You are currently browsing the IPA blog archives for April, 2012.
- Pacific Island Nation of Kiribati – in Pictures
- New Vatican document on migrants and refugees
- People’s Goals Response to the HLP Report
- World Environment Day – 5 June “Think, Eat, Save, Reduce Your Foodprint”
- Hunger Is A Taxing Problem For The G8
- Women and Peace-building in the Great Lakes Region of Africa – 4 June 2013
- Reflections on the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues 20-31 May 2013
- UN NEWS: OWG3 and High Level Panel report for post-2015 agenda
- Carbon Rise Leads to ‘Urgent’ Call for Climate Action at UN
- A Journey to a Side Event for Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues – May 2013
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Archive for April, 2012
We began Nano’s Day in the morning wishing one another a Happy Feast in the office before scurrying off to Room A of the UN for the morning briefing of the nongovernmental groups. Ben Debrizzi of UNDP spoke about new possibilities for attendees in Rio. de Janeiro. Maps and venues are posted on line.
In regard to the negotiations of the text, the first paragraphs for section IV on the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development insist that decisions must be based on good information. All stakeholders and partnerships must be involved. The G77 + China coalition, actually comprising 133 nations, continually insist on the reaffirmation of the Rio agreements such as Agenda 21, (the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, adopted by more than 178 countries in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in 1992.) Other nations such as the EU, USA and others resist this continual repetition, considering it unnecessary.
The most serious areas of disagreement have to do with monitoring commitments and reinforcing coherence among UN agencies. The G 77 nations called upon developed nations to fulfill the commitments made to developing countries in Agenda 21, regarding Multilateral Environmental Agreements for technology transfer, as well as other financial support.
On the value of biological diversity, the US wished to retain language on ecosystem services. In regard to biodiversity conservation, Norway added references to disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change. On the origins of genetic resources, the US and New Zealand called for the paragraph’s deletion. In respect to the intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the US reserved and Norway and the Republic of Korea supported the EU and Swiss proposal to “welcome the establishment of” rather than “take note of” the Platform.
Australia presented two new paragraphs on sustainable development challenges of land degradation, desertification and drought. The EU and Iceland sought to insert “and soil” after all references to land. G77 + China opposed this.
On a coordinated global approach, the EU, supported by the G 77+ China added text on implementation of the UN Conference to Combat Desertification. Myanmar added text on soil contamination and land management. In regard to monitoring and assessment, Japan, USA, EU, and Norway asked to delete a call for discussing a possible intergovernmental science panel .
Our end of the day celebration began with Marlette’s inspiring Nano Nagle Prayer Service in the transformed gathering space featuring Mary Ivers’ luminous Ecuadorean table cloth. We were joined in prayer and celebration by our UNANIMA office colleagues. Each of us instinctively articulated our appreciation for the opportunity to contribute to our international mission and experience in concert our IPA commitment to poverty eradication, equity, and empowerment of those made poor by global injustices . In Nano, we are one, and with Nano’s charism, although geographically apart, we continue our mission together.
Maura McCarthy pbvm
Attempts To Streamline Text Of Document For “Rio + 20”
As the member states worked on the introductory text for the outcome document for RIO + 20, on Tuesday, 24 April , there was general agreement about the need to streamline the text. In the course of reaffirming the historical documents leading up to this meeting, Norway and Korea did not want to emphasize just one issue such as sustainability. They felt that all issues should be reaffirmed. The EU suggested the use of the words reduce poverty, rather than eliminate or eradicate poverty. This did not meet the approval of G 70 + China, nor of other member states. The EU felt that the phrase increase of financial flows could not be supported. The G70 delegate humorously stated that if the text did not retain the phrase, the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities in regard to environment and development, then he would have to return home without a job! Switzerland insisted on the right to food security, which was supported by other nations. United States and Canada wanted references to climate change removed from the text. The phrases social protection floor and poverty eradication were preserved in the text. The topic of seeds arose with the United States and some other nations wanting to retain the phrase science based in the text. There was a strong push to replace indigenous communities with indigenous peoples, a term generally approved by the indigenous group.
Briefing By The Holy See
NGO’s were invited by the Holy See Delegation to a briefing in relation to the Commission on
Population and Development. This is a recent initiative by the Holy See to provide information to NGO’s
on the Vatican’s stance in relation to the various issues that surface during the Commissions. We were
welcomed most graciously by Archbishop Chullikatt and Father Felix Bernin. We were assured we were
part of the Church and that there is strength in unity and that if we work together we can do well. The Holy See is doing its part at the UN and were following the instructions from the Vatican.
A current issue of concern relating to Population and Development is the interventions made regarding contraception and abortion and the seemingly number of interventions made by the Holy See were indicative of the fact that no one else was taking a stand in this regard. A further concern related to the definition of Youth in relation to the age range for the purposes of statistics e.g. in some countries youth were defined as between 12 and 24, while in others it was between 15 and 24 and the WHO (World Health Organisation) definition is between 10 and 24. This then creates a problem in the projected population decline or growth. Youth unemployment is the key issue of concern that we must focus on. Globally youth numbers are still high but are expected to decline. NGO’s were invited to support the Holy See by lobbying their Member States to focus on the key issue.
Maura McCarthy pbvm and Mary McFadden pbvm
The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 64/136, declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives, in recognition of the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, especially with regard to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The objectives of the year are to:
- expand public awareness of the role of cooperatives, particularly in relation to the fulfillment of internationally agreed development goals, such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
- encourage the growth of cooperatives worldwide;
- establish a policy and legal environment conducive to the strength and stability of the cooperative movement.
The goals of the International Year of Cooperatives are to:
- Increase public awareness about cooperatives and their contributions to socio-economic development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;
- Promote the formation and growth of cooperatives;
- Encourage Governments to establish policies, laws and regulations conducive to the formation, growth and stability of cooperatives.
For more information see http://social.un.org/coopsyear/
New York, 21 April—Representatives from governments and civil society will start a new round of negotiations that will shape the outcome of Rio+20, a major global conference that will have a significant impact on how the world will address key challenges affecting economic growth, social well-being and environmental protection in the years ahead.
The two-week session for Rio+20—formally the UN Conference on Sustainable Development — begins in New York on Monday, 23 April and will continue through 4 May. The negotiations will follow celebrations for Earth Day—officially observed as the International Mother Earth Day at the UN — on Sunday, 22 April.
In a statement addressed to the Conference ahead of the upcoming round of talks, leaders from across the UN system called on Rio+20 to “provide the roadmap to the future we want – a future with peace, dynamic economic and social development, universal social well-being, and a healthy and equitable environment for present and future generations where women and men, boys and girls equally contribute to and benefit from development.”
The negotiations will consider a range of measures to advance sustainable development that include setting new goals and indicators, innovative financing, and actions that can reduce present unsustainable levels of consumption and production. This round offers governments another chance to review the latest version of the draft outcome document for Rio+20 and further hone the text before the talks move to Rio de Janeiro in June.
“There is a delicate balance that needs to be achieved in negotiations that considers the needs and interests of all people,” the UN’s Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang said. “We are getting there. I am very optimistic that the negotiations and Rio+20 will be a success. For a better future for all of us and our children, this is where we need to go — and Rio+20 can lead us there.”
Some of the issues being considered and negotiated closely include sustainable development goals; strengthening the UN Environment Programme; and putting forward new ways to measure a country’s success that go beyond economic growth and GDP to factor in people’s well-being and the protection of the environment.
“I’m looking forward to some hard-fought outcomes that reverse our unsustainable course and drive us forward to a future with peace, dynamic economic and social development, universal social well-being, and a healthy and equitable environment for present and future generations,” Mr. Sha said.
In addition to the negotiations, there will be several key side events focusing on global issues, challenges and solutions that will be under consideration for Rio+20, including the lack of access to energy and clean water, depleted oceans, food insecurity, widening inequalities and rapidly expanding cities. The next steps for finalizing the Rio+20 outcome document will occur during a final round of talks taking place in Rio from 13 to 15 June, ahead of the Rio+20 Conference on 20-22 June.
To help facilitate active civil society participation ahead of Rio+20, the UN launched a public online platform on 16 April to inform the recommendations of the Rio Dialogues, several high-profile events to be organized
Immediately prior to Rio+20 by the Government of Brazil. The Rio Dialogues will engage civil society and leading experts in seeking innovative solutions on global sustainability issues, solutions that will then be submitted directly to world leaders at the Conference.
With International Mother Earth Day falling on a weekend, the UN General Assembly marked the Day with an Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature on Wednesday, 18 April. UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said, “Rio+20 is an opportunity to assess our relationship with nature over the last 20 years and to inject new impetus and genuine innovation towards fostering a sustainable way forward,” adding that the “commemoration of the International Day of Mother Earth is therefore both timely and relevant, as we aim to have a successful outcome in Rio.”
The UN will ake part in Earth Day observances this weekend around the world, in places where the Day has traditionally been observed. In New York, the UN and the UN Environment Programme will join Earth Day New York’s celebration outside of Grand Central Terminal from 20-21 April, and at the New York City Green Festival from 21-22 April at the Javits Center.
Also on Earth Day, the UN is supporting the global screening of the feature film One Day on Earth, including at the UN General Assembly Hall. The film was created in collaboration with many UN partners and an online community of media creators who filmed in every country of the world on the same day in October 2010. The 104-minute film documents the incredible diversity that defines our unique cultures and the common threads that connect us all, visualizing the joys and struggles of everyday life.
This year, the Earth Day Network is promoting sustainable energy issues, which are aligned with the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, building support for comprehensive action at Rio+20. It is also gathering commitments online for “a billion acts of green” with the goal of registering one billion environmentally friendly actions in advance of Rio+20.
Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 20-22 June and is expected to set the agenda for a more sustainable future for years to come. At Rio+20, governments, business and civil society organizations are expected to launch actions that will make a measurable difference, leading to greater prosperity, health and opportunities, and an environment that will continue to support growth for future generations.
For more information on:
- Rio+20, visit www.uncsd2012.org
- The Rio Dialogues, visit www.riodialogues.org
- One Day on Earth screenings, including at the UN, visit http://www.onedayonearth.org/screening
- Earth Day New York, visit www.earthdayny.org
- New York City Green Festival, visit www.greenfestivals.org/nyc
- International Mother Earth Day, visit www.un.org/en/events/motherearthday/
To join the global conversation on Rio+20: The Future We Want, visit www.un.org/futurewewant
United Nations 2012, All rights reserved.
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Every Human Has Rights and CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is proud to present its inaugural report on the state of civil society. The report, State of Civil Society 2011, was published on 10 April 2012 and is available at http://StateOfCivilSociety.org.
The report is currently available in English language PDF format, and will shortly launch as a more interactive website. A French language summary will also be available soon.
The report has been developed by the CIVICUS secretariat in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders in the CIVICUS Alliance, including civil society activists, leaders and other voices. CIVICUS intends this to become a regular report tracking the changing shape of civil society. We’d like in future to involve still more civil society voices in the authorship and development of the report. With this in mind, we’d be very grateful for your feedback on this inaugural version of the report, your suggestions for how future versions of the report can become still more comprehensive and inclusive of the diversity of civil society, and your ideas about how you would like to partner with us in the report.
We’d also be very grateful for any way in which you can help us promote the report and urge people to engage with its analysis. Please forward this email to your contacts and encourage them also to get in touch with us.
In short, the report suggests that civil society currently faces a generational opportunity to prove its value as a source of alternatives at a time of profound global crisis and state dysfunction. The solution, we believe, can only be in the formation of new, more broad-based, inclusive coalitions and communities that take account of the full breadth of civil society and the strengths of different parts of civil society.
CIVICUS stands ready in response to this analysis to play a global convening role to help bring new coalitions together and serve those coalitions. Indeed as part of our process of framing new strategic directions for 2013 to 2017, we are already reaching out to different constituencies to formulate a new civil society agenda to respond to current crises and opportunities. We will also be taking forward consultations on how to define a new social contract to our annual World Assembly in Montreal, Canada, 3 to 7 September 2012, and beyond. We would welcome your ideas for how else we can partner with the members of the CIVICUS alliance in response.
We hope you find this report a useful contribution to the current debates surrounding civil society, and we look forward to your feedback.
Every Human Has Rights is incredibly proud to have helped support and contribute to this timely and detailed report- we feel it is a great contribution to civil society.
The Every Human Has Rights Team
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ECOSOC will hold an Annual Ministerial Review this year in New York. The theme for the Annual Ministerial Review segment this year will focus on Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDGs. The High Level Segment (HLS) will be held on 2-9 July 2012 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC are encouraged to submit written statements on the themes of the High Level Segment, including the Annual Ministerial Review segment.
The written statement submitted by the International Presentation Association (IPA) can be found on our IPA Statements at the UN page.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, will be attending the Rio+20 Conference alongside more than 100 presidents and prime ministers, thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN Officials, non-governmental organization leaders, academics and other representatives.
The world conference is expected to be the largest event in the history of the United Nations.
