Monthly Letter of UNESCO to NGOs in November

December 06, 2016 - NEWS - Post by: WfpaEdit

The Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information

To  Non-Governmental  Organizations,

Official partners of UNESCO

Ref.  :   ERI/MSP/INO/2016/143          30 November 2016

Dear Partners,

First of all, I wish to express great satisfaction for the successful organization of the Sixth International Forum of NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO held in Querétaro (Mexico) on 3 and 4 November last. I noted an excellent participation of our NGO official partners who strongly mobilized their local and regional branches. It was the first Forum to be held in Latin America and the largest Forum so far in terms of audience – it brought together around 800 participants.

I am particularly pleased that, for the very first time, hundreds of young people from local high schools and universities joined this Forum and took part in the debate. The two-day discussions were held on the theme “From promoting to building Peace with NGOs”, a topic which lies at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate and of Sustainable Development Goal 16, which includes promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. The Forum emphasized the need for action, and the fact that peace cannot be a mere matter of policy making, but a process where the civil society is a full-fledged actor.

I also wish to recall that we are fast approaching an important highlight in the cooperation between NGOs and UNESCO – the 2016 International Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations, which will be held at UNESCO Headquarters from 12 to 14 December on the theme “The challenge of the digital revolution for NGOs”.

Your participation is essential, and I really hope that many of you will be present at this important event. I strongly invite you to register in advance in order to ensure that each NGO has its nominative place in the room and establish the list of representatives authorized to vote.

You will find more information on the Conference on the following websites: and The Desk for Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations remains at your disposal for any further questions which you can sent at

Unite4Heritage Campaign: customizable postcards and video launch

As you are aware, the #Unite4Heritage campaign is a global movement, powered by UNESCO, that aims to celebrate and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world ( Launched in response to the unprecedented attacks on heritage, the campaign calls on everyone to celebrate the places, objects and cultural traditions that make the world such a rich and vibrant place. Governments, private companies, NGOs, cultural and (social) media partners of UNESCO are invited to rally behind this movement.

A way to get involved in the campaign is to send your season’s greetings on a Unite4Heritage postcard: a set of 5 postcards has been published to celebrate the diversity of heritage. To discover the visuals and learn how to customize the cards with your logo, please visit

I am also proud to present the video “The Value of Heritage” that raises awareness about the importance of safeguarding heritage for future generations. This video, funded by the European Union and supported by the Flemish Government and the Government of Austria, was produced by the UNESCO Beirut Office within the framework of the Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage project.

Contact: Ms Armelle Arrou (

17 – 19 January 2016 – International Symposium on School Violence and Bullying: From Evidence to Action, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Co-organized by UNESCO and the Institute of School Violence Prevention at Ewha Womans University, with the financial support of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea, the Symposium aims to deliver safe and non-violent learning environments and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on Education.

The Symposium represents a key opportunity for the international community to respond to the UN Secretary General’s Report on protecting children from bullying and cyberbullying, presented to the UN General Assembly in October 2016. It will also contribute towards the measurement of progress in addressing school-related violence and bullying.

I am sure that the Symposium will be interesting for many of our NGOs working in the field of education, and I encourage you to inform your branches or representatives in the region that could be able to participate. If you are interested in more information on UNESCO’s work against bullying, do not hesitate to consult this devoted website.

Contact: Mr Yongfeng Liu (

27 January 2016 – International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

27 January marks the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Every year around this date, UNESCO commemorates the genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people and other Nazi crimes, and reaffirms its commitment to promote education about the history of the Holocaust, and to fight against racism and antisemitism.

The 2017 Commemoration is placed under the theme “Educating for a Better Future: The Role of Historic Sites and Museums in Holocaust Education”. It will examine the current situation of historic sites of massacre and persecution and discuss challenges faced by memorials and museums, not only as bearing witness to the crimes, a role which will soon no longer be assumed by survivors, but also as central educational institutions. These issues will be explored during a round-table with directors of major Holocaust museums.

UNESCO will also host an unprecedented exhibition prepared by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, which will be presented for the first time to the public and inaugurated by the Museum’s Director, Mr Piotr Cywinski. The exhibition will display personal items belonging to victims, excavated from the site of the crematoria in 1967, lost during years, and recently rediscovered by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

The Official Ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters will notably feature a concert by world renowned musicians Ms Martha Argerich (piano) and Mr Ivry Gitlis (violin), UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

The events are organized in partnership with the Shoah Memorial, Museum, Centre for Contemporary Jewish Documentation (France) and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum (Poland).

For more information on this International Day and UNESCO’s action to support education about the history of the Holocaust and other genocides, please visit:

Contact: Mr Karel Fracapane (

Forum dedicated to NGOs on

I wish to remind you that a space devoted to NGOs is available on the homepage of the UNESCO website dedicated to Member States ( This site allows you to share information about events you will organize, or have organized, to give them greater visibility.

I wish to invite all of you, old partners and new ones, to continue sharing with us your news and the events you organize, to maintain this site and thus inform our Member States and other NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO.

I am pleased to provide you again with the attached form that will allow your major activities to be inserted on our website Please send the completed form in English and French to the mailbox

UNESCO Publications

UNESCO’s collection on “Different Aspects of Islamic Culture” is finally complete with the publication of Volume I on The Foundations of Islam and Volume VI on Islam in the World Today. Launched in 1977 in the spirit of

UNESCO’s General and Regional Histories and completed this year, the collection, overseen by an international scientific committee, is the fruit of 40 years of debate among researchers and experts from varied backgrounds, both Muslims and non-Muslims. It offers readers a large amount of knowledge on Islam and its contribution to the world from a pluralistic and global perspective. The English version of the two volumes as well as the entire collection can be ordered here. French and Arabic versions will be published on a later date.

Published by UNESCO, the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation and the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), the study Cities Welcoming Refugees and Migrants: Enhancing effective urban governance in an age of migration aims to better equip municipal authorities to address knowledge and capacity gaps in their responses to challenges generated by the reception of refugees and migrants. It provides a mapping of the situation with emphasis on Europe, and is available, in English only, under this link.

The 81st issue of World Heritage, entitled World Heritage and Urban Heritage, takes a close look at urban heritage, particularly at World Heritage cities, and how its evolution and need for protection affects site management and conservation. It is published in conjunction with the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, or Habitat III, held in Quito (Ecuador) from 17 to 20 October 2016. The English version can be found here. French and Spanish versions are also available.

Finally, I am pleased to announce the admission of Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF), an NGO based in Canada, to official partnership with UNESCO (consultative status). By clicking on its name, you will be redirected to its website for more information. I welcome LSF and I am happy to extend even further our network of partners.

Eric Falt

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