WORLD WATER DAY: “WHY WASTE WATER?”

InicefMarch 22, was the World Water Day. This year, the United Nations asks the world, “Why Waste Water?” According to a UN source, over 1.8 billion people around the world use sources of drinking water contaminated with faeces. This puts them at the risk of contracting cholera, typhoid, polio, dysentery, and other water-borne diseases. Women UNICEF/NYHQ2012-2002/Shehzad Nooran in many parts of the world still walk for miles to get water for domestic use, this sometimes expose them to the danger of attacks or sexual assault. Many girls in rural communities also miss school because they have to walk long distances to fetch water.

Access to safe and clean water is a human right. In 2015, the 193 Member States of the SDG 6United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which includes access to “Clean Water and Sanitation” (Goal 6). SDG target 6.3 requires us by 2030 to “improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping, and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.” When next you leave your tap or shower running for too long, recall the UN question: “Why waste water?” Click here to download a Fact sheet on water.

2017 COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN: “WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT IN THE CHANGING WORLD OF WORK”

61st commissionOver 8,000 women from all walks of life and from different parts of world converged at the UN headquarters in New York from March 13-24 for the 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The theme for the 2017 Commission was “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.”

In his opening remarks for the event, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, thanked and welcomed all the women to the United Nations headquarters. He commended the women for raising their voices for women’s equality and dignity around the world, and reaffirmed his commitment to gender parity in the United Nations system. Below is an excerpt from Mr. Guterres’ welcome speech at the CSW61:

“In a male dominated world, the empowerment of women must be a key priority. Women already have what it takes to succeed. Empowerment is about breaking structural barriers. Men still dominate, even in countries that consider themselves progressive. Male chauvinism blocks women and that hurts everyone.

 We are all better off when we open doors of opportunity for women and girls; in boardrooms and classrooms, in military ranks and at peace talks, in all aspects of productive life.”

 

 

 SNDatUN Office had eight delegates to the CSW61. Read the Outcome document from the CSW161 here.

Read more: About CSW61 http://bit.ly/2fkuuvH

UN Secretary General’s Opening remarks for the CSW61; http://bit.ly/2mCppAR

 

2017 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: “WOMEN IN THE CHANGING WORLD OF WORK: PLANET 50-50 BY 2030”

International Women’s Day was commemorated on March 8, around the world. The theme for the 2017 celebration was “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” In his speech to mark the event, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, noted, “leadership positions are still predominantly held by men.” He also remarked that “outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism are widening the economic gender gap.” According to Mr. Guterres, “tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.” He again stressed that denying women and girls their rights “is not only wrong in itself; it has serious social and economic impacts that hold us all back.”

Also in her opening remarks at the Youth Forum of the 61st Commission on Status of

UN Woman

Photo:  UN Women/Joe Saade/Gaganjit Singh

Women (CSW 61), the deputy Secretary General of the UN, Ms. Amina Mohammed, thanked the young women for their enthusiasm and positive contributions to the society. She noted, “Every day and in every way, women must be celebrated as caregivers, mothers, business and political leaders, as agents of change, and as pioneers for equality.”                                                                                 

Ms. Mohammed further stressed, “where women and girls are held back or subjugated, the society suffers, when they advance, the society advances with them.”

More on:  Ms. Mohammed’s presentation click here.  Mr. Guterres’ remarks;  http://bit.ly/2mCppAR

SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME de NAMUR: WORKING WITH OTHERS, TRANSFORMING LIVES

Picture 4Evalyne Aseyo, SNDdeN, teaches in the Community Health and Development department of the Tropical Institute of Community Health and Development in Kisumu, Kenya. Her work at the institute also includes community service and research.

Sister Evalyne’s research work involves working with others in the local communities to monitor and follow up on vital health indicators. They collect data, analyze the data, and share results in different forums to inform decisions within the health sector. She is part of a team involved in research aimed at designing and testing a novel child hygiene intervention in collaboration with other stakeholders, such as caregivers and health extension workers. This intervention targets children’s caregivers with the aim of changing key behaviors. Community Health Volunteers will deliver the intervention.

In her community service role, Sr. Evalyne reaches out to vulnerable communities in

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Sr. Evalyne in class with students

collaboration with a network of community organizations. Her current project is composed of a team of members from Community Health Extension Workers, Community Health Volunteers, and Community Units. Their projects take place within a community situated in an informal settlement in the  Western part of Kenya.  Sr. Evalyne joins force with the                   aforementioned community partners to enhance community participation in health care service delivery.

