Renewal of Sectoral Commissions

Our work is made possible thanks to the contributions of our three Sectoral Commissions on (1) Education, (2) Natural, Social and Human Sciences, and (3) Culture, Communication and Information. These bodies, composed of dedicated CCUNESCO members with expertise in the given areas, form a large part of our intellectual capital. They work with our broader membership to provide recommendations on UNESCO programs, to develop and strengthen our networks, and to transmit members’ knowledge and advice on today’s issues, in particular to governments. Our Sectoral Commissions allow for greater engagement of Canadians in our work and foster dialogue across generations, cultures and sectors.

To make our Sectoral Commissions even more effective, we undertook a review of their mission, structure and activities in 2016/17. The objective of this review was to rethink our methods of engagement and to better guide CCUNESCO endeavours in a changing world. A working committee provided practical recommendations (e.g. working plans, task groups, membership guidelines and composition) designed to enhance these bodies’ relevance while ensuring their activities are carried out with an eye to Agenda 2030 and the CCUNESCO Strategic Plan. The recommendations also serve to align the Sectoral Commissions’ activities with our overarching priorities of reconciliation and youth engagement.

Renewal of Advisory Committees

Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World (MOW)

Established in 1992, the UNESCO Memory of the World Register lists documentary heritage of world significance, such as Louis Pasteur’s Archive. The program helps ensure that heritage inscribed in the MOW Register is preserved for future generations by sensitizing governments, organizations and the public to its importance. To date, there are four Canadian inscriptions in the International MOW Register, including the Hudson’s Bay Company’s archival records, which are held at the Archives of Manitoba.

In 2016/17, CCUNESCO inaugurated the Canada Memory of the World Register and our Executive Committee approved a formal Terms of Reference for the Canadian Advisory Committee for MOW. These Terms of Reference strengthen the committee’s mandate to advise CCUNESCO about documentary heritage and to oversee the MOW program in Canada. The committee will ensure that significant Canadian documentary heritage is considered for inclusion in the International MOW Register as well as the Canada MOW Register; promote the MOW program in Canada; and coordinate Canadian proposals for both Registers.

CCMARD Advisory Committee

Launched in 2005 in response to UNESCO’s call for a worldwide coalition of cities against racism and discrimination, CCMARD helps Canadian municipalities address these challenges at the city level, where individuals are most affected. Signatory municipalities develop a Plan of Action, implement diversity strategies, and explore the CCMARD Toolkit, which showcases good practices in use around the country. Over 70 municipalities across Canada, including all major cities and the national as well as provincial/territorial capitals, have joined the CCMARD network.

Many signatory municipalities and their partners would like to see CCMARD’s role in the anti-discrimination landscape and on reconciliation develop further. In response, CCUNESCO’s Executive Committee approved the creation of a CCMARD Advisory Committee in 2016. Recruitment for this two-year pilot project is now complete, and the new committee, which is comprised of elected officials and city advisors, will begin advising CCUNESCO on ways to strengthen the network at all levels and to assess the overall direction of CCMARD. The committee will also identify good practices, gaps and emerging issues (e.g. online bullying), and advise CCUNESCO on the implementation of the Recommendations adopted by the Steering Committee of the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities—ICCAR.

Canadian Man and the Biosphere Committee (CC-MAB)

Created in 1971, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) dedicates regions of particular ecological value as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BR) to balance the health of these ecologies with the needs of people who inhabit them. Canada participates in the program with the help of the Canadian Man and the Biosphere Committee (CC-MAB), which relies on interdisciplinary research, knowledge sharing and dialogue among stakeholders to support sustainable development and community engagement in Canada. CC-MAB, composed of scientists, sustainable development experts and knowledge keepers, and representatives from BRs and Indigenous communities, was struck in 2010. It promotes the BR concept in Canada and mediates between the many organizations and individuals involved in the program. The CC-MAB updated its mandate last year and underwent a membership renewal exercise, launching a call for proposals aimed at CCUNESCO members and networks. This process was rigorous and transparent, and the new members are in place and ready to prioritize CC-MAB’s refreshed mandate.

One of the main tasks of the CC-MAB Committee is to advise the CCUNESCO on the periodic review. Each BR undergoes a periodic review every 10 years to ensure it adheres to the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Three BRs in Canada (Fundy, NB, Frontenac Arch, ON and Manicouagan-Uapishka, QC) were reviewed in 2016/17 by independent evaluators recruited by CCUNESCO, which acted in an advisory capacity during the process.

Canadian National Committee for Geoparks

In 2017, the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks(CNCG) became a permanent advisory committee to CCUNESCO. Geoparks are regions of international geological importance that bring communities together through conservation and sustainable development practices. The CNCG will work with CCUNESCO to vet and nominate several Canadian geopark candidate sites in coming years. There are currently two UNESCO Global Geoparks in Canada: Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark (BC) and Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark (NB). In November 2016, CCUNESCO recommended the candidacy of Percé (QC) to UNESCO. The CNCG is currently following the development of ten other aspiring geopark projects across the country.