UNESCO in News Current Affairs 2023: Explore the Latest UNESCO-related Updates

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Explore the latest UNESCO-related updates that made headlines recently, which may be important for those preparing for competitive exams. Stay updated with the latest developments in education, science, culture, and communication as they unfold.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has played an instrumental role in promoting peace, international cooperation, and sustainable development.

From recognizing living heritage universities to awarding individuals for their contribution to linguistic and cultural diversity, UNESCO is active in various fields. Keep an eye out for UNESCO initiatives, especially in the field of education, as they may prove beneficial in various competitive exams.

About UNESCO

UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) whose mission is to promote world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, science, and culture.

▪ It has 193 member states and 12 associate members, as well as private, intergovernmental, and private sector partners.

▪ Headquartered at the World Heritage Centre in Paris, France.

Read Also Category-wise Latest Current Affairs 2023

UNESCO in News (January to December 2023)

UNESCO in News, December 2023

  • Pakistan has been elected as the Vice Chair of the UNESCO Executive Board for the term 2023-25 from the Asia Pacific Group.
  • UNESCO has approved the inclusion of Garba, an Indian dance form, in its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity.
  • Ancient walls encircling the Old City of Kairouan, a UNESCO World Heritage site, have recently collapsed in Tunisia.
  • Terminal 2 at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, India, has been awarded the “World Special Prize for an Interior 2023” by UNESCO‘s Prix Versailles.
  • The Rambagh Gate & Ramparts in Amritsar, Punjab, India, has received the Award of Excellence in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards 2023 for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

UNESCO in News, November 2023

  • Recently, the Airgun Surrender Abhiyan initiative of Arunachal Pradesh received international recognition at the UNESCO’s International Conference on Biosphere Reserves held in Sabah, Malaysia.
  • Recently, the film named Drift received the ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal 2023 at
    the 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.

Recent Creative Cities of India Listed under UNESCO’s UCCN List 👇

  • UCCN Stands for UNESCO Creative Cities Network
  • Recently UNESCO added 55 new cities to its Creative Cities Network (UCCN) List.
  • The UNESCO UCCN conference was held in Istanbul, Turkiye.

List of Indian Cities Under UCCN

✍️ 2023: ‘City of Literature’ – Kozhikode (Kerala)

✍️ 2023: ‘City of Music’ – Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh)

✍️ 2021: City of Crafts and Folk Art – Srinagar (J&K)

✍️ 2019: City of Film – Mumbai (Maharashtra)

✍️ 2019: City of Gastronomy – Hyderabad (Telangana)

✍️ 2017: Creative City of Music (2017) – Chennai (Tamil Nadu)

✍️ 2015: ‘City of Crafts and Folk Arts’- Jaipur (Rajasthan)

✍️ 2015: ‘Creative City of Music’ – Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)

UNESCO in News, September-October 2023

▪ NCERT and UNESCO collaborated to launch a new comic book, “Let’s Move Forward,” which promotes health and well-being among adolescents.

▪ Strasbourg takes centre stage as UNESCO’s World Book Capital, celebrating the power of literature from World Book Day 2024 to 2025.

▪ India’s rich heritage shines brighter as Santiniketan and Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas join UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

UNESCO in News, August 2023

▪ Recently, Telangana has collaborated with UNESCO to implement UN recommendations on the ethics of AI.

▪ India’s Education Minister launched the Comic Book “Let’s Move Forward” jointly developed by NCERT and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

UNESCO in News 2023 (January to July)

▪ Recently, UNESCO has accepted the proposal of the USA to readmit it to the organization.

▪ Kaas Plateau, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site (Recently seen in the news), is located in Maharashtra.

▪ Recently, Byculla Railway Station of Mumbai has received UNESCO’s Asia Pacific Cultural Heritage Award 2022.

▪ Jagdish S Bakan became the first Indian selected for UNESCO’s Michel Batisse Award.

▪ Recently, the USA has announced to rejoin the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

▪ Recently, 5 young scientists have been awarded the UNESCO-AI Fozan International Prize for the
Promotion of Young Scientists in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

  1. Dr Federico ARIEL (40 years old, Argentina)
  2. Professor Abdon ATANGANA (37 years old, Cameroon)
  3. Professor Qiaomei FU (39 years old, China)
  4. Dr Hesham OMRAN (38 years old, Egypt)
  5. Dr Jelena VLADIC (37 years old, Serbia)

▪ Recently, women journalists Niloofar Hamedi, Elaheh Mohammadi, and Narges Mohammadi from Iran were named the laureates of the 2023 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

▪ The International Day of Light, established by UNESCO, is annually observed on the 16th of May. This important day aims to increase awareness about the vital role of light and light-based technologies in various fields including medicine, communication, art, and energy.

