Never in its past has UNESCO’s action on the ground brought about such diverse and important international cooperation. Together with dozens of financial donors from all backgrounds (governments, agencies, individuals, foundations and NGOs), along with dozens numerous UN Agencies and implementation partners, UNESCO’s involvement in Palestine led by the Ramallah Field Office and dedicated teams within the Organization’s Program Sectors are managing a significant number of projects for the Palestinian people and for peace.
In each of UNESCO’s domains, the Organization has launched projects and managed others under partners’ initiatives. The wide range of projects aims to impact the largest number of beneficiaries possible.
The diversity of the various agencies and stakeholders allow the projects to benefit from the best expertise in a variety of domains, from the promotion of the freedom of expression to the safeguarding of archaeological sites, as well as from the right to education in crisis areas to the creation of new museums.
The commitment of UNESCO member nations and that of international organizations, NGOs and other entities strongly illustrates the importance of a sustainable and continuous support to the Palestinian people, not only in times of immediate crisis, but also in the perspective of peace.
Sustainable Development Goal 4 encompasses all aspects of education aiming to ensure “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030. After the Incheon Declaration adopted at the world Education Forum in 2015, UNESCO was entrusted to lead and coordinate the Education 2030 agenda with education partners, towards the achievements of the ten targets in the Education 2030 Framework for Action. Within this framework, UNESCO is committed to promote the right to education for all Palestinian children, youth and adults and actively supports the Palestinian Authority in areas of education policy and planning, teacher trainings for inclusive education, technical and vocational education, and responds to more urgent needs of children through emergency interventions in Gaza and vulnerable West Bank communities.
As a technical advisor, UNESCO has been working closely with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, providing technical assistance for inclusive and child-friendly education, teacher education strategy, curriculum reform, and forming effective new laws and policies, to achieve targets of SDG4 in Palestine to ensure equal, equitable and quality education for all. Through supporting global and national frameworks (Education Development Strategic Plan 2014-2019), UNESCO also engages closely with other UN agencies, civil society organizations and NGOs in the system of global and local coordination mechanisms such as Cluster Systems. For the coordinated effort of all education stakeholders and partners, UNESCO is currently co-chairing the Education Sector Working Group where main education actors in Palestine review the achievements and envision the way forward, and providing technical inputs in various education sub-thematic groups.
Through supporting global and national frameworks such as the National Policy Agenda (Priority 8: Quality Education for All) and the Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) 2017-2022, in addition to the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), UNESCO engages closely with other UN agencies and civil society organizations in the system of global and local coordination mechanisms such as the Thematic Working Groups and the Education Cluster. Furthermore, UNESCO’s priority interventions in the field of education in emergencies in Palestine are guided by the UNESCO Strategic Framework for Education in Emergencies in the Arab Region (2018-2021).
Supporting Culture and Cultural Heritage in Palestine lies in the core mandate of UNESCO. Our programmes, projects and activities promote cultural heritage protection, management and promotion and emphasizes the role of culture in sustainable development.
The mission of the Culture Unit is to provide technical assistance to Palestinian institutions and professionals in the safeguarding of cultural heritage, in both its tangible and intangible components, and in developing cultural and creative industries.
UNESCO’s action in the field of tangible heritage deals with the protection, preservation and management of Palestinian cultural resources, notably archaeological sites, historic buildings, towns and cultural landscapes.
The development of museums and the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural properties aims at preserving Palestinian identity and values. This is complemented by UNESCO’s support intangible heritage and to creative industries, which serve to transfer knowledge and tradition into the future Palestinian generations.
After admission of Palestine as a member of UNESCO on 31 October 2011, and the subsequent ratification of six culture-related international conventions and two protocols in heritage protection, the work of UNESCO Ramallah Office in the field of culture is aligning to the effective implementation of these conventions.
The Culture Unit has a responsive planning approach that builds along a systematic feedback process focusing on technical assistance for capacity-building, policy-making, pilot activities, the establishment of partnerships and implementation and dissemination of best practices. An important precondition for the sustainable and credible UNESCO action in Palestine remains the perception of UNESCO’s role as an honest and trusted broker, which leads to the consent of the different stakeholders to work together. Our action involves governmental and non-governmental organizations, local communities, private sector, as well as the civil society.
The Communication and Information Sector strives to foster freedom of expression, media development, and access to information and knowledge in line with UNESCO’s mandate to “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”.
Our programmes directly contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (including SDGs 4, 5, 8, 9, 10,11,13,16 and 17) set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with specific attention to the social, political and economic mutations of the digital age.
In collaboration with local Palestinian partners, UNESCO advances freedom of expression and the safety of journalists online and off-line, notably in the framework of United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists. Moreover, the Sector combats online hate speech, as well as disinformation and misinformation through awareness raising initiatives, steady monitoring, capacity-building activities, and technical support to Member States.
The Sector’s activities are supported by the intergovernmental programme, the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), which support grassroots projects and implement activities along the priorities set by their governing bodies in Palestine.