Gender-responsive Disarmament

 

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All over the world, people have access to weapons. However, in some areas, it is much easier to gain access to a weapon than others. The increase of these weapons leads to an unnecessary increase in violence. This puts those who are in these communities at a disadvantage because they are much more vulnerable to victimization. Disarmament refers to reducing military efforts as well as weapons. There is actually a UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.

It is important to note that this armed violence can be in both con conflict and non-conflict areas. One speaker mentioned how young boys in South Sudan were reported to have guns. In fact, thousands of children have been recruited and armed for fighting a conflict in areas like South Sudan and Somalia. In the meeting, it was noted that the non-conflict areas also need great attention because of the severe and large quantity of injuries that are occurring. Guns can be easily accessed in both legal and illegal contexts by citizens and there has been an increased spread of small arms.   

The main point of this meeting was discussing how gender, just like in other issues, plays a vital role in this violence. While men are reported to be the majority of small arms users, women are noted to be at a disadvantage- economically, socially and psychologically.  A systematic approach, which would require the help of many members states, would be needed to combat this widespread issue. Gender plays a role in the issue, so therefore, it is crucial in implementing the solution. Although women are the primary victims, they should be empowered leaders in fixing the problem. It was brought up that women are underrepresented at government talks and negotiations. It was noted that usually, only 1 in 4 delegates are women and that this number must increase if we hope to make progress.

Meeting: International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group Securing our common future: Promoting gender-responsive disarmament and security

Location/time/date:Conference Room 4, UN HQ-NYC; 1:15 PM – 2:30 PM, October 15, 2018

Speakers:

  • H.E. Michael Gaffey, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva
  • Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
  • Päivi Kannisto, Chief of Peace and Security at UN Women
  • H.E. Neville Gertze, Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations in New York
  • H.E. Pennelope Beckles, Permanent Representative of Trinidad & Tobago to the United Nations in New York
  • Victoria “Mavic” Cabrera Balleza, founder/CEO Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.
  • Renata Dwan, Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, UNIDIR
  • H.E. Michael Gaffey, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

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Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnership, Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies (CICPPP)

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The CICPPP reconvened at the UNOG this week to revisit international and regional innovation, with a particular focus on sustainable technology invention and deployment. Initially, the conference debated emerging global CO2 emissions data and its implications for climate change. In addressing climate change holistically, its broader knock-on effects on a variety of industries was presented. The agriculture, water, energy, transport health and urban development sectors were concentrated on. Only the transport sector noted potential benefits if artic ice recession reduced shipping costs through the region. The conference moved to debate efficacious and cost-effective policy adaptation tools currently being utilized in various states. These tools include improving pricing signals, reforming experimental and standardization regulations, restructuring financing tools, introducing novel global insurance schemes, galvanizing R&D through incentivization and avoiding duplicating policy reform.

The afternoon session demonstrated a shift in focus towards how to track and evaluate innovation progress in nations and across sectors. One suggestion emphasised the value of regional rather than global innovation indices. Importantly, global rating measure can dilute local innovation successes. Regional index schemes would increase regional policy index dialogue, helping policy makers uncover dimensions previously overlooked by an insular approach to policy reform. Comparing innovation inputs to outputs can offer insight into national innovation effectiveness. Creating reliable metrics in this domain would help uncover what underpins an integrated national policy framework that effectively unites a melange of innovation-policy tools.

Finally, many states and bodies, namely Tajikistan, Ukraine, Sweden and Shiffer Institute of Advanced Studies shed light on the difficulties many actors face in sizing representative innovation metrics and that such innovation indices can potentially distort real economic output perspectives. CICPPP aims to deploy a pilot program in Georgia to assess the value of innovation indicators. Specifically, increased transparency and cross-border dialogue regarding innovation strategy would increase the value of relative quantitative and qualitative analyses.

