#AceWorldNews says the other day was an an opportunity…to End Violence Against Women

Ending Violence Against Women#AceWorldNews says the other day was an opportunity for each person to recommit to ending the harm being committed against one out of three women, senior United Nations officials said marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

“Violence against women and girls directly affects individuals while harming our common humanity,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon <“http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7307“>said in his message for the Day, which this year focuses on the theme of raising awareness by wearing the colour orange.

Mr. Ban applauded leaders who are helping to enact and enforce laws and change mindsets, and paid tribute to the heroes who help victims heal and become agents of change. Among those, Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of the Panzi hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), who the UN chief met last month, and who in turn, is inspired by the courage of the women he treats.

English: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Vice Presiden...

English: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Vice President of South Africa, during the official visit of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, in Capetown, South Africa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In her first message for the Day as UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, urged world leaders to “mount a response that is proportionate to the violence threatening the lives of women and girls.”

“We need education in schools that teaches human rights and mutual respect, and that inspires young people to be leaders for equality,” she <“http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/11/press-release-ed-message-25-november“>said in a video message, adding that to be effective, prevention to must address gender inequality as the root cause of violence.

Speaking to journalists in New York, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri called gender-based violence a “gross human rights violation” and a “pandemic”.

Wearing orange scarfs uniformly with the other panelists to call attention to the orange theme, she noted that violence takes many forms – physical, psychological, economic and sexual – and that it is more dangerous to be a woman in conflict and post-conflict situations than to be a soldier, given the use of rape as a war tool.

She also called attention to the most common place for violence against women and girls – the home – which is the place they are supposed to be the safest.

Journalists also heard from Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, who noted that while he was the only man on the panel, the issue mainly concerns men since they are traditionally the perpetrators of the violence.

More than 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

“This is not acceptable: better laws and their enforcement are needed,” <“http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/11/25/violence-against-women-is-not-acceptable-and-can-be-prevented/“>said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.  She called for law enforcement and judicial systems to work together with governments, civil society and international partners to tackle the root causes of violence against women, support victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.

Meanwhile, the UNDP reported today that gender-based discrimination remains the single most widespread driver of inequalities.

According to the ‘Regional Human Development Report (HDR) 2013-2014 Citizen Security with a Human Face: evidence and proposals for Latin America’, gender-based violence contributes to insecurity in Latin America and is a persistent threat and obstacle to human development, public health and human rights.

DR CONGO While the evidence linking gender-based violence and poverty grows, so does a global call to include men’s voices in the solution to violence against women. A recent UN study carried out in the Asia-Pacific region found that of the 10,000 men surveyed, nearly half reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner.

The study recommends that development interventions should address social norms related to the acceptability of violence and dominant gender stereotypes, as well as focusing on ending impunity for perpetrators.

This same message is set out in the report ‘A Million Voices: The World We Want’, which synthesizes the results of an unprecedented global consultation involving over a million people across all countries and backgrounds on what the world’s future development agenda should look like.

It states that the current anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are silent on violence against women and girls, even though one of the eight goals is on gender, according to the UN agency.

“As we prepare to craft a post-2015 development agenda, violence against women and girls remains an enormous global problem that must be overcome,” <“http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/68/news/international_day_elimination_violence_against_women2013.shtml“>said John Ashe, the current President of the General Assembly.

Noting that the international community is crafting a post-2015 development agenda, he added that “no sustainable development agenda can be achieved without ending this global violation of human rights, without ending all violence against all women and girls in every country in the world.”

The UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in a 1999 resolution inviting governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to “organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day.”

The date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the assassination of three Mirabal sisters, who were political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo on 25 November 1960.

The Day marks the start of 16 days of activism, culminating with Human Rights Day on 10 December.

Given the timing of the 16 days and the focus on raising awareness with the colour orange, this year’s official theme is “Orange the World in 16 Days.”

Today’s events are part of the landmark UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. Launched by Mr. Ban in 2008, it has gathered UN agencies and offices to galvanize action across the UN system to prevent and punish violence against women.

He also noted the importance of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, the world’s leading global grant-making mechanism exclusively dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls, administered by UN Women.

Mr. Ban called for financial support to the Fund, the demand for whose grants have more than doubled in the recent years while the amount it has distributed diminished by 60 per cent.

“I appeal to all partners to help meet this vast unmet demand for resources to further our aims.

New York, Nov 25 2013  3:00PM

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Recent Turmoil in the Arab World Imperils Progress Towards Achieving the Anti-Poverty Targets Known as the Millennium Development Goals

The Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ...

The Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of UN. Target date: 2015 http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceFoodNews says recent turmoil in the Arab world imperils progress towards achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the region, stated a United Nations report released today.

The report, launched by the UN Development Group (UNDG) along with the League of Arab States and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), comes as Secretary-General convened a special event at UN Headquarters on achieving the MDGs, which world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.

It noted that while the Arab region has made progress towards many of the Goals since 2010, progress has slowed since then and the major cause is the widespread impact of the ongoing conflict in Syria.

“The crisis in Syria is a crisis for development across the Arab region,” <“http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/09/23/syria-crisis-a-crisis-for-arab-development.html“>said Sima Bahous, Chair of the UNDG in the Arab States Region and Director of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Arab States.

“The impact goes far beyond even the tragic and terrible widespread death and destruction in that country: it is also slowing the region’s progress on development,” she stated in a news release.

In addition to claiming the lives of over 100,000 people, displacing millions and causing widespread damage and destruction, the crisis in Syria is also having a major impact on human development across the country, according to the report.

It pointed out that the crisis has pushed at least three million of Syria’s 22 million people into poverty, while the country’s extreme poverty rate has climbed at least back to 8 per cent after having been virtually zeroed by 2007.

School enrolment rates have plunged and access to health care has also significantly reduced, added the report, which comes in advance of a more detailed UNDP study to be released in October showing the impact of the Syrian crisis on development in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Also, the report stated that the overall climate of instability and insecurity in the Arab region is dragging on progress more broadly across the region.

Economic activity has been slowed in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen – countries which since 2011 have been pursuing complex political transitions. Over five million people across the Arab region have been pushed into unemployment since 2010.

“In the case of Yemen, this slowdown comes atop already high poverty rates and deep challenges across the entire spectrum of development,” the news release stated. Over 10 million people in the country, nearly half of the total population, may be food insecure, according to the report.
Instability also complicates an already dire degree of water scarcity, the report added. Yemen suffers from chronic shortages and may be the first Arab country to run out of water, possibly as early as 2015. As of June 2012, 12.7 million Yemenis lacked access to safe water or sanitation.

The report also showed that many Arab countries are “off the path” to reach many important MDGs. Overall, the region lags behind on key targets, particularly those related to nutrition, food security, access to water and sanitation, and child and maternal mortality.

Today’s report comes as world leaders gather in New York to discuss not only progress towards the MDGs but also a new global development agenda which will come after the Goals expire in 2015. The discussions will include options for reflecting the importance of peace and security in a new development framework.

“The experience of the Arab region makes the linkage clear,” said Ms. Bahous. “Where there is no peace, there is no development; where there is no development, there can be no peace.”

 

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UN:Justice Must be Integral to Future Sustainable Development Agenda

United Nations UN has stated that Justice must be integral to any future  SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Agenda, as Justice, security and development cannot be promoted one at the expense of the other, either through reductionism or strict sequencing, a United Nations independent expert today urged following his briefing to the General Assembly.

Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence spoke to journalists in New York after briefing the General Assembly’s main social, humanitarian and cultural body (Third Committee) on his work.

“An interest in justice and rights is part of popular aspirations that ought to be captured by ongoing development discussions,” Mr. de Greiff said, telling the international community and particularly those involved in creating a sustainable development agenda following the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), about the relevance of justice and rights.

Referring to his report, the Special Rapporteur said that the MDGs and other development frameworks have failed to track either existing legal obligations or popular aspirations related to justice.

He highlighted the importance of transitional justice measures as mitigating some of these developmental blockages, in particular if a comprehensive approach is pursued.

Human rights violations, when left unaddressed can have an effect in creating a downward shift in people’s expectations,” he said, adding that people will shift their preferences downward rather than live in a permanent state of defeated expectations.

The UN independent expert also said that massive human rights violations undermine social trust and civic participation by having a marginalizing effect not just on the victims but on  other members of society, undermining their trust in trust in each other and in the institutions of the State.

Mr. de Greiff also raised the concerns associated with continuing to silo security, justice and development, keeping resources available for them different tracks.

Any new development agenda must satisfy a sort of “Tunisia test”, the Special Rapporteur said, which also stress good governance and equitable access to justice systems.

“Even from the point of view of security and development, failing to take justice seriously makes it more difficult for security forces to achieve their proper goal,” he said.

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

United Nations Human Rights Council logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.

 

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UN Call in Copenhagen for Clean Energy for a Sustainable Future

United Nations United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for a clean energy transformation to help put the world on a more sustainable path, stressing that this will require innovation, investment and collaboration by all partners.

“Achieving a clean energy transformation will need the joint efforts of governments, multilateral investment banks, private finance, civil society, the knowledge community and the private sector,” Mr. Ban said in a keynote <“http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7218“>address at the Third Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen. “We are partners on a path to sustainability… But we have no time to waste.”

He noted that the way energy is produced and used is “the dominant cause” of climate change. “The impact on our global economy is increasingly clear. We count the cost in human lives and economic loss,” he stated. “But, we are forging solutions together all over the world.”

In September 2011, the Secretary-General launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which aims to achieve three inter-linked global targets by 2030: universal access to modern energy services; the doubling of energy efficiency; and the doubling of the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix.

“Each of these objectives serves a common end: clean, low-carbon growth. This is critical for sustainable development,” said Mr. Ban.

He highlighted the world is fast approaching a triple deadline. The target date for achieving the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) falls at end of 2015. World leaders have also agreed on 2015 as the year for establishing a new sustainable development framework and reaching an agreement on climate change.

“2015 thus represents a historic opportunity to set the world on a sustainable path,” Mr. Ban stated. “To do that we must eradicate extreme poverty and hold global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“These objectives are mutually reinforcing and interdependent. Achieving them will require significant global momentum – beginning with a concerted push to accelerate progress towards the MDGs.

“On that foundation we must agree an inclusive post-2015 development framework with poverty reduction at its core and sustainable development as its guide. And to support these efforts, we must increase action and ambition on climate change.”

To that end, Mr. Ban has proposed convening a Climate Summit next September to bring together government, business, finance and civil society leaders from around the world to mobilize political will for the climate negotiations, deliver concrete new commitments and spark “a race to the top” in climate action.

He asked leaders to bring solutions and initiatives with targets, deliverables and investment plans. He also urged them to raise their level of ambition by scaling up the investments and financial flows necessary for making the transformation to a low-carbon economy.

“We need large amounts of capital for the rapid development of low-carbon infrastructure,” he stated. “We are seeing progress – but not fast enough; and not at sufficient scale.

“Climate change is the single greatest threat to sustainable development. Yet, too often, one important fact gets lost amid the fear: addressing climate change is one of our greatest opportunities,” he noted.

UN-Energy“With enlightened action, we can create jobs, improve public health, protect the environment and spur sustainable green growth. In the coming year we should all do our utmost to unlock the barriers to climate finance that exist across the global economy.”

The Secretary-General said he is personally engaged in trying to move the financial actors, regularly meeting with financial actors and investors. Today he attended a meeting with pension fund executives, at which he <“http://www.un.org/sg/offthecuff/index.asp?nid=3143“>asked them to help in unlocking new opportunities for capital investment in climate and development.

He also noted, in the meeting, his intention to include pension fund leaders in the Climate Summit, and discussed the possibilities for using the event as a unique opportunity to leverage unprecedented financial, political and organizational capital.

“I will continue to engage and challenge pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds to look beyond the fossil-related segments of the global economy. Less than 1 per cent of pension fund assets are currently invested in sustainable infrastructure projects,” Mr. Ban told the forum.

“Our hope is that greater investment can move towards low-carbon assets, for the good of the world and the long-term financial health of investors. At the same time, development and commercial banks can and should unlock capital to enable low-carbon investments. And regulators can break barriers to facilitating these flows.

“There are enormous untapped investment opportunities in developing countries. All financial actors have to work together to create the mechanisms for making these investments possible. Companies and countries have to make sure that bankable projects are ready, when the money is available.

“With focus, resolve and ambition, we can lower the global thermostat and raise the level of economic opportunity for all – from the poorest households to the largest enterprises.”

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