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Cross-Cutting Projects:
Eradication of Poverty, Especially Extreme Poverty


Click here to read UNESCO's Medium-Term Strategy for this Cross-Cutting Theme


Education | Natural Sciences | Social and Human Sciences | Culture | Communication and Information




Scientific, Technical and Vocational Education for Girls: schools as community catalysts for empowerment of girls and poverty reduction Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To develop the scientific and technological capacity of girls in developing countries through gender-sensitive vocational training on appropriate knowledge and skills, in order to ensure access to work and better life; to provide assistance to educational planners and teachers through innovative measures and to develop guidelines for makers to promote larger participation of girls in STV education, based upon the evaluation of experience of selected model schools in East Africa, South and South-East Asia.

Expected results. Educational planners and teachers will have obtained advanced training and at least 200 girls will have completed the STV courses and proceeded to appropriate occupations; publication and dissemination of research findings and policy guidelines; educational planners and teachers will have received advanced training on the concepts, methods and applications in scientific, technical and vocational education; publication of research in target countries on efficiency, impact and pedagogical adequacy of the project; guidelines for policy-makers to develop policies in scientific, technical and vocational education based on the project results and follow-up studies.

Breaking the poverty cycle of women: empowering adolescent girls to become agents of social transformation in South Asia Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To generate a process of improvement in poor women’s livelihoods through broad-based activities as well as advocacy for favourable policy formulations; to target especially resource-poor adolescent girls who are among the most vulnerable and who need to be empowered so as to increase their opportunities in life and to contribute to social transformation processes. During the first phase the necessary mechanism will be set up for an interaction among the different components and the activities will be launched. The focus during the second phase will be on learning and sharing, advocacy for appropriate policy formulation, dissemination of information and evaluation.

Expected results. Improvement of the adolescents’ livelihoods; enhancement of their opportunities for employment and self-employment; creation of sustainable community learning centres; sensitization of the local community members; achievement of a major breakthrough in the design and the implementation of integrated capacity-building programmes for empowering young women.

Natural Sciences

Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) in global society Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To promote recognition of local and indigenous knowledge systems – sophisticated sets of understandings, interpretations and meanings possessed by communities with long histories of interaction with the natural environment – as a powerful resource for combating marginalization and impoverishment; to develop through intersectoral field projects local knowledge resource bases and to conduct research on critical issues such as women as knowledge bearers, customary control of knowledge access, and synergies between science and local knowledge in natural resource conservation; to revitalize the transmission of local and indigenous knowledge by strengthening the dialogue between elders and youth, including through the use of ICTs; to protect intangible heritage from improper appropriation through the development of innovative normative actions.

Expected results. Awareness raised among national authorities and local partners on the need to protect and promote local knowledge through prior informed consent and innovative mechanisms; critical reflection and dialogue catalysed among scientists, decision-makers and local communities on the interrelationship between science and other systems of knowledge; field projects and research to sustain/revitalize local knowledge within communities developed; systems for strengthening local and indigenous transmission, including through the use of ICTs put in place.

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Reduction of natural disaster in Asia and the Caribbean Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To promote the development and application of wise disaster reduction practices in particularly vulnerable zones inhabited by poor populations, by (i) improving preventive action and disaster preparedness through the use of scientific knowledge and technical know-how in compiling illustrative case studies; (ii) enhancing preparedness of decision-makers and community leaders through elaboration, dissemination, testing of information and training materials on prevention and measures to reduce potential damage from disasters; (iii) emphasizing the networking of cities and neighbourhoods; and (iv) favouring the use of integrated communication and information systems.

Expected results. Disaster scenarios and risk mitigation strategies, including networking of cities, developed; guidelines for the design of disaster-resistant buildings and for the protection of educational and cultural sites compiled; user-friendly training materials and information kits for local authorities, architects, land and city planners, education professionals, the media and decision-makers compiled and distributed; an integrated system for ICT use for disaster prevention, warning and relief developed and its application tested through pilot projects.

Building community capacities to ensure local development sustainability Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To contribute to poverty eradication by building local capacities to foster and sustain local development initiatives; applying the principle of solidarity and employing a participatory approach, (i) to provide training facilities for future community agents for sustainable development; (ii) to develop a solid communication strategy, using, in particular, the UNESCO PLANET SOCIETY Internet Exchange Market of Resources to promote the development projects, include them in networking processes and thereby contribute to their sustainability; to propose an operational and replicable methodology for strengthening the process from project implementation to local development sustainability.

