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12 Dec 2018 - UNESCO organized the 8th Asian G-WADI meeting and 2nd International Drought Initiative (IDI) expert group meeting

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UNESCO in collaboration with the Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) under auspices of UNESCO, Khorasan Razavi Regional Water Authority and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad organized the 8th Asian G-WADI meeting and 2nd International Drought Initiative (IDI) expert group meeting in Mashhad from 10 to 12 December 2018.

Over 25 experts from the Asian G-WADI network and the International Drought Initiative (IDI) shared their knowledge and experience in adaptation to water scarcity and new advances in drought management. The three-day event brought together around 100 participants from Iran as well as other countries of the world such as Afghanistan, China, France, India, Mongolia, Oman, Thailand, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Representatives from international organizations active in the field of drought management such as the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) were also present in the meeting.  

The meeting was opened by Dr. Mohammad Kafi, the dean of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and Mr. Mohammad Alaee, the Director of Khorasan Razavi Regional Water Authority followed by a welcome message by Mr. Alexander Leicht, the Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office. 

Dr. Kafi stressed the importance of collaboration between all scientific organizations to develop new approaches in adaptation to water scarcity in arid areas. The importance of collaborative approaches to achieve the adaptation plans objectives also emphasized by Mr. Alaee.

“Freshwater is an important resource for human health. According to the latest research, the global demand for water has been increasing at a rate of about 1% per year as a function of economic growth and changing consumption patterns, among other factors. The demand will continue to grow significantly over the next two decades, and so will the associated challenges.  It is therefore indeed timely to share our experiences in water management in countries which are facing particular challenges and to jointly explore solutions to water scarcity.” stated by Mr. Alexander Leicht during his remarks. He thanked the Ministry of Energy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO for their continued support and for the excellent cooperation between Iran and UNESCO in the various domains of natural sciences.

The objectives of the three-day event were to increase regional cooperation for adaptation to water scarcity in arid and semi-arid zones as well as developing synergies between active programmes in the field of drought management.

The Asian G-WADI Network was established as far back as March 2005 by representatives from Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to respond to the urgent need for regional co-operation for the sustainable development of arid and semi-arid zones.

The International Drought Initiative (IDI) was approved at the 19th session of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP_ Intergovernmental Council in July 2010, in Paris, upon a proposal from Iran. The Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) in Tehran hosts the Secretariat of the Initiative. The Initiative provides a platform for networking and the dissemination of knowledge and information among stakeholders that are working to address droughts.

For more information about UNESCO IDI please see: https://en.unesco.org/themes/water-security/hydrology/programmes/droughts


28 Nov 2018 - UNESCO and UNICEF co-organize a 4-day Training Workshop on Educational Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction

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UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, UNICEF Iran, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO (NatCom), and the Ministry of Education (MoE) have partnered together to organize the training workshop on Educational Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) from 26 to 29 November 2018 at Bashgah-e-Farhangian in Tehran.

The training builds on the Government of Iran’s efforts to improve its response capacity to natural disasters. More concretely, the workshop will feature practical and participatory sessions on analysing risk of natural disasters in the education sector and development of programmes to reduce risks; costing and financing of these programmes; and identification of relevant indicators in order to monitor progress towards the objectives.

At the opening ceremony, Dr. Maryam Soltanzadeh, Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office outlined the workshop’s main objective to serve as a platform for sharing experiences and learning from successful practices of other countries. “the dialogue between provincial and Central actors with regards to past experiences could create an opportunity for new collaborations, development of effective programmes at local level, and mutual understanding of complexities and challenges of work in the provinces as well as in the central ministry” highlighted, Dr. Soltanzadeh.

Dr. Hojatollah Ayoubi, Secretary-General of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, likewise underlined the importance of dissemination of updated information and good practices. NatCom Secretary-General mentioned that UNESCO is well-known as a non-politicized intellectual organization with purely educational, scientific and cultural mandates.

