Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

The new issue of A World of Science

The January-March 2008 edition of UNESCO's A World of Science has just been published.

The contents include:
  • Arctic sea ice a record low
  • Ocean observing flotilla hits 3000 mark
  • Report confirms science still dominated by men
  • Children follow in gorilla’s footsteps
  • 23 new biosphere reserves in countdown to Congress
  • Water institute to train 2100 iranians
  • Environment prized at Forum
There is also an editorial by Walter Erdelen, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Editorial: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) "has a problem". It is being asked to take on more and more responsibilities, and in fact had a cut in its budget during the last biennium. The recent General Conference of UNESCO ordered the creation of a Working Group on the Future of the IOC. The United States was elected one of the ten members of the Working Group. The Working Group will meet on 19 and 20 February 2008 in UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

A questionnaire has been circulated asking UNESCO's member states to provide information on their views on the IOC and the priorities for it for the future. The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO is holding a phone conference on January 7th seeking advice on the U.S. response to the questionnaire.

I think most Americans don't recognize how important the oceans are to our civilization, nor how important is the role of the IOC in coordinating international scientific efforts to understand the oceans. We go to the beaches. Once and a while a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina or the Banda Ache Tsunami gains our attention. Americans fail to recognize the environmental challenges posed by loss of fisheries, degradation of coastal zones, or loss of tropical reefs. The energy crisis has directed attention to off shore drilling.

Since most of the earths surface is ocean, the oceans have huge influence on the weather of our continent, and of all the continents. We will not understand climate change unless we understand the absorption of greenhouse gases by the oceans, and the interaction of the atmosphere and the oceans. Similarly, climate change is expected to have important implications for the oceans, including sea level rise, changes and increases in serious storms, and changes in ocean environments and thus biodiversity. These will in turn have important impacts on the large portion of the world's human population that lives close to the oceans.

If one has any doubt about the economic and security importance of the ocean, just look at the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas. The Convention was the result of a decade of negotiations, and has not been ratified by the United States in the 25 years since it was signed. The Bush administration is now asking for Congressional ratification of the treaty.

Mapping and studying oceans involves obtaining data on ocean systems that do not respect national borders. UNESCO and the IOC can legitimate research voyages and other data gathering techniques, making them acceptable to the nations whose waters are studied. UNESCO and the IOC can legitimate the findings of such research, demonstrating that they do not favor one or another party to a dispute among nations.

If there were not an IOC, the world would have to create one. Fortunately, not only is the an IOC, but it has celebrated its 50th anniversary, and is well established as a legitimate intergovernmental scientific institution.

The response to the questionnaire on the future of the IOC requires detailed knowledge beyond that which I possess. Having said that, it is important that the public gives its views on the broader issues involved in the IOC's operation and the solution of the IOC's problems. I suggest that:

  • There is increasing need for scientific understanding of the oceans and the ocean-land and ocean-atmosphere interfaces. The century of climate change faced by the world requires that such information be developed, but so does increasing degradation of ocean environments, increasing anthropogenic pressure on coastal and ocean environments and resources, and increasing need for resources from the oceans.
  • The issues of international ocean policy depend greatly on ocean science, but have broader economic and political aspects; scientific advice is necessary but not sufficient for defining U.S. policy toward UNESCO and the IOC.
  • It is very important not only that the United States' government coordinates with all stakeholders in U.S. ocean policy in formulating its positions on the IOC.
  • ..S/ policy toward the UNESCO's oceanographic activities and the IOC includes concerns for the ocean resources in our own coastal zones, the weather and ocean systems that directly affect our country, and our ocean commerce and shipping.
  • However, the United States as the world's richest and most powerful country has a responsibility to lead in assuring that oceanographic information is developed and made available to all nations, and that the legitimate interests of other nations in ocean science are respected and addressed by UNESCO and the IOC.
  • While there needs to be greater support for IOC programs and activities as they are extended to meet more and more pressing demands, that support should not be achieved by cuts in other critical UNESCO services in education, communications, peace, culture or indeed in other science programs. Thus, UNESCO's budget should grow in the future, given that it has continued success in increasing the efficiency with which it uses resources.
  • I strongly support the IOC and UNESCO's involvement in intergovernmental ocean science, and strongly urge the State Department to be forthcoming in the negotiations about the future of the IOC.
The opinions expressed above are mine and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO or any other group.

John Daly

Thursday, December 20, 2007

UNESCO and HP Sign Strategic Partnership Agreement

UNESCO and Hewlett-Packard (HP) signed a strategic partnership agreement on 19 December to strengthen their collaboration around existing education projects. The signing ceremony, held at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, was attended by Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General and Gabriele Zedlmayer, vice president, Global Citizenship HP Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Through the partnership, UNESCO and HP will work together on several projects in the area of education, especially to support UNESCO’s priority of “Education for All". This includes an evaluation on the extension of the existing brain drain project to additional regions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. UNESCO and HP started to collaborate five years ago in South East Europe to help key universities connect to global research networks. In 2006 the project was extended to Africa. The project fights brain drain by providing universities with an advanced technology called grid computing, which allows top quality researchers to play a key role in international research and contribute to economic development in their home countries.

Another project is the World Heritage Map, which enables the general public to visualize the spread of World Heritage sites around the globe, and raises the awareness of the World Heritage Convention. The map is above all an educational tool, allowing UNESCO to communicate its work in this field on a large scale.

In addition HP has provided a financial contribution to UNESCO for the “Printing and distribution of the Man and the Biosphere Map”. The Man and the Biosphere Map will be fully prepared and edited by the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences of UNESCO, which will provide the full lay-out to HP for printing and distribution.

The Computer recycling training guide is also the fruit of UNESCO and HP cooperation: it aims to support local stakeholders, in developing countries in particular, to manage electronic waste. The goal is to support local actors, especially those with a background in managing used computer equipment, and to create environmentally clean and healthy business opportunities. HP is the only technology partner in the project, which also includes the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie - ADEME), EMMAUS, the international movement of solidarity, and TIC ETHIC, Information and Communication Technologies in the service of ethics and sustainable development.

Forging innovations: Community Multimedia Centres in Nepal

Forging innovations: Community Multimedia Centers in Nepal

This collection of case studies on the Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) in Nepal is intended to showcase the interesting and diverse growth of this initiative in spite of conflict and the lack of community radio regulation in the country.

The publication introduces the CMCs and outlines the benefits and challenges that the centers have faced since they were established. Each CMC is discussed in four parts: location and context, organizational structure, programs and sustainability. The case studies show how local communities access and utilise newly available ICT tools in different ways.

In 2003 UNESCO supported the creation of Nepal's first pilot CMC in Tansen, Palpa. Since then, the Organisation has assisted in the creation of two additional CMCs in Nepal, one in Madanphokhara (Palpa District) and another in Lumbini (Rupandehi District). The three CMCs are now networked to five telecentres throughout Rupandehi and Palpa Districts.

The CMC media mix in Nepal consists of FM broadcasting services, cable TV network, design and desktop publishing software applications, audio and video editing, and public access points for Internet, telephone, fax, photocopiers and scanners.

In an effort to understand the social impact of CMCs the authors, Karma Tshering and Kirsty Martin, carried out field visits to the centers. They interviewed managers, staff, local researchers, community reporters, volunteers and community people. Unobtrusive observations of the centres were conducted to gain a sense of the normal daily activities.

By examining three centers concurrently, common themes emerged in the overall functionality of CMCs in Nepal. This study identifies some key issues which can assist CMCs towards their goal of providing ICT access to poor and marginalised communities in regional Nepal

Monday, December 17, 2007

Athelstan Spilhaus: First U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO

The new highlight on the website of Americans for UNESCO begins a series on the pioneers in the creation of the organization and on the establishment of linkages between the United States and UNESCO.

The first person to be profiled is Athelstan Spilhaus, a distinguished scientist, inventor, educator, and popularizer of science who was the first U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO and who served on its Executive Board. Late in his life, when he accurately described himself as a "retired genius", he established a world class collection of more than 3,000 mechanical toys.