Expected results. A training system with appropriate methodologies and tools set up in Central Asia; ICT-based training modules and pedagogical tools aimed at strengthening technical and institutional capacities developed; a network of operational community agents established for local development trained in the management of development initiatives; youth networks established; guidelines and a methodology elabored and disseminated for application in other zones and regions.

Mining and sustainable development in Latin America Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. Through properly managed artisanal and small-scale mining in Latin America, to serve as an effective catalyst for sustainable economic and social development at the local level, involving often vulnerable and poor social groups; to protect fragile ecosystems with diverse cultural and biological reserves; in partnership with the IDRC/Mining Policy Research Initiative, to contribute to poverty alleviation by (i) supporting training and capacity-building for key stakeholders, (ii) facilitating their access to knowledge and information by using ICT; (iii) increasing management capabilities for addressing environmental, technological, economic and social challenges of sustainable local development.

Expected results. Communities better informed and empowered and increasingly participating in decisions about land use and mining activities; better distribution of economic and social benefits at the local level achieved; networks of regional institutions and stakeholders for information sharing established; set of specific indicators for small-scale mining, poverty alleviation and sustainable development defined.

The UNISOL-TAPE Alliance against poverty Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To combine science and technology (TAPE = Technology and Poverty Eradication) and research in social and human sciences (UNISOL = Universities in Solidarity with the Disadvantaged) with a view to mobilizing key partners of UNESCO, such as universities, students, teachers, academic networks and non-governmental organizations, for work with disadvantaged communities; to focus on interdisciplinary training, technology transfer and public policy education; to promote and consolidate joint ventures, especially with other United Nations agencies, regional organizations and international finance institutions, drawing upon sectoral policies/competencies (such as the WHO-UNESCO’s UNISOL project) so as to establish a knowledge base of experience, practices, assistance and partnerships with disadvantaged groups.

Expected results. University outreach programmes, training and participatory research developed with a view to improving the access of the poor to health, education and employment services; networking and strategic partnerships established, especially with UNFPA, ILO, FAO, Habitat, the UNESCO Chairs/UNITWIN Networks, the intergovernmental scientific programmes MOST, IHP, and scientific NGOs networks; strategies and policies on technology development formulated, including on technology choice, adaptation, innovation and transfer.

Social and Human Sciences

Eradicating poverty through social integration of marginalized homeless young people in urban areas of the Commonwealth of Independent States Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives: To provide assistance, in two countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), to homeless young people by including them in the system of general and vocational education, particularly in pre- and post-conflict areas; to mobilize policy-makers at all levels, public opinion and civil society institutions for improvements in the socio-economic conditions of youth and to ensure the full enjoyment by young people of all human rights and fundamental freedoms without any form of discrimination.

Expected results: NGO staff and social workers trained to deal with different groups of marginalized young people; staff and technical capacities reinforced in existing and newly created centres of social rehabilitation for marginalized young people; social services for marginalized young people established and developed by local partners.

Advocacy campaign on poverty eradication Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives: To undertake advocacy and sensitization activities in support of poverty eradication, aimed at decision-makers in the public and private sectors and to the general public; to utilize media, ICTs and public events so as to stimulate a public debate on poverty at all levels of society, complementing UNESCO’s other efforts aimed at empowering the poor and providing assistance to Member States.

Expected results: Awareness increased on the part of policy- and decision-makers, in the public and private sectors; on the need to plan and implement concrete participatory measures to help eradicate poverty; level of awareness raised among the general public about the ethical dimensions of poverty and the moral obligations of the world community to increase efforts and support to the poor; poverty highlighted and understood in the public eye as an assault on human dignity, basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Breaking the cycle of poverty among marginalized youth Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives: To provide marginalized youth, mostly from rural communities in two Caribbean islands, with holistic human development training and technical and vocational skills; to equip beneficiaries with essential skills to become self-employed artisans and/or income generators; through a built-in research and community "give-back" component to provide for progress evaluation by beneficiaries.

Expected results: Segments of youth better equipped to develop skills and to find livelihoods and, in general, to offer avenues out of poverty.

Democratic governance and poverty in Arab world Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives: To strengthen NGOs’ capacities in the promotion of democratic governance as an essential element in poverty reduction strategies in the Arab countries; to develop a pole of research-action on local governance and participatory democracy; to promote the creation and strengthening of synergies among researchers and NGOs in scientific and operational work.

