Educating Hearts and Minds: Parents’ Role in Helping Their Children Thrive

 

Celebrating the International Day of Families on 15 May, the Permanent Mission of Samoa and the NGO Committee on the Family co-organized an event entitled “Educating Hearts and Minds: Parents’ Role in Helping Their Children Thrive” on 18 May 2017. It served to remind stakeholders of how they could contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development at the individual level.

To open the event, His Excellency Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia discussed the role of families from the international agreements’ framework. He specifically brought attention to the Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UHDR) on rights to marriage and family. Although parenting is perhaps the most challenging task, he said, it has the biggest impact on society as “charity starts at home.”

Despite the consent about the significance of parents, the panelist Prof. Mesurado’s research study on the relationship between family interaction and well-being raised questions during the meeting. Participants particularly asked whether the fact that 90 percent of her respondents were highly educated would generate biased results. A representative from a university in Africa also expressed strong disappointment over her conclusion about Africa’s unhappiness solely based on little data collected from Kenya.  Families are considered important in creating social impacts, but have seldom been addressed in the United Nations, said Elisaia. He hoped that more UN meetings would be held to address families in the future.

Meeting: Educating Hearts and Minds: Parents’ Role in Helping Their Children Thrive
Date/Location: Thursday, May 18, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers: Ryan Koch, LDS Charities; H.E. Mr. Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Permanent Representative of Samoa; Lynn Walsh, Universal Peace Federation; Prof. Maria Mesurado, National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Austral University, Argentina; Eve Sullivan, Parents Forum; Renata Kaczmarska, UN Focal Point on the Family
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

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UN SDG 4

Government’s Unprecedented and Rushed Decisions to Continue the Use of Toxic Chemicals Found in Children’s Toys

Earlier this month, an unprecedented agreement was made during 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the Stockholm Convention (SC) to add three toxic chemicals to the treaty while allowing loopholes for two of them, Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) and short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs).
Recent studies conducted by IPEN, a global network of over 500 organizations committing to a toxic-free future, find both toxic chemicals in children’s toys. Due to their nature of being persistent, highly toxic, traveling long distances and building up in the food chain, the SC’s expert committee did not recommend a lot of the proposed exemptions. However, the COP8 agreed to include a long list of exemption clauses in the SC’s Annex A. They include exempting the production and use of commercial DecaBDE for certain vehicle parts such as global positioning systems, components of radio disks, automobile seats, etc. Regarding SCCPs, members also agreed on specific exemptions such as its production and use for transmission belts, lubricant additives, and secondary plasticizers in flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC), except in toys and children’s products.

Discussing the meeting’s implications, Dr. Olga Speranskaya, IPEN Co-Chair, was particularly concerned about the influence of the treaty’s amendments on developing countries, where customers are not well-informed due to the lack of labels. “Customers will unknowingly buy and expose their children to these chemicals because governments were not bold enough to demand that the industry labels them,” warned Dr. Speranskaya.
Another controversial decision made during the meeting include agreeing to allow recycling materials containing toxic flame retardants (PentaBDE and OctaBDE) found in furniture and e-waste, which would widely contaminate children’s products according to a new IPEN study.
Contrary to upholding the meeting’s theme, “A Future Detoxified,” IPEN Senior Advisor Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith mentioned delegates’ mockery that the meeting paved the way for “A Future Toxified,” by exposing workers, children’s toys and recycling streams to toxic chemicals.

Meeting: The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (SC COP8)

Date/Location: April 24 – May 5, 2017; Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG), 17 rue de Varembé, Geneva, Switzerland

Written By: WIT Representation Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi

 

Press Briefing on the launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2017

A press statement regarding the launch of the report World Economic Situation and Prospects was released by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) today. The latest report presents bad news on the world’s progress toward achieving some of the major Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the 2030 Agenda

Regarding the world’s GDP growth, Diana Alarcón and Dawn Holland of DESA presented it was forecasted to rise by 4.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent in 2017 and 2018 respectively, which is significantly below the SDG target of at least 7 percent. The report warns that under the current growth trajectory without a decline in income inequality, 35 percent of the population in Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) will remain in extreme poverty by 2030.

Concerning world trade, it has begun to rebound from the 2008 global financial crisis. However, it is mainly due to the rising import demand and contribution of East Asia and South Asia. On the contrary, the rise in commodity price driven by conflict and domestic pressure in Latin America and Africa is not yet resolved.
Apart from the income and trade targets, Alarcón and Holland said the report also identified some positive elements in the environmental area. For example, the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) has been reduced while the use of renewable energy has increased. However, they remarked that the trend could be easily reversed should the major CO2 emitting countries demonstrate faster growth, and the public and private sectors do not continue to support the use of renewable energy.
Addressing the overall lack of progress, Alarcón and Holland explained that political actors played a significant role. Among others, they particularly pointed toward the high level of uncertainties in international policies, such as the recent renegotiations of trade relations in the United States and Europe, financial market relations, and Brexit.

Meeting: Press briefing by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on the launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2017
Date/Location: Tuesday, May 16, 2017; 11:00-11:30; Press Briefing Room, S-237, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Diana Alarcón, Chief, Global Economic Monitoring Unit, Development Policy and Analysis Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations;
Dawn Holland, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Global Economic Monitoring Unit, Development Policy and Analysis Division, DESA, United Nations
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi

Making Eradication of Poverty an integral objective of all policies

The meeting was organized in two sessions at the United Nations headquarters to discuss what it will take to make eradication of poverty an integral objective of all policies.

The key points highlighted during the discussions showed that destabilizing poverty in Africa is a result of climate change causing drought, conflict, and instability.  Conflicts in
Sub-Sahara particularly increases the poverty levels and instability of the population.  The representative from DESA stressed the importance of adherence to the Paris Agreement.
Ambassador Charwath, in addition, stressed the need for more integration of power sources which includes women.   This is particularly important in promoting reproductive rights and sexual education at the highest level of government.
Overall, the panel members stressed the importance of partnerships of ECOSOC and NGO’s with other government sectors within the continent of Africa.

Meeting: Making Eradication of Poverty an integral objective of all policies: What will it take?

Date/Location: Wednesday, May 10th, 2017; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters NY

Speakers:

  • Morning session moderated by Mr. David Mehdi Human, Director of the Office of The Special Advisers on Africa.
  • Afternoon session moderated by Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary General and Head of Office in NY, United Nations Environment Program with key speakers H.E. Mr. Philip Charwath, Deputy Permanent Representative to Austria to the United Nations, Chair of the Commission on Social Development at its 55th session.
H.E Mr. David Donoghue Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations. Chair of commission on the Status of Women at its 62nd Session.
Ms. Christina Popescu, Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations, Vice -Chair of the Commission on population and development st its 50th session.
Prof. Jose Antonio Ocampo Professor from Columbia University.

Written By: Amadeus P. Shebinsky

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi

 

Poverty

 http://bytheirstrangefruit.blogspot.com/

Promoting Indigenous Youth Development to achieve the 2030 Agenda

UN Indigenous

un.org

The UNPFII sixteenth session which discussed the “Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: measures taken to implement the Declaration” presented a side event which discussed the significance of promoting the development of indigenous youth in order to attain the 2030 agenda. There was discussion regarding the lack of data regarding indigenous youth and the startling nature of the available data. Additionally, the huge disparities in terms of accessing education for indigenous youth was discussed

Mai Thin Yu Mon conveyed the difficulty of cultivating indigenous youth data, especially for health. She conveyed the struggle of indigenous people to communicate with foreign individuals who provide health services. This was cited as an issue affecting primarily young people and elders. Furthermore, Mon expressed the issue that indigenous youths are brainwashed to feel that their culture is lower.

Sarah Lynn Jancke described that indigenous youth are suffering in silence and battling societal oppression. She called for the connection of indigenous youth and people of all cultures. Jancke depicted the intergenerational trauma that arose from indigenous teenagers having children.

Various statistical evidence regarding the lack of educational access for indigenous youth was conveyed. On average, in the Latin America and Caribbean region, eighty-five percent of indigenous youth attend secondary school. However, only forty percent of indigenous youth graduate.

The literacy and numeracy rates of indigenous and non-indigenous youth alter significantly. For example, in Australia, a two and a half school year gap is evident between indigenous and non-indigenous children. However, there is no data citing a global indigenous youth literacy rate.

In addition, the high school finishing rate of indigenous youth are below average in Nunavut, the northernmost territory of Canada. Merely forty percent of indigenous youth are attending school full time.

Meeting: UNPFII Sixteenth Session Side event on “Promoting Indigenous Youth Development to achieve the 2030 Agenda”

Date/ Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 11:30-1:00; Conference Room F

Speakers: Mai Thin Yu Mon, Indigenous Youth Caucus Asia; Q’apaj Cond, Indigenous Youth Caucus Latin America; Sarah Lynn Jancke, Indigenous Youth Caucus Arctic; Nicola Shepherd, UN Focal Point on Youth, DSPD; Tarcila Rivera, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Expert Member; Yon Fernandez-De-Larrinoa, Indigenous Peoples Team Leader, FAO Rome; Carlos Andrade, Undersecretary of Peoples and Interculturality Government of Ecuador (TBC)

Written By: WIT Representative Donna Sunny

 

 

Open Call for NGOs to apply for Consultative Status with the United Nations for 2018

UN ECOSOC

UN ECOSOC

As an NGO in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), World Information Transfer Inc. would like to inform the public about the open call for NGOs to apply for Consultative Status for 2018 with the United Nations.

NGOs interested in applying for ECOSOC consultative status should submit their application and required documents on or before the deadline of 1 June 2017. The following link provides background information, the benefits of consultative status and instructions for how to apply:

http://csonet.org/index.php?page=view&nr=337&type=230&menu=14

Making the Case for Marine Protected Areas

The meeting was in preparation for the first major conference on the ocean that will be held 5-9 June 2017. The panel was comprised of ambassadors from three Small Island Developing Countries (SIDs) including Nauru, Seychelles, and Palau, a science researcher, and an artist.

Marlene Moses from Nauru first started the panel discussion by reviewing the development history of international cooperation on the ocean. She emphasized that the ocean, as it accounts for 97% of the Earth’s surface, was “at the very heart of our identity”. Protection of the ocean, therefore, becomes a critical issue, as can be seen in the SDG 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Following that, participants offered important insights into the three aspects of marine protection: financial, scientific, and artistic.

Addressing the financial aspect, Ronny Jumeau from the Seychelles explained that marine protection was as much a practical problem as a moral one. The central issue was, how these SIDs can pay for marine protection. Despite the fact that only 30% of SIDs belong to low-income countries, most of them still need to take domestic welfare provision and existing debt into consideration. Jumeau, therefore, shared his country’s innovative fundraising methods such as blue bonds and debt swap. Similarly, Palau is facing this financial challenge as it has committed to protecting 500,000 square kilometers of its Exclusive Economic Zone. Ngedikes Olai Uludong introduced the new policy of the Palau government: Pristine Paradise Environment Fee (PPEF).

Addressing the scientific aspect, Narrissa P. Spies explained why setting up bigger, more isolated marine protection areas is important to safeguarding marine resources. Finally, addressing the artistic aspect, Asher Jay illustrated her artwork and the importance of communicating the message of marine protection to the public at large.

Meeting: Event on “Making the Case for Marine Protected Areas”
Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Marlene Moses, Permanent Representative of Nauru to the United Nations;
Ngedikes Olai Uludong, Permanent Representative of Palau to the United Nations;
Ronny Jumeau, Roving Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues for Seychelles;
Narrissa P. Spies, Native Hawaiian Scientist (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Biology, University of Hawaii);
Asher Jay, National Geographic Explorer;
Kate Brown, Global Island Partnership
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.

Corruption-free Institutions for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

 

 

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United Nations SDGs

The meeting was jointly organized by the Permanent Missions of Georgia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Qatar, Sierra Leone and Singapore to the United Nations together with the UNDP and the UNODC. These countries came together to share their experience fighting corruption.

The meeting was opened by the participants’ recognition that corruption-free institutions are critical to improving governance and the attainment of the entire 2030 Agenda. All the countries brought attention to the SDG 16, which underpins peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. They place further emphasis on the targets 16.5 and 16.6: substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms, and develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.

Images from http://www.en.wikipedia.org and http://www.masenoteamblogspot.com

The six countries shared how they localized the implementation of the targets. Juan Carlos Mendoza illustrated Costa Rica’s anti-corruption efforts such as its national strategy and public accessible information. Nikolaj Hejberg Peterson from Denmark, the cleanest country according to Transparency International, discussed his country, and that it would host the International Anti-Corruption Conference in 2018. Zurab Sanikidze from Georgia focused on the country’s institutional framework, key anti-corruption reforms, and open government partnership strategies. Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi from Qatar talked about the importance of achieving peaceful, just and inclusive societies to his country, even before the adoption of the SDGs. Felix Alie Koroma from Sierra Leone reported steady progress made in his country. The last panelist Joseph Teo from Singapore highlighted its strict anti-corruption approach. He added that society and culture in Singapore eschew corruption. This cultural aspect was surprisingly not mentioned by other country representatives.

As an important benchmark of anti-corruption efforts, representatives from Georgia, Qatar, Sierra Leone discussed how their countries had already established independent anti-corruption bodies to fight against corruption. Witness protection, intelligence sharing and training for judges are also common.

Meeting: Corruption-free Institutions for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 11:00-13:00; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Juan Carlos Mendoza, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations;
Nikolaj Hejberg Petersen, Director of the Department of Quality Assurance and Financial Management of Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark;
Zurab Sanikidze, Director of the Analytical Department, Ministry of Justice and Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Council of Georgia;
Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi, Deputy Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations;
Felix Alie Koroma, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations;
Joseph Teo, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Singapore to the United Nations

Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.

Indigenous Voices, Indigenous Rights: The Role of Community Media

Mr. Jeff Brez gave welcoming Remarks and outlined some of the existing policies that protect indigenous rights. Ms. Suzanne Benally discussed her work at Cultural Survival, and the right of all indigenous groups to their own community media, in their own languages. She further explained the need for access to non-indigenous media, without discrimination.

Mr. Shaldon Ferris shared the benefits of local radio stations, which include providing people with a voice and preserving community identities. Mr. Ferris grew up with mainstream American media, and while it was a good form of entertainment, no one ever looked or sounded like the indigenous people watching. Under the Apartheid regime, all media was controlled and consisted of news from other places. The indigenous need local radio to preserve their identity and culture. They have stories to share, but they have no platform.

Ms. Avexnim Cojití gave statistics on the Guatemalan population and indigenous languages. They are the poorest of the population; they are malnourished and do not have access to electricity and media. Newspapers do not reach indigenous communities, and most are not literate in Spanish, leaving radio as the best form of communication. Even though the government is supposed to support and allow indigenous media, current radio stations do not attend to the needs of local communities, and most operate unsupported by the government. While there is still pride for indigenous history, it is becoming shameful to be indigenous in Guatemala. Community Media would help spread pride, and advocate for human rights, indigenous rights, etc.

Mr. Dev Kumar Sunuwar explained that the indigenous people of Nepal lack resources, and have low access to education in technical knowledge and skills. The speakers were followed by a round of questions, reinforcing the need to spread media outlets to indigenous communities around the world.

Meeting: Briefing on “Indigenous Voices, Indigenous Rights: The Role of Community Media” (co-organized by NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section, Outreach Division; and the Strategic Communications Division, Department of Public Information (DPI))

Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 11:00-12:30; Conference Room 11, UNHQ NY

Speakers: Jeff Brez, Suzanne Benally, Shaldon Ferris, Dev Kumar Sunuwar, Avexnim Cojití

Written By: WIT Representative Renée S. Landzberg

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi

Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: From victims to change agents through decent work

The side-event was part of the Sixteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Its main purpose is to launch its new report “Indigenous peoples and climate change: From victims to change agents through decent work”.

Martin Oelz from ILO first reported the key findings. He highlighted that indigenous peoples, despite their vulnerability to climate-induced threats and challenges, can be agents of change to achieve the SDGs and spur green growth based on their traditional knowledge. Oelz further demonstrated the contribution of the indigenous peoples by presenting some numbers. For example, indigenous peoples account for 5% of the world population, but they care for about 22% of the earth surface and protect 80% of remaining biodiversity on the planet.

UN SDG 8

United Nations SDGs 

Panelists then expressed their views in support of protecting indigenous peoples and their traditional knowledge. Sudatta Chakma from Bangladesh presented with his country’s efforts to protect the livelihood of ethnic minorities. Robert Glasser, Sille Stidsen, and Rishabh Kumar Dhir agreed with the ILO report that indigenous peoples are “at the vanguard of running a modern economic model based on the principles of a sustainable green economy”. They strongly believed that governments should learn from their traditional wisdom to achieve economic empowerment and environmental protection simultaneously.

Joann Mae Spotted Bear, a representative from Lakota, one of the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains of North America, made interventions during the panel discussion. She condemned the US government for threatening their clean water and land by approving the construction of Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline.
Overall, participants emphasized that the report launched by ILO enriched the ongoing discussion on the indigenous people’s related issues, including human rights, social justice, employment, traditional knowledge and climate change.

Meeting: Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: From victims to change agents through decent work
Date/Location: Wednesday, April 26, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 5, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Martin Oelz, Senior Specialist on Equality and Non-Discrimination – Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch, International Labour Organization (ILO)
Sudatta Chakma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Chittatong Hill Tracts Affairs, Government of Bangladesh;
Robert Glasser, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, (UNISDR);
Sille Stidsen, Senior Adviser, Human Rights and Development, Danish Institute of Human Rights;
Rishabh Kumar Dhir, Technical Officer, Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch, International Labour Organization
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.