Illustrating the Power of Citizen Generated Data

Co-organised by TAP Network, World Vision, and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the HLPF side event “Illustrating the Power of Citizen Generated Data for Improved Public Service Delivery and SDG Accountability” was held for discussions about putting people at the center of the data revolution to take place. The panel particularly spent time illustrating the complementary value of citizen generated data to traditional statistics.

sdg

Continue reading

Advertisements

High-level Event: Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights to Achieve Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies

20190708 UNDP

(Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/justice-statue-dublin-ireland-626461/)

The UNPD, UNESCO, the Permanent Mission of Argentina, and the Permanent Mission of Austria co-organized such an event on the eve of High-Level Political Forums (HLPF) to set the tones for further discussion on SDG 16 and concerning issues. Ms. Ana Maria Menendez considered the HLPF to be the timing for taking stocks of all efforts reviewing the progress done so far. The forum should also investigate the linkages between SDGs, in particular, goal 5, 10, and 16 concerning the topic of today. On gender equality, society should strive to establish norms and mechanisms to address the problems women and girls face in accessing justice and human rights protection. Goal 10 establishes the principle of non-discrimination in all institutions while goal 16 similarily calls for access to justice for all.

Continue reading

The Case of Puerto Rico

The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples met this morning to hear statements from petitioners regarding the case of Puerto Rico. The chairperson of the committee, H.E. Ms. Keisha Aniya McGuire commenced the meeting by stating that there had been 53 requests for intervention on this item. She then turned the floor over to petitioners.

Continue reading

Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Mali

20190628 Security Council

(Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/29795162411)

The last Security Council meeting in June convened today to discuss the exacerbated situation in Mali and rally support from the member states on the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), set to expire on June 30th, for another 12 months. The chair began with the Secretary-General’s report on the status of Mali and the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in the concerned region, which identified unresolved dangers to peace and proved the cruciality of MINUSMA’s work. By passing resolution 2480 without any objections, the mission was given a modified framework with clearer benchmarks on the definition of success and more specific and centralized work in the most dangerous area of Mali.

Continue reading

Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The afternoon session of the “Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” was a continuation of the debate commenced in the morning, convened in order to hear comments from member states, as well as relevant NGOs, and IGOs. Nations such as India, Japan, and Jordan expressed their support through a multitude of ways; many countries have established disability acts which provide the disabled with accommodations in the work place or in school. Specifically, initiatives have been undertaken to educate these individuals on how to reach their full potential despite their disability, and funding has been provided for tools to help them (i.e cochlear implants, books in braille). Despite the progress underscored by the participants, many also sought to emphasize the necessity of future progress, including the enactment of more comprehensive policies regarding persons with disabilities.  The great potential to be unlocked by expanded employment of PWDs as well as technologies to facilitate communal, rather than institutional care, were discussed by the Representatives of the United Kingdom and Hungary, respectively. These disability acts also push for the inclusion of disabled people in the workplace and in schools instead of isolating them from society. It was emphasized how deaf children in several countries  often don’t have the opportunity to learn their region’s sign language until five years of age or older, thus putting them behind their fellow peers. It is essential that this circumstance be put to an end, and it should be encouraged to provide help for those who need help, no matter what condition they’re in, or what disability they have.

Meeting: General Debate of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Date/Location: Tuesday, June 10, 2019; 15:00-18:00; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:

  • H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr, Permanent Representative of Liberia and Vice President of the Conference;
  • Representative of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Albania;
  • H.E. Ms.Cynthia Morrison, Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection of Ghana;
  • Distinguished Representative of the World Federation of the Deaf;
    His Royal Highness, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein, President of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Chair of Delegation of Jordan;
  • Representative of the Government Minister Department for Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom;
    First Deputy Minister of Ukraine;
  • Mr. Richard Dimech, Chief of Staff of the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights, and Social Solidarity of Malta;
  • H.E. Mr. Riyad Mansour Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine to the United Nations;
  • Mrs. Racardia Dennis, Executive Director of the National Commission on Disabilities of the Republic of Liberia;
  • H.E. Ms. Katalin Annamaria Bogyay, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations;
  • Distinguished Representative of the Christian Blind Mission;
  • Mr. Avremi Torem, Commissioner of the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Chair of the Delegation of Israel;
  • Coordinator for Social Affairs Ministry of Social Affairs, Justice, and Interior of the Principality of Andorra;
  • H.E. Mr.Finian McGrath, Minister of State for Disability Issues for Ireland;
  • H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations;
  • President of China Disabled Persons’ Federation;
  • Director of the National Service of People with Disabilities of Chile;
  • Director of the National Program of Disability and Chair of the Delegation of Uruguay;
  • Director of the Social Affairs and Inclusion Department of the European Commission, Chair of Delegation of the European Union;
  • Distinguished Representative of Disabled Peoples International;
  • Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau for the Equality of People with Disabilities, Switzerland;
  • Minister at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria;
  • Representative of India

Written by:WIT Interns Izabela Zawartka, Ikonii Chiabi, and Jenifer Miller

2019 World Oceans Day: Gender and the Ocean

During the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil, the Ocean Institute of Canada and the Canadian International Centre for Ocean Development promoted the idea of establishing an internationally recognized World Oceans Day. Since the 1992 summit, this day has been observed annually on June 8th. Throughout the conference, it was noted that among all of the earth’s sectors, the oceans were the most neglected. Thus, the initial purpose of World Oceans Day was to shift the world’s oceans to the center of the discussion for NGOs and government organizations.