Expected results: Introduction of training programmes and action plans locally and nationally at the level of NGOs working for human rights in five countries; definition of qualitative indicators and their use in planning development policies; development of educational tools for the most deprived areas, in particular encouraging schooling for girls; use of general training material culturally adapted to national needs for NGOs; development of national and regional strategies with a view to improving the application of human rights education and their integration into national development policies; strengthened cohesion and dialogue among the parties engaged in the democratization process (State and civil society).

Flagship project: Contributing to the eradication of poverty and strengthening of human security in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives: To contribute in three countries to integrating national education for all plans into national strategies combating poverty by ensuring synergy with ongoing projects on education and training regarding culture of peace and human security; to strengthen human security by ensuring access by the most vulnerable sections of the community, in particular in rural areas, to basic social services, through supporting with multidisciplinary approaches pilot projects at the local level and extending their coverage to the departmental and provincial levels; to back the strengthening of national and subregional capacities, in particular by means of training, establishing appropriate networks and strengthening existing national and subregional institutions, and cross-border cooperation.

Expected results: Strengthened cooperation between the three countries in education for all; strengthening of community projects and development education centres in the cities of Timbuktu and Kidal (Mali) and in the Dosso region (Niger) and the launch of similar projects in the north-east provinces of Burkina Faso; strengthening of targeted forms of training in natural resources management in the training and research institutes of the Universities of Bamako, Niamey and Ouagadougou in cooperation with UNESCO science programmes (International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB)), inter-university cooperation projects (Europe-Africa) and the Research Institute for Development (IRD).

Urban poverty alleviation among young migrants in East Asia: China, Mongolia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Cambodia Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives: To highlight the linkage between economic growth, political reforms, development and globalization, on the one hand, and urbanization and labour migration, especially among youth, on the other hand; to operationalize the research results of the MOST programme on "Asia-Pacific and Migration Research Network" and to enlarge the regular budget project on the "enhancement of learning and training opportunities for youth"; to increase the understanding of causes, factors and mechanisms that induce youngsters to migrate to urban areas; to promote operational actions to demonstrate how youth unemployment can be tackled through training offered.

Expected results: Effective training modules produced with a view to facilitating the social and professional integration of urban youth; to develop a replicable framework of action for policy-makers on social policies for youth.

Building capacities to deal with poverty eradication Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives: To reinforce UNESCO’s capacities and expertise in the design and delivery of poverty eradication policies, programmes and field projects (in particular in the framework of common-country assessments (CCAs), UNDAFs, and PSRPs), in cooperation with other training activities by HRM, involving staff in all sectors and the various field offices; to implement UNESCO’s cross-cutting strategy on poverty eradication more effectively with a view to attaining expected outcomes; to contribute constructively to efforts to mobilize all organizations of the United Nations system to combat poverty in a concerted manner.

Expected results: Programme specialists, both at Headquarters and in field offices, trained on the formulation of policies and projects in areas of UNESCO’s competence; effective contribution to international, regional and national poverty reduction strategies by integrating educational, cultural, scientific and communication components; UNESCO’s capacity as a clearing house strengthened with a view to disseminating and sharing best practices in assisting population groups in situations of extreme poverty through non-formal education; empowerment, participatory approaches and livelihood generation; conceptual and strategic coherence ensured of the various projects carried out by the Organization relating to poverty eradication.


Development of cultural eco-tourism in mountainous regions in selected developing countries Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To identify potential areas for culturally and environmentally sustainable tourism in mountainous and rural areas of Central Asia and the Himalayas, rich in traditional and minority cultures as well as in biodiversity; to promote best practices in the areas concerned; to explore sustainable tourism patterns that provide income-generating activities in the tourism sector so as to contribute to poverty alleviation of mountain populations.

Expected results. "Wise practices" on mountain tourism management identified for comparable areas; twinning of these practices with new areas developed; recommendations on the development of cultural eco-tourism elaborated and disseminated, taking into account the ecological situation and related cultural aspects; participatory research carried out and information gathered within mountain communities; capacities for mountain tourism management strengthened; website created on "Cultural Eco-tourism in Central Asia/Himalayas".

Strategy for the sustainable development of tourism in the Sahara Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To foster subregional cooperation between the Member States concerned (Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia) for the development of strategic principles and recommendations and for the implementation of "good practices" with respect to tourism; to help to design an international instrument/cooperation agreement to develop tourism in the Sahara, to serve as a tool for the preservation and development of the cultural and natural heritage and the economic, social and cultural development of the local inhabitants; to contribute to the study and protection of the cultural heritage (rock art, archaeological sites, cities, etc.) and natural heritage, and to encourage the Member States concerned to formulate strategies for development and poverty alleviation which incorporate traditional forms of knowledge.

