Monday, June 29, 2009

Anecdote from UNESCO's History

Source: "South Africa: Zapiro - 'Zapping' for Democracy," Annar Cassam, Pambazuka News via, 4 June 2009.

In 1993, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk.
The exact logic behind this type of tandem awarding is difficult to understand for such gestures place the aggressors and their victims on the same level. They also degrade the achievements and the sacrifices of the victims while glorifying their former oppressors for doing nothing more than bowing to the inevitable.

It was Roelf 'Pik' Botha, de Klerk's foreign minister, who in a BBC documentary about the end of apartheid shown in 1996, related the friendly advice given to his government by their erstwhile Western allies: 'You people stink! Get rid of that bad smell of apartheid and then we can associate with you.'

In the case of the Mandela/de Klerk prize, the joint award caused real confusion in the minds of many outside South Africa who were not privy to the intricacies of the political negotiations between the ANC and the white government which went on for four long years before the first democratic elections were held in April 1994.

Many members of the international community were led to imagine that Mandela and de Klerk had descended hand-in-hand from on high on a pink cloud which had landed in South Africa where, magically, the aged freedom-fighter was welcomed home by the big-hearted boer so that they could together live in peace, love and harmony for ever after.

In October 1993, six months before the uhuru elections of April 1994, a high-level ANC delegation, led by Nelson Mandela, came to UNESCO headquarters in Paris to address the executive board, the organisation's policy -making body. The delegation, which included Thabo Mbeki and Bantu Holomisa among others, was very warmly welcomed by the UNESCO audience - but all eyes were on Mandela. He was in excellent form, as elegant, dignified and courteous as ever, but now very much the president-to-be, bearing a palpable aura of calm authority.

In a speech of just 15 minutes, he put to rest the 'pink cloud ' theory in the first sentence and then went on to to explain the changes that were underway and in simple language described where the ANC had come from, the reasons for, and strategy behind its negotiating position and, above all, the ANC's priorities for a post-apartheid society in South Africa. This is what he said:
Editorial Comment: One of UNESCO's key functions is to provide a forum forum for discussion. Sometimes UNESCO's discussions deal with education, science, culture or communications and information, but sometimes, as in this case, UNESCO can provide an international forum for discussions focusing on the peaceful resolution of conflicts. JAD

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Secretary Salazar Wants Everglades National Park to Return to Endangered List

Source: Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveler, June 24th, 2009.

"Righting what he calls a wrong of the Bush administration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wants Everglades National Park to once again be listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger......

"In a release Wednesday the Interior Department said that 'the Everglades was hastily removed from the list in 2007 at the request of the previous administration without adequate consultations with the National Park Service, the state of Florida and other stakeholders and without appropriate measures in place to evaluate the progress of on-going efforts to restore the South Florida ecosystem.'

“'The Everglades remains one of our world’s most treasured – and most threatened – places,' Secretary Salazar said at a meeting of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force in the department’s Sydney Yates Auditorium. 'The federal government must once again stand up and meet its responsibilities to Everglades restoration so that one day, when we achieve restoration, we can remove the park from the list of sites that in danger. President Obama has already made a major commitment to Everglades restoration in the budget and through the Recovery Act; we will stay focused on this high priority for our nation and the world.'”

Editorial Comment: The request by the United States Government to reverse the 2007 action by the World Heritage Center suggests a serious problem in UNESCO's management. The implication is that UNESCO responded to pressure from the Bush administration to improperly certify that the Everglades were safe, when in fact they continue to be in danger.

If an intergovernmental organization can not stand up to the pressure of any government, even my own, and do the right thing then it sacrifices it most important asset -- credibility. I hope that David Killion, nominated to be U.S. Representative to UNESCO, will make a serious protest at his first opportunity to do so. JAD (The opinion expressed is my own, and does not necessarily represent that of Americans for UNESCO.)

Helene-Marie Gosselin: UNESCO's Liaison with the United Nations

While UNESCO has facilities in some 59 other countries, it does not have a country, cluster or regional office in the United States nor are any of its Category I Institutes located here. It does maintain an office in New York, tasked with liaison with other UN agencies and programs headquartered in that city. Helene-Marie Gosselin is the head of that office. While she is not charged specifically with liaison with U.S. educational, scientific, cultural nor communications communities, she has been a valuable friend,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

David Killion to be U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO

According to the Associated Press:

David Killion, a senior member of the professional staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was picked to lead the U.S. mission at the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO. As an adviser on U.N. issues to the late Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., Killion worked on the legislation that was passed in 2001 authorizing U.S. re-entry to UNESCO.

