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#UNGA: 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly

20. September 2018 - 19:30

Every year, in September, global leaders and change-makers gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York for two weeks, to discuss the burning issues of our time and set the global agenda for the year ahead. The 73rd session of the UN General Assembly opened this week and the body’s annual high-level segment – formally known as the ‘general debate’ – begins on Tuesday, 25 September, where every country’s leader gets to address the world.

The busy agenda covers the full spectrum of international issues, including sustainable development, climate change, peace and security, human rights, public health concerns and gender equality.

Here are six things you might not know about the General Assembly (or “the GA” as it’s referred to around the UN’s many hallways) and this year’s high-level week:

1. The UN General Assembly: one country, one vote

Today, the UN is made up of 193 Member States (there were only 51 back when it was created in 1945), 40 per cent of which are lower, or lower-middle income countries. Each Member State has an equal voice, and a single vote. To name only a few of its critical functions, the GA discusses and votes (as necessary if there is no consensus) on a vast array of international policy matters; decides on the UN’s budget, and elects the non-permanent members of the Security Council, together with formally choosing whoever occupies the top job of Secretary-General.

>>> The meeting schedule is available here.

2. This is only the fourth time that the General Assembly is being presided over by a woman

Ahead of each session of the GA, a new President is elected. The President of the 73rd General Assembly is María Fernanda Espinosa, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador. Out of 73 Presidents, she’s only the fourth woman and the first Latin American woman ever to hold the office.

>>> Learn more about the women who have held that position with UN News’s photo story

3. The general debate this year will focus on global leadership and shared responsibilities

Every year, the President elect, in consultation with Member States and the Secretary-General, chooses a theme for the week of the general debate where Heads of State and Government make statements. The official theme for 2018 is Making the United Nations relevant to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies.

In her letter explaining this year’s choice, Assembly President Espinosa invited world leaders to comment on the “continuing relevance” of the UN and “the importance of a shared vision”. The debate will start on 25 September and run for six days.

>>> Find out more in this General Debate FAQ.

4. During the general debate, Brazil speaks first, the United States speaks second and then…

The general debate, is not actually a debate. Member States take turns delivering speeches and are given a right of reply when required. Since 1947, the first country to speak has been Brazil because, according to the UN Protocol and Liaison Services, during the Organization’s early years, no one ever wanted to be the first to speak, and Brazil always ended up volunteering to go first. This has now become a tradition.

The second spot goes to the host country (the US), and then the order of speakers follows a complex algorithm reflecting level of representation, geographical balance, the order in which the request to speak was recorded, and other considerations.

Though speakers are kindly asked to keep their statements to under 15 minutes, world leaders often go well beyond that. The longest speech made during the General Assembly, to date, was made by Cuba’s Fidel Castro, who spoke for four and half hours in 1960 (although that wasn’t during the General Debate).

>>> Another icon of the GA is the President’s gavel. Find out more about ‘Thor’s Hammer’, as the Icelandic gavel is affectionately known, here.

5. A Political Declaration for peace is expected to be adopted in honor of Nelson Mandela

In December 2017, the General Assembly voted to hold a high-level plenary meeting on global peace in honor of the centenary of the birth of South Africa’s first democratically-elected President and world icon, Nelson Mandela. On 24 September, the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit will be taking place, and Member States are expected to adopt a Political Declaration which was drafted throughout the year.

The text declares 2019-2028 the “Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace,” and calls on all world leaders to “make the impossible possible” and “redouble efforts to pursue international peace and security, development and human rights”.

>>> Read the final draft of the Declaration here.   

6. The General Assembly will address dozens of other critical global issues and bring them to the forefront of the global geopolitical scene

In addition to the General Debate and other plenary sessions, the weeks of General Assembly include a long list of meetings and side events.

The 73rd session will include a high-level meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on 24 September; an event to renew international commitment and Action for Peacekeeping on the 25th; a high-level side event on Violence Against LGBTI Individuals, also on 25 September; a high-level event on Ending Tuberculosis on the 26th, a series of humanitarian-themed events including the Yemen and South Sudan responses, and many more.

>>> Every day, you can watch live broadcasts of most high-level events on

Source: UN News
Kategorien: english

Youth2030: The United Nations Strategy on Youth

20. September 2018 - 18:33

A world in which the human rights of every young person are realized; that ensures every young person is empowered to achieve their full potential; and that recognizes young people’s agency, resilience and their positive contributions as agents of change.

The Secretary-General tasked his Envoy on Youth, in conjunction with the UN system and youth themselves, to lead development of a UN Youth Strategy. Its aim: scale up global, regional and national actions to meet young people’s needs, realize their rights and tap their possibilities as agents of change.

The strategy is ambitious. It will guide the UN system in stepping up support for the empowerment of young people, while ensuring that the Organization’s work fully benefits from their insights and ideas.

Investment in four areas will consolidate the position of the United Nations as a global leader in engaging with youth. It will become a pioneer of knowledge, a dynamic source of innovation, a catalyst for solutions and a champion of accountability. The strategy’s thematic priority areas reflect all three pillars of the UN system: sustainable development, peace and security, and human rights.

Young people today want the sustainable, peaceful world envisioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Realizing their aspirations depends on realizing their rights—to empowerment and development, participation and choice. They offer 1.8 billion reasons for the United Nations to stand by their side.

The High-Level Event “Youth2030”

The official launch of Youth2030: The United Nations Youth Strategy, will take place on Monday, 24th September 2018 at a High-Level Event  at the United Nation in New York.  The Strategy will be presented by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Learn more and follow us: 

Source: Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

Kategorien: english

Destinations for All 2018

19. September 2018 - 20:46

People with reduced mobility make up 35% of the population and rarely travel alone. It is in the tourism sector’s interest to develop accessible destinations for a section of the population that expects only one thing: to be able to travel as easily as everyone else! Accessible tourism is a right. Persons with disabilities are entitled to travel and relax in the best possible conditions, as are families with young children, senior citizens and other people with special needs. Tackling discrimination and strengthening equality is our mission to make the tourism inclusive for everyone.

The 2nd World Summit On Accessible Tourism will take place in Brussels on 1-2 October 2018 under the theme “Destinations for All”. The Summit aims at sharing and disseminating best practices as much possible with the tourism sector in order to consolidate a global network of destinations for all, accessible to people with specific needs.

Five core topics to help build obstacle-free travel for all:

The programme will include a series of innovative ideas, specific case studies, experiences and best practices during the plenary and parallel sessions throughout the two-day event. The main topics of discussion will be:

  1. Destination Management
  2. Hosting and Security
  3. Accommodation
  4. Transport and Mobility
  5. Leisure Products and Activities

In parallel to the Summit, an exhibition will allow you to discover accessible tourist destinations, products and services from all over the world.

The Summit and its Exhibition is an exclusive event designed specifically for all professionals in the hospitality industry and actors in the tourism chain who have a direct interest in inclusive tourism and who wish to offer an obstacle-free travel experience to all visitors:

  • Tourism organizations and companies responsible for destinations, travel, and transportation
  • Government decision makers
  • Destination managers
  • Civil society actors
  • Professional associations

Participating or exhibiting are unique opportunities to make B2B connections, exchange ideas, catch up on industry developments, strengthen client relationships, and forge important new business connections with 500+ highly invested attendees.

