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Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development

Women - 22. April 2019 - 18:46
Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development

The Third Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the  Caribbean on Sustainable Development – 2019 will be held in Santiago de Chile, from 22 – 26 April 2019. For more information access here.

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Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD): Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality

Women - 16. April 2019 - 18:39
Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD): Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality

“The Fifth (2019) session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD 5) will be held under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” It will carry out in-depth review of SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) and the corresponding goals of Agenda 2063. The forum will also undertake an in-depth review of SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) to address challenges and strengthen partnerships to develop capacity, harness science and technologies and mobilize and scale up finance to implement the goals.”

For more information access here.

Date: 16-18 April 2019

Local: Morocco

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Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD)

Women - 27. März 2019 - 18:27
Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD): Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality

“This year, the APFSD will address the theme “’Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” and on the cluster of SDGs to be reviewed at the HLPF – in accordance with General Assembly resolution 70/299:

• Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
• Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
• Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
• Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
• Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
• Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

The APFSD agenda will address
(1) Regional perspectives on the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including in depth review of the theme and cluster of goals; and
(2) Strengthening implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific, including the consideration of a draft regional road map for implementing the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific.” For more information access here.

Local: Bangkok

Date: 27-29 March 2019

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Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region (ECERFSD)

Women - 21. März 2019 - 18:14
Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region (ECERFSD)

“The Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region will be held on Thursday, 21March, and Friday, 22 March 2019, at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG). The Regional Forum will be aligned with the theme of the 2019 High-level Political Forum: Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” For more information access here.

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The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women: CSW63

Women - 11. März 2019 - 18:57
The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women

“The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March 2019. The main theme is Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and als Review theme: Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development.” For more information access here.

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International conference on Universal Child Grants

ODI - 6. Februar 2019 - 0:00
International conference on Universal Child Grants convened by UNICEF, the International Labour Organization and the Overseas Development Institute.
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Exploring transboundary climate risks and opportunities in the Asia Pacific region

ODI - 24. Januar 2019 - 0:00
This side event explores the transboundary risks that result from both the impacts of climate change and the effects of adaptation interventions.
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Beyond emergency relief: how innovative finance can deliver lasting solutions

ODI - 23. Januar 2019 - 0:00
This breakfast roundtable explores how impact bonds and other blended finance instruments can help bridge the long-term funding gap.
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Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

UN ECOSOC - 19. Januar 2019 - 23:55
The United Nations' Secretary-General, António Guterres, learned with sadness of the deadly explosion of an oil pipeline on Friday in Hidalgo State, Mexico, and extended the UN's assistance to the national authorities, his Spokesman said on Saturday.
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Libyan authorities must shoulder the burden to support country’s ‘vulnerable’ south

UN ECOSOC - 18. Januar 2019 - 21:02
Despite years of promises to address the “vulnerable heart” of Libya – the country’s south – conditions around its water and oil resource wealth have continued to deteriorate at “an alarming rate”, the United Nations envoy for the country told the Security Council.
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The Most Mind-Blowing Eco-Stories of 2018

#ALERT - 18. Januar 2019 - 20:57

ALERT continued its remarkable growth in 2018—all thanks to you.  We’re now reaching around 15 million people yearly, with up to 2 million readers on any particular week.

Here are the most singular stories from ALERT in 2018—some of the hottest and most mind-blowing environmental issues of the year.

OUR TOP THREE BLOGS

Out of 37 new blogs in 2018, these three drew the strongest reactions from readers.

Is China So Big It Only Listens to Itself?

China is the overpowering driver of environmental change in the world today.  Does it care what anyone else thinks? Over 30,000 people commented on or liked this blog.


Fatal Fences Are Decimating Nature

Fences are spreading all over the planet, greatly disrupting wildlife movements.  Over 27,000 readers reacted to the story.


Investors Beware: Infrastructure Projects Are Collapsing

Some 25,000 people reacted to this account of the precarious nature of big infrastructure projects.  Many projects are now failing, leaving huge environmental damage and financial losses in their wake.

OUR TOP THREE VIDEOS

ALERT videos provide snapshots of critical eco-issues.  Out of nine new videos in 2018, here are the three most popular.

China’s Belt & Road: The Biggest Environmental Peril This Century

The Belt & Road is the biggest development project ever—involving thousands of projects and trillions of dollars across much of the world.  Its environmental impacts will be stunning. More than 800,000 people watched this video while 22,000 commented or shared it.

Hidden Challenges of the Trans-Papuan Economic Corridor

Papua, or Indonesian New Guinea, is one of the world’s greatest wild areas and an epicentre of biological and cultural diversity. It’s being sliced apart by a massive road network that will open up the forest like a flayed fish. This blog drew 730,000 viewers and over 12,000 reactions. 

Economic Risks of the Belt & Road Project

Beyond its environmental impacts, the Chinese Belt & Road venture also has great economic risks, many hidden or poorly understood and with layers of corruption.  More than 370,000 viewed this video and 6,000 reacted to it. 

 

OUR TOP TWEETS

ALERT has blasted into the Twitter-Verse in a big way, with 307 tweets in 2018.  Here are the four tweets that drew the biggest reactions in terms of how many people read, liked, or retweeted them.

In New Guinea, massive road-building by Indonesia will fragment and deforest vast tropical rainforest and imperil indigenous groups, say experts

Asia’s aggressive poaching spreads: Chinese nationals in Bolivia are convicted of illegally trafficking poached jaguar teeth and body parts

Bad EIAs: Why we can’t rely on Environmental Impact Assessments to protect our environment

 

Spectacled flying foxes die during a heatwave in Cairns, Australia

 

 

 

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Here’s How Every Country Ranks When it Comes to Child Abuse and Child Safety

UN Dispatch - 18. Januar 2019 - 15:39

The United Kingdom is the safest place to be a child, while Pakistan is the least safe. That’s according to a new index that ranks 40 countries on how well they’re responding to the threat of sexual abuse and exploitation against children.

According to the report called Out of the Shadows by The Economist Intelligence Unit and the World Childhood Foundation, the 40 countries in the index represent 70 percent of the world’s children.

The countries were ranked according to their environment in which child sexual violence occurs and is addressed, their legal framework to protect children, their government commitment and capacity to invest in appropriate responses as well as the engagement of industry, civil society and media in combating the issue.

The index aims to help countries track progress toward the second target of Sustainable Development Goal 16 – to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against, and torture of, children” by 2030.

“With approximately 200 million of the world’s children experiencing sexual violence each year, the need to document and benchmark the global effort to prevent child sexual violence has never been more important,” Sweden’s Princess Madeleine, co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation’s #EyesWideOpen campaign, said in a press release.

With a score of 100 representing the best environment for children, the top ten countries on the index were all high-income: U.K. (82.7), Sweden (81.5), Canada (75.3), Australia (74.9), United States (73.7), Germany (73.1), South Korea (71.6), Italy (69.7), France (65.2) and Japan (63.8). Brazil ranks next and is classified by the World Bank as upper-middle income.

Credit: Out of the Shadows report

However, the report notes that the prevalence of child sexual abuse and exploitation is not tied to a country’s income level. Several some high- and middle-income countries made it into the bottom quartile of the index – including China, Argentina and Russia – and only three of the top ten countries received a score of at least 75. The report says that this means there are still “substantial gaps in the protective conditions for children in even the wealthiest countries.”

In fact, another recent report on trafficking by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that while most trafficking victims are detected in their own countries, wealthy countries more likely to be destinations for cross-border trafficking victims from geographically diverse origins.

The UN report notes that “globally, countries are detecting and reporting more victims, and are convicting more traffickers.” This could point to better detection of victims, an uptick in trafficking victims or both.

Although the UN report looks at all forms of trafficking, it says that sexual exploitation continues to be the most detected form of trafficking. In most regions, women are more commonly detected as victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, but in Central America and the Caribbean, more girls are identified as the victims.

However, the Out of the Shadows report points out that trafficking comprises only a small minority of child sexual abuse and exploitation cases. It also found that boys are being overlooked as victims. Only 17 of the 40 countries are collecting prevalence data about boys, and only five collect data on boys regarding sexual exploitation specifically.

Additionally, 26 of the 40 countries have designated law enforcement agencies to fight child sexual exploitation, but only eight have a dedicated budget. This lack of resource allocation – as well as the increasingly online nature of exploitation – makes it harder to tackle both national and transnational offenses.

Credit: Out of the Shadows report

“There is a lot of talk about international collaboration, but it is not systematic or deeply entrenched,” John Carr, expert adviser to the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, said in the Out of the Shadows report.

However, the UN report notes that trafficking is rooted in exploitation not movement, and for the first time, trafficking victims detected within their own borders now make up the largest portion of detected victims globally. This highlights the need to make exploitation a higher criminal justice priority within countries, the report says.

Strengthening legislation is another important way to at least detect abuse and exploitation victims. Out of the Shadows reports that only 25 of the 40 countries it looked at has laws that requires people working with children to report cases of sexual abuse. And sexually touching a minor is explicitly banned in only 21 of them.

The UN trafficking report found that in many countries, an increase in detected victims was preceded by the introduction of a new anti-trafficking measure, suggesting that the upswing correlated more with an increased capacity to identify victims and not an actual increase in trafficking. However, in countries that have had anti-trafficking frameworks for a long time but have not introduced any new legislative reforms or programs, more detections likely means there are actually more victims.

Still, detecting victims of sexual abuse and exploitation is a hugely important step toward tackling the issue. Although both reports indicate that significant progress is being made – and that resource constraints do not necessarily inhibit it – major gaps persist.

“The countries where there is most risk is where we have the least information on the issue,” Paul Stanfield, the director of organized and emerging crime at INTERPOL said in the Out of the Shadows report. “We have to find ways of better understanding the threat.”

The post Here’s How Every Country Ranks When it Comes to Child Abuse and Child Safety appeared first on UN Dispatch.

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Election Fraud in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What You Need to Know

UN Dispatch - 17. Januar 2019 - 16:55

The Democratic Republic of Congo held elections on December 30th that would mark the country’s first peaceful transfer of power since its independence in 1960. The long serving ruler Joseph Kabilla had effectively delayed these elections for years but after much international and domestic pressure, he promised to step down and cede power to the winner of these elections.

Votes were cast. Ballots were counted. A winner declared–and according to several reports a massive fraud was perpetrated.

The Catholic Church, which served as independent election monitors, said that the declared results do not match their data. And on January 15th the Financial Times obtained the raw data from electronic voting machines, which demonstrated a wide margin of victory for opposition candidate Martin Fayulu.

On the line with me to discuss what appears to be industrial scale election fraud in the DRC is Ida Sawyer. She is the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division and a longtime observer of politics in the DRC.

In this conversation she explains who the main candidates are; why this election is so significant, and what it means that such a fraud was perpetrated.

Over the next several weeks and perhaps months this election related drama will unfold in the DRC. This conversation gives you the context you need to understand and interpret events as they unfold.

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About Ida Sawyer 

Ida Sawyer is deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division. She was previously the organization’s Central Africa director, overseeing work on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Central African Republic. From 2008 to 2016, she was based in Congo with Human Rights Watch, first in Goma and later in the capital, Kinshasa. She conducted research across Congo and in areas of neighboring countries affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and her research has been integral to numerous Human Rights Watch reports.

In August 2016, Congolese authorities barred Ida from continuing to work in the country, following a series of Human Rights Watch publications on political repression. Ida has authored numerous Human Rights Watch reports and other documents, and she has written for publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy. Ida conducts high level advocacy with African officials and other international actors as well as outreach with national human rights groups.

