Category Archives: global

From Rwanda To Beyond: New Collaborations And Collective Action At Women’s Conclave


An article by Ridhima Shukla in Forbes Africa

Attendees at the just-concluded Women Deliver 2023 Conference in Kigali exchanged ideas and experiences through thought-provoking discussions that set the stage for the unveiling of new and transformative policy frameworks supporting women’s rights and issues.

In the heart of Kigali, Rwanda, the BK Arena and Kigali Convention Centre buzzed with excitement as women from all corners of the world gathered for the Women Deliver 2023 Conference (WD2023), from July 17-20, held for the first time in Africa.

The Women Deliver conference witnessed participation from over 6,000 stakeholders and advocates dedicated to advancing gender equality. Photo: UN Women/Emmanuel Rurangwa

Held under the theme, Spaces, Solidarity, and Solutions, the sixth Women Deliver Conference aimed to ignite collective action, empower the feminist movement, and foster a world where gender equality and women’s rights thrive.

A wide range of topics, including abortion access, LGBTIQQ rights, gender-based violence and impact of the climate crisis on women and girls, were discussed, along with focus on fostering youth engagement and elevating the perspectives of young women in the global gender equality movement.

The event saw an impressive turnout with thousands in attendance. Notable speakers included renowned personalities such as activist Malala Yousafzai. Also in attendance were four heads of state including Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame – with his wife and first lady Jeannette Kagame – Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, and the President of Hungary, Katalin Novák.

One of the most significant announcements came from the collaboration between Women Deliver and Open Society Foundations, a grant-making network founded and chaired by Hungarian-American business behemoth and philanthropist George Soros.

Together, they unveiled a new funding facility to address, among other things, neglected areas of female sexual health and reproductive rights. The room erupted in applause as the audience recognized the potential of this facility in empowering marginalized women and girls who have long been denied access to basic healthcare.

As the conference progressed, it became evident that the commitment to drive change extended beyond the arena’s walls. More than 40 organizations came together to launch a powerful campaign addressing the gender nutrition gap. Their collective call urged governments to take transformative action, shining a spotlight on the stark inequalities that persist globally in women’s and girls’ nutrition.

Another momentous step forward was the unveiling of the RESPECT Women website. Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Women, and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), this policy framework and online platform has been designed to combat and respond to violence against women and girls. The website’s potential to create a safer environment and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment was met with resounding support and recognition.

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Question related to this article:
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Perhaps the most moving moment at the conference was when UNFPA introduced Kigali Call to Action: United for Women and Girls’ Bodily Autonomy. This powerful call placed bodily autonomy, reproductive rights, and gender equality at the core of the agenda. With a clear focus on women-led organizations and the feminist movement, the call aimed to drive coordinated and collective action towards gender equality by 2030.

The conference’s commitment to empowering future generations was expressed with the launch of the Women Deliver Emerging Leaders Program to provide young people with trust-based funding, knowledge, resources, and leadership opportunities in the pursuit of gender equality and reproductive health advocacy. As the torch was passed on to the next generation, the attendees celebrated the potential of these emerging leaders to create a lasting impact on the global stage.

Throughout the conference, attendees engaged in thought-provoking discussions, exchanging ideas and experiences, leaving no stone unturned in their quest for progress. Challenges were acknowledged, and the urgency to address them collectively was clear.

The importance of funding for gender equality advocacies resonated strongly among the attendees. Julia Fan, Senior Manager for Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, emphasized that funding remains a critical aspect in driving forward the agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Alongside the vibrant discussions and inspiring stories of progress, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, too offered valuable insights. She acknowledged the strides Rwanda has made in promoting women to leadership positions, highlighting that this progress did not happen overnight but has been the result of extraordinary leadership that recognized gender equity as a vital indicator of the nation’s progress, almost three decades ago.

While there were successes to celebrate, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Board Chair of Women Deliver, also addressed a pressing concern shared by many attendees.

She remarked: “What concerns most women today here is that progress in gender equality has been slow and uneven, and a major space where all countries have failed is violence against women. It is sad to sit and talk about this here again; I was talking about this 10 years ago.”

While gender issues still persist, efforts to combat them also have a history, starting with the Beijing Declaration in 1995 that opened the door for women’s issues to find mainstream recognition globally, leading to the Platform for Action adopted unanimously by 189 countries. In the words of Mlambo-Ngcuka, “it was a defining moment when women’s rights received the status of human rights”.

The development and acceptance of the Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights in 2005 has also come a long way. The protocol has one of the highest number of ratifications for an instrument in the African Union (AU) and has objectively established a uniform basis for protecting the rights of women and girls in Africa. Forty nine of the 55 AU member states have signed the Maputo Protocol thus far.

Reflecting on the week’s transformative experience. Rania Dagesh, the Deputy Regional Director for eastern and southern Africa at UNICEF, expressed her sentiments: “The past week at Women Deliver has been phenomenal; there have been moments of reflection, profound exchanges, and valuable learning. I am truly grateful for participating.”

As the final moments of the conference unfolded, the atmosphere was one of hope, determination, and camaraderie.

(Editor’s note: For another perspective on the conference, see UN Women Executive Director visits Rwanda, applauds remarkable progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment.)

New book: Nonviolent Journalism, a humanist approach to communication


An announcement from Pressenza

This book aims to reflect the first twelve years of collective effort of a non-profit organisation run by volunteers from the fields of journalism and communication: Pressenza, an international press agency with a nonviolent approach. It is on the basis of this approach and the process of developing the agency that we are able to present these pages to you.

Twelve years of successes and failures, of experiments, alliances, and learning through dialogue with and the know-how of communicators, activists, and friends from academia who have provided us with the impetus to put down on paper the foundations and principles, the tools and suggestions that could shape a nonviolent approach to communication and journalism at the service of those who may find it useful. The team that worked on this production has been with the agency since its inception. We have lived and breathed this project, and that undoubtedly brings with it advantages and disadvantages to this text, which is why it is good for the reader to be aware of this fact.

As you will see, this production is halfway between a book and a manual. The reason is simple: we wanted to set out the elements that underpin the approach and also provide some tips that have helped us to put it into practice and to identify it in other allied media. Therefore, you will find examples taken not only from Pressenza but also from other media. We are not and do not aspire to be the “owners” of the content: we have learned from many people and in many environments. Our task is to integrate these learnings in the best possible way.

Who were we thinking of when we wrote these pages? Most especially in educational establishments where the new generations of communicators and journalists are being qualified. We would like this book to be useful in university lecture theatres, both for teachers and students. But we are also thinking of professionals in the field and activists in social collectives, movements and organisations whose agendas – also characterised by nonviolence – may find tools for dissemination in this approach.

This is the first edition. We reserve the right to improve it and, hopefully, in a little while, publish a second and third edition, etc. It is, therefore, a living publication.

Click here to purchase the English edition

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(Click here for the book in Spanish or click here for the book in French)

Questions related to this article:

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

Journalism in Latin America: Is it turning towards a culture of peace?

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About the authors

Pía Figueroa Edwards (Chile)

Chilean, has a degree in Art History and is an expert in ecology. From 2008 to date, she has been co-director of Pressenza, international press agency. She writes regularly, is an executive producer of television documentaries and has produced several research monographs. She has published three books, which form part of the current of thought known as Universalist Humanism.

Nelsy Lizarazo Castro (Ecuador/Colombia)

of Colombian and Ecuadorian nationality, has a postgraduate degree in Political Science and International Relations and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Literature. As a communicator and educator, she worked for twelve years, over two different periods, in ALER, the Latin American Association of Popular Education and Communication. She is a university lecturer and founder of Pressenza, as well as editor in the Ecuadorian bureau and, for the last five years, has been a co-producer of the radio programme Cuatro Elementos [Four Elements], which focuses on the analysis of international events.

Juana Pérez Montero (Spain)

has a degree in journalism from the Faculty of Information Sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid. She has worked in the written press and radio. She has developed her journalistic work collaborating with different groups, social movements and spiritual expressions. Her commitment to collective creation has led her to participate in the production of documentaries, books and monographs, as well as in the construction of networks of activists who advocate for an unconditional universal basic income, nuclear disarmament, dialogue and reconciliation between individuals and peoples.

Tony Robinson (United Kingdom)

As an activist in World without Wars and Violence, he took part in the first World March for Peace and Nonviolence which campaigned for the elimination of nuclear arsenals and all forms of violence. Since then, Tony has been first a writer, then an editor and finally a co-director for Pressenza, International Press Agency. In 2019, he produced the award-winning documentary film, The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons, with director Álvaro Orús.

Javier Tolcachier (Argentina)

is a researcher at the World Centre for Humanist Studies. He is a columnist and member of the founding team of Pressenza, International Press Agency. His works include the books Memories of the Future, The Fall of the Dragon and the Eagle, Humanising History and Trends, as well as papers, articles, studies and monographs that attempt to apply a humanist look to diverse fields of human activity. He has been involved in the Humanist Movement for four decades and lives in Córdoba, Argentina, his hometown.

About the book

At the time of writing, the book has been published in 3 different Spanish language editions in Chile, Ecuador and Colombia  and also in Italian.

18 Years of BDS. 18 Years of Impact in Turning Darkness into Light


An article from the BDS Movement

Today marks 18 years since the historic call from the largest Palestinian coalition to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel’s regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid (BDS). On this anniversary we acknowledge the many dark days that have cast a shadow over our hearts. This year alone, Palestinians everywhere have faced escalating Israeli massacres, atrocities, siege, pogroms, airstrikes and unmasked genocidal calls. As painful and devastating as they are, these are also signs of the darkest hour of this 75-year-old regime of oppression and of the nearing light of liberation. 

From Jerusalem to Gaza, from Masafer Yatta to Jenin, from an-Naqab to the Galilee, and across our refugee camps in Palestine and in exile, we resist the colonization of our land and the forcible displacement of our people, just as we resist their attempts to colonize our minds with horror and hopelessness.

With our popular resistance in its many diverse forms, we are steadfast, we resist, and we insist on our full “menu of rights”. 

BDS supports Palestinians to continue to endure and resist the darkness of settler-colonialism and apartheid until we reach the light of freedom, justice and dignity. The nonviolent, anti-racist BDS movement is now supported by mass movements struggling for racial, social, Indigenous, economic, climate and gender justice representing tens of millions of people worldwide, as well as by dozens of progressive Jewish groups. 

International figures including Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Annie Ernaux, Charles P. Smith, Mairead Maguire, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams, and influential authors including Naomi Klein, Stéphane Hessel, Judith Butler, among many others, have endorsed BDS, military embargo on Israel, or other BDS-related accountability measures in solidarity with Palestinian rights. 

To mark the BDS movement’s 18th anniversary, we are highlighting its indispensable role in bringing about an unprecedented narrative shift around Palestine and the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, and we are sampling the most significant moments (outside the Arab world) of BDS-related impact in advancing accountability and fighting state, corporate and institutional complicity worldwide.


2023: The unified Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Call is issued by the Anti-Apartheid Department of the PLO, the BDS movement, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), and the Palestinian Ministry of Justice, calling for establishing a “Global Front to Dismantle Israel’s Regime of Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid.”

2020 – 2023: 10 ex-Presidents and 700+ MPs, eminent personalities and civil society leaders from the Global South respond to the Palestinian call against Israel’s apartheid by urging the UN to investigate Israeli apartheid, re-activate the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid and to impose sanctions. Since then, led by South Africa and Namibia, a growing number of states have acknowledged Israel’s apartheid, and civil society across the globe is pushing for UN action now.

2023: Cities around the world cut ties with Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid, including Barcelona, Liège, Verviers, Oslo, and Belem.

2023: Apartheid-Free Communities is launched, convened by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), endorsed by tens of faith and other communities in North America pledging “to step away from any and all support to Israeli apartheid, occupation, and settler colonialism.”

2016 – 2023: Thousands of social clubs, restaurants, stores, offices, student unions, city councils and organizations around the world declare themselves Apartheid Free Zones.

2021 – 2022: Amnesty International (2022), Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem (2021), and Al-Haq (2022) release groundbreaking reports concluding Israel is perpetrating the crime against humanity of apartheid over the Palestinian people.


2023: South Africa’s parliament votes for downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel. Minister of International Relations & Cooperation Naledi Pandor calls on the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for the “leaders of apartheid Israel” who are responsible for “the massacre of the people of Palestine.”

2023: The European Parliament PEGA Committee recognizes that spyware originates from Israel and is illegally tested on Palestinians, becoming the first official EU body to recognize that military ties with Israel pose a significant risk to human rights and to call for restricting it. This comes after sustained pressure from the BDS movement’s #BanSpyware campaign, including a recent Global Day of Action against spyware, with over 3.4 million people worldwide calling to ban spyware.

2022 – 2023: Following a year long European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to ban settlement trade, the European Committee on Petition (PETI) decides unanimously that the European Commission must respond to our demand to stop trade with illegal settlements.

2020: In a major legal win for BDS, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rules unanimously that the French highest court’s 2015 repressive conviction of BDS activists nonviolently advocating for Israel boycotts violates article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

2016: EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, affirms the #RightToBDS in the EU region, following grassroots campaigns and letters signed by 350+ human rights organizations and 30 MEPs. The same year, the Netherlands rejects calls for punishing BDS activities on the grounds that they involved “discrimination” against Israel, saying “human rights, including the prohibition of discrimination, aim to explicitly protect individuals [and] groups of individuals,” not states.

2014: The Chilean government freezes free trade agreement talks with Israel following campaigning by MPs and Palestinians in the country.

2014: Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) cancels a project with Israel’s biggest military corporation Elbit Systems to build a microsatellite for the Brazilian military, and the province of Buenos Aires (Argentina) cancels a contract with Israel’s national water carrier Mekorot for a major water purification plant.

2013: The EU issues guidelines that prohibit EU financing of Israeli activities and projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem.


2009 – 2021: Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund in 2009 divests from Elbit Systems and in 2021 divests from 2 firms linked to Israeli settlements in the OPT. Also in 2021, with over US$95 billion worth of assets, Norway’s largest pension fund KLP divests from 16 companies due to their ties to settlements.

2020: The University of Manchester (UK) divests nearly £2 million from companies complicit in Israel’s oppression. In the US, students at Columbia University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and San Francisco State University all vote to divest from Israeli apartheid.

2021 & 2012: In 2021, New Zealand Superannuation Funds, which had in 2012 divested from Elbit Systems, divest from Israeli banks. Also in 2021, the East Sussex Pension Fund (UK) divests from Elbit Systems.

2016 & 2014: Presbyterian Church USA in 2014 divests from HP, Caterpillar, and Motorola Solutions. In 2016, the United Methodist Church divests from G4S and all Israeli banks.

2012: The Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation and US pension fund giant TIAA-CREF divest almost $73 million from Caterpillar.


2023: With the rise of the far-right Israeli government and its far-reaching judicial plans, Israel’s economy is facing serious instability and capital flight, further exacerbating the impact of the ongoing Palestinian-led campaigning in isolating apartheid. Moody’s downgrades Israel’s credit outlook; US Tech Companies begin to shut down Israel operations; Israeli hi-tech companies move abroad; investments in Israeli hi-tech are declining sharply; and former chair of Israel’s National Economic Council Prof. Eugene Kandel predicts 2 scenarios for Israel’s economy, “a heart attack or cancer.” In short, Israel is fast becoming a #ShutDownNation.

2023: #BDS declares a major victory as the world’s largest security firm G4S divests completely from apartheid Israel by selling its shares in its police training academy.

2023: Carrefour announces it will not open any stores in settlements, to avoid “risk of complicity,” provoking a counter boycott campaign against the company by far-right Israeli settlers. Carrefour’s ongoing complicity in apartheid also means the BDS #BoycottCarrefour campaign is continuing.

2022: The multinational, socially-responsible ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s stops operating in apartheid Israel. In 2021, the company’s independent board had decided to stop selling its products in Israel and its illegal settlements.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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2018: AXA IM, the fully-owned AXA subsidiary, divests from Elbit Systems, following pressure from the Stop AXA Assistance to Israeli Apartheid coalition. AXA’s ongoing investments in deeply complicit Israeli banks means the #BoycottAXA campaign is continuing.

2016: Orange drops Israel affiliate following inspiring BDS campaign, and Irish building materials corporation CRH exits the Israeli market selling its equity stake in its complicit Israeli company Nesher Cement.

2015: French conglomerate Veolia buckles under massive BDS pressure, which cost it global tenders worth over $20 billion, ending all its Israeli business.

2014: Israeli company SodaStream is forced to close its illegal settlement factory near occupied Jerusalem, following a worldwide BDS campaign that made many retailers dump its products.

2013: Unilever closes its factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Barkan following boycott threats and pressure from human rights organizations. A UN report condemning companies operating in illegal settlements and calling on them to withdraw is issued around the same time.

2011: Giant Swedish Mul-T-Lock manufacturer Assa Abloy closes its factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Barkan after pressure from human rights organizations and the Church of Sweden.

2011: Agrexco, Israel’s primary fruit and vegetable exporter and a primary BDS target, goes bankrupt for lack of investors after years of declining sales across 13 European countries.


2005 – 2023: Major trade union federations and labor bodies across the world have endorsed BDS including: Congress of South African Trade Unions-COSATU and South African Federation of Trade Unions; Irish Congress of Trade Union; Central Única dos Trabalhadores-CUT (Brazil); CTA Autonoma (Argentina); Trade Union Congress (UK); LO (Norway); Solidaires (France); Canadian Union of Postal Workers; United Electrical-UE and branches of United Auto Workers-UAW at the University of California, NYU & UMass Amherst (US); Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (Belgium); Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia; WFTU-affiliated trade unions including CITU, AICCTU (India); Italian Federation of Metalworkers-FIOM (Italy).

2023: Trade Union Federations MLC, CTSPP, and FPBOU (Mauritius) call on their government to support the reconstitution of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid.

2009 – 2021: Following the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in 2009, dockworkers across the globe prevent apartheid Israel’s ships from docking or unloading in India, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the US. In 2021, dockworkers lead or support initiatives, like AROC’s Block the Boat, blocking Israeli ships from loading/offloading in ports from Oakland, California (US) to Durban (South Africa) to protest Israeli atrocities in Gaza and Jerusalem.

2017: All India Kisan Sabha representing 16 million Indian farmers endorses the call for BDS and supports the campaign against Israeli agribusiness interventions in India.


2004 – 2023: Thousands of influential artists and other cultural figures worldwide in all fields, in addition to several significant artists’ unions and collectives, endorse the cultural boycott of Israel. These artists include pop and rock stars, rappers, DJs and producers, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and playwrights, leading filmmakers and actors, visual artists, dancers and many others. Pledges such as Black for Palestine, Musicians for Palestine and Visual Arts for Palestine are launched, as well as pledges in Latin America, India, South Africa and across Europe. Figures include musicians Roger Waters, Brian Eno, FKA Twigs, Seun Kuti, Patti Smith, and Rage Against the Machine; writers Sally Rooney, John Berger, Henning Mankell, China Miéville, Caryl Churchill and Kamila Shamsie; visual artist Tai Shani and photographer Nan Goldin, to mention only a few.

2004 – 2023: World famous artists cancel shows and events in apartheid Israel after appeals from Palestinian and international artists and human rights defenders. These include Lorde, Lana del Rey, Shakira, Natalie Portman, Elvis Costello, Pharrell, The Killers, Gil Scott-Heron, Lauryn Hill, Gilberto Gil, Zakir Hussain, Faithless, Big Thief, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Marianah, U2, Bjork, Snoop Dogg, Cat Power, Vanessa Paradis, Gorillaz and many others.

2004 – 2023: Leading film figures including in Hollywood call for meaningful solidarity with Palestinians and endorse accountability measures against Israel. These include Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, Tony Kushner, Tilda Swinton, Pedro Almodovar, Miriam Margolyes, Boots Riley, Alia Shawkat, Ken Loach, Julie Christie, Jim Jarmusch, Thandiwe Newton, Gael García Bernal, Maxine Peake, Mike Leigh, Sarah Schulman, James Schamus, Mira Nair, Viggo Mortensen, Harriet Walter and more.

2004 – 2023: Hundreds of artists boycott international events and venues that are sponsored by Israeli embassies and consulates, or that censor and exclude artists supporting Palestinian rights including BDS. These include artists withdrawing from Sydney Festival, Pop-Kultur Berlin festival, Ruhrtriennale festival, German techno clubs, and many more.

2018-19: The year-long campaign to boycott Eurovision hosted in apartheid Tel Aviv results in reducing its international visitors by some 90%, forcing organizers to literally give away empty seats to Israeli soldiers and settlers. Israel is forced to remove the contest from Jerusalem, failing to use the contest to bolster its illegal annexation of the city and occupation of Palestinian East Jerusalem. More than 150,000 people, hundreds of artists and well over 100 LGBTQIA+ organizations and centers join the campaign. Mainstream media consistently describes it as the most controversial Eurovision ever. Across millions of posts, the word most-tweeted alongside Israel’s official Eurovision hashtag, apart from “Israel”, is “apartheid”.


2013 – 2023: The US-based American Studies Association (ASA) votes to boycott Israeli academic institutions, as do the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the Association of Black Anthropologists, the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), Canadian Society for Socialist Studies (SSS) and the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), with more than 800 research centers in 55 countries.

2014 – 2022: The Graduate Institute Student Association, Harvard’s student newspaper The Crimson, more than 50 New York University student groups, the Canadian Federation of Students, Student Federation of the Austral University of Chile (FEUACh), the UK National Union of Students, among others, pass motions in support of BDS.

2021: In unprecedented numbers hundreds of academic departments, programs, societies and unions, and tens of thousands of scholars worldwide stand for Palestinian rights, including boycotts or other accountability measures.

2021: University of Brasilia Professors Association (Brazil) votes by 80% against collaboration with Israeli apartheid.

2011: The University of Johannesburg (South Africa) severs ties with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) due to complicity in Israeli apartheid.

2005: Association of University Teacher-AUT (UK) adopts the academic boycott of Israel.


2021 – 2022: Sports stars and teams stand up for Palestinian rights and refuse to sportswash Israeli apartheid in unprecedented numbers.

2018 – 2022: The Oakland Roots SC, Premier League Qatar Sports Club, UiTM, Malaysia’s largest university, Luton Town FC, Forest Green Rovers FC, and Chester FC drop PUMA sponsorship or pledge not to sign with PUMA over its complicity in Israeli apartheid.

2021: A “friendly” match between FC Barcelona and racist Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem is canceled after FC Barcelona conditioned the match on it not being played in Jerusalem, where Israel continues its gradual ethnic cleansing of Indigenous Palestinian communities.

2021: Malaysia denies Israeli squash team from participating in the world tournament.

2018: Following a pressure campaign, Argentina’s men’s football team cancels a trip to apartheid Israel for a “friendly” match.

2017: More than half of NFL (US) players booked withdraw from an all-expenses paid propaganda trip organized to improve Israel’s image.


2019 – 2023: Over 50 filmmakers have pulled their films from the pinkwashing, Israeli government-sponsored TLVFest in response to the call from Palestinian queers and partners around the world.

2023: Brit and Grammy award-winning artist Sam Smith cancels their performance in apartheid Israel, avoiding artwashing and pinkwashing Israel’s oppression against Palestinians.

2022: Lisbon Pride refuses participation of apartheid Israel’s ambassador, saying it would be “hypocritical” to allow an apartheid state to join a celebration of “the struggle for LGBTI+ rights, human rights and equality.”

2020 – 2021: In 2020, Queer Cinema for Palestine (QCP) is launched as a pledge for queer filmmakers committing not to participate in Israeli government-sponsored events, including TLVFest. Over 200 queer filmmakers have signed the pledge. In 2021, the first edition of QCP film festival is organized by a coalition of 30 groups around the world as a solidarity initiative offering a vibrant space to stand together with Indigenous Palestinians. 

These BDS-related impacts are just a snapshot of where we stand today. Thank you for helping us turn darkness into light by continuing to stand in solidarity with our non-violent, anti-racist struggle against apartheid, settler colonialism and occupation and for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality!

United Nations: Behind at halftime, but all still to play for in race to 2030 as top political forum closes


An article from the United Nations

This year’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) concluded in New York on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for the crucial SDG Summit in September

Over the past ten days, world leaders, policymakers, and key stakeholders gathered to review progress, share experiences, and discuss strategies for advancing sustainable development.

The HLPF serves as a central platform for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the SDGs, which were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015. These goals encompass a wide range of objectives, including eradicating poverty, promoting gender equality, ensuring access to quality education and healthcare, and protecting the environment.
Focused on the theme of Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic, this year’s HLPF recognized the unprecedented challenges posed by the global health crisis.

Far-reaching impact of COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on all aspects of society, exacerbating existing inequalities and hindering progress towards the SDGs. The forum aimed to identify solutions and strategies for building back better in a post-pandemic world.

Admitting that the world is “woefully off track” to achieve the SDGs by the 2030 deadline, top UN officials, ministers and policy makers as well as representatives of the private sector and major public groups discussed the ways to push forward the implementation of five out of the 17 SDGs.

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

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They put under scrutiny progress made so far in universal access to clean water, sanitation and power, and reviewed ways to take advantage of new technology, also discussing the crucial role of urban development.

Lachezara Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), who spearheaded the work of the Forum, emphasized the importance of innovation, technology, and high-impact partnerships. 

“We are halfway to 2030 and yet nowhere near to achieving the SDGs. The bad news is we’ve lost seven years. The good news is, we still have seven years and victory is within our reach,” she said.

One of the objectives that the ECOSOC President had for the Forum was to increase participation of young people. 

“Needless to say, engaging young people in the discussion is not a courtesy, it is an absolute imperative if we are serious about meeting the Goals,” Ms. Stoeva underscored. 

National reviews

Throughout the HLPF, participants engaged in over 200 high-level panel discussions, interactive dialogues, and Voluntary National Reviews. Thirty-eight countries provided data on their progress towards achieving the SDGs – one of the key components of the development agenda. Notably, for the first time ever, the European Union presented its review. 

One of the important takeaways from the HLPF was the recognition that achieving the SDGs requires a collective effort involving governments, civil society, businesses, and individuals.

It is crucial to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships and mobilize resources to accelerate progress towards the goals. The private sector, in particular, has a vital role to play in driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth through responsible business practices and investments. 

As the HLPF ends, it is essential to carry forward the momentum generated during this week, participants concluded. The deliverables laid bare at the Forum, are crucial for the success of the SDG Summit in September. 

“Together we must do our best to have our messages heard at the Summit. It is a critical opportunity we must not miss,” Lachezara Stoeva encouraged the HLPF participants, concluding the Forum’s session. 

G77 Statement to High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development


A statement from The Group of 77 at the United Nations

Statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China by H.E. Mr. Alejandro Gil Fernández, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Planning of the Republic of Cuba, at the general debate of the high-level segment of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development under the auspices of ECOSOC (New York, 17 July 2023)

Image from Wikipedia

Her Excellency Ms. Lachezara Stoeva, President of ECOSOC,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the G77 and China.

As we approach the midpoint of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we have witnessed how many are still lagging behind.

We meet today at a time of extremely critical juncture, in which developing countries face multiple challenges, particularly those concerning economic and social recovery from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, enormous financial and debt difficulties, rising food prices, escalating climate emergency and an unbalanced economic order that perpetuates inequalities and poverty.

Humanity has before it a thick and complex set of documents, based on basic principles, which in theory are the basis for our sustainable development. However, the progress achieved is still insufficient for the realities of the poorest and most vulnerable. Let us not forget that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

The increasing global challenges, including the negative effects of climate change that threatens the very survival of many developing countries especially of Small Island developing states and deepen the vulnerability of all, the rising global interest rates, tightened financial conditions, high cost of debt and risks of debt distress, have deeply impacted economies in the Global South, especially in low and middle income countries. In this regard, the G77 and China expects to have a meaningful debate on the centrality of development finance to overcome those challenges.

Concrete actions by developed countries to deliver on previous commitments, as well as on the reform of the international financial architecture are essential for the transformation we are advocating.

Madam President,

It has been almost a decade since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Multiple pledges have been made since then.

Contrary to the notion of progress, we find ourselves in a situation where our people is even more in need now than years before. The IMF is forecasting that a third of the global economy will be in recession in 2023. For the first time, UNDP has found that human development is falling in nine out of 10 countries.

The high cost of borrowing prevents the capacity of developing countries to invest in the SDGs and it also raises the risk of debt default. For developing countries in the Global South interest rates can be eight times higher than those in developed countries, as highlighted by the Secretary General, who has pointed out as well that today 25 developing economies are spending over 20 per cent of government revenues solely on servicing debt.

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

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Madam President,

Since its inception, the G77 and China has been advocating for a new international economic order. Now it´s more evident than ever that these transformations cannot wait any longer. The UN Secretary General recently recognized that the Global Financial System is biased, morally bankrupt and skewed to benefit wealthy countries. This is no longer a plea only from developing countries.

The reform of the international financial architecture, especially of IMF and the World Bank, cannot continue to wait. We need to strengthen the participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making, norm-setting and global economic governance, so as in order to adapt to changes in the global economy. We look forward to fulfill the commitment of IMF to revisiting the adequacy of quotas and continuing the process of governance reform under the sixteenth general review of quotas and to conduct the shareholding review of the World Bank.

We welcome the UN Secretary-General’s proposal for an “SDG Stimulus” for developing countries, in particular the most in need and distressed countries, which aims at massively scaling up affordable long-term financing for development and aligning financing flows with the SDGs. We call upon the international community to follow up on the SG’s proposal.
We urge developed countries to fulfill their unmet ODA commitments to developing countries to achieve the target of 0.7 % of gross national income and 0.15 to 0.20 % of ODA to the least developed countries.

We urge the initiation of an United Nations intergovernmental process to establish measures that go beyond GDP in order to have a more inclusive approach to international cooperation and financing for development.

The Group emphasizes the need for special and differential treatment for developing countries in harnessing the developmental benefit of international trade and the importance of a multilateral trading system that relies on universal, rule-based, open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory rules as embodied in the WTO agreements.

In this connection, the Group remains deeply concerned and rejects the increasing trend by developed countries to impose unilateral and protectionist measures that undermine the multilateral trading system and would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries or a disguised restriction on international trade, such as unilateral and discriminatory border adjustment mechanisms and taxes, negatively impacting the access of developing countries’ exports to the global markets.

The climate change agenda must be fully implemented in accordance with the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement and upholding the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. In this regard, it is critical to increase ambition on mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation, and materialize the provision and mobilization of resources by developed countries to tackle climate change. We are deeply disappointed that the goal to mobilize 100 billion dollars by developed countries per year up to 2020 was never met and we strongly call developed countries to fulfill this pledge. We also urge the full operationalization of the loss and damage fund by COP28.

It is critical an urgent promotion of technology transfer and capacity building as well as technological and scientific cooperation from developed to developing countries in order to foster sustainable development in its three dimensions and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Finally, we emphasize that as stated in the 2030 Agenda, States are strongly urged to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.

Madam President,

The actions just mentioned have been enunciated in several occasions by the leaders of the Global South. The lack of progress must not be attributed to a lack of solutions. Actions are there. What it is required urgently is political will to implement what we all know is needed to overcome one of the most complex crises humanity has seen in the modern history.

We, as leaders from the developing world, have the responsibility to come all together and claim with a united voice the changes needed to ensure a sustainable future for the current and coming generations.

I thank you.

National Coordinators of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network gather to reflect and share experiences


An article from UNESCO

National Coordinators of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network  reinforced the importance of the network as a laboratory of ideas for educational quality, innovation and transformation by endorsing the “70th Anniversary Declaration” as a result of the conference.

From 6-8 June 2023, the German National Commission for UNESCO and UNESCO ASPnet co-organized the global conference “Strengthening international collaboration towards peaceful and sustainable futures!” to gather 80 participants from 60 countries at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin and online.

In the context of the 70th anniversary in November 2023, the conference provided a unique platform for National Coordinators, representatives of National Commissions and the International Coordination Unit to jointly develop new ideas for the network, to reflect on experiences and achievements from the past and present, and to explore ways and possibilities for a successful path to strengthen ASPnet for the future.

ASPnet – a treasure in our hands

For the opening, Assistant Director-General for Education, Ms Stefania Giannini, valued the network as a “treasure in our hands” and as “one of UNESCO`s most powerful networks” in implementing the organization`s values through education in a video message. She further encouraged the National Coordinators to commemorate the 70th anniversary as important milestone in the history of ASPnet through national celebrations as well as together with other countries to honour the global nature of the network.

Germany was one of the 16 Member States, which participated in the first “Scheme of co-ordinated experimental activities in Education for Living in a World Community” in 1953. This successful collaborative experiment evolved into today´s global network of over 12,000 educational institutions in 182 countries. Mr Luckscheiter, Secretary-General of the German National Commission, highlighted the important role of ASPnet schools as drivers for innovation and societal change:

“The schools are a mirror of society – and at the same time, they are bridges into the future. ASPnet has been this bridge to strong and democratic school cultures – from its very beginning as a little laboratory until today with a strong and important outreach.”

Responding to global challenges – Co-creating the future

For the last 70 years, ASPnet has demonstrated its role as a laboratory for innovative teaching methods and its ability to incorporate new topics and approaches into the classroom in response to global challenges and events.

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Question for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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Ms Julie Saito, International Coordinator at UNESCO, drew a line from the first experiments on Rights of Women, study of other countries and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1953, to today’s school projects that retain ASPnet’s character as a laboratory of ideas and that, for example, engage students and teachers in shared learning experiences around the colonial past, promoting global citizenship education and intercultural learning.

“Our experimentation is the constant attempt to develop schools, to innovate, to pioneer, to make learning more meaningful and contemporary, to rethink education, to take into account global events and challenges and to empower all learners to assume active roles, both locally and globally, in building more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and sustainable futures,” said Ms Saito.

Transforming the network for the future – Strengthening international collaboration

The central element of the conference were workshops by the International Coordination Unit around three core processes in transforming the network for the future. In participatory and action-oriented workshops and discussions, National Coordinators jointly explored possibilities for operationalising the new ASPnet Strategy 2022-2030 “Building peaceful and sustainable futures through transformative education”, tested the beta version of the new ASPnet community platform  or shared ideas for developing an ASPnet Young Ambassador initiative following the adopted resolution at the last UNESCO Executive Board. Further, National Coordinators were invited to share their good practices and engage in dialogues with fellow colleagues on how to strengthen transnational collaborations and school partnerships.

Mr Klaus Schilling, National Coordinator in Germany, highlighted in his closing the strengths of the network in learning together transnationally and in taking action for a better world: „The ASPnet Conference in Berlin was a strong boost to foster international collaboration and transformative learning within our network. New synergies between National Coordinators, new thematic and methodological approaches as well as clear strategies to empower students and teachers will help to dynamize cooperation within the ASPnet and to strengthen its contribution towards peaceful and sustainable futures. The rich presentations of the ASPnet Conference – for example on the pilot projects how to confront the colonial past in transnational dialogues as well as the example of Recreation Projects in solidarity with Ukraine show the enormous potential and commitment of its member institutions. ASPnet makes a real difference for another world.“

70th Anniversary Declaration of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network

At the end of the successful conference, the participants jointly endorsed the “70th Anniversary Declaration of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network”. Initiated by the ASPnet National Coordinator in Greece, Ms Vera Dilari, the declaration was the result of a co-creative process during the conference.

The declaration invites National Commissions for UNESCO, other UNESCO networks and entities, policy-makers, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders to collaborate with ASPnet institutions, National Coordinators and the International Coordination Unit and to support and strengthen the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet).

UNESCO ASPnet celebrates the 70th anniversary of the network under the theme “Fostering a culture of Peace and Sustainability through Transformative Education” through the country initiatives of ASPnet members as well as with a dedicated exhibition during the 42nd General Conference in November 2023.

Two analyses of the Paris Climate Summit


An article from Reuters

A statement from Greenpeace

Analysis by Reuters

A Paris summit to discuss reforming the world’s financial system scored some notable wins that should tee up greater action before climate talks later this year, though some participants were disappointed with progress to address poorer states’ debt.

The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact saw French President Macron host around 40 leaders, many from the Global South, to debate changes to multilateral finance institutions in the face of climate change and other development challenges.

Much of the discussion centred on the key requests of developing nations, framed through the “Bridgetown Initiative” led by Barbados leader Mia Mottley, and her adviser Avinash Persaud said he was pleased with the outcome of the talks.

“It’s a roadmap for genuine change,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the talks. “What’s emerged here is a real … understanding of the scale and pace of what is required.”

Among the highlights were confirmation that the richer world will likely hit a long-overdue target of providing $100 billion annually in climate finance to poorer countries, a long-delayed debt deal for Zambia, and a package to boost Senegal’s renewable energy capacity.

The World Bank and others also said they would start adding clauses to lending terms that allow vulnerable states to suspend debt repayments when natural disaster strikes.

Yet it was the wording of the final statement from attendees and subtle changes in the tone of discussions behind the scenes that gave hope to Persaud that even greater change was coming.

Specifically, for the first time, the document acknowledged the potential need for richer countries to provide fresh money to multilateral development institutions like the World Bank. This came alongside a plan to draw on more of their current assets, to the tune of $200 billion over 10 years.

Another first was in the explicit target for multilateral development banks to leverage “at least” $100 billion a year in private sector capital when they lend.

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

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A reference was also made to finding “new avenues for international taxation”, as well as other Bridgetown Initiative requests including offering investors foreign exchange guarantees.

“That was widely discussed here and (there’s) lots of support behind an initiative that’s happening outside of Paris, at the International Maritime Organisation in a couple weeks time, on a levy on shipping emissions,” Persaud added.

Still, the summit was not without its critics.

“Unfortunately, the Paris Summit has not provided the breakthrough needed to find the funding for our planet’s survival,” Teresa Anderson, Global Lead on Climate Justice for ActionAid International, said, pointing to new funding pledges being loans or temporary debt relief instead of grants.

All eyes now turn to more traditional events later in the year, including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings, a G20 meeting in September and the COP28 climate talks in Dubai.

Persaud said his focus would be on making sure the plan to scale up multilateral development bank lending was in place by the time of annual meetings in October, and that pilot work began on reducing the cost of capital for developing countries.

The summit, held against a backdrop of criticism that the world is moving far too slowly to address climate change, was a success in that it delivered a roadmap requiring specific actions by specific dates, some observers said.

“They’ve got a clear timetable of what they want to see happen and it’s that timeline that puts the pressure on and means that it’s harder to just kick things into the long grass,” said Sonia Dunlop from think tank E3G.

Analysis by Greenpeace:

 President Macron’s Summit for a New Global Financing Pact ends with very limited progress to make polluters pay for the escalating costs of the climate crisis. Governments failed to commit to concrete and ambitious action to make the fossil fuel industry pay.  

Tracy Carty, Climate Politics Expert at Greenpeace International, said:

“The Summit ended with mild recognition of the need for new taxes to pay for climate action and identified a role for the G20 and COP28 to take them forward.  Taxing big polluters should be top of the agenda for these global moments, but rich country governments don’t have to wait to act – they already can and must introduce taxes on big polluters, above all the fossil fuel industry, to pay for loss and damage now.

“Silence on the fossil fuel industry paying for the mess they have caused was deafening at this Summit. Fossil fuel companies are racking up obscene profits, while millions in low-income countries pay the price as drought, floods, sea level rise and other climate catastrophes wreak havoc.” 

Pierre Terras, Head of Climate and Energy campaigns at Greenpeace France, said:

“President Macron’s promotion of fossil gas as an energy of transition during this Summit was totally irresponsible and resonates with his poor record of domestic climate in-action. Unsurprisingly, he also has fallen short in recognising the need to tax the fossil fuel companies to pay for the damage they have caused. Both nationally and globally, the French president seems stuck on protecting the wealthiest and the polluters.”

Media Organizations From Global South Discuss Solidarity and Standing Up to Sanctions


An article by Mauro Ramos in Peoples Dispatch

At an event in Shanghai (May 8), representatives of media organizations from Asia, Africa, and Latin America highlighted the need for learning from and working with each other and building infrastructure to resist western hegemony

(Photo: Research Institute of International Communication at East China Normal University)

“The conflict imposed by the United States [on China] is partly due to the decline of Western control over science and technology. Gradually, neocolonial control over finance, resources, and science and technology has been exhausted, but the neocolonial structure remains with respect to Western control over weapons and information systems,” said Vijay Prashad, director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Chief Correspondent of Globetrotter, at the opening of the “Communication as Solidarity” conference, organized by the School of Communication at East China Normal University along with several other Chinese entities in Shanghai. 

Besides representatives from Press TV,TeleSUR, RT and CGTN, the event also included members of progressive media organizations such as Pan African TV, ArgMedios, and Brasil de Fato, and over 100 researchers and media professionals from China, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Brazil, and Russia.  

Prashad said that Western powers have almost absolute control over information systems. “This control is exercised through Western domination of infrastructure, such as fiber optic cables, and human networks of information production, and through the ideological power of Western media established during colonial times.” 

One of the hosts of the meeting, Lu Xinyu, of the newly formed International Communication Research Institute at East China Normal University, said that the movement for a new order in the 1970s tried to solve the problem of the unbalanced global media structure, but failed. “So today we hope to have a new understanding of this issue: One aspect is the domination of the media by the West. That requires that we, the media and media organizations of the global South, work together.” 

Targets of sanctions and censorship by the Global North

The conference was attended by representatives of media organizations that have faced the brunt of censorship.

In 2010, US State Department documents leaked by WikiLeaks revealed that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office had told the US embassy that the British government was “exploring ways to limit the operations of the IRIB’s Press TV service.” (IRIB = Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting)

In the document, the British chancellery stated that national and international law did not permit the withdrawal of Press TV’s license, but that a possibility could be open if more sanctions were imposed on Iran. 

Finally, in 2013, the Iranian state channel’s license was revoked in the UK for allegedly violating the country’s Communications Act. In the following years, the media outlet suffered several blocks on its YouTube and Gmail accounts, was banned from Facebook, had its website confiscated, and late last year, the French satellite operator Eutelsat decided to take the channel off the air.

At different levels, many of the media organizations present at the meeting have been facing censorship, blockades, and sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe or right-wing governments, as in the case of TeleSUR. 

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Click here for the Spanish original of this article.

Question related to this article:
Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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The multi-state-owned platform has already been removed from the programming of the National Telecommunications Corporation, a state-owned channel in Ecuador in 2018 under Lenín Moreno. After the coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia in 2019, the state-owned Entel under the de facto government of Jeanine Áñez, suspended the broadcast of the channel founded by Hugo Chávez.

In 2021, the UK withdrew CGTN‘s license on the grounds that it is directly controlled by a political party, which is not allowed in the country. RT, on the other hand, has been banned from all European territory and from platforms such as YouTube. The Spanish version of the channel on that platform had six million followers until it was taken down.   

In a debate about the search for sovereignty for the Global South media, the president of TeleSUR, Patricia Villegas, defended the need that the countries to develop their own platforms, such as satellites, servers, and social networks. “The content we’ve been building relies on borrowed highways that are owned by others who define and change the rules, block you whenever they want, according to the interests that they defend. So, if we want to continue to tell what really happens in each of these territories, we have to fight to build our own highways.”

For the director of Brasil de Fato, Nina Fideles, the conference was significant “by the very fact of bringing together, over two days, people and media outlets from different countries, who could share experiences and ideas about communication from the Global South.”

“Besides the fact that we had the opportunity to learn more about the Chinese experience in relation to communication, we also learned about the economic and social model here and the country’s role reorienting the global geopolitical situation,” added Fideles.

The founder of the Post in Zambia, Fred M’membe, said that the meeting between the different media outlets was trailblazing. He also commented that media like TeleSUR, RT, and CGTN, among others, have a great responsibility to use the knowledge and resources they have to help create a new kind of media, a new way of communication. “Our adversaries, those who want to continue with the ideas of exploitation and humiliation of others, are investing billions of dollars around the world to consolidate their ideas of dominating the world,” said M’membe, who is also president of the Socialist Party of Zambia.

Progressive media and Pan-Africanism

Another axis of debate at the conference was the media scenario on the African continent, as well as the Pan-African agenda. Kambale Musavuli, director of Pan-African TV, said that Pan-Africanism has been taking root in the African continent and that the role of progressive media is essential to the project. 

“We have achieved Pan-Africanism at the political level by bringing the countries of the African Union together, but now we need the Pan-Africanism among the people. Where are the people? They are in the rural communities, and to reach them you need the media, radio, television, and newspapers. We are using the media, especially TV, to reach the people in remote areas. So, using community radio stations, using television stations run by progressive organizations, it will be possible to spread this vision of a united Africa under Pan-Africanism,” Musavuli explained.  

Kwesi Pratt Jr., founder of the channel, said that Africa’s image and history are permanently distorted by the hegemonic media. “There is a hysteria all over the world that prevents us from choosing our own friends and deciding our own destiny. The African reality today is: Those who colonized and enslaved us are exploiting and stealing our resources to maximize the profits of multinational corporations instead of developing Africa. This is the story we need to tell and we need to tell it in our own way, using our own instruments,” he said.

The conference saw the official inauguration of the International Communication Research Institute of East China Normal University, which will have Lu Xinyu as dean. 

This new institution seeks to contribute to the development of multi-level and multi-channel international communication platforms and networks for the countries and regions in the Global South.
(Thank you to the United National Antiwar Coalition for calling our attention to this article.)

2023 United Nations Resolution on the Culture of Peace


Data from UN document of A/77/L.74 and Meeting coverage of 79th Meeting of GA 77th Session

The UN General Assembly adopted without a vote this year’s resolution for the culture of peace, presented as usual by the delegation of Bangladesh.

The resolution was sponsored by the following countries: Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Mauritania, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu and Venezuela.

Photo from BNN

Following 40 preambular paragraphs which among other things recognized “the importance of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, adopted by the General Assembly on 13 September 1999,” the resolution included the following 21 operative paragraphs:

1. Reiterates that the objective of the effective implementation of the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace is to strengthen further the global movement for a culture of peace, and calls upon all concerned to renew their attention to this objective;

2. Invites Member States to continue to place greater emphasis on and expand their activities promoting a culture of peace at the national, regional and international levels and to ensure that peace and non-violence are fostered at all levels;

3. Invites the entities of the United Nations system, within their existing mandates, to integrate, as appropriate, the eight action areas of the Programme of Action into their programmes of activities, focusing on promoting a culture of peace and non-violence at the national, regional and international levels;

4. Commends the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for strengthening efforts to mobilize all relevant stakeholders within and outside the United Nations system in support of a culture of peace, and invites the Organization to continue to enhance communication and outreach, including through the culture of peace website;

5. Commends the practical initiatives and actions by relevant United Nations bodies, including the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and the University for Peace, as well as their activities in further promoting a culture of peace and non-violence, in particular the promotion of peace education and activities related to specific areas identified in the Programme of Action, and encourages them to continue and further strengthen and expand their efforts;

6. Stresses the importance of addressing the underlying drivers of violence and conflict to promote a culture of peace;

7. Encourages Member States, United Nations entities and other relevant actors to adopt a holistic approach to the cross-cutting dimensions of peace, development, humanitarian action and human rights in order to prevent the recurrence of conflict and build lasting peace;

8. Underlines that early childhood development contributes to the development of more peaceful societies through advancing equality, tolerance, human development and promoting human rights, and calls for investment in early childhood education, including through effective policies and practices, towards promoting a culture of peace;

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(Click here for a version of this article in Spanish or click here for a version in French)

Question for this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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9. Encourages Member States, United Nations entities, regional and subregional organizations and relevant actors to consider instituting mechanisms to involve youth in the promotion of a culture of peace, tolerance and intercultural and interreligious dialogue and develop, as appropriate, an understanding of respect for human dignity, pluralism and diversity, including, as appropriate, through education programmes, that could discourage their participation in acts of terrorism, violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, violence, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination;

10. Encourages the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to increase its activities that focus on peace education and global citizenship education in order to enhance an understanding among young people of values such as peace, tolerance, openness, inclusion and mutual respect, which are essential in developing a culture of peace;

11. Encourages the United Nations peacebuilding architecture to continue to promote peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities, as outlined in its resolutions 72/276 and 75/201, and to advance a culture of peace and non-violence in postconflict peacebuilding efforts at the country level, and recognizes the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission in this regard;

12. Emphasizes the critical importance of an inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in this regard calls upon States to promote the values of a culture of peace, inter alia, in countering rising inequalities, discrimination, exclusion, hate crimes and violence;

13. Urges the appropriate authorities to provide age-appropriate education in children’s schools that builds a culture of peace and non-violence, including lessons in mutual understanding, respect, tolerance, active and global citizenship and human rights;

14. Encourages the involvement of media, especially the mass media, in promoting a culture of peace and non-violence, with particular regard to children and young people;

15. Commends civil society, non-governmental organizations and young people for their activities in further promoting a culture of peace and non-violence, including through their campaign to raise awareness on a culture of peace and the peaceful settlement of disputes;

16. Encourages civil society and non-governmental organizations to further strengthen their efforts to promote a culture of peace, inter alia, by adopting their own programme of activities to complement the initiatives of Member States, the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, in line with the Declaration and Programme of Action;

17. Invites Member States, all entities of the United Nations system and civil society organizations to accord increasing attention to their observance of the International Day of Peace on 21 September each year as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, in accordance with its resolution 55/282 of 7 September 2001, and of the International Day of Non-Violence on 2 October, in accordance with its resolution 61/271 of 15 June 2007;

18. Requests the President of the General Assembly to consider convening a high-level forum, as appropriate and within existing resources, devoted to the implementation of the Programme of Action on the occasion of the anniversary of its adoption, on or around 13 September, and requests the Secretariat to provide required logistical support for its effective organization within their respective mandates and existing resources;

19. Invites the Secretary-General, within existing resources, in consultation with the Member States and taking into account the observations of civil society organizations, to explore mechanisms and strategies, in particular strategies in the sphere of information and communications technology, for the implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action and to initiate outreach efforts to increase global awareness of the Programme of Action and its eight areas of action aimed at their implementation, including through public information activities by the Department of Global Communications of the Secretariat;

20. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its seventy-ninth session a report, within existing resources, on actions taken by Member States, on the basis of information provided by them, and those taken system-wide by all concerned entities of the United Nations to implement the present resolution;

21. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-eighth session the item entitled “Culture of peace”.

Following the presentation by Bangladesh, the resolution was welcomed by Brunei Darussalam, speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), by Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, by Barbados, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Other speakers were from Syria, Malaysia, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Equatorial Guinea and Iran, and an exchange of criticisms between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Beyond borders: Why new ‘high seas’ treaty is critical for the world


An article from the United Nations

The UN’s 193 Member States adopted a landmark legally binding marine biodiversity agreement on Monday (June 19) following nearly two decades of fierce negotiations over forging a common wave of conservation and sustainability in the high seas beyond national boundaries – covering two thirds of the planet’s oceans. Here are five key points on why it is important for the world..

© Nuno Vasco Rodrigues/UN World Oceans Day 2023 A team of scientific divers assess the marine biodiversity on the top of a seamount in Porto Santo, Madeira, Portugal.

1. Fresh protection beyond borders

While countries are responsible for the conservation and sustainable use of waterways under their national jurisdiction, the high seas now have added protection from such destructive trends as pollution and unsustainable fishing activities.

Adopted by the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), the “high seas” treaty aims at taking stewardship of the ocean on behalf of present and future generations, in line with the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The new agreement contains 75 articles that aim at protecting, caring for, and ensuring the responsible use of the marine environment, maintaining the integrity of ocean ecosystems, and conserving the inherent value of marine biological diversity.

“The ocean is the lifeblood of our planet, and today, you have pumped new life and hope to give the ocean a fighting chance,” the UN Secretary-General António Guterres told delegates on Monday.

2. Cleaner oceans

Toxic chemicals and millions of tons of plastic waste are flooding into coastal ecosystems, killing or injuring fish, sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals, and making their way into the food chain and ultimately being consumed by humans.

More than 17 million metric tons of plastic entered the world’s ocean in 2021, making up 85 per cent of marine litter, and projections are expected to double or triple each year by 2040, according to the latest Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) report.

According to UN estimates, by 2050, there could be more plastic in the sea than fish unless action is taken.

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Question for this article:

If we can connect up the planet through Internet, can’t we agree to preserve the planet?

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The treaty aims at strengthening resilience and contains provisions based on the polluter-pays principle as well as mechanisms for disputes.

Under the treaty’s provisions, parties must assess potential environmental impacts of any planned activities beyond their jurisdictions.

3. Sustainably managing fish stocks

More than one third of global fish stocks are over-exploited, according to the UN.

The treaty underlines the importance of capacity building and the transfer of marine technology, including the development and strengthening of institutional capacity and national regulatory frameworks or mechanisms.

This includes increasing collaboration among regional seas organizations and regional fisheries management organizations.

4. Lowering temperatures

Global heating is pushing ocean temperatures to new heights, fueling more frequent and intense storms, rising sea levels, and the salinization of coastal lands and aquifers.

Addressing these urgent concerns, the treaty offers guidance, including through an integrated approach to ocean management that builds ecosystem resilience to tackle the adverse effects of climate change and ocean acidification, and maintains and restores ecosystem integrity, including carbon cycling services.

Treaty provisions also recognize the rights and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities, the freedom of scientific research, and need for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits.

5. Vital for realizing 2030 Agenda

The new agreement “is critical to addressing the threats facing the ocean, and to the success of ocean-related goals and targets, including the 2030 Agenda, the UN chief said on Monday.

Some of the goals and targets include Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which aims at, among other things, preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution of all kinds by 2025, and ending overfishing through science-based management plans in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible.

The new agreement will enable the establishment of area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, to conserve and sustainably manage vital habitats and species in the high seas and the international seabed area.

The treaty also considers the special circumstances facing small-island and landlocked developing nations.

“We have a new tool,” UN General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi told the Intergovernmental Conference delegates on Monday. “This landmark achievement bears witness to your collective commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Together, you laid the foundation for a better stewardship of our seas, ensuring their survival for generations to come.”

Learn more about how the UN is working to protect the world’s oceans here.