A culture of peace is emerging in all fields of human endeavour
Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,500 high schools, colleges and universities.
It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information It is a supporter of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project (2001-2010) provided to the UN Secretary-General for presentation to the UN General Assembly, Good News Agency is included among the three NGOs that have been playing an active role in the field of Information through Internet.*
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100 countries gather in Costa Rica to support Cluster bomb Treaty amidst evidence of new use in Syria
2 September – Some 100 countries are participating this week in the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions in San José, Costa Rica, to discuss progress made in eradicating this internationally banned weapon, as new evidence emerges of cluster bomb use by Islamic State forces in Syria. According to a Cluster Munition Coalition member Human Rights Watch report on Monday, Islamic State forces used ground-fired cluster munitions in at least one location in northern Syria in recent weeks. This is the first report of a non-state armed group using cluster munitions since the treaty entered into force in 2010. States are confronted with the latest report of use even as the treaty marks significant progress in eliminating the suffering caused by cluster munitions.
A total of 113 countries have already signed or acceded to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions, and requires the clearance of cluster munition remnants within 10 years as well mandating assistance for victims. Of these countries, 84 are States Parties while the other 29 have signed but not yet ratified the Convention. http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/en-gb/media/news/2014/100-countries-gather-in-costa-rica-to-support-cluster-bomb-treaty-amidst-evidence-of-new-use-in-syria.aspx
Austrian Parliament backs Government efforts for nuclear disarmament
By Jamshed Baruah
Posted 22 August – Vienna (IDN) – As the Austrian government prepares to host the third international conference on the humanitarian consequences of atomic weapons on December 8-9 in Vienna, the county’s parliament has provided it the legal basis for its commitment to usher in a world without nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
The forthcoming gathering in Vienna will be the third since the March 2013 conference in Oslo convened by the Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide who said the Conference had “provided an arena for a fact-baseddiscussion of the humanitarian and developmental consequences of a nuclear weapons detonation”.(…) The second conference in Nayarit, Mexico, on February 13-14, 2014, discussed “global and long-term consequences of any nuclear detonation (…) Delegations representing 146 States, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and civil society organizations, participated in the Nayarit international gathering.
The Austrian offer to host the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons evoked “great support from participants as a follow-up to Oslo and Nayarit, to deepen the momentum, anchor these conclusions and take them forward”, the Nayarit conference chair said (…)
UNHCR welcomes Council of Europe convention on combatting violence against women
August 1st – The UN refugee agency has warmly welcomed the entry into force of a Council of Europe convention aimed at preventing and countering violence against women and domestic violence. The Istanbul Convention, which came into force on Friday, requires state parties to ensure that gender-basedviolence against women may be recognized as a form of persecution and to ensure that the grounds for asylum listed in the 1951 Refugee Convention are interpreted in a gender-sensitive manner. http://www.unhcr.org/53da56749.html
Oman joins Mine Ban Treaty
Oman has become the 162nd State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty, which will enter into force for Oman on 1 February 2015 in accordance with the waiting period mandated. Three of the six members of the Gulf Coordination Council (GCC) – Oman, Kuwait and Qatar – have now acceded to the Convention. The ICBL has been engaging the Sultanate of Oman on the Mine Ban Treaty for several years. CBL is glad to see the efforts have paid off and Oman acceded the treaty. http://www.icbl.org/en-gb/news-and-events/news/2014/oman-joins-mine-ban-treaty.aspx
World Conference on Indigenous Peoples – 22-23 September, New York
UN General Assembly to renew commitment to the realization of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous Peoples are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, with many of them struggling to remain on their lands and retain the right to their natural resources, while others have long since been removed from their lands, denied their languages and traditional ways.
In order to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples, the General Assembly decided to organize a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The World Conference will result in a concise,action-oriented outcome document prepared on the basis of inclusive and open informal consultations with Member States and indigenous peoples. http://www.un.org/en/ga/69/meetings/indigenous/pdf/Media_advisory_21August.pdf
Economy and development
SAMOA: Small island conference leaves ‘legacy with impact’ – UN
September 4– With $1.9 billion pledged in sustainable development partnerships, the United Nations on Thursday wrapped up its small island developing state conference and kicked off a drum roll of action on climate change. The Secretary-General of the Third International Conference on Small Island and Developing States, Wu Hongbo, characterized the summit, the largest of its kind in the Pacific, as “extraordinary.”
Briefing journalists in Apia, Samoa, Mr. Wu said 297 partnerships between governments, businesses, civil society and UN entities had been announced during the four days. He added that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) which he heads will take on the responsibility of reporting on the commitments’ progress to hold the participants to account.
The partnerships are in the areas of sustainable economic development, climate change and disaster risk management, social development, sustainable energy, ocean health, and water and sanitation, food security and waste management. They are in line with the conference’s outcome document, nicknamed the Samoa Pathway, which was unanimously endorsed at the last plenary session today. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsId=48636#.VAgTjfl_uSo
U.S.A. makes new contribution to WFP’s life-saving Work Fighting Hunger in Yemen
September 2, Sana’a – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a generous US$40 million contribution from the US government to provide food assistance for 2.8 million of the poorest Yemenis over the next few months.
The contribution comprises US$15 million in cash for the innovative e-voucher project, which WFP provides when food is available in the market but is out of reach for the poor. The vouchers also help to stimulate the local economy. The remaining US$25 million will be used to purchase up to 27,000 metric tons of food, mainly wheat, yellow split peas and vegetable oil for general food distribution.
In July, WFP launched a new operation, which will target six million food insecure people in Yemen over the next two years. The project will support a gradual shift from relief towards livelihood support and building resilience through productive safety net activities, creating jobs, enhancing agriculture, promoting education and combating Yemen’s malnutrition crisis. http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/usa-makes-new-contribution-wfp%E2%80%99s-life-saving-work-fighting-hunger-yemen
Twelve industry companies develop novel methodology for product social impact assessment
Amsterdam, September 1st – A group of companies united in the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics announces the publication of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment, a practical tool for sustainability professionals. The handbook describes an innovative methodology for assessing a product’s social impacts throughout its life cycle, and is the result of a unique collaborative effort of a group ofmulti-industry market leaders.
Stakeholders increasingly demand transparency about the social impacts of products,” says João Fontes of PRé Sustainability, spokesperson for the Roundtable. As supply chains and product life cycles span the world, businesses need a practical, reliable way to systematically analyse risks and identify improvement opportunities. “Research on consumer preferences, like The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, shows that half of the world’s consumers are prepared to pay a premium if products have an ecological or social benefit,” says Jacobine Das Gupta, Corporate Sustainability Manager for DSM. http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/37305-Twelve-Industry-Companies-Develop-Novel-Methodology-for-Product-Social-Impact-Assessment
Text Messages: a new way to fight hunger in Senegal
By Paulele Fall
August 26 -In the Ziguinchor region, the World Food Programme (WFP) has implemented a new system that uses text messages, or SMS, to transfer money to people affected by food insecurity during the lean season. So far, this new method has benefited 55,000 people. (…) By implementing such a programme, WFP also aims to develop small businesses and retailers, and ensures the loyalty of customers to local businesses for at least four months while they receive WFP assistance. (…)
The lean season occurs between June and September, when families run out of the previous year’s food supplies. The poor often cannot wait for the next planting season. The government has implemented a programme to provide assistance to about 675,000 people, including 350,000 who receive assistance from WFP.
World Social Tourism Congress 2014 – São Paulo, Brazil, 7-10 October
It is in São Paulo, Brazil that the next World Social Tourism Conference will take place from 7th to 10th October 2014. For the first time in its history, ISTO is organizing this conference in South America thanks to the invitation of the Serviço Social do Comércio – São Paulo (SESC SP); its oldest member in the Americas. The main theme of the Congress “Tourism based on development- Unity in Diversity” will focus on four lines of reflection which are tourism and inclusion; tourism and education, tourism and solidarity, and tourism and sustainability.
Through plenary sessions, panels and workshops, the conference will present a rich and diversified panorama of “development tourism” in different continents with debates on the right to travel and tourism as a means of meeting people and the convergence of cultures.
Theoretical considerations will also be linked to best practice in tourism development while providing moments to deepen discussions on social tourism, responsible tourism, community based tourism and sustainable tourism.
Ninth African Development Forum
Innovative Financing for Africa’s Transformation
The Ninth African Development Forum will be held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 12 to 16 October 2014 on the theme “Innovative financing for Africa’s transformation”. The Forum will offer a platform for prominent African stakeholders to share key information and participate in more focused and in-depth discussions on issues relating to innovative financing mechanisms in the following four thematic areas:
Domestic resource mobilization
Illicit financial flows
New forms of partnership
The Forum seeks to enhance Africa’s capacity to explore innovative financing mechanisms as real alternatives for financing transformative development in Africa. It will aim to forge linkages between, on the one hand, the importance of mainstreaming resource mobilization and the reduction of trade barriers into economic, institutional and policy frameworks, and on the other, advancing the post-2015development goals.
World Food Day – 16 October
The 2014 World Food Day theme – Family Farming: “Feeding the world, caring for the earth” – has been chosen to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers. It focuses world attention on the significant role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.
The UN General Assembly has designated 2014 “International Year of Family Farming.” This is a strong signal that the international community recognizes the important contribution of family farmers to world food security. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations marks World Food Day each year on 16 October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945. http://krilloil.com/blog/world-food-day/
WFP and IRB team up to tackle hunger at Rugby World Cup 2015
September 5, London – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Rugby Board (IRB) have launched an ambitious push to raise funds and awareness as part of their Tackle Hunger partnership at Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.
The focus of the drive in the build up to the world’s third-largest sporting event, which kicks off on September 18, 2015 will be a Million Meal Challenge, to raise funds for WFP to provide meals to school children in developing countries. The Rugby World Cup Tackle Hunger partnership has been hugely successful in raising awareness and support of WFP’s work feeding the world’s hungry. And with England
2015 set to be the biggest Rugby World Cup to date, fans are digging deep to support the Million Meal Challenge. http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/wfp-and-irb-team-tackle-hunger-rugby-world-cup-2015
Saudi Arabia helps FAO respond to the dire state of food security in Iraq. FAO receives a $14.7 million grant to support rural households
September 4, Bagdad/Rome – FAO is scaling-up critical food and agriculture assistance to highly vulnerable rural households in Iraq thanks to a generous $14.7 million grant from Saudi Arabia. The donation is part of a $500 million grant that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has provided to support Iraqis affected by the recent crisis. The funds will mainly be used to respond to the needs of thousands of rural households whose livelihoods depend on cereal crops and livestock and who are currently struggling to survive.
The reduced harvest may trigger a drop in food supply levels, an increase in import requirements and a rise in food prices. FAO is working to support farming families and provide them with the means to sustain their livelihoods and cope with the crisis.
Finland donates €29 million over four years to provide life-saving food in crises
September 4, Helsinki/Rome – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a generous contribution of €29 million from the Government of Finland. This contribution will support
WFP’s life-saving humanitarian work in countries gripped by crises, as well as those struggling with hunger beyond the media spotlight.
Finland’s support is vital to WFP’s current emergency operations in conflict-affected South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Iraq, Syria and Gaza, as well as in countries affected by Ebola in West Africa. WFP adapts the delivery of food assistance according to the situation on the ground, for instance by usinge-cards or vouchers when markets are functioning instead of in-kind food distributions. This type of flexible response, provided with Finnish support, is welcomed by recipients such as Syrian refugees in Lebanon or Jordan because it offers them a choice of fresh foods and a sense of normality. At the same time, the economies of host communities benefit through increased trade.
Italian contribution to WFP will assist over 20,000 vulnerable people in Sudan
September 4, Kassala/Khartoum – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of US$950,000 from the Italian government that will be used to boost WFP’s assistance to more than 20,000 vulnerable people in Sudan, especially young children in the eastern states of Kassala and Red Sea.
Since 2010, Italy has contributed US$8.1 million in support of the agency’s activities in the region. This particular contribution will be used to provide nutritious hot meals to some 1,970 schoolchildren in
Kassala state and another 7,347 in the state of Red Sea under WFP’s school feeding programme. In addition, 1, 765 schoolgirls from Kassala and the Red Sea states will also receive take-home food rations. http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/italian-contribution-wfp-will-assist-over-20000-vulnerable- people-sudan
Flood-affected Serbian farmers receive EU and FAO aid
September 3, Trstenik, Serbia – European Union assistance to flood-affected Serbian farm households got under way with a first delivery of animal feed here today. Financed by the EU and delivered in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the assistance forms part of the EU’s overall flood recovery package to Serbia valued at €30m.
FAO’s current recovery effort under the EU grant targets about 2,100 small-scale, family-operated farms in Obrenovac, Cacak, Lazarevac and Trstenik that suffered significant losses as a result of unprecedented spring flooding and landslides. Animal feed is procured within Serbia, following issuance of public tenders. The activities are closely coordinated and implemented in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Government of Serbia Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief and local governments
Caritas providing help for Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon
September 3– Caritas Lebanon is boosting its activities to continue supporting Syrian refugees. It will also help vulnerable Lebanese families and Iraqi Christians who have fled persecution.
