The Seychelles National Commission for UNESCO was created in October 1977. It has governmental status and it is attached to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development from which it receives administration and secretarial support. Cooperation with other Ministries, Departments and Organisations working in areas related to Education, Science, Culture and Communication and Information is ensured through the membership of Principal Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers of these organisations in the general assembly of the Commission. The Commission is in direct contact with the Permanent Delegation in Paris, France at UNESCO for follow up on all UNESCO matters.
The Commission does not have a budget nor a bank account. It receives financial support from the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. Other Ministries, Departments and Organisations will normally fund activities that relate to their area of expertise. The Commission does not raise funds.
The general assembly normally meets twice a year and is composed of the President, Mrs Jeanne Simeon, who is also the Minister for Education and Human Resource Development. The Secretary General is Dr Marie-Reine Hoareau and the Assistant Secretary General is Mrs Vicky Gendron. Then there are 11 representatives from the following Ministries, Departments and Organisations:
Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development: Dr Odile De Comarmond (PS-ECPSE) Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change: Mrs Jeannette Larue (TA) National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation: Mr Xavier Estico (CEO) Department of Foreign Affairs: Amanda Padayachy (DG) Department of Culture : Cecile Kalebi (PS) Department of Information and Communication Technology: Benjamin Choppy (PS) Seychelles Island Foundation: Dr Frauke Dogley (CEO) Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation: Berard Dupres (CEO) Citizen Engagement Platform of Seychelles: Michel Pierre (CEO) Seychelles National Youth Council: Alvin Laurence (CEO) University of Seychelles: Dr Justin Valentin (VC)
Education is one of the five major programmes of UNESCO. It deals with issues like Education for All, gender equality, global citizenship education, peace education and education for sustainable development. Education Ministers and their representatives met at the World Education Forum in 2000 in Dakar to reach six education goals by 2015. The goals were firstly to expand Early Childhood Care and Education; improve access to and complete free schooling of good quality for all children of primary age; greatly increase learning opportunities for youth and adults; improve adult literacy rates by 50%; eliminate gender disparities in schooling and improve all aspects of education quality.
In May 2015 Ministers, Heads and members of delegations, heads of agencies and officials of multilateral and bilateral organizations met at the World Education Forum 2015 in the Republic of Korea at the invitation of the Director General of UNESCO to discuss the future of education. They realized that they have not reached the Education for All targets and thus decided to come up with a new vision called Education 2030 Agenda. This new vision was aimed at transforming the lives of people through education and to recognize the role of education as a main driver of development. This new vision highlighted the need to expand access to education; ensure inclusion and equity; ensure gender equality, quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.
In September 2015 the International Community met in New York at the UN Sustainable Development Summit to discuss the future for the planet and the people living on the planet. They came up with 17 Sustainable Development Goals relating to all aspects of peace and development. The SDG4 encapsulates the universal vision for education which is to 'Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all'. For more information on all the SDGs go to https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs
Specialized UNESCO institutes and centers in the field of education include the following:
1) International Bureau of Education (Geneva): www.ibe.unesco.org 2) International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (Addis Ababa): www.iicba.unesco.org 3) International Institute for Educational Planning (Paris): www.unesco.org/iiep 4) UNESCO Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (Caracas): https://uia.org/s/or/en/1100057293 5) UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (Moscow): www.iite.ru 6) UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (Hamburg): www.uil.unesco.org 7) European Centre for Higher Education (Bucharest): www.coe.int/t/dg4/highereducation/ehea2010/stakeholderscepes_EN.asp 8) International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Bonn): www.unevoc.unesco.org 9) UNESCO Institute for Statistics (Montreal): www.uis.unesco.org
UNESCO reinforces the capacities of developing countries in basic and life sciences, engineering and technology in partnership with diverse funding agencies. It provides advice and technical assistance so that government can formulate and implement science and technology policies and strategies. It also works with a range of agencies, scientific and technological organizations and NGOs. Two major partners include the International Council for Science and the International Council for Engineering and Technology.