Join #dfa2018 to debate the latest innovations in accessible tourism.

Learn more about the 2018 World Summit On Accessible Tourism.

Source: Destinations for All 2018


Kategorien: english

‘Ageing Equal’: 70 days against ageism

19. September 2018 - 17:43

1st October-10th December 2018

Between 1st October 2018, the International Day of Older Persons and 10th December 2018, the 70th anniversary of the International Human Rights Day, AGE Platform Europe, with the support of its partners and fellow civil society organisations, is launching a 70 day campaign against ageism.

10th December 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th December 1948 in Paris, France. The Declaration sets out universal individual rights a person is entitled to as a human being, regardless of his/her age, nation,

location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status. It a key milestone document, which underpins all international
human rights law and policy work to ensure all people can live in freedom, equality and dignity.

The celebration of this 70th anniversary offers a great reminder that human rights do not diminish with age!

Why is ageism a human rights issue? Ageism is the systematic discrimination of persons on the ground of their age. As other discriminations, it takes various forms ranging from stereotypes to mistreatment and abuse. Ageism is often ‘structural’, i.e. sustained by our society and its institutions in laws, policies, practices or culture. This leads to many violations of human rights on the ground of age going unnoticed or being generally accepted, including by older people themselves who are often not aware of their rights being breached. In this context, the negative effects of ageism tend to be denied or are not considered as serious and harmful as other forms of discrimination, and we fail to take effective action to counter it. Read AGE position on Structural Ageism

However, ageism is a major obstacle to the social inclusion and equal participation of older persons. And ageist stereotypes and discriminations ingrained in our society lead to inequalities that undermine people’s enjoyment of their human rights as they age.

A major awareness-raising campaign

Building on the progress achieved at UN level in promoting human rights in old age, AGE is launching the ‘Ageing Equal’ campaign to spread the word about how ageism affects or will affect each of us across the whole life span. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness on ageism as the first step to take action against it.

The campaign in practice

The campaign will last 70 days, starting on the International Day of Older Persons on from 1st October, the International Day of
Older Persons, to 10th December 2018.

Each of the 10 weeks of the campaign will cover a specific theme to illustrate the widespread effect of ageism and how it affects different groups in society. Equality bodies and fellow civil society organisations are invited to support and provide contribution from the perspective of their own communities. Take action against ageism!

The campaign will be mainly conducted on social media. A dedicated blog will provide regular updates on the campaign and its different themes to approach the issue of ageism through different angles. You are more than welcome to add your own perspective and help us spread the word about ageism!

You can get involved in the campaign by:

  • Changing your profile picture to include a Twibbon;
  • Sharing your stories and testimonies about your experience of age discriminations and how you’re acting against pervasive ageism;
  • Spreading the word about the campaign and its key messages through your own channels and social media building up on the material available on the campaign blog and using the hashtag #AgeingEqual.
Useful links

Source: AGE Platform Europe

Kategorien: english

Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World

17. September 2018 - 23:20
Date: 8 – 9 Nov 2018
  • Time: 09.00 – 18.00
  • Location: Rooms XVIII and XXIII, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Donor(s): Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
    This event is open to the public.

Welcome to the UNRISD Conference “Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization”

Registration is now open: please click here.

Special event

The top-level panel discussion Engines of Inequality? Elites, Power and Politics which UNRISD is co-hosting with the University of Geneva the day before the Conference may also be of interest to you. Click here for more details.

What the conference is about

Inequalities are one of today’s greatest challenges, obstructing poverty reduction and sustainable development. Such disparities are catalysed by elite capture of economic and political power, a reinforcing process that compounds inequality, which—in its various dimensions—undermines social, environmental and economic sustainability, and fuels poverty, insecurity, crime and xenophobia.

As the power of elites grows and societal gaps widen, institutions representing the public good and universal values are increasingly disempowered or co-opted, and visions of social justice and equity side-lined. As a result, society is fracturing in ways that are becoming more and more tangible, with the growing divide between the privileged and the rest dramatically rearranging both macro structures and local lifeworlds.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks to overcome such disparities, “leaving no one behind”. But how can this ambitious vision be achieved in the current climate, in which those in power act to protect the status quo from which they benefit? How can we build progressive alliances to drive the political and policy changes needed for an equitable, inclusive 21st century eco-social compact?

Register for this event here


The panels

The conference will comprise 9 panels, each with 5 speakers, who will tease out different aspects of the topics covered based on insightful research and evidence from case studies. The speaker line-up will be available soon. Please click here to register to attend the conference.

Networks of Power in a Fractured World: The Role and Influence of Elites

    • Elites constitute a unique social group defined by their disproportionate control over resources—be they economic, political, cultural—and their ability to translate those resources into power, influence and other forms of capital. They are often linked much more closely to each other across linguistic, cultural and geographic divides than to citizens of their own nations. How have elites and elite networks brought about the deepening of social and economic cleavages across the globe? What are the motivations for elites to work together, what are the tools used, and what impact has this had on global political shifts? What role have elites played in engendering or inhibiting transformative change in the past, and what might motivate elites to engage in progressive alliances?

Elite Ideology and Perceptions of Inequality: Implications for Redistribution and Social Cohesion

    • Elites play a key role in perpetuating or deepening inequality, but also have the power to ameliorate it. Elites tend to hold key positions in political, economic and cultural domains of society, which gives them the opportunity to act as enlightened leaders and drivers for progressive change. How do elites perceive inequality, its causal drivers and consequences? How do they perceive their roles and responsibilities in relation to a greater public good, and how do they perceive themselves in relation to other elites or groups in society? What can encourage and incentivize, or pressure, elites—who control economies and political systems—to promote policies that lessen their share of influence?

The Role of Institutions in Perpetuating or Curbing Inequalities

    • Unequal power relations and inequalities are maintained and reinforced through formal and informal institutions, ranging from electoral rules to education systems, property rights, access to finance and capital, and social norms. Which kinds of policies and institutional structures are most effective in moving countries towards greater equality, and which ones further entrench divisions? How can social policies and institutions be used to either create spaces for marginalized actors—including women, minorities and popular classes—to have a slice of the pie, or create a barrier across which certain kinds of actors cannot move? Which institutions and regulations at national, regional and global levels can rein in elite power for the sake of public interest?

Inequality and Institutions: Political Barriers to Transformative Change

    • Transformative social policies can be defined as those that reduce structural inequalities and address the root causes of poverty, a long-term endeavor that requires changes in social relations and social institutions. However, institutions do not exist in a vacuum. They are designed in response to various pressures arising from the global economic system, and tied to political contexts specific in terms of space and time. They are determined by a variety of factors, including the incentives of those who design and manage them, the electoral landscape that brought them into power, and the networks of influential actors—from policy makers, to donors, to business actors—who stand to gain from their success or failure. How do these underlying power dynamics impact development outcomes? How do institutions at different levels, from local to global, interact? What political barriers exist that need to be overcome to reduce inequality and create better institutions?

