International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024)

In December 2014, the UN General Assembly, in its Resolution 68/237, proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).

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© Shutterstock / Damian Ryszawy

UNESCO’s role

UNESCO, in particular through its projects the Slave Route and the General History of Africa, has been closely associated to the consultations organized by the Office of the High-Commissioner for Human Rights, lead agency for the Decade.

The Organization actively fights against prejudice and discrimination and for the defense of human rights and the protection of cultural heritage. It was one of the first institutions to address the question of racism and has been a pioneering force in this domain. UNESCO has adopted an integrated strategy to combat racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and designated Africa as one of its global priorities. Its participation to this Decade is a moral, statutory and programmatic imperative.

UNESCO is strongly involved through programmes such as the Slave Route, the General History of Africa, notably with the writing of Volume IX which has one book devoted to the African presence in the various parts of the world, and the International Coalition of Cities against Racism.

UNESCO is particularly engaged in the following areas:

  • To promote a better understanding and recognition of the culture, history and heritage of people of African descent through research, education, media, along with inclusion in curricula, ensuring that school books and other pedagogic material accurately reflect the historical facts about the slave trade, slavery and colonialism to prevent falsification and stereotypes derived from this history.
  • To recognize the memory of the victims of these tragedies and their descendants through the establishment of sites of memory testifying to this past.
  • To encourage the international community to honor this memory in different forms.
  • To fight against discrimination against people of African Descent by providing them with access to education and in particular to quality education that helps to prevent their stigmatization.