OECD DAC Recognizes an Increase in UNESCO's Development Aid

The Director-General of UNESCO has been notified that a DAC Working Party has decided to raise the UNESCO ODA coefficient from 25% to 44%, with the change to take effect as from the current year reporting on ODA flows in 2008.

At its May 2009 meeting the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Council (DAC) Working Party on Statistics reviewed and approved a general methodology for assessing official development assistance eligibility (ODA-eligibility) of international agencies and for deriving coefficients for international agencies. This coefficient is designed to assess the percentage of an organization’s activities which contribute to development according to OECD’s definitions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Editorial: Increase UNESCO's Budget

Click on the table to enlarge it.

The General Conference of UNESCO is to approve a program and budget for the next biennium when it meets in October. The table above provides the draft budget for the Organization.

It is difficult to understand budgets, and the UNESCO Draft Program and Budget for the biennium runs to 359 pages. Still, it is clear that the budget is tiny in comparison to the challenges facing the world in education, science, culture and communications, or indeed to the needs of an intergovernmental organization such as UNESCO.

For example:
Thus UNESCO's education program, budgetted at less than $100 million per year is less than five percent of the operational budget of a single US school system (the 16th largest in the United States in number of students). UNESCO's combined science program budgets are on the order of one fifth of the R&D budget of a single U.S. university. The budget of the culture program is on the order of six percent of the budget of the Smithsonian. The communication and information program budget is less than one percent of the budget of a single large software company.

Of course it does not make sense to put funding into programs where it will be used inefficiently, and the budget suggests that overhead may be high in UNESCO with respect to programmatic operations. Still, assuming that UNESCO can continue to improve its administration and the efficiency of its activities, it seems obvious that increased funding is appropriate for the organization.

John Daly
(The opinions expressed in this posting are the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Editorial: Choosing a New Director General for UNESCO

The member nations are in the process of electing a new Director General for UNESCO. The Director General's term of office is four years, and the DG may be reelected once. Thus a successful DG may be expected to serve eight years.

A Long Term Historical Perspective

UNESCO's mission as I see it is to mobilize the intellectual communities of the world to promote peace, cultural understanding, education, science, and communications. By its very nature, UNESCO must take a very long term view. In that view, now (as always) is a divide between the past and the future.

A century ago the European nations dominated the world, unsuspecting that two world wars and a great depression were about to decimate their homelands and lead to the decolonization of their overseas empires. The last century saw an increase of life expectancy of several years per decade, a huge growth in world population, a radical increase in schooling, and a technological revolution, especially in information and communication technologies.

We don't know what will come in the next century, but it seems obvious that there will be major challenges. It is UNESCO's job to mobilize the global intellectual community to meet the coming challenges.

The Challenges of the Next Decade

There are a number of challenges for UNESCO that are clear for the coming decade.

Education: The Education for All campaign and the Millennium Development Goals have produced great progress in education, but will not achieve their stated objectives by 2015. UNESCO should play a major role in promoting continued educational progress, but also in defining new goals for future decades. As the global community defines its new goals over the next six years it is especially important that UNESCO's Director General provides credible leadership.

Science: UNESCO should provide critically important leadership in catalyzing global networks of environmental scientists as the global community mobilizes to meet increasing environmental challenges from climate change, desertification, deforestation, degradation of coastal zones, depletions of fisheries, and depletion of non-renewable resources. Again, the Director General should provide credible leadership.

Culture: There is a critical and immediate need to improve cultural understanding among peoples. While this need is most recognized in terms of Christian, Muslim and Jewish peoples, there are many other places where cultural diversity currently leads to conflict, often armed conflict. UNESCO's leadership in promoting a culture of peace, respect for cultural diversity, and cultural understanding remain central to the Organization's purpose, and require strong leadership from a credible Director General.

Communications and Information: The Information Revoluation is transforming global society, but the digital divide between rich and poor creates great problems. UNESCO's mission to assure freedom of information is increasing in importance, and UNESCO's leadership is sorely needed to mobilize the global intellectual community to assure that the benefits of the Information Revolution are fully realized and widely shared.

Poverty: Poverty is the most pressing global problem, and it is increasingly recognized that it is in knowledge and technology that the solution to poverty must be sought. Again, UNESCO should play a global leadership role, and tits Director General should provide a strong and credible voice promoting the creation and dissemination of knowledge to fight poverty.