The Bureau of Public Information of UNESCO publishes a series of memos, called Memobpi. Here are links to a few of them:

A commitment to peace implies a way of resolving conflicts, not according to the force of might, but by respecting internationally accepted norms, the rule of law and negotiation, with the aim of achieving a fullness of life for each and every one. By its Constitution, UNESCO is called upon to “build the defenses of peace in the minds of men.”
Science and Technology for Development
The overall focus of science, engineering and technology program activity at UNESCO is on human and institutional capacity building

Virtual Conferencing
Planning a virtual conference is rather like planning a journey: before traveling you need to make choices about when and how to travel (by plane, car, train …) based on available time, funds, weight of luggage, etc. Likewise, when planning a virtual meeting, you need to maketheproperchoices…

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Review of UNESCO’s Capacity-Building Function

A review was completed last February or UNESCO’s experience in capacity building and of the international research on capacity building to answer the following questions:
  1. What have UNESCO and others learned about the most effective approaches to capacity building?
  2. What should UNESCO’s role in capacity building be (given UN reforms that emphasize country-led, comprehensive development strategies and collaboration among donor agencies)?
  3. What needs to change within UNESCO in order to do a better job of capacity building?
The purpose of this review was to inform UNESCO's senior management about good practices in capacity-building and to enable UNESCO's Secretariat to improve their capacity-building interventions.

A key finding of the review was:
Most UNESCO staff members interviewed recognize that capacity building needs to get beyond conventional inputs, such as training and technical assistance, in order to bring about sustainable change within institutions. However, much of the Organization’s programming begins and ends there.

Mondialogo Engineering Award Symposium

Mondialogo, a partnership between UNESCO and DaimlerChrysler, works to bring young people together to foster meaningful dialogue and exchange between cultures and civilizations. One major pillar is the Mondialogo Engineering Award, of which two rounds have been held so far.

Participants are young engineers and engineering students from developing and developed countries who have cooperated in mixed teams to develop project proposals which can contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those of poverty eradication and sustainable development, in developing countries.

In June 2007, for the second time, an international jury of prominent scientists selected the top thirty-one nominees, out of 92 participating teams. Ten of these top teams will receive cash prizes of €20,000 each for the initiation of their projects, and twenty of whom will receive honourable mention and €5,000 each in prize money.

The prizes were awarded during the Mondialogo Engineering Award Ceremony & Symposium which will take place in Mumbai, India from 7-10 December 2007.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Global Change in Mountain Regions

©T. Schaaf, Yosemite Nat. Park, USA

Global Change in Mountain Regions (GLOCHAMORE): A world-wide network to study global change processes in mountains has been in operation since October 2003. It is based on some 25 mountain biosphere reserves in all continents that serve as monitoring and study sites. A research strategy has been worked out to:

* detect signals of global change
* identify the consequences
* suggest responses at local and regional scales

Among the more than 100 scientists and bioreserve managers are a number of Americans:
  • Baron, Jill. Dr., Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University
  • Bowman, William. Dr., University of Colorado INSTAAR
  • Bradley, Raymond S. Prof., Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts
  • Fagre, Daniel B. Dr., Ecologist/Global Change Research Coordinator, USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
  • Graumlich, Lisa. Prof., Big Sky Institute
  • Hansen, Andrew J. Prof. Dr., Montana State University - Bozeman, Department of Ecology
  • Hardy, Douglas. Dr., Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts
  • Kang, Sinkyu. Dr., Numerical Terradynamics Simulation Group, School of Forestry University of Montana
  • Malanson, George P. Dr., Department of Geography, University of Iowa
  • Millar, Constance I. Dr., PSW Research Station, Albany
  • Nechodom, Mark. Dr., Sierra Nevada Research Center - Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Porter, Charles. Dr., Director of Patagonia Research Foundation, Maine
  • Taylor, John. Dr. Head, Argonne Regional Climate Center, Illinois
Editor's note: The song you are trying to remember is "How are things in Glocca Mora" from the musical Finnian's Rainbow. I remember because Harry Stockwell, who I knew as a child, was in the road company. JAD.

UNESCO at GK3 in Kuala Lumpur: Towards building knowledge societies

The Global Knowledge Partnership's GK3 is a unique gathering of 2,000 global visionaries, innovators, practitioners and policy makers, all geared to sharing knowledge and building partnerships on a platform created by and for stakeholders from every sector - private companies, governments, international institutions and civil society groups.

UNESCO is participating
actively in the Third Global Knowledge Conference (GK3) from 11 to 13 December 2007 and in its parallel events and exhibits. UNESCO has set up an onsite Community Multimedia Centre (CMC) and an exhibition promoting the concept of CMC in building knowledge societies at the Kuala Lumpur Conventional Center.

Here are a couple of videos from GK3:

Robotics program from the Omar Dengo Foundation in Costa Rica

i4d film festival: Viirtual village

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Office of Director General of UNESCO

Luther H. Evans
The only U.S. citizen to be
elected Director General

The Director General is the chief executive officer of UNESCO. The DG's term of office is four years (previously six years), and the Director General is elected by the General Conference. The current Director General, Koïchiro Matsuura, has been in office since 1999. He was reelected to that post by the 33rd General Conference of UNESCO in 2005. Thus there is some speculation as the election of his successor in 2009.

There have been nine Directors General since UNESCO was founded in 1946:
  • Koïchiro Matsuura from Asia
  • Four from Europe: Federico Mayor (1987 - 1999), René Maheu (1962 - 1974; acting 1959, 1961-1962), Vittorino Veronese (1958 - 1961), and Julian Huxley (1946 - 1948)
  • Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow from Africa
  • Three from North America: Luther Evans (1953 - 1958). John W. Taylor (Acting DG 1952 - 1953), and Jaime Torres Bodet (1948 - 1952)
The position of Director General of UNESCO is an important one within the system of intergovernmental organizations. Therefore the election of a new Director General is the subject not only of electioneering by individual candidates, but also diplomatic negotiations among member nations.

There is an informal understanding that the post should rotate among the (193) member nations of UNESCO, and indeed among continents and groups of nations. Moreover, there are informal understandings about the need to distribute leadership of UN family organizations among nations. (The situation is somewhat different in international financial institutions, programs of the United Nations such as the UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA, and organizations with their own general assemblies such as UNESCO, WHO, and FAO.)

The Islamic nations, which form a large cultural block with significant voting power in United Nations bodies, may see their opportunity in the next General Conference to elect one of their citizens to the post of Director General. You can be sure that State Department diplomats are already debating possible candidates and consulting with their counterparts in other delegations to UNESCO.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Two Foreign Policy Experts Recommend Smart Power

Reference: "Stop Getting Mad, America. Get Smart." By Richard L. Armitage and Joseph S. Nye Jr., The Washington Post Sunday Outlook, December 9, 2007.

Richard L. Armitage was deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2005. Joseph S. Nye Jr., a former assistant secretary of defense, teaches political science at Harvard. They co-chaired the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Commission on Smart Power.

They write:
The world is dissatisfied with American leadership. Shocked and frightened after 9/11, we put forward an angry face to the globe, not one that reflected the more traditional American values of hope and optimism, tolerance and opportunity. This fearful approach has hurt the United States' ability to bring allies to its cause, but it is not too late to change. The nation should embrace a smarter strategy that blends our "hard" and "soft" power -- our ability to attract and persuade, as well as our ability to use economic and military might......the United States needs a broader, more balanced approach (than it has been employing).....

when our words do not match our actions, we demean our character and moral standing. We cannot lecture others about democracy while we back dictators. We cannot denounce torture and waterboarding in other countries and condone it at home. We cannot allow Cuba's Guantanamo Bay or Iraq's Abu Ghraib to become the symbols of American power.......

In a changing world, the United States should become a smarter power by once again investing in the global good -- by providing things that people and governments want but cannot attain without U.S. leadership. By complementing U.S. military and economic strength with greater investments in soft power, Washington can build the framework to tackle tough global challenges. We call this smart power.

Smart power is not about getting the world to like us. It is about developing a strategy that balances our hard (coercive) power with our soft (attractive) power. During the Cold War, the United States deterred Soviet aggression through investments in hard power. But as Gates noted late last month, U.S. leaders also realized that "the nature of the conflict required us to develop key capabilities and institutions -- many of them non-military." So the United States used its soft power to rebuild Europe and Japan and to establish the norms and institutions that became the core of the international order for the past half-century. The Cold War ended under a barrage of hammers on the Berlin Wall rather than a barrage of artillery across the Fulda Gap precisely because of this integrated approach.

Specifically, the United States should renew its focus on five critical areas:
  • We should reinvigorate the alliances, partnerships and institutions that allow us to address numerous hazards at once without having to build a consensus from scratch to respond to every new challenge.
  • We should create a Cabinet-level voice for global development to help Washington develop a more unified and integrated aid program that aligns U.S. interests with the aspirations of people worldwide, starting with global health.
  • We should reinvest in public diplomacy within the government and establish a nonprofit institution outside of it to build people-to-people ties, including doubling the annual appropriation to the Fulbright program.
  • We should sustain our engagement with the global economy by negotiating a "free trade core" of countries in the World Trade Organization willing to move directly to free trade on a global basis, and expand the benefits of free trade to include those left behind at home and abroad.
  • We should take the lead in addressing climate change and energy insecurity by investing more in technology and innovation.
Editorial Comment. This is a very important recommendation. If the next administration decides to adopt a "smart power" policy, UNESCO should be a key instrument of that policy. No organization is better placed on which to build a consortium of like minded nations, and to practice public diplomacy that listens as well as lectures! JAD

Saturday, December 08, 2007

UNESCO's Internal Oversight Service

UNESCO's Internal Oversight Service (IOS), established in 2001, provides consolidated oversight covering internal audit, evaluation, investigation and other management support to strengthen the functioning of the Organization. The IOS website provides links to recent evaluations, as well as guidance for evaluations, and links to evaluation resources.

Some examples are:

UNESCO's 21st Century Talks

The 21st-Century Talks are forums for prospective reflection and future oriented debate that gather together leading figures from different regions of the world. Together with the UNESCO's World Reports they form UNESCO’s Foresight and Anticipation Program.

The Talks are used as the basis for books, articles in leading newspapers and academic journals of different regions of the world, and production of radio and television programs.

Over the period 1999-2005, 27 “21st Century Talks and Dialogs” were organised. There were 118 speeches by 95 different speakers in the series. The three “Dialogues” gathered more speakers (particularly in Seoul with 23 speakers) than the “Talks” with only three or four. “Talks” were organised at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Barcelona, Durban and Seoul.

As a result of the program, three books – and a total of 21 translated versions - were published.
There is specific information on many of the talks available from the UNESCO website.

An evaluation of UNESCO's Foresight program was published in 2006.
The evaluation report notes:
The activities of the Foresight and Anticipation Program had major support from UNESCO Member States. The “21st Century Talks and Dialogs” are viewed as having dealt with crucial issues for the future which were debated by a highly competent and diverse set of specialists who contributed highly relevant analyses. Member State representatives appreciated the foresight effort made by UNESCO. There is general agreement that Foresight and Anticipation are major missions of UNESCO.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Historical Note: UNESCO and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

One of the first tasks the United Nations assigned to its Human Rights Commission (chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt) was the preparation of what was then referred to as an “international bill of rights.” The Commission was to produce a set of common standards that would serve as a kind of yardstick by which all countries could measure their own and each others’ progress toward making human rights a reality.

At that time, in 1945, no one really knew whether there were any rights with a plausible claim to acceptance in all the cultures of the world, or, if so, what they might be. "To examine those questions, UNESCO appointed a committee of philosophers, including some, such as Jacques Maritain and Benedetto Croce, who were prominent in the West, and others who belonged to Confucian, Hindu, and Muslim traditions. The philosophers in turn sent a questionnaire to other leading thinkers all over the world—from Mahatma Gandhi to Teilhard de Chardin. In due course, the Committee reported that, somewhat to their surprise, the responses they received indicated that there were a number of principles of basic decency that were widely shared—though not always formulated in the language of rights. Gandhi, for example, recommended framing a bill of duties. The Committee’s report, the questionnaire, and several responses are collected in Human Rights: Comments and Interpretations (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ed., 1949)."

The book went through several editions, and appears to have been quite influential, being cited in many other works. As the Universal Declaration celebrates its 60th anniversary, the book is still available through used book dealers.

Source: Mary Ann Glendon, "The Forgotten Crucible: The Latin American Influence on the Universal Human Rights Idea," Harvard Human Rights Journal, Volume 16, Spring 2003.