Under the Natural Sciences programme, UNESCO develops programmes to better understand and manage the resources of the earth. Water is a priority for UNESCO and under the International Hydrological Programme it aims to provide scientific knowledge, technical training and policy advice to member states to assist them in managing this resource. Member states can also be assisted with tools and strategies to prevent water conflicts. https://en.unesco.org/themes/water-security/hydrology
The International Oceanographic Commission coordinates the research of UN agencies and institutes on the ocean. It also monitors the ocean conditions to improve weather forecasts and provide early warnings of tsunamis and storm surges. www.ioc-unesco.org
The Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme is a network of special places for people and nature that covers a majority of the earth land ecosystem. A biosphere reserve allows scientists and environmentalist to test ways of managing natural resources while also allowing economic development. www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences
The Global Renewable Energy Education Training Programme (GREET) helps developing countries to define and implement renewable energy programmes while raising public awareness of its importance. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/science-technology/engineering/renewable-and-alternative-energies/
The Small Islands Voice platform allows small islands states to collaborate and disseminate information on sustainable development along the coastal areas. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/priority-areas/sids/sids-conferences/mauritius-conference-2005/themes/enabling-environments/small-islands-voice-siv/
Social and Human Sciences
UNESCO works at all levels from the teacher in the class to the Minister of Education to disseminate information and educate people on human rights and ethics. The organization provides teacher training materials, organizes conferences and helps national, regional and international organizations to develop strategies and networks to promote the respect for human rights.
UNESCO plays a vital role as an ethical, philosophical and scientific forum to discussion ranging from human security, conflict prevention, inter-cultural dialogue, social transformations, and global citizenship.
In the field of science and technology the organization has developed ethical guidelines, standards and legal instruments including the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights produced by the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee which was adopted in 1997. The Declaration serves as a legal document and a basis for reflection on issues like human cloning. The World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) unites scientists and intellectuals to develop ethical guidelines in four areas namely outer space, information society, energy consumption and freshwater. www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-social-sciences/themes/bioethics
UNESCO conducts studies on issues like urbanism and governance through a range of grassroots projects, consultations and academic networks through the Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST). MOST focuses on research to assist member states to develop policies and structures in a multi-cultural societies, putting the emphasis on inclusion and the eradication of poverty. www.unesco.org/most
UNESCO publishes the International Social Science Journal in six languages to share the opinions of social scientist and bridge the gap between communities of social scientists.
UNESCO works to protect and promote the heritage of all the nations of the world to maintain peace and sustainable development. There are numerous conventions and declarations that ensures the preservation of heritage. The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted in 1972 was based on the premise that certain places on earth are of universal value and as such should form part of the common heritage of the world. While fully protecting national sovereignty and without prejudice to property rights provided by national legislation the States Parties to the Convention recognize that the protection of the world heritage is the duty of the international community as a whole. Examples of cultural and natural sites of universal value include the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the City of Timbuktu in Mali. The World Heritage Centre is the permanent secretariat of the convention. For more information go to http://whc.unesco.org.
By adopting the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) member states demonstrate their conviction that cultural diversity is one of the roots of development and reject the idea that conflict is inevitable. UNESCO works with all stakeholders to implement the principles and action plan of the Declaration which aims to promote intercultural dialogue. Key legal instruments for culture:
1950: Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials (Florence Agreement) with its protocol (Nairobi) to improve circulation of knowledge.
1952: Universal Copyright Convention, revised in 1971, protects intellectual property from scientific and literary texts to film and sculpture
1954: Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
1970: Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
1972: Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
1980: Recommendation concerning the status of Artist recognizes the special labour conditions of artists and their unique role in society's development
2001: Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage
2001: Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity
Communication and Information
UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right. The Organization provides policy advice, develops networks and encourage governments to develop standards and legislative instruments like laws to defend freedom of expression and freedom of the press. UNESCO serves as a watchdog for press freedom by publicly denouncing serious abuses like assassination and detention of media professionals. It works to protect threatened individuals through diplomatic channels. The annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World press Freedom Prize is awarded to individuals and institutes defending freedom of expression.
The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) promotes media development in developing countries. IPDC funds a range of projects like training courses, the modernization of news agencies and broadcasting organisations and also emphasizes the need for free and pluralistic media in developing countries. https://en.unesco.org/programme/ipdc
The Information for All Programme allows member states and their government to harness the new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information. It encourages debate on the political, ethical and societal challenges of the emerging global knowledge society and developing projects to promote equitable access to information. The programme serves as a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines promoting access to and preservation of information. https://en.unesco.org/programme/ifap