Choosing a New Director General

UNESCO is a large and complex organization, with a budget of more than $500 million per year, thousands of employees, and offices in 58 countries so that the Director General must be capable of managing such an organization. However, such a description masks an important aspect of the Organization. UNESCO has the authority and power to convene global leaders and to create functioning global networks in its fields of competence. The influence of the Organization extends far beyond its formal organizational structure, and so too must the influence of its Director General.

The task of UNESCO's electors is to choose the nominee who can best lead and speak for the Organization as it faces the challenges outlined above. These challenges are too important to settle for less. The danger is that the election will devolve into politics as usual. UNESCO needs not the person whose backers can mobilize the most support among member nations by the traditional tools of diplomacy, but rather the person who combines the knowledge, experience, and charisma to do the best job.

John Daly
(The opinions stated above are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for UNESCO.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

UNESCO's Global Network of National Geoparks

High Force, England’s biggest waterfall
North Pennines AONB Geopark
©Elizabeth Pickett

The Global Network of National Geoparks assisted by UNESCO provides a platform of active cooperation between experts and practitioners in geological heritage. Under the umbrella of UNESCO, and through exchange between the global network partners, important national geological sites gain worldwide recognition and profit through the exchange of knowledge, expertise, experience and staff with other Geoparks.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Where Poverty and Culture Intersect: Embracing Local Traditions to Better Fight Poverty"

Ivonne A-Baki, currently President of the Andian Parliament and a candidate for the position of Director General of UNESCO has provided this stimulating article in The Huffington Post.
Fostering cultural expression can have a major positive impact on driving local as well as global well-being. Indigenous design, craft, and historical sites hold a wealth of potential in creating new jobs and improving incomes while preserving ages-old traditions. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), for example, is improving the living standards of the poor in Latin America through projects aimed at generating employment by preserving and promoting the cultural heritage and traditional handicrafts of local communities.

You may also be interested in her article "Women Building a Culture of Peace" written several years ago when she was the Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States.

Editorial: The United States Should Support Associate Expert Posts at UNESCO

UNESCO's Associate Experts’ Scheme provides young professionals every year with the opportunity to contribute to international technical cooperation. The program is open only to the nationals designated by the nations which are supporting the program (with voluntary contributions). Currently they are: Belgium, Finland, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The United States is not a supporter of the program.

Associate Experts, usually under the age of 32 at acceptance, participate in the program for one year, with an option of a second year. During that time they receive preparatory instruction and in service training. The program is open to young professionals with university degrees in education, culture, science, social and human sciences or communication, or in a field of direct relevance to the management and administration of an international organization.

Of course, Americans are included in the Secretariat of UNESCO as regular, international civil service employees, but the U.S. is underrepresented in that workforce, largely due to the long absence from membership in UNESCO. Some Americans have been detailed to UNESCO by their U.S. government agencies, and the Fulbright Fellowship program has allowed some fellows to participate in UNESCO as part of their fellowship experience. Still, there are comparatively few opportunities for young American professionals to work in UNESCO, especially as compared with the interest expressed from our large population.

Were the United States to contribute to this program the effort could:
  • help to rectify the lack of professionals in this country who understand UNESCO,
  • help to add qualified Americans to the UNESCO staff,
  • build linkages between the American educational, scientific and cultural communities and their counterparts abroad,
  • provide much needed support to UNESCO's valuable programs in ways fully under the control of the United States, thus directing support to the programs we value most.
If properly negotiated, participation in the Associate Experts program could be for the United States, as it already is for eleven European nations, an inexpensive means of providing effective international assistance as well as an effective means of building U.S. capacity to deal with intergovernmental organizations.

Your comments are most welcome on this posting, and I would encourage you also to contact the Department of State's UNESCO watchers if you feel that the United States should participate in the Associate Experts program.

John Daly
The opinions expressed above are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for UNESCO.

An Example of an Associate Expert

Patrick Montjourides is an Associate Expert who participated on the EFA Global Monitoring Report Team financed by the French government.
He holds a “Maitrise” in international economics from the University of Paris Dauphine and a Master’s degree in education economics from the University of Burgundy. He is now pursuing a PhD in association with IREDU, the Institute of Research in Education: Sociology and Economics of Education, based in Dijon.

UNESCO's Trafficking Statistics Project

The UNESCO TRAFFICKING STATISTICS PROJECT is a first step toward clarifying what we know, what we think we know, and what we don't know about trafficking in human beings.

