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3 Sep 2018 - UNESCO partners with the European Union to invest in creativity for development

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Within the framework of its “Investing in Culture and Creativity” Programme, the European Union will partner with UNESCO to support new activities in the areas of cultural heritage and creative industries. The partnership starts with two programme activities: the promotion of Silk Roads Cultural Heritage Corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran; and the creation of new regulatory environments for the cultural and creative industries in developing countries.

The new agreements (5 million euros) signed with the European Union will be implemented as of October 2018 over a three-year period.

The first project is designed within the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage and will integrate the safeguarding of tangible and intangible cultural heritage into development plans, policies and capacity-building programmes along the Silk Roads heritage corridors in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran (3.4 million euros). It will also support sustainable local economic development through tourism-related initiatives by improving communication strategies and promoting the conservation of the routes’ natural and cultural heritage such as the caravanserais, the traditional roadside inns for travellers along the Silk Roads. One of the outcomes of the project will be a joint exhibit to promote the common heritage of the Silk Roads.

The second project will support the design and implementation of regulatory frameworks for cultural and creative industries in developing countries (1.5 million euros). Areas of intervention will be determined by countries themselves, through an “on‐demand” open‐ended call for technical assistance. Up to ten developing countries that have ratified the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will benefit from the programme.

Technical assistance will be provided through the renewed EU-UNESCO Expert Facility and local experts, supporting long-term cultural policy formulation, development and implementation in the creative sectors (film, television and radio, music, publishing, visual arts, digital arts, etc..). . Partnerships and peer-to-peer learning opportunities between Global South countries facing similar policy challenges will be developed to enhance policy advice and exchange of best practices at bilateral or regional level.

Ahead of UNESCO’s first Partners Forum (11 and 12 September 2018), Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission, said:  “Our partnership with UNESCO and the new agreements reflect the EU’s strategic focus on culture and heritage. We have outlined principles for cultural cooperation in the European Consensus on Development. Our aim is to highlight the importance of culture and heritage, for the world, for life, for people, also to create conditions for sustainable jobs and growth. #noculturenofuture! #pasdefutursansculture!”.

Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, echoed these sentiments, declaring “UNESCO is extremely pleased with its longstanding strategic partnership with the European Union, an active Party to the 2005 Convention. With these new initiatives, we will continue our efforts to build on the power of culture for sustainable development. We have seen that culture is not only a driver of economic growth, but also of social transformation, empowering women and youth in particular. Realizing the full potential of sustainable tourism and creative industries will require stronger cultural governance and better policies. That is what UNESCO and the EU are striving for with this partnership.”

Stefano Manservisi will be at UNESCO Headquarters on 11 September to discuss new avenues for UNESCO and EU cooperation on the occasion of UNESCO’s Partners Forum.


27 August 2018 - UNESCO & UNICEF Support Ministry of Education in Inclusion of Students with Special Needs

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The Ministry of Education of Iran with support of UNESCO, UNICEF and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO launched a three-day workshop today in Tehran on inclusive approaches to education of students with special needs.

The workshop, which will run from 27 - 29 August 2018, aims to strengthen the capacities of teachers to recognize special needs of students, gain more knowledge and expertise in designing educational environments and classroom activities that can help children with special needs flourish, and support parents of children with special needs. More than 40 primary school teachers of regular and special schools from various provinces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are participating.

The collaborative nature of the workshop engages teacher participants in creative and participatory activities and allows them to discuss their challenges and take an active role in the design of their specific educational interventions based on the context of their school and their community. 

In her opening remarks, Dr. Maryam Soltanzadeh, UNESCO Programme Officer for Education pointed out that “inclusion should take place in schools and classrooms where teaching and learning occurs. Hence, there is a need to work with individual teachers, who are the real actors of inclusive practices, in order to effectively respond to the circumstances and needs of all learners”. She then briefed the audience on Iran’s progress in providing education opportunities for all and the main challenges in dealing with developmental disorders.

Dr. Gholamreza Karimi, Head of the Centre for International Affairs and Schools Abroad of the Ministry of Education, emphasized the importance of learning from international experiences and best practices, and expressed the hope that this workshop would serve as a pilot for future events. 

Dr. Will Parks, UNICEF Representative to Iran, commended the fact that inclusive education is established as a key priority in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Fundamental Reform Document of Education, and said: “I cannot emphasize more the potential of children with special needs to contribute to their societies and develop into productive and participatory adults. And the key to unlocking that potential is inclusive education. Inclusive Education means real learning opportunities within the regular school system for children who have traditionally been excluded, such as children with disability”.

Dr. Rezvan Hakimzadeh, Deputy Minister for Primary Education, pointed out that: “just moving students from special schools to regular schools will not remove their problems. We need to first make sure that the physical, social, and academic environment of schools is adjusted to accommodate the special needs of these students. Otherwise their mixing with other students will only lead to their frustration and will be counterproductive”.  

Acknowledging the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the area of Inclusive Education, Dr. Hojatollah Ayoubi, Secretary-General of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, highlighted the importance of showcasing these efforts to the international community. “The exchange of knowledge and innovations globally is a better contributor to development than wealth”, he said.

In the Asia and Pacific region, despite remarkable progress over the past decade, approximately 29 percent of children of primary school age, and 53 percent of lower secondary-age adolescents, are out of school. Most of these out-of-school children are children with special needs, children with disabilities, children living in extreme poverty, children in conflicts and post disasters, children from ethnolinguistic minorities, and girls.

UNESCO’s mandate to promote and support inclusive education has been set explicitly within the 1994 Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education. Since then, the organization has been actively supporting Member States in the development of inclusive education strategies.


12 August 2018 - Celebration of International Youth Day in Iran Highlights Role of Youth at All Levels of Policy-Making

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The Iranian Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with UNESCO, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, UNICEF and UNFPA, organized an event in Tehran to celebrate International Youth Day 2018.

The celebration highlighted the importance of “Safe Spaces for Youth” as the theme of the year to promote mutual respect and constructive dialogue in the country.  

Safe Spaces can be defined as platforms where youth can come together, freely express themselves, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests and participate in decision-making processes. Available and accessible physical or virtual spaces can help youth feel valued and advance their cognitive, emotional and social skills as they transition into adulthood.

The event took at Enghelab Sport Complex and created a platform for dialogue among representatives of UN Agencies, government officials, and youth representatives.

The youth representatives shared their opinions on issues such as youth participation in entrepreneurship, tourism, and the promotion of peace, and made suggestions on how UN agencies and government entities could better support them in their efforts.

At the beginning of the event, Ms. Maryam Soltanzadeh, Programme Officer for Education at the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office highlighted the fact that youth are not just beneficiaries of the UNESCO’s work, but essential actors in finding solutions to the issues faced by young people in the world today. “UNESCO is working with youth from countries across the world to provide better opportunities for education, employment, and social and economic participation” she said.  

UNICEF Representative, Dr. Will Parks, quoted Nelson Mandela, and said: “If you want to build a successful and peaceful country, you should invest in children and young people first”. He underscored the great global challenges of our time including climate change, and extensive migration and forced displacement around the world, and stressed the need for empowering children, adolescents and youth with appropriate skills and knowledge to tackle these challenges.

UNFPA Representative, Dr. Leila Joudane, also reiterated a need for empowering young people to participate in policy dialogue and to become ambassadors of peace. 

On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. The theme selected for International Youth Day 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth in order to promote youth engagement and empowerment by exploring the role of safe spaces in contributing to mutual respect and constructive dialogue.


2 August 2018 - UNESCO Assists Iran in Restoration of Two Historical Sites in Kermanshah Affected by 2017 Earthquake

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UNESCO conducted a four-day mission (29 July -2 August) to Kermanshah Province to provide technical assistance to the Iranian Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) for the rehabilitation of historical sites that have been damaged during the devastating earthquake in Kermanshah Province, in November 2017.

The mission headed by Mr. Stefano De Vito, an expert in post-earthquake stabilization and consolidation, focused mainly on the rehabilitation of Moavenalmolk Takie Complex and Biglorbeghi Takie Complex located in the historical part of Kermanshah city.

“A great number of cracks, some of considerable width, are visible at the intrados of the dome of Moavenalmolk Takie Complex. They all are oriented in radial direction, almost regularly spaced”, said Mr. De Vito during his initial mission, funded by the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF).  “This kind of structural decay is quite common in such typology of domes, and its most dangerous effect is the progressive reduction of the dome's capacity to resist traction tensions along the horizontal directions”, he added.  “This first look at the current state of the fractures showed that the situation is serious, especially in light of potential new earthquakes”, the UNESCO expert warned.

In December 2017, UNESCO undertook a preliminary mission for post-earthquake damage assessment on heritage sites throughout Kermanshah province, which was also funded by the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund. Following that mission, ICHHTO prioritized the stabilization and restoration of Moavenalmolk Takie Complex and Biglorbeghi Takie Complex.

UNESCO will be providing technical assistance to ICHHTO over the coming months through a number of expert missions to support local experts in the rehabilitation of these two sites, which are of particular importance to the local communities, as they are used for mourning ceremonies marking the martyrdom of Imam Hossein during Ashura.  

To learn more about activities funded by the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund, please see: http://www.unesco.org/donate/hef/


20 June 2018 - UNESCO Calls for Stronger Actions to Prevent Marine Plastic Pollution

Tehran, 20 June 2018: UNESCO attended a commemoration ceremony on the occasion of World Oceans Day 2018 in Tehran and called for stronger actions to prevent marine plastic pollution and encourage solutions for healthy oceans.

The event that was organized by the Iranian National Commission for Oceanography, and the National Institute of Oceanography and Atmospheric Science of Iran, brought together a number of environmental and marine experts, as well as decision-makers on critical marine environment issues, including plastic pollution.

Ms. Esther Kuisch-Laroche, the Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, underscored in her statement to the event that plastic debris has become a major source of pollutant, which has been detected in all major marine habitats. “The main focus of World Oceans Day is to raise awareness to what is happening to our precious oceans due to unsustainable, and quite often, poor waste management practices”. She added: “Finding solutions to protect and sustainably manage our oceans requires global collaboration.” 

According to a UN-Environment Report, plastic pollution is causing tremendous harm to our marine resources. An estimated 80 % of all pollution in the ocean comes from people on land, and 8 million tons of plastic per year ends up in the ocean, wreaking havoc on wildlife, fisheries and tourism. Moreover, plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year, and causes $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year.

World Oceans Day has been celebrated unofficially since its original proposal in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was officially established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 to be celebrated worldwide on 8 June annually to resolve the ocean issues and save ocean water.


21 May 2018 - UNESCO and International Council of Museums commemorate International Day of Museums in Iran

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Tehran, 21 May 2018: UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in collaboration with the Iranian Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) commemorated the International Day of Museums 2018 today in a joint ceremony at the Iranian Artist’s Forum.

Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, the Director and Representative of UNESCO Tehran Office in her statement to the event underscored the importance of the International Museum Day by saying: "Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples." 

The International Museum Day is celebrated this year under the theme of "Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics”.

Elsewhere in her statement, the UNESCO Representative expressed that it is impossible to understand the role of museums without taking into account all the connections they make. “They are an inherent part of their local communities, their cultural landscape and their natural environment”, she said.

In November 2015, UNESCO Member States adopted the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the ‘Protection and Promotion of Museums, their Diversity and their Role in Society’; a set of global guidelines for the protection and promotion of museums and collections in a new era of enormous social, economic and technological change.

Yet, UNESCO’s commitment to museums is hardly new. Starting in the 1960s, UNESCO led the way in reimagining the role of museums, engaging in pioneering projects, such as the ‘Imaginary Museum’, to increase access to art through the reproduction of the world’s most famous paintings.

In recent years, UNESCO has intervened to protect and restore collections in post-conflict and natural disaster situations, to save the irreplaceable symbols of humanity’s cultural identities.

In Iran, UNESCO supports ICOM and the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization in strengthening museum management and fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property.


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