Expected results. Execution of a feasibility study and identification of research themes; establishment of an international committee for the project bringing together national officials, NGO associations, and specialists in culture, environmental science and the human sciences in order to identify joint approaches; elaboration of a draft cooperation agreement and identification of measures for the protection of the heritage and the promotion of good-quality tourism which is conducive to local development.

Sustainable management of world heritage sites for poverty reduction: pilot activities in three world heritage sites Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To enable the local inhabitants to remain in their traditional habitat with improved housing and sanitation, simultaneously maintaining the authenticity of the sites with a view to promoting socially equitable tourism; to mobilize local leaders and project teams; to conduct legal studies on property rights, urban regulations, conservation and development planning; to disseminate results.

Expected results. Feasibility studies completed on subsidy and micro-credit schemes based on socio-economic surveys; local associations of target groups created; living conditions improved in each pilot site; target groups trained in employable skills (crafts, health, education) adapted to local opportunities; video/photo reportage of community events prepared.

Traditional crafts as a window to job opportunities for the poorest youth Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To train poor, disadvantaged children and youth in traditional crafts as part of their regular school programme, thereby providing concrete opportunities for future income-generating employment requiring minimal investment; to provide students with practical skills and impart awareness of their cultural heritage, local know-how and their cultural and natural environment; to improve the status of the crafts people, particularly women, through their integration into the school system and enhancement of their traditional knowledge and skills.

Expected results. Capacities and skills of marginalized children and youth developed in traditional crafts leading to better job opportunities; awareness increased among teachers, principals, students, parents and the community of the value and wealth of traditional arts and crafts, thus reinforcing their cultural identity; status of crafts people within the community recognized and enhanced; integration of local crafts people in community living improved; public awareness raised through project-related exhibitions and media products; diffusion of "best practices" and practical guidelines to ensure replicability.

Youth development and poverty reduction through sustainable community tourism Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To contribute to the reduction of property and to the social and economic development in the Caribbean through training of youths at risk with a view to developing natural and cultural sites in communities designed sustainable community tourism centres; to provide training in literacy, numeracy, life skills, fostering of peace and gender equity; to develop content materials such as video productions; to promote trail maintenance; environmental preservation; disaster preparedness; to provide for electronic networking and relevant business development, including the use of micro-credit.

Expected results. Youths pulled out of poverty and risk; sustainable cultural/national tourism sites functioning; information on sites documented; policy papers produced; application of the World Heritage Convention enhanced.

Communication and Information

Empowering the underprivileged through the use of information and communication technologies Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To test and introduce models for sustainable Internet access and use with a view to empowering underprivileged people. In particular, the project is designed (i) to gain wider access to Internet-based knowledge resources; (ii) to produce local content; and (iii) to mitigate the problems of Internet access arising out of language barriers. A specific objective is to test and introduce different access models for knowledge centres based on convergence of traditional and new media adapted to individual community needs and to each location and responding to various context and challenges.

Expected results. Empowerment of marginalized communities; enhancement of opportunities for women to be included in inclusive democratic processes; production and distribution of a publication on the experience gained so as to assist community-based organizations in their efforts to empower disadvantaged communities.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

EFA Observatory: Helping Member States in monitoring and achieving EFA goals Click here to go back to the top.

Objectives. To collect, analyse and disseminate up-to-date information on the state of education required by countries, regions and the international community monitoring progress towards the goals of Education for All (EFA), especially in the least developed countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The EFA Observatory will give priority to: (i) integrating EFA monitoring data into regular statistical surveys; (ii) developing new indicators and improving existing indicators; (iii) assisting countries to improve their capacities for data collection and analysis through training and technical support, and (iv) promoting awareness and the use of data at the national level by developing analyses of data collected in the UNESCO statistical database.

Expected results. List of existing indicators refined and new indicators developed to monitor EFA goals; data collection instruments and methodology improved and expanded with a view to capturing more policy-relevant, complete, timely and reliable data on EFA-related topics; partnerships with other agencies, national networks, NGOs and civil society reinforced leading to improved sharing of statistics, indicators, best practices and related information; communication and collaboration improved with, and among, data producers and users in Member States and in partner agencies through networks, annual workshops, increased use of ICTs and enhanced methods of consultation; access to and utilization of the UNESCO statistical database and metadata improved; a coherent UNESCO capacity-building strategy developed and an increasing number of Member States assisted in formulating statistical development plans; technical guides and tools produced and disseminated for use in training and as reference tools for national statistical production.


This site last updated: 24/02/2004