Dr. Will Parks, UNICEF Representative briefed the audience on UNICEF’s work to deliver uninterrupted learning for every child affected by crises. “We work to provide learning spaces that are safe, available, suitable for children and equipped with water and sanitation facilities. We work to make sure that while in school, children can learn, despite their circumstances. We provide teachers with training and learning materials. We help children develop skills to deal with disaster as well as reduce risk exposure.  We work with teachers, parents and the community to assure that children get the care and love they need in these circumstances. We work with governments to include disaster risk reduction programmes in their planning.” highlighted Dr. Parks.  

Dr. Hamidi, deputy of Physical Education and Health Affairs of the Ministry of Education expressed hope that the workshop participants would pass along what they learn to their colleagues, and quoted Dr. Ayoubi on the importance of generosity with dissemination of knowledge. Dr. Jafari, the Research and Education Deputy of Natural Disasters Research Institute of Iran stressed on the importance of education not only as a preventing factor, but also as contributor to the response mechanism and reduction of recovery time at the time of disaster.

The event brings together about forty officials from the Ministry of education in Tehran and nine provinces on Iran that are most at risk of earthquake, flood, and sandstorms. Two experts from the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) will facilitate the sessions with the assistance of national facilitators.

In addition, the third day of the programme will involve a visit to a retrofitted school in Karaj to attend the 20th National Community-led and Community-driven Earthquake and Safety Drill. The initiative aims to strengthen disaster risk reduction awareness and preparedness. Since 2015, the drill is performed at the community level, mobilizing citizens living in the vicinity of schools to join the drill. In this process, schools transform into local crisis management centres when disaster strikes. The initiative is conducted annually by , IIEES-the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (more information here) and supported by UNESCO. IIEES was established in 1989 following the recommendation of the 24th UNESCO General Conference and has played an effective role in strengthening formal and informal education on disaster risk reduction in Iran and the region.  


26 October 2018 - UNESCO Concludes Two-Day Capacity Building Workshop on Innovative Use of ICT for Persons with Disabilities

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The UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, in cooperation with the Raad Charity Complex, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, the University of Applied Science and Technology and the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology organized a two-day capacity building workshop on the “Innovative Use of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities with a focus on Open Educational Resources (OER)” in Tehran on 24-25 October 2018.

The two-day workshop took place in Ra’ad Charity Complex and brought together 40 participants from different governmental organizations including Ministry of Education, Special Education Organization, State welfare Organization and NGOs working in the field of persons with disabilities.

The meeting was opened by Mr Ahmad Mirzakhani, Chair of the managing board and the member of the Board of Trustees of Ra’ad Charity, Dr Maryam Soltanzadeh, Officer in Charge of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, Dr Farhad Etemadi, Head of Communication and Information Department of Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Shahriar Farahmand, Head of the provisional branch (West), the University  of Applied Science and Technology and Mr Mahmoudi, Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.  The importance of ensuring accessible lifelong learning opportunities for persons with disabilities was highlighted in the opening interventions.

The objective of the workshop was to familiarize participants with the concept of open educational  resources (OER) and the potential benefits of OER supporting ICT in education with a focus on accessibility for persons with disabilities.

The workshop was facilitated by Ms Zeynep Varoglu, Programme Specialist for ICT in Education, UNESCO Communication and Information Sector in Paris, Ms Naeema Zarif, Consultant and expert in the field of OER and Prof. Dr.  Alireza Darvishy, Head of ICT Accessibility Lab, Zurich University for applied sciences.

During the workshop, issues such as UNESCO’s mandate in the area of OER and its working definition, digital accessibility, open licensing, accessibility issues related to ensuring accessibility for persons with disabilities, UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (CFT) and the ICT CFT Harnessing OER project were extensively discussed. On the second day participants engaged in interactive working sessions on OER. The meeting concluded by identifying two recommendation; OER development in institutions with a focus on accessibility, and training of instructors / teachers in the use of OER in support of ICT for Education.


شهریور 97 - مشارکت یونسکو و اتحادیه اروپا برای ارتقاء میراث فرهنگی جاده ابریشم در ایران

تهران، 27 شهریور 1397: اتحادیه اروپا با همکاری یونسکو و در چارچوب برنامه "سرمایه گذاری در فرهنگ و خلاقیت" از فعالیت های جدید در حوزه میراث فرهنگی و صنایع خلاق که موجب ارتقاء میراث فرهنگی جاده ابریشم در ایران، افغانستان و آسیای میانه شود، حمایت می کند.   

