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

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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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https://www.ipu.org/resources/multimedia

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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https://www.facebook.com/gfmdsu/

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

Projections and visions on the advancement of sustainable development

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http://www.eco-business.com/opinion/fighting-for-the-future-sustainable-development-and-the-battle-for-ideas-in-2017/

This meeting is about the future trend of sustainable development. Speakers shared their visions based on current statistics. Mr. Moussa Oumarou, Deputy Director General for Field Operations and Partnerships of International Labour Organization, names four changes, including technology, globalization, climate change, and population growth. He pointed out the inextricable link between environmental issues and employment. Seeing this, he suggested an in-depth analysis of the challenge in production models and the structural changes in economies in order to address both environmental and employment issues.

Mr. Juha Siikamaki, Chief Economist of International Union for Conservation of Nature, focused on the threat to nature posed by rapid economic growth. He argued that the main drivers of extinction are linked to agricultural expansion, over-exploitation of species and pollution. To alleviate the problem, he contended that the solution lies in the nature. He explained that using nature to conserve itself is cost-effective because, for example, it is much cheaper to mitigate greenhouse gas emission by nature. Overall, he concluded that growth in GDP has to include the added value delivered by the conservation of biodiversity.

The last speaker, Ms. Catarina Tully, Co-Founder of School of International Futures, called for a look into alternative scenarios in order to create a complex and interdependent future-thinking framework in the SDGs. She argued that policymakers need to be a lot more critical in thinking about regulation of how technologies is distributed. Also, anticipatory governance, skills and institution are required. At the end, speakers agree that policymakers have to ensure inclusive growth to deliver sustainable development.

Meeting: 2018 ECOSOC High-level Policy Dialogue “Where are we heading? Visions and projections for the future of the SDGs” – Projections and visions on the advancement of sustainable development

Date/Location: Thursday 19th July 2018; 11:45-13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Vice-President of ECOSOC;

Mr. Michael Shank, Communications Director, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and Urban Sustainability Directors Network;

Mr. Moussa Oumarou, Deputy Director General for Field Operations and Partnerships, International Labour Organization;

Mr. Juha Siikamaki, Chief Economist, International Union for Conservation of Nature;

Ms. Catarina Tully, Co-Founder, School of International Futures.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

“Where are we heading? Visions and projections for the future of the SDGs” – Trends in the global economy and international trade and finance

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http://www.cbc.bb/index.php/component/k2/item/1096-caribbean-urged-to-focus-on-international-trade-to-ensure-region-s-growth

This meeting is about the current trend of international trade and its influence on the future of the SDGs. In the opening remarks, Mr. Liu Zhengmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, alerted the world leaders of the future scenario. He named a few topics of concerned, including the rapid population growth in the least developed countries, the acceleration of urbanization, the limited use of renewable energy in comparison with fossil fuel and pollution in air, water and soil. He warned that acceleration of economic growth comes with environmental costs.

During the panel discussion, panelists gave their analysis of how SDG could be better implemented given current trend in global economy. Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, argued that countries need to create a framework for business to incentivize them to invest in sustainable development. Mr. Liu Zhengmin contended that UN bodies and national governments should work with academia to develop a new concept of trade. Ms. Alicia Bárcena, current Coordinator of United Nations Regional Commissions, focused on the cases in Latin American. Seeing tax evasion, she demanded to convene the private sector at the national level as a basis for sustainable development. Mr. Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary-General of OECD, pointed out the widening income gap and called for inclusive growth. Lastly, speakers from the World Bank, IMF and WTO acknowledged the impact of technology on economy. They argued that job creation is key to the achievement of SDGs.

Meeting: 2018 ECOSOC High-level Policy Dialogue “Where are we heading? Visions and projections for the future of the SDGs” – Trends in the global economy and international trade and finance

Date/Location: Thursday 19th July 2018; 10:00-11:45; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. Radek Vondráček, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic;

Mr. Liu Zhengmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs;

Mr. Michael Shank, Communications Director, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and Urban Sustainability Directors Network;

Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UNCTAD;

Ms. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, and current Coordinator of United Nations Regional Commissions;

Mr. Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD;

Mr. Bjorn Gillsater, Special Representative of the World Bank Group to the UN;

Mr. David Robinson, Deputy Director, African Department, International Monetary Fund;

Mr. Robert The, Chief of Section, Economic Research and Statistics, World Trade Organization.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Situation in Palestine

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http://time.com/5279345/the-breakdown-gaza-gas-prices/

This meeting is about the situation in the Middle East, particularly on the Palestinian question. In the opening remarks, Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN, condemned Israeli government of their actions against international law. He stated that the escalation of conflicts poses a threat to international security. Seeing this, he supported the two-state solution.

In response, H.E. Mr. Danny Danon from Israel stressed that Israel will not give up any sovereignty over its territory. Concerning the suffering of Palestinian civilians, he emphasized the contribution made by Israeli government in humanitarian aid. Also, he pointed to Hamas, the rebel group in Palestine, that built terror tunnels to attack Israeli population and condemned Iranian authority of their support to Hamas. Overall, H.E. Mr. Danny Danon argued that Israel was countering Hamas for self-defense.

Following the exchange of opinions, countries gave their national statements. H.E. Ms. Nikki R. Haley, Permanent Representative of US to the UN, criticized Arab states of their zero contribution to UNRWA. She compared that with the donation made by China, Russia, Turkey, Kuwait and UAE to the education of Palestinian civilians. She called for Arab states’ financial contribution rather than speeches in resolving the question of Palestine.

Russian representative, H.E. Mr. Nebenzia Vassily Alekseevich, believed that the only way to achieve a settlement lies in the meeting between relevant parties. Thus, he revealed the undergoing process to convene a Palestinian-Israeli meeting in Russia. Another supporter of UNWRA, China, called for the two-state solution. Similarly, France agreed that there is no viable alternative solution than that. However, France called on the US to shoulder responsibility to make sure UNRWA budget can be filled.

Meeting: Security Council – meeting 8316

Date/Location: Tuesday 24th July 2018; 10:00-13:00; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN;

H.E. Mr. Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN;

H.E. Ms. Nikki R. Haley, Permanent Representative of US to the UN;

H.E. Mr. Nebenzia Vassily Alekseevich, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at the United Nations.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: Meeting 390

The recent volatile situation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was brought to the floor from the Permanent Representative of the Observer State Palestine and the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. Two recent events were the theme of the conversation. First, the recent “Nation State Law”  passed by the Israeli Knesset reaffirming Israel as fully the home of Jews and abolishing Arabic as an official language of Israel. Arabic was an official language for over 70 years.  This also comes after the contested US move of its  headquarters to Jerusalem months prior.

The next event was the recent attacks on the Bedouins. Mr.Mansour, representing Palestine shamed Israel for a law that bluntly discriminates and is moving Israel to a state of “apartheid.” He called on representatives of experienced apartheid states, Namibia and South Africa to weigh in on the Israeli abuse of Palestinians. The South African representative echoed the universal scar of colonization in many countries and applauded Egypt’s involvement which resulted in a ceasefire.  He stressed that more states need to get involved and one measure includes stopping illegal business transactions in Israeli settlements.

Also, hundreds of Palestinian children have been put in jail without a trial, as a clear human rights violation.  The representative of Venezuela repeated the need to accept Palestine as a UN Permanent Member.  Evidently, the unrest and lack of peace between Israel and Palestine is historic, and it will take the global community to finally decide to take feasible action to attempt to resolve this sensitive conflict.

Meeting​: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
People – meeting 390

Date/Location​: Monday 23th July 2018; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 3, United
Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers​:

Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

H.E. Dr. Riyad H. Mansour, Ambassador of Permanent Observer of the State of
Palestine to the United Nations;

H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United
Nations.

Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker

9th session of the OEWGA Side Event: National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) and Human Rights of Older Persons

In view of this week’s 9th session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, the National Human Rights Instruments (NHRI) have submitted written submissions and oral statements, in response to the two focus areas of “autonomy and independence” and “long-term care and palliative care”. Following up UN recommendations, this side event addressed the main cross-regional concerns in regards to the rights of older persons.

Hearing briefings from the Philippines, Croatia, Africa and Latin America, this side event first identified that long-term measures on long-term and palliative care for older persons are not adequate across countries. During the event, representatives lobbied on long-term health care measures, particularly age ceilings of paid health insurance services and universal health care systems.

In addition, the event underscored the problem of inconsistencies with the definitions of autonomy and independence for older persons. In fact, they are often misinterpreted as decision-making processes and lack legally binding powers across countries. Member states are called upon to come up with consistent, legally binding international instruments to offer clarity on parameters of protection of older persons.

Older persons are the driving forces of our economic development and shall not be left as marginalised social groups. They should not be mistreated with social injustice or infringements on human rights. Integrated human rights-based approaches should be well incorporated with government institutions to safeguard the rights of older persons.

Date/Location:
Monday 23rd July 2018; 16:30 to 18:00; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speaker(s):
Mr. Lee Sung-ho, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea and Chairperson of the GANHRI Working Group on Ageing
Ms. Lora Vidović, Ombudswoman of the Republic of Croatia
Ms. Karen Gomez-Dumpit, Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
Ms. Florence Simbiri Jaoko, Special Envoy, GANHRI
Ms. Liz Vela, Expert, Defensoía del Pueblo del Perú
Professor Andrew Byrnes, International Legal Advisor

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki