As we mark the International Day of Peace on September 21, let us take heart from 30 international women activists who in May walked together across the Korean DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) as a sign of reconciliation. North and South Korea and the UN gave permission for this historic march 70 years after Korea was divided in two. The peace treaty promised after the Korean War ended in 1953 has yet to be signed. http://bit.ly/1f1QJ5E
By Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development
The Addis Ababa Third Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), which I attended recently (13-16 July) as a representative of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, wrapped up few weeks ago, leaving behind a taste of failure. Failure, since the general observation of CSO delegates is that, compared to Monterrey and Doha, Addis was regressive on many points. Tax issues have not been solved, ODA (Official Development Assistance) has not been clarified, PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) have been reinforced at the expense of people living under poverty, trade and debt issues have not been clarified, while the systemic issues of our world’s financial system and climate challenges and gender inequalities have been just brushed out. A survey of these issues is a clear sign that a lot has to be done and the fighting spirit does not relent.
Looking at DPR (Domestic Public Resources) reveals that developed countries are not ready to stop malpractice that goes on in that sector through illegal acts such as tax evasion, transfer pricing, trade mispricing, national custom authorities reinforcement, as well as judicial systems. These propositions put together with a common agenda on fiscal cooperation and a different type of PPPs would have helped LDCs (Less Developed Countries), SIDSs (Small Island Developing States), LLDCs (Land Locked Developing Countries) to mobilize huge amount of resources at the domestic level which would have helped them to considerably solve the challenge of poverty. By refusing to address those issues, FfD3 denied to those above-mentioned groups the right to leverage at their level enough resources to implement local policies of development. The side effect of this is that it pushed them more towards a great reliance on IPF (International Public Finance). These countries have been weakened because in order for them to implement the SDGs the only valid option that is given is ODA, though the international community acknowledged that previous commitments to ODA of only 1 per cent of their GNI were not achieved. And this is the same ODA that is expected to solve all the problems on the way to SDGs. Big illusion. On the other hand, various forms of aid and assistance given to developing countries are either attached to conditions that don’t meet national policies of development of receivers or substituted for other commitments (real ODA most of the time) to give an escape door to donors who don’t want to meet their commitments. Challenges here are really great in as much as those attached aid and assistance favor PPPs.
Why do we think it is wrong to allocate ODA to PPPs as promoted by Addis? The private finance sector should be clearly distinguished from the social sector because the social sector is not a sector where any investor can expect to make profits. We cannot expect private finance to invest in social sector and then make a profit and eradicate poverty by such kind of actions. Those two approaches are wrong since the social sector is there to serve the needs of citizens, more precisely those who are below a certain rate of income. The social sector serves them at points like water, sanitation, transport, energy, nutrition, education, communication, just to mention a few. So to privatize these is to condemn them to death since private investors in those sectors will never make enough profit to meet their initial investments and thus will close up their structures. Secondly, people living under poverty will pay twice for what they were supposed to get for free. The second point of the PF focus is that this will kill local industry because small and medium enterprises in developing countries are not strong enough to compete with huge multinationals that have all the resources (financial, human, technology and technology and skills) to gain all types of contracts.
These are clear signs that we made a big movement backward compared to Monterrey and Doha, and as a Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur delegate I do believe that more work is still waiting for us. Even if women are not clearly mentioned on these issues, the impacts that flow from them will considerably affect women if a clear stand against their implementation is not taken. So at SNDatUN our job is not yet completed; more work is still waiting for us.
Article 24 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration is quite appealing and may become my favorite – “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.” However, I think I will stick with Article 19 – “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Статья 24 Всемирной декларации прав человека, наверное, самая привлекательная- “Каждый человек имеет право на отдых и досуг, включая право на разумное ограничение рабочего дня и на оплачиваемый периодический отпуск.” А вот Статья 19 пусть будет моей любимой- “Каждый человек имеет право на свободу убеждений и на свободное выражение их; это право включает свободу беспрепятственно придерживаться своих убеждений и свободу искать, получать и распространять информацию и идеи любыми средствами и независимо от государственных границ.”
Financing for gender equality – who will pay for it? http://bit.ly/1LfzhJ9
Rights-Based Advocacy Guide: International Human Rights Law and Fracking: http://bit.ly/1IaY0xJ
By Amarachi Grace Ezeonu, Intern in SNDatUN Office
It is completely unacceptable to have millions of children around the world still engaged in child labor in the 21st century. While some of these children work to support families, others have become victims of human trafficking and have ended up in slave labor. Many of these children work in very dangerous and dehumanizing conditions, with little or no hope for a future. Recent statistics by the International Labor Organization estimates that about 168 million children aged 5-17 are engaged in child labor. Child labor exists in many parts of the world; yet it is most prevalent in the least developed and developing countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Latin and South America. For many victims of child labor, the joy and freedom of childhood is stolen forever. As their counterparts are in school learning and playing, these children engaged in child labor could spend their days crawling under heavy machinery in factories or exposed to the elements while picking fruits and vegetable out in the fields.
Often at the heart of the problem of child labor is poverty. Many parents would ordinarily want to provide the best possible opportunities in life for their children. Nevertheless, when plagued by abject poverty, these parents are forced to send the little ones to work to support the family instead. However, children must not be burdened with adult responsibility of providing for the family when they should be the ones being provided for. Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that parents or parental guardians have the responsibility to provide for the child. Furthermore, in a situation where this care is not possible, the state must assist. It is therefore, the human right of every child to be provided with health care, quality education, decent shelter, food and nutrition, and other necessities of life. Every society has a moral obligation to protect and provide for its children.
To raise awareness on the issue of child labor, the International Labor Organization dedicates June 12 of every year as the World Day against Child Labor. To eradicate child labor, free, compulsory and quality education must be ensured for every child. Quality education is an antidote to poverty which in turn fuels child labor. The International Labor Organization tagged its 2015 advocacy against child labor with the phrase, “No to Child Labor, Yes to Quality Education,” and recommends the following to national governments:
- Provide free, compulsory and quality education
- Ensure that all girls and boys have a safe and quality learning environment
- Provide opportunities for older children who have missed significant formal school education, including through targeted vocational training programs that offers basic educational support
- Ensure coherence and enforcement of law on child labor and school attendance
- Incorporate a properly trained, professional and motivated teaching force, with decent working conditions based on social dialogue
- Protect young workers when they leave school and move into the work force, to prevent them being trapped in unacceptable forms of work
August 12, International Youth Day, presents all of us with an opportunity to celebrate and promote youth engagement in societies around the world. As the UN agency UNESCO says, “More efforts are needed to raise awareness about the importance of youth civic engagement and its benefits to the individual and to society, including for sustainable development as well as resilience and wellbeing.”
The UN defines the worlds’ youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population. Although more than 4 million youths go abroad to study each year, 74 million more are unemployed and also not in school. When youths are engaged in their communities, they and society both benefit. Skills training and community programs can be expensive for countries with limited resources, but in the end it will cost even more not to provide this societal support.
Learn about Youth Day: http://bit.ly/1JnBtIN
Participate in local youth day activities