CSW63: SOCIAL PROTECTION SYSTEMS, ACCESS TO PUBLIC SERVICES AND SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN AND GIRLS

1After two weeks of intense dialogue, the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) concluded on 22nd March in New York with a strong commitment by UN Member States to safeguard  and improve women’s and girls’ access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure, ensuring that their design and delivery is transformed to prevent discrimination and create a ‘level playing field’ for women and girls. Read more

Click HERE to download the Agreed Conclusion from CSW63

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DOROTHY MAE STANG: “THE DEATH OF THE FOREST IS THE END OF OUR LIVES”

12 February 2019, marked 14 years since the gruesome murder of Sister Dorothy Stang, a

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Sr. Dorothy Stang

Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. Sister Dorothy was murdered in Anapu, in the state of Para, Brazil, for standing with and defending the human rights of poor farmers whose lands were being exploitation by big-time ranchers and corporations. Since after the death of Sister Dorothy, several other environmental and human rights activists have also met the same fate for speaking out against the exploitation of the human rights of the indigenous peoples and the environment.

 

 

 

6The world watched again in horror as hundreds of people and properties worth millions of dollars were swept away in the recent dam collapse in Brumadinho, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. It was heart-wrenching to watch, knowing that such a disaster could have been prevented. The Brumadinho disaster came barely four years after the collapse of the Sarmarco, Mariana mine dam, which claimed 19 lives. The enormity of both the human and environmental damages caused by the collapse of the two dams will take decades to heal.

 From the Amazonia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, and numerous other places around the world, national and transnational corporations that engage in the extractive industry and mega farming continue to dispose indigenous communities and individuals of their ancestral lands.  Sadly, they do this sometimes in connivance with corrupt government officials. The state has the responsibility to protect and safeguard the wellbeing of its citizens, but when it fails to do so, it must be held accountable. The fight to protect the environment is a fight for human existence. As Sister Dorothy aptly pointed out: “The death of the forest is the end of our lives.”

 

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE: “INVESTMENT IN WOMEN AND GIRLS FOR INCLUSIVE GREEN GROWTH”

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Secretary-General António Guterres attends a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) event on Digital Coding at the 32nd Assembly of the African Union in Addis Abada, Ethiopia         UN Photo/Antonio Forente

Even with recent efforts by governments and different stakeholders to invest in girl’s education, studies show that there still exists a significant gap in the number of girls in schools compared to that of boys, especially in many developing countries. The gap is even wider when it comes to girls in the field of science and technology. According to the United Nations, science and gender equality are critical to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Recent data by the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), indicates that only about 30 percent of world researchers are women.  To achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 11 February the International Day for Women and Girls in Science.

In a joint statement delivered on the International Day for Women and Girls in Science,

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Photo:  UN Women/Pham Quoc Hung

by the Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka and the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, both women highlight the importance of encouraging a new generation of women and girls’ scientist to tackle major challenges of our time. They pointed out that only 22 percent of artificial intelligence professionals are females, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018.                                                                                

Speaking on achieving gender parity in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Director-General of the organization, Mr. Yukiya Amano, noted that “Women have been at the forefront of nuclear science since the very beginning. However, women remain underrepresented in the nuclear sector as a whole.” Mr. Amano expressed a keen interest to see more women working for the IAEA.

Read more:

International Day of Women and Girls in Science: https://bit.ly/2ImQTJo

Listen to women scientist speak about their experience:   https://bit.ly/2E9T3b4

Women at International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): https://bit.ly/2ImQTJo

 

 


INTERNATIONAL DAY OF EDUCATION: EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT A PUBLIC GOOD AND A PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITY

1The former South African leader, Mr. Nelson Mandela, described education as the most potent weapon with which to change the world. Education is also a human right, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a fundamental United Nations (UN) document. It is, therefore, not surprising that the UN General Assembly on 3 December 2018 adopted by consensus a resolution proclaiming 24 January as International Day of Education. The aim is to highlight the vital role of education in peace and development. The first ever International Day for Education was celebrated on 24 January 2019. Education is at the heart of sustainable development, and it is the number four of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In his message to mark the International Day of Education, the UN Secretary-General, Mr. 2Antonio Guterres maintained that ‘we must do far more to advance Sustainable Development Goal 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. “Also, in his message to mark the day, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Mr. Audrey Azoulay, describes the event as the occasion to reaffirm fundamental principles that; firstly, education is a human right, a public good, and a public responsibility. Secondly, education is the most powerful force in our hands to ensure significant improvements in health, to stimulate economic growth, to unlock the potential and innovation we need to build more resilient and sustainable societies. Lastly, we urgently need to call for collective action for education at a global level.”