The High Commissioner has written an Open Letter of 30 March 2012, appealing to all Member States to fully integrate key human rights considerations in the Rio+20 outcome document. To read this open letter go to http://goo.gl/DdnJm
In his keynote address, Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shared some startling information about the race against the machines, nexus between technology, employment and wages. According to him the tremendous growth in technology within the last decade has resulted in stagnation of job creation. Skill development, organizations and Institutions have not kept pace with the technological growth resulting in huge employment and income gaps. Current trends indicate that while those who are highly educated and technically skilled will be in highly paid jobs, those less skilled may be replaced by the machines. He warned of automations replacing human labour in the fields of health education and other areas like driving. He gave the example of a google self-driving car. In a jeopardy game IBM’s Watson (robot) was pitted against 3 of the best brains in US and won all the money! The 3 types of winners and losers in his estimation are high skilled vs unskilled or low skilled, superstars vs the rest of the world and capital vs labour. According to him current times are just forerunners of more “tragic” times to come! His response to the situation seemed to be to invest in education and skill training of youth especially in technology.
The representative of Germany brought out the role of relational skills in the generation of employment and expressed hope that technology will still serve human needs and not the other way around. Least developed countries also were worried about their future in the current development scenario.
Mr. José Antonio Alonso, Director, Complutense Institute of Foreign Studies, and Professor of Applied Economics, Complutense University of Madrida member of the Committee for Development Policy dwelt on the need for stable growth which is inclusive. He felt that the governments are faced with the challenges of balancing market flexibility with labour security, social security and a job creating growth. For him segmentation of the labour market and gender disparity within it is cause of concern. He supported small and medium enterprises as a way out of the current crisis while calling for institutional reforms especially of the financial institutions.
This session was followed by a Panel discussion on “Promoting the implementation of the Global Jobs Pact”. Mr. Aurelio Parisotto, Senior Economist, Policy Integration Department, International Labour Organization Office for the United Nations, New York said that rising protests in over 180 countries is a result of increasing new pockets of poverty and polarized income inequality resulting from job recession. He recommended policy action on global coordination for global aggregate demand, policy agenda based on short-term/ long-term needs, creation of community based jobs, collaboration between micro economies and labour market to reduce income inequalities .
Ms. Eve Crowley, Deputy Director, Gender, Equity and Rural Employment, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, focused on 4 main areas: Policy requirement, gaps in technology and resources, challenges and learning.
(1)Policy requirement: Though 20% of the national GDP comes from the rural economy in developing countries, rural people live in working poverty. There is also a concentration of child labour in the rural areas. Hence, the need for social protection for the rural poor.
(2)Gaps in technology and resources: Increase investment in agriculture productivity. By addressing gender gaps in agricultural resources 150 million more people can be lifted out of poverty.
(3)Challenges of unemployment, under employment and low labour productivity call for social protection, occupational security and strengthening the negotiating power of the people.
(4) Lessons learnt :Addressing multidimensional poverty requires a multipronged approach of:
- increasing employability through improved access to schools and quality education coupled with life skills and job training
- Using differentiated strategies for rural and urban areas
- Providing market access along with infrastructural facilities
What is needed is formation of a UN task force to coordinate action, identify best practices and improve upon them; sustainable development goals committed to decent work; multi sectorial coordination at the country level between, land ,agriculture and finance ministers; cross sectorial policy coherence and collaboration between agriculture and rural employment
Mr. DegolHailu, Senior Adviser, Poverty Practice, Bureau for Development Policy, United Nations Development Programme, reiterated that lack of coordination between employment and education policies is the reason for low elasticity of employment growth. Another reason is extractive sectors like mining are not labour intensive though contributing to 60% of the GDP. Deindustrialization in some countries has resulted in income loss leading to poor nutrition, mental trauma, reduced spending in health and education and depletion of household assets and social exclusion especially of women. He shared how timely intervention by UNDP in Sierra Leone and Georgia helped transform the situation. He too recommended social protection as a necessary safety net.
In his closing remarks, Mr. ShaZukang, undersecretary general for economic and Social Affairs, summarized the import policy messages that have emerged from the preparatory meetings thus far as follows.
- There is a consensus on strong need for job creation.
- More coordinated global action is needed to stimulate employment and decent work which means
- Better policy coherence on fiscal, monitory, labour, education and social protection fronts focused on growing economies and creating jobs especially for the youth;
- Governments taking a balanced approach by building momentum for growth while repairing their finances and tackle rising inequality for lasting social and political stability;
- Prioritse education and training opportunities to enhance productive capacity, decent work and social protection by maximizing public –private investment in infrastructure, developing human capital, protecting the most vulnerable and transitioning to a more sustainable trajectory of growth .
Elsa Muttathu pbvm
New York, 2 April – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the need for an economic model that incorporates social and environmental progress in efforts to achieve sustainable development.
“Gross National Product has long been the yardstick by which economies and politicians have been measured. Yet it fails to take into account the social and environmental costs of so-called progress,” the Secretary-General said in his remarks at a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters in New York.
Convened by the Government of Bhutan as a contribution to preparations for Rio+20, the meeting – “Happiness and Well-being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” – brought together hundreds of representatives from governments, religious organizations, academia and civil society.
In the early 1970s, the Himalayan kingdom introduced the new measurement of national prosperity, focusing on people’s well-being rather than economic productivity. In recent years, there has been growing interest in this concept – known as “gross national happiness” (GNH) – with the General Assembly adopting a resolution in 2011, which noted that the gross domestic product (GDP) indicator “does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people in a country.”
Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Jigme Thinley, said that Gross National Happiness is a development model that has guided Bhutan’s development for several decades and that he hoped Monday’s meeting would result in recommendations which governments can act on.
“I hope that by 2015 the international community will have adopted a sustainability-based economic paradigm, committed to promoting true human well-being and happiness, and ensuring at the same time, the survival of all species with which we share this planet,” he said.
“We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development,” the Secretary-General told the meeting’s participants. “Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”
Mr. Ban praised the Bhutanese Government for initiating the meeting, and noted that other countries have also started to explore various ways to measure prosperity that go beyond material wealth such as Costa Rica, which strongly supports environmentally responsible development, and the United Kingdom, where statistical authorities are experimenting with measuring ‘national well-being.’
The Secretary-General stressed that sustainable development is intricately linked to happiness and well-being, and underlined that the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, in Brazil in June will need to provide an outcome that reflects this.
High-level officials from a number of countries, including Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, India, Israel, Japan, Morocco, Thailand and the United Kingdom, spoke at the High-level Meeting to voice their support for various aspects of going beyond GDP as a measure of human progress.
An interview with Prime Minister Thinley can be found on-line at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/newsmakers.asp?NewsID=49
A webcast of the high-level event can be found at www.un.org/webcast
For more information on Rio+20, visit www.uncsd2012.org.
To join the global conversation on Rio+20: The Future We Want, visit www.un.org/futurewewant
The SECRETARY-GENERAL of the UNITED NATIONS
Message on World Health Day
7 April 2012
Each year on 7 April, we observe World Health Day to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. This year’s theme, “Good health adds life to years”, conveys an important message: promoting good health throughout life improves one’s chances of remaining healthy and productive in one’s later years.
In the middle of the last century, there were just 14 million people in the world aged 80 years or older. By 2050, there will be almost 400 million people in this age group, 100 million of them in China alone. Soon, for the first time in history, the world will have more adults aged 65 or older than children under five.
This enormous shift in the age of the world’s population is closely linked to economic and social development. Thanks primarily to global public health successes in improving childhood survival and adult health, people are living longer in most parts of the world. Many high-income countries are already facing rapidly ageing populations. In the coming decades, low- and middle-income countries will see equally dramatic increases.
Increased longevity is a cause for celebration and something to which we all aspire. Older people make many valuable contributions to society — as family members, as active participants in the workforce, and as volunteers within communities. The wisdom they have gained throughout their lives makes them a unique resource for society.
But more older people also means an increased demand on health care and social security systems. The greatest health threat for older people in all countries is now overwhelmingly from noncommunicable diseases. Heart disease and stroke are the biggest killers, and visual impairment and dementia the biggest causes of disability. In low-income countries, the incidence of these diseases among older people is two to three times greater than in high-income countries. This burden is carried not just by older people, but by their families and by society as a whole.
Many low- and middle-income countries have neither the infrastructure nor the resources to deal with existing needs, let alone to cope with the much greater demands expected in the future. The good news is that there are many practical and affordable solutions that governments can put in place to help their older citizens to lead healthy and active lives. In addition, countries that invest in healthy ageing can expect a significant social and economic return for the whole community.
On this World Health Day, I urge governments, civil society and the private sector to commit attention and resources to ensuring that people everywhere have the chance to grow older in good health.