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Climate and sport: Paralympic champion Tatyana McFadden explains the link

7. April 2022 - 19:14

Ahead of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, we spoke with the best female wheelchair racer of all time. Raising her voice for climate action, she explained why global warming threatens everyone, but especially persons with disabilities, and how sport can contribute to protecting our planet.

Tatyana McFadden is considered the fastest woman in the world. She is a six-time US Paralympian and 20-time Paralympic medalist. She has won 23 World Major Marathons and has broken five world records in track and field.

Ms. McFadden was born with spina bifida and spent the first years of her life in an orphanage in Russia with little to no access to basic services – or even a wheelchair – before she was adopted by her mother, Deborah, who took her home to Maryland, in the United States.

Two decades later she still remembers what it was like living in those conditions, and those memories are at the heart of her fight for the rights of persons with disabilities and have helped her raise awareness about the need for them to have a voice in crucial issues such as climate change.

“I lived first-hand a life without adequate food and clean water, sometimes without heat or electricity, things that I don’t take for granted now. Fortunately, I was adopted at the age of six by a wonderful American family and I don’t have to live like this anymore. But with climate change, a lot of people living in developing countries are experiencing this,” she tells UN News.

Ms. McFadden says she has spoken about the struggle with her fellow Paralympic athletes coming from countries especially affected by climate change.

“There’s no question that climate change is a major worldwide challenge that really impacts all people. But in reality, it disproportionately impacts the disabled population,” she explains.

Heating up 

In the case of sports, athletes are feeling the heat raise up during their events.  Tokyo 2020 was an example of it, with record-breaking heat and humidity which made worldwide headlines and posed a danger for participants. 

Tatyana McfaddenTatyana Mcfadden, US Paralympic athlete, during a medal ceremony at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games.

“This is directly related to hydration. As athletes we need to stay very hydrated. Having a disability, being paralyzed from the waist down causes circulation issues and for us hydration is already a very hard thing. You could get a heat stroke and die because you’re not getting enough”, she explains.

Nutrition is another big factor for competitors, which, believe it or not, can be a challenge for some athletes in certain countries.

Ms. McFadden learned that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, US advocates had to deliver food, healthcare and equipment to South African Paralympic athletes suffering from vulnerable conditions.

“This is a really big [challenge] that we are facing, not only due to COVID but with the climate crisis. This hit personally because as an elite athlete, hydration and food are so important not only for performance but also for health in general and to see my own Paralympic athletes not having that is very difficult.

That’s why we need to be part of this discussion because those were my competitors. Many couldn’t go to Tokyo, for example, because they were living in situations like these,” she highlights.

A problem for the entire sports sector

According to a recent policy brief from the UN Department of Economic and Social affairs (DESA), the sports sector is indeed being impacted by the consequences of rising temperatures, heavier precipitations, and the increase of extreme weather events.

A recent study cited in the report showed that in a warming world, half of the former winter Olympic host cities will likely be unable to sponsor winter games by 2050 due to a lack of snow and ice.

In 2018, the elevated temperatures forced the US Open tennis tournament organizers to offer a “heat-break” to athletes. During the 2020 Australian Open, poor air quality caused by wildfires forced some tennis players to withdraw from the tournament.

By 2050, almost one fourth of England football league team’s stadiums (23 out of 92) are projected to be partially or totally flooded every year.

These examples only site high-profile sporting events, DESA explains. The impact on smaller, more local events is potentially far greater.

From youth leagues to collegiate teams, millions of athletes have already confronted some climate disruptions, and these will only magnify with time.

Everyone’s voice is needed

Of course, disruption of sports events might appear as a minor problem against a backdrop of food, energy and water insecurity forcing millions to migrate as climate impacts accelerate over the next few decades.

“But the magnitude of the crisis dictates that solutions must come from every sector, every nation, every voice with an idea. And it turns out, athletes are rising to the challenge and their contributions can make a difference,” the UN DESA policy brief explains.

The fact is, that the world of sport is in a unique position to display leadership in climate action and in mitigating the effects of climate change.

“This is personal to me. We want to make a change and how athletes like myself can do that? One, we have to talk about it. Second, to work with sponsors. They have such a huge external audience so it’s our job to talk to them about the importance of carbon footprint and the significance of zero carbon emissions…We also need to praise sponsors that are doing the work and making the big changes,” Tatyana McFadden emphasizes.Citi/ madumontBrad Snyder, US paralympian

The role of sport

Sporting events also contribute to global warming. According to a Rapid Transition Alliance’s report, the global sport sector contributes the same level of emissions as a medium-sized country through their carbon footprint coming from transportation, constructions, sporting venues and the supply chains for sport-related equipment.

For example, it has been estimated that the 2016 Rio Olympics released 3.6 million tons of carbon dioxide, while the 2018 Russia World Cup released 2.16 million tons.

These kinds of assessments could underestimate the toll of climate change, as they do not include the impact of the construction of new stadiums, the water and energy consumed to support events and the food, plastic and other waste produced during events.

However, measures are being taken to reduce the carbon footprint of sporting events. For example,

The International Olympic Committee aims, by 2030, to move beyond carbon neutrality and make the games carbon negative.

Athletes like Ms. Macfadden have also started to raise their voices on the issue: last year for the COP26 climate change summit, over 50 global Olympians and Paralympians from Tokyo 2020 came together to advocate for ambitious actions from World Leaders during the summit.

According to DESA, sport can play an important role in educating and raising awareness towards global warming and more broadly environmental issues, including promoting a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.Kaede MaegawaKaede Maegawa is representing Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

In fact, a study found that fans are receptive to environmental initiatives, partaking in the efforts to reduce environmental footprints not only when attending sport events, but also in their everyday behaviors and as advocates within their local communities.

Targeted environmental sustainability campaigns therefore can be key in this process. In this, athletes and teams can serve as role models to their supporters using their elevated social status to educate individuals and communities on climate change, motivating them to change their lifestyles for the betterment of the planet.

Ms. McFadden was also part of the launch of WeThe15 campaign during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games which aims to shine a light on the 15 per cent of people worldwide who have a disability and fight barriers and discrimination.

“I see my future hopefully making a change and helping to increase the number of people with disabilities taking a well-deserved seat at the table, making sure that we are part of the conversation of climate change and doing our part to promote sustainability in the world,” the elite athlete hopes, while she prepares for Paris 2024, where the Olympic Committee is taking great strides to make it a sustainable event.

The US paralympic champion of track and field is also part of the celebration of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, which in 2022 is being highlighted at the UN during a virtual event with other elite athletes and Olympians, as well as major sporting groups including the 2022 Qatar World Cup organizing committee, and World Rugby. 

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english

The Role of Sport in Combating Climate Change

31. März 2022 - 19:17
Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), which takes place annually on 6 April, presents an opportunity to recognize the positive role sport and physical activity play in communities and in people’s lives across the globe.

Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right and a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace, as well as solidarity and respect for all.

In recognition of sport’s broad influence, the global theme of IDSDP 2022 is, “Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport,” which creates an opportunity for the Day’s celebrations to promote the use of sport as a tool to advance human rights and sustainable development. Under this theme, UN Headquarters in New York will recognize the role of sport in addressing the climate crisis and will highlight actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate against climate change.

Sport is in a unique position to display leadership, to take responsibility for its carbon footprint, engage in a climate neutral journey, incentivize action beyond the sporting sector, and play a major role in amplifying awareness among its billions of spectators, facilitators and participants at all levels. With the need for urgent action growing more dire every day, the relationship between sport and climate must be better understood and ways of developing policies and taking concrete action to help reverse the impact of climate change through sport must be communicated to as wide an audience as possible.

Today, our world faces generational challenges, from poverty and hunger, to climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever, we need to overcome our differences and unite as one team working together to tackle these obstacles and create a safer, more peaceful, and more sustainable future for all.

The Role of Sport in Combating Climate Change

With the need for urgent action growing more dire every day, the relationship between sport and climate must be better understood and ways of developing policies and taking concrete action to help reverse the impact of climate change through sport must be communicated to as wide an audience as possible. Join us on 6 April 2022 at 9:30 a.m. EDT on the UN YouTube Channel and UN Web TV for a virtual event hosted by UN Under-Secretary-General Melissa Fleming.

Register here.

Kategorien: english

Inclusive Quality Education for All

31. März 2022 - 19:08

Over the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education generally, as well as for persons with autism specifically.

However, in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, a majority of countries announced the temporary closure of schools, impacting more than 90 per cent of students worldwide. The disruption in learning caused by the pandemic has reversed years of progress and has exacerbated inequalities in education.

