Australia’s environment minister said Tuesday her government will lobby against UNESCO adding the Great Barrier Reef to a list of endangered World Heritage sites. Officials from the U.N. cultural agency and the International Union for Conservation of Nature released a report on Monday warning that without “ambitious, rapid and sustained” climate action, the world’s largest coral reef is in peril. The report, which recommended shifting the Great Barrier Reef to endangered status, followed a 10-day mission in March to the famed reef system off Australia’s northeast coast that was added to the World Heritage list in 1981. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said the report was a reflection on Australia’s previous conservative government, which was voted out of office in May elections after nine years in power. She said the new center-left Labor Party government has already addressed several of the report’s concerns, including action on climate change. “We’ll very clearly make the point to UNESCO that there is no need to single the Great Barrier Reef out in this way" with an endangered listing, Plibersek told reporters. read more: Coral reefs' survival at stake: Unesco “The reason that UNESCO in the past has singled out a place as at risk is because they wanted to see greater government investment or greater government action and, since the change of government, both of those things have happened,” she added. The new government has legislated to commit Australia to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below the 2005 level by 2030. The previous government only committed to a reduction of 26% to 28% by the end of the decade. Plibersek said her government has also committed 1.2 billion Australian dollars ($798 million) to caring for the reef and has canceled the previous government’s plans to build two major dams in Queensland state that would have affected the reef’s water quality. “If the Great Barrier Reef is in danger, then every coral reef in the world is in danger,” Plibersek said. “If this World Heritage site is in danger, then most World Heritage sites around the world are in danger from climate change.” The report said Australia’s federal government and Queensland authorities should adopt more ambitious emission reduction targets in line with international efforts to limit future warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. Read more: Great Barrier Reef enters crucial period in coral bleaching The minor Greens party, which wants Australia to slash its emissions by 75% by the end of the decade, called for the government to do more to fight climate change in light of the report. Jodie Rummer, a marine biologist at James Cook University in Townville who has worked on the reef for more than a decade, supported calls for Australia to aim for a 75% emissions reduction. “We are taking action, but that action needs to be much more rapid and much more urgent,” Rummer told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We cannot claim to be doing all we can for the reef at this point. We aren’t. We need to be sending that message to the rest of the world that we are doing everything that we possibly can for the reef and that means we need to take urgent action on emissions immediately,” she added. Feedback from Australian officials, both at the federal and state level, will be reviewed before Paris-based UNESCO makes any official proposal to the World Heritage committee. In July last year, the previous Australian government garnered enough international support to defer an attempt by UNESCO to downgrade the reef’s status to “in danger” because of damage caused by climate change. The Great Barrier Reef accounts for around 10% of the world’s coral reef ecosystems. The network of more than 2,500 reefs covers 348,000 square kilometers (134,000 square miles). Australian government scientists reported in May that more than 90% of Great Barrier Reef coral surveyed in the latest year was bleached, in the fourth such mass event in seven years. Bleaching is caused by global warming, but this is the reef’s first bleaching event during a La Niña weather pattern, which is associated with cooler Pacific Ocean temperatures, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority said in its annual report. Bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020 damaged two-thirds of the coral. Coral bleaches as a response to heat stress and scientists hope most of the coral will recover from the latest event.
Some of the world's most iconic glaciers are set to vanish by 2050 due to carbon emissions warming the planet, said a new study by UNESCO. Fifty UNESCO World Heritage sites are home to glaciers, representing about 10 percent of the world's glacier areas, including some of the world's best-known glaciers. They include the highest (next to Mount Everest), the longest (in Alaska), and the last remaining glaciers in Africa. Glaciers in a third of sites are under threat. However, UNESCO said, the rest can still be saved if global temperatures do not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial times. The UNESCO study shows that these glaciers have been retreating at an accelerated rate since 2000 due to CO2 emissions. World Heritage glaciers lose on average some 58 billion tons of ice every year – equivalent to the total annual volume of water used in France and Spain together – and are responsible for nearly five percent of observed global sea-level rise. The glaciers under threat are in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania. "Only a rapid reduction in our CO2 emissions levels can save glaciers and the exceptional biodiversity that depends on them. COP27 will have a crucial role to help find solutions to this issue," UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said. Also, UNESCO is advocating for the creation of a new international fund for glacier monitoring and preservation – such a fund would support comprehensive research, promote exchange networks between all stakeholders and implement early warning and disaster risk reduction measures. Read more: Melting ice imperils 98% of Emperor penguin colonies by 2100 Half of humanity depends directly or indirectly on glaciers as their water source for domestic use, agriculture, and power. Glaciers are also pillars of biodiversity, feeding many ecosystems. "When glaciers melt rapidly, millions of people face water scarcity and the increased risk of natural disasters such as flooding, and millions more may be displaced by the resulting rise in sea levels," said International Union for Conservation of Nature Director General Bruno Oberle.
Bangladesh's initiative to encourage a culture of innovation by instituting the UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Award earned plaudits recently, at the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or Mondiacult 2022, held in Mexico, The final declaration got adopted by the world leaders who agreed to establish an innovation economy, among other things. Organized with the global goal of establishing the role of culture in sustainable development, this international conference was attended by 136 cultural affairs ministers and state minister level leaders, diplomats, cultural activists, organizers and civil society individuals from 150 countries of the world. A delegation of 3 members led by Bangladesh's State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Ambassador of Bangladesh to France and UNESCO Khandaker M Talha and First Secretary Md. Walid bin Kashem participated in the conference. At the conference, Khalid was invited to share his speech at the 'Future of Innovation Economy' Minister-level round table meeting, he thanked UNESCO for formulating the 'UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Award' in the innovation economy sector in 2020. “The innovation economy will play a role as a renewable regulator in the implementation of sustainable development goals and will play an effective role in protecting neglected cultural heritage in different parts of the world,” KM Khalid said at the meeting. Read: Bangladesh elected to UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage committee for 4 years He also called for cooperation among international leaders to develop a culture that is safe, accountable, and controlled. A proposal has been made for the teaching of culture in educational institutions as a response to the conference's identification of education and culture as complementary to one another. Additionally, in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, all nations are urged to develop cultural policies and update them as needed. In Bangladesh, the National Culture Policy was formulated in 2006 and is currently undergoing modernization. Mondiacult 2022 was organized by UNESCO as a continuation of the detailed action plan conducted globally to implement the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The last international cultural conference of this scale was held in Mexico in 1982.
Tourist spots in the country’s southern districts, including the Sundarbans and the historic Shat Gombuj Mosque, are seeing sizeable flow of tourists as travelling has become easy after Padma Bridge opened. The Forest Department is going to open four more eco-tourism centres in the Sundarbans to manage the growing number of tourists. Muhammad Belayet Hossain, divisional forest officer of Sundarbans East Zone, said the mangrove forest is seeing a sharp rise in the number of tourists after the inauguration of Padma Bridge. Read: Sundarbans reopens to tourists, fishermen after 3 months Four new eco-tourism centres are being set up in Alibanda, Andharmanik, Shekhertek and Kalabagi to handle the growing tourist flow. There are already seven eco-tourism centres at Karamjal, Herbaria, Kalagachia, Katka, Kochikhali, Dubla and Heron Point for tourists visiting the Sundarbans. Tourists can visit the three centres in Karamjal, Herbaria and Kalagachia with a fixed entry fee and they have to return within the day. Read “RAB freed Sundarbans from robbers and inspired a quality film”
Bangladesh has been elected to UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) for four years, according to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The country was elected to the Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of the ICH for the 2022-2026 cycle. This is the first time that Bangladesh has been elected to the Intergovernmental Committee formed under the 2009 Convention, said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen Thursday. The elections for the committee took place during the 9th General Assembly of the 2003 Convention held at UNESCO headquarters in France's Paris during July 5-7. Read: Coral reefs' survival at stake: Unesco Against the four seats falling vacant within the Asia-Pacific group, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand presented their candidature. Apart from Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and Malaysia were also elected as members of the committee. In 2020, Bangladesh's Ministry of Cultural Affairs decided to contest this election and it was informed to the UNESCO authorities through the Bangladesh Embassy in Paris. The Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 Convention consists of 24 members and is elected in the General Assembly of the Convention according to the principles of equitable geographical representation and rotation. States members of the committee are elected for four years.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Dhaka University is all set to welcome the Bengali New Year 1429 with the vibrancy and festivity usually associated with Pahela Baishakh on April 14 (Thursday). Regarded as the educational and socio-cultural hub of the country, Dhaka University and its Faculty of Fine Arts (FFA), better known as Charukala, are preparing to observe this year’s Pahela Baishakh for the last couple of weeks. As this year’s Pahela Baishakh is knocking on the door to be celebrated with great enthusiasm after an unfortunate two-year break with restrictions on public gatherings and celebrations of public programmes in 2020 and 2021, this year the DU authority alongside its teachers and students has geared up to welcome the return of the festivities in the campus arena. Also read:Pahela Baishakh celebrations must end by 2 pm: DMP Commissioner Traditionally, every year Dhaka University celebrates this national function with festive traits by arranging different sorts of functions including the colourful procession called the “Mangal Shobhajatra” (March of Good Tidings). The flagship procession was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016.
The first time I was approached to work on the Rohingya community was when a non-governmental organization approached me knowing my humanitarian work as an “artivist”(artist + activist). Indeed, as a UNESCO Artist for Peace, I am using performing art to help survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to better express themselves. This NGO saw my work in Congo with women victims of excision and decided to have me work in Bangladesh for the Rohingya women population especially. This NGO is delivering access to information, education, and cultural resources on serving communities subject to systemic discrimination. My goal was to create pedagogical content to help trainers on site to deliver programs to the women population to get a better sense of autonomy and self-confidence thanks to role games. Going back and forth with those trainers allowed me to also have direct access to the Rohingya women population while some gave feedback on some parts of the training and some very interesting insights. READ: Bangladesh pushes for early repatriation of Rohingyas I immediately realized the willingness of those women to become more autonomous and to better understand how their own value could make a difference in order for their children could be better treated. This sense of “family first” was very present and being a mother myself I felt very close to M. in particular who was explaining that she would have extreme difficulties not only because of those horrific conditions they are living in but also due to the lack of consideration women have in the clan.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places of natural beauty and historical significance that are chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for their outstanding universal value. Currently, there are 1,054 World Heritage Sites in 167 countries, and more are being added all the time. Among those 1,054 sites, 897 cultural, 218 natural, and 39 mixed properties. Let's get to know details about world heritage sites in Ukraine. What are the Seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ukraine? Ukraine has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are treasures of world culture and history and include ancient monasteries, fortresses, and natural wonders. Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Constructed in the 11th century, St. Sophia Cathedral is a superlative example of Byzantine architecture and one of Ukraine's most recognized landmarks. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 for being an outstanding architectural masterpiece that profoundly marked the history and culture not only of Kyiv but substantially transformed Ukraine. The cathedral is located in the midst of a complex of monastic buildings constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries in Ukrainian Baroque style. Read Top 10 Historical Mosques in Bangladesh The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is a world-renowned monastic ensemble that has been in operation since the 11th century. Throughout its history, the lavra has undergone many changes and continued to grow in size and stature. Today, it is a major tourist attraction in Kyiv and remains an important spiritual center for Eastern Orthodox Christians. The Church of the Saviour at Berestove, adjacent to the Lavra, was added to the site in 2005 as part of an effort to restore and preserve cultural heritage sites. Lviv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre Lviv, one of the most beautiful and historically significant cities in Europe, is located in western Ukraine. Lviv's architecture and urban planning are based on a unique mixture of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. The Historic Centre of Lviv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in Europe.
On the occasion of World Hindi Day on January 10, the Director of World Heritage Centre has informed the Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO, Paris that UNESCO's World Heritage Centre has agreed to publish Hindi descriptions of India's UNESCO World Heritage Sites on WHC website. Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO, Paris organized the virtual celebration of World Hindi Day on January 10, 2022, reports ANI. READ: 7pc Bangladesh families have to borrow to send children to school: UNESCO Minister of State of External Affairs and culture, Meenakshi Lekhi gave a video message on World Hindi Day and emphasized the importance of Hindi. India's ambassador/permanent representative to UNESCO, Vishal V. Sharma also highlighted the key points that Hindi attained during the last 75 years of India's independence. For the celebrations, the delegation has received short videos on this occasion from Assistant-Director Generals for Education, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information and Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic. READ: Doleshwar Hanafia Jame Mosque wins UNESCO award The Ambassadors/ permanent Delegates to UNESCO from Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Greece, Iran, Japan, Mongolia, Palestine, Republic of Korea, Palestine, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Vietnam also sent the video message on World Hindi Day. Embassies / High commissions, Consulate Generals of India in Canberra, Wellington Georgetown, Doha, London, Riyadh, Washington D.C., Male, Kathmandu, Colombo, Kuwait, Windhoek, Suriname, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Dushanbe, Port Luis, Johannesburg and Gaborone also celebrated the occasion by sending the videos.
The Asia Foundation and UNESCO Dhaka Office on Wednesday jointly launched “Children Books on Traditional Games.”The launching event with a virtual panel discussion was part of Bangladesh’s celebrations marking the 50 years of the Independence and birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman supported by UNESCO at its 40th General Conference.The Asia Foundation in Bangladesh and UNESCO Dhaka Office joined forces to produce and disseminate books and reading materials focused on cultural heritage of Bangladesh, and to promote reading among children and youth of Bangladesh. READ: 7pc Bangladesh families have to borrow to send children to school: UNESCO As an outcome of this partnership, 11 books were prepared in an age appropriate manner on the Traditional Games of Bangladesh under the theme of “Let’s Read about Heritage’’.The content was developed by reputed children book writers and illustrators under the overall guidance of the Asia Foundation and UNESCO Dhaka Office, presenting traditional games of Bangladesh for children as an expression of cultural identity and living heritage of Bangladesh.The books were approved and highly appreciated by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) and the Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO (BNCU).The e-book versions of the 11 books for Children on Traditional Games are publicly available free of charge on the Asia Foundation's Let's Read's Digital library: https://reader.letsreadasia.org/all/newChildren, parents, students, teachers and caregivers can download the books free of charge to their smartphones, tablets, or other digital devices.Thus enabling their children to learn at and from home, and giving them a chance to learn the expression of cultural identity and living heritage of Bangladesh.The launching event and panel discussion of these children books on traditional games highlighted the importance, challenges and opportunities of the creation of books and strengthening reading habits for children in Bangladesh.Md Shohel Imam Khan, Deputy Secretary General, Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO, joined the discussion as a special guest. READ: Doleshwar Hanafia Jame Mosque wins UNESCO award Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed, founder and chairperson of Bishwa Sahitya Kendra (World Literary Centre), educator, writer, television presenter and activist, Sara Zaker, actor, director and co-producer of Sisimpur, Prof AKM Reazul Hassan, Member, Primary Curriculum, National Curriculum and Textbook Board Bangladesh, Beatrice Kaldun, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Bangladesh, Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj, Country Representative Bangladesh, Asia Foundation joined the panel discussion and shared their experience and reflection on the significance of book creation and enhancing the reading habit for children.The panel discussion was moderated by Kizzy Tahnin, Programme Officer for Culture, UNESCO Dhaka Office.