قراداد مشارکت یاد شده که به ازرش 5 میلیون دلار میان اتحادیه اروپا و یونسکو به امضا رسیده است از اکتبر 2018 (مهرماه 1397) به مدت سه سال وارد فاز اجرایی خواهد شد.  

به گزارش روابط عمومی دفتر منطقه ای یونسکو در تهران، این برنامه شامل پروژه ای در چهارچوب "سال اروپایی میراث فرهنگی" است، که برگیرنده ی اقداماتی همچون ادغام پاسداری از میراث فرهنگی ملموس و ناملموس در برنامه های توسعه و سیاست گذاری ها و برنامه های ظرفیت سازی همگام با برنامه میراث مسیر های جاده ابریشم در افغانستان، آسیای میانه و ایران به ارزش 3.4 میلیون یورو خواهد بود.

برنامه مذکور همچنین از طریق ابتکارات مرتبط به گردشگری به توسعه پایدار اقتصادی کمک می کند. بهبود راهبرد های ارتباطی و ترویج حفاظت از مسیر های طبیعی و فرهنگی جاده ابریشم که شامل کاروانسرا ها و مسافرخانه های سنتی کنار این جاده  می شود از جمله راهکارهای در نظر گرفته شده در این پروژه است.

یکی از دستاورد های این پروژه برپایی یک نمایشگاه گروهی در راستای  ارتقا میراث فرهنگی مشترک در جاده ابریشم است.

 کمک های فنی از طریق تجدید  مشارکت اتحادیه اروپا و یونسکو در ارائه خدمات تخصصی و استفاده از متخصصین محلی ، حمایت از تدوین سیاستهای فرهنگی دراز مدت، و فعالیت های توسعه و اجرا در حوزه های خلاق (فیلم، تلویزیون و رادیو، موسیقی، نشر، هنرهای تجسمی، هنرهای دیجیتال، و غیره) ارائه خواهد شد.

فرصتهای مشارکت و یادگیری از یکدیگر میان کشور های جنوب که با مشکلات مشابهی در حوزه سیاست گذاری روبرو هستند ایجاد خواهد شد تا از این طریق زمینه های ارتقاء مشاوره های سیاستی و تبادل بهترین تجارب به صورت دو جانبه در منطقه فراهم گردد.

پیش از برگزاری نخستین مجمع شرکای یونسکو در 11 و 12 سپتامبر سال 2018 ، استفانو مانسرویسی، مدیر کل کمیسیون اروپایی همکاری‌ها و توسعه بین المللی  گفت: " مشارکت ما با یونسکو و قراردادهای جدید میان ما منعکس کننده تمرکز اتحادیه اروپا بر فرهنگ و میراث جهانی است".

وی افزود، ما دستورالعمل های همکاری های فرهنگی را درچارچوب عمل "اجماع اروپا بر توسعه" مشخص کرده ایم. هدف ما پررنگ ساختن اهمیت فرهنگ و میراث، برای جهان، برای زندگی و برای مردم است. ما همچنین در پی ایجاد بستر های لازم برای ایجاد مشاغل پایدار و رشد هستیم.

وی تصریح کرد، با این ابتکار جدید ما به تلاش های سازنده خود برای  استفاده از نیروی فرهنگ برای توسعه پایدار ادامه خواهیم داد. ما از نزدیک دیده ایم که فرهنگ نه تنها پیشبرنده توسعه اقتصادی است، بلکه  به تحولات اجتماعی به ویژه توانمدسازی زنان و جوانان نیز کمک می کند.

این مقام یونسکو اظهار داشت، تحقق کامل پتانسیل های گردشگری پایدار و صنایع خلاق نیازمند حکمرانی قویتر فرهنگی و سیاست های  بهتر است. این همان هدفی است که یونسکو و اتحادیه اروپا در مشارکت با یکدیگر دنبال می کنند.


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.

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