Supporting transition in the MENA region
In the Middle East and North Africa Region, popular demands for greater freedoms and political reforms are further strengthened through empowered and educated citizens that can make informed choices in free and fair elections, safeguarded by an independent, professional media and a vibrant civil society.
UNESCO supports the so-called “Arab Spring” in all efforts to create more open, pluralistic and knowledge-based societies. Through offices in Cairo, Rabat, Beirut, Doha and Amman - and new project antenna offices in Tunis and Tripoli - UNESCO’s action in the region are guided by the following strategic objectives:
- Improving the quality of education – The region has significantly increased access to and investment in education, but quality of education services needs to be better addressed.
- Enhancing freedom of expression and access to information – Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are transitioning from restrictive media freedom toward a professional and independent media environment that can enable freedom of expression, pluralism and independence of media.
- Protecting and preserving cultural heritage – The region’s cultural heritage includes seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Egypt, eight in Tunisia and five in Libya. Cultural heritage is not only a source of national pride but also of income generation, with cultural tourism being one of the most important sectors of the economy. Cultural Heritage remains endangered by the risk of looting, conflict or volatile security.
- Generating skills and economic opportunities – The region has among the world’s highest youth unemployment rates, with one in four young people out of work.
- Fostering democratic societies and assisting social transformation processes – UNESCO’s activities promote tolerance, good governance and rule of law; strengthening human rights and supporting civil society, including youth and women’s organizations.