Date and Time: Saturday, 3 November 2018

Location: Salle XI, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Speakers: Ms. Sedef Yavuz Noyan (Chairman, CICPPP), Mr. Rafis Abazov (Vice Chairperson), Mr. Nikita Ponomarenko (Vice Chairperson), Jakob Fexer (Project Manager of the SEE Competitiveness Outlook, OECD South East Europe Division)

Countries represented: Georgia, Armenia, United Kingdom, Tajikistan, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Sweden, Poland

Bodies represented: UNIDO, UNCTAD, WIPO, Shiffers Institute of Advanced Studies

Author: WIT Representative, Farri Gaba

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 71st Session

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Led by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), this conference engaged in a number of topics surrounding gender inequality in South-East Asia, specifically in Laos. First addressing the imbalanced gender ratios in education, a lack of data in Laos’ unsystematic education system was evinced, rendering some conclusions drawn in a recent CEDAW report dubious. Remaining in the education sector, the conversation shifted to whether educational capacity investment is being matched by the necessary supporting infrastructure. Developing countries often suffer from virtuous investment being deployed in silos – in Laos’ case, girls seeking education are frequently burdened by inordinate transportation costs or distances. Dual-gender class resistance was another complication barring women from entering education, particularly when educational capacity is limited. Furthermore, there was a floor-wide call to gather more data regarding which educational paths girls are pursuing. If women are being driven into traditionally female fields such as cooking or needlecraft, presenting uncategorised educational data could belie its message. Laos’ 25% female inclusion targets was criticized as too low and as sending the wrong public message about social ideals.

Keeping education in focus, more data was requested regarding the impact that premature pregnancy has on educational drop-out rates amongst women. Collecting such data would provide more precise insights into targeting responsible sexual behaviour and sexual education. However, high birth, maternal death and female STD rates point to ineffective sexual education efforts in Laos. Building on this, it was posited that women are too often seen just as procreators and mothers. This makes efforts to assuage high maternal death rates too parochial. Specifically, are there lifestyle choices or societal pressures that increase a woman’s risk of retracting fatal diseases that are independent of gender? Is this an unaddressed dimension when discussing high maternal death rates? The floor also enquired into how Laos’ illegal abortion rates, unsafe abortion rates and its current prohibitive abortion policies contribute to its substandard maternal death rates.

Moving onto gender violence, four forms of women-directed violence were outlined: physical, phycological, sexual and economic property violence. This delineates four avenues to approach female discrimination by with to approach Laos’ current state of affairs, although they were not elaborated upon in the conference. In closing, the panel was questioned whether current Laos gender equality programs are financially designed to withstand funding cuts, or are they more comparable to ‘window shop’ programs.

Date and Time: Friday, 2 November 2018

Location: Salle XVI, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Speakers: Hilary Gbedemah (UNHCR), Mr. Gunnar Bergby (OHCHR), Magalys Arocha Dominguez (OHCHR)

Countries represented: Laos People’s Democratic Republic

 Bodies represented: Author: WIT Representative, Farri Gaba

SDG Two: “Zero Hunger” is Currently Unattainable by 2030

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Goal Two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to achieve “Zero Hunger,” or further explained as  “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.” According to the World Food Programme, 821 million people (1 in 9 persons) go to sleep without food each night. An even greater statistic is that 1 in 3 people suffer from some form of malnutrition. In a global perspective, these issues are not necessarily from a shortage of food, but rather, a lack of access to it. Some may not be able to afford it, while others may be in areas with a supply that doesn’t support their whole population. There are even “hunger seasons” which occur in agricultural areas and communities in some countries. This is when food runs out between planting and harvesting. This is especially detrimental to people living in rural areas and farmers, who only rely on what is grown.

Most speakers were on the same page when speaking on this issue, in which, the world is not on track to achieve Goal 2 by 2030 unless changes and improvements begin now. The main topics and issues that were continuously brought up were agriculture, poverty, and climate change.  

Agriculture was brought up by most speakers who mentioned how it plays a crucial role, and therefore, must be prioritized and expanded. The representative of Mali talked about how the agriculture sector is the backbone of their country but is facing challenges like ensuring food to their growing population, especially in the context of climate change. Climate change is a huge issue which affects many other matters aside from food insecurity. Climate change deals with natural disasters, droughts, and floods which affect food production and distribution. Many also brought up the link between poverty and hunger/malnutrition. Poverty and hunger are in a cyclical pattern. Poverty is a driver of hunger, especially how most impoverished people in the world live in rural areas and therefore rely on agriculture to support them.

Meeting: Committee on Agriculture development, food security and nutrition; 73rd Session
Location/time/date: Conference Room 2, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM,
October 12, 2018
Speakers:
● The Chair (Guatemala) Representatives of Egypt (on behalf of the Group of 77 and
China), Myanmar (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Malawi (on
behalf of the Least Developed Countries), Guyana (on behalf of the Caribbean
Community), Maldives (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Morocco (on
behalf of the African States), El Salvador (on behalf of the Community of Latin
American and Caribbean States), India, the Russian Federation, Costa Rica, the Sudan,
Algeria, Afghanistan, Nicaragua Jamaica, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ukraine, Cambodia,
China, the United Arab Emirates, Tonga, Mozambique, Morocco, Brazil, Ethiopia,
Zambia, the Philippines, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mali,
Finland, Indonesia, Nepal, Burkina Faso, and Saudi Arabia, as well as by the observer for
the Holy See.
● The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

 

 

 

The right to say no: 72nd session Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

1506685855_eeb204dc36061d725f5db3e393c34229-1.jpgBad mothers. Loose Morals. Lack of femininity. That is how world leaders such as Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and President Donald Trump refer to women’s rights activists. Both men have continuously made women the butt of the joke of their presidencies with Donald Trump’s famous “Grab her by the pussy” and President Duterte’s continuous rape jokes and command to shoot women rebels in the genitals. According to the Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, this is the continued norm of how the world treats women.

The conference held on July 26th, 2018 shed light on the deeply rooted patriarchy engrained into our international system that has resulted in the championing of white males in human rights movements and the vilification of the women actually affected.

Lolita Chavez has been the target of 5 assassination attempts, two massive hate attacks, lynching attempts, accused of illegal entry, and has had more than 25 petitions filed against her in court resulting in a forced exile from Guatemala. What could cause this type of horrific backlash on a 5-foot-tall mother of 2? Her advocacy for indigenous people and the environment. In Uganda, Brenda Kuganza has been punched in the gut by a policeman, slaughtered on social media for defending victims of sexual violence and has had to witness her friends be brutally attacked, arrested, and/or killed for wanting the right to say no.

People trying to defend their territories and rights are sidelined – jailed, tortured, raped. Now more than ever, there is a need for concrete action from the international community but also a needed refrain by states in legislation and policy of repression action against human rights defenders. The governments in places such as Guatemala, Uganda, Nicaragua need to make the role of human rights defenders facilitative not restrictive.

There needs to be an understanding that human rights defenders are not performing a job. There is a deep commitment to protecting life, livelihood, and the dignity of communities. That is what empowers these women to endure layers of oppression and brutality.

Meeting: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; 72nd Session

Location/time/date: Conference Room 2, UNHQ-NYC; July 26th, 2018

Speakers: Michéle Forest, Special Rapporteur; Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights; Marusia Lopez Cruz, Senior Associate, Power & Protection of Women’s Activist; Lolita Chavez; Brenda Kuganza; Asha Kowtal; Miriam Miranda

Written by: WIT Representative Ariel Granat

 

 

The Human Rights of Older Persons in Business

The number of people over the age of 65 will double by 2050. This meeting discussed the human rights issues of older persons and how businesses incorporate the human rights of older persons. Mr.Lee, of the Linklaters Law Firm which is in 20 countries, explained their study with Japan to research non-discrimination, violence, education, rights, and other factors. The law firm is using the 2012 OHCHR  normative standards to judge the progress of 12 different countries, for example in laws.

The main focus of this project is the indivisibility problem. The countries are ones that have the highest life expectancies. Ms.Owens took to the floor calling on tackling the issue of job discrimination toward older persons. For example, the notion of young people taking up entry level jobs is inaccurate today because people have various jobs throughout their lifetime. Studies show older persons manage stressful situations better and productivity increases with older age as discovered by Mercedes Benz.  The main idea is that to get businesses involved and  support older persons projects, ideas for these businesses need to be continuously beneficial for the business.

One example of a project by Nestle in Japan is coffee meet ups for older persons. This promotes the Nestle brand and provides a social atmosphere for older persons that may be crucial to their well-being.  The final speaker, Mr.Karimian of Microsoft, explained that Microsoft has a goal of accessibility for older persons and is providing mobility aids for older persons.

Meeting​: Business and Human Rights of Older Persons  

Date/Location​: Tuesday 24rd June 2018; 13:15 to 14:45; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​:

Mr.Rio Hada, OHCHR

Mr.Philip W. Lee, Linklaters Law Firm

Ms.Ashleigh Owens, Ernst & Young

Mr.Michael Karimian, Human rights Commissioner of Microsoft

Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker

Twenty years of the Rome Statute system and a look ahead to the future of the International Criminal Court

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http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/fight/Rome-Statute-20-anniversary-2018

This event took place on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute. On this basis, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established to prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide. The discussion began by focusing on the withdrawal of Burundi from ICC. Speakers acknowledged the need for sufficient resources to deliver efficient judgment.

Concerning the investigation power of ICC, Mr. Stephen J. Rapp, former US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, illustrated the mechanism that ICC considers cases only after referral by Security Council. He pointed out cases which failed to be brought to ICC, including Syrian crisis and Rohingya persecution in Myanmar. Also, Mr. Christian Wenaweser, permanent representative of Liechtenstein, recognized the political reality of the dysfunctional Security Council and the consequence it has on criminal justice.

The discussion ended with speakers’ vision of ICC in twenty years. Mr. Stephen J. Rapp expressed his will that ICC could operate like a regular court. Mr. Christian Wenaweser expected that ICC could safeguard criminal justice at the global level. In addition, he called for an effective use of principle of complementarity. In this regard, he hoped to see cases of serious crimes to be firstly dealt within national jurisdiction. All in all, speakers agreed that ICC should operate effectively and efficiently.

Meeting: Panel discussion: Twenty years of the Rome Statute system and a look ahead to the future of the International Criminal Court (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein and the Wayamo Foundation)

Date/Location: Monday 16th July 2018; 15:00-16:30; Conference Room 5, UNHQ, NY.

Speakers:

H.E. Mr. Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the UN

H.E. Ms. Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Liechtenstein;

Mr. Stephen J. Rapp, former US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Mobilizing parliaments for the SDGs

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This meeting focused on mobilizing parliaments to implement the twelfth sustainable development goal (SDG 12), namely, sustainable consumption and production. In the opening remarks, Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President, acknowledged the lack of implementation of SDGs in many parliaments. Seeing this, she urged parliamentarians to review SDGs and include them in parliament discussion.

The introduction was followed by keynote speeches given by parliamentarians. Ms. Elizabeth Cabezas from Ecuador presented how SDGs were incorporated into the constitution. She highlighted balancing environmental protection with economic growth. She also touched upon social security and labor laws which guarantee domestic workers’ rights and reduces poverty. To be more specific about SDG 12, Ms. Petra Bayr, President of the Committee for Development in Austrian Parliament, emphasized that the current economic system with infinite growth is not sustainable. She called for a legal framework at the national level to reduce over-consumption. Concerning about the budget side, the third speaker Mr. Thilanga Sumanthipala from Sri Lanka applauded many countries for establishing committees to deal with SDGs. In addition, he recommended parliaments to incorporate SDG indicators in national laws to lead politicians at the local level.

During discussion session, countries focused on sustainable economy. Parliamentarian from Canada brought up the idea of circular economy to change the pattern of consumption and reduce wastes. Ms. Petra Bayr agreed with it and called it a good approach. Lastly, Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron concluded that parliamentarians should understand the value of SDGs, take accountability and strengthen institutional mechanism.

Meeting: Mobilizing parliaments for the SDGs (organized by Inter-Parliamentary Union)

Date/Location: Monday 16th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers:

Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President;

Ms. Elizabeth Cabezas, President of Ecuador’s National Assembly;

Ms. Petra Bayr, Member of Austrian Parliament and President of the Committee for Development;

Mr. Thilanga Sumanthipala, Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

GFMD Perspective on Migration for Sustainable and Resilient Societies

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The meeting was a side-event to the annual high-level political forum on sustainable development at the United Nations headquarters. It focused on the inter-linkages between migration and sustainable development goals (SDGs). In the opening remarks, Mr. El Habib Nadir from Morocco highlighted the relevance of resolving the problem of migration for achieving SDGs. Ms. Eva Åkerman Börje from UN Special Representative for International Migration emphasized the need to put more attention on the implementation of SDGs and its relation to migration.

During the panel discussion, speakers identified several SDGs where migration plays a key role. For example, Ms. Charu Bist from UNDP underlined that the varying development level of countries drives the flow of migration. Mr. Dilip Ratha from the World Bank demonstrated the increasing number of forcibly displaced people due to climate change. Ms. Colleen Thouez from Open Society Foundations underscored the importance for cities and inter-city networks to build capacity with urban planning in order to make themselves resilient in the face of an influx of migrants.

At the end of the meeting, speakers concurred that all relevant actors are significant in the dialogue of migration and sustainable development. Particularly, Ms. Karin Goebel, Minister of German Economic Department, called for involvement of stakeholders, including national governments, UN bodies and civil society.

Meeting: GFMD Perspective on Migration for Sustainable and Resilient Societies (organized by Germany and Morocco, GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairs)

Date/Location: Friday 13th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; German House, 871 United Nations Plaza, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. El Habib Nadir, Secretary General, Ministry Delegate to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs;

Ms. Eva Åkerman Börje, Senior Policy Advisor Office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration;

Ms. Charu Bist, Senior Jobs and Livelihoods Advisor, United Nations Development Programme;

Mr. Dilip Ratha, Head – KNOMAD, Lead Economist – Migration and Remittances, Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, The World Bank;

Ms. Colleen Thouez, Director, Welcoming and Integrated Societies Division, Open Society Foundations;

Mr. Julian Pfäfflin, Senior Policy Officer International Migration, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development;

Ms. Marta Foresti, Managing Director, Overseas Development institute;

Ms. Karin Goebel, Minister, Head of Economic Department, Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the UN.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for SDGs

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https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/ssc/Pages/default.aspx

The meeting is about building smart and sustainable cities in line with SDGs. In the opening remarks, Dr. Chaesub Lee pointed out that ICT infrastructure drives innovation in all economic sectors. Also, new technology contributes to make cities safe, resilient and sustainable. For example, big data helps government improve in public services. To reach the goal of building sustainable cities, he concluded by emphasizing that diverse partnership is essential.

The introduction was followed by a panel discussion. Speakers expressed their views on technology and shared experiences from their countries in building smart cities. Dr. Chaesub Lee underscored that the aim for smart cities is not to make all cities identical. Instead, smart cities should be tailor-made with local data and city priorities based on their history, culture and physical location. Agreeing with it, Mrs. Sophia Papathanasopoulou shared the Greek government’s involvement in shaping smart cities in this regard. However, she indicated the challenge to engage all stakeholders at the first stage.

Seeing this, Ms. Kari Eik from Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER) recommended to bring in financing in the beginning. To make SDG comprehensible and attractive to private sector, she stressed the need to establish a framework for the industry. Also, Mr. Eng Bruno Peters from IBI Group emphasized the need to share data in a more meaningful way to maximize investment. Lastly, Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, reiterated the significance of private-public partnership.

Meeting: Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for SDGs (organized by Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media of Greece with ITU, UNECE and UNESCO)

Date/Location: Thursday 12th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.

Speakers:

H.E. Mrs Maria Theofili, Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN;

Dr. Chaesub Lee, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU;

Mr. Guilherme Canela, Counsellor of Information and Communication for MERCOSUR, UNESCO;

Mrs. Sophia Papathanasopoulou, Head of National Broadband Planning Department, General Secretariat of Telecommunications and Post, Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, Greece;

Ms. Kari Eik, Secretary General, Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER);

Mr. Alexandre Barbosa, Head of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society;

Mr. Eng Bruno Peters, Director, Smart Cities, Deputy Regional Director, IBI Group;

Ms. Meera Alshaikh, Project Manager, Smart Dubai;

Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang