Tag Archives: United Nations

United Nations High-Level Forum on The Culture of Peace: Chair’s Summary

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Received at CPNN from Georgina Galanis

The President of the General Assembly (PGA) convened on 7 September 2021 the High-Level Forum on The Culture of Peace, as mandated by the GA resolution 75/25 of 2020. The High-Level Forum, participated by the Member States and Observers to the United Nations as well as other stakeholders, renewed the call for full and effective implementation of the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, opened the High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace

The theme of High-Level Forum – “Transformative Role of The Culture of Peace: Promoting Resilience and Inclusion in Post-Covid Recovery” reflected the relevance of the abiding values of the culture of peace in combating the Covid-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts, and underscored the importance of empowering all segments of the society towards a resilient recovery, including by ensuring vaccine equity, bridging digital divide, promoting equality and empowerment of women and harnessing the power of youth, among others.

In his opening remarks, the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, pointed out how humanity was brought together by the pandemic and stressed the need to “build on this shared sense of grief and anxiety, and work together to not only tackle COVID-19 but all other challenges that stand in our path.” Referring to the sufferings of the Rohingya and Afghanistan people, the President emphasized on elements such as conflict early warning, fact-finding missions, early deployment of peacekeepers when needed, and of course humanitarian assistance, to maintain and support a culture of peace. “Peace is much, much more than the absence of conflict. Peace is a conscious effort by each of us, each moment, to talk, to listen, and to engage. It is a sustained effort to understand and overcome differences”, he added.

The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh H.E. DR A.K. Abdul Momen participated in the Opening Session with a pre-recorded statement. In his remarks, the Foreign Minister recalled Bangladesh’s pioneering role in the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution on The Culture of Peace since 1999 and organization of the High-Level Forum since 2012. Recognizing the need for creating an environment for peace for a resilient recovery from Covid-19, the Foreign Minister invited the international community to mainstream culture of peace in all pandemic recovery efforts. He underscored the strong correlation between peace and development and in this regard, called for ensuring timely implementation of the Agenda 2030.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, the Chef de Cabinet Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, highlighted the foundational role of culture of peace for “building a better, fairer, more sustainable future for all—the future in which human rights are realized for every person.” She called attention not only to the devastating consequences of climate change and the threatening effects of the pandemic on health and economics but also to the rising conflicts, gender-based violence, inequality and hate speech. The Chef de Cabinet stressed that working to achieve peace not only covers traditional notions of security, but also challenges such as social injustice, the normalization of hate speech, terrorism, violence against women, and conflict.

The High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC), H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos in his remarks stated that the culture of peace is becoming relevant every day in the context of multidimensional impacts of Covid-19 and urged all stakeholders to re-commit to taking result-oriented actions towards uprooting all forms of discrimination and eliminating inequalities through dialogue, tolerance, diversity and respect among state and non-state actors. Speaking on behalf of Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mr. Eliot Minchenberg, Director a.i., Office of UNESCO in New York, underlined that the very notion of the Culture of Peace was born in UNESCO in 1992 and reaffirmed that the Organisation, together with its partners, stands ready to build peace and overcome the challenges of today. He also pointed out that due to Covid-19 pandemic, education has been gravely affected, particularly among girls and young women.

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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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During the plenary meeting, Member States stressed that the pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities and inequalities, increasing intolerance and tensions within communities, and between states. They underlined the importance of fostering a culture of peace through education by revising the educational curricula to promote qualitative values, attitudes, and behaviours of a culture of peace, including peaceful conflict-resolution, dialogue, consensus-building and active non-violence. The High-Level Forum also discussed how the culture of peace is fostered by the promotion of sustainable economic and social development and heard arguments towards the need to reduce inequalities and eradicate poverty if we are to alleviate grievances. The Member States also highlighted the importance of protection and promotion
human rights and ensuring gender equality in achieving the objectives of the declaration and the programme of action on culture of peace.

Following the plenary segment in the General Assembly Hall in the morning, a panel discussion was held virtually in the afternoon with the participation of invited panellists, discussants, and representatives of civil society organisations. The Founder of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace (GMCoP), Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury moderated the panel discussion. A wide range of stakeholders – H.E. Ms Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN, H.E. Mr. Rodrigo A. Carazo, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN, H. E. Ms. Mathu Joyini, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN, Mr. Federico Mayor Zaragoza, President of Foundation for a Culture of Peace, former Director-General of UNESCO (1987-1999), Dr. Ada Juni Okika, Global Director of the Centre for Transformative Advancement of Development of Africa (CTADA), Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, UN, Mr. Francisco Rojas-Aravena, Rector of the University of Peace in Costa Rica participated in the panel discussion.

Hon. Mr Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan and President of “Mayors for Peace” and Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary General’s Youth Envoy, presented pre-recorded video statements.

Chair and Moderator Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury in his opening remarks paid warm tribute to PGA-75 H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir under whose leadership the High-Level Forum on The Culture of Peace convened. He drew attention to the reality that the Culture of Peace has yet to attain its worth and its due recognition at global as well as national levels. He called for renewed attention to the Declaration on Culture of Peace which, “after the UN Charter, is the only major document of the UNGA which focuses on peace in the most comprehensive manner.” He underscored the difference between peace and culture of peace and called for individual actions to advance culture of peace which aims at making peace and non-violence a part of our own self, our own personality – a part of our existence as a human being.

Ms. Beatrice Fihn, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) presented the keynote speech. In her keynote speech, Ms Beatrice Fihn highlighted the enduring values of the culture of peace in addressing the both the contemporary and the longstanding challenges facing the humanity. She emphasized on renewed commitment and stronger action to eliminate nuclear weapons that continue to threaten the very existence of the human society.

As a panellist, Ambassador Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, underscored the long-standing commitment of Bangladesh to the culture of peace at the UN and its continuing, proactive role in advancing the implementation of the UN resolutions on the culture of peace. She stressed on eliminating digital divide and restructuring conventional education system in ensuring uninterrupted access to education by all children. Expressing her concern at the alarming rise in inequality within and among societies, she urged the global community to address inequality in a holistic manner. She also called for increased efforts including dialogue for elimination of hate speech, xenophobia and discrimination across the society for an inclusive recovery.

All panellists recognised the renewed relevance of the culture of peace in combating COVID and stressed on the importance of utilizing transformative role of culture of peace in fostering inclusion and tolerance in the society through inclusive and non-discriminatory recovery efforts. They highlighted that the culture of peace needs to be strengthened within all peoples, especially women, to prevent conflicts and sustain peace. They also stressed respect for human rights as essential to peace, to further promoting the culture of peace in educational programmes. The culture of peace, it was stressed, cannot be built if hate speech continues to exist. Participants also noted that everyone must be a multi-stakeholder in this process, including educators, parents, governmental officials and civil society organizations, as highlighted in the UN declaration on the culture of peace.

Civil society organizations actively participated in the High-Level Forum interactive session. They stressed that peace should be embraced as a way of life. The culture of peace should be nurtured through strengthening mutual respect and protecting the dignity of all members of the society regardless of their race, religion, belief or gender.

The High-Level Forum provided an opportunity for Member States, observers, UN entities, non-governmental organizations, academia, and other interested parties, to exchange ideas and make suggestions on how to utilise the values of culture of peace in post Covid recovery efforts, especially to ensure that the recovery from Covid-19 is durable, resilient and inclusive. In this context, the High-Level Forum provided a meaningful contribution to the pivotal discussions and commitments expected at the General Assembly during the High-Level Week later in September 2021.

UN High Level Forum on The Culture of Peace

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An announcement from the United Nations

The High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace will be convened by the President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday, 10 September 2020 as a virtual event via online platform.


Overview

The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 74/21 on 12 December 2019 at its 74th session, in which the Assembly requested the President, H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, to consider convening a high-level forum, as appropriate and within existing resources, devoted to the implementation of the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace on the occasion of the anniversary of its adoption, on or around 13 September.

This is an opportunity to renew our commitment to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, our commitment to the United Nations and multilateralism, in particular under the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the President of the 74th Session of the General Assembly will convene this year a virtual High-Level Forum, on 10 September 2020, to highlight the importance of the culture of peace to move forward in these trying times.
 
Background

On 13 September 1999, the UN General Assembly adopted, by consensus and without reservation, its pioneering resolution 53/243 on the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Asserting and reaffirming the commitment of all the UN membership for building the culture of peace, the General Assembly has been adopting resolutions on this issue every year since 1997. Through annual substantive resolutions for the last 20 years as well as annual High-Level Forums since 2012, the General Assembly has highlighted the priority it attaches to the full and effective implementation of these decisions and recommendations, which serve as a universal mandate for the international community, particularly the UN system, for the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence that benefits humanity, in particular future generations.

Last year, on the occasion of the historic 20th anniversary of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, the President of the 73rd session of the General Assembly, H.E. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, convened a successful High-Level Forum on 13 September 2019, under the theme “The Culture of Peace: Empowering and Transforming Humanity”. The discussion reflected on the enduring value of the culture of peace, inter alia, for full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for a lasting peace.

In 2020, despite the difficulties in ensuring business continuity in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is of utmost importance that the United Nations continues to support the global movement to promote the culture of peace, its Declaration and Programme of Action, and that our response and recovery efforts are guided towards implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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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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The Culture of Peace: Change our world for the better in the age of COVID-19

This year’s High-Level Forum is intended to be an opportunity for an exchange of views on possible ways to further promote the culture of peace, while the world is striving to recover and respond to the global pandemic and trying to address other pressing issues affecting the lives of many people around the globe. The COVID-19 situation has underscored the urgent need to leverage a culture of peace as a means of bridging divides across and within societies, as well as ensuring peaceful coexistence as a foundation for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.

International cooperation and multilateral partnerships are necessary to tackle the pandemic and other global threats. Concrete action is needed by all stakeholders to realize this vision through education, inclusion, poverty eradication, and social cohesion, with more participation from women, the youth, and other segments of society.

The theme for the 2020 High-Level Forum will be “The Culture of Peace: Change our world for the better in the age of COVID-19”. Building global solidarity is the need of the time and can be achieved through promoting inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue that enable communities to come together to better understand each other and stand against the spread of hate, intolerance, division, and discrimination. The resilient nature of people to overcome the challenges with renewed optimism should be strengthened and put at the core of all our collective response and recovery plans, so that this crisis does not exacerbate the already high levels of inequality and discrimination. Vulnerable populations with less access to health care, basic public services, and economic resources should be our top priority. The event will provide a platform to explore opportunities to change our world for the better after the pandemic.
 
Participation

Member States and Observers of the General Assembly are invited to participate in the virtual High-Level Forum. The meeting will be webcast and it is open to UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders.
 
Format of the High-Level Forum

The High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace, convened by the President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, will take place on Thursday, 10 September 2020, via online WebEx platform from 10 am to 1 pm. The event will consist of an opening segment and a plenary segment. The opening segment will feature statements by the President of the Seventy-Fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary-General, H.E. Anwarul K. Chowdhury Ms. Gabriela Ramos, Ms. Nihal Saad, and Dr. Francisco Rojas Aravena. The plenary segment will comprise statements by Member States and Observers of the General Assembly.

Member States are encouraged to deliver statements on behalf of a group of States, whenever possible. Member States are encouraged to limit their statements to three (3) minutes for individual delegations and five (5) minutes for statements made on behalf of a group of States. There will be a pre-established list of speakers and it will be open for registration before the event. In view of time constraints for the online plenary segment, delegations that did not have the opportunity to speak can send their statements for uploading on the PGA’s website. A President’s summary of the meeting will be circulated to Member States upon its conclusion.

United Nations: Strengthening women’s meaningful participation in peace processes

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article from UN Women

Worldwide, complex conflicts and humanitarian crises continue to ravage communities and hinder the overall well-being and prosperity of societies. Women are often the most impacted by these crises, bearing the brunt of conflict and paying a higher price of the devastation – from increased gender discrimination and violence, to the waning of gender-sensitive structures and programming. Still, they remain largely excluded from participating in peace processes, despite overwhelming evidence showing that women’s involvement in peacebuilding and mediation leads to lasting, positive peace that goes well beyond just the silencing of guns.


Left: Kawkab Al-Thaibani. Right: Odi Lagi. Photos courtesy of each.

Although important strides have been made since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 in 2000, women’s direct participation and representation in formal peace processes continues to be the one area that lags behind in the implementation of the  empowering women leaders to participate in peacebuilding becomes increasingly crucial. Women who participate in peace processes tend to represent broader and more diverse constituencies, ensuring a range of views and interests are represented and peace processes are fully democratized.

Using digital and online tools to foster women’s participation in peacebuilding

Amera Malek is a Syrian activist in the field of Women, Peace and Security and, as the director of MAUJ for Development (previously Radio Souriat), she is familiar with digital technologies and the use of tools to enhance women’s voices and gather support. “We launched our online radio in 2014 as a media initiative and platform that provides a voice for Syrian women, tackling issues affecting them – from honor killings to sexual harassment, and more – and addressing wider societal problems from a gender perspective,” says Malek. “We started out by broadcasting programmes and live talks, bringing together women from all walks of life and taking into account their specific needs and situations.”

As the Syrian conflict went on and power cuts and other disruptions became more frequent, Radio Souriat turned to social media as a new outlet for their activism. “In complex, conflict-afflicted contexts such as the Syrian one, new tools must be deployed to foster participation and mobilize a country-wide support base. On top of our radio work, we’ve taken on producing visual and audio assets for dissemination on social media, which has enabled us to continue to reach out to and engage with communities.”

In June 2020, Radio Souriat changed its name to MAUJ for Development, a community-based, not-for-profit foundation guided by feminist principles. MAUJ works on four strategic programmes: supporting pluralism and community cohesion, promoting women participation in public life, producing gender-sensitive media content, and ensuring sustainable resources. From its headquarters in al-Nabk, MAUJ reaches women across the country and beyond, supporting them to voice their opinions and be informed on issues that directly affect their lives.

While digital tools have created an unprecedented opportunity to democratize peace efforts, making them more transparent and inclusive, some issues remain to be addressed. “We see that women are more likely to participate in online discussions because they can do so anonymously and flexibly, balancing their care burdens,” says Malek. “Yet, we must ensure these methods are underpinned by robust gender analysis. We must continue to leverage the huge potential of digital tools for constituency-building while ensuring that existing discrepancies in accessing digital tools do not further inequalities.”

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Questions for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Bringing together women civil society actors and political representatives

Kawkab Al-Thaibani is the co-founder of Women4Yemen, a network of women working in media, human rights and civil society, which mobilizes and empowers women to foster peace and achieve stability for Yemen. As part of her work, she has been seeking to close the gap between women’s grassroots initiatives for peace and decision-making spaces.

“Yemeni women are facing huge challenges to access negotiating space and get a seat at the peace table,” says Al-Thaibani. “As the conflict in Yemen continues, women’s representation has decreased quite considerably: for the first time in 20 years, women are absent from the newly formed Cabinet. In this context, it is vital that political leaders expand their constituencies and engage closely with civil society to make sure women’s voices are heard.”

“Yemeni women are the carriers of peace and have been instrumental in leading the country to a more stable and peaceful transition,” she adds. “Yet, we don’t have full legitimacy to support peacemaking initiatives and be involved in the peace process in a meaningful way. More work needs to be done at the government and institutional levels to connect women’s grassroots movements with formal representatives who sit at the decision-making table.”

“While it’s important that representatives build strong civil society constituencies, this per se is not enough