Shifting Class Structures and Identities in the Age of Neoliberalism

    • Organized labour was a crucial actor in the construction of modern welfare states, whereas middle class buy-in has been equally important for universalizing social rights while guaranteeing sustainable financing and quality control of public social services. How have class structures and identities shifted in the age of neoliberalism and rapid technological progress that is changing the world of work, and what does this shift imply for the possibility of progressive alliances for social change? What factors push some segments of middle classes rightwards while they incite disengagement in others, and how can middle classes be reincorporated into a project of progressive social change? What is the role of labour movements, including informal workers’ organizations, in times of a growing and diversifying precariat in both the Global South and North? How do intersecting identities such as class, gender, sexuality and race/ethnicity play out in political mobilization, and what is the role of politics of recognition?

Cities for Whom? Causes and Consequences of Urban Socio-Spatial Inequalities

    • Inequalities often come to a head most visibly at the local level, spaces in which those at either end of the spectrum engage with each other on a daily basis, mediated through various forms of power relations as well as social, spatial and economic barriers. How do these cleavages impact daily life, and what consequences (economic, political, environmental, human) do they pose for a city, a country or individual lives? What effects have these fractures had on the social and spatial arrangements of communities—in particular through the closing out of public space and access to services and infrastructure—and what new challenges do these pose for groups such as women, the poor, and minorities, as well as the ecosystems they inhabit? As new lines are drawn, how are practices of citizenship being reshaped and what spaces for progressive change are being closed out—or opening up—as a result? What motivates choices to either opt out of a commitment to the public good through access to private means or to participate in an inclusive social compact?

Between Climate Justice and Social Exclusion: Towards an Eco-Social Approach

    • One of the most profound ways in which inequalities are felt at the local level is through the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. Those least responsible for global warming incur the highest social cost, and further, are often either left out of or negatively impacted by policies meant to stem the impacts of climate change, constituting a triple injustice. How are this global crisis and responses to it—mediated through unequal power relations—rearranging local lifeworlds, compounding precarity and creating new forms of inequality? How can an eco-social approach that addresses environmental issues in tandem with social ones simultaneously push forward both sustainability and social justice, while respecting traditional ways of life, empowering local actors, and healing our ailing planet?

Towards Transformative Public Policy: Undermining Elite Power through Local Collaboration and Social Mobilization

    • Shifts towards progressive social policies that address inequality at its core are few and far between, regularly blockaded by the powerful elites who find such redistributive measures contrary to their interests. To truly achieve social justice requires an approach that attacks inequality at the structural level, addressing root causes and rearranging power structures. Such a transformative approach is necessary to achieve lasting change. Despite many barriers, several countries have implemented innovative policy approaches and succeeded in implementing reforms with progressive outcomes, from the local to the national level, curbing inequalities, sharing costs and benefits of reforms more fairly, and making their societies more just and green. What popular mechanisms of political engagement have been most effective at curbing elite influence and pushing forward policies that address inequality at the structural level? On the other hand, what strategies have failed to upend the status quo, and what can be learned from the unsuccessful attempts?

Actors, Alliances and Strategies for a New Social Compact

    • In the past, progressive policy change in industrialized democracies was often steered by broad cross-class coalitions between popular and middle classes that effectively pressured elites; in countries of the Global South, enlightened leaders and liberation movements often played a similar role. However, social and economic forces that underpinned progressive policy change of the past, such as workers’ movements and trade unions, take a very different shape today, as economic systems have evolved, identities have shifted, new forms of politics have unfolded, and new conceptions of class have arisen. In response, new forms of social movements have sprung up out of reinterpreted visions of citizenship, but their potential for long-term political impact has yet to be proven. What examples exist of peaceful processes of policy change that have levelled out social stratification and devolved power and resources from elites to non-elites, and what were the drivers or incentives in those processes? Which factors support the creation of cross-class coalitions and other forms of social mobilization for progressive policy reforms and transformative change? What examples exist in which social cleavages have been held at bay, and what mechanisms have been employed in these cases—be they on the transnational, national, subnational or local level—to achieve social progress within planetary boundaries?


Objectives and impacts

The Conference brings together expertise from across a diversity of countries and disciplines to:

  • facilitate knowledge exchange and mutual learning across academia, civil society, the UN and national governments, about progressive alliances and policy change for more equitable, sustainable, and just societies;
  • propose evidence-based recommendations for innovative ways in which diverse actors can work together to design and deliver a transformative eco-social compact for the 21st century; and
  • bring this new evidence and analysis, especially from the Global South, to bear on UN debates and policy processes, including implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UNRISD will disseminate the evidence and key recommendations from the papers and conference discussions in formats that will support practitioners, activists and decision makers at local, national, regional and global levels.

There is no fee to attend this conference.

Source: UNRISD

Kategorien: english

The Sustainable Development Goals, My Way

17. September 2018 - 23:09

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) isn’t just the job of the United Nations — everyone from governments, the civil society, communities and individuals all play crucial roles in progressing toward these Goals. Whether its carpooling, saying no to plastic cutlery or working to empower others, the actions taken and choices made daily have an impact on sustainable and inclusive development.

In conjunction with United Nations Day 2018, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is running a regional photo competition themed ‘The SDGs My Way.’

Open to residents of the Asia-Pacific region of all ages, the competition is an opportunity to share the unique perspectives and stories of how individuals and communities are taking action in their own ways to achieve the 17 SDGs.

Submissions for the contest will be judged in four categories: Judges Favorite Photo, Judges Favorite GIF, Most Popular (Social Media) and UN Staff. Winning entries will be awarded prizes worth up to USD$150 each, as well as exhibited at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok during the UN Day Asia-Pacific commemoration on 24 October 2018.

Contest closes on 8 October 2018. Further details and the terms and conditions of the contest are available on:

What: Submissions to the 2018 UN Day Asia-Pacific photo and animated GIF contest Who: Individuals residing in countries in the Asia-Pacific region When: Submissions open 10 September – 8 October 2018 How: All submissions should be sent to and for those interested competing in the Most Popular category, shared on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #SDGsMyWay

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms. Kavita Sukanandan, Associate Public Information Officer, Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section, ESCAP, T: (66) 2 288 1869 / E:


Kategorien: english

Innovation for smarter digital development

10. September 2018 - 16:41

Thousands of experts from around the world will be convening 10-13 September at the Dur​ban International Convention Centre in South Africa for ITU Telecom World 2018, where they will debate “Innovation for smarter digital development.” The event is organized annually by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technology (ICT).

The event brings together a together a unique audience of public and private sectors from emerging and developed markets including heads of state and government, ministers, regulators, industry CEOs and experts, investors, SME representatives, heads of UN and other international organizations, digital thinkers, media, academia and consultants.

The ITU Telecom World 2018 programme will feature many sessions including:

​In addition to the Forum programme, ITU ​Telecom World 2018 includes:

  • Global exhibition of digital technology solutions and investment opportunities, including national and thematic pavilions from across the globe plus independent stands from world-leading corporates and high-growth small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • ITU Telecom World Awards, celebrating innovative ICT initiatives with real social impact, for corporations, governments and SMEs – with a special SME programme to support business growth.
  • High-level networking events and networking app, plus dedicated business match-making services.