Today, the health of the world’s marine ecology is deteriorating at an unprecedented rate, with some 7 million tons of litter discharged into the oceans annually, 50% of which is composed of non-degradable, long-lasting plastic. Thousands of underwater animals, such as sea turtles and blue whales, encounter painful deaths from ingesting, or being tangled up in plastic. For instance, fish in the North Pacific region engulf an average of 12 to 24 thousand tons of plastic every year, thus resulting in severe intestinal injury, deaths, and the eventual transference of the plastic up the food chain. Due to this dire pollution, 200 “dead zones” are completely deprived of oxygen and marine life. The number of these zones has doubled every 10 years since the 1960s. Other detrimental effects include eutrophication, coral bleaching and toxic algal blooms.

Though a significant percentage of women are engaged in the maritime, fishing, and other ocean-related industries, administrative and decision-making bodies notably lack female representation. Thus, the theme of this year’s celebration was not only to highlight and raise awareness regarding this critically important absence, but to prioritize action towards its resolution. The integration of women, as has been empirically proven, is overwhelmingly beneficial for effective change. With insight into how oceanic degradation impacts local societies, women are well-equipped to produce creative and community-oriented responses such as providing necessary environmental education of future generations. Further, empowering women’s voices and granting them access to resources for large-scale projects opens the opportunity for increased overall support for the oceans’ cause and the consequent fortification of global efforts to battle climate change and related environmental issues.

During this year’s celebration of World Oceans Day, the United Nations hosted a series of events to spread awareness about the multidimensional issues associated with the world’s oceans and to applaud past successes in addressing these issues. On June 7th, 2019, the UN hosted the World Oceans Day Conference in which speakers were invited to present on the theme of “Gender and Ocean” and to tell inspiring stories about their relationships with the ocean. Furthermore, the President of the General Assembly launched the “Play It Out” campaign with the goal of combating plastic pollution on a global scale. To conclude the celebration, the World Oceans Day Photo Competition fully unleashed the story-telling power of photos and effectively shared the message of ocean preservation.

One of the stories elaborated upon during the June 7th conference highlighted the acute problem of slavery at sea. As fish stocks have diminished due to over fishing along with an increased global demand for seafood, some fishing operations have resorted to the trafficking of fishermen, threatening them to work for the operations under inhumane conditions. At the conference, Mr Tun Lin, a fisherman from Myanmar, detailed how he was enslaved on an Indonesian fishing boat for 11 years, thus exposing the appalling truth of some international fisheries – that the seafood exported to other countries and eventually brought to our plates is often a result of blood, sweat and lives. “For years,” Mr. Tun Lin expressed, “I was enslaved and my rights were violated.” He urged the UN and the world’s governments to promote the rights of fishermen by regulating policy and implementing laws to combat against slavery so as to protect fishermen from severe forms of human rights abuses.

Ms. Angelique Pouponneau, native of the Seychelles, followed Mr. Tun Lin’s story with an uplifting narrative about her many successes as a woman, and her meaningful relationship with the ocean. Pouponneau, having grown up in the matriarchal society of the Seychelles, was surprised upon traveling abroad to be trained as a lawyer as she found that she was expected to take on male attributes in order to be considered a serious professional. Following her training, she began a career grounded on the ideals of sustainable development. Her many accomplishments include the founding of an NGO dubbed SIDS Youth focused on implementing sustainable development goals in small island developing nations, setting up training workshops for female negotiators, and becoming the first female CEO of the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaption Trust.

There are many ways through which the world’s oceans can be protected, including academic research and the private sector. Researchers and corporate investments have the potential to catalyze technological advancements that could aid in the improvement of pollution tracing, cleaning waste and discovering sustainable product life cycles. Multi-sector collaboration is also an essential element of the formula to save the world’s oceans. This vital aspect was exemplified by the corporate synergy from Adidas and Parley as this collaboration showcased how plastic products could be reused and incorporated into the production of new sneakers.

Written by: WIT Summer Interns 2019

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Conference 63: Overview

Image result for csw 63

Throughout the 63rd conference of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), all meetings revolved around improving and developing social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality, and the empowerment of all females. Meetings ranged from being entitled “Steer Any Diplomatic Conversation by Asking the Right Questions” hosted by UNITAR and Columbia Law to typical plenary GA meetings to plan and discuss logistics of new ideas and vote on final statements.

Floating around from meeting to meeting, a point that was frequently brought up and emphasized was the importance of maintaining culture while developing female personal character. Instead of changing culture and straying further away from these roots, we should be working with and integrating new aspects into it. This is just a baby step in removing the gender gap and equalizing the gender lifestyle. Specifically with Afghan women, the role of the female is heavily depended on to take care of the household as well as the children while the males are unavailable to do so. Even young females are expected to help their mother, as only around 26% of females are in school. Discussion on closing the gender gap was productive, not through increasing attendance in school buildings, but increasing the accessibility of these educational means. Providing a simple laptop will allow for a greater entry into the world of computer science coding, which is something these females can do at home while taking care of their duties.

Meeting: Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Conference 63

Date/Location: 13 March 2019, UN Headquarters

Written By: WIT Representative Jessica Shi

Women, peace, and security

ARI44-2015-Solanas-Mujeres-paz-seguridad-lejos-aspiraciones-Resolucion-1325.jpg

Women with the Afghan National Army Air Force & International Force during an International Women’s Day celebration in Kabul. Photo: Sgt. Dustin Payne.

The meeting began with acknowledging the fact the first woman president had won the election in Ethiopia. This gave way into the discussion of the political and economic empowerment of women. Women need to be apart of peace and security agendas. Many already are, but they need to be further supported in reducing any challenges. There has been progression, especially within women’s groups who focus on this large issue. Although there has been progress, there is still a long way to go.

Women peace workers help. Women can be quickly drawn into the conflict and be severely affected by it, so more women need to be able to speak on their behalf. Women are better aware of their community needs. Gender equality programming is needed to address the devastating effects by building sustainable peace. There has been a systematic failure to bring women in peacekeeping. Women are constantly excluded. It was brought up that there is a significant gap with what it is said in UN chamber and what is actually going on in the world. Superficial efforts need to come to an end and they need to become concrete.

Women are active and resilient. They have negotiated ceasefires, safe zones, drawn up protection plans. This includes women from various countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, among others. They need to be enabled to do even more. One main way to give women this chance is education. During the conflict, girls are more likely to be out of primary schools. Child marriage is high in these conflict areas. Not only is a girl likely to not be attending school, but she is likely to get pregnant. Maternal mortality is almost twice the global ratio in conflict and post-conflict areas. Education is a catalyst for equal participation.

The way the world views the role of women needs to be changed. Women are perceived to not have the skills or knowledge to handle these important roles. Greater participation of women in political life causes a stronger path for peace. Global peace and security are enhanced when helping women. It was said that no woman needs to be given a voice, there just needs to be more listening.

Meeting:  Women and peace and security

Location/time/date: Security Council Chamber, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 PM – 12:45 PM, October 25, 2018

Speakers:

  • Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
  • Ms. Randa Siniora Atallah, General Director of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling
  • Her Excellency Mara Marinaki, Principal Adviser for Gender and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women
  • Ms. Narjess Saidane, Permanent Observer of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
  • Ms. Amarsanaa Darisuren, Senior Advisor on Gender Issues of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
  • Ms. Clare Hutchinson, Special Representative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General for Women, Peace and Security
  • Secretary-General, His Excellency António Guterres
  • Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
  • Yoka Brandt, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
  • Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office of Germany
  • Simona Leskovar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia
  • Iryna Herashchenko, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

Globalization and Interdependence

Migrant-Crisis-Refugees.jpg

Globalization offers both opportunities and challenges to the world. The world has been progressing, however, some nations are extremely more developed than others proving that there is an inequality between countries. No concrete action in combating inequality between countries.  In order to properly move forward, developed nations must help developing nations advance in areas they lack in.

One trend that is always innovating is technology. New technologies have lead us to the fourth industrial revolution. The rapid pace of science and technology has fundamentally changed economies and societies. There has been economic growth as we are recovering from global economic crises. Developing nations have growing GDPs, however, they are far from reaching the goal of eliminating inequality by 2030. Therefore, while keeping progress within ethical boundaries, we must create and share opportunities with them.  Technology transfer is vital to the development of countries. In terms of the economy, international trade is also important for development. There needs to be both economic growth and an eradication of poverty. With respect to national policies, the trade should also be non-discriminatory.

We must also tackle climate change on a global scale. Emissions reduction are not meeting what is needed and environmental protection must be a priority. Without doing so, industries are promoting future natural disasters. Speakers also brought up the topic of global migration and refugee crisis. Migration is a population change, and governments need to be able to provide better transit and destination for these large flows of international migrants. Contrary to what some people believe, migrants provide economic and social development in host countries. They add fresh skills to the economy, making migration an enabler of development. However, they need full respect for human rights, regardless of their migration state. Effective social communications in host countries are needed to combat issues like xenophobia. Migrant children are also a vulnerable population, and measures must be taken to provide for their health and education.

Globalization will help the world, but as mentioned, it is far from being equal, and therefore, need more multilateral cooperation to prepare for the future.  There needs to be more of an equitable spread of globalization as we attempt to make progress toward the goal of sustainable development.

Meeting:  Economic and Financial Committee: Globalization and interdependence – Item 22

Location/time/date:Conference Room 2, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 PM – 12:45 PM, October 19, 2018

SpeakersDirector of the International Organization for Migration (IOM),   Economic Analysis and Policy Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

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

gender_equality

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