UNESCO: WHAT ACTION FOR AFRICA?
Paris, November 7 (No.2001-123)
– Africa numbers 34 of the world’s 49 least developed countries (LDCs) and
half the continent’s population is subject to extreme poverty, surviving on
less than one US dollar a day. Moreover, Africa is home to 80% of the world’s
population HIV/AIDS cases.
Due to the many challenges facing
the continent, the region has been one of UNESCO priorities since the 1990s. The
Organization’s action in favour of Africa will be reviewed in the light of the
New African Initiative – which has been renamed New Partnership for African
Development (NPAD) - adopted by the Lusaka Summit of the Organization of African
Unity (OAU) in July 2001. This is the purpose of an international seminar, Forward-looking
approaches and innovative strategies to promote the development of Africa in the
twenty-first century that will be held at UNESCO Headquarters on November 8
The work of the seminar, convened at
the initiative of UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, will be organized
around seven workshops, which will be held simultaneously on November 8 from 3
p.m. to 7 p.m. Each workshop will deal with a specific theme.
African agenda and UNESCO: building on the foundations of the New Partnership
for African Development. NPAD stresses the fact that the primordial
responsibility for African development must rest with Africa itself. It also
defines development priorities, which, for UNESCO, must focus on access to
education and knowledge, the key to capacity-building and empowerment. The
development of knowledge societies requires education in its broadest sense,
including science and technology, integrating cultural dimensions, facilitating
the exercise of civil rights, and encouraging the free flow of ideas and the
sharing of knowledge. The workshop – to be moderated by Aminata Traoré,
former Culture and Tourism Minister of Mali - will be held in Room II.
in Africa: challenges and prospects – which strategies for the future?
Attaining the Education for All (EFA) goals of the Dakar World Education Forum
(April 2000) remains an absolute priority in a continent where half the
inhabitants are under the age of 20. The preparation and implementation of EFA
national action plans is a first priority. Other UNESCO areas of priority action
include broadening EFA to include secondary, technical and vocational, as well
as higher education, financing of education and the introduction of new
technologies. Through education, especially preventive education, UNESCO is also
committed to make a significant contribution to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. The
workshop will be moderated by Assana Sangaré, Minister of Côte d’Ivoire
responsible for action against HIV/AIDS and other pandemics. It will be held in
and technology for sustainable development in Africa.
Globalization has increased the complexity of political decision-making and
increased the dependence of decision-makers on scientifically informed advice.
This is particularly the case for problems such as water resources management
and UNESCO - which is increasingly involved in issues pertaining
to fresh water and ecosystems, and
has been asked by the United
Nations to carry out a global assessment of fresh water resources - can bring
its contribution to this area which combines economic, environmental and
political factors. Moderated by Liydia Brito, Mozambique’s Minister for Higher
Education, Science and Technology, the workshop will be held in Room VIII.
rights, democracy and human security: prospects and lines of action.
Democracy, peace, security, stability and justice are equally strategic factors
for Africa’s development. In this regard, UNESCO’s activities in the gamut
of essential areas include education – civics and values education – and the
promotion of independent pluralist media - necessary to democracy and good
governance. This could also be said of the possible reinforcement of UNESCO’s
Human Rights Chairs and the follow-up to the Programme of Action adopted at the
World Conference Against Racism (Durban, South Africa, 2001). The workshop will
be moderated by the former President of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré. It will be
held in Room XI.
diversity and pluralism, challenges for sustainable development in Africa. There
is clear evidence that culture plays a central role in development and social
cohesion. In its Medium Term Strategy for 2002-2007, UNESCO has set itself the
objective of increasing its advice and assistance to Member States for
formulating national policies and public action to protect cultural diversity,
cultural pluralism and intercultural dialogue. The Organization is also involved
in activities promoting the development of artistic and cultural industries, of
traditional crafts and cultural tourism. The workshop will take place in Room VI
and be moderated by Renato Matusse,
co-ordinator for Culture and Information of the Southern African Development
technologies and the knowledge society: capacity-building in Africa. UNESCO
has long been committed to the development of regional human resources and
infrastructures in the field of communication and information. It is active in a
wide range of undertakings including the establishment of multimedia community
centres, assistance provided by UNESCO’s International Programme for the
Development of Communication (IPDC) and the Regional Informatics Network for
Africa (RINAF), conceived to increase the capacity of the public sector and of
civil society at large to use the new technologies at the service of
development. Astrophysicist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Cheick Modibo Diarra will moderate the workshop (Room IX).
of pan-African co-operation and international partnership. There is a danger
that globalization will increase the isolation, and thereby the poverty, of
African countries. The workshop will focus on solidarity, knowledge sharing and
technology transfers with a view to establishing a new kind of partnership with
Africa. This should include the reinforcement of UNESCO’s relations with the
continent’s sub-regional organizations. Moderated by Bimbola Ogunkelu,
Nigerian Minister of Co-operation and Integration, the workshop will be held in
Organized by UNESCO’s Africa
Department, the Seminar will open with a panel discussion (November 8, 10.15
a.m. Room II), whose participants will include the UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro
Matsuura; OAU Secretary-General, Essy Amara; Under Secretary-General of the
United Nations, Special Adviser for African Affairs, Ibrahima A. Gambari; and
Zimbabwe’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Mazorodze Bimha, who chairs the
Organization’s African Group.
At 11.15 a.m., in
Room II, a roundtable discussion will be held on the roles of education,
science, culture, communication and information in the development of Africa.
The roundtable, moderated by Hans d’Orville, Director of UNESCO’s Bureau of
Strategic Planning, will bring together the Assistant Directors-General in
charge of the Organization’s various sectors of activity.
The workshops’ reports and
recommendations will be presented on Friday, November 9. A general report, to be
compiled by the historian Iba Der Thiam, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly
of Senegal, will be submitted to adoption on in the afternoon.