Learn more about the ITU Telecom World 2018.

Source: ITU

Kategorien: english

UN urges protection of indigenous peoples’ rights during migration

31. August 2018 - 21:29

Marking the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, UN Secretary-General António Guterres put a spotlight on the factors pushing indigenous people to migrate “within their countries and across international borders” despite their “profound spiritual connection to their lands and resources”.

In his message on the Day, he noted that “some are subject to displacement or relocation without their free, prior and informed consent”, adding that “others are escaping violence and conflict or the ravages of climate change and environmental degradation” and that many migrate in search of better prospects and employment for themselves and their families.

Mr. Guterres stated that while migration is an opportunity, “it also carries inherent risks”, citing the unsafe and unsanitary conditions many end up living in, especially in urban areas. For example, in Latin America, around 40 per cent of all indigenous peoples live in urban areas, with the numbers reaching as high as 80 per cent in some countries in the region. Many lack access to public services and often face discrimination.

“Indigenous women and girls experience disproportionately high rates of trafficking and other forms of violence,” he explained, adding that “indigenous youth are faced with complex questions regarding their identity and values”.

For indigenous peoples whose territories are divided by international borders, the Secretary-General called for cooperation across these borders so that their identity, occupations and traditional practices can be safeguarded.

Referring to the Global Compact for migration, which UN Member States have committed to adopt later this year, Mr. Guterres said “this will establish an international framework for regional and global cooperation” and “provide a platform to maximize the benefits of migration and support vulnerable migrant groups, including indigenous peoples”.

He called for the full realization of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “including the rights to self-determination and to traditional lands, territories and resources”.

“It is essential that the rights and identities of indigenous peoples are protected,” Mr. Guterres stressed. “And, wherever they live,” he added, “let us ensure that indigenous peoples enjoy recognition for their contributions and the opportunity to thrive and prosper in peace on a healthy planet”.

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. Although they make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, they account for 15 per cent of the world’s poorest.

Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), also focused on migration and movement in her message, explaining that migration influences the way of life of many indigenous peoples, whether these be nomadic pastoral societies, or hunter-gatherer peoples who travel several hundred square kilometres, in order to benefit from the unique resources of their ecosystem and to preserve a delicate balance.

“However, indigenous peoples are now increasingly exposed to forced migrations, which are often the result of environmental disasters or social and political conflicts,” she said, warning that as they are driven from their territories, indigenous peoples see their lifestyles and cultures disintegrate and vanish, often without any prospect of returning.

As such, UNESCO is working with indigenous peoples to help them to meet the challenges ahead, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a number of ways, including in collaboration with the local authorities and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, to pilot a study programme for pastoral societies, paving the way for the establishment of educational systems adapted to transhumant peoples.

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english

Rights experts call for greater protection of indigenous people during migration

31. August 2018 - 21:24

Governments are being urged to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples are recognized, whether they are living on their traditional lands or forced to move elsewhere.

The appeal has been made by a group of independent experts, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, who are calling on States to act now to protect these communities during migration.

Globally, there are approximately 370 million indigenous people, meaning those who are descendants of the original inhabitants of a geographical region or country, according to UN estimates.

“In many parts of the world, indigenous peoples have become migrants because they are fleeing economic deprivation, forced displacement, environmental disasters including climate change impacts, social and political unrest, and militarization,” the experts said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

“While States have the sovereign prerogative to manage their borders, they must also recognize international human rights standards and ensure that migrants are not subjected to violence, discrimination, or other treatment that would violate their rights”, they said.

“In addition, states must recognize indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination; lands, territories and resources; to a nationality, as well as rights of family, education, health, culture and language.”

The statement was released ahead of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, observed annually on 9 August, with this year’s theme highlighting migration and movement.

The human rights experts said there is a “dearth” of data on indigenous people who are migrants and this “invisibility” means that those who are detained at international borders, or prosecuted or deported from a country, are often denied due process.

The members of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, called on national authorities to immediately reunite children, parents and caregivers who may have been separated during border detentions or deportations.

“In addition, States must ensure that indigenous peoples migrating from their territories, including from rural to urban areas within their countries, are guaranteed rights to their identity and adequate living standards, as well as necessary and culturally appropriate social services,” they added.

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english

Sustainable Development and Family Well-Being

31. August 2018 - 17:20

This year, the Asian Family Summit (AFS) took place from 19 to 22 August 2018 in the University of Hong Kong under the theme of Sustainable Development & Family Well-Being: Agenda for Action in Asia. The Summit is a joint effort of the Consortium of Institutes on Family in the Asian Region (CIFA), the Faculty of Social Sciences of The University of Hong Kong, the Family Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and the Social Welfare Department of the HKSAR Government.

The Summit gathers public, private, academic/professional sectors and the civil society to map out an agenda for action in Asia for the well-being of families which is closely related to the sustainable development of Asian societies. More than 550 participants gathered on the first day of AFS.

The Honourable Mrs. Carrie Lam, GBM, GBS, The Chief Executive, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Ms. Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations were the Guests of Honour kicking off AFS. The Welcoming Remarks of Professor Xiang Zhang, the President and Vice Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong, marked the start of the Opening Ceremony. He was pleased to see HKU hosting this event and said “The HKU Faculty of Social Sciences has played a leading role in advocating multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration for the promotion of family well-being. This approach is aligned with the University’s strategic plans, which we call “the [3+1] Is.” That is: Internationalisation, Innovation and Interdisciplinarity, all converging on Impact.”

The Honourable Mrs. Carrie Lam, The Chief Executive, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region illustrated the Hong Kong SAR Government’s policies on promoting family well-being. She explained, “Family-related work is multi-faceted. The Government would not be able to do it all alone. On the provision of social services, it is important to promote cross-sector and cross-profession collaboration as well as public-private partnership to make better use of our resources and provide more comprehensive care for the needy in the society. In this process, we need a shared belief to drive actions.”

Ms. Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations echoed that the UN Secretary-General encouraged Member States to further recognise that family-oriented policies and programmes are integral to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a recent report on family issues. She explained, “We all must work together towards a greater cooperation between Governments, civil society, academic institutions and the private sector to empower families through appropriate social policies so that they can fulfil their numerous functions and thus contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and targets.”

Mrs. Patricia Chu, Chairperson of CIFA cum AFS Co-Chair expressed gratitude to all supporting units at the Vote of Thanks in the Ceremony for their valuable contributions to the Summits, including 5 co-organisers and over 20 supporting organisiations as well as individual and corporate sponsors. She was particularly grateful to the support from the Guests of Honour, Mrs. Carrie Lam and Ms. Daniela Bas, in officiating the Ceremony and recognising their works for family well-being.

In addition to Ms. Daniela Bas’ keynote speech on the first day, Professor Daniel Shek, Chairman of the Family Council, HKSAR, and Professor Richie Poulton, University of Otago, New Zealand, will be the keynote speakers in the coming two days of AFS, sharing with us “Family Impact Assessment in Policy Formulation – The Hong Kong Experience” and “The Dunedin Study – Insights for Advancing Family Well-Being” respectively.

Different plenary sessions and over 76 papers and reports will be presented during the three-day Summit for intellectual exchange. Also, the Family Well-Being Expo on the theme of “You are the Spring of Family Happiness” was held on August 19 (Sunday) and successfully attracted over 1,000 public participants to promote the family well-being. The Expo covered clothing (惜衣), food & nutrition (足食), living & environment (安居) and travelling & leisure (樂行) to disseminate information on family health in all aspects of daily life. A series of Post-Summit workshops and agency visits will be organised to enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners.

For the programme rundown and details about the Summit, please visit

Source: The University of Hong Kong

Kategorien: english

Social Protection Toolbox

31. August 2018 - 16:40

The Social Protection Toolbox has been developed by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in cooperation with three other Regional Commissions of the United Nations namely: the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The aim of the Toolbox is to enhance the capacity of policymakers and planners for developing effective and coherent social protection policies and programmes.

What is the Toolbox?

The Social Protection Toolbox is a platform that provides support to policymakers and stakeholders for moving toward broader and more robust social protection systems.

Using multimedia and data visualization techniques, the Toolbox aims to present the argument for strengthening and broadening social protection in a user-friendly and interactive fashion. It provides users with a point of departure for navigating the complex – and at times fragmented – nature of social protection policymaking. The Toolbox utilizes a database of good practices and a network of social protection experts to facilitate South-South co-operation and the building of consensus in “moving forward” toward broader and more robust coverage.

What is the approach?

Social protection refers to a set of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty, vulnerability and inequality. The UN takes a rights-based approach to social protection within the context of the Social Protection Floor (SPF) framework, which promotes universal access to essential social services and transfers along the life course. The Toolbox works within this framework presenting data in a way that encourages a forward momentum toward the provision of essential health care and income security for all children, working-age and older persons. The SPF framework is especially relevant for developing countries and is seen as a necessary first step in closing development gaps and building a comprehensive national social protection system.

What is unique about the Toolbox?

The Toolbox aims to cover existing gaps in the promotion and analysis of social protection. In doing so, the Toolbox provides a streamlined advocacy platform for knowledge sharing based firmly on practice and experience. Other databases available from the United Nations system and international organizations focus on technical assistance, financing and analysis of individual schemes. For instance, the International Labour Office’s (ILO) Global Extension of Social Security database provides good analysis of select schemes and information on financing. The International Social Security Association provides a wide-range of country profiles and documents for technical assistance. The toolbox has been designed not to overlap with these databases.

Good Practices

The Toolbox provides access to a database of over 100 good practices in social protection from developing countries, 57 in the Asia and the Pacific region. In keeping with the SPF framework, good practices illustrate a rights-based approach toward social services and income security along the life course. As such, the database consists of (1) good practices of constitutional/legal provisions that guarantee social protection entitlements as well as (2) good practices of social protection schemes currently in implementation that show potential to be used as building blocks for more comprehensive coverage. The schemes currently in implementation have been selected based on the percentage of the population covered (extent of coverage) and the actual amount of benefits received (level of coverage). These good practices highlight both targeted and more universal schemes and follow a format that highlights essential information in order to provide a basic understanding of a wide variety of schemes.

Source: UN ESCAP

Kategorien: english

Ending marginalization of persons with disabilities ‘a matter of justice’

27. Juli 2018 - 20:31

Inclusive education, economic empowerment and technological innovations were the focus of discussion on Tuesday as world leaders gathered in London for the first-ever United Nations-backed Global Disability Summit.

Ahead of the Summit, Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed cited the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a universally-adopted UN Convention as well-established commitments for advancing the rights of persons with disabilities.

“But too often,” she said, “this political commitment has not translated into significant improvements in the lives of the 1.5 billion persons with disabilities across the world.”

Moreover, women and girls with disabilities suffer the “double discrimination” of sex and disability, she noted.

Ms. Mohammed noted that later this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres would issue a first-ever report on Disability and Development, to serve as a baseline for information about persons with disabilities in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“While Governments must lead, transformation requires the efforts of all of society,” she said, adding that young people, persons with disabilities, civil society and the private sector were among others working towards change.

“This Global Disability Summit is a timely opportunity to identify exactly how to change this situation as we implement the 2030 Agenda and to create value through inclusion and diversity as a human capital and cultural resource,” emphasized the deputy UN chief, as she urged “meaningful participation and results-based collaboration” and on “stepping up disability inclusion in SDG implementation.”

Acknowledging that there is more to do to make the world “a more equal and just place,” Achim Steiner, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), told the participants at the Summit how the UN is looking to better address disabilities in all settings, “to ensure that persons with disabilities are given equal access and voice in society, so that they can realize their fullest possible potential.”

He linked the path to realizing the SDGs to a world free from marginalizing persons with disabilities.

“To realize the promise of the 2030 Agenda – and its core pledge to leave no one behind – it is essential that all peoples, particularly those facing discrimination and exclusion, have access and voice and can participate equally in every aspect of life,” Mr. Steiner stressed.

“This is a matter of justice, and equal opportunity, as well as economic growth. The costs of exclusion are simply too high.”

“‘Nothing about us without us’ is the mantra of the disability movement,” he stated, adding: “The UN system – stand behind this, and with all of you, as we move this important agenda forward together.”

Children in the fore

Painting a grim picture of the challenging situation for children with disabilities, Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said prejudice, stigma, or inaccessible learning preventing half of all those children from attending school, while the half that do, lack a quality education.

This, she said, is “a tragic waste of potential – for these children and for their societies and economies.”

“As a global community, we will not achieve SDG 4 – education for all – if we continue failing these children. Not just getting them into school, but improving the quality of their education,” Ms. Fore stated.

To help offset some of these challenges, the Global Partnership for Assistive Technology provides life-changing support – including wheelchairs, prosthetics and hearing aids – to 500 million people globally by 2030, she explained.

“For children with disabilities, these technologies help them see themselves, from an early age, as able – able to do the things they want to do. Move. Play. See. Hear. Interact. Learn. Communicate,” she elaborated.

Children with disabilities living through conflict or disaster face a double disadvantage. Sharing the same dangers of violence, hunger and safety threats, they also face unique challenges, including “lack of mobility because of shattered infrastructure, difficulty fleeing harm and the prejudices that keep them from accessing the urgent assistance they need,” flagged Ms. Fore.

“This Summit is an opportunity to translate our commitment to children with disabilities into a reality around the world, no matter where they live,” concluded the UNICEF chief.

For his part, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock told the gathering that worldwide, at least 15 per cent of the more than 130 million people who need humanitarian aid have disabilities.

“There is no silver bullet,” he said, “but the central, fundamental requirement is to include disabled people and their organizations in planning for and implementing responses to humanitarian crises,” which will “make for a better, more effective and humane response.”

The Summit is co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and the United Kingdom, and the International Disability Alliance.

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english

Social and Solidarity Economy for the Sustainable Development Goals

25. Juli 2018 - 18:28

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) carries out research that helps national governments and others achieve their sustainable development objectives. The research explores and analyses innovations and pathways that can lead towards more inclusive development outcomes, while also considering how critical obstacles can be overcome. An overarching goal for the Institute is to ensure that social development concerns and objectives remain prominent in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UNRISD published their new research Social and Solidarity Economy for the Sustainable Development Goals: SPOTLIGHT ON THE SOCIAL ECONOMY IN SEOUL on 17 July 2018.

This research examined the social economy (SE) in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and how it is contributing to implementing and, ultimately, achieving the city’s “localized” SDGs. Characterized by a rapid development of proactive SE policies, dramatic growth of SE organizations and enterprises, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s strong commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the city’s experience offers a valuable opportunity to further enrich understanding of social and solidarity economy as a means of implementation of the SDGs. This was the first case study of a series of research projects on SSE and the SDGs which UNRISD is planning to undertake.

As an integrated and balanced approach to development, social and solidarity economy (SSE) has the potential to function as an intelligent means of localizing the 2030 Agenda. On 17 July 2018, the Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) of UNDESA and the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) organized a side event during the 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on Localizing the SDGs through Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable and Resilient Societies. Speakers discussed new research evidence and local government experience of SSE, and the enabling conditions—such as institutional arrangements, political forces and economic possibilities—which are needed for it to succeed in diverse contexts.

In keeping with the mandate of the HPLF to provide guidance and recommendations on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the panellists at this event will share knowledge and experience on how SE is contributing to realizing the 2030 Agenda’s vision of transformation, and achieving the goals and targets at the local level, in particular in cities.

Source: UNRISD

Kategorien: english

Inequality in Asia and the Pacific in the era of the SDGs

25. Juli 2018 - 18:22

Inequality in Asia and the Pacific is on the rise. Many countries, including those held up as models of dynamism and prosperity, have experienced a widening of existing gaps, accompanied by environmental degradation. Market-led growth alone is not sufficient to deliver a prosperous, sustainable future for all.

UN ESCAP released a new report on 7 May, 2018 – Inequality in Asia and the Pacific in the era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This report takes a novel approach by focusing on multiple aspects of inequality – inequality of outcomes, of opportunities and of impacts. It also pays special attention to the potentially transformative role of technology and the impact that the incipient Fourth Industrial Revolution may have on inequality.

The report finds that unequal access to basic opportunities has left large groups of people behind and contributed to widening inequalities of outcomes, particularly in income and wealth. In turn, these inequalities have aggravated inequalities in access to health care, education, technology, and protection from natural disasters and environmental hazards – creating hardship for communities and families over generations.

Written against the backdrop of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its pledge to “leave no one behind”, the report analyses the consequences inequality has on countries, communities and people across the Asia-Pacific region. Drawing on a wide range of data sources, backed up with evidence-based studies, it examines the drivers of inequality and identifies groups of people that are most likely to be left behind. It presents a convincing case for reducing inequality and puts forward an eight-point policy agenda for shaping a more inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future for all.

Source: UN ESCAP

Kategorien: english

Progress has been made, but ‘not at a sufficient speed to realize the SDGs’

25. Juli 2018 - 18:19

One week after zeroing-in on how to build sustainable, resilient societies, key players from around the world debated on Monday at United Nations Headquarters in New York, how to keep up the momentum to turn the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into a reality.

Speaking at the opening of the major ministerial meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) as well as the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC President, Marie Chatardová, cited progress that, at first glimpse, looked positive.

She pointed to extreme poverty, saying that even at one-third of the 1990 value, it was still imprisoning 10.9 per cent of world’s population. Moreover, while 71 per cent have access to electricity – a 10 per cent jump – a billion people still remain in the dark.

“There is progress, but generally not at a sufficient speed to realize the SDGs by 2030,” Ms. Chatardová said.

Despite that backdrop, Ms. Chatardová argued that the 2030 Agenda was being translated into concrete policies and measures: “It seems new ways of making policies are taking root, with many examples of more inclusive and evidence-based approaches,” she said.

Underscoring the importance of science and technology in advancing the goals, she outlined how they are being used to close gaps, such as on investing in renewable energy production and lowering prices; and countering major challenges in cities, from boosting housing affordability to accessing public spaces.

Ms. Chatardová stressed that the same level of engagement must be maintained in the years ahead, urging the world’s leaders to reaffirm their political commitment to the Agenda in 2019, when the high-level forum will also meet in September during the General Assembly.

“We do not have any time to waste,” General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák told the meeting, focussing on four main points where progress had been made: “We have taken a sledgehammer to extreme poverty,” he began. “Innovations in healthcare are allowing people to live longer and healthier lives. Fewer children are forced to work – and more are where they belong: in school.”

In his second point, he spoke of “huge challenges ahead,” citing that gains made to reduce extreme poverty, have not benefitted everyone, with many are still dying from curable diseases. One-in-six people still lack safe drinking water; women and girls globally remain excluded or oppressed; and “the planet is, quite literally, melting,” he said.

“Moreover, we know that our demands for water, food, energy and housing are already unsustainable,” he added.

Thirdly, he painted a grim picture of how “the world would be a very scary place” without the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Without the 17 Goals “unilateralism, protectionism and extremism would have even larger draws.”

Finally, he said better financing was as urgent priority as we “do not have enough money to meet our goals…But it is out there,” he stated. “We just need to go beyond our traditional models to get it.”

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed also highlighted progress in some areas, including maternal and child mortality; tackling childhood marriage; addressing global unemployment; and cutting the rate of forest-loss around the globe.

She stressed that we are either moving too slowly, or losing momentum, citing that for the first time in a decade, the overall number of people who are undernourished has increased – from 777 million people in 2015, to 815 million in 2016 – fundamentally undermining our commitment to leaving no one behind.

Taking the podium, UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake, drew attention to the world’s 1.8 billion youth between the ages of 10 and 24, who have a key role to play in the 2030 Agenda.

“Young people will be the ones leading this agenda in the years to come. In fact, in many places they already are,” upheld the youth envoy, arguing that having been brought up in a world of technological innovation, today’s digitally-savvy youth are the world’s most interconnected generation ever.

“To solve the most pressing issues of our time, we must tap into the dynamism of young innovators, activists, entrepreneurs and advocates, who have the potential to disrupt the status quo and be a strong force for positive change,” Ms. Wickramanayake declared.

Source: UN News
Kategorien: english

Sustainable Societies through Cooperation

9. Juli 2018 - 22:19

Sustainability is a key principle of the international cooperative movement – from sustainability of local communities to sustainability of our planet, as captured in the internationally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals. In a world of waste and want, the cooperative movement has decided to commemorate the International Day of Cooperatives 2018 under the theme “Sustainable Production and Consumption”.

The International Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of July every year. This year, cooperatives in all countries of the world celebrated the day on 7 July 2018, reaffirming commitments to this important cause.

On 5 July, UNDESA’s Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) celebrated the International Day of Cooperatives (IDC) at a high-level panel discussion, organized in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Argentina and the International Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), held at UN Headquarters in New York. The goal of the event was to discuss how cooperatives achieve sustainable consumption and production and to explore ways in which the UN system and governments can further support cooperatives as development actors and as key partners in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The panel was chaired by Mr. Vinicius Pinheiro, Special Representative of the International Labour Office (ILO) at the UN; and panelists included Daniela Bas, Director of UNDESA DISD, H.E. Sukhbold Sukhee, Permanent Representative of Mongolia; H.E. Alejandro Verdier, Deputy Permanent Representative of Argentina; Ms Carla Mucavi, director of the FAO office in New York; Ms Chiara Faenza, director for Sustainability and Innovations at Coop Italia; and Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance.

In her remarks, Daniela Bas noted that the issue of sustainability is in the very DNA of cooperatives and that “from sustainability of local communities to sustainability of our planet, Cooperatives have two centuries’ experience building sustainable and resilient societies.” The event was attended by many diplomats and civil society and called on Member States to enact policies that promote the development of cooperatives and for the UN system to continue promoting the cooperative model of doing business and providing technical assistance.

Following the welcoming remarks, a panel of speakers gave examples of how cooperatives make real progress towards the SDGs.

To kick off the panel, Carla Mucavi, Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Liaison Office in New York, described how cooperatives improve food systems, food security and strong rural communities. Chiara Faenza, Responsible for Sustainability and Values Innovation in the Quality Department of Coop Italia, detailed how Coop Italia – Italy’s largest retailer – makes significant contributions to SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production). John Torres, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations for NCBA CLUSA, shared how the organization is building an inclusive economy around the world through its 39 development projects in 20 countries.

Gabriela Buffa, the Youth Committee Representative of Cooperar in Argentina, presented the case of the Saladillo Mill, a worker cooperative that was established when the former workers of a bankrupt mill bought the company and turned it into a cooperative to save their jobs. Georgia Papoutsi, Policy Coordinator for the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), discussed how the ICA is engaged in a partnership with the European Union to support cooperatives in development. His Excellency Mr. Sukhbold Sukhee, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the UN, closed the panel by emphasizing the importance of governments providing enabling legal frameworks to help cooperatives access resources and thrive. Legal structures should be conducive to the creation and growth of cooperatives. The Mongolian Mission has been a long-time champion and advocate of the cooperative movement, and spearheaded the action plan for cooperatives recently approved by the UN.

More related information from UN News: International Day of Cooperatives sets stage for long-standing production and consumption

Kategorien: english

How cooperatives contribute to sustainable consumption and production

22. Juni 2018 - 22:15

Cooperatives are a powerful economic and social force, present in most countries of the world and in most sectors of the economy. The cooperative movement counts more than a billion members.

Achieving sustainable development means that we will have to rethink the ways in which we produce and consume goods and services. For our planet to sustain a growing population, it will be necessary to protect and use the limited natural resources our world has to offer responsibly.

How are cooperatives making change happen towards SDG12 – ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns? Here are a few examples from the field.

Coop Italy is a system of consumer cooperatives that operates the largest supermarket chain in the country. With environmental sustainability as a core activity of the cooperative, Coop Italy has committed to further developing its line of organic and Ecolabel-certified own brand products, using its own brand fruit cultivation methods to keep chemical residue below legal limits and monitoring the sustainability and resource use of its Coop brand production suppliers. On the consumer side, the cooperative educates shoppers by integrating the ideas of the three R’s (reduction, reuse, recycling) in all of its Coop brand product packaging, including using recycled materials, minimizing packaging and setting up refill stations.

The Seikatsu Club Consumers’ Cooperative (SCCC) of Japan combines good business practices with social and ecological principles and a vision of a community- and people-centred economy. SCCC began in 1965, when a Tokyo housewife organized 200 women to buy 300 bottles of milk. Seikatsu Club has since grown its buying activities to include production, distribution, consumption, disposal, social services, the environment and politics. The cooperative’s goal is to create a new lifestyle that protects the environment and overall health of the planet. One of SCCC’s mantras is “safe food at reasonable prices”. When the Club cannot find products of adequate quality to meet its ecological or social standards, it produces them itself, as has been the case for milk and soap. The cooperative emphasizes direct contact between producers and consumers to humanize the market, particularly in food production.

Non-sustainable farming techniques and post-harvest storing methods have resulted in the loss of large amounts of crops in South Africa. The IMAI Farming Cooperative is a women’s cooperative that has partnered with non-profits and government institutions to turn surplus fresh vegetable produce into pickles. Through this initiative the cooperative in- creases the incomes of its members by adding value to their products while also reducing food waste. The members chop surplus vegetables into small pieces and store them in an acidic solution to create different types of “atchar”, a kind of pickle for local consumption. IMAI Farming Cooperative also encourages organic farming as part of its include production, distribution, consumption, disposal, social services, the environment and politics. The cooperative’s goal is to create a new lifestyle that protects the environment and overall health of the planet. One of SCCC’s mantras is “safe food at reasonable prices”. When the Club cannot find products of adequate quality to meet its ecological or social standards, it produces them itself, as has been the case for milk and soap. The cooperative emphasizes direct contact between producers and consumers to humanize the market, particularly in food production.

Tourism is a sector where unsustainable consumption and production patterns can impact the environment, including food waste, damage to natural reserves, excessive water use and carbon footprint of air travel, among others. The Midcounties Cooperative travel business is the third largest travel agent in the UK and promotes sustainable tour- ism in collaboration with the Travel Foundation charity. In the last ten years, they have funded more than £10 million for sustainable tour- ism promoting local culture and products, income generating opportunities and environmental protection in different areas around the world. Their initiatives include establishing linkages between lo- cal farmers and all-inclusive hotels in Turkey that are sourcing their produce from sustainable producers; helping Mexican women set up their own businesses and sell their honey-based beauty products to hotels and tourists; and developing an educational map to inform tourists about the threatened marine bays around Fethiye in Turkey to help reduce the environmental impacts of boat trips and coast- al tourism on important habitats for turtles and other marine life.

In Togo, the Cooperative of Young Professional Producers of Organic Pineapple (CJPPAB) produces a special type of pinapple called pain de sucre (sugar bread) destined for the Italian market. The CJPPAB has 1,018 young members, of which 367 are women. The members produce 10,000 tonnes of pineapple in a year and use only organic farming practices without any application of chemicals. Assistance and training was provided by Coopermondo, the international development cooperation association of the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives, and the project received funding from six Italian cooperative banks and Federcasse, the apex organisation for cooperative banks in Italy. The cooperation between the cooperative movements in Togo and Italy allowed them to exchange experiences and resulted in new market opportunities for the Togolese farmers.

The speed by which people replace their old devices with new ones has created huge amounts of electrical and electronic equipment waste (e-waste). E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream, and it is hazardous, complex and costly to treat. Heaps of e-waste end up in landfills or are exported to and dumped in develop- ing countries. In Bolivia, formal mechanisms for waste management are limited, so most people store their old electronic equipment or leave it to be picked up by informal collectors. A group of solid waste pickers in La Paz (the Association of Recycling Collectors and Sorters of La Paz, ARALPAZ) formed a cooperative in 2006 to overcome the waste collection challenges. Their 40 members earn a better income through recycling in total about 194 tonnes of solid waste on a daily basis, including plastic, cardboard, metals, used clothing, glass and occasionally e-waste. The collectors do not focus on e-waste alone, because this requires more specialization and involves higher costs to collect and dissassemble. They sell the e-waste at an informal market and looking into supply it to recycling companies. The collective massing of other recyclable material has enabled individual waste pickers to accumulate sufficiently large volumes to sell directly to businesses and negotiate better prices.

