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Executive Board

Hundred and eightieth session

180 EX/48

PARIS, 21 July 2008 Original: English

Item 48 of the provisional agenda


SUMMARY This document is presented in compliance with 177 EX/Decision 64. It summarizes progress achieved by UNESCO since the 177th session of the Board in implementing assistance in favour of Iraq. No financial or administrative implications. Action expected paragraph 21. by the Executive Board: decision proposed in

180 EX/48

INTRODUCTION 1. This document reports on progress achieved by UNESCO in contributing, within its fields of competence, to the ongoing reconstruction and reconciliation process in Iraq since June 2007. 2. During the period under review, UNESCO continued to implement its activities, mainly from Amman in accordance with United Nations security regulations, with a core group of national staff working in Baghdad. Despite the fact that the volatile security situation posed inevitable constraints to operational action, UNESCO has been able successfully to advance the implementation of its activities, with over US $60 million in extrabudgetary funding and a rate of delivery under the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund (The International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq IRFFI) which is among the highest of all United Nations agencies working in Iraq. 3. In August 2007, the Security Council voted unanimously resolution 1770 which calls for an extension of the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for an additional 12 months and an expanded United Nations role in Iraq. From the beginning of his tenure in September 2007, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr Staffan de Mistura, committed actively to a greater in-country presence, and many agencies, including UNESCO, are in the process of reinforcing their presence in Iraq. EDUCATION 4. Education remains the major area of UNESCO assistance to Iraq and the Organization is deputy leader of the Education Sector in UNAMI. Assistance focused on overall support and advice to the reform of the education system through capacity development of the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), including at the governorate and directorate levels. Also, UNESCO strived to increase access to quality education and learning for vulnerable students, especially refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), including addressing their psychological needs. In February 2008, in partnership with the World Bank and UNICEF, UNESCO organized a meeting on the Iraqi National Strategy for Education with high-level participants from the Ministries of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research in both Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region and with international partners. The meeting aimed at identifying the needs and priorities of the Iraqi education sector and reaching consensus on the framework for a National Strategy on Education in Iraq. Education projects funded by UNDG Iraq Trust Fund 5. Implementation progressed in the context of the following operational assistance projects:

5.1 Literacy and life skills development project ($2.3 million, earmarked funds to UNESCO from Japan through the UNDG Trust Fund). Further to results previously reported (177 EX/64 Rev., para. 10), UNESCO established two additional community learning centres (CLCs) benefiting adult illiterate and semi-literate women and girls belonging to disadvantaged and marginalized population groups. In August 2007, a youth centre in Basra was inaugurated in partnership with Norwegian Church Aid, providing courses on literacy, English language, basic engineering, computer skills and first aid, as well as sports and other recreational activities, to students and children aged from 7 to 18 years old. In preparation for the National Campaign on Literacy in Iraq, UNESCO developed advocacy materials encouraging illiterates and semi-literates to enrol in existing non-formal education programmes. Since 2006, UNESCO has been providing peace education and literacy classes in the Southern Marshlands (Basra, Thiqar and Missan) in partnership with the AMAR International Charitable Foundation. The beneficiaries (some 1,800 individuals) have been able to sit for final exams accredited by the Ministry of Education in Baghdad.

180 EX/48 page 2 5.2 Improving the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) project ($5.3 million funded by Germany under the UNDG Trust Fund along with an additional $3.5 million for ILO and UN-Habitat, UNESCOs implementing partners in the project). This project aims at developing a nation-wide policy for TVET, ensuring coherence among all ministries involved and at implementing related plans and programmes. Under UNESCO leadership, a meeting was held in August 2007 in Amman with the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), Foundation of Technical Education (FTE) and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), as well as other concerned agencies, to agree on the overall implementation strategies and work plans in TVET. UNESCO has since reviewed the programme outlines and equipment specifications for TVET disciplines intended to be established or upgraded in Iraqs vocational centres, and technical equipment procured (electronics, sewing, computers, food production/food services machinery and hardware) was delivered to 37 vocational schools. The specific strategy and action plan for a national apprenticeship programme was debated at a meeting in June 2008 in Amman. The Governance Model, Organizational Framework, Performance Assessment and Quality Assurance Framework for TVET in Iraq will be finalized in mid-July 2008, upon which the full-scale implementation of the policy will be launched. 5.3 Local area development programme ($3.2 million under the UNDG Trust Fund). Together with six other United Nations Agencies (ILO, UNOPS, UNIFEM, WHO, UN-HABITAT, UNDP), UNESCO is providing a wide range of targeted assistance to the governorates of Babylon, Suleimanya and the Southern Marshlands (Missan, Thiqar and Basra). More specifically, UNESCO is charged with the establishment of technical and vocational centres and provision of new workshop equipment and capacity-building programmes, as well as development of training materials to empower local communities in accordance with the existing labour market. 5.4 Project on Strengthening secondary education in Iraq ($4.7 million, funds from the European Commission (EC) under the UNDG Trust Fund). Fifty-five secondary schools were rehabilitated, with the delivery and installation of equipment and furniture to be completed by September 2008. A training programme for e-library supervisors was organized in September 2007 in Amman, which enabled 11 school librarians to improve their competencies in managing, developing and maintaining e-library information resources and services. In October 2007, a Data Loggers Training Programme was organized in Amman to improve knowledge and skills of Iraqi laboratory supervisors in planning, preparing and carrying out science experiments using data loggers. 5.5 Project on ICTs in education ($1.9 million, funded by the EC under the UNDG Trust Fund) carried out in partnership with UNESCWA. In November 2007, a study tour to Morocco was organized to train policy-makers in the formulation of a national policy document for the introduction of ICT into the Iraqi curriculum. Another workshop was organized in Amman for officials from the Ministries of Education in Baghdad and Kurdish Regional Government to develop a strategy for e-learning in Iraqi Schools. 5.6 In the field of higher education, thanks to a contribution of $2.3 million funded by the EC under the UNDG Trust Fund, UNESCO is working with the Iraqi Strategic Study Commission to prepare a strategic plan for teacher training in Iraq, including capacity-building for ministerial staff. UNESCO has established the Teacher Training Network for Iraq (TTNI), which developed a fruitful linkage with six international universities. During the reporting period, the following training workshops and seminars for representatives of Iraqi tertiary institutions were organized: Chemistry and biology: University of Alberta (Canada) workshop benefiting 14 core university lecturers (31 October-21 November 2007); Mathematics: University of Buckingham and Bangor University workshop (UK), benefiting seven Iraqi core university lecturers (1-21 November 2007);

180 EX/48 page 3 Physics: University College Dublin (Ireland) workshop benefiting eight Iraqi core university lecturers (4-21 December 2007); Environment education: Bangor University (UK) workshop benefiting eight Iraqi core university lecturers (17 January-5 February 2008); Fine arts, special education and peace and democracy: University of Foggia (Italy) workshop (7-17 April 2008); Peacekeeping management: As part of a new phase of the Masters Fellowships Programme in Peacekeeping Management initiated in December 2007, four additional fellows from Iraq are registered for Masters studies at the University of Turin (Italy). In addition, in collaboration with the Geneva International Peace Research Institute (GIPRI), UNESCO participated in the Geneva Seminar on Iraqi Universities (SEGUI) in November 2007, which consolidated the RISIPRI Network, a framework which helps Iraqi scholars integrate with the European scientific community through cooperation and research. The Seminar also represented a key phase in the launch of the Babylon Research Programme (2007-2010) which aims at allowing Iraq to renew its links with its cultural past, and address the cultural and scientific collapse of the last 20 years. 5.7 Owing to the prevailing situation on the ground and in order to meet the most urgent needs of the Iraqi people, especially refugees and IDPs, and with a generous contribution of $5.6 million from the European Commission under the UNDG Trust Fund, UNESCO is assisting the MoE in providing learning opportunities through distance learning delivery mechanisms such as educational television programmes for Iraqi students of grades 12, 9 and 6 (transitional grades). To this end, the rehabilitation of the MoE television station started on 25 May 2008 and 35 MoE educational specialists were trained in June 2008 on the preparation/presentation of television programmes. In addition, a broadcasting unit is being established in the MoE and the first two shipments of the broadcasting equipment reached the Ministry in June 2008. The rest of the equipment will be installed by the end of July 2008. Production of the educational television programmes will start at the end of June 2008 and transmissions are expected to start in September 2008. 5.8 UNESCO has also established, with regular programme funds, the Iraqi School Textbooks Online website which contains electronic versions (PDF files) of all Iraqi school textbooks. While accessible to all, this is of special benefit to the out-of-school population, IDPs and refugees, as well as to school principals, teachers and NGOs, as it provides quick, simple and efficient access to these necessary materials. Education projects proposed for funding by other sources 6. The UNESCO proposed project on supporting the educational and psychosocial needs of vulnerable Iraqi students ($2.6 million) is included under the 2008 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP). This project aims at increasing access to education for vulnerable students (in conflictaffected areas, IDPs, etc.) through support and provision of educational material and provision of technical assistance to government personnel and local communities. CULTURE 7. UNESCOs activities in Iraq aimed not only at safeguarding tangible and intangible heritage, but also at supporting intensified efforts by the government to promote dialogue and national reconciliation.

180 EX/48 page 4 8. Rehabilitation of the Al-Askari Holy Shrine project ($5.4 million funded by the European Commission under the UNDG Trust Fund and $3 million funded by the Government of Iraq through a self-benefiting funds-in-trust). Following the two bombings of the Al-Askari Holy Shrine in Samarra in February 2006 and June 2007, UNESCO prepared a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for the damaged site. In preparation for Phase I of the project, urgent preventive works to protect the building were carried out and the required plans for the restoration were prepared. In October and November 2007, training was conducted for national architects and engineers who would be involved in the rehabilitation work and supervision of the site. At the end of January 2008, six field missions had been conducted by international experts to classify the materials scattered on the site and clean the surroundings of the Shrine. In May 2008, a team comprised of a UNESCO site manager and an Iraqi engineer from Samarra was established to supervise work on the site. The team will be further reinforced with a technical expert and a senior engineer. 9. Project on the Revitalization of the Erbil Citadel ($1.475 million for Phase I, funded by the Kurdistan Regional Government). UNESCO experts visited Erbil in March 2008 to assess the Citadel site and identify urgent remedial work to be undertaken to prevent further deterioration. A contractor was pre-selected through international bidding to undertake the Erbil Citadel Conservation Master Plan. Training on conservation and restoration techniques for project staff was launched in May 2008, and included a one-week field study in Istanbul from 15 to 22 June 2008. 10. Project on the Restoration of Dar al-Wali in Baghdad ($100,000, funded by Turkey). The revised version of the project document, prepared initially in 2005 for the restoration of the Ottoman Building known as Dar al-Wali in Baghdad, was approved by the donor in May 2008. Project implementation is planned to commence in July 2008. 11. The third Special Session on Babylon was organized on the occasion of the third plenary session of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq (ICC), held at UNESCO Headquarters on 13 and 14 November 2007. In the follow-up to the 2007 ICC recommendations, two ICC sub-committee meetings were organized: one in June 2008 in Berlin to finalize the compilation of the assessment report on damages caused to Babylon, and the other in August 2008 in Erbil to assess the current situation of libraries and archives. 12. Several capacity-building activities in heritage conservation were undertaken:

12.1 Within the framework of the project Restoration of the laboratories of the Iraq National Museum (INM) in Baghdad ($1 million funded by Japan), a three-month training course for Iraqi museum staff was carried out from September to November 2007 at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Japan. A follow-up six-month training course will commence in July 2008. 12.2 Within the framework project for the Management enhancement and capacity-building in museums in Iraq ($80,795 funded by Norway), a three-week training workshop in museum management was carried out in August and September 2007. 12.3 Following an International Assistance Request submitted by the Government of Iraq in October 2006, a training workshop on natural heritage took place from 9 to 12 June 2008 in Erbil, Kurdistan funded under UNESCOs regular budget. NATURAL SCIENCES 13. UNESCO participates in the United Nations Sector Outcome Team for Agriculture and Food Security which covers agriculture, environment and natural resources management, and plays a

180 EX/48 page 5 leading role in capacity-building for water resource management and on environmental issues, in coordination with other United Nations agencies. 14. In the field of water resource management, UNESCO focused on upgrading technical capacities of water experts and strengthening institutional capacities to improve integrated water resources management within the framework of the global UNESCO water programme. The Iraqi National International Hydrological Programme Committee has been acting as focal point for water-related activities since its reactivation in 2005. UNESCO is also part of a project funded by the United States State Department and implemented by the United States Department of Energy, aimed at developing the Iraqi National Water System model, a planning and decision-making tool to enable policy-makers to predict future water scenarios in the country. The first phase of the project was completed in June 2008 and the second phase will be launched shortly thereafter. 15. Within the framework of the project Rehabilitation and conservation of Kahrez systems in northern Governorates ($1,600,628 under the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund), the first international training course was conducted by the International Centre on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures (ICQHS), a UNESCO category 2 centre in Iran. A second training course was carried out in June 2008 for 15 Iraqi experts on practical rehabilitation of Kahrez systems (ancient water conveyance systems). This project aims at cleaning and rehabilitating selected Kahrez systems in the Kurdistan Governorates involving local communities, as well as updating knowledge and expertise in conservation and maintenance of these ancient hydraulic systems for long-term water management. 16. In the field of ecological and earth sciences, UNESCO, in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), organized a workshop on Natural World Heritage and Biodiversity in Erbil, in June 2008. This five-day workshop was funded by the World Heritage Centre and hosted by the Ministry of Environment of the Kurdistan Regional Government. More than 30 environmental experts and officials from throughout Iraq were trained on the World Heritage, the Biodiversity Convention and how to prepare a nomination file for the World Heritage List and the national action plan for biodiversity, using the Iraqi marshlands as an example. 17. In basic engineering sciences, following the approval of Iraqs membership of the SESAME programme, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research attended the eleventh SESAME Council in Amman in November 2007. COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION 18. UNESCO has been actively engaged with UNAMI in supporting the upcoming electoral process through enhanced media coverage of electoral activities. In close collaboration with the United Nations Country Team and the International Electoral Assistance Team (IEAT), UNESCO developed a media and election project focused on capacity-building of the media to better report on elections in accordance with the Communication and Media Commission (CMC) guidelines. Part of the project is also to facilitate better comprehension of electoral processes, the role of the Independent Higher Electoral Commission (IHEC) and rules and regulations in terms of elections. In the same field, UNESCO produced manuals on elections for the Arab region: a reference document for journalists covering national and local elections, including information on election processes, international conventions and standards in coverage of elections, rights and freedom of the media. The project is still under finalization. 19. As part of the overall United Nations support to the constitutional review process, UNESCO continued implementing the project on Good governance through support to independent, pluralistic, professional and sustainable media ($1,047,039 Iraq Trust Fund). This project seeks to promote the construction of a legal framework conducive to independent and pluralistic media, and to enable that framework to protect media freedom by building capacities both among media professionals (through the development of professional associations and capabilities) as

180 EX/48 page 6 well as public officials (through awareness-raising regarding the principles of transparency and access to information). In addition, UNESCO has engaged broadcasters in developing a code of conduct for self-regulation and protecting the safety of journalists. On 25 March 2008, the code was officially launched in Amman, with the aim of raising the professional standards of journalism and encouraging respect for diversity in the country. 20. On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2008 (3 May), UNESCO, in partnership with UNDP, organized a series of workshops for Iraqi media professionals (broadcast and print media) and Iraqi NGO/CSO representatives, with the aim of developing a media guide on reporting on disabilities. Action expected by the Executive Board 21. In the light of the above, the Executive Board may wish to adopt a decision along the following lines: The Executive Board, 1. 2. 3. Recalling 177 EX/Decision 64, Having examined document 180 EX/48, Acknowledges with appreciation the results achieved in the implementation of educational, cultural, scientific and media activities and the mobilization of substantial extrabudgetary resources to this effect; Encourages the Director-General to continue giving full support to the Iraqi Government in its implementation of educational, cultural, scientific and media programmes, in particular through capacity-building activities and by addressing the most urgent humanitarian needs of populations most affected by the crisis, including displaced Iraqis; Invites the Director-General to continue monitoring the implementation of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq (ICC); Expresses its gratitude to all donors for their substantial contribution to UNESCOs action in favour of the Iraqi people, and appeals to them to continue to assist UNESCO in its efforts to foster reconstruction and dialogue in Iraq; Invites the Director-General to present a further report at its 182nd session.





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