Ida came to Human Rights Watch from Cairo, where she had worked as a freelance journalist. Her previous experience in Africa’s Great Lakes region includes work for Care International and the Charity for Peace Foundation in northern Uganda, as well as research in Congo on the cross-border dynamics of natural resource exploitation. Ida holds a Masters in international affairs, specializing in human rights, from Columbia University.

The post Election Fraud in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What You Need to Know appeared first on UN Dispatch.

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Towards inclusive partnerships

INCLUDE Platform - 17. Januar 2019 - 11:38

The research programme ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’ investigates the assumptions, solutions and problems underlying the civil society policy framework ‘Dialogue & Dissent’ of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Currently, all the research groups are conducting the empirical part of their research. The ‘Assumptions blog’ provides insight into the fieldwork of the research groups – the researchers share their on-the-ground experiences through this blog. This time, Lise Woensdregt from VU Amsterdam, part of the research group ‘CBOs within the official development aid system in Kenya, shares her experience from Nairobi, Kenya.

 

This research explores how the contemporary international development system influences the (political) work of community-based organizations (CBOs) in Nairobi, Kenya. Our fieldwork is centred on two CBOS, the first of which works with youth seeking to escape a life of crime and the other with male sex workers.

On a Friday afternoon, I meet Stella in a restaurant close to one of the CBOs we are studying. The restaurant is close to a mosque and famous for its pilau, a Swahili spiced rice dish. Although the place is popular throughout the week, it is especially busy after Friday prayers. Therefore, when I enter the small restaurant, I see many men and boys in traditional Islamic dress, talking and eating together. I find Stella in the back, sipping on a Mirinda apple. I squeeze in next to her on one of the cushioned benches and we preceded to order some food.

Stella is one of the community researchers in our research project, which uses community-led research (CLR) as one of the methodologies. Within CLR, the ‘insider perspective’ of community members is considered crucial. Community researchers become aware of what they already know (their lived experiences and that of their peers) and use this as the basis for further knowledge creation. In practice, this means that a total of 20 community researchers conduct ethnographic fieldwork in their own community, take notes and write their weekly research journals. This process of data collection is followed by analysis and coding, after which all of them individually choose a specific topic to write about further. The individual chapters will be combined and presented as a popular book in June 2019.

Stella is a community researcher at the CBO focusing on male sex workers in Nairobi. She is a transwoman and has been involved with the CBO for many years. Her group explores the narratives of sex workers and how the CBO features in their daily lives. Stella asked me to meet with her today to work on a chapter addressing mental health among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender sex workers. In their talks with community members, the community researchers became aware of how homophobia, stigma and discrimination create social distress, feelings of depression and lack of self-esteem. The researchers came to realize that mental health is often an underlying cause of excessive alcohol and drug use. One of them said: “They are drinking so that they can forget what they are going through”.  Sex work in itself is not necessarily traumatizing, however, our findings show that feelings of rejection by family and society, insecurity about the future, as well as daily experiences of violence take their toll on sex workers. Despite this, the researchers agreed that there is very little support for addressing mental health issues among sex workers, as most of the funding goes towards HIV. They also realized that the few programmes that have touched on alcohol and drug use tend to focus on behaviour change, rather than the underlying causes for why sex workers drink.

Our research shows that the CBO is aware of the mental health needs of sex workers in the community. CBO employees express concerns about these issues and consider the current lack of mental health support for sex workers a gap in their programming. However, our research also highlights the difficulties this CBO experiences in obtaining funding that could be used to pursue these objectives. For example, one of their major funders, who primarily focuses on HIV, rejected its proposal to include monthly alcohol and substance abuse sessions in their programme, saying that it is not a priority.

