culture, education and science in an unstable world. This reaffirmed cooperation between UNESCO and Cuba is a sign of confidence in our Organization," said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay at the end of the meeting this morning.

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The Human Face of Urbanisation

Paris, 26 October—UNESCO welcomes mayors, town councilors, artists and urban stakeholders from all over the world to a day-long event at its Headquarters to celebrate and promote human-centred, inclusive and sustainable city management on 31 October, World Cities Day.

Under the theme of World Cities Day 2018, Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities, UNESCO is advocating the humanization of urbanization, an increasingly pressing need as cities’ continue to grow. Cities are now home to 3.9 billion people, half the world’s population, and their number is expected to reach 5 billion by 2030.

The event aims to raise awareness of the sociocultural dimensions of the challenges posed by rapid urbanization, as advocated by UNESCO through its International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities.

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Global Coalition of Aquariums to Fight Plastic Pollution

Aquariums all over the world will organise permanent activities in their facilities and will be invited to change their procurement policies, for example in canteens and shops, to eliminate all single use plastic items.

Huge quantities of plastic waste are polluting our seas and coastlines and threatening most marine species. While beach clean ups are important and necessary actions, it is urgent to change our production and consumption habits, as well as our behaviour, in order to avoid plastic entering the environment in the first place.

To accelerate the shift towards a circular economy, and raise awareness about the danger of relying on plastic for everyday needs, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is joining forces with the European Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme and other international partners to launch a coalition of aquariums to fight plastic pollution.

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Journalists' Safety is a Challenge to Democracy

Journalists’ safety is a challenge to democracy, says UNESCO ahead of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

More than a thousand journalists were killed between 2006 and 2017, according to a UNESCO report published ahead of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, 2 November.

Last year, the percentage of journalists murdered in countries free of armed conflict (55%) exceeded that of journalists felled in conflict zones for the first time. Impunity for these crimes remains shockingly high as only one out of ten such killings was brought to trial.

This glaring injustice is highlighted in the latest UNESCO Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, published ahead of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

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Training in Cairo: "Wastewater, the Untapped Resource"

With the generous financial support of the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 10 and 11 October, UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) conducted a two-day long national training on ‘Wastewater: The Untapped Resource’ in UNESCO Cairo Office.

28 participants from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater, national research institute and other relevant institutions participated. The training was based on the contents of the WWDR 2017 Arabic edition.

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Plans for inter-Korean Reconciliation

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, today met Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, for the first time, and expressed the Organization’s determination to bolster cooperation with the Korean Peninsula.

“UNESCO wishes to commit its support to inter-Korean reconciliation through concrete projects,” declared the Director-General. “We can help restore the links between peoples through shared heritage, educational programmes and cooperation in natural resources management. Facilitating, even accelerating, the construction of durable peace in the Korean Peninsula through culture, education and the sciences is both the ambition and core mandate of UNESCO.”

To that end, UNESCO intends to focus on projects that are at once concrete and symbolic. In her talk with the President of the Republic of Korea, the Director-General spoke of her will to reinforce cooperation in the three area of cultural heritage, education and science. These proposals will be discussed with the authorities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Innovative App for Natural Hazards

A new application I-REACT, will enable people all over the world to warn each other about natural hazards by sharing geolocalized photos and information on floods, fires and extreme weather events, also receiving and sending alerts of extreme weather pertinent to their location. The launch of I-REACT, Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies, coincides with the International Day for Disaster Reduction, October 13.

UNESCO and the European Union have joined forces to develop ITC tools that will improve emergency management systems in response to natural hazards and help prevent disasters, and foster resilience. Today they are launching I-REACT(link is external), a free, publically available app in ten languages (German, English, French, Italian, Russian, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Serbian, and Spanish) to keep citizens safe from floods, fires and extreme weather events.

Learn more here.

IOC to work with Indonesia

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to work with Indonesia following Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami.

Since the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26 December 2004, much progress has been made in establishing IOC-coordinated regional tsunami early warning and mitigation systems in the Indian Ocean, Caribbean and Northeast Atlantic & Mediterranean. The systems complemented the one that had been operational in the Pacific since 1965. “We continue, however, to face very significant challenges”, said Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, “and we extend our deepest sympathies to the communities devastated by the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi.”

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Decisions on Middle East Adopted by Consensus

“The foundation for the consensus achieved today lies in the presence of the Parties sitting around the table here at UNESCO and showing goodwill”

It was again by consensus that the Executive Board of UNESCO adopted decisions * on the Middle East this morning in the framework of the 205th plenary meeting. In the past year, all twelve decisions on the Middle East have been agreed upon after negotiation between the parties, facilitated by the UNESCO Secretariat.

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, said: "I would like to commend the spirit of dialogue and the sense of responsibility that led to this result. A trend towards consensus is now emerging. It is based on the presence of all parties around the table at UNESCO and, of course, on their goodwill. These factors have come together in recent months and have enabled the Secretariat to play to the full its role as mediator.

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Closer Connections to Great Apes

Closer Connections to Great Apes

This year, 23 baby gorillas were named during the festive ceremony that was held on the foothills of the Virunga Mountains in Kinigi, Musanze on 7 September. Noëline Raondry Rakotoarisoa, representing UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB) was among the personalities chosen as namers. The name she gave the baby gorilla is Imbaga, which can be translated as Crowd.

MOU Signed to Fight Drugs in Sudan

MOU Signed to Fight Drugs in Sudan

On 4 September 2018, the UNESCO Khartoum office, Sudanese National Commission for Education, Science and Culture (NATCOM) and Anti-Drug Commission of the Khartoum State (KSAD) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to combat drugs in the Khartoum / Omdurman / Bahri metropolis.