CCUNESCO and the World

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Bringing Canadian Voices to the International Stage

As part of a network of National Commissions, CCUNESCO acted as a bridge between Canadians, government and the wider world in 2016/17. We did so this past year by influencing major international development agendas such as the New Urban Agenda, Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development. We were pleased to co-host two panels with UNESCO at Habitat III, which promoted the UN Sustainable Development Goal of “Sustainable Cities and Communities.” We also co-organized the 2017 UNESCO Week for Peace and Sustainable Development with UNESCO, an event that brought together education experts and young leaders to advance education for sustainable development, a target of Agenda 2030.

In addition, we led successful, nation-wide consultations in 2016/17 to help further UNESCO priorities. In doing so, we deepened our commitment to reconciliation by contributing to the creation of UNESCO’s Policy on Engaging with Indigenous Peoples, and we encouraged partners and experts from our own Sectoral Commissions to provide feedback on UNESCO’s new declaration on climate change. Other CCUNESCO-led consultations helped refresh UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register guidelines for documentary heritage and UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers. You can find more details about some of our 2016/17 contributions below.

Shaping the best possible future

In October 2016, CCUNESCO and UNESCO co-organized two panels at Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development held in Quito, Ecuador. These panels brought together mayors and other members of the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities—ICCAR and other urban specialists, including representatives from Saskatoon, SK and Châteauguay, QC. The panelists shared good practices and innovations for inclusion, diversity and sustainable urban development at the city level, and the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CCMARD) highlighted the strength of its network and launched “Creating Inclusive and Equitable Cities”, a report that demonstrates CCMARD’s contributions to Agenda 2030.

In March 2017 UNESCO Week for Peace: The Role of Education was held in Ottawa. The event, co-organized by CCUNESCO and UNESCO, gathered over 500 education experts and practitioners from over 90 countries who specialize in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship Education (GCED). The weeklong event united two key international conferences under one banner: the Review Forum for the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) and the Third UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education (GCED): The Role of Teachers. International delegates and youth leaders exchanged promising practices and tools, examined emerging pedagogical trends and innovations, and discussed strategies to implement Agenda 2030’s Target 4.7. The event also showcased youth engagement, Canadian culture inclusive of Indigenous Peoples, and Canada’s leadership and innovation in the fields of ESD and GCED. The occasion was made possible thanks to the support of partners such as the Canada Council for the Arts, the Council of Ministers of Education, Government of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History and the Global Centre for Pluralism.

Mobilizing Canadian Expertise

Last year, UNESCO began a review of the guidelines for its Memory of the World Register, which recognizes documentary heritage of world significance. CCUNESCO led the consultations in Canada, inviting feedback from documentary heritage experts and government representatives. CCUNESCO consulted these same experts on selection criteria for a Canada Memory of the World Register, and then developed the criteria with the support of Library and Archives Canada and Canadian Heritage. The newly created Canada Memory of the World Register will showcase its inaugural inductees at the beginning of 2018.

UNESCO is also currently revising its 1974 Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers to better reflect the ethical and regulatory challenges of science governance today, and the many ways science and society intersect. In response, Health Canada and CCUNESCO together launched a consultation involving over 100 organizations and experts to get a Canadian perspective about some of the proposed additions. These changes will take into account, for example, the role of scientific researchers in national policies; the education and training of researchers; and the challenges and promotion of careers in science.

Promoting Solidarity among Peoples and the Environment

Recognizing the urgency of reconciliation, CCUNESCO is committed to strengthening its relationship with Indigenous Peoples and promoting their rights in Canada. As part of this process, we participated in a UNESCO-led 2016 consultation to finalize the draft UNESCO Policy on Engaging Indigenous Peoples. It is vital that CCUNESCO contributes to this important exercise, given the leadership role we wish to play in Reconciliation in Canada, with the help of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members and partners. Our work will focus on taking concrete actions that support the new policy, so that its values and initiatives are seen as mainstream and become widely adopted.

UNESCO solicited the feedback of Member States regarding the Declaration on Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change, which was prepared by an ad hoc expert committee struck by the UNESCO Director-General. In response, last year CCUNESCO invited members of its Sectoral Commissions as well as several partners to provide feedback on the draft. Over 100 partners were consulted in this process, and a document consolidating their comments is currently being prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Global Affairs Canada.