Because Stella sees a need in her community, she is very motivated to write a chapter about mental health. As she said: “I want to write this because I want people to know about the mental health issues we face and the lack of support we currently get”. This example shows how CLR is an innovative way to address the needs that exist within a community. Through CLR, Stella and her fellow community researchers unearthed a root cause of many physical health problems among sex workers, i.e. mental health, which they feel if left unaddressed will render other initiatives focusing on STDs and HIV prevention futile. What’s more, CLR results in a rich, detailed type of data, which can contribute to the broader research project and which is difficult to retrieve otherwise.

 

The post Towards inclusive partnerships appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

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Trillions for the SDGs? Time for a rethink

OECD - 17. Januar 2019 - 10:43
By Nancy Lee, Senior Policy Fellow, Centre for Global Development, and moderator during the PF4SD Conference   To learn more about this timely topic explored during the Private Finance for Sustainable Development Week, please visit the PF4SD and GPEDC websites. In 2015, the world enthusiastically signed on to the challenge of transforming billions to trillions of dollars of private finance … Continue reading Trillions for the SDGs? Time for a rethink
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Building a culture of research impact

ODI - 17. Januar 2019 - 0:00
Five principles that underpin an effective research impact culture, drawing on evidence from the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme.
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Why are some democracies so violent?

ODI - 17. Januar 2019 - 0:00
What are the main factors that account for the trend of increasing violence across states and societies and how can they be addressed?
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UN Peacekeeping Faces Massive Funding Shortfall

UN Dispatch - 16. Januar 2019 - 20:06

In a letter to United Nations Ambassadors, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of an urgent cash crisis facing the UN in general —  and UN peacekeeping in particular.  As of January 11, he says, the United Nations faces a $2 billion shortfall in UN Peacekeeping funding; the cash it has on hand can fund less than two months of UN Peacekeeping operations around the world.

“Active peacekeeping missions are soon expected to face liquidity gaps due to late payments and increasing arrears,” Antonio Guterres wrote in the letter, seen by UN Dispatch. “As of today, arrears are nearing US$2 billion and are likely to keep growing. Current cash balances cover less than two months of operations, compared to four months last year.”

Peacekeeping is funded through dues payments from member states to the United Nations. The problem is that UN member states are not paying their dues on time and in full. If this trend continues much longer, the United Nations will simply run out of money to pay for all the peacekeeping operations it deploys around the world, which includes about 100,000 troops deployed to 14 global hotspots.

The top contributors to UN Peacekeeping include the United States, China, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Of these, the United States is by far the largest single contributor, and is assessed at nearly 28% of the cost of UN Peacekeeping. The problem is, the Trump administration has not been paying its dues in full and has consequently wracked up arrears to UN Peacekeeping of about $750 million — a significant portion of the $2 billion shortfall.

A persistent budget crisis for UN Peacekeeping could exacerbate conflict around the world.

UN blue helmets mostly come from the developing world. The biggest troop contributing countries include Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Rwanda and Nepal. The UN reimburses these countries for the cost of sending their troops on peacekeeping mission, at a rate of about $1,400 per person, per month.

These peacekeepers are helping to keep a lid on conflict in places like South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Lebanon and elsewhere. If the UN runs out of money to reimburse troop contributing countries for the cost of sending troops to these hotspots, it would not be unreasonable to expect countries to pull their troops from these dangerous places. At that point, these conflicts would be left to fester and perhaps metastasize to spread conflict and instability through these regions. That is the real-world consequence of a budget shortfall at UN headquarters in New York.

“The situation in the first few weeks of 2019 remains precarious and will only improve if your pending contributions from previous years, as well as your 2019 contributions are paid on time and in full,” Guterres writes in his letter to UN ambassadors.

Unless member states heed his call and pay up, we can expect that some of the most volatile places on earth, from the Central African Republic to Southern Lebanon, will grow even more unstable.

 

 

 

 

The post UN Peacekeeping Faces Massive Funding Shortfall appeared first on UN Dispatch.

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