Execution of programme adopted by UNESCO General Conference – Executive Board 191st session – Director-General’s report

Item 4 of the provisional agenda







Recent decisions and activities of the United Nations system of relevance to the work of UNESCO that have been adopted or have taken place since the 189th session of the Board

67th Session of the General Assembly


162. UNESCO participated in the main segment of the sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly held in New York from 13 September to 24 December 2012, under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr Vuk Jeremic of Serbia.

163. The peaceful settlement of disputes, the rule of law, the promotion of sustainable development, humanitarian assistance, disarmament, crime prevention and combating terrorism were key areas of focus of the Assembly this year. Palestine’s admission as non-Member Observer State as well as the situation in Syria also dominated the debates of this session.





Expected result 2: National capacities strengthened to plan, manage and scale up gender-sensitive, quality literacy and non-formal education policies and programmes

Advocacy & policy dialogue:


  • Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP) has completed the assessments of its work in four countries (Jordan, Mongolia, Palestine, and Paraguay). A report is expected within the first half of 2013. This will contribute to informing international and national policy-making.



Expected Result 1: The 1972 World Heritage Convention effectively implemented

  • The 36th ordinary session of the World Heritage Committee was held in St. Petersburg from 24 June to 6 July 2012. For the first time, all documents were made available to the general public at the time of their distribution to States Parties, and the session was webcast live, thereby enhancing transparency.


  • 26 Tentative Lists were revised in 2012 and 6 States Parties submitted their first Tentative Lists (Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Palestine, Bhutan, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines).


MLA 2: Enhancing the protection of cultural property and fighting against traffic in cultural property through the effective implementation of the 1954, 1970 and 2001 Conventions

Challenges related to the implementation of the 1954 (including its two Protocols), 1970 and 2001 Conventions include the provision of effective assistance – in the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property and its protection – to countries in crisis, conflict or post-conflict situations (e. g. Libya, Syria, Mali), the necessity of providing proper governance to the 1970 Convention, in particular in view of the recent creation of two institutional mechanisms (Meeting of States Parties to be convened every two years, and annual eighteen-Member Subsidiary Committee of the Meeting of the States Parties), as well as the need to increase the ratification rate of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention and of the 2001 Convention. To enhance cost-effectiveness, the Secretariat launched fund-raising initiatives with public and private donors for the organization of statutory meetings, training sessions and awareness-raising events. Consultations are being pursued with the organizers of capacity-building meetings in order to obtain coverage of travel and associated costs for UNESCO representatives. Italy seconded a senior police officer to reinforce the Secretariat of the 1970 Convention.

Expected Result 4: Protection of cultural properties through the effective implementation of the 1954 Convention and its two Protocols enhanced

  • Three Member States (Angola; Benin and Palestine) became party to the 1954 Hague Convention, two (Benin and Palestine) to the 1954 (First) Protocol and for (Benin, Mali, Palestine and Poland) to the 1999 Second Protocol.


Expected Result 6: Implementation of the 1970 Convention made effective and reinforced, and measures enabling the fight against the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property strengthened


  • Three Member States became party to the Convention (Kazakhstan, Palestine and Swaziland).




Expected Result 3: Media capacities strengthened to foster dialogue and reconciliation, contribute to disaster risk reduction, and provide humanitarian information


  • With Canal France International, UNESCO has implemented a series of key activities to foster dialogue and reconciliation and to support media's role in democracy in Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Myanmar, Palestine, and South Sudan.




Expected Result 5 – New partnerships with various stakeholders, including the private sector to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women established and implemented


For the Palestinian Women's Research and Documentation Centre (PWRDC) in Ramallah, UNESCO worked with the Palestinian Authority and the Norwegian Representative Office in Palestine to carry out an evaluation of the Centre. The evaluation report has led to a decision to restructure the Centre, and UNESCO is involved in elaborating a new strategic plan to ensure that PWRDC responds to local needs in terms of research and documentation, and support for gender equality programming within Palestine and in the Arab Region.  


Communication and Information Sector

In the first twelve months of the biennium, the Sector continued to support Global Priority Gender Equality by maintaining a two-pronged approach in mainstreaming gender in all policies and programmes of its work and by implementing gender specific initiatives. UNESCO continues to contribute to the achievement of MDG 3 and other MDGs through interventions addressing three dimensions of gender equality and women's empowerment; capabilities, access to resources and opportunities, and security.


Expected Result 3 – UNESCO-supported training programmes offered on an equal basis to men and women.


Concerning the safety of journalists, and female journalists in particular the IPDC has given particular attention to projects with a gender element. In this regard, six projects have been approved in countries including Liberia, Zimbabwe, Colombia and Palestine targeting specifically women. In addition, a regional project for a Pan-African Conference on Journalist Safety and Tackling Impunity that will give specific attention to gender dimensions was also approved in the framework of the Programme.



Item 4 of the provisional agenda




This addendum presents analytical reports from field offices on the impact of the Organization at country-level, highlighting major results achieved during 2012 including contributions to the UN Country Teams’ (UNCTs) activities and common country programming exercises.


UNESCO Office in Ramallah


Key achievements

450. Education: Within the programme on “Quality Systems for Quality Teachers” (QSQT) funded by the European Union, technical support was provided for developing systems and operational frameworks needed for the implementation of the Teacher Education Strategy (TES), particularly through support to the Commission for Developing the Teaching Profession (CDTP).

− Professional Standards for teachers and school principals have been developed and disseminated;

− Different capacity development programmes focusing on ICT in education, special needs education and educational leadership have been conducted in the West Bank and Gaza as part of the development of pre-service teacher courses;

− As part of the Programme of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and funded by the Islamic Development Bank, UNESCO finalized a project in support of the reconstruction of scientific laboratories in universities in Gaza;

− Pilot schools in West Bank (32) and Gaza (14) have been selected and needs assessment conducted together with the MoE in order to mainstream inclusive education approaches to teaching and learning and establish a Grade 0 (pre-school).

451. Culture: The World Heritage programme, started in 2002, reached its peak in 2012 with the inscription of the “Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route” in Bethlehem into the World Heritage List, the first of thirteen sites currently included in Palestine’s Tentative List (PTL).

− In 2012, UNESCO’s action of preservation policies, advocacy media campaigns and assistance for legal support was key for the protection of the Jerusalem Southern Terraced Landscape-Battir, potential WH site, threatened of irreversible damage and obliteration;

− Based on the methodology of the Bethlehem Area Conservation and Management Plan, three other conservation plans were prepared for the following sites included in the PTL: Sebastia and the Jerusalem Southern Terraced Landscape-Battir in the West Bank and Tell Umm Amer in the Gaza Strip. On-going implementation of the plans addresses the safeguarding of the sites for future generations;

− The publication of the two volumes showcasing the Bethlehem Area Conservation and Management Plan as a model plan for safeguarding Palestinian Historic Urban Landscapes was finalized;

− Two joint programmes (MDG-F on Culture and Development in the oPt – completed, and Human Security in the Jordan Valley – ongoing in its final phase) achieved significant results and visibility, placing Culture on the agenda of the Palestinian Authority.

452. Communication and Information: Capacity-building of the WATTAN News Department and the Palestinian media in conflict-sensitive reporting to a diverse range of Palestinian media professionals to cover the factional conflict:

− Several workshops and training courses were held both in West Bank and Gaza, aiming at building the capacities of journalists, with the participation of 53 young Palestinian journalists, in the areas of safety, reporting in conflict sensitive situations and areas, filming and professional news gathering, writing and editing benefitted from the trainings.

− Two other activities took place on the occasion of 2012 World Press Freedom day (WPFD, which was held in West Bank and Gaza on two separate dates to accommodate the wide range of participation among professional journalists, editors, bloggers, professional associations and media owners, International and local freedom of expression experts and academics. On the same level of participation, four of UNESCO’s partners (2 females and 2 males) participated in the global event of the 2012 WPFD which was held in Tunisia.

− The implementation of the Media Development Indicators Methodology was launched by the advisory committee, under the guidance of the expert Toby Mendel who shall also review the report to be produced by two lead national coordinators in the West Bank and Gaza. The project is expected to be finished by July 2013.

453. Gender: Within the framework of the MDG focusing on achieving gender equality and under the technical leadership of UNESCO and UN Women, capacity of gender advocates to influence policy makers and legislators enhanced through two specific activities:

− Building capacities of gender advocates at the central level (Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Health, Central Elections Commission, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), NGOs) by training women in research and data analysis on gender-based violence and the linkages with policy formulation through the development of related action plans; and

− Building networking capacities of women organizations in Gaza and the West Bank. UNESCO has been focusing on a top-down approach to increase capacities of policy makers on gender-based violence, sex-disaggregated indicators, and integration of gender-sensitive indicators into national laws. UNESCO also delivered training sessions to the members of the PLC on gender equality.

454. Activities carried out by the Palestinian Women’s Research and Documentation Centre (PWRDC) contributed to the following three main outcomes:

− Research on gender equality in the occupied Palestinian territory was further developed with a view to inform advocacy on the policy level, and developing appropriate laws that protect women rights;

− Capacities of governmental and non-governmental organizations were strengthened to better address gender and human rights issues, focusing on behavioral changes;

− Coordination and partnerships were strengthened at the local, regional and international levels with a view to facilitate knowledge sharing and advocacy on gender equality.

Contribution to the UNCT activities

455. UNESCO continued effective coordination of the UN Education Group and particularly coordination of the implementation of the UN/MoE package on inclusive and child-friendly education and early childhood development with the Ministry of Education and eight other UN agencies with the objective of strengthening the capacity of MoE to promote access to quality education for all Palestinian children. This package has been instrumental in strengthening UN coordination in the education sector and is at the heart of the upcoming UNDAF for Palestine (education sector coordinated by UNESCO).

456. Besides contributing to the Interagency Rapid Assessment (IRA), UNESCO was a key partner to the Education Cluster assessment, with particular emphasis on assistance to Higher Education Institutions and reactivation of INEE network in Gaza. A follow-up to the conflict-Disaster Risk Reduction is included in the 2013 Consolidated Appeals Process for the occupied Palestinian territory.

457. The four main sectors of the UNESCO Ramallah Office, Education, Culture, Communication and Information and Gender are actively involved in the development of the UNDAF.

Major Challenges

458. Due to the unstable political and security situation, significant delays were experienced in the education programme. The security situation in Gaza and the destruction of one of the pilot schools affected the installation. In the area of culture, sustainability of coordinated efforts for long-lasting developmental interventions cannot be ensured. Moreover, the developmental agenda is regularly superseded by the humanitarian agenda.

459. In the area of communication and information, funding is a challenge. While most of the activities had high impact on the journalism community and professionals, lack of adequate equipment is constraining the effectiveness and sustainability of the capacity development programmes.



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