Lebanon is hosting 40 percent of the refugees who have fled Syria to neighbouring countries. However international funds to support refugee programmes have dwindled. The substantial increase in population and the decrease in funding to host refugees has had an impact on public services and the more vulnerable Lebanese people who rely on them.
Caritas is appealing to donors for €2,3 million (US$ 3 million) for programmes which will mainly be focused on Syrians, but also Lebanese and Iraqis for the next twelve months.
With the money it will provide support for accommodation, water, health, hygiene and sanitation, education, counselling and legal assistance.
Education will be a key component for Caritas as there is limited public schooling in Lebanon. http://www.caritas.org/2014/09/caritas-providing-help-syrian-iraqi-refugees-lebanon/
Australian philanthropists encourage others to go public with gifts
September 3 – Philanthropists speaking at the Philanthropy Australia 2014 National Conference this week have encouraged their peers to go public with their giving as a way to spur generosity, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
When businessman Graham Tuckwell and his wife decided to make a $50-million donation to the Australian National University, he could find few precedents, he said. Giving in the country is historically small and often private. But there are signs that the philanthropic culture in Australia is changing. Earlier this year, resort magnate James Packer said he and his family would give nearly $200-million to establish a new foundation to support the arts, and billionaire Alex Waislitz of Melbourne announced a $50-millioncharitable donation.
Discarded food finds its way to new shop
September 2 – Every year the food industry and grocery stores in Denmark throw away more than 303.000 tons of food simply because the ‘best before’ date passed, the products stamped wrongly or the packaging is broken. As a counter action, DanChurchAid is opening a store with surplus food in cooperation with the Danish fødevareBanken (the food bank) and Dansk Supermarked (Danish Supermarket).
The store, named ReFood, will open in the Copenhagen neighbourhood Nørrebro in the beginning of 2015. The store will be for those, who wants to shop low budget as well as for those, who is against food waste. The profit from the store will go to DanChurchAid’s work for fighting hunger in some of the world’s poorest countries. The products is sold up to 50-70 per cent cheaper than in a regular supermarket and the selection will range from bread, fruit and vegetables to milk, cheese and flour. Meat and cold cuts is not sold in the store for now.
Fødevarebanken who will be distributing the food to the store, is a non-profit organization, who already are collecting and distributing surplus food to organisations for socially vulnerable in Denmark. https://www.danchurchaid.org/news/news/discarded-food-finds-its-way-to-new-shop
CHF funding enables dca to reach extremely remote conflict affected areas in South Sudan
August 29 – The Common Humanitarian Fund’s (CHF) new donation of USD 109,131 will enable
DanChurchAid (DCA) to reach extremely remote conflict-affected areas. The project will provide lifesaving risk education to people stranded in these affected areas, cut off from all assistance since the conflict erupted in South Sudan in December 2013. The small DCA Rapid Response team will travel by helicopter on various missions with inter-agency rapid needs assessment and distribution teams.
The project commenced 1st August 2014 will continue until 31 January 2015. https://www.danchurchaid.org/news/news/chf-funding-enables-dca-to-reach-extremely-remote-conflict-affected-areas-in-south-sudan
Gaza emergency aid includes dignity kits
August 25 – A mother’s first thought when forced to flee her home is for the safety of her children. The last person she thinks about is herself. “We left when everybody else left the city in Khan Younis,” says Awatef Abu Daqa. “We escaped with fear and nothing else.” Most of the women say they end up with nothing but the clothes they were wearing when they fled.
Once in temporary shelters, many women realize they need personal hygiene items but are too shy or embarrassed to ask. The dignity kits are a welcome response to the personal needs of displaced women. The emergency aid kits contain toothbrush, toothpaste, towels, sanitary pads, spray, shampoo, two prayer dresses, underwear and soap.
At the entrance of one of ANERA’s local partner organizations in Gaza City, a group of women waited for a ride after they received their dignity kits. Despite their pale, sad faces and signs of exhaustion accumulated during more than six weeks of bombings, they all shared a sense of relief and appreciation for the aid packages that respond to their personal needs. http://www.anera.org/stories/gaza-emergency-aid-includes-dignity-kits-women/
In Jamaica, 11-year-old Jordan Allwood reads his classmates a story about a lonely puppy who finds a new family.
By Arnold R. Grahl – Rotary News
August 15 – The puppy grows into a big dog, enjoys walks along the beach, and survives a frightening autumn day when he is caught in a trap before being rescued by his family. Jordan’s story is one of hundreds that were written by children ages 7-11 for a writing contest organized by the Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean 7020 and supported by clubs in 10 Caribbean nations.
The best stories, including Jordan’s, were published in “The Butterfly StoryBook,” produced by the club and sold through Amazon.com. Rotary members and others are encouraged to donate copies to school libraries. Proceeds are used to support other literacy efforts.
In July, Rotary International and the International Reading Association (IRA) selected the Butterfly StoryBook project and a summer mobile library project run by the Rotary Club of Ellensburg Morning, Washington, USA, to receive two $2,500 awards from the Pearson Foundation. The awards recognize projects in which Rotary clubs and local IRA-affiliated reading councils collaborate to strengthen literacy in local and international communities. Rotary and the IRA have been project partners since 2002. (…)
This year, the e-club provided a free copy of the e-book to the Jamaica Reading Association, an IRA- affiliated council, which used it in its annual Reading Week in April. The association signed an agreement with the club to further promote the contest throughout the Caribbean. Rotary clubs in the U.S. Virgin Islands purchased 500 copies for the Summer Reading Challenge held there. Clubs have also purchased copies to donate to schools in Canada, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, and the United Kingdom. (…) https://www.rotary.org/en/young-writers-get-published-help-rotary
Peace and security
11 Days Tele-Summit for the Summer of Peace
September 11-21 culminating on Sept. 21st, the U.N. International Day of Peace
Join Desmond Tutu, Amy Goodman, Daniel Ellsberg, Deepak Chopra, Bill McKibben, Hazel Henderson, Riane Eisler, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Eckhart Tolle, Jonathan Granoff. More than 20 Visionary Global Leaders. In 2014, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of 11 Days of Global Unity, We, The World is collaborating with theShift Network to produce a remarkable free 11 Days Tele-Summit Sept. 11-21 as the extraordinary culmination of their Summer of Peace (that goes from June 13 – September 21). People can participate by phone or internet for free worldwide.
11 Days of Global Unity highlights 11 dimensions of change which call forth the values, spirit and service needed to move us towards a culture of peace and a world that works for all.
Registration is FREE (and required): https://shiftnetworkhttp://summit.summerofpeace.net/feature/Rick-Ulfik
Mines Action Canada commends Government of Canada for completing destruction of cluster munition stockpiles
September 3 – CMC member Mines Action Canada commends the Government of Canada for destroying all stockpiled cluster munitions in advance of ratifying the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Today, Canadian representatives at the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions announced that the destruction of Canada’s cluster munition stockpile was completed in June 2014. http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/en-gb/media/news/2014/mines-action-canada-commends-government-of-canada-for-completing-destruction-of-cluster-munition-stockpiles.aspx
Syria: UN relief operation delivers food assistance to record number of people
September 2 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) dispatched food to a record-breaking 4.1 million people inside war-ravaged Syria in August, owing to improved access with increased cross-lineoperations within the country and more cross-border convoys. Over the last six weeks, WFP and partners crossed lines to reach more than 580,000 people, more than four times the 137,000 people reached in the preceding six weeks. Since July 25, a total of five cross-border convoys, via the Bab Al Salam crossing from Turkey and Al Ramtha from Jordan, carried food rations including rice, lentils, oil, pasta, bulgur, canned food, wheat flour, beans, salt and sugar for 69,500 people in the hard-to-reach areas. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48618#.VAm2p_l_sXE
The International Day of Peace – 21 September 2014
A Day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace
International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) is observed around the world each year on 21 September.
Established in 1981 by resolution 36/37, the United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Furthering the Day’s mission, the General Assembly voted unanimously in 2001 to adopt resolution 55/282 establishing 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease- fire.
Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation, or doing a good deed for someone you don’t know. Or it can involve getting your co- workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. You can also share thoughts, messages and pictures to commemorate Peace Day on social media. Use this site to find organized events in your area and for inspiration on celebrating Peace Day in your own way. http://internationaldayofpeace.org
Peace Day Party : September 20, San Jose CA; Sept. 21, New York, LA; and around the World!
PeaceDayParty.org, a nonprofit 501 C 3 invites YOU to help strengthen the message of the International Peace Day September 20 & 21, 2014. All the countries of the UN unanimously agreed to a Day of Peace. Where : 3rd annual day of awareness & peace rally in plaza de cesar chavez, san jose, california, september 20 at 10am. www.amandanetwork.com;
13th annual vigil for international peace and ecology in central park, band shell/ 72nd street mall, new york, new york, september 21 at 10am. www.vigil4internationalpeace.org/
We will video tape the event and distribute it to the world for free. We will roll into the program over 60 organizations, celebrities and believers that we can have world peace totally. no more war. Then party for peace !
International peace day and peace day party stand for the rights of people to live in peace. Join us at our events, join us now to get the word out, join us with any donations and participate wherever you are with practical acts of peace. go to http://goodnewsplanet.com/peace-day-party/ and watch our sizzle reel. http://peacedayparty.org
Ebola: African Union holds emergency talks as study points to potential vaccine
By Democracy Now! Posted 9 September
The African Union is holding an emergency meeting on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. More than 2,000 people have been killed, and the United Nations has warned the toll could hit 20,000 before the virus is contained. Hopes were slightly raised over the weekend as a new study found an experimental vaccine gave full protection to monkeys for at least five weeks to up to 10 months. It is the first time a vaccine program has led to sustained Ebola immunity. U.S. researchers have now begun human trials. On Friday, WHO Assistant Director General Marie-Paule Kieny said two experimental vaccines could be available for health workers by November. Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny: “We will have results of safety by November 2014, and after that, these vaccines will start to be rolled out in the affected countries, starting with healthcare workers and other front-line staff in the affected countries. So this is real. This is going into the field. This is not staying it in laboratories.” http://www.pressenza.com/2014/09/ebola-african-union-holds-emergency-talks-study-points-potential-vaccine/?utm_source
Ban issues ‘international rescue call’ to halt Ebola epidemic
5 September – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today vowed to mobilize the United Nations in every possible way to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and issued an “international rescue call” for a massive surge in assistance, warning that “the world can no longer afford to short-change global public health.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that experts taking part in a two-day discussion on potential Ebola therapies and vaccines identified several therapeutic and vaccine interventions that should be the focus of priority clinical evaluation at this time, including two “promising” Ebola vaccines.
At UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General warned that “the world can no longer afford to short-changeglobal public health.” He urged the international community to contribute to the WHO Roadmap and to provide the $600 million needed for supplies in West Africa in order to stop Ebola transmission in affected countries within six to nine months, and to prevent the international spread of the virus. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48651#.VA8lwfl_uSo
Innovative campaigns in Nigeria help Africa edge closer to polio eradication
September 1st – The final frontiers to polio eradication in Nigeria are being addressed through an increased focus on immunization in border settlements.
This August, Nigerian polio teams have been employing an innovative five-step approach to reach hard to access children in border settlements, where 67 per cent of polio cases are found in border areas worldwide. Poor services, inaccessibility and insecurity often combine to make these zones into reservoirs of the virus, leaving children at greater risk of this debilitating disease. Improving immunization rates for communities who live near borders is a priority in order to achieve eradication.
In Kaduna State alone, this new approach has enabled health workers to reach 26,749 children in August with oral polio vaccine (OPV).
Through work with traditional and religious leaders as well as health workers, critical logistics have been put in place to ensure a synchronized response. This united effort by stakeholders marks a dramatic step forward in the coordination of immunization efforts in these areas. With this renewed commitment and political will, Nigerian border settlements will continue to receive intensive supervision to ensure that all areas falling within the definition of a border are adequately served and all eligible children immunized. http://www.polioeradication.org/mediaroom/newsstories/Innovative-campaigns-in-Nigeria-help-Africa-edge-closer-to-polio-eradication/tabid/526/news/950/Default.aspx
Ethiopia: Tens of thousands of South Sudanese refugees receive cholera vaccine
Paris, 25 August – A vaccine against cholera is being used on a large scale for the first time in Ethiopia by teams from the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The mass immunisation campaign will protect South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia’s Gambella region, as well as the host community, against the risk of cholera spreading across the border from neighbouring South Sudan, where an epidemic had been declared in June
Cholera is endemic in the Gambella region, while overcrowding and poor sanitation in the area’s refugee camps could provide a perfect breeding ground for the Vibrio cholerae bacillus. More than 185,000 South Sudanese refugees have been registered in the Gambella region by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The vaccine, which must be stored between 2° and 8°C, needs to be transported in refrigerated trucks from the capital, Addis Ababa, to the vaccination sites, and then kept in portable coolers. More than 300 MSF staff have been deployed in the refugee camps and surrounding villages, with medical teams administering the vaccine and community health workers raising awareness about the campaign amongst refugees and locals. http://www.msf.org/article/ethiopia-tens-thousands-south-sudanese-refugees-receive-cholera-vaccine
ACDI/VOCA responds to Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Staff is safe and projects continue operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone
August 22 – ACDI/VOCA continues to operate our development programs in Liberia and Sierra Leone. We are in daily communication with colleagues and friends in the region. Our teams are safe and are adapting project tasks to help the countries’ social and physical infrastructures respond to the crisis. Our immediate concern is the ability of those on the ground to provide care and prevention services in the affected communities. We are eager to see an end to this tragic crisis and look forward to getting back to ourlonger-term objective of building productive agricultural economies that have the resilience to respond to future challenges.
For updates on the Ebola outbreak, please visit the USAID page at www.usaid.gov/ebola.http://www.acdivoca.org/site/ID/news-acdi-voca-responds-to-ebola-outbreak-in-west-africa
Energy and safety
US Energy Department awards $4.5 million for innovative wind power R&D projects
September 5 – The Energy Department today announced $4.5 million for four projects to help increase deployment of innovative wind power technologies by optimizing the operation, boosting efficiency, and improving the environmental performance of wind energy systems. The research and development (R&D) projects, located in Maine, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Texas, contribute to the Energy Department’s effort to advance innovative technologies that reduce carbon emissions and support the President’s goal to double renewable energy again by 2020. These projects will pursue R&D not significantly represented in our current portfolio as a way to support and explore innovative new approaches for integration into our future program plans. http://energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-awards-45-million-innovative-wind-power-rd-projects
USA – New reports highlight major potential in offshore wind energy
29 August – The Energy Department today announced a new report showing steady progress for the U.S. offshore wind energy industry over the past year. The report highlights 14 projects in advanced stages of development, together representing nearly 4,900 megawatts (MW) of potential offshore wind energy capacity for the United States. Further, this year’s report highlights global trends toward building offshore turbines in deeper waters using larger, more efficient turbines that increase the amount of electricity delivered to consumers. http://energy.gov/eere/articles/new-reports-highlight-major-potential-offshore-wind-energy
USA – Energy department announces $18 million for projects to advance geothermal energy
The Energy Department on August 6 announced up to $18 million for 32 projects that will advance geothermal energy development in the United States. The selected projects target research and development in three technology areas: advancing subsurface analysis and engineering techniques for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)—engineered reservoirs, created beneath the surface of the Earth, where there is hot rock but limited pathways through which fluid can flow; applying a mapping approach called “play fairway analysis” to discover new geothermal resources; and accelerating extraction technologies to unlock domestic supplies of high-value materials like lithium from low- to moderate- temperature geothermal resources.
Together, these projects will lower the cost and risk of geothermal development, thereby accelerating technological advancement and economical deployment of geothermal energy. http://energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-announces-18-million-innovative-projects-advance-geothermal-energy
Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories
The IAEA is unique in the UN family in having specialized laboratories that support its activities in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. In Seibersdorf, Austria, the IAEA Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications (NA) manages eight laboratories dedicated to helping Member States achieve their development goals in food and agriculture, human health, the terrestrial environment, and nuclear science. The NA laboratories in Seibersdorf support Member States by providing training, conducting research to develop and improve nuclear technologies and techniques, and offering analytical services to help and strengthen Member State laboratories.
Environment and wildlife
UN Climate Summit 2014 – 23 September, UN headquarters, New York
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 this 23 September to galvanize and catalyze climate action. He has asked these leaders to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015. Climate Summit 2014 provides a unique opportunity for leaders to champion an ambitious vision, anchored in action that will enable a meaningful global agreement in 2015.
The Climate Summit will be about action and solutions that are focused on accelerating progress in areas that can significantly contribute to reducing emissions and strengthening resilience – such as agriculture, cities, energy, financing, forests, pollutants, resilience and transportation.
The benefits of taking action to address climate change have become ever more compelling. Many countries and businesses have recognized the opportunities related to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening resilience. Now is the time for leaders everywhere to join the race for transformative action that can drive economic competitiveness and sustainable prosperity for all. http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit
Arctic expedition pioneers technique for polar bear research
September 2 – A team of French scientists working in partnership with conservation organization WWF has for the first time isolated polar bear DNA from a track left in the snow. The scientists from DNA specialist firm SPYGEN looked at two samples from polar bear tracks collected earlier this year during theWWF-Canon and Norwegian Polar Institute expedition to Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic.
“The results are really exciting,” says Eva Bellemain, project leader for SPYGEN. “This is the first time we have been able to extract DNA from a track left by a polar bear ».
In a rapidly changing environment like the Arctic, it’s a challenge to maintain current information on polar bear populations. From here, the team hopes to further refine its analysis of the bear DNA, so it can tell more about the animal. It also intends to see if the method can be applied to other rare or difficult to access wildlife. http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?228210/Arctic-expedition-pioneers-technique–for-polar-bear-research
Brazil to monitor improvement of water quality in Latin America
Rio de Janeiro, August 27 (IPS) – Problems in access to quality drinking water, supply shortages and inadequate sanitation are challenges facing development and the fight against poverty in Latin America. A new regional centre based in Brazil will monitor water to improve its management.
One example of water management problems in the region is the biggest city in Latin America and the fourth biggest in the world: the southern Brazilian megalopolis of São Paulo, which is experiencing its worst water crisis in history due to a prolonged drought that has left it without its usual water supplies – a phenomenon that experts link to climate change.
To prevent such problems, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Brazil’s national water agency (ANA) signed a memorandum of understanding, making the institution the hub for water quality monitoring in Latin America and the Caribbean. ANA will also promote regional cooperation to strengthen monitoring and oversight. (…)
The regional hub will also play a strong role in the establishment of national centres in each country. ANA will also be the nexus with UNEP to disseminate information on the quality of water resources, according to the parameters set by the U.N. Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) Water Programme.(…) http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/08/brazil-to-monitor-improvement-of-water-quality-in-latin-america
Grow-Trees.com and Vodafone India to plant 300,000 trees in Kanha-Pench to develop India’s first private wildlife corridor
Bhopal, 27 August – Vodafone India, one of India’s leading telecom services providers, and Grow- Trees.com, the exclusive Indian Planting Partner for United Nation’s Environment Program’s Billion Tree Campaign, today announced the formal launch of their join initiative to create India’s first private wildlife corridor. This corridor is being developed between Kanha-Pench wildlife reserves by planting 3,00,000 trees over a 3-year period. The trees will be planted over 100 hectares of forest land between the two reserves. This project will create about 25,000 workdays of direct jobs mainly for women and tribals inhabiting the area in addition to supporting several allied livelihood generating activities such as farming, fruit and honey gathering etc. on a sustained basis.http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/37304-Grow-Trees-com-and-Vodafone-India-to-Plant-300-000-trees-in-Kanha-Pench-to-develop-India-s-First-Private-Wildlife-Corridor
Climate change adaptation can help promote sub-Saharan African livelihoods – UN report
August 13 – Investing in ways to adapt to climate change will promote the livelihood of 65 per cent of Africans, the United Nations environmental agency reported, warning also that failing to address the phenomenon could reverse decades of development progress on the continent.
In a new graphical report, Keeping Track of Adaptation Actions in Africa (KTAA) – Targeted Fiscal Stimulus Actions Making a Difference, UNEP details the implications of climate change, and provides examples of adaptation projects that range from forest ecosystem management to aquatics and agriculture. The report describes sustainable examples of how countries in sub-Saharan Africa enhanced environmental and ecosystem resilience through the use of native plants and natural infrastructure, land plans and rainwater harvesting, among other examples.The projects are integrated into national development policies which can strengthen and enhance the resilience communities against the impacts of climate change, while also contributing to the realization of the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to the report authors. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48475#.VAreMvl_u_E
Oceana celebrates the creation of three protected fishing areas in the Balearic Islands
August 11 – Seven years since Oceana first began its campaign to protect marine habitats around the Balaeric Islands, we are proud to announce the creation of three new marine protected areas. The Spanish General Secretariat of Fisheries will preserve coralligenous and maërl seabeds of two seamounts in the Mallorca Channel, known as Emilie Baudot and Ausias March, as well as the Fort d’en Moreu, a coralligenous reef in the east of Cabrera Archipelago National Park.
The coralligenous and rhodolith seabeds are essential and very characteristic Mediterranean habitats, and these three-dimensional structures formed by calcareous red algae are true “paradises” for many commercial and protected species in the Mediterranean. http://oceana.org/en/eu/media-reports/press-releases/oceana-celebrates-the-creation-of-three-protected-fishing-areas-in-the-balearic-islands
Religion and spirituality
Berlin’s ‘House of One’ to bring three religions together under one roof
A new house of worship aiming to promote interfaith understanding is to be built in Berlin
August 10 – In Berlin, plans for a new kind of religious space are under way. Called The House of One, the project was started by a small group of Muslims, Jews and Christians to create a new space for interfaith prayer and learning. Following a design competition in 2012, the group picked a plan proposed by architects at Kuehn Malvezzi, a Berlin-based studio. The design features three separate rooms, all the same size, with one for each of the three religions. There will also be a central common room where people of all beliefs can pray and learn.
Prayer and religious-specific ceremonies will take place in the three individual rooms, while the shared space will be used for learning and discussion, including talks, festivals, exhibitions, readings, concerts and workshops.However the project is yet to be complete and needs donor support to raise the €43.5m (£35m) needed to finish construction. Those involved hope to open the House of One’s doors by 2018. http://positivenews.org.uk/?s=church+in+Berlin‘
Culture and education
United Nations High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace
The one-day High Level Forum will take place on 9 September 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It will comprise of an opening segment and two multi-stakeholder interactive panels and a brief closing segment.
The two panels will focus on: (1) the role and contributions of women and the young to the Culture of Peace; and (2) global citizenship as a pathway to the Culture of Peace.
Recognizing the need for continuous support to the strengthening of the global movement to promote the Culture of Peace, as envisaged by the United Nations, particularly in the current global context, the day- long General Assembly High-level Forum will be an important opportunity for Member States, UN entities, civil society, including NGO’s, media, and the private sector, and all other relevant stakeholders to have an exchange of ideas and proposals on ways to build and promote the Culture of Peace, as well as to highlight emerging trends and policies that can significantly impact the implementation of this Culture.
The Forum will be opened by John W. Ashe, President of the General Assembly and Ban Ki-moon,Secretary-General of the United Nations. Among the speakers: Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace laureate; Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations; Lakhsmi Puri, Assistant-Secretary-General, UN Women; Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Envoy on Youth;Federico Mayor, Former Director-General of UNESCO; Vibeke Jensen, Director, UNESCO office in New York.
Moving beyond conflict to ‘culture of peace’by Linda Bloom
During Liberia’s civil war, Christian and Muslim women learned how to work together to build a “culture of peace” that helped end the war in 2003. Leymah Gbowee, awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for leading that nonviolent movement, believes this effort must be replicated elsewhere.
In a Sept. 9 keynote speech during the United Nations High Level Forum on The Culture of Peace, she briefly chronicled what it took to form a peace-seeking consortium that included women of different religious and ethnic groups and varying income levels.
Organized in cooperation with The Global Movement for The Culture of Peace, the forum marked the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace by the U.N. General Assembly. The declaration calls upon all governments and all peoples to strive for a more peaceful world through “a positive, dynamic participatory process where dialogue is encouraged and conflicts are solved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.”
In Liberia, the consortium “spent many days negotiating with each other to resolve our own conflicts,” said Gbowee, a Lutheran and author of the memoir, “Mighty Be Our Powers.” But then, she added, they engaged in strategic planning for hours every day. That struggle, she said, “inadvertently” followed Article 1 of the Culture of Peace declaration: “Through education, dialogue and cooperation, we fostered an environment conducive to peace.”
Peace cannot be negotiated by men with guns, she argued. “Nothing guarantees that a man’s gun and the size of his arsenal gives him high intellect to sit at the peace table,” Gbowee declared. Women, on the other hand, “have proven time and time again that we can do it right when everyone else misses the mark.” (…) Full article on site:
UN Foundation update – Momentum on the Millennium Development Goals
August 18, 2014 marked 500 days until the target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight goals established by world leaders gathered at the United Nations in 2000 to alleviate poverty and improve lives.
Throughout the day, advocates, experts, and people from more than 70 countries highlighted the progress we have made and what we can do to keep the momentum going. Already, extreme poverty has been cut in half, child mortality has been reduced by nearly 50 percent, and access to primary education has increased.
“Global progress doesn’t happen by accident; it happens because of action,” said UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin. “The Millennium Development Goals have inspired the world to act and because of what countries and sectors have done together, fewer people live in poverty and millions more people live with the opportunity to build a better life for their children.”http://www.unfoundation.org/news-and-media/press-releases/2014/united-nations-foundation-mobilizes-critical-support-millennium-development-goals.html
New guidelines for industry on protecting children online
Geneva, 5 September – The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UNICEF and partners of the Child Online Protection Initiative, released updated guidelines to strengthen online protection for children today.
The Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection provide advice on how the ICT industry can help promote safety for children using the Internet or any technologies or devices that can connect to it, as well as guidance on how to enable responsible digital citizenship, learning and civic participation. The updated version provides guidance specifically aimed at companies that develop, provide or make use of information and communication technologies.
Women’s participation program study tours encourage innovation through learning experiences
September 2 – Learning from the experiences of others can be an extremely helpful tool when working on implementing a program. Counterpart International’s Women’s Participation Program in Azerbaijan believes that idea is key for its programs and recently took two groups of women leaders on study tours to Poland and Turkey.
Women social workers from the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs traveled to Ankara, Turkey from June 16-23. The tour allowed the seven participants to interact and learn from their Turkish colleagues, seeing how they work with women victims of domestic violence.
A group of six representatives from Azerbaijani NGOs that focus on women’s issues took part in a “Gender, Media and Advocacy” study tour to Warsaw, Poland from August 10-15. The representatives experienced firsthand how their Polish counterparts incorporate women’s issues into the social-political agenda and ask them questions and learn from their experiences and struggles in implementing gender equality. http://www.counterpart.org/blog/womens-participation-program-study-tours-encourage-innovation
Syrian refugees get chance at education in Jordan
September 1st – The latest back-to-school campaign aims at sending 300.000 Syrian refugee children into the classroom this autumn, helping them work toward a positive future.
Jordan’s Ministry of Education, with support from UNICEF, has launched the second annual end-of-summer campaign to get displaced children back into school. It is being implemented by Save the Children Jordan and will provide learning support with the supply of more than 150,000 school bags and stationary.
The campaign also promotes the importance of education across the country, including in Syrian refugee camps. To ensure that the children enrolled in school do not drop out, UNICEF and Save the Children Jordan have implemented monitoring mechanisms in coordination with the Education Ministry to follow up on their attendance.
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UN NGO Three-Day Conference in New York City
Concludes With Adoption of Ambitious “Action Agenda” for NGO Community
by Lesley Vann
Good News Agency’s Publisher Alternate Representative to the UNDPI
The 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference, titled 2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda was held at United Nations Headquarters from Wednesday, 27 August to Friday, 29 August 2014. Speakers at the Conference included Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (via video message); John Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly; UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson; Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund; and Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN.
In line with previous Conferences, this 65th Conference adopted an outcome declaration that offered global civil society an “Action Agenda” for the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs). The 65th DPI/NGO Conference takes place less than a month prior to the 23 September 2014 Climate Summit to be convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the launch of intergovernmental negotiations at the upcoming 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. All of this is taking place amidst the construction and refurbishment of the UN buildings as the UN approaches its 70th year.
This year, Representatives of civil society convened from around the world to discuss key issues on thepost-2015 development agenda, including climate change. Their discussions aimed to support the crafting of a transformational post-2015 development agenda, and positive outcomes of climate change negotiations in Lima and Paris in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Co-hosted by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and the (NGO) Non-GovernmentalOrganization NGO/DPI Executive Committee, the Conference provided a unique opportunity for NGOs to come together to engage diplomats, UN officials, policy experts, scientists, educators, businesses, trade unions, parliamentarians, local authorities and others from around the world on the role of civil society in the new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
The remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power at the Opening Session of the Conference set a keynote of inspiration and calls to action by describing the breadth of global crises amidst the backdrop of economic, humanitarian, habitat, health, and human need across cultures. Ambassador Powers said, “A critical part of succeeding with this new agenda is prioritizing goals that can drive transformative change. We need to make concrete progress toward ensuring access to sustainable, modern energy services for the more than 1.2 billion people around the world who are still literally left in the dark. We also need to tackle issues like climate change, which wasn’t even part of the Millennium Development Goals. Today, thankfully, we understand that if we don’t aggressively rein in climate change, its negative consequences could wipe out all of the progress we stand to make on other fronts. Climate change also teaches us that we can’t meet global development goals if we only set targets for one part of the world. Our new goals must be relevant to all countries, just as they must be defined by all countries. This time around, our agenda must truly be a universal one…”
These goals were echoed by the Non-Governmental organizations participating. A draft Conference declaration was posted for comment on the eve of the Conference, and input from civil society was accepted both online and through consultations at the Conference. The final Conference Declaration was read at the closing session. The Conference interspersed Workshops and Roundtable events. Workshops have been an integral part of the DPI/NGO Conference since its early days. Organized for NGOs by NGOs, they continue to be among the most sought-after events during the three-day Conference. This year, as in the past, Workshops served as vehicles for peer-to-peer discussions, to exchange ideas and experiences and share approaches to common problems. Participants garnered information and knowledge for their civil society activities. The subjects of the Workshops emphasized Conference themes and represented thematic as well as regional balance. They were interactive and promoted dialogue among NGOs and the additional expert speakers. Some workshops also offered opportunities to hear presentations by speakers from Conference plenary sessions, in a more intimate setting and with more chances to ask questions.
Workshops addressed poverty alleviation, education, youth advocacy, civic engagement and citizenship, sustainability, maternal and child health, global public health, and many other urgent topics. Some Workshops explored how multi-stakeholder collaboration is needed to advance women’s entrepreneurship and achieve a sustainable and inclusive future for all; recurring conflicts in poverty stricken regions from refugee camp to rural to urban areas; how collaborative (private and NGO sector) resources can create access to justice that supports poverty alleviation among those most deeply affected; the importance of incorporating discussion of natural disasters into the Action Agenda; insights and perspectives directly from humanitarian agencies and workers in the field in the international emergency relief community; global experts in skills development from both the developed and the developing countries, including multilateral organizations discussing skills shortage challenges and proposed practical solutions — addressing the effects of insufficient skills for employability on youth unemployment; and proven child protection strategies to prevent violence against children which can be replicated for action.
The Emergency Coalition for Global Education Action was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, and other global leaders 10 April 2014. The Coalition calls for Four Zeros: Zero Exclusion, Zero Discrimination against Girls, Zero Child Labor and Zero Child Marriage. This workshop, looking at four cases studies from four continents demonstrated how the Four Zeros will contribute to ensuring education for the 57 million children still not in school and are key to accomplishing the post-2015Development Agenda; basic conditions and empowerment for families to address their basic needs and reach their full potential, improve their wellbeing and contribute to sustainable development and eradication of poverty through sustainable lifestyles. It showcases grass- roots projects to empower families for sustainable development and poverty eradication; the issue of unsustainability and models of sustainable living embedded in virtues like frugality, reverence for life, minimization of our needs, simplicity, nonviolence, non-possessiveness,protection of bio-diversity and reduction of greenhouse gases emissions, and what works to get commitments from youth and adults to be more responsible in today’s world. Examples shared included partnerships and collaborations with the
UN, such as the International Secondary School Student Leadership Conference on Development to involve youth to help end extreme poverty in the world by 2030.
In addition to the Workshop topics summarized above (this list is just a smattering), Conference 2014 Events included A Call for Contributions to the Conference, Digital Research Training, Developing a Post- 2015 Youth Advocacy Strategy, Youth Caucus 1: Youth Involvement in the Post-2015 Agenda, Conference Reception, Youth Breakfast with Ambassador Cousens at the United States Mission to the United Nations; Youth Caucus 2: Interactive Workshop, and the NGO DPI Executive Committee Meeting.
Amidst the above Workshops occurred ongoing Thematic Roundtables. Some of these included the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development: Participation, Governance and Accountability, focusing on poverty eradication. This Roundtable submitted that, an inclusive and universal agenda is not enough to guarantee full participation in decision-making. It is also critical to ensure full participation in governance and accountability frameworks, addressing prerequisites for building an enabling environment that guarantees civil society participation. Also discussed was the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in strengthening the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, and participation modalities that ensure the participation of all relevant stakeholders in governance and accountability frameworks.
The next Roundtable addressed, “Fighting Inequalities – Economic, Social, Political and Environmental.” With rising inequalities related to socio-economic status, gender, access to resources and services, erosion of social protection, environmental justice and the increasing marginalization of those living in poverty, even in places where economic growth is robust — this Roundtable considered how these inequalities can be arrested and reversed through effective advocacy and just public policies. In addition it examined the need for participatory and robust accountability frameworks, including disaggregated targets, in all global partnerships.
The next Roundtable highlighted “Resource Nexus: Food, Water and Sanitation, Energy,” at the core of sustainable development and the overarching goal of poverty eradication. The resource nexus is intimately linked with sustainable consumption and production patterns. This relationship, when mismanaged, aggravates resource scarcity and can lead to conflict. This session explored how to achieve equitable access to food, water and sanitation, and sustainable energy, and address the growing rural- urban divide.
The next Roundtable focalized “Urgent! Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Ecosystems” by examining the post-2015 agenda and its exposure of global resource constraints with the corresponding necessity to achieve a more equitable distribution of resources for current and future generations. This Roundtable discussed ways to support economic development while protecting and restoring natural resources. It explored the balance between sustainable production and consumption with economic development, and the role of the public and private sectors in managing natural resources.
A Human Rights-related Roundtable was, “(REALLY) Leaving No One Behind,” affirming that the post- 2015 development agenda must be inclusive and universal. How can women, children, youth, older people, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and other marginalized communities exercise their right to participate in the design and implementation of the SDGs?
The next Roundtable focused on “Eradicating Poverty: A Human Rights Imperative.” Since the Millennium Summit in 2000, the United Nations, governments, civil society and other stakeholders have been engaged in an historic enterprise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and are now defining a new sustainable development agenda for 2015-2030. The post-2015 sustainable development agenda should have a more ambitious and universal commitment to end all forms of poverty, everywhere, by 2030. This Roundtable discussion explored how to aim for the complete eradication of poverty, including the key elements necessary to irreversibly end poverty, particularly for the most marginalized and vulnerable. Key in achieving this goal will be the involvement of those living in extreme poverty. Poverty is a multi-dimensional human rights issue that encompasses access to and management of resources, capabilities, choices, security and power. This conversation focused on how the end of poverty can be achieved by promoting human rights and respecting planetary boundaries.
A climate change-related Roundtable, “Post-2015 and the UNFCCC Processes: Can They Be Friends?” set forth that, in 2015, the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris and the launch of the post-2015 Agenda will culminate within months of each other. This Roundtable addressed the inter-linkages between both processes and the benefits and drawbacks of having two separate tracks in the medium and long terms. Low-carbon development, adaptation, disaster risk reduction and finance also were considered.
Another Roundtable on “Climate Justice in Practice” emphasized that climate justice acknowledges poor and marginalized are disproportionately burdened by the impacts of climate change. It is also about changing policies that cause climate change and contribute to continued inequalities. Viewed through this lens, climate change threatens the entire post-2015 agenda. This Roundtable discussed how to ensure climate change does not reverse development gains of households and communities, or hinder their efforts to escape poverty. The session focused on building resilience and disaster risk reduction with these communities through human and institutional capacity building, access and rights to information, decision-making processes and productive resources, and technology as linked to the post-2015 agenda.
With this wealth of events, resources and global talent, Conference attendees were all invited to take advantage of Workshop and Roundtable opportunities to promote grassroots efforts to design the emerging civil society action agenda for the achievement of post-2015 development goals. These universal targets harness the goodwill and global will-to-achieve what lies ahead in both vision and collective civil society action.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power reinforced this civil society vision with her closing remarks, “We want people to feel empowered by this effort – indeed, it’s the only way the shared aspirations we set will be the right ones. And it’s the only way that the shared aspirations that we set will become reality – only if people recognize that they can be the drivers behind this global effort and the ones holding governments and government partners to their commitments. Only then will we succeed. You all – civil society in this room and well beyond – can bring citizens, families, and communities more fully into this effort. You have a unique ability to do that. You can help ensure that what is negotiated at the United Nations — at our United Nations — speaks your language and gives you a voice; that it meets your most urgent needs; and it gives you the openings on the backend to change lives. That is our most important goal – changing lives, changing the world. And I’m confident that together we can do it.”
For more information about the 65th Annual UN DPI NGO Conference, please contact:
United Nations Department of Public Information
Jeffrey Brez, Co-Chair, Conference Planning Committee, and Chief NGO Relations and Advocacy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ihor Dlaboha, DPI NGO Conference Focal Point: email@example.com
Jeffery Huffines, Chair, 65th Annual DPI NGO Conference; and UN Representative, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, see also:
http://outreach.un.org/ngorelations/Conference-2014 The Opening and Closing Sessions and Roundtables were webcast live on http://webtv.un.org/ and Opening and Closing sessions had closed captioning in English for the hearing impaired (CART), as well as simultaneous interpretation into French and Spanish.
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Next issue: 10 October 2014.
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