Oct 122017

PARIS: The United States announced on Thursday that it was withdrawing from UNESCO, the UN’s cultural and educational agency, complaining about how it is run and about what Washington described as bias against Israel. “This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias,” State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The withdrawal of the US, which provides a fifth of UNESCO’s funding, is a severe blow for the Paris-based organisation which began work in 1946 and is known for designating World Heritage sites such as the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and the Grand Canyon National Park. UNESCO report places Pakistan in bottom 10 in female education Under UNESCO rules, the withdrawal will become effective as of the end of December 2018. Until that time, the US, which provides around $80 million to UNESCO annually, will remain a full member. The organisation, which employs around 2,000 people worldwide, most of them based in Paris, has long been the object of criticism over its use of resources and resolutions that have been perceived by Israel and other countries as biased. Director General Irina Bokova expressed disappointment at the US decision. “At the time when conflicts continue to tear apart societies across the world, it is deeply regrettable for the United States to withdraw from the United Nations agency promoting education for peace and protecting culture under attack,” she said. “This is a loss to the United [Read More…]

Jul 162016

PARIS: UNESCO suspended its world heritage meeting in Istanbul Saturday in the wake of Turkey’s attempted military coup, the organisation said. “The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee is suspended until further notice,” the Paris-based body said in a statement on its website. Soldiers and tanks took to the streets late on Friday and multiple explosions rang out throughout the night in Ankara and Istanbul, the two biggest cities of the strategic NATO member of 80 million people. The meeting, which began last Sunday, was deciding whether to give world heritage protection to 29 sites across the world. UNESCO puts five Libya sites on heritage-in-danger list The most headline-grabbing of its discussions centred on whether it would list some of the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier’s most iconic modernist buildings. A decision had been expected Sunday. UNESCO has twice rejected previous bids to give its protection to Le Corbusier’s utilitarian concrete buildings, which had a huge impact on urban planning across the planet. UNESCO puts five Libya sites on heritage-in-danger list Seventeen of his projects, stretching from La Cite Radieuse housing project in Marseille, France, to the city of Chandigarh in northern India, which he laid out, were being considered. While his stark designs were revolutionary, in the years following his death in France in 1965 they were also blamed for urban alienation. Le Corbusier’s legacy has been further complicated by revelations about his political views, with biographers claiming he was “an out-and-out fascist” and anti-Semite who collaborated with France’s wartime [Read More…]

Feb 212016

Urdu being the language of instruction in government schools has contributed to grievances and political tensions in Pakistan, a new UNESCO report released on Friday said.“In Pakistan, the continued use of Urdu as the language of instruction in government schools, even though it is spoken at home by less than 8% of the population, has also contributed to political tensions,” the report said.Linguistic diversity: State urged to promote all Pakistani languagesThe paper by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) added that the adoption of Urdu as the national language after independence had been a source of alienation in a country that is home to six major linguistic groups and 58 smaller ones.“The failure to recognise Bengali, spoken by the vast majority of the population in East Pakistan, was one of the major sources of conflict within the new country, leading to student riots in 1952. The riots gave birth to the Bengali Language Movement, a precursor to the movement that fought for the secession of East Pakistan and the creation of a new country, Bangladesh,” the paper stated.Even in Bangladesh, where Bengali is the national language, non-Bengali speaking tribal groups in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have cited a perceived injustice over language as a factor that justifies their secession demands, according to the report.Lack of preservation causing regional languages to die a slow deathThe paper titled ‘If you don’t understand, how can you learn?’ released for International Mother Language Day (February 21)’ added that 40% of the global population does not [Read More…]

Mar 222014
Library protests tax on donated books
our correspondent
Sunday, March 23, 2014
From Print Edition



The Khaliqdina Hall Library Association (KHLA) has expressed deep concern over the imposition of tax on the books donated for libraries. It pointed out that the Khalidina library, visited daily by around 400 people had to pay Rs1,500 as tax against the donated books it had received from UNESCO, the other day. The senior vice president of KHLA and chief librarian Qari Hilal Ahmed Rabbani said that the library around 72 newspapers, magazines and other publications from different organizations around the world. They said that never before had the KHLA been asked to pay civil aviation tax, sales tax, government tax and inbound processing fee. However, for the latest dispatch the library had had to pay Rs1,500 against the 8 kilogram of publications it had received via a courier service. Rabbani said it was ironic that in a society with a low literacy rate libraries were being discouraged to obtain materials on literature, education and journalism.


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Jul 102013
Australia's Barrier Reef slips into 'poor' health

SYDNEY – Australia admitted Wednesday conditions at the Great Barrier Reef are “poor” as it battles UNESCO threats to downgrade its heritage status over concerns about pollution and development. Environment Minister Mark Butler released a report card showing that the reef’s health had slumped since 2009 due to cyclones and floods, despite progress on reducing agricultural runoff. “Extreme … Click for detailed story

Mar 162013
UNESCO to help PMNH in stuffing, display of shark

ISLAMABAD – UNESCO Country Director Dr Kozue Kay Nagata said on Saturday that UNESCO will help Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) in a documentary on stuffing and exhibition of Shark Whale specimens as well as for the digitisation of the Museum’s collection.
“UNESCO will also help PMNH in developing its online virtual tour so that the entire world, especially researchers and students, could benefit from its facilities,” he said.
She was speaking as a chief guest at the launch of an Audio Commentary Equipment, a facility for visitors, donated by UNESCO to PMNH.PSF Chairman Prof Dr Manzoor H Soomro, PMNH Director General Hasan Waseem Afzal, senior officers from the Ministry of Science and Technology, UNESCO officials and a good number of scientists and students were also present on this occasion.
Dr Nagata said UNESCO’s support to the museum was based on its concept to promote science and education according to its mandate.
She said PMNH was unique in term of its collection, especially of fossils that revealed natural history of the past million years.
Dr Nagata said though the donation of commentary equipment was a small contribution but it would help visitors in understanding the exhibits during their visit to the museum. “The equipment would make the museum more scientific and dynamic,” she said. She added that launching the commentary equipment at PMNH was a pilot project and this facility will be replicated in other museums of Pakistan later. She also spoke on the collaboration UNESCO and PSF, which was going on since long for promotion of science.
She mentioned some of their collaborative programmes, including Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme and an Inquiry-based Science Education Programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Dr Manzoor Soomro stressed the need for developing collaboration with other organisations in order to achieve common goals.
PMNH DG Dr Hasan Waseem Afzal said scientists from PMNH explored all regions of the country, including the barren and rocky areas of Balochistan, for the collection of rocks, minerals, fossils, plants and animal life.
He said during the last five months 37,557 visitors had visited PMNH, which was a great achievement of museum to educate people on our natural wealth.
Hasan Waseem Afzal said the donation of Audio Commentary Equipment from UNESCO had enabled them to organise this launching ceremony in order to give access to visitors to use this equipment.
He said UNESCO Pakistan had generously lent a big hand to strengthen PMNH through support for updating the VOG Gallery for visitors, contribution of Rs 750,000 for displaying the Whale Shark Skin, MAB Programme sponsorship under which National MAB Committee had been reactivated.
PMNH Deputy Director General Akhtar Javed also addressed the launching ceremony and thanked UNESCO, MoST and PSF for their continued support to museum in research and educational activities.

May 192012
<b>Pakistani</b> journalist gunned down

Islamabad: A Pakistani journalist was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the restive southwest Balochistan province, the fourth scribe to be killed in as many months in the country ranked by UNESCO as "the second most dangerous" in the world…

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