▪ Recently, Santiniketan (West Bengal) has been recommended for inclusion in UNESCO’s
World Heritage List.

▪ Visva-Bharati University, situated in West Bengal, has recently been granted a “heritage” designation by UNESCO, becoming the first-ever living heritage university in the world.

▪ Angela Merkel, the former Chancellor of Germany, has been awarded the prestigious Felix Houphouet-Boigny UNESCO Peace Prize for the year 2022.

▪ Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra, hailing from India, has been selected to receive the UNESCO International Mother Language Award 2023.

▪ This prestigious award is given to individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions towards the promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity. 

▪ The award ceremony will take place on the occasion of the 24th edition of International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated every year on 21st February. 

▪ The theme for this year's celebration is "Multilingual Education - a Necessity to Transform Education".

▪ The central government has decided to nominate Charaideo moidams (located in Assam) for addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

▪ Recently, UNESCO has decided to dedicate the International Day of Education 2023 to Afghan girls and women, celebrated on January 24 every year.

▪ UNESCO has designated “Odesa” as a World Heritage in Danger site, located in Ukraine.

UNESCO in News (January to December 2022)

Baguette bread of France was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity.

Rock cut Relie Sculptures of the Unakoti in Tripura have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

• Three new cultural sites in India, including the iconic Sun Temple at Modhera, historic Vadnagar town in Gujarat, and rock-cut relief sculptures of Unakoti in Tripura, have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

• Recently, Mawmluh Cave of Meghalaya has been listed as one of the world’s UNESCO’s ‘First 100 IUGS (International Union of Geological Sciences) Geological Sites’.

• Recently, UNESCO released a survey of 18,600 glaciers at 50 World Heritage Sites.

• Recently, Franca Ma-ih Sulem Yong won the 2022 edition of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize.

• Recently, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated the UNESCO-India-Africa Hackathon 2022 at Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida.

• Recently, Mumbai’s Byculla station received the Merit Award at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Asia-Pacific Awards 2022 for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

• Recently, the UNESCO-MONDIACULT 2022 World Conference was held in Mexico City, Mexico.

UNESCO has released a list of 50 exclusive and iconic heritage textile crafts of India under the title “Handmade for the 21st Century: Safeguarding Traditional Indian Textile”

• The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has underlined some green norms for the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Living Root Bridge’ in Meghalaya.

• Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has partnered with UNESCO to preserve India’s intangible cultural heritage.

• UNESCO has adopted March 21 as World Poetry Day which is now observed annually.

• On the occasion of World Water Day (22nd March), the National Mission for Clean Ganga, UNESCO released three animation films under its initiative “H2Ooooh! – Water Wise program for the Children of India”.

• The Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) has named Kozhikode a City of Literature under a UNESCO program.

• The Sri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple and the Monolithic Bull (Nandi) of Andhra Pradesh have been included in UNESCO’s tentative list of world heritage sites in India for 2022.

Geoglyphs from the Konkan region of India are part of India’s provisional list to qualify for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

• UNESCO commemorates April 7 as the International Day of Remembrance of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Bihar has sent a fresh proposal seeking UNESCO’s heritage tag for the 2,500-year-old ‘Cyclopean wall’.

• UNESCO has added the Khuvsgul Lake National Park of Mongolia to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

• The Vidya scheme has been awarded UNESCO’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education for 2021.

• India has been selected as a member of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the 2022-2026 cycle.

• Recently, the 106-year-old astronomical observatory of Bihar‘s Langat Singh College was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Observatories.

• India has nominated the Gujarati garba dance form for inclusion on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

• So far, 14 elements from India have been inscribed on UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Humanity.
•  Kolkata's Durga Puja is the latest addition to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

• UNESCO and Royal Enfield join hands to promote and protect India’s cultural heritage from the Himalayas.

• Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been awarded the UNESCO Peace Prize 2022.

• Recently, 3 Indian cities have joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC).

The Three Indian Cities are:
1. Warangal (Telangana)
2. Nilambur (Kerala)
3. Thrissur (Kerala)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. Which Indian festival has recently been added to the UNESCO list?

Answer: Kolkata’s Durga Puja

Q2. UNESCO has adopted this date as World Poetry Day which is now observed annually.

Answer: March 21

Q3. Which city in Kerala has been named ‘City of Literature’ under the UNESCO program?

Answer: Kozhikode

Q4. Which Indian state is known for its Living Root Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Answer: Meghalaya

Q5. Which Indian scheme has been awarded UNESCO’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education for the year 2021?

Answer: e- Vidya scheme

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