Posted on November 30, 2016 by Sister Grace Amarachi Ezeonu
By Katie Blawie: For the first time in history, the UN set of sustainable development goals directly addresses mental health and well-being. Goal 3 aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages,” and Target 3.4 states that we must “by 2030 reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being.” We cannot have sustainable development if we fail to prioritize well-being and health – not just physical, but also mental – with solid, measurable indicators. Mental health policies and programs in all countries are crucial to empowering women and girls. Poor mental health among women is a major threat to sustainable development worldwide.
Women and the mentally ill of any background are two marginalized groups in society. When those two factors are combined, the exclusion becomes even worse. Kofi Annan issued a challenge to us collectively as the peoples of the world to find global leadership and vision on these issues.
We call on all governments worldwide to prioritize mental health with specific, measurable indicators and policies to empower women and girls in our global agenda for sustainable development. Let us of course recognize and confirm that providing economic opportunity for our societies, and for women and girls specifically, improves our individual and collective well-being. Embracing mental health for women and girls sustains mental health for all in our world.
Filed under: Children, United Nations | Tagged: Global Health, Mental health, Sustainable Development, Women and Girls | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 20, 2016 by Sister Grace Amarachi Ezeonu
The global scale of migrants and refugees currently witnessed is unprecedented. According to the United Nations (UN) 2015 data, the number of refugees and migrants around the world was over 244 million, (a 41% increase compared to 2000). Migration is a very complex global issue that will require concerted efforts from the international community to find lasting and sustainable solutions. The UN has taken on the responsibility to galvanize the Member States for global action on this phenomenon. On September 19, 2016, the UN General Assembly will host a High-Level Summit, the first ever called for Heads of State and Governments on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. Major tasks of the summit will include considerations regarding to best means for the international community to respond to the growing issue of refugees and migrants, and to formulate a blueprint for improved international, regional, and national responses.
As a lead up to the September 19 Summit, the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, released a report in May 2016, titled: “In Safety and Dignity: Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.” This report provides background for the September Summit. It also calls for a comprehensive framework for addressing the large movements of migrants and refugees, root causes of such movements, and the need to protect the human rights of those compelled to embark on such often perilous journeys.
- “I was waiting for recess. Diary of a child in detention” wins the first edition of the “Justice for Children” Award: defenceforchildren.org
- Interactive map showing origins and destinations of migration 1990-2015 allows one to select a country and a year and then click on another country to see how many of its people that year immigrated into or emigrated from the first country.
Filed under: Children, Commissions, Human Rights | Tagged: Human Rights, Migration | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 27, 2015 by Sister Grace Amarachi Ezeonu
By Katie Blawie, Intern in SNDatUN Office
Smartphone users outnumber hungry children by 20 to 1, while 1 in 7 children do not have enough food to live a healthy, active life. To leverage these statistics, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has recently released an iOS/Android app called ShareTheMeal.
ShareTheMeal makes it possible to virtually “share” a meal with just the tap of a button. For just 50 cents, anyone around the world can provide a full day’s worth of food to a hungry child. The app also gives the option of donating larger amounts – $3.50 to feed one child for one week, $15 for one month, $45 for three months, $90 for six months, or $182.50 for one year. Currently all donations are benefiting Syrian refugee children in Jordan, with the goal of providing school meals to 20,000 Syrian children for an entire year. This will help with both reducing hunger and improving access to education. Once this goal has been met, the WFP plans to expand this program to other areas in need.
This app has enormous potential to help reach Goal 2 (“Zero Hunger”) of the Sustainable Development Goals. It also serves as a great example of incorporating technology to make donating seamless and social (by connecting it to your Facebook account), while attracting the millennial crowd in particular. So next time you’re sitting down for a meal or waiting in line for your coffee, give the app a try!
For More Information:
Filed under: Children, SDGs | Tagged: Global Hunger | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 19, 2015 by Sister Grace Amarachi Ezeonu
By Alla Baranovskaya, Intern in SNDatUN Office
Piracy off the coast of Somalia is not a very common topic for discussion for United Nations headquarters. However, it was very interesting to hear what organizations and governments had to share about the situation in the country. The piracy problem might remind us primarily of older times, stories that we have read in books and have seen in historical movies. For developing countries, taking Somalia as an example, the problem is still present nowadays. An important topic was discussed during a recent UN meeting: Somalia’s government needs to enforce the laws regarding fishing and sailing on the water territories of the country. While there are no strict laws in the country, whatever happens on a water territory can not be controlled. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Trust Fund, and other panel participants mentioned that Somalia needs some support from the governments of more developed countries who have already overcome that piracy problem. There are a lot of ways to control the majority of boats in the open sea. FAO shared an example of transparent boats that helped to solve a piracy problem in Italy. Another way of controlling the boats can be implemented if all the fishing partners in Somalia and surrounding countries report their boats so that most of the activities in the water can be tracked by high forces.
Another great and powerful thought I have is that piracy is a crime and yet it is easy to commit. It only requires a few things: a boat, weapons, and a group of people. Young kids of Somalia who do not have a proper education can and will consider this type of income if their country’s conditions allow. Therefore, Somalia’s goal should be focused on not letting the conditions actually arise. Young kids are very vulnerable and they adjust quickly. Besides parents’ influence, a big part of their life knowledge will depend on what they see around themselves outside of their homes. If the rules are strict enough, most likely those kids will not want to give it a chance trying to cross legal boundaries. If piracy is, however, not controlled by strict government regulations, kids will not see a bad outcome of these actions, and, consequently, will most likely get involved in giving it a try to become pirates.
Watch a press conference by the contact group on piracy off the coast of Somalia: http://bit.ly/1DD9Lvd
Filed under: Children, Conferences, Education | Tagged: International law, Poverty Eradication | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 12, 2015 by Sister Grace Amarachi Ezeonu
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
Filed under: Children, Human Rights | Tagged: Child labor, Human Trafficking | Leave a comment »