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

Women and Children’s Rights: Draft Resolutions in the Third Committee

 

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The November 22nd meeting began with a report of UN spending and proposed draft resolutions on preventing and combating corrupt practices and facilitating asset recovery. The Committee Secretary and the representative of Colombia stressed the importance of crime prevention and criminal justice. The Third Committee further discussed social development in the context of regional culture regarding youth, aging, disabled persons, and family life. Representatives focused on implementing outcomes of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly. The Committee deferred draft resolutions regarding women’s socioeconomic advancement, trafficking of women and girls, as well as “assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions” until a later time.

The committee discussed the promotion and protection of the children’s rights. Representatives proposed draft resolutions relating to “Child, early and forced marriage,” “Protecting children from bullying,” and “Rights of the child” (including, but not limited to migrant children). After some debate about language and content of the proposed revision, Sudan’s oral amendment to “Rights of the child” (A/C.3/71/L.20/Rev.1) was rejected by vote. The Committee adopted the revisions as earlier proposed, and several delegations followed with relevant personal statements. The committee agreed to adopt draft resolution to A/C.3/71/L.17/Rev.1 regarding the rights of indigenous peoples.

Meeting: Third Committee, 55th Meeting

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, 22 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; UN Headquarters, Conference Room 1

Speakers: Chairperson of the Third Committee, Secretary of the Third Committee, Representative of Colombia, Representative of Nigeria, Representative of the Philippines, Representative of Mexico, Representative of Iceland, Representative of Sudan

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

“We Will Stand Against Discrimination”

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In its 53rd and 54th meetings on November 21st, the Third Committee discussed actions on six draft resolutions: advancement of women; report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees, and displaced persons and humanitarian questions; report of the Human Rights Council; right of peoples to self-determination; promotion and protection of human rights, human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and crime prevention and criminal justice. The Committee passed all draft resolutions, with some needing revisions.

Holy See, Slovakia, the United States, and South Africa were among countries that approved the draft resolutions discussed. It was agreed that stigmas affecting pregnant women and children must end and that education is the best form of HIV/AIDS prevention. Additionally, the United Nations needs to use human rights based approaches regarding people with HIV/AIDS and their individuals struggles. Throughout the meeting, representatives emphasized discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in the form of gender identity and sexual orientation based violence that afflict non-cisgendered and non-heterosexual individuals globally. Several delegates claimed global campaigns and empowerment practices were only a few of the necessary approaches for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community to exercise and enjoy their full human rights.

Countries opposing some resolutions included the Russian Federation, Mexico, and Singapore. The Representative of  the Russian Federation argued that as a unique United Nations body with universal representation, the Third Committee must respect the disparate views of various countries. The Representative of Singapore agreed and added that delegations have the right to express the needs of their countries in the context of their cultures. H.E. Ambassador of Mexico stated that it is impossible to find a universal definition regarding this issue within the Committee.

Meeting: Third Committee, 53rd/54th Meetings (AM/PM), 71th General Assembly

Date/Time/Location: Monday, 21 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00, 15:00; United Nations Headquarters

Speakers: Committee Secretary; Representative of the Holy See; Representative of Slovakia; Representative of Norway; Representative of Jamaica; Representative of Iceland; Representative of Senegal; Representative of Malaysia; Representative of Chile; Representative of Israel; Representative of Liechtenstein; Representative of the United Kingdom; Representative of Nauru; Representative of Uganda; Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania; Representative of South Africa; Representative of Spain; Representative of Argentina; Representative of Papua New Guinea; Representative of India; H.E. Ambassador of Botswana; Representative of South Africa; Representative of Yemen; Representative Russian Federation; Representative of Thailand; Representative of Congo; Representative of Singapore; Representative of Japan; Permanent Representative of Egypt; Representative of Brazil; Representative of the United States; H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Korea; H.E. Ambassador of Mexico

Written By: Janet Lee, WIT Representative

 

Report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the global health architecture: implementation of the recommendations of the High-level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises

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Today’s morning meeting revolved around strengthening the global health architecture to respond more effectively to health emergencies. This began with Mr. Lykketoft’s opening remark on global health crises and the importance of preparedness in the future. This is followed by the Secretary-General’s speech on the progress on some of the key recommendation made by the Panel on the Global Response on Health Crises. Three developments are highlighted – firstly, WHO’s capacity are consolidated and strengthened through the creation of the WHO Emergencies Programme, which changed the fundamental nature of the organization. Secondly, the recommendation of strengthening the UN system coordination during health crises has been taken seriously and the Deputy Secretary-General has been working to ensure there’s a senior level forum for coordination. Thirdly, the World Bank has launched the pandemic emergency financing facility, an innovative mechanism to protect the world against pandemics.

Mr. Kikwete discusses the findings of the panel, and stressed that donor countries should give serious consideration in supporting building capacities ahead of crises and effective communication and engagement should be given high priority. He urged for a reform of global health architecture to prevent worse situations in the future and outlined two recommendations: the establishment of High-level Council on Global Public Health Crises within the General Assembly, and the organization of the High-level Summit on Global Public Health Crises in 2018.

Mr. Aylward mentioned that disease can exert huge environmental, societal and economic costs and expressed the importance of preparedness and response capacity in preventing catastrophic consequences. He revealed more than 60 partners were identified to work with WHO to implement the Strategy Response Framework, with the focus on putting women in the centre and protecting them and children from Zika virus infection.

This meeting concludes with Mr. Nabarro’s remark on how global health and the sustainable development agenda are interlinked. He stated that global health is a universal attribute and is indivisible to all SDGs as ill health will undermine society’s ability to develop sustainably.

Meeting: Informal meeting of the plenary to hear a briefing on the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the global health architecture: implementation of the recommendations of the High-level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises (A/70/824).

Date/Time/Location: 20 June 2016, 11:00am, Conference Room 3

Speakers: Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the United Nations General Assembly; Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Chair of the High-level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises/President of the United Republic of Tanzania; Bruce Aylward, Assistant Directors-General of the World Health Organization; David Nabarro, Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Written by: Susan Liu

Edited by: Modou Cham

HLPF Informals

www.un.orgThe session was organized by the co-facilitators to get comments from member states and permanent observers of the United Nations, on the Ministerial Declaration for the 2016 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. Ambassador Gustavo, in his opening remarks, stated that this is the first to follow-up and implement the 2030Sustainable Development Agenda.

Ambassador Gustavo explained that the Ministerial Declaration, which was sent in a letter from the Co-facilitators to all permanent representatives and permanent observers on 13 June 2016 contain potential elements of the draft Ministerial Declaration.

Ambassador Gustavo further highlighted the importance of the “Global Sustainability Development Report” which was included in the Ministerial Declaration, stating that the scope of the report is one important component of the follow-up and review process for the 20130 Agenda on Sustainable Development and will inform the HLPF to make policy decisions to reduce poverty.

After the brief introductory statement, Ambassador Gustavo opened the floor to all permanent representatives and member states to comment on the HLPF Ministerial Declaration.

After comments from member states, Ambassador Gustavo opened the floor for other organizations or permanent observers to the United Nations to comment on the HLPF Ministerial Declaration.

The major call from the different organizations was the need for global partnerships at all levels to achieve the global sustainable development agenda.

Ambassador Gustavo ended the session by thanking all for the interventions and participation despite the short notice to prepare for this session. He handed over the floor to his Co-facilitator, Ambassador Gillian to give her final comments.

In her final words, Ambassador Gillian thanked everyone for their constructive work and that she looks forward to working with all on the HLPF.

Meeting: Informal consultations on the draft ministerial declaration of the high-level political forum on sustainable development for 2016, convened under the auspices of the Council, and the high-level segment of the 2016 session of the Council, convened by the co-facilitators (Australia and Peru).

Date/Time/Location: 16 June 2016/15:40 to 18:00/ Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Co-facilitators from Peru (Ambassador Gustavo) and Australia (Ambassador Gillian Bird), delegates member states, stakeholders and NGO representatives.

Reported by:   Fred Yonghabi

Ghost Fishing Gear

The session began this afternoon with introductory remarks from the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden, Ambassador Per Thoresson, and H.E Ambassador Mahe Uli’ Uli Sandhurst Tupouniu, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Tonga, both highlighting the necessity to protect global marine resources for sustainable development and finding  the role of governments to achieve SDG 14.

Ambassador Per Thoresson, welcomed the panelist, and the new Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden  as the keynote speaker.

Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin in her presentation addressed the problem of lost fishing gear in Sweden and in the Baltic sea, highlighting that lost fishing gear is a major pollutant in oceans (microplastics) affecting marine life and reduces fish stock. Less fish means fishermen will spend more time fishing and some will fish illegally. She also said that Sweden is leading several initiatives to address lost fishing gear in the Baltic Sea and introducing drifting nets to decrease the flow of plastic waste into the sea.  The Deputy Prime Minister reiterated that multi-stakeholder platforms are very necessary to push this agenda to significantly reduce marine debris as offered by SDG 14. She concluded by saying that if we all assume shared responsibilities and work together, it will be possible to solve the problems worldwide.

Elizabeth Hogan of the World Animal Protection introduced a project that she works on called Sea-change. She said that approximately 640000 tons of fishing gear has been abandoned in the oceans, and they persist in marine environments for over 600 years. She also reiterated that it is important to get the lost fishing gear out of the oceans to protect marine species and reduce wildlife entanglement which is causing a decline in marine biodiversity. She talked about the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), which provides a cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder framework committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.

Meeting: Special event on “Implementing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2030 Agenda: The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) – Protecting oceans and marine animals”

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, 08 June 2016, 1:15pm – 2:45pm / Conference Room 6

Speakers: Ambassador Mahe Uli’ Uli Sandhurst Tupouniu, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Tonga to the United Nations, Ambassador Per Thoresson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations, Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, Sweden (Keynote address), Elizabeth Hogan, World Animal Protection Sea Change Campaign Manager (Briefing on ghost gear initiative progress and call for support), Respondents: Permanent Mission of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Palau, the Kingdom of Thailand and Vanuatu

Written By: Fred Talah, WIT Representative

Summary By: Modou Cham, WIT, Administrator

100th plenary meeting on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS held by the General Assembly

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The meeting was operated for countries to declare their commitment against AIDS as well as implement political declarations. The President began with the opening remarks on addressing the above importance. Soon after, Mr. Sey revealed the key to preventing AIDS was to monitor the HIV transmission together with maintaining economic growth, where prosperity could alleviate poverty, with fewer women getting HIV. In addition, Prof. Randrianarimanana stated AIDS could be eradicated by focusing on high impact intervention, effective decentralization, and strengthening the health-care system. He admitted the epidemic was still existed, even if the current prevalence was low.

On the other hand, Dr. Numbi recalled the dedication on the previous declaration cheered the international commitment, technical and financial partners with a multisector approach to combat AIDS. Meanwhile, Dr. Al-Jasser added with a compliment on the comprehensive national program, safeguarding the access on treatment, had enhanced the community responsibility, cooperation and civil societies’ engagement. Moreover, Mr. Hamach reminded the stigma and discrimination would implicitly harm the Universal Health Coverage program where social restructuring was demanding. He ended his speech by reiterating political leadership and devotion to international community were vital to the Fast-Track to ending AIDS. Then, Ms. Skogen appealed to all members, to provide funding to high-burden and developing countries on quality education, sexual education, reproductive services along with well-trained health-care workers.

Last but not least, the above speakers declared their unceasing allegiance to combating AIDS financially or putting efforts on regulation compliance, demanding stronger prevention of AIDS.

Meeting: 100th plenary meeting on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS held by the General Assembly

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, June 08, 2016; 15:00-18:00; General Assembly Hall

Speakers: His Excellency, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the General Assembly; His Excellency, Mr. Omar Sey, the Minister of Health & Social Welfare of Gambia; His Excellency, Prof. Dieudonné Randrianarimanana, the Minister of Health, Family Planning and Social Protection of Madagascar; His Excellency, Dr. Félix Kabange Numbi, The DRC Minister of Public Health; His Excellency, Dr. Sulaiman bin Mohammed Al-Jasser, the Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia; His Excellency, Mr. Masakazu Hamach, the Parliamentary Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Japan; Her Excellency, Ms. Tone Skogen, the State Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Written By: WIT Representative, Kelvin HO

Edited By: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

Photo: https://twitter.com/unaids

WORLD OCEAN’S DAY

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In his opening remarks, H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, addressed the issue of environmental justice with regard to rising sea levels, ocean temperature rise, and fishery decline – all of which pose increasing threats to the wellbeing and livelihoods of Pacific island nations whose actions towards global climate change have remained minimal. Palau calls upon stronger global partnerships that allow for a united mobilization towards SDG 14: Life Below Water, as well as funding to help island nations face the challenges they will come across in the upcoming years.

During the keynote address, Mr. Nainoa Thompson shared his first-hand experiences whilst aboard the Mãlama Hanua Worldwide Voyage, Polynesian Voyaging Society, and their visitation to 27 countries. Bringing awareness on the environmental issues faced by island nations, as well as expressing their values and indigenous knowledge, the organization seeks to connect with diverse communities and scientific practices in order to strengthen innovation and capacity building. Inspiring the world to navigate toward sustainability, the Voyage reminds us of our ‘Island Earth’ and the responsibilities we have to protect it. By understanding and caring for our natural environment we can set it as a priority, and only then, develop an economy around it. The Voyage articulates an identity based on the ocean, and calls upon leaders to not simply read and sign declarations but to commit to solutions, foster innovation, and use entrepreneurship to support and achieve SDG14.

Meeting: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations: World Oceans Day – Voyaging to a Sustainable Planet

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, June 8, 2016; 15:30 – 18:00; Conference Room 1

Speakers: H.E Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau; Pomai Bertelmannn; Nainoa Thompson, Master Navigator and President, Polynesian Voyaging Society; U’ilani Hayes Halau Ku Mana; Dr. Caleb Otto, Permanent Representative of Palau to the UN

Written By: WIT Representative, Lena Courcol

Edited By: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

The New Urban Agenda

 

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Photo: UN-Habitat

The Breakfast Series began by Ms. Ramdas’ opening address in stating the vision of Ford Foundation of creating a society that embraces diversity, equity and creativity by combating spatial inequalities under the new Urban Agenda. She emphasized the importance of including youth and women at not only consultation stages in anti-inequalities policy formulation, but also in the decision-making process. To support such vision as well as the formation of Habitat III’s Zero Draft, she concluded her speech by assuring Ford Foundation’s full commitment in this regard. The Panel Discussion commenced with the Moderator’s speech, stating that notwithstanding spatial inequalities have been an issue, gender or income-based inequalities persist. Note that inequalities are narrower at upper strata of the society, she then urged civil society and member states to work collaboratively to put their attention on young women that face both poverty and gender-based discriminations. From NGOs’ perspective, Ms. Katcha stated that rather than dwelling in the Zero Draft’s details, it is more important currently to shift our focus to high-level political negotiation since the effectiveness of any commitment on the Zero Draft could not be translated into reality without member states’ recognition, adoption and proactive participation. In addition, note that the New Urban Agenda is a strategic transformation that engages the Sustainable Development Goals, the Agenda must shed light on improving urban-rural linkage since gender-based inequalities differ at urban and rural settings and it is only by doing so can we align to SDGs’ principle of “leaving no one behind”.

At the grassroots level, Ms. Thross expressed her concerns over the persistence of routines and bureaucracy that exist not only in national governments, but also the United Nations, whereby hindering grassroots and civil society to channel their voices to the power-holders. In response to this, Ms. Katherine suggested to formalize the relationship between governments and civil society under the new Agenda. Also, she pointed out that besides young women, the current Agenda has completely left behind elder women; note that its population is projected to thrive, it is of urgent need for the new Agenda to incorporate discussion over them in its formulation. Concluding the meeting was the Moderator’s remark in suggesting the importance of globalizing the new urban agenda, that is, to contextualize its content prior to its adoption at local level.

Meeting: Habitat III Civil Society Breakfast series on critical issues in the New Urban Agenda – Gender and the New Urban Agenda

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, 8 June, 2016; 08:00 – 10:00; 11/F, Ford Foundation

Speakers: Ms. Kavita N. Ramdas, Former Representative of Ford Foundation at New Delhi, Ms. Violet Shivutse, Moderator; Shibuye Community Health Workers, Ms. Denini, Representative from Maasai Women Development Organisation (MWEDO), Ms. Katcha, NGO representative, Ms. Thross, invited participants from an African grassroots community, Ms. Katherine, Former Diplomat

Written by: Raphael LEUNG

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

 

Delivering an AIDS-free Generation

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Today’s afternoon meeting held by the UNAIDS council presented a panel of well renowned HIV/AIDS activists, expressing their plea for the continued support of the UNAIDS program in order to one day have an AIDS-free society. The President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, began by praising UNAIDS’ commitment in acting swiftly and their intensified efforts to end HIV transmission. Five years since the UN has joined forces in the global fight to end child transmission of AIDS, significant progress has been made. Noted, was the fact that since inception, 33% of pregnant women now have access to treatment that allows them to stop AIDS from transferring to their newborns. Speakers addressed that an AIDS-free generation requires much more action that is aligned with Agenda 2030. Transmission rates must decrease significantly between mothers and their children by scaling up treatment for the mothers. Work on the ground, directly with the affected population and promotion of access to treatment and funding to countries that are overwhelmed by the epidemic need to be considered.

The Executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, then took the stand and thanked all the countries that are joining the UNAIDS mission to eliminate children born with AIDS. He mentioned that stigma is still one of the biggest challenges behind the fight against HIV/AIDS and that member states must all partner up to stop it. A video was shown of the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya thanking the 21 Sub-Saharan African countries for their unwavering support and partnership. It was mentioned that the only 100% effective way to stop the transmission of AIDS from mother to child is to target adolescent girls and ensure their prevention from getting infected. The meeting ended with the General Assembly President thanking all who participated and showed.

Meeting: Delivering an AIDS-free Generation

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, June 8, 2016; 13:15-14:45; Conference Room 3

Speakers: Ms. Whoopie Goldberg, Host of the View; Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of UN General Assembly and Ambassador of Denmark; Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive director of UNAIDS; Mr. Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health in South Africa, Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia; Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF; Annie Lenox, acclaimed singer and songwriter and founder of SING; Deborah Birx, Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to combat HIV/AIDS; Piyasakol Sakolsataydorn, Minister of Public Health of the Kingdom of Thailand

Written by: WIT representative, Amirali Agha-Khan

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham