The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) functions as a laboratory of ideas and a standard-setter to forge universal agreements on emerging ethical issues. The Organization also serves as a clearinghouse – for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge – while helping Member States to build their human and institutional capacities in diverse fields. UNESCO is working to create the conditions for genuine dialogue based upon respect for shared values and the dignity of each civilization and culture.
At its 197th session, UNESCO Executive Board adopted the Roadmap for UNESCO’s programme on preventing and addressing school-related gender-based violence (197 EX/SR.8)
In its Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-2021, UNESCO accords priority to gender equality in all its fields of competence supported by a dual approach, gender specific programming and gender mainstreaming, in Member States and within the Organization. UNESCO is fully engaged in pursuing this commitment through concrete, substantive programmes and initiatives in all its fields of competence (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002272/227222e.pdf) as captured in an organization-wide “Priority Gender Equality Action Plan for 2014-2021”.
UNESCO primarily addresses the following types of violence against women: inter-personal violence in and out of schools; trafficking in women; women in conflict and post-conflict situations (including the use of rape as a weapon of war). Activities cover various fields of education; the natural sciences; the social and human sciences; culture; and communications and information.
UNESCO has a two-pronged approach to violence against women:
1) A behavioural approach. Through education and with the help of ICTs, UNESCO seeks to build commitment to peace and non-violence in the minds of men and women. This includes the promotion of gender-sensitive human rights education and non-violent conflict resolution approaches. UNESCO’s Human Rights Education programme seeks to bring about a profound reform of education in order to transform attitudes and behaviours that condone violence. It touches upon curriculum development, in-service and pre-service training, textbooks, methodology, classroom management, and the organization of the education system at all levels.
2)A structural approach. Notably through its Social and Human Sciences and Culture Sector programmes, UNESCO looks at the structural causes of violence against women and seeks to encourage holistic and culturally appropriate policy responses towards their elimination.
Within the framework of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, UNESCO organized the following conferences and exhibitions: - ”Under the Wings of the Butterflies”; - "Voices on the rise: Afghan Women Making the News”, as well as the projection of the film "Girls on the air", both having a look into the lives of Afghan women; -“Water, women and sustainable development in Africa", organized in cooperation with the French association « Femmes de Demain » and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), addressing the challenges that women face and the role they play in relation to water resources management, water governance and development.Hide
Within the framework of the commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNESCO Doha Office with the collaboration of the Qatar Foundation for Child & Woman Protection organized a workshop on “The International Conventions for the Eradication of Violence and Discrimination against Women & their Reflection on the Qatari Legislations”.Hide
In November 2008, UNESCO Addis Ababa organized a workshop for film-makers, development workers and media professionals during the 3rd Ethiopian International Film Festival in order to identify strategies for promoting greater awareness and positive behavioural change on HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence/discrimination and climate change through the medium of popular films. Several UNESCO Offices, including those in Montevideo, Brasilia and Almaty, included violence against women as a focus in their activities.Hide
UNESCO worked on a campaign to fight human trafficking in Africa. The seventh session of the UNESCO Forum on Gender Equality, organized in collaboration with the Permanent Delegation of the United States of America to UNESCO, was held in October 2009. The Round Table, on the theme “Beijing: 15 Years After”, explored the progress which has been made in the twelve critical areas of action of the Beijing Platform for Action.Hide
In November 2009, UNESCO’s Office in Beijing sponsored the Institute of Anthropology in the Renmin University of China to initiate an advocacy forum and campaign to mark the “End Violence against Women Day”. The project provided a platform for experts from the government and civil society organizations to discuss domestic violence and raised awareness among university students on the issue through a variety of campaigns, such as debate and drama.Hide
To support education sector responses to early and unintended pregnancy (EUP) while supporting the continuing education of adolescent mothers, UNESCO in Eastern and Southern Africa has carried out a 10-country situation analysis on EUP View More
To support education sector responses to early and unintended pregnancy (EUP) while supporting the continuing education of adolescent mothers, UNESCO in Eastern and Southern Africa has carried out a 10-country situation analysis on EUP (conducted 2017; published 2018), the findings and recommendations of which will inform follow up country level actions for policy, programmes and advocacy. UNESCO also participates in the Indicator Working Group for the thematic indicators of SDG4, which among other aspects, continues to identify and define indicators for country reporting against the SDG thematic indicator 4.a.2 – Safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments, ensuring that data is not only sex-disaggregated but also to ensure that reporting captures the gendered dimensions of violence in learning spaces.
Gender Studies Research Network in China: UNESCO launched a project to look at policies and programs through a gender lens, identifying how they impact women and men, and then proposing policy and programmatic recommendations to address the gaps and challenges. This Gender Studies Research Network which brings together policy and decision makers, researchers and academics, and NGO leaders aims to address issues of violence against women and girls in a wider perspective.
In December 2009, UNESCO’s Office in Beijing, along with the UN country team, launched a project on “Preventing and Responding to Domestic Violence in China through a Multi-Sectoral Approach”. The project is supported by the UN Trust Fund and coordinated a host of UN agencies and national partners. UNESCO is taking the lead role to conduct baseline surveys in identifying risks and needs in prevention and response to domestic violence; and developing a pilot program for training community leaders in prevention of violence against women.Hide
UNESCO’s Culture Sector compiles and maintains a trafficking statistics database focusing on Asia and other regions, available on-line at:http://22.214.171.124/culture/WebTraffickingV2/. It has linked databases with information related to trafficking, rates of HIV/AIDS incidence, interventions and their coverage, and the distribution of at-risk populations (migration, population in sex work) to discover, record and map related trends.Hide
UNESCO developed a global review of school-related gender based violence and conducted a regional review on the topic the Asia Pacific region. UNESCO also commissioned five country studies on the links between HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence in the Great Lakes Region of Africa and conducted a regional workshop on the topic in Tanzania (material available online).Hide