 #17 development goalAt the Tropical Institute of Community Health and Development, partnership is defined as working together (individuals/institutions) in sharing resources, ideas, and experiences to support and enrich the work of each contributor with the objective of reaching increased valued and quality outcomes for all parties involved. Together, with other stakeholders, the team mobilizes and organizes communities into ‘Community Units’ with the aim of ensuring that communities are linked to the health sector at the centre, in order to generate informed dialogue, referrals and feedback mechanisms. Together with these partners, they collect data and follow up on indicators such as: immunization coverage, Ante Natal Care (ANC), use of insecticide treated nets for mothers and children under the age of 5, safe water, Vitamin A intake, health facility delivery, and many more. The results of these indicators are noted on community notice boards that are often located in central places within the community. The data on the notice board is usually discussed during forums scheduled for community dialogue. These forums, in turn, generate community action days to address health initiatives.  Sr. Evalyne participates in the community dialogue and action days, whenever possible.

 

 

THE UNITED NATIONS: BRINGING PEOPLE AND ISSUES TOGETHER TO PROMOTE COLLECTIVE ACTION FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD

Picture 1Leonore Coan, SNDdeN; SNDatUN Delegate for the 55th Commission for Social Development: Early February (1-10, 2017), the United Nations hosted the 55th session of the Commission on Social Development. Priority theme for the 2017-2018 review and policy cycle of the Commission for Social Development would be “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all” The aggressive goal for the Commission is to eradicate extreme poverty by the year 2030.

The Commission plenary sessions and side events planned by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in collaboration with members of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) presented information to effect policy development for the Sustainable Development Goals and suggested strategies for implementation by UN member states.

Having an opportunity to attend sessions of the Commission for the first few days of the meeting was a privilege.  I was honored to attend a few of the side events and two plenary sessions addressing the issues of youth and people with disabilities.

 The meetings I attended during my few days addressed the inclusion of youth especially Picture 2
girls in planning programs and strategy sessions. Including youth in development programs will impact continued future development. I interpreted this to suggest that women attending planning sessions and program developments in their respective communities to bring youth, especially girls, to the meetings. They are not too young to learn. This concept was promoted at a side event on “Women as agents of change in building a shared society” sponsored by Club de Madrid/UN Women/ UNDESA/DSPD.

On Friday morning I observed the plenary session where representatives from several countries presented prepared statements committing their respective member states to inclusion of persons with disabilities into the mainstream of decision making for the development of good solid communities.  At the end of the scheduled presentations, a member of the CSO asked to speak.  This individual was observably disabled. His oral presentation was hesitant because of limited verbal articulation. What he asked of the Member States was “a place at the table” for these planning sessions for inclusion. In all Member States presentations, he heard the promise of fiscal and humanitarian inclusion through budget and programming but no mention of physical inclusion in decision making. His statement was clearly heard.

Picture 3My time was limited but the Agenda of the 55th session of the Commission was and is extensive.  As time passes the Agenda expands.  Addressing the issues presented with the 17 Sustainable Goals is a lifetime work for everyone.  In promoting the work of the Goals, the UN is hoping to achieve successful implementation by the year 2030.

Read more:  55th Commission on Social Development; http://bit.ly/2j9xFIM                        Civil Society Declaration: Social Protection Floors as the Preeminent Strategy for eradicating poverty.

THE NINTH UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL: MR. ANTONIO GUTERRES ASSUMES NEW ROLE

Mr. Antonipic-3o Guterres began his new mandate as the ninth United Nations Secretary General on January 1st.  Speaking shortly after he took the oath of office on December 12, 2016, Mr. Guterres commended his immediate predecessor, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his leadership in charting out the future of the UN with the Sustainable Development Goals. He also highlighted the strategic priorities of the UN as; working for peace, supporting sustainable development, and reforming its internal management. Mr. Guterres stressed among other things, his desire to work with Member States on structural, legal, and operational measures to make the zero-tolerance policy a reality as he pledged to make human dignity the core of his work as the UN Secretary General.

On December 15, Mr. Guterres fulfilled one of his pledges; “to respect gender parity and geographical diversity,” by appointing three women as core members of his team. These team members and their respective appointments are; Ms. Amina Mohammed of Nigeria who is the deputy Secretary General, Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil and Ms. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea as his Chef de Cabinet and Special Advisor on Policy.

As he assumed office on January 1, Mr. Guterres pledged to make 2017 a year for peace.

Watch Mr. Guterres: https://youtu.be/fIErDYzxfps

 

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Amina Mohammed of Nigeria.  UN Photo

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Enter a captionMaria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil

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Kyung-wha Kang of the Rep. of Korea.  UN Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME: 2016 GLOBAL REPORT ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The pic-2United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), launched its 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons at the UN Headquarter in New York, on December 22, 2016. The following are some of the issues highlighted in the report; no country is immune from trafficking in persons, trafficking in persons has changed in recent years, victims and traffickers often have the same background, people are trafficked for many exploitative purposes, cross-border trafficking flows often resembles regular migration flows, conflict can help drive trafficking in persons, and often the most vulnerable, children, are trafficked. The report also noted that that even with solid legislative progress mad thus far, there are still very few convictions of perpetrators.

Click here to download this very informative UNDOC report
Read more: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; http://bit.ly/1RaFYPz
UN Security Council on Human Trafficking; http://bit.ly/2hSwB9x