Read more:

International Day for Education: https://bit.ly/2RYHLKo

Sustainable Development Goal 4 and the ten targets: https://bit.ly/2GqHSwU

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUG AND CRIMES (UNDOC): THE 2018 GLOBAL REPORT ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

4The United Nations General Assembly through the 2010 UN General Assembly Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons mandated the UN Office on Drug and Crimes (UNDOC) to conduct and present regular global report on trafficking in persons. The UNODC 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons puts a spotlight on trafficking in persons in conflict zones. The report covers 142 countries and provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at the global, regional and national levels, based primarily on trafficking cases detected between 2014 and 2016.

The 2018 report revealed that overall, the number of people being trafficked around the world has increased. But it was noted that this trend could mean that more people are being trafficked, or that national capacities to detect this crime and identify victims are improving in some countries. Whatever the case, the tragedy of human trafficking is still very much present and thriving in most parts of the world.  Women and girls continue to be the most targeted by traffickers, according the 2018 report. Nearly three-quarters of detected female victims of trafficking are exploited for sexual purposes, while 35 per cent are trafficked for forced labour. The report also pointed out that while progress has been made in the past 15 years since the UN Protocol Against Trafficking in Persons came into force, so much more still needs to be done to bring perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. The fight to end trafficking in persons must continue until the evil cease to exist!

Read more:

2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons in the context of armed conflict:  https://bit.ly/2RTaKmS

2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons: https://bit.ly/2H9k4yC

GLOBAL COMPACT FOR SAFE, ORDERLY AND REGULAR MIGRATION: UPDATE ON THE ADOPTION

2I was very grateful to be in Morocco for the adoption of the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in December 2018. I was very touched by the warmth and hospitality shown to us by many people we met on the streets of Marakkech. We also had the wonderful pleasure of trying out some Moroccan cuisine!

The GCM was adopted by the UN General Assembly (GA) on 10th December 2018. Unfortunately, not all the 193 Member States of the UN were present in Morocco for the adoption. Nevertheless, many of the delegates who were in Morocco expressed optimism in the UN migration pact which they consider a milestone in the global governance on migration, despite pushbacks from far-right nationalists in some countries.

Back at the UN Headquarters in New York, on 19 December, the UN GA formally voted to3 endorse the Draft Resolution A/73/L.66 regarding the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The votes went thus: 152 countries voted in favour, 12 countries (Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Romania, Singapore, and Switzerland) abstained from voting, 5 countries (Cech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, and the USA) voted against, and 24 countries were absent. Below are votes by countries (calculated in percentage) in relation to the total world’s population:

  • 152 countries that voted yes for the GCM represent 90 percent of the world’s population
  • 12 countries that abstained from voting represent 3 percent of the world’s population
  • 5 countries that voted against the GCM represent 5 percent of the world’s population
  • 24 countries that were absent during the proceeding represent 2 percent of the world’s population

Note: Brazil has since withdrawn its support for the GCM.

Read more:

Watch the UN GA 19 December proceedings: https://bit.ly/2QYMbAy

“A YEAR OF ACTION:” UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL’S 2019 NEW YEAR MESSAGE

1The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, welcomed the new year with fresh optimism. In his new year message, Mr. Guterres emphasized how the on-going reforms of the UN system will transform the works of the organization. According to him, “the aims of reform are clear: To focus more on people and less on the process. To become nimbler and more effective. And to build a workplace of equality, diversity, and integrity.” Mr. Guterres noted that 2018 was a year of critical decision, however, 2019 is going to be a year of action!

Click HERE to watch the full video footage of Mr. Guterres’ new year message.