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Kick-off meeting for the Memory of the World Malaysian Funds-in-Trust Project held in Kuala Lumpur

Mié, 28/09/2016 - 11:12

The meeting took place on 20 September 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and brought together representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the National Archives, the National Library, the Malaysian Institute of Language and Literature, and the Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO to discuss cooperation in the implementation of the project.

The aim of the project is to support the safeguarding of the significant documentary heritage of Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), specifically Timor-Leste and Myanmar, through the implementation of the Memory of the World Programme and the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Preservation of, and Access to Documentary Heritage, including in Digital Form (2015).

A series of national level training workshops will be held in Myanmar and Timor-Leste respectively over 2016 and 2017. It is expected that this will support the development of the National MoW Committees in the respective countries and complement ongoing efforts to safeguard and increase access to documentary heritage. Ultimately the capacity building training will directly benefit librarians, archivists and curators in their work on safeguarding and providing access to documentary heritage in their countries.

The project will also include an international symposium and consultation, to be held in Malaysia in 2017, which will result in the creation of a Southeast Asian/ASEAN action plan for the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Preservation of, and Access to Documentary Heritage, including in Digital Form (2015). This will involve policy makers and representatives of memory institutions from each ASEAN country as well as Timor-Leste, China, Japan and Korea.

Dr. Yasmeen Yasim, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, chaired the meeting and shared that “the stakeholders from Malaysia are looking forward to working closely with UNESCO to support the implementation of the project to bring benefit to SIDS and LDCs in the region, as well as to learn from experts involved on how to strengthen the implementation of the Memory of the World program in Malaysia.”

Self-Directed Learning Tools on Open Access

Mié, 28/09/2016 - 09:58

“Maintain, increase and diffuse knowledge” is at the heart of UNESCO’s constitution (Article I. Point 2 (c)). UNESCO has long recognized the value of information and ready access to knowledge in addressing development needs.  Through its Knowledge Societies Division, UNESCO has been spearheading initiatives to foster knowledge-led development strategy that advocates open and inclusive knowledge production, knowledge synthesis, knowledge packaging, knowledge sharing and its reuse. UNESCO and its member states have reiterated that despite many efforts to improve access, there is a disparity in openness between and among developed and developing countries. Thus making a strong case for the need for capacity enhancements in support of Openness at all levels of knowledge transaction. It is therefore essential to innovate approaches to enhance these capacities, which must also include ability to take stock, follow up, and monitor efforts.

On the occasion of the first International Day for Universal Access to Information, on 28 September, UNESCO is launching Self-Directed Learning Courses (SDLs) on Open Access to Scholarly Information and is inviting expression of interests to collaborate for its worldwide delivery.

These SDLs have been developed to provide knowledge resources on OA in order to respond to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and accelerate and facilitate the value of openness in Member States. UNESCO believes that these tools will assist in enhancing knowledge and understandings of OA, offer self-paced learning on OA issues and help bridge knowledge pools on OA.

 “Open Access literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions” (Peter Suber, 2013). Open Access (OA) is the provision of free access to peer-reviewed, scholarly and research information to all. OA allows the provisions of access to read, write, adopt, adapt, and distribute/disseminate scholarly publications without any technical, legal, economic and social barriers. OA uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) to create infrastructure to enable access to scholarly information through Open Access repositories and Open Access journals.

In order to benefit from these tools and to know how to get involved with UNESCO in raising knowledge and understanding about OA, please contact B.R. Neupane.

Director-General condemns shooting of Mexican community radio host Agustin Pavia Pavia

Mar, 27/09/2016 - 12:04

“I condemn the killing of Agustin Pavia Pavia,” the Director-General said. “Targeting journalists for their work is an intolerable attack on society as a whole. It is important the authorities investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to trial.”

Agustin Pavia Pavia was a shot in his hometown of Huajuapan de Léon where he hosted a political programme on community radio Tu Un Ñuu Savi.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org,  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the 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 the Organization is requested 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…”

 

 

President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama addresses UNESCO on #AccessToInfoDay

Lun, 26/09/2016 - 20:01

In the keynote closing address, Ghana’s president HE John Dramani Mahama, said that open societies offered more sustainable progress to sustainable development than open ones.

“Information empowers people and as much info as possible on the SDGs should be made available to citizens,” he added.

The President urged media to go beyond political coverage to include issues such as gender equality and climate change.

Heralding Ghana’s media free and pluralistic landscape, he quipped: “In Ghana, we have 27 million presidents who know how to do my job and they say so on radio.”

The President expressed the wish to complete the process of passing Ghana’s freedom of information bill, so that the public had a legal basis to demand information. After his speech, a bilateral meeting was held with UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova (see below).

Earlier the UNESCO Director-General opened the IPDCtalks saying that “access to information is a fundamental  human  right, it is  part  of  what makes us human, it is a foundation for good governance”. She called for the information revolution to be a development revolution.

Remarks were also made by Frank la Rue Assistant Director General for Communication and Information at UNESCO. “Access to information is no longer only the basis of democracy but is also now seen as the basis of sustainable development,” he affirmed.

During the day, many speakers gave vivid descriptions of the challenges that ordinary people faced in the areas of the SDGs, bringing to light the role of awareness-raising about the UN’s new development agenda.

Organizer of the event was the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), in association with the Information for All Programme (IFAP). Support came from the delegations of the Netherlands and Lithuania.

In an innovative format, each speaker appeared on a spot-lit stage individually, telling stories about their work. Their experience ranged from promoting information about menstruation to education policy makers, through to the role of videogames in supporting literacy for Syrian children unable to attend school.

In the process, they covered SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 13, dealing with poverty, hunger, health, water, innovation, cities, climate change, growth and jobs. The speeches will be posted on online for further dissemination.

The Day’s proceedings included the launch of exhibitions by Sweden and Finland, marking the 250 years since their shared history gave the world the first freedom of information act.

UNESCO’s 195 Member States approved 28 September as International Day for Universal Access to Information in December last year. The step came in response to calls from African civil society and media groups.

Nigeria, Morocco and Angola initiated the resolution which won support from the other Member States for proclaiming the new day on the international calendar.

In a bilateral meeting held in the context of the #AccessToInfoDay, the Director-General of UNESCO and the President of Ghana discussed issues of migration of stability and violent extremism in the Sahel Bert. The Director General informed about her recent visit to Sahel, while the President of Ghana underlined the impact of climate change in the region, with the lowering of rainfalls causing migration towards the south, and fights between warlords and farmers. Both emphasized the need to strengthen capacities of governments to implement the Sustainable Development Agenda, both a development issue and an imperative for peace.

Director-General condemns murder of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar

Lun, 26/09/2016 - 17:00

“I condemn the murder of Nahed Hattar,” declared the Director-General. “This crime constitutes a grave attack on freedom of expression and affects Jordanian society as a whole,” Ms Bokova added.

Nahed Hattar was shot on 25 September, outside a court where he was to face charges for sharing on social media a controversial cartoon critical of religious extremists.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org,  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the 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 the Organization is requested 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…”

 

Safety of journalists, human rights and sustainable development on the agenda of a panel discussion in Geneva

Vie, 23/09/2016 - 18:19
As part of the build-up to commemorating the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI) on 2 November 2016, a panel discussion took place on 23 September in Geneva, during the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC). The event provided an opportunity to address linkages between the safety of journalists and the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of SDG 16, Target 10 stipulating “to ensure public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms”.

UNESCO sponsored survey strengthens media self-regulation mechanism in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Vie, 23/09/2016 - 16:34

Since its establishment, CMEM has received more than 120 complaints about potential breaches of the Code of journalistic ethics of the country. The survey reveals that 71% of the respondents know how to file a complaint with the Council. It was noted that though all respondents are aware of the existence of CMEM, extra efforts are needed to raise awareness regarding the role of media self-regulation in strengthening quality journalism in the country. The report also analyses the role of the press council as per regulating online media. A majority of the respondents are of the opinion that specific ethical norms should be the same for online and traditional media.

The results of the assessment were widely publicised throughout the country. Four TV debates have been broadcasted from June to September 2016 on TV24 to present the survey’s outcomes to citizens. The debates convened media experts from CMEM, academia and the civil society. The survey as well as the TV debates highlighted the positive impact of the press council in improving professional and ethical reporting in the country.

CMEM was founded in 2013 with the objective to self-regulate the media and adjudicate citizens' complaints about a breach of the Code of journalistic ethics. CMEM is also engaged in raising public awareness regarding media ethics, media quality and the role of a press council. This first assessment sponsored by UNESCO was key for the Council to identify its weaknesses, to understand the civil society’s expectations and define future communication strategies. 

Global MIL Week: Share your MIL projects, initiatives and voluntary commitments

Vie, 23/09/2016 - 10:39

As part of the Global MIL Week, UNESCO is inviting all stakeholders to register projects, initiatives and voluntary commitments on the web platform of the Global MIL week.

The information will be posted on the Global MIL week website making it visible and available to all those who are interested and work on Media and Information Literacy. This will allow for synergies to be developed among the stakeholders, projects and initiatives and it will also give more openness about the progress towards MIL for all.

Calling for initiatives on all levels

UNESCO is welcoming projects and initiatives by UN organizations, governments, private sector, international/bilateral donors and foundations, intergovernmental organizations, libraries, museums and archives, media, civil society, and technological mediators, academic institutions and others.

It can be an initiative at community, regional, national or global level, related to MIL education, policy and advocacy, media self-regulation, research, the work of libraries, funding mechanisms, technology and innovation, capacity building. It can target schools, educators, youth, gender issues, financial literacy and economic growth, audiovisual industries and many more.

Global MIL week in November            

The sixth annual global celebration of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week will take place from 31 October to 5 November, 2016, under the theme “Media and Information Literacy: New Paradigms for Intercultural Dialogue”. The Global MIL Week 2016 feature event includes the Sixth Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) Conference and the First General Assembly of the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL). The feature event is hosted by the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and will take place from 2 to 5 November, 2016.The Global MIL Week 2016 is led by UNESCO in cooperation with GAPMIL, UNAOC and MILID University Network. You can find more information about Global MIL week here: http://en.unesco.org/global-mil-week-2016

Safety of journalists brought closer to academic community thanks to Helsingin Sanomat Foundation

Jue, 22/09/2016 - 15:03

Reeta Pöyhtäri, Research Fellow funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation in the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO headquarters, coordinated UNESCO’s Journalists’ Safety Indicators (JSI), providing her expertise and oversight to their application in three different countries and facilitating academic cooperation on the safety of journalists.

Speaking about the relevance of the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation research fellowship to UNESCO, Pöyhtäri explains: “The funding for the fellowship has been a great support for UNESCO's work on safety of journalists. Concretely it meant that an expert was working on the topic of safety of journalists for two years. This has enabled strengthening the JSI initiative as a part of UNESCO's regular programme. It has also led to the creation of a new line of programmatic work, namely establishing the academic cooperation on safety of journalists’ research.”

UNESCO’s Journalists' Safety Indicators were developed within the context of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. JSI serve to identify the actions that are taken by the various relevant stakeholders in promoting journalists’ safety and fighting impunity at the national level. “The support of the Foundation has been invaluable for UNESCO to have the capacity for fully establishing the Journalists’ Safety Indicators,” commented Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation Research Fellow also helped to bring closer UNESCO’s work on safety of journalists to the academic community by consolidating UNESCO’s research agenda on the safety of journalists.

“The safety of journalists is a complex matter. It has typically been researched and analyzed as a part of some larger phenomenon or specific circumstances. This is of course important, but it is equally important to have the focus on safety itself,” Pöyhtäri said. “The research agenda worked as a source of ideas and inspiration, as it gives researchers ideas on the type of relevant and necessary knowledge” she added.

The issue of safety of journalists was also presented in several international communication conferences. “I must say that academia has been very welcoming and interested in the topic and keen on cooperation. The academic community has also shown their own initiative and has already started creating new forms of cooperation,” Pöyhtäri said.

Recalling some of the most relevant achievements, Pöyhtäri points out the International Journalism Safety Research Network, which was launched by the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) at the University of Sheffield with support of UNESCO, as well as UNESCO’s first Safety of Journalists Research Conference, which was held during the 2016 World Press Freedom Day celebration in Helsinki, thanks to the support of the UNESCO Chair at the University of Gothenburg.

Pöyhtäri was the first Helsingin Sanomat research fellow at UNESCO. As the Foundation promotes and supports high-level research on freedom of expression, cooperation with UNESCO’s work on safety of journalists contributed to the foundation’s mission. “The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation highly values the work UNESCO is doing on safety of journalists and the issue of impunity,” said Ulla Koski, President of the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. “We are very pleased that during the past two years the foundation has been able to contribute to this remarkable work.”

Pöyhtäri says she will continue her engagement to raise public knowledge about journalists’ safety: “I will in the near future collaborate on the safety of journalists’ research publication that is based on the 2016 World Press Freedom Day conference. I will give lectures on the topic to future journalists, as well as participate in related academic events. Safety of journalists has now become a part of my research activities, and therefore it is very natural that I will be working to raise public knowledge on the issue as well.”

UNESCO is seeking nominations for UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017

Mié, 21/09/2016 - 16:52

This Prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board, in 1997, in honour of Guillermo Cano, a Colombian journalist who died in the exercise of his profession. Its purpose is to reward each year a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if risks have been involved.

Awarded annually, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day (3 May), the Prize is marked by a ceremony and the winner is presented with the sum of US$25,000.

World Press Freedom Day 2017 will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 3 May 2017.

The Prize is funded by the Cano Foundation (Colombia) and the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland).

How to submit your nomination:

Nominations for the Prize should be submitted by filling out the form in English or French and sending it before 15 February 2017 by post or by email to:

UNESCO
Communication and Information Sector
Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development
Section for Freedom of Expression
7 Place de Fontenoy
75007 Paris
France
Tel: 33.1.45.68.42.12
E-mail: s.coudray(at)unesco.org

Achieving the SDGs with broadband and ICTs: Overcoming the gender digital divide, education and investment challenges

Mié, 21/09/2016 - 16:30

Broadband uses for sustainable development and particularly for gender equality and education were among the key UNESCO topics debated at this 14th Broadband Commission meeting in NY this weekend. The Commission brought leaders from governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations together, at the eve of the opening of the UN General Assembly. The plenary meeting of the Broadband Commission was opened by welcoming remarks from H.E. President Kagame, Mr Carlos Slim Helú, Dr. David Nabarro, Ms Irina Bokova and Mr Houlin Zhao, who also welcomed five new Commissioners: Mr Jean-Yves Charlier, H.E. Ramin Guluzade, H.E. Anusha Rahman Khan, Ms Catherine Novelli and Mr Rupert Pearce (see here for more information).

Dr. David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on the Sustainable Development Agenda, delivered a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, highlighting that: “Thanks to the work of the Broadband Commission, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and many others, Member States agreed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on the importance of ICTs, broadband and global interconnectedness for bridging the digital divide, developing knowledge societies and accelerating human progress.” Ms Bokova, UNESCO’s Director-General, stressed that “The digital revolution must be a development revolution – revolution for human rights and dignity – a revolution that empowers every woman and man, every society.”

The first plenary session on “Building on Broadband to Leave No One Behind”, analysed the advantages and limitations of broadband and information and communication technologies (ICTs) as a catalyzer for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Commissioners specifically explored broadband and ICTs’ role as regards making education and life-long learning, as well as public healthcare, more available and equitable. UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mr Frank La Rue, underlined that education is a Human Right and that: “The importance of information and communication technologies, of broadband and mobile technology lies in the fact that they can accelerate progress on key education challenges: on equity, on inclusion, on access and on quality.” After intensive discussions, UNESCO’s Director-General proposed to re-launch a Working Group on Education, which was welcomed.

On Saturday 17 September, the Commission’s Working Group on Digital Health, on Demand and on the Digital Gender Divide held meetings at the UN Women Headquarters to advance on their respective activities. UNESCO’s Director-General, Ms Bokova, co-chaired the gender working group with the Director-General of GSMA, Mr Granryd. Indeed, the gender gap grew by 1% between 2013 and 2016 and there are, for example, still 202 million fewer women than men owning a mobile phone in 2016. The Commission works on a set of recommendations, a related action plan and concrete commitments to overcome the digital gender divide.

In her concluding remarks, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stressed the vital importance of the soft ICT components, of policy-, content- and capacity development, stating that “true innovation lies less in access and technology itself, and more in the use put to it by women and men, in the ingenuity they bring to harnessing its power to better their lives.” Only with such a holistic approach can Broadband be fully harnessed for sustainable development.

The working groups will continue to advance until the 15th face-to-face meeting of the Broadband Commission in Shanghai, China in spring 2017.

Director-General condemns murder of journalist Aurelio Cabrera Campos in Mexico

Mié, 21/09/2016 - 15:00

“I condemn the murder of Aurelio Cabrera Campos,” said the Director-General. “I call on the authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to justice. There can be no impunity for those attacking media workers.”

Aurelio Cabrera Campos, editor of the weekly El Gráfico de la Sierra, which he had founded earlier this year, was shot on 14 September and died of his injuries the following day.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org,  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the 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 the Organization is requested 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…”

 

 

UNESCO connects information and development to mark first international Day for Universal Access to Information

Mié, 21/09/2016 - 11:30

The conference and discussions, grouped under the title Powering sustainable development with public access to information, is organized by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC) in collaboration with the Organization’s Information for All Programme (IFAP). It will feature the participation of leading players and experts from all over the world, who will argue that that public access to information and ICTs, along with strengthening media institutions that help assure access, is key to achieving the SDGs in their totality.

One of the leading advocates for sustainable development, Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama, who co-chairs the UN Advocacy Group on SDGs, will deliver a keynote address at the close of the conference.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will open the “IPDC Talks” alongside Albana Shala, Chair of UNESCO’s International Programme for Development of Communication, and Lionel Veer Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to UNESCO and Neris Germanas Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.

Lithuania’s and the Netherlands’ Permanent Delegations to UNESCO have financed the event, along with the Netherlands’ National Commission for UNESCO.

The Permanent Delegations of Sweden and Finland will launch an exhibition commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Freedom of the Press Act passed in 1766 in what is today Sweden and Finland on the occasion of International Day for the Universal Access to Information.

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Media Accreditation: Djibril Kebe, UNESCO Press Service: d.kebe(at)unesco.org, +33(0)145681741

 

What: Powering sustainable development with public access to information—IPDC Talks to mark the first international Day for Universal Access to Information

Where: Room XII, UNESCO Headquarters, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75012 Paris

When: 26 September, 10am to 6pm

Africa’s judiciary engages on journalism safety issues

Mar, 20/09/2016 - 10:13
Close to 100 participants came together in Arusha on Saturday for the seminar, “Strengthening judiciary systems and African Courts to protect the safety of journalists and end impunity”, convened by UNESCO and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Namibia hosts a debut meeting to mark #AccesstoInfoDay

Lun, 19/09/2016 - 10:04

Many at the Windhoek event noted that the IDUAI initiative arose out of momentum from the 1991 Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press. That Declaration had inspired UNESCO to declare World Press Freedom Day more than 25 years ago.

Participants recalled that a follow-up conference in 2011 to mark “Windhoek+20” had called on UNESCO to recognize the new date as a step to help promote worldwide access to information.

Welcoming UNESCO’s responsiveness to that call, speakers underlined the relevance of the Day to the Sustainable Development Agenda. In this context, many also noted Namibia on its own progress towards an Access to Information Act that is in preparation.

Namibia’s deputy Minister of Communications and ICT, HE Stanley Simataa, who is also Chair of the UNESCO General Conference, underlined to the audience that without a right to information, the scope of access was limited.

Points were also made by Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, who is also the African Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Access to Information. She saluted the leading role of civil society in advancing access to information and persuading UNESCO Member States to adopt the Day in 2015.

The Commission which she chairs has adopted a Model Law on Access to Information for Africa, which has been a resource for the Namibian process.

Participants at the meeting included the organizers of the event: the Media Institute for Southern Africa, Media Rights Agenda, the Open Democracy Advisory Group, the Africa Freedom of Information Centre, and Media Rights Agenda. It was these groups which developed the African Platform on Access to Information at the Windhoek+20 conference in 1991.

The importance of implementation of right to information laws was highlighted by Gwen Lister of the Namibia Media Trust, as well as civil society leaders Edetaen Ojo, Gilbert Sendugwa and Zoe Titus. Gender aspects were emphasized by journalism educator Emily Brown.

The event last week was supported by FESmedia Africa, which had also backed the historic 2011 conference.

UNESCO supported the commemoration event, with the head of the Windhoek Office, Jean-Pierre Ilboudo observing that access to information could help foster science, research and innovation in a society.

Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, highlighted the need for press freedom as well as Media and Information Literacy to be part of the pillars of effective access to information. 

Two further events will be organized in Windhoek on UDUAI itself, the 28 September, including one hosted by UNESCO, and another by Action Access to Information Namibia.

Connecting all to a better future

Dom, 18/09/2016 - 20:30

The President of Rwanda reminded the Commission of his commitment to advancing broadband roll-out for all citizens, for more inclusive and sustainable development.

Ms. Bokova emphasized investing in access and connectivity along with relevant multilingual content, education and media skills, teacher training, with focus on reaching the unreached -- especially girls and women. "Digital adoption is not enough," said Ms. Bokova, "we need new skills and opportunities for all, to empower all, for the benefit of all."

Carlos Slim highlighted to work of the Foundation, in harnessing new ICTs for individual empowerement.

The Director-General also called for a new focus on Broadband and education, to examine these multipliers across the board. This point was echoed by Executive Director of UN Women, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who underlined the importance of ICTs for education, building this into systems and through teacher training.

David Nabarro shared a strong message of commitment from the UN Secretary- General, calling for new participation, new partnerships and new proposals to take forward the new plan in the 2030 Agenda.

Columbia University Professor and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals Jeffrey Sachs‎ made the case that investing in universal broadband and content must be strategic for all governments. 

The d‎iscussion followed on the need for the broadest possible approach to broadband roll-out, connecting health, education and effoerts for gender equality -- as well the imperative of bridging divides with least developed countries as well as small island developing states. The need to ‎Simplify regulatory frameworks to make them more linear for connectivity to become universal was noted.

The vital question of reaching the remaining 1.5 billion --and the financing-- was also explored during the meeting, which was held in New York, before the General Debate of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly. The experience of public-private partnerships was also explored.

In this respect, Ms Catherine Novelli, US Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, spoke to the goals of the US Global Connect Initiative.

‎The 14th meeting occurred several days after the launch of the 2016 State of Broadband Report, painting anew a picture of world connectivity.

India has overtaken the United States to become the world’s second largest Internet market, with 333 million users, trailing China’s 721 million. The report confirms that just six nations – including China and India – together account for 55% of the total global population still offline, because of the sheer size of their populations.

While Internet access is approaching saturation in richer nations, connectivity is still not advancing fast enough to help bridge development gaps in areas like education and health care for those in poorer parts of the world, according to the 2016 edition of The State of Broadband report.

Globally, an estimated 3.9 billion people are not using the Internet. But the Commission’s new report estimates that, between them, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria account for 55% of all unconnected people, while 20 countries – including the US – account for a full 75% of those not using the Internet. These findings suggest that targeted efforts in just a few key markets could help enormously in redressing the gaping ‘digital divide’ between those who are online and those still offline.

“There is a large body of economic evidence for the role of affordable broadband connectivity as a vital enabler of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Commission with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. 

“Broadband technologies can be powerful development multipliers,” Director-General Bokova added, “but this requires combined investments in access and in skills and in education. This is about opening new paths to create and share knowledge. It is about enhancing freedom of expression and about widening learning opportunities, especially for girls and women. This is about developing content that is relevant, local and multilingual.”

Issued annually, The State of Broadband report is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by country data measuring broadband access against key advocacy targets set by the Commission in 2011.

The report confirms that according to latest ITU figures, by end 2016 3.5 billion people will be using the Internet, up from 3.2 billion last year and equating to 47% of the global population. Progress in the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries has been encouraging, with the Commission’s target of 15% of the LDC population online expected to be reached by the end of this year.

The Broadband Commission brings together high level officials with leading executives in the private sector, from across the world, to harness the digital revolution as a development revolution, for all women and men.

Bridging the Gender Digital Divide

Sáb, 17/09/2016 - 22:23

She noted that trends were increasingly worrying in this respect. Worldwide, there is a gender gap of 11 percent in male and female access to the Internet. This rises to almost 29 percent in Least Developed Countries. There are some 200 million fewer women than men owning a mobile phone, the most prevalent means of access to the Internet in developing countries.

“To overcome these obstacles, we need greater investment in access,” said Ms. Bokova. “But this must be joined with stronger investment in quality education, in digital skills, in media literacy.”

She underlined the importance of such actions, notably to support and advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – specifically the Sustainable Development Goal 5 on promoting gender equality, and Target 9c on advancing universal access to information and communication technologies.

The meeting was co-chaired with Mr. Mats Granryd, Director-General of GSMA, an organization which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.

Mr. Granryd said the recommendations for the Broadband Commission need to be complemented by action plans for follow-up.

The meeting was held at the offices of UN Women in New York.

Director-General Bokova is co-vice chair of the Broadband Commission, which she launched in 2010, with co-chairs, H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and Mr Carlos Slim, CEO of the Carlos Slim Foundation, along with co-vice chair, Mr Haolin Zhou, Secretary-General of the ITU. The Broadband Commission brings together high level officials with leading executives in the private sector, from across the world, to harness the digital revolution as a development revolution, for all women and men.

This Working Group builds on the earlier work of the Working Group on Broadband and Gender and the 2013 Report – Doubling Digital Opportunities.

 

IFAP dedicated session at the International Congress on Archives in Seoul

Vie, 16/09/2016 - 15:25

The UN Sustainable Development Goals as defined in Transforming Our World – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are closely related to the work aiming at providing access to records for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive memory institutions at all levels. Furthermore, UNESCO’s Recommendation concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage, including in Digital Form, which was adopted by the General Conference at its last session, in November 2015, encourages Member States to support their memory institutions in establishing selection, collection and preservation policies, guided by internationally established and defined standards regarding documentary heritage.

During this Quadrennial Congress, records and archives professionals reaffirmed their determination to make a powerful contribution to modern society in the digital age by sharing their professional knowledge to the fullest possible extent, in a true spirit of ‘Harmony and Friendship’ for building inclusive knowledge societies. 

ICA, is working together with UNESCO and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) on a number of issues towards the shared objectives to preserve, raise awareness and promote access to the documentary treasures of humanity. The Congress provided an opportunity for a joint UNESCO/ICA presentation specifically devoted to the intergovernmental Information for All Programme, given by Dr Boyan Radoykov, Chief of the Universal Access and Preservation Section in UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division, and ICA President David Fricker on the key developments and initiatives that demonstrate the collaboration of UNESCO and ICA, in both  policy development and programme delivery capacity. The presentation by the panelists covered the following topics, among others:

  • the modalities of operation and the priority areas of the Information for All Programme, its recent activities and future plans for cooperation with relevant partners in the area of Information Preservation;
  • a brief summary of ICA’s recent achievements, including the Universal Declaration on Archives;
  • the UNESCO Recommendation on the Preservation of and Access to Documentary Heritage including in Digital Form;
  • the UNESCO PERSIST project that aims to provide a facility for archives, libraries and other memory institutions to interact with digital cultural heritage in obsolete or inaccessible formats;
  • the Magnetic Tape Alert Project that warns governments, decision makers and stakeholders of an unprecedented threat: unless copied to safe digital repositories, original audio and video tapes, unique documents of the world’s linguistic and cultural diversity will get definitely lost.

Mr Fricker was emphatic in his commitment to the partnership between ICA and the various UNESCO programmes. In concluding his presentation, he stressed: “ICA needs UNESCO – to provide the international awareness and leadership across member states to recognise the value of documentary heritage.  And UNESCO depends on ICA to assist in the development of products and programmes that support these ideals.”

The former Chair of the IFAP Working Group on Information Preservtion, Mr Dietrich Schüller, also addressed the session. He noted: “Over the past sixty years, substantial audio and video collections have been established that today form the most prominent documents of cultural and linguistic diversity. The present dramatic vanishing of replay equipment in operable condition will inevitably lead to the loss of all those original documents, which have not been secured in digital repositories in time.”

In his presentation, Dr Radoykov outlined the wide range of possibilities for cooperation between ICA and IFAP and the complementarity that can be brought by this intergovernmental programme to the work of the information specialists and experts, since IFAP provides a reliable platform for international policy discussions and cooperation in the area of access to and preservation of, information and knowledge.  He also underscored: “People and societies must realize that documentary heritage in all its forms, and especially the one of outstanding and universal value, is constantly under attack and threat of destruction, and that consenting to its disappearance would be the biggest failure of our times. For many years, UNESCO, together with its members and partners is striving to raise the awareness of national authorities and other relevant stakeholders about the necessity to improve the conditions for the preservation of, and the increased access to the common heritage of humanity. Several of the IFAP recent projects illustrate perfectly these efforts.

Broadband Commission Report 2016: More than half of the world’s population remains offline and the gender gap is widening

Vie, 16/09/2016 - 10:27

The report traces the progress made towards achieving the Broadband Commission’s targets for broadband. Progress has been mixed. There has been good progress made towards the first target on National Broadband Plans and policy-making and also on the affordability of broadband access (second target). The Commission’s target 3 on household Internet access and 4 on Internet access in Least Developed Countries will be achieved outside of the original time frame. Regrettably, there is a retrogression for the fifth target calling for gender equality in access to broadband Internet. The overall Internet user gender gap grew by 1% between 2013 and 2016, with still 202 million fewer women than men owning a mobile phone in 2016. 

For this year’s report, UNESCO contributed with a chapter focusing on knowledge cities, in light of Habitat III, the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development taking place in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. It explores the implications of ‘city smartening’ processes in urban centres. Broadband connectivity and ICTs have the potential to transform our urban lives by generating greater economic, energy, governance and mobility efficiency in our cities.

As Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, highlights: “‘City smartening’ processes could, however, also represent a crucial milestone in the building of knowledge, cities by boosting urban democratic processes, using ICTs for a greater inclusion and democratic participation, offering quality education to all, empowering women and girls, and promoting cultural diversity and creativity. Broadband and ICTs are key efficiency drivers, but we need to put the human-beings at the centre of our preoccupations. We have to harness technologies to realize our Human Rights, including the freedom of expression.” 

The report also explores promising new uses and applications of ICTs for development (ICT4D), including mobile, satellite, the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connectivity and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). This serves as a reminder that new technologies and broadband can play a vital role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, this holds true only if the necessary conditions to enable affordable, universal and available Internet access have been achieved and if the ‘soft components’ of the ICT roll-out such as skills development, local content in local languages, inclusive, participatory policies, institutional transparency and accountability are put in place. To promote broadband for catalyzing sustainable development, the report also offers a number of concrete policy recommendations. 

Overall the report is an urgent reminder and call for action as regards ensuring that those who remain without an Internet access have the capacities and content to use the Internet to enhance their livelihood and achieve sustainable development. The report will be one of the inputs to the 14th Annual Meeting of the Broadband Commission, which will be held in New York, USA, on 18 September 2016.

China, India now world’s largest Internet markets

Jue, 15/09/2016 - 12:51

India has overtaken the United States to become the world’s second largest Internet market, with 333 million users, trailing China’s 721 million. But a new report released today by the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development also confirms that just six nations – including China and India – together account for 55% of the total global population still offline, because of the sheer size of their populations.

While Internet access is approaching saturation in richer nations, connectivity is still not advancing fast enough to help bridge development gaps in areas like education and health care for those in poorer parts of the world, according to the 2016 edition of The State of Broadband report.

Globally, an estimated 3.9 billion people are not using the Internet. But the Commission’s new report estimates that, between them, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria account for 55% of all unconnected people, while 20 countries – including the US – account for a full 75% of those not using the Internet. These findings suggest that targeted efforts in just a few key markets could help enormously in redressing the gaping ‘digital divide’ between those who are online and those still offline.

Released just ahead of the 14th meeting of the Commission in New York on September 18, The State of Broadband 2016 is optimistic about the potential of mobile broadband, with 165 countries now having deployed ‘4G’ high-speed mobile networks. As smartphone penetration reaches near-saturation in the US, Europe and mature markets in Asia like Japan and Korea, India and Indonesia in particular are expected to drive future growth. India also recently overtook the US to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market, with an estimated 260 million mobile broadband subscriptions.

The Commission argues that if today’s near-universal basic mobile phone access could be converted to high-speed mobile broadband access, mobile phones could serve as a major accelerator of development, driving rapid progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“There is a large body of economic evidence for the role of affordable broadband connectivity as a vital enabler of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Commission with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “The Sustainable Development Goals for education, gender equality and infrastructure include bold targets for information and communication technology. The SDGs are achievable, but require urgent efforts and progress in the speed, degree and equality of development. The Commission believes this can be realized through broadband.”

“Broadband technologies can be powerful development multipliers,” Director-General Bokova added, “but this requires combined investments in access and in skills and in education. This is about opening new paths to create and share knowledge. It is about enhancing freedom of expression and about widening learning opportunities, especially for girls and women. This is about developing content that is relevant, local and multilingual.”

Issued annually, The State of Broadband report is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by country data measuring broadband access against key advocacy targets set by the Commission in 2011.

The report confirms that according to latest ITU figures, by end 2016 3.5 billion people will be using the Internet, up from 3.2 billion last year and equating to 47% of the global population. Progress in the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries has been encouraging, with the Commission’s target of 15% of the LDC population online expected to be reached by the end of this year.

This year’s figures show that, once again, the top ten developing countries for household Internet penetration are all located in Asia or the Middle East. The Republic of Korea continues to have the world’s highest household Internet penetration, with 98.8% of homes connected; Qatar (96%) and United Arab Emirates (95%) rank second and third, respectively.

Iceland continues to have the highest percentage of individuals using the Internet (98.2%), while Luxembourg (97.3%) has surpassed Norway to take second place, and Andorra (97%) takes third place from Denmark.

Monaco remains very slightly ahead of Switzerland as the world leader in fixed broadband penetration, at over 47 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants compared with the Swiss figure of 45%. There are now seven economies (Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Denmark, the Netherlands, France and the Republic of Korea) where fixed broadband penetration exceeds 40%, up from six countries in 2014 and just one nation (Switzerland) in 2012.

Finland has the world’s highest percentage of active mobile broadband subscriptions, with 144 subscriptions per 100 people, followed by Singapore (142) and Kuwait (139). The Asia-Pacific region accounts for nearly half (48%) of all active mobile broadband subscriptions.

In total, there are now 91 economies where over 50% of the population is online, up from 79 in 2015. But whereas in 2014 the top ten countries for Internet use were all located in Europe, this year sees Bahrain (ranked 7th) and Japan (ranked 9th) join the group. The lowest levels of Internet usage are found in sub-Saharan Africa, with less than 3% of the population using the Internet in a number of countries including Chad (2.7%), Sierra Leone (2.5%), Niger (2.2%), Somalia (1.8%) and Eritrea (1.1%).

Broadband Commission Global Targets

Progress towards the Commission’s 2011 targets has been mixed. As regards Target 1: National Broadband Plans, the Commission’s advocacy around the importance of broadband has seen the number of countries with a National Broadband Plan grow from 102 in 2010, when the Commission began its work, to 151 today.

Progress on Target 2: Affordability, has seen the majority of countries now having reached the Commission’s goal of basic fixed broadband costing less than 5% of monthly GNI – including 83 developing countries. However, to date only five of the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries have achieved the target.

Target 3: Connecting Homes to Broadband has seen good progress, with 52% of households globally having a broadband connection. In the developed world, 84% of households are now connected, but progress has also been solid in developing countries, where household access has risen from 38% last year to 41% in 2016, exceeding the target of 40% set by the Commission in 2011.

While the Least Developed Countries are expected to attain Target 4: Getting People Online, with 15% of the population connected by the end of this year, at current growth rates the Commission’s overall global target of 60% of people online is unlikely to be achieved before 2021.

Finally, the gender gap which Target 5: Equality of Access sought to redress has in fact widened slightly, from an Internet user gender gap of 11% in 2015 to 12% in 2016, equating to 257 million more men online than women.

The Broadband Commission comprises more than 50 leaders from across a range of government and industry sectors who are committed to actively assisting countries, UN experts and NGO teams to fully leverage the huge potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to drive new national SDG strategies in key areas like education, healthcare and environmental management.

The State of Broadband 2016 is the sixth edition of the Commission’s broadband connectivity report. Released annually, it is the only report that features country-by-country rankings based on access and affordability for over 160 economies worldwide.

Download a full copy of the report.

Download the key Report Findings.

Download an overview of progress towards the Commissions 5 Broadband Targets.

Download cover photos of the report.

Download a PowerPoint slidedeck summarizing the main report findings.

 

Video: State of Broadband lead author Phillippa Biggs speaks about key issues in this year’s report:

More than half the world is still offline. What’s the main reason – and how can this ‘digital divide’ be bridged?

https://youtu.be/ZVcdQfHA2Ec

Where does the Commission believe broadband can drive significant progress?

https://youtu.be/8imC3mMhcpY

What role will broadband play in creating the ‘smart cities’ of tomorrow?

https://youtu.be/ZxDvyY1Zzd4

The report concludes with many recommendations for policy-makers and world leaders. Which are the most urgent, where are the quick wins?

https://youtu.be/Z6q1Zo9DBQE

If we want to connect the next 1.5 billion people, where should we be focusing?

https://youtu.be/g54Nvq2fnok

Full video playlist:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpoIPNlF8P2PmqPTBfixP5uK3tnwAw5jz

 

Download broadcast-quality audio podcasts of these interview questions.

For more information on the Broadband Commission, visit: www.broadbandcommission.org

Follow the Broadband Commission on Facebook: www.facebook.com/broadbandcommission

Follow the Broadband Commission on Twitter: www.itu.int/twitter

For more information, please contact:

At ITU: Sarah Parkes

Chief, Media Relations and Public Information

Tel : +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail: sarah.parkes(at)itu.int

At UNESCO: George Papagiannis

Chief, Media Relations (a.i.)

Mobile: + 33 6 82 94 89 54
E-mail: g.papagiannis(at)unesco.org

About ITU

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 700 private sector entities and academic institutions. Established over 150 years ago in 1865, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world. www.itu.int

About UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization works to harness the power of knowledge and information, particularly through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), to transform economies, create inclusive knowledge societies, and empower local communities by increasing access to and preservation and sharing of information and knowledge in all of UNESCO’s domains. For UNESCO, such knowledge societies must be built on four pillars: freedom of expression; universal access to information and knowledge; respect for cultural and linguistic diversity; and quality education for all.  See more at: www.unesco.org

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