As part of its mandate to strengthen research, UNESCO is conducting a literature review and meta-analysis of existing statements on trafficking. UNESCO is tracing the origin of numbers cited by various sources, attempting to ascertain the methodology by which these numbers were calculated, and evaluating their validity. The aim is to clarify the bases on which estimates of the numbers of trafficked persons are derived, and to separate trafficking myths from trafficking realities.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Location: The Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy
Level: P4
Closing Date: August 15, 2009
For more information:

Monday, June 08, 2009

Nine Candidates for the Post of Director General

The Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board, Ambassador Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï (Benin), today made public the list of candidates to the post of Director-General of the Organization.

A total of nine candidatures were received by the Executive Board. They are (in chronological order of reception):

  • - Ms Ina MARČIULIONYTĖ (Lithuania)
Candidature proposed by: Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia
  • - Mr Mohammed BEDJAOUI (Algeria)
Candidature proposed by: Cambodia

  • - Ms Irina Gueorguieva BOKOVA (Bulgaria)
Candidature proposed by: Bulgaria
  • - Mr Farouk HOSNY (Egypt)
Candidature proposed by: Egypt, Kowait, Sudan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
  • - Mr Sospeter Mwijarubi MUHONGO (United Republic of Tanzania)
Candidature proposed by: United Republic of Tanzania
  • - Mr Alexander Vladimirovich YAKOVENKO (Russian Federation)
Candidature proposed by: Russian Federation
  • - Ms Ivonne JUEZ de A. BAKI (Ecuador)
Candidature proposed by: Ecuador
  • - Ms Benita FERRERO-WALDNER (Austria)
Candidature proposed by:Austria, Colombia

  • - Mr Nouréini TIDJANI-SERPOS (Benin)
Candidature proposed by:Benin

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Biographical Information for Sospeter Muhongo

Sospeter Muhongo has been nominated by Tanzania as a candidate for the post of Director General of UNESCO. Here is some biographical information about him:

He was born in Musoma town, Tanzania on 25.06.1954. He is married to Bertha, has a son Rukonge, and is guardian to three orphans.

He is currently based in Pretoria, South Africa, where he is the first and founding Regional Director of the International Council for Science Regional Office for Africa. Among other positions held, he is Chair of the Science Program Committee of the UN-proclaimed International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE), Vice President of the Commission of the Geological Map of the World, Immediate Past Chair of the UNESCO/IUGS/IGCP Scientific Board and member of the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) Science and Technology Advisory Group. He has been recently elected to Chair the Steering Committee of the EU-funded project, “African-European Georesources Observation System (AEGOS).”

Prof Muhongo is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of African Earth Sciences (Elsevier), Associate Editor of the Precambrian Research Journal (Elsevier) and is also co-Editor of a book (2009, in press) entitled “Science, Technology and Innovation for Socio-Economic Development: Success Stories from Africa.”

He was Head of the Department of Geology at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania from 1997 to 2000 and is currently Honorary Professor of Geology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. In the 1990s he was instrumental in raising the profile of the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf) and served as its President from 1995 to 2001. He was the first recipient (2004) of the Society’s Robert Shackleton Award for Outstanding Research on the Precambrian Geology of Africa and he was awarded Fellowship of the Society in 1998.

In 2006, Prof. Muhongo was presented with the National Award for Outstanding Research in Science and Technology (S&T) in Tanzania, and in 2007 The Geological Society of South Africa conferred upon him its “Honours Award”, for his contributions to the Earth Science profession.

Prof Muhongo has undertaken more than 100 contract scientific research projects and has rendered consultancy services in the mineral industry and on environmental issues and policy matters.

He graduated with a BSc Honours Degree in Geology from the University of Dar Es Salaam in 1979 where he founded and chaired the Geological Association of Students (1977). He then undertook postgraduate studies in Germany between 1980 and 1990 at the University of Göttingen (MSc research), and at the Technical University of Berlin (Dr.rer.nat.). He was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize (1977) and the Gondwana Prize (1979).

Since 1999 Prof Muhongo has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tanzanian State Mining Corporation (STAMICO) and in 2002 was Chairman of the Tanzanian Government Commission of Inquiry into the deadliest tanzanite mine accident.

He is the author or co-author of over 150 scientific articles and technical papers, and has co-authored the publication of the highly acknowledged geological and mineral maps of Africa, East Africa and Tanzania. Prof Muhongo has been invited to give more than 200 keynote speeches at international conferences in Africa, America, Asia and Europe. He has co-organized over 100 international scientific and policy conferences, including those of UNESCO and ICSU in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Biographical Information for Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Benita Ferrero-Waldner has been nominated by Austria as a candidate for the post of Director General of UNESCO. Here are some facts about her:

Born on 5 September, 1948 in Salzburg, Austria - married to Professor Francisco Ferrero Campos

November 2004
Member of the European Commission in charge of External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy
February 2000 - November 2004
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria
4 May 1995 - 3 February 2000
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
1993 - 1995
UN Chief of Protocol
February 1993 - December 1993
Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs Deputy Chief of Protocol
July 1990 - February 1993
Austrian Embassy, Paris
First Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission,
Chargé d'Affairs a.i.
May 1987 - July 1990
Austrian Embassy, Paris
Counsellor for Economic Affairs
June 1986 - May 1987 Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Department for Development Co-operation
January - June 1986
Austrian Embassy, Dakar, Senegal
First Secretary
September 1984 - January 1986
Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Department of Economic Affairs; Department of Political Affairs;
Department of Consular Affairs;
1 January 1984
Austrian Embassy, Madrid
Special Consultancy
1981 - 1983
Gerns and Gahler, Freilassing/Germany
Chief Management Assistant
1978 - 1981
P. Kaufmann Inc., New York
Sales Director for Europe
1971 - 1978
Paul Kiefel, Freilassing/Germany (1971-72), Export Department
Gerns and Gahler, Freilassing/Germany
Director for Export Promotion
1966 - 1970 University of Salzburg, study of law (Dr iuris)

Biographical Information for Ivonne Baki

Ivonne Baki is a candidate for Director General of UNESCO, nominated by Ecuador. Attached is her biography.

Personal Data

Name: Leila Ivonne Juez de Baki
Marital status: Married. Spouse: Sami Abd-El Baki
Place of residence: Quito


  • 1993 Doctorate in Public Administration. School Government John F. Kennedy - Harvard University (Editor's note: This seems to be an error as her website lists a Masters degreee in public administration.)
  • 1992 Master in Public Policy, School of Government John F. Kennedy - Harvard University
  • 1982 Master of Art University La Sorbonne in Paris (Editor's note: The candidates website does not list the degree.)
  • 1979 Architectural Studies at the University of Beirut


  • 2007 President of the Andean Parliament
  • Andean Parliamentary since 2006; Elected for a period of four years
  • 2003-2005 Minister of Trade Industry, Fisheries and Competitiveness
  • 2003-2004 President of the Commission of the Andean Community of Nations
  • 1998-2002 Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States of America
  • 1984-1990 Honorary Counsel of Ecuador in Lebanon
  • 1992-1998 Honorary Counsel of Ecuador in Boston, MA
  • 1998 Adviser to the President of Ecuador in the negotiations culminated in the signing of peace treaty with Peru
  • 1995 Member of the Foundation "Without Borders"; Dedicated to help depressed areas of the province of Esmeraldas
  • 1994-1996 Member of the Board of Directors of "Conflict Management Group ", a nonprofit organization dedicated to conflict resolution and the promotion of peace in many regions of the World, led by Professor Roger Fisher.

Decorations and Awards

  • "It merits of Excellence l'Européene"
  • Order of the Cedar of Lebanon
  • National Order of Merit of Ecuador
  • Decoration Resident Artist at Harvard University.
  • Award 1992 "Art for Peace", Princeton University
  • Honorato Vasquez Prize 1992, awarded by the Government of Ecuador.
  • The 1998 Order of The House of Representatives United States of America.
  • Designated 1999's "The five most powerful women Washington, "Embassy of Ecuador
  • "Excellency in Leadership Award" of the Economic International Order of Merit of Lebanon
  • The U.S. Women in Leadership Award
  • The Global Citizen Award. Patel Foundation
  • The Humanitarian Rose Award. Princess of Wales Foundation

  • "Forces of Change: Artists of the Arab World"
  • "A Life of Art: Searching for Peace"

Short Video (Spanish): Homenaje a la Dra. Ivonne Baki

Thursday, June 04, 2009

"Freedom of information: a comparative legal survey"

The importance of the right to information or the right to know is an increasingly constant refrain in the mouths of development practitioners, civil society, academics, the media and governments.

What is this right, is it really a right and how have governments sought to give effect to it? These are some of the questions this book seeks to address, providing an accessible account of the law and practice regarding freedom of information, and an analysis of what is working and why.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

More Candidates for Director General

Nominations are now closed for the post of Director General of UNESCO.

Yojana Sharma has published an update of her earlier article, identifying two new candidates, each of whom would add some luster to the list of Directors General of the Organization:
  • Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Union commissioner for foreign affairs and a former Austrian foreign minister
  • Alexander Yakovenko, Russia's deputy foreign minister and former Ambassador to the United Nations.