Many students with autism have been especially hard hit and studies show that they have been disproportionately affected by disruptions to routines, as well as services and supports that they rely on.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the United Nations in 2015 provide a blueprint for addressing the major challenges facing the world, including inequality.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, as the foundation for improving people’s lives and reducing inequalities.

The specific targets for SDG 4 refer to the need to ensure “equal access to all levels of education and vocational training” for persons with disabilities and building and upgrading education facilities that are disability sensitive and that provide “inclusive and effective learning environments for all.”

In this respect, the SDGs echo the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Article 24 of the Convention recognizes that persons with disabilities have the right to inclusive, quality education on an equal basis with others and that reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements should be provided.

The 2022 World Autism Awareness Day observance

This year‘s observance will address inclusive education in the context of SDG 4 – the promise and reality – through a virtual event that will include a moderated panel discussion, along with brief presentations by self-advocates, educators and other experts.

The theme of inclusive education is intrinsically linked with the focus of last year’s WAAD observance, “Inclusion in the Workplace”. Panelists in last year’s event emphasized how crucial it is to foster inclusive quality education for people on the autism spectrum so that they can fulfill their potential and achieve sustainable success in the labour market. In this respect, inclusive education is the key to the transformative promise of the Sustainable Development Goals, to LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND.

The event is organized by the UN Department of Global Communications and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, with the support of civil society partners including the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Global Autism Project and the Specialisterne Foundation.

Learn more and join the virtual event on Friday, 8 April 2022 from 10:00 to 11:15 a.m. EST
Register here

Kategorien: english

SDG 16 Conference: “People-centred governance in a post-pandemic world”

17. März 2022 - 3:45

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the International Development Law Organization, and the Government of Italy are organizing the SDG 16 Conference 2022, to be held from 21 to 22 April in a hybrid format. Building on the outcomes of the 2019 and 2021 editions and drawing on the insights of participants from government, international organizations, civil society, academia and youth, the Conference will explore how a people-centred approach to governance can help rebuild trust, accelerate progress towards sustainable development and tackle the challenges facing a post-COVID world.

The Conference will examine how COVID-19 has contributed to the root causes and drivers of conflict and instability, challenged the delivery of public services, threatened the rule of law and increased inequality and exclusion. It will highlight innovations made in response to the pandemic, including approaches to build and sustain development in conflict-affected contexts, strengthen institutional resilience, promote people-centred justice, and address inequalities while leaving no one behind. 

Register here.

Source: UN DESA, IDLO

Kategorien: english

Shameful Contrast: Inequality at the Intersection of Age and Gender

7. März 2022 - 22:26

AARP, the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the Permanent Mission of Argentina, UN Women and the UN Special Procedures Office of the Independent Expert on the Rights of Older Persons will organize a virtual event on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, from 8am- 9:30am ET, during the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66 – March 14-25, 2022).

The event, Shameful Contrast: Inequality at the Intersection of Age and Gender, is this year’s 15th annual AARP-United Nations Briefing, which places a spotlight on older women and aims to transform political momentum into action that will empower older women and further promote gender equality.

The Briefing will feature leaders from across the globe on women’s empowerment and gender equity and will offer insights into how key stakeholders can engage in a dialogue and format policies that promote gender equity and the empowerment of women.

Register for the Event

We invite you to join us for dialogue among a distinguished group of leaders:

  • Reem Alsalem, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences 
  • Maria del Carmen Squeff, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Permanent Mission of Argentina
  • Edna Kane-Williams, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, AARP
  • Rajesh Mirchandani, Chief Communications Officer at UN Foundation
  • Papa Seck, Chief Statistician UN Women
  • Dr. Claudia Mahler, UN Independent Expert, UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons
  • Rachel Vogelstein, Senior Advisor, White House Gender Policy Council
  • Georgina Veitch, Gender Policy Advisor, HelpAge International
  • Supriya Akerkar, Director, Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, Oxford Brookes University (UK)
  • Masumi Ono, Chief Social Inclusion and Participation, UN DESA

Source: UN DESA and AARP

Kategorien: english

SIGA Summit on Female Leadership in Sport

7. März 2022 - 22:13

The SIGA Summit on Female Leadership in Sport is back and better than ever before in a new exclusive hybrid format kicking off on International Women’s Day!

With SIGA Founding Member Mastercard, hosting the Summit at their brand-new Technology Hub in Manhattan New York, this unique thought leadership event will bring together female leaders from all sides of the global sports industry.

This two-day high-level event is part of the #SIGAWomen Mentorship Programme, designed to enhance sports governance, drive greater equity and opportunities for women in sport and provides premium networking. The transformations that SIGA seeks are anchored in the SIGA Universal Standards on Good Governance in Sport.

Consisting of 10 live webinars together with keynote speeches and one-to-one interviews with high profile industry leaders, the SIGA Summit addresses the most pressing challenges that impact women carving out a career, as well as those women at the top of their game, in one of the most exciting industries on the planet: Sport!

Ultimately the reforms SIGA is driving is to create gender equity and more diversity and inclusion as part of the Gold Standard for global sports governance and to hold the industry accountable through the world’s first ever independent rating, verification, and certification system for the industry – SIRVS.

SIGA is the world´s largest coalition in the field of sport´s governance and integrity. Supported by more than 100 international multi-industry supporters, SIGA is an independent and neutral organisation whose mission is to bring about meaningful reforms and enhance the integrity of all sports through a set of universal standards operated by an independent and neutral body. SIGA is the only organisation to bring together sport, governments, academia, international organisations, sponsors, business, rights holders, NGOs and professional services companies, from every region in the world, around a common cause of fostering greater integrity throughout sport.

For more information on the summit, please visit: https://siga-sport.com/summit-on-female-leadership-in-sport-2022-2/

For more information on SIGA, including its vision, mission and reform agenda, please refer to the website: www.siga-sport.com.

To contact SIGA, please email: comms@siga-sport.com.

Source: SIGA

Kategorien: english

For a sustainable tomorrow, we must plan today

24. Februar 2022 - 22:00

Global Population Growth and Sustainable Development probes the linkages between global population growth and the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The report examines how the current rapid growth of the human population is a consequence of the demographic transition from high to low levels of mortality and fertility. The report reviews the connections between population growth and key aspects of social and economic development, including poverty, hunger and malnutrition, health, education, gender equality, economic growth and decent work. It also explores the contribution of global population increase to environmental degradation, including climate change. 

The report is part of a series on major demographic trends being published by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Reports in the series examine the complex relationships linking demographic processes to social and economic development and environmental change.      

Source: UNDESA

Kategorien: english

How to make the informal formal?

24. Februar 2022 - 20:41

More than 60 percent of the world’s adult labour force, or about 2 billion workers work in the informal economy. They are not recognized, registered, regulated or protected under labour legislation and social protection. The consequences can be severe, for individuals, families as well as economies.

Despite major efforts over the years, there are few signs of the informal economy shrinking in size. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more workers into informal work to survive while highlighting the vital role access to social protection plays to support workers, especially when they are unable to work.

Just what is life like for workers in the informal economy, what are the global solutions to intransigent informality and will the growth of the ‘gig’ economy help informal economy workers gain the security and social protection they so badly need?

To learn more, please visit: https://voices.ilo.org/podcast/how-to-make-the-informal-formal

Source: ILO

Resources:

60th Commission for Social Development (CSocD60)

Kategorien: english

Inclusive recovery from pandemic requires greater push to end poverty and hunger

14. Februar 2022 - 20:44

With the pandemic worsening the plight of those already experiencing multidimensional poverty, and pushing many more people into food insecurity and immiseration, countries must urgently strengthen social protections to ensure an inclusive recovery, United Nations officials emphasized at the opening of the 60th Commission for Social Development (CSocD60) on 7 February.

Overcoming the inequalities laid bare by the pandemic calls for vigorous public action combining the intensity of a short-term response with long-term goals, said María del Carmen Squeff (Argentina), Commission Chair.  In an impassioned address, which she commenced with a quote from a comic panel featuring the character Mafalda created by the Argentinian cartoonist Quino, she questioned why the world is going from one year to the next, without having resolved any of its problems, including poverty, hunger, and inequality.  “Tonight, there are people who have nothing to eat,” she stressed.

The session’s priority theme — “Strengthening multilateralism to deliver well-being and dignity for all by addressing food insecurity and the eradication of poverty, including through the promotion of sustainable food systems” — squarely addresses such concerns, she continued.  Citing a figure from a report on food security by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), she said 811 million people do not know what they will eat today, pointing out that pandemic recovery is taking place at “two different paces, with many left behind”.  Recalling the Secretary-General’s recent statement about vaccination rates being seven times higher in wealthier countries than in less wealthy nations, she asked:  “Are we aware of the catastrophic consequences of such gaps in a post-pandemic world?”

She called for all countries to act with great urgency to bring about an inclusive, resilient and transformative recovery that responds to exacerbated structural inequalities.  “If you dream alone, you are alone in your dream; if you dream with others, you make history,” she said.

Abdulla Shahid (Maldives), President of the General Assembly, in a pre‑recorded video message, said that, as the world enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with mingled frustration around the omicron variant, and hope that the end is approaching, it is important to consider the lessons learned by the crisis, which can be applied to the post-COVID era.  Noting that the pandemic has greatly impacted sustainable development, with 600 million people close to extreme poverty, and 3 billion people unable to afford a healthy diet, he stressed:  “These are startling numbers.”

He called for an integration of the Sustainable Development Goals into plans for building back better “to ensure we do not simply recreate the systems and institutions we had before”.  This can be accomplished through a greater investment and sharing of technologies, resources and capacities; by prioritizing universal access to basic services and infrastructure, especially around education, nutrition and health care; investing in a “green and blue” recovery, and setting up strong social protections to reach the groups that have been left furthest behind.

Echoing these points, Collen Vixen Kelapile (Botswana), President of the Economic and Social Council, which oversees the Commission, said the pandemic has severely hampered implementation of Sustainable Development Goals on poverty and hunger.  Developing countries, especially in Africa, are being left behind, with slower economic growth and highly unequal access to the vaccines and the financial resources to support their recovery.  The annual theme of the Economic and Social Council and the high-level political forum on sustainable development is precisely about “Building back better from the coronavirus disease while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.  Describing the Commission as the home for pursuing Goal 10 on reducing inequality, he said the subsidiary body can help the Council and the political forum to develop innovative, evidence-based and impactful policy guidance on recovering better from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a pre-recorded video message, stressed the need for recovery strategies to address inequality, poverty, hunger and food insecurity, among others.  Social policies are at the heart of such strategies.  The Secretary-General, in his Our Common Agenda report, called for renewing the social contract to ensure equal opportunities, economic security and well-being of all.  He has proposed to hold a World Social Summit in 2025, building on the 1995 World Summit for Social Development.  The Commission’s deliberations can serve as the springboard to the 2025 Summit that will re-energize efforts to accelerate progress in achieving the Goals.

Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted that the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated multiple forms of deprivation.  The world is not on track to meet the most fundamental Goal of eradicating extreme poverty, he said, adding:  “The prospect of global recovery is darkened by the uneven access to vaccines.”  Without decisive action, the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to reach 600 million, or 7 per cent of the world’s population, by 2030.  Highlighting the critical role of social policies amid COVID-19, particularly to protect vulnerable people — including children and older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas — he stressed the importance of universal access to social protection, to enhance economic and food security during times of crisis.  “From December 2020 to May 2021, total spending on social protection rose by almost 270 per cent, reaching $2.9 trillion,” he pointed out.

Maria Fornella-Oehninger and Monica Jahangir-Chowdhury, Co-Chairs of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee on Social Development, pointing out that the pandemic pushed hundreds of millions of individuals and families into poverty and hunger, on top of the 1.3 billion people already living in multidimensional poverty, quoted an activist living in poverty, who said:  “Poverty is being treated like cattle; you have no dignity and no identity.”  The pandemic has revealed the extent to which the old social contract holding societies together has been broken, they said, outlining recommendations for a renewed social contract from their Civil Society Declaration, drafted by the Committee on Non‑Governmental Organizations, another Council subsidiary body.  The recommendations include investment in national social protection floors; the establishment of a Global Fund for Social Protection to provide capacity to least developed countries; ensuring that persons living in poverty are equal before the law; the scaling up of climate resilience across food systems; and promoting early and life-long education.

Lynrose Jane D. Genon, Youth Representative from the Philippines, in a pre‑recorded address, described the pandemic’s impact on her country’s job market and poverty, citing the rise of the unemployment rate to 17.6 per cent in April 2020 from 5 per cent before the crisis.  In May 2021, the unemployment rate was 7.7 per cent, and the youth unemployment rate was 14.5 per cent, implying that 1.12 million young Filipinos were unemployed.  Underscoring access to education, she noted that one fifth of Filipino elementary and high school students failed to enrol for academic year 2020-2021 and will likely miss enrolment again due to the pandemic.  She called for steps to be taken to address the digital divide.  Girls are at an ever-greater risk of falling out of school due to increasing care work at home, she said, calling for investment in young people as leaders and in local youth-led initiatives, as well as more inclusive and gender-sensitive social protection systems.

In other business, the Commission elected by acclamation Hellen Chifwaila (Zambia), Guo Jiakun (China) and Iwona Lula (Poland) as Vice-Chairs, with Ms. Chifwaila also serving as Rapporteur.  The Commission also adopted its provisional agenda (document E/CN.5/2022/1) and work programme contained in Annex I of the same document.

Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Inclusive Social Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced Secretary-General’s reports titled “Social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development” (document E/CN.5/2022/2); “Inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 for sustainable livelihoods, well-being and dignity for all: eradicating poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions to achieve the 2030 Agenda” (document E/CN.5/2022/3);  “Implementation of the objectives of the International Year of the Family and its follow-up processes (document A/77/61-E/2022/4); and “Preliminary assessment of the fourth review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002” (document E/CN.5/2022/4).

For more information about the CSocD60, please visit: http://bit.ly/un-csocd60.

Kategorien: english

Inclusive recovery from pandemic requires greater push to end poverty and hunger

14. Februar 2022 - 20:44

With the pandemic worsening the plight of those already experiencing multidimensional poverty, and pushing many more people into food insecurity and immiseration, countries must urgently strengthen social protections to ensure an inclusive recovery, United Nations officials emphasized at the opening of the 60th Commission for Social Development (CSocD60) on 7 February.

Overcoming the inequalities laid bare by the pandemic calls for vigorous public action combining the intensity of a short-term response with long-term goals, said María del Carmen Squeff (Argentina), Commission Chair.  In an impassioned address, which she commenced with a quote from a comic panel featuring the character Mafalda created by the Argentinian cartoonist Quino, she questioned why the world is going from one year to the next, without having resolved any of its problems, including poverty, hunger, and inequality.  “Tonight, there are people who have nothing to eat,” she stressed.

The session’s priority theme — “Strengthening multilateralism to deliver well-being and dignity for all by addressing food insecurity and the eradication of poverty, including through the promotion of sustainable food systems” — squarely addresses such concerns, she continued.  Citing a figure from a report on food security by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), she said 811 million people do not know what they will eat today, pointing out that pandemic recovery is taking place at “two different paces, with many left behind”.  Recalling the Secretary-General’s recent statement about vaccination rates being seven times higher in wealthier countries than in less wealthy nations, she asked:  “Are we aware of the catastrophic consequences of such gaps in a post-pandemic world?”

She called for all countries to act with great urgency to bring about an inclusive, resilient and transformative recovery that responds to exacerbated structural inequalities.  “If you dream alone, you are alone in your dream; if you dream with others, you make history,” she said.

Abdulla Shahid (Maldives), President of the General Assembly, in a pre‑recorded video message, said that, as the world enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with mingled frustration around the omicron variant, and hope that the end is approaching, it is important to consider the lessons learned by the crisis, which can be applied to the post-COVID era.  Noting that the pandemic has greatly impacted sustainable development, with 600 million people close to extreme poverty, and 3 billion people unable to afford a healthy diet, he stressed:  “These are startling numbers.”

He called for an integration of the Sustainable Development Goals into plans for building back better “to ensure we do not simply recreate the systems and institutions we had before”.  This can be accomplished through a greater investment and sharing of technologies, resources and capacities; by prioritizing universal access to basic services and infrastructure, especially around education, nutrition and health care; investing in a “green and blue” recovery, and setting up strong social protections to reach the groups that have been left furthest behind.

Echoing these points, Collen Vixen Kelapile (Botswana), President of the Economic and Social Council, which oversees the Commission, said the pandemic has severely hampered implementation of Sustainable Development Goals on poverty and hunger.  Developing countries, especially in Africa, are being left behind, with slower economic growth and highly unequal access to the vaccines and the financial resources to support their recovery.  The annual theme of the Economic and Social Council and the high-level political forum on sustainable development is precisely about “Building back better from the coronavirus disease while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.  Describing the Commission as the home for pursuing Goal 10 on reducing inequality, he said the subsidiary body can help the Council and the political forum to develop innovative, evidence-based and impactful policy guidance on recovering better from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a pre-recorded video message, stressed the need for recovery strategies to address inequality, poverty, hunger and food insecurity, among others.  Social policies are at the heart of such strategies.  The Secretary-General, in his Our Common Agenda report, called for renewing the social contract to ensure equal opportunities, economic security and well-being of all.  He has proposed to hold a World Social Summit in 2025, building on the 1995 World Summit for Social Development.  The Commission’s deliberations can serve as the springboard to the 2025 Summit that will re-energize efforts to accelerate progress in achieving the Goals.

Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted that the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated multiple forms of deprivation.  The world is not on track to meet the most fundamental Goal of eradicating extreme poverty, he said, adding:  “The prospect of global recovery is darkened by the uneven access to vaccines.”  Without decisive action, the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to reach 600 million, or 7 per cent of the world’s population, by 2030.  Highlighting the critical role of social policies amid COVID-19, particularly to protect vulnerable people — including children and older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas — he stressed the importance of universal access to social protection, to enhance economic and food security during times of crisis.  “From December 2020 to May 2021, total spending on social protection rose by almost 270 per cent, reaching $2.9 trillion,” he pointed out.

Maria Fornella-Oehninger and Monica Jahangir-Chowdhury, Co-Chairs of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee on Social Development, pointing out that the pandemic pushed hundreds of millions of individuals and families into poverty and hunger, on top of the 1.3 billion people already living in multidimensional poverty, quoted an activist living in poverty, who said:  “Poverty is being treated like cattle; you have no dignity and no identity.”  The pandemic has revealed the extent to which the old social contract holding societies together has been broken, they said, outlining recommendations for a renewed social contract from their Civil Society Declaration, drafted by the Committee on Non‑Governmental Organizations, another Council subsidiary body.  The recommendations include investment in national social protection floors; the establishment of a Global Fund for Social Protection to provide capacity to least developed countries; ensuring that persons living in poverty are equal before the law; the scaling up of climate resilience across food systems; and promoting early and life-long education.

Lynrose Jane D. Genon, Youth Representative from the Philippines, in a pre‑recorded address, described the pandemic’s impact on her country’s job market and poverty, citing the rise of the unemployment rate to 17.6 per cent in April 2020 from 5 per cent before the crisis.  In May 2021, the unemployment rate was 7.7 per cent, and the youth unemployment rate was 14.5 per cent, implying that 1.12 million young Filipinos were unemployed.  Underscoring access to education, she noted that one fifth of Filipino elementary and high school students failed to enrol for academic year 2020-2021 and will likely miss enrolment again due to the pandemic.  She called for steps to be taken to address the digital divide.  Girls are at an ever-greater risk of falling out of school due to increasing care work at home, she said, calling for investment in young people as leaders and in local youth-led initiatives, as well as more inclusive and gender-sensitive social protection systems.

In other business, the Commission elected by acclamation Hellen Chifwaila (Zambia), Guo Jiakun (China) and Iwona Lula (Poland) as Vice-Chairs, with Ms. Chifwaila also serving as Rapporteur.  The Commission also adopted its provisional agenda (document E/CN.5/2022/1) and work programme contained in Annex I of the same document.

Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Inclusive Social Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced Secretary-General’s reports titled “Social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development” (document E/CN.5/2022/2); “Inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 for sustainable livelihoods, well-being and dignity for all: eradicating poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions to achieve the 2030 Agenda” (document E/CN.5/2022/3);  “Implementation of the objectives of the International Year of the Family and its follow-up processes (document A/77/61-E/2022/4); and “Preliminary assessment of the fourth review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002” (document E/CN.5/2022/4).

For more information about the CSocD60, please visit: http://bit.ly/un-csocd60.

Kategorien: english

In an anxious world, time to redefine progress

14. Februar 2022 - 20:30

Even citizens living in countries that enjoy some of the highest levels of good health, wealth, and education outcomes, are reporting even greater anxiety than a decade ago. 

Apprehensive about the future 

“Despite global wealth being higher than ever before, a majority of people are feeling apprehensive about the future and these feelings have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Achim Steiner, the UNDP Administrator.  

“In our quest for unbridled economic growth, we continue to destroy our natural world while inequalities are widening, both within and between countries. It is time to recognise the signs of societies that are under immense stress and redefine what progress actually means.” 

The report, New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene, calls for greater solidarity across borders to tackle the disconnect between development and perceived security.   

Sustainability for all 

UNDP also advocates a new approach to development that it hopes will help people to live free from want, fear, anxiety, and indignity.   

“We need a fit-for-purpose development model that is built around the protection and restoration our of planet with new sustainable opportunities for all,” said Mr. Steiner. 

UNDP first introduced the concept of human security in its landmark Human Development Report, issued in 1994. 

The study signalled a radical departure from the idea that people’s security should be assessed by looking only at territorial security, and instead should take into account their basic needs, dignity and safety, to live secure lives. 

Time to act now 

UNDP believes the imperative to act now has never been clearer. For a second consecutive year, the pandemic has driven down global life expectancy at birth, as well as other measures of overall human development.  

Climate change is also likely to become a leading cause of death worldwide, the authors warn, and could be responsible for 40 million deaths before the end of the century, even with moderate mitigation of emissions. 

The report further examines other threats that have become more prominent in recent years, including those from digital technologies, growing inequalities, conflicts, and the ability of healthcare systems to tackle new challenges like the pandemic.  

Protection, empowerment, solidarity 

The authors argue that addressing these threats will require policy makers to consider protection, empowerment, and solidarity alongside one another so that human security, planetary considerations and human development, all work together and not despite each other.  

Asako Okai, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP Crisis Bureau, said the report highlights the need to build a greater sense of global solidarity based on the idea of common security. 

“Common security recognises that a community can only be secure if adjacent communities are too,” she explained.  “This is something we see all too clearly with the current pandemic: nations are largely powerless to prevent new mutations of this coronavirus from crossing borders.”  

The report further points to the strong association between declining levels of trust and feelings of insecurity. People with higher levels of perceived human insecurity are three times less likely to find others trustworthy. 

Among the other findings is the widening gaps in healthcare systems between countries. The report includes a new index which reveals that between 1995 and 2017, inequality in healthcare performance worsened between countries with low and very high human development.  

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english

In an anxious world, time to redefine progress

14. Februar 2022 - 20:30

Even citizens living in countries that enjoy some of the highest levels of good health, wealth, and education outcomes, are reporting even greater anxiety than a decade ago. 

Apprehensive about the future 

“Despite global wealth being higher than ever before, a majority of people are feeling apprehensive about the future and these feelings have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Achim Steiner, the UNDP Administrator.  

“In our quest for unbridled economic growth, we continue to destroy our natural world while inequalities are widening, both within and between countries. It is time to recognise the signs of societies that are under immense stress and redefine what progress actually means.” 

The report, New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene, calls for greater solidarity across borders to tackle the disconnect between development and perceived security.   

Sustainability for all 

UNDP also advocates a new approach to development that it hopes will help people to live free from want, fear, anxiety, and indignity.   

“We need a fit-for-purpose development model that is built around the protection and restoration our of planet with new sustainable opportunities for all,” said Mr. Steiner. 

UNDP first introduced the concept of human security in its landmark Human Development Report, issued in 1994. 

The study signalled a radical departure from the idea that people’s security should be assessed by looking only at territorial security, and instead should take into account their basic needs, dignity and safety, to live secure lives. 

Time to act now 

UNDP believes the imperative to act now has never been clearer. For a second consecutive year, the pandemic has driven down global life expectancy at birth, as well as other measures of overall human development.  

Climate change is also likely to become a leading cause of death worldwide, the authors warn, and could be responsible for 40 million deaths before the end of the century, even with moderate mitigation of emissions. 

The report further examines other threats that have become more prominent in recent years, including those from digital technologies, growing inequalities, conflicts, and the ability of healthcare systems to tackle new challenges like the pandemic.  

Protection, empowerment, solidarity 

The authors argue that addressing these threats will require policy makers to consider protection, empowerment, and solidarity alongside one another so that human security, planetary considerations and human development, all work together and not despite each other.  

Asako Okai, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP Crisis Bureau, said the report highlights the need to build a greater sense of global solidarity based on the idea of common security. 

“Common security recognises that a community can only be secure if adjacent communities are too,” she explained.  “This is something we see all too clearly with the current pandemic: nations are largely powerless to prevent new mutations of this coronavirus from crossing borders.”  

The report further points to the strong association between declining levels of trust and feelings of insecurity. People with higher levels of perceived human insecurity are three times less likely to find others trustworthy. 

Among the other findings is the widening gaps in healthcare systems between countries. The report includes a new index which reveals that between 1995 and 2017, inequality in healthcare performance worsened between countries with low and very high human development.  

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english