Category Archives: United Nations

Vietnam shares importance of promoting culture of peace at UN forum

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from the Vietnam News Agency

(Editor’s note: As of this writing on September 9, there is no general article available on the United Nations High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace that took place on September 6. Instead, here is the press release of the Vietnam News Agency followed by links to all of the available published statements by the General Assembly President and various UN member states, all from Asia and the Middle East.)

Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN), stressed the importance of the culture of peace and non-violence in the world while attending the UN General Assembly’s high-level forum on culture of peace on September 6.


General Assembly President Abdullah Shahid

As a country that went through wars to protect its independence and sovereignty, Vietnam specially cherishes the value of peace and stability, Giang stated, adding in that context, generations of Vietnamese people have made efforts to build the foundation for peace, through promoting friendship, harmony and mutual understanding among nations.

Vietnam always promotes the settlement of conflicts and disputes by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force, and by complying and implementing international law.

The diplomat emphasised the need for the international community to support efforts to build and maintain peace, while respecting the responsibility, independence and mastery of countries in accordance with the UN Chapter and international law.

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Question(s) related to this article:

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

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President of the UNGA Abdullah Shahid said that the COVID-19 pandemic and long-lasting conflicts in many areas of the world have worsened discrimination and intolerance, and complicated instability and poverty.

Abdullah Shahid and speakers at the forum emphasised the importance of efforts to promote the building and maintenance of lasting peace, address the root causes of conflicts, and promote the building of harmonious and inclusive societies, in which no one is left behind.

Many of them recognised the role and contributions of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, calling for increased assurance of resources for efforts to build and maintain peace.

A culture of peace is given a very comprehensive definition in the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which was adopted by the General Assembly, in September 1999. It is defined as “a set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations”./.

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Statement by the President of the UN General Assembly

Statement by Malaysia

Statement by Bangladesh

Statement by Armenia

Statement by India

Statement by Qatar

Statement by Oman

Statement by United Arab Emirates

NPT Review Conference ends without agreement: What next?

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Unfold Zero

Can new actions/initiatives come from the NPT deliberations?
On Friday (August 26), after four weeks of deliberations, the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty  concluded with no final agreement.


flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency

A 35-page long draft final document prepared by the Review Conference President Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen had agreement of most, if not all, of the NPT States parties except one – Russia. (See No consensus at NPT review conference after Russia blocks draft document , NHK, August 27, 2022).

A key objection of Russia was the opposition expressed in the draft document to the military activities conducted near or at nuclear power plants, in particular the Zaporizhzya nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which has been occupied and militarized by Russia. These activities pose severe risks to the integrity of the nuclear power plant that could result in a nuclear catastrophe of a similar or worse nature than the Chernobyl nuclear accident. (See In Ukraine, a Nuclear Plant Held Hostage , NY Times, August 23, 2022).

The draft document also affirmed that the security of non-nuclear States must be protected, and that States Parties must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

While not mentioning Russia by name, this language was correctly perceived by Russia as condemning their invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine relinquished nuclear weapons, which they possessed at the break-up of the Soviet Union, in return for security guarantees in the Budapest Memorandum   which protect their territorial integrity. Russia has violated both the UN Charter and the Budapest Memorandum by its invasion of Ukraine.

The international community should welcome the principled refusal of the other NPT States Parties to delete these important provisions. Such deletion would have been required to get agreement from Russia, but would have resulted in a weak final document that did not address real nuclear threats of today. Consensus should not be achieved by abandoning important principles and international law.

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Question related to this article:
 
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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What now: New action from a ‘failed’ NPT Review Conference?

The failure of an NPT Review conference to adopt a final document does not necessarily imply a failed conference. Proposals discussed during an NPT Review Conference can take a life of their own despite of – or even stimulated by – the lack of agreed outcome.

This happened for example in 2015. A final document was unable to be agreed. The main dispute was on the proposal to convene a UN conference to establish a Middle East Zone from Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction regardless of whether or not all states in the region participated in the UN Conference. A secondary dispute was on the proposal to start negotiating a threat to prohibit nuclear weapons regardless of whether or not nuclear armed and allied states joined such negotiations.

Despite no final agreement, the NPT Review Conference provided the incubation space for both proposals, which then were taken up through the UN General Assembly resolutions.

These resulted firstly in the UN Open Ended Working Group being reconvened in 2016 to prepare the basis for a nuclear ban treaty, which was then negotiated and adopted at the UN General Assembly in 2017. This was followed in 2018 by the UN General Assembly establishing a UN Conference on a Middle East Zone free from Nuclear Weapons and other WMD , which convenes annually (except during the COVID-19 pandemic) until it concludes a legally binding treaty.  

Issues/initiatives at the 2022 NPT Review Conference that drew a lot of attention, possibly paving the way for action in other forums, included nuclear risk reduction, non-use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict, the adoption of no-first-use policies and negative security assurances.

The call for adoption of no-first-use policies, for example, found much stronger support than in previous NPT Review Conferences, and for the first time ever was included in the draft final document (up until the final few days). This was in large part due to the campaign activities of NoFirstUse Global, including the presentation to the NPT Review Conference of the Open Letter Fulfil the NPT: From nuclear threats to human security , and advocacy in capitals and during the Review Conference.

In addition, informal discussions were held during the NPT Review Conference, on a proposed United Nations General Assembly resolution on reducing the threat of nuclear-weapons-use arising from armed conflicts including the Ukraine conflict.

UNFOLD ZERO, NoFirstUse Global   and other partner organizations will use the momentum generated at the NPT Review Conference on these initiatives (and others) to make progress in the UNGA and other relevant forums. We encourage you to stay tuned and engaged in this.   

According to Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen, President of the NPT Review Conference, the conference was “very meaningful.” “Delegations engaged in discussions on very complex issues, and the lack of an outcome document did not diminish their work. It is like we had a movie for four weeks, but we couldn’t take a picture at the end of the movie. So not having the picture of that doesn’t reflect that the movie didn’t exist.” (See UN Chief disappointed nuclear treaty conference ends without consensus , UN News, August 27, 2022)

Mayors for Peace: Delegation attended the 10th NPT Review Conference

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

Excepts from the website of Mayors for Peace

A Mayors for Peace delegation attended the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (10th NPT Review Conference) in New York. Headed by Vice President TAUE Tomihisa (mayor of Nagasaki) and Secretary General KOIZUMI Takashi, the delegation appealed to the representatives of national governments to adopt a final document for promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and respect what had been agreed on at the first Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Mayors for Peace delegation also requested greater understanding of and continued support for the initiatives of Mayors for Peace from the national government representatives.

At the UN Headquarters, the venue of the 10th NPT Review Conference, Mayors for Peace also hosted an Atomic Bomb Poster Exhibition, aiming at building momentum for achieving a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

Meeting with Former UN Under-Secretary-General Chowdhury

The Mayors for Peace delegation handed to former UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Chowdhury a letter from President Matsui requesting a commemorative lecture at the 10th General Conference of Mayors for Peace, and had exchange of views on the culture of peace—championed by former Under-Secretary-General Chowdhury himself.

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Question related to this article:
 
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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Other meetings

(Other meetings were held with the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, with Special Representative of the U.S. President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, the  Permanent Representative of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament, the Director of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland, Hibakusha Ms. Setsuko Thurlow, the Permanent Representative of UK to the Conference on Disarmament, the Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament and the President of the 10th NPT Review Conference.)

Speech at the NGO presentations session of the 10th NPT Review Conference

Representing the Mayors for Peace network, Vice President Taue delivered a speech at the NGO presentations session. He stated that what prevented another Hiroshima and Nagasaki from happening for the past 77 years is the hibakusha’s long-standing call for the abolition of nuclear weapons—which has resonated throughout the world, raising awareness of their inhumanity. Nevertheless, decades of such effort can be undone if just one nuclear-weapon state decides to use all of its power to tyrannize other states, he continued. He then addressed the complementarity of the TPNW with the NPT, appealing that the two treaties reinforce each other and that they both are integral for international society to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, he urged the attendees to fulfill the nuclear disarmament obligations as stipulated in Article VI of the NPT, as well as to propose concrete strategies to ensure progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures.

He also expressed the determination of Mayors for Peace, to continue striving for a world without nuclear weapons. He closed his statement by imparting a message: May Nagasaki be the last wartime atomic bombing site.

United Nations Secretary-General in Japan, 5–8 August

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Excerpts from a press release of the United Nations

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Hiroshima  from New York on the evening of Friday, 5 August.

On Saturday, he spoke at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, which aims to console the souls of those lost to the atomic bombing, as well as pray for the realization of lasting world peace.  In his remarks, the Secretary-General underscored that nuclear weapons are nonsense  and called on countries to work urgently to eliminate the stockpiles that threaten our future.

The Secretary-General said his message to leaders is simple:  Stop flirting with disaster.  Take the nuclear option off the table — for good.  [See Press Release SG/SM/21401]

After the ceremony, he met with Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, with whom he discussed issues in the region including the situation in the Korean Peninsula and Japan’s efforts to tackle climate change, among others.  After their meeting, the Prime Minister gave the Secretary-General a special tour of the Peace Museum, and they then signed the museum’s guestbook.
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Question(s) related to this article:

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

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Following the tour, the Secretary-General met with a group of survivors of the atomic bomb, known as the hibakusha, who shared their experiences with him.

This encounter was followed by a meeting with the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki  who bestowed upon him a special honorary citizenship.  Accepting this honour, the Secretary-General said that it is impossible for people to come to Hiroshima and not to feel the absurdity of the existence of nuclear weapons, and that he accepted this honour on behalf of all those working for a nuclear weapons-free world and in the memory of those tens of thousands of people who were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 77 years ago.  [See Press Release SG/SM/21402]

He then held a press encounter  in Hiroshima and told reporters that the world is in danger of forgetting the lessons forged in this city 77 years ago.  He added that it is unacceptable for states in possession of nuclear weapons to admit the possibility of nuclear war.  He stressed that we must use every avenue of dialogue, diplomacy and negotiation to ease tensions and eliminate the nuclear threat.

The Secretary-General also met with the Hiroshima Governor, Hidehiko Yuzaki, and then took part in a dialogue with young activists who are leading initiatives on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  He emphasized the importance of young people speaking up for nuclear disarmament and keeping the memory of the impacts of the bombings alive.  This was followed by an interview with the national broadcaster NHK at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) offices.  He then met and took pictures with the UNITAR staff members.

Humanity’s just one misunderstanding away from ‘nuclear annihilation’ warns UN chief

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from the United Nations

As geopolitical tensions reach new highs, and some governments are spending billions on nuclear weapons in a false bid for peace and security, countries must uphold the nearly 80-year norm against their use, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in New York on Monday (August 1). 
 
The UN chief was speaking at the opening of the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which runs through 26 August. 


Sculpture at the United Nations created by Zurab Tsereteli. It depicts St. George slaying a dragon created from fragments of Soviet SS-20 missiles and United States Pershing nuclear missiles that were destroyed under the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987.

Mr. Guterres highlighted some of the current challenges to global peace and security, with the world under greater stress due to the climate crisis, stark inequalities, conflicts and human rights violations, as well as the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Disarmament not disunity 

He said  the meeting is taking place amid these challenges, and at a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War. 

“Geopolitical tensions are reaching new highs.  Competition is trumping co-operation and collaboration.  Distrust has replaced dialogue and disunity has replaced disarmament.   States are seeking false security in stockpiling and spending hundreds of billions of dollars on doomsday weapons that have no place on our planet,” he said. 

Currently, almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are now being held in arsenals around the world, he added. 

“All this at a time when the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening.   And when crises — with nuclear undertones — are festering, From the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula. To the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and to many other factors around the world.” 

He said today, humanity was “just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation.” 

A new path 

The Secretary-General underlined the importance of the non-proliferation treaty, saying it is needed “as much as ever”, while the review meeting provides an opportunity “to put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons.” 

He outlined five areas for action, starting with reinforcing and reaffirming the norm against the use of nuclear weapons, which requires steadfast commitment from all parties to the treaty. 

“We need to strengthen all avenues of dialogue and transparency. Peace cannot take hold in an absence of trust and mutual respect,” he said. 

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(Click here for the French version of this article.)

Question related to this article:
 
Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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Countries also must “work relentlessly” towards the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, which begins with new commitment to shrink their numbers. 

This will also mean reinforcing multilateral agreements and frameworks on disarmament and non-proliferation, which includes the important work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  

Address ‘simmering tensions’ 

For his third point, Mr. Guterres focused on the need to address the “simmering tensions” in the Middle East and Asia.  

“By adding the threat of nuclear weapons to enduring conflicts, these regions are edging towards catastrophe. We need to redouble our support for dialogue and negotiation to ease tensions and forge new bonds of trust in regions that have seen too little,” he said.   

The Secretary-General also called for promoting the peaceful use of nuclear technology, such as for medical purposes, as a catalyst for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Finally, he urged governments to fulfill all outstanding commitments in the treaty, “and keep it fit-for-purpose in these trying times.” 

Unexpected dimension

The head of the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, spoke of how the “spectre of war” has brought a new and unexpected dimension to nuclear safety in Ukraine.

Rafael Mariano Grossi said that at the beginning of the conflict, now nearly six months old, he outlined Seven Pillars of nuclear safety that should never be violated.  They include respecting the physical integrity of nuclear power plants, and ensuring staff can carry out their duties without undue pressure.

“All these seven principles have been trampled upon or violated since this tragic episode started,” he told the conference.

While the IAEA was able to work with Ukraine to restore the systems at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the 1986 disaster, Mr. Grossi continues to push for a mission to the Zaporizhzhya plant, the largest in the country, which is occupied by Russian forces.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are ready to go,” he said. “We hope to be able to come to Zaporizhzhya because if something happens there, we will only have ourselves to blame for it. Not a catastrophe, not an earthquake, or tsunami.  It will be our own inaction to blame for it.”

Iran and DPRK

Mr. Grossi also addressed other issues, including related to monitoring of Iran’s nuclear programme. 

“We know that for us to be able to give the necessary and credible assurances that every activity in the Islamic Republic of Iran is in peaceful uses, we need to work collaborative(ly) with them,” he said.

“It can be done, we have been doing it in the past, but we need – and I say this very clearly – we need to have the access that is commensurate with the breadth and depth of that nuclear programme.”

The situation in the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) also remains a concern, and he expressed hope that IAEA inspectors will be able to return to the country.

(Thank you to Sarah Guerard for sending this article to CPNN.)

UN General Assembly declares access to clean and healthy environment a universal human right

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from the United Nations

With 161 votes in favour, and eight abstentions*, the UN General Assembly adopted a historic resolution on Thursday (July 28), declaring access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, a universal human right.

The resolution, based on a similar text adopted last year by the Human Rights Council, calls upon States, international organisations, and business enterprises to scale up efforts to ensure a healthy environment for all. 

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, welcomed the ‘historic’ decision and said the landmark development demonstrates that Member States can come together in the collective fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

“The resolution will help reduce environmental injustices, close protection gaps and empower people, especially those that are in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples”, he said in a statement released by his Spokesperson’s Office.

He added that the decision will also help States accelerate the implementation of their environmental and human rights obligations and commitments.

“The international community has given universal recognition to this right and brought us closer to making it a reality for all”, he said.

Guterres underscored that however, the adoption of the resolution ‘is only the beginning’ and urged nations to make this newly recognised right ‘a reality for everyone, everywhere’.

Urgent action needed

In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also hailed the Assembly’s decision and echoed the Secretary-General’s call for urgent action to implement it.

“Today is a historic moment, but simply affirming our right to a healthy environment is not enough. The General Assembly resolution is very clear: States must implement their international commitments and scale up their efforts to realize it. We will all suffer much worse effects from environmental crises, if we do not work together to collectively avert them now,” she said.

Ms. Bachelet explained that environmental action based on human rights obligations provides vital guardrails for economic policies and business models.

“It emphasizes the underpinning of legal obligations to act, rather than simply of discretionary policy.  It is also more effective, legitimate and sustainable,” she added.

A resolution for the whole planet

The text, originally presented by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland last June, and now co-sponsored by over 100 countries, notes that the right to a healthy environment is related to existing international law and affirms that its promotion requires the full implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.

It also recognises that the impact of climate change, the unsustainable management and use of natural resources, the pollution of air, land and water, the unsound management of chemicals and waste, and the resulting loss in biodiversity interfere with the enjoyment of this right – and that environmental damage has negative implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of all human rights.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr. David Boyd, the Assembly’s decision will change the very nature of international human rights law.

“Governments have made promises to clean up the environment and address the climate emergency for decades but having a right to a healthy environment changes people’s perspective from ‘begging’ to demanding governments to act”, he United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm, which ended with its own historic declaration, was the first one to place environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns and marked the start of a dialogue between industrialized and developing countries on the link between economic growth, the pollution of the air, water and the ocean, and the well-being of people around the world.

UN Member States back then, declared that people have a fundamental right to “an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being,” calling for concrete action and the recognition of this right.

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Last October, after decades of work by nations at the front lines of climate change, such as the Maldives archipelago, as well as more than 1,000 civil society organisations, the Human Rights Council finally recognised this right and called for the UN General Assembly to do the same.

“From a foothold in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, the right has been integrated into constitutions, national laws and regional agreements. Today’s decision elevates the right to where it belongs: universal recognition”, UN Environment chief, Inger Andersen, explained in a statement published this Thursday.

The recognition of the right to a healthy environment by these UN bodies, although not legally binding— meaning countries don’t have a legal obligation to comply— is expected to be a catalyst for action and to empower ordinary people to hold their governments accountable.

“So, the recognition of this right is a victory we should celebrate. My thanks to Member States and to the thousands of civil society organizations and indigenous peoples’ groups, and tens of thousands of young people who advocated relentlessly for this right. But now we must build on this victory and implement the right”, Ms. Andersen added.

Triple crisis response

As mentioned by the UN Secretary-General, the newly recognised right will be crucial to tackling the triple planetary crisis.

This refers to the three main interlinked environmental threats that humanity currently faces: climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss – all mentioned in the text of the resolution.

Each of these issues has its own causes and effects and they need to be resolved if we are to have a viable future on Earth.

The consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, through increased intensity and severity of droughts, water scarcity, wildfires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity.

Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is the largest cause of disease and premature death in the world, with more than seven million people dying prematurely each year due to pollution.

Finally, the decline or disappearance of biological diversity – which includes animals, plants and ecosystems – impacts food supplies, access to clean water and life as we know it.

* States who abstained: China, Russian Federation, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran, Syria, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia.

(Note from the editor: Here is a translation of the explanation of their vote by the Russian Federation.

Mr Chairman, We would like to start by thanking the delegations of Slovenia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Maldives and Morocco as the main sponsors of the draft resolution “The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment” for their openness and constructive approach upon approval of the document.

The Russian Federation attaches great importance to the protection of environment and gives it increased attention both at the national, as well as at the international level. The theme of the draft resolution is at the intersection of two branches of law – international human rights law and international environmental law. However, neither universal environmental agreements nor international human rights treaties do not disclose the content of such concepts such as “clean environment”, “healthy environment”, “sustainable environment” or any similar concepts.

The wording of the existing international acts differ significantly. The main legal content of these concepts today occurs in national level. Each of the countries, based on the situation prevailing there and conditions, defines its own standards.

In this regard, the proclamation of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, without defining at least minimum standards universal character, prematurely.

Moreover, we are convinced that a new right can be recognized exclusively within the framework of international treaties, which are carefully prepared by authorized experts and approved by states. Only in this case can we speak of legal recognized law to be taken into account by States. Chosen one the authors of the method – the recognition of the right through the resolution of the General Assembly – is, at least controversial from a legal point of view, and in the future may lead to negative consequences.

In view of the foregoing, the Russian Federation cannot support the submitted draft resolution A/76/L.75 and puts it on vote. However, recognizing the importance of the topic under consideration as a whole, the Russian delegation will not oppose, but will refrain from voting.

Thank you for your attention.

(Thank you to Georgina Galanis for sending this article to CPNN.)

Call for Applications: Strengthening Young Women Peacebuilders’ Capacity in Complex Crises

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An announcment from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

Are you a young woman peacebuilder or human rights defender leading a local organization? Are you working to build and sustain peace, provide humanitarian relief in your community, prevent conflicts, or fight for human rights and equality? If your answer is YES, do not miss this opportunity!

WHAT IS THE PROGRAMME ABOUT?

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), in collaboration with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), are launching the pilot initiative Strengthening Young Women Peacebuilders’ Capacity in Complex Crises, a programme that seeks to support young women leading civil society organizations in fragile and/or conflict-affected countries.

The objective of this initiative is to provide capacity-building for young women-led organizations to strengthen their fundraising skills, and to create a space for peer exchange, networking, sharing of best practices, and lessons learned among young women peacebuilders.

A 4-day, in-person workshop will be held in November 2022 in Tbilisi, Georgia. You will learn about:

* Key policy areas such as peacebuilding and sustaining peace, the women, peace, and security (WPS) and the youth, peace, and security (YPS) agendas;

* Key project management skills: designing and drafting project proposals (including conflict analysis, theory of change, logical frameworks), fundraising, donor outreach, and reporting.

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Questions for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

* Be a young woman between 18 and 30 years old. LGBTIQ+ individuals are encouraged to apply.

* Be a citizen of, and be living in, one of the following countries or territories: Afghanistan, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

* Have not yet received funding from the United Nations.

* Be a founding or key member of a legally registered civil society organization working on peacebuilding, human rights, women’s rights, youth rights, or related.

* Have a working knowledge of either English, French, or Spanish.

HOW TO APPLY

Please fill in the online application form  before 15 August 2022.

For any inquiries, please send an email to marie.doucey@unwomen.org.

One year driving action for gender equality. One year of Generation Equality

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article from the Generation Equality Forum

One year ago, the Generation Equality Forum brought together leaders from governments, civil society, youth and the private sector to take bold global action on gender equality, marking the start of an ambitious 5-year journey convened by UN Women.

Since the Forum, convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the Governments of France and Mexico, countries and partners have already initiated implementation of commitments made  through six Action Coalitions, and a series of global, innovative, multi-stakeholder partnerships for gender equality., In addition, signatories to the Women, Peace and Security, and Humanitarian Action Compact are beginning to make progress on Compact framework actions, designed to drive progress on implementation of existing global commitments to the women, peace and security, and gender in humanitarian action agendas.

Progress made throughout the first year of the Generation Equality initiative includes  work by the Government of Kenya, global leader of the Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence, to make strides in advancement on the implementation of their 12 commitments, which include national gender-based violence prevention and response policies, resource allocation on programmes for prevention and response to gender-based violence, consultations with civil society and violence survivor, production of gender-sensitive data and evidence, and the ratification of international conventions, amongst other actions, including an investment of over US$1 million to eliminate female genital mutilation in the next four years. As part of the one-year anniversary of the Forum, Kenya published a report on the progress that has been made on each one of their commitments.

Other important advancements have been achieved by the Global Alliance for Care Work, which in the last year has presented new evidence on the impact of policies that grant remuneration, recognition and redistribution of care work done by women, helping to develop new national policies and bringing together care work activists and decision-makers to the table.

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Questions for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

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Youth activists have also made progress in coordination with UN Women by leading the Generation Equality localization of commitments, which provides the opportunity for young activists to share how they have leveraged their experiences during the Generation Equality Forum to localize activities in their communities, and in June 2022 a workshop was organized with 32 adolescents and girls to discuss actions and sharing experiences to strengthen the impact at a local level. During CSW66, youth networks convened to outline recommendations for Compact Signatories to increase youth participation and leadership in the women, peace and security and humanitarian space.

The 2021 Generation Equality Forum secured over 1,000 policy, advocacy and financial commitments for gender equality and a historic US$40 billion pledged to make gender equality a global reality. One year on, those commitments have doubled to more than 2,000 and advocates are beginning the important work of ensuring accountability with a first progress report due for publication in September. 

New commitments include high-impact actions, such as the one presented by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality and LGBTI, consisting of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and the autonomous areas of Greenland, Åland and the Faroe Islands. The Nordic Council of Ministers presented a joint commitment to invest in gender-conscious climate solutions and to implement domestic policies that interweave sustainable development, gender equality, and youth engagement with climate action. The private sector has also stepped up commitments, an example being the Koc Group, which will mobilize its Group of companies in support of the Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality.

These and other Action Coalitions commitments by Member States, private sector, foundations, civil society and youth leaders can be viewed through the Generation Equality Commitment Dashboard, launched recently by UN Women: https://commitments.generationequality.org/dashboard/directory/.

The Compact, which calls for the redesign of peace and security and humanitarian processes to systematically and meaningfully include women and girls, has seen more than 160 signatories   pledging investments to over 1000 Compact Framework actions. In the last year, Compact leaders and signatories have developed a Compact Monitoring Framework to track progress and gaps over the next five years, and Compact Signatories have prioritized financing, programmatic, policy and advocacy actions to address women’s and girls’ rights in conflicts and crises in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Myanmar, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.


Compact Signatory Actions can be explored on the Compact Dashboard here: https://wpshacompact.org/wpsha-compact-dashboard/.

A progress report on the first year of Generation Equality implementation will be launched in September at an event in conjunction with the UN General Assembly. Further details will be available closer to the date.

UN rights chief concludes China trip with promise of improved relations

. HUMAN RIGHTS .

An article from the United Nations

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet during her visit to China, in Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. (Photo from OHCHR)

At the end of her official visit to China, the first such trip in 17 years, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet announced new areas of engagement between her office and the Chinese Government on rights issues, and summarized the many rights issues raised during her six-day May mission.

During Saturday’s virtual press conference, Ms. Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, outlined the new opportunities for dialogue between her office and the Chinese authorities that were discussed during the visit, which include an annual senior strategic meeting, and a working group that will meet in Beijing and Geneva, as well as online.

The working group, explained Ms. Bachelet, will discuss specific thematic areas, including development, poverty alleviation and human rights, minority rights, business and human rights, counterterrorism and human rights, digital space and human rights, judicial and legal protection, and human rights.

The High Commissioner pointed out that, as her Office does not have a presence in China, the working group will allow for structured engagement on these and other issues, and provide a space for her team to bring specific matters of concern to the attention of the Chinese Government.

Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong on the agenda

During her mission, Ms. Bachelet spoke with a range of government officials, several civil society organisations, academics, and community and religious leaders. In addition, she met several organizations online ahead of the visit, on issues relating to Xinjiang province, Tibet, Hong Kong, and other parts of China. 

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Question for this article:

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

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In Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, Ms. Bachelet raised questions and concerns about the application of counterterrorism and de-radicalisation measures and their broad application, and encouraged the Government to undertake a review of all counterterrorism and deradicalization policies, to ensure they fully comply with international human rights standards, and are not applied in an arbitrary and discriminatory way.

On the Tibet Autonomous Region, Ms. Bachelet reiterated the importance of protecting the linguistic, religious, and cultural identity of Tibetans, and allowing Tibetans to participate fully and freely in decisions about their religious life, and for dialogue to take place. 

Regarding Hong Kong, Ms. Bachelet urged the Government to nurture – and not stifle – the tremendous potential for civil society and academics in Hong Kong to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights. She described the arrests of lawyers, activists, journalists and others under the National Security Law as “deeply worrying”, and noted that Hong Kong is due to be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee in July.

“To those who have sent me appeals, asking me to raise issues or cases with the authorities – I have heard you”, she declared. “I will continue to follow up on such issues and instances of concern on a sustained basis”.

‘China has a very important role to play’

The rights chief praised China’s “tremendous achievements” in alleviating poverty, and eradicating extreme poverty, 10 years ahead of its target date. 

The country, she added, has gone a long way towards ensuring protection of the right to health and broader social and economic rights, thanks to the introduction of universal health care and almost universal unemployment insurance scheme. 

A number of other developments in the country were welcomed by Ms. Bachelet, including legislation that improves protection for women’s rights, and work being done by NGOs to advance the rights of LGBTI people, people with disabilities, and older people.

The UN rights chief underscored the important role that China has to play, at a regional and multilateral level, and noted that everyone she met on her visit, from Government officials, civil society, academics, diplomats and others, demonstrated a sincere willingness to make progress on the promotion and protection of human rights for all. 

(Editor’s note: Bachelet’s trip does not support US propaganda claiming that China is engaged in genocide in Xinjiang.)

UN climate report: It’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from the United Nations

A new flagship UN report on climate change out Monday (April 4) indicating that harmful carbon emissions from 2010-2019 have never been higher in human history, is proof that the world is on a “fast track” to disaster, António Guterres has warned, with scientists arguing that it’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.


© UNICEF/Sebastian Rich. A young boy collects what little water he can from a dried up river due to severe drought in Somalia.

Reacting to the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Secretary-General insisted that unless governments everywhere reassess their energy policies, the world will be uninhabitable.

His comments reflected the IPCC’s insistence that all countries must reduce their fossil fuel use substantially, extend access to electricity, improve energy efficiency and increase the use of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen.

Unless action is taken soon, some major cities will be under water, Mr. Guterres said in a video message, which also forecast “unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages and the extinction of a million species of plants and animals”.

Horror story

The UN chief added: “This is not fiction or exaggeration. It is what science tells us will result from our current energy policies. We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5-degree (Celsius, or 2.7-degrees Fahreinheit) limit” that was agreed in Paris in 2015.

Providing the scientific proof to back up that damning assessment, the IPCC report – written by hundreds of leading scientists and agreed by 195 countries – noted that greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity, have increased since 2010 “across all major sectors globally”.

In an op-ed article penned for the Washington Post, Mr. Guterres described the latest IPCC report as “a litany of broken climate promises”, which revealed a “yawning gap between climate pledges, and reality.”

He wrote that high-emitting governments and corporations, were not just turning a blind eye, “they are adding fuel to the flames by continuing to invest in climate-choking industries. Scientists warn that we are already perilously close to tipping points that could lead to cascading and irreversible climate effects.”

Urban issue

An increasing share of emissions can be attributed to towns and cities, the report’s authors continued, adding just as worryingly, that emissions reductions clawed back in the last decade or so “have been less than emissions increases, from rising global activity levels in industry, energy supply, transport, agriculture and buildings”.

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Question for this article:
 
Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Striking a more positive note – and insisting that it is still possible to halve emissions by 2030 – the IPCC urged governments to ramp up action to curb emissions.

The UN body also welcomed the significant decrease in the cost of renewable energy sources since 2010, by as much as 85 per cent for solar and wind energy, and batteries.

Encouraging climate action

“We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. “I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”

To limit global warming to around 1.5C (2.7°F), the IPCC report insisted that global greenhouse gas emissions would have to peak “before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43 per cent by 2030”.

Methane would also need to be reduced by about a third, the report’s authors continued, adding that even if this was achieved, it was “almost inevitable that we will temporarily exceed this temperature threshold”, although the world “could  return to below it by the end of the century”.
Now or never

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F); without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III, which released the latest report.

Global temperatures will stabilise when carbon dioxide emissions reach net zero. For 1.5C (2.7F), this means achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally in the early 2050s; for 2C (3.6°F), it is in the early 2070s, the IPCC report states.

“This assessment shows that limiting warming to around 2C (3.6F) still requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by a quarter by 2030.”

Policy base

A great deal of importance is attached to IPCC assessments because they provide governments with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies.

They also play a key role in international negotiations to tackle climate change.

Among the sustainable and emissions-busting solutions that are available to governments, the IPCC report emphasised that rethinking how cities and other urban areas function in future could help significantly in mitigating the worst effects of climate change.

“These (reductions) can be achieved through lower energy consumption (such as by creating compact, walkable cities), electrification of transport in combination with low-emission energy sources, and enhanced carbon uptake and storage using nature,” the report suggested. “There are options for established, rapidly growing and new cities,” it said.

Echoing that message, IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair, Priyadarshi Shukla, insisted that “the right policies, infrastructure and technology…to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour, can result in a 40 to 70 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. “The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and wellbeing.”