Eleanor Roosevelt holding
a copy of the Universal Declaration

Human Rights Day, December 10, 2007

Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Universal Declaration of Human Rights poster © UN Photo

Human Rights Day
10 December 2007

UNESCO launches a year-long commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Human Rights Day.

On Human Rights Day, 10 December 2007, at its Headquarters in Paris, UNESCO will unveil the list of activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

> More …
> UNESCO and Human Rights
> More on the Declaration of Human Rights

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

International Migrants Day

It is estimated that some 200 million people live outside of their home countries. And this is not a new phenomenon: Europe, America, and Australia were all built on the influx of millions of people in search of a better life. Since 2000, the international community has designated the 18th of December as International Migrants Day, to celebrate the achievements and highlight the struggles of migrants around the world.

Last year the international advocacy and resource center on the human rights of migrant workers launched Radio 1812, a global radio event. In that event community stations, commercial radios and national and international broadcasters in over twenty countries produced and broadcast on one day more than 50 programs in languages from Chinese and Thai to Spanish and Kazak.

This year, supported by UNESCO and the International Organization of the Francophonie, amongst others, Radio 1812 is back hoping to bring together more radios, more migrants and more concerned citizens to take part in the celebrations on the 18th of December 2007.

60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

© UNESCO/Ivaldo Alves

Celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be launched at UNESCO on 10 December, Human Rights Day. Events commemorating the anniversary will take place over the next year, until 10 December 2008.

The 60th anniversary provides an opportunity to mobilize the whole of the United Nations and to evaluate progress in respecting and promoting human rights. UNESCO will take this opportunity to assess the situation of rights in its fields of competence. UNESCO is planning two international conferences on the subject in 2008: one on human rights education, the other on human rights in the Organization’s other fields of competence. In addition, the 61st International Conference of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which will be organized at UNESCO in September 2008, in partnership with the United Nations Department of Public Information, will focus on the celebration of the Universal Declaration’s 60th anniversary.

The Magic Planet

As a reminder of the importance of outreach and education in enhancing S&T goals, Ambassador Oliver invited the developers of the Magic Planet digital video globe - Global Imagination - to display a portable version of the globe and associated control panel at a reception held by the Permanent Delegation of the United States to UNESCO. The reception was held in conjunction with the General Conference. A larger version of the Magic Planet was used by NOAA and NASA presenters during the Planet Earth: Space to Place exhibit at UNESCO during the Conference. In a hands-on mode, many of the reception’s guests were able change display global datasets ranging from water temperature to population shifts. In an example of public-private-partnership, the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO worked closely with Global Imagination on the presentation.

Here is a short video of Magic Planet.

The World Press Freedom Prize 2008

UNESCO invites Member States and regional and international organizations, professional and non-governmental organizations working in the field of journalism and freedom of expression to nominate candidates for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

The purpose of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is “to honour… 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 this involved risk.”

The prize is named after the Colombian journalist who died exercising his profession and has become a symbol of the fight against repression of the media worldwide.

The UNESCO Chair of Mathematics and Economics at Colombia University

Graciela Chichilnisky holds the UNESCO Chair of Mathematics and Economics. She is also a Professor of Statistics at Columbia University and the Director of Columbia’s Center for Risk Management (CCRM). She created Columbia’s Program on Information and Resources (PIR), which is focused on transforming the University’s teaching and research agenda to reflect the growing trend towards globalization and sustainable development. Since 1995, the PIR program attracted major support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from six leading reinsurance companies and the Sloan Foundation.

According to the Washington Post:
Nobel laureates laud her work and call her brilliant; some economists credit her with an important economic theory. She is involved in the economics of fighting global warming internationally, and she was recently elected to the university senate.....

She has two doctorates, in math and economics. It is a combination that allows her to mix social science with hard sciences, according to other economists.

Her work involves issues affecting sustainable development around the world, and she is a key contributor to the economic theory behind the movement to use credits in global markets to control carbon emissions to reduce global warming.

She has taught at several universities, including Harvard, and served as adviser to many international organizations, including the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the United Nations in the areas of international economics and environmental policy.

10 December 2005 - Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December to mark the anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.