In Switzerland, the major retail cooperative Coop has developed its own line of fair trade organic clothing called Coop Naturaline. In 2013, they adopted the Guideline on Textiles and Leather, which regulates the minimum social, ecological and toxicological requirements in both the cultivation of raw textile materials and their further processing and improves transparency in the supply chain. They advocate for reducing the use of chemicals, recycling old textiles and promoting the use of fairly traded organic cotton.

In India, the Chetna Organic cooperative has organized 15,279 cotton farmers into 978 farmer self-help groups which are clustered into 13 district cooperatives. An international supply chain coalition was created (ChetCo) linking the organic cotton cooperative farmers with 16 ethical textile brands, such as Loomstate in the US, to promote sustainable clothing production from seed to cloth. Chetna Organic trains farmers in applying eco-friendly production practices, such as the production of bio-inputs like organic com- posting and bio pesticides such as chili-garlic solution. The cooperative also promotes collective ownership of machinery that improves productivity, like tractors, tillers, seed cleaners and graders. Inefficient water use is an important challenge in Indian cotton production. Different measures are taken by the cooperative to protect natural resources, manage watersheds and harvest water for supplemental irrigation. The variety of seeds is also under threat with the dominance of GMO seeds in cotton production. Chetna Organic wants to protect local varieties from extinction and is working to preserve seed sovereignty. The establishment of seed banks is one of their strategies to collect and maintain local seeds.

Source: COPAC

Kategorien: english

Science, technology and innovation crucial to ‘transformative impact’ of Development Goals

22. Juni 2018 - 21:24

If everyone is to enjoy a future of peace, dignity and opportunity, then science, technology and innovation need to be at the heart of the race to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, a Forum at UN Headquarters heard on Tuesday.

“No one can ignore the vital role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in advancing the transformative impact” of the 2030 Agenda, said Marie Chatardová, President of the Economic and Social Council, as the two-day STI Forum got underway.

The UN has a clearly stated mission outlined in the 2030 Agenda: “We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.”

The meeting brings together UN officials, leaders in the field of science and technology and others, to share sustainable technology expertise, and explore collaboration efforts to achieve SDGs.

“The aspirations of the 2030 Agenda cannot be through business as usual,” Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet for the UN Secretary-General told the forum.

While rapidly changing new technologies – in fields such as artificial intelligence and robotics – have immense promise, she cautioned that they also carry risks which must be considered, such as exacerbating inequality.

“No one can ignore the vital role of science technology and innovation,” stressed Liu Zhenmin, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), while also pointing out that everyone must work consciously “to magnify benefits and limit negative impacts.”

This year, the Forum zeros in on the theme “Science, Technology and Innovation for sustainable and resilient societies” focusing on the multiple Goals that straddle the field of scientific innovation.

According to Mr. Liu, the SDGs cannot be achieved without STI.

“We are in the right place at the right time,” he assured the group, emphasizing that all stakeholders needed to be actively engaged, stay abreast of the transformative changes underway and work continuously to harness them for our common good.

“Through our collective endeavor, we will be able to eradicate poverty, ensure wellbeing for all peoples and protect the richness of the life and nature of our planet,” he concluded.

Source: UN DESA

Kategorien: english

Financial abuse of elderly ‘rampant, but invisible’

20. Juni 2018 - 23:10

Older people are increasingly subject to financial abuse, in many cases by their own family members, a United Nations human rights expert warned on Thursday.

“Financial abuse of older persons is rampant but largely invisible, and the problem is expected to grow dramatically with the ageing of our societies”, said the UN-appointed independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, in a statement to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June.

She says most abuse goes undetected, and it is impossible to say how big the problem is, as data is scarce because of under-reporting.

“Sadly, most abusers are family members”, said Ms. Kornfeld-Matte. “This is a particularly delicate matter”, she added, explaining that even experienced professionals have difficulty distinguishing an unwise but legitimate financial transaction, from an exploitative one that was the result of undue influence, duress, fraud, or a lack of informed consent.

Financial abuse reflects a pattern of behaviour rather than a single event, and occurs over a period of time.

She said that older people may even tacitly acknowledge it, or feel that the perpetrator has some entitlement to their assets.

“Some older people also have a desire to compensate those who provide them with care, affection, or attention”, she said.

Ms. Kornfeld-Matte urged older people to report cases of abuse to the authorities, even though they feel embarrassed or fear retaliation, including withdrawal of affection and care.

“One of the few ways to stop financial abuse of older people is to report it. If you suspect that someone you care about has been or is being abused, I can only urge you to speak up”, she said.

Source: UN News

Kategorien: english

Everyone has ‘a moral imperative’ to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities

20. Juni 2018 - 15:29

Cementing and protecting the rights of around 1.5 billion people around the world in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a “moral imperative” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday.

He was addressing a conference of signatories to the Convention at UN Headquarters in New York, describing it as one of the most widely-ratified international human rights treaties, which reaffirms that people with disabilities are entitled to the same treatment as everybody else.

“But signing and ratifying the Convention is not enough. Implementation is essential,” Mr. Guterres said. “Societies must be organized so that all people, including those with disabilities, can exercise their rights freely.”

The Secretary-General underscored that countries apply the Convention to their development policies, investments and legal systems, which is an important step “if we are to fulfil the central pledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: to leave no one behind.”

“We cannot afford to ignore or marginalize the contributions of 1.5 billion people,” he stated, pointing out that more had to be done for people with disabilities to fully participate in society.

People with disabilities still often face overt discrimination, stereotyping and lack of respect for their basic human rights – with women and girls disproportionately affected.

“Every minute, more than 30 women are seriously injured or disabled during childbirth,” elaborated the UN chief.

Moreover, women and girls with disabilities face multiple barriers to accessing education, health services and jobs.

“Without women’s empowerment and gender equality, millions of women will continue to suffer from double discrimination based on both their gender and their disability,” he added.

The Secretary-General spelled out the need for new approaches to work for and with people with disabilities, which include mainstreaming disability in national legislation and development strategies.

“It will also be crucial to continue and expand the work that United Nations agencies are doing to support Governments and develop their capacity on these issues,” he maintained, elaborating on the need to strengthen policy frameworks and laws on disability, in line with the Convention and the 2030 Agenda.

He concluded by noting that a comprehensive review would be looking at all aspects of how the Organization addresses disability, as well as informing a new UN Action Plan and an accountability framework “to help us aim higher and live up to our promises.”

Signing through an interpreter, Colin Allen, Chair of the international Disability Alliance, spotlighted the strength of working collectively to achieve true and meaningful change.

“For the people in this room, and for the more than one billion people we represent,” said Mr. Allen, “we are building a strong and solid platform that will propel us forward.”

Catalina Devandas Aguilar, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities noted that while progress has been made, it is not reaching everyone in the same way.

“There is a great demand for public interventions of better and higher quality,” she said, adding: “Only by working together will we fulfil our common goal of leaving no one behind.”

“Together, we can remove barriers and raise awareness, so that people with disabilities can play a full part in every sphere of society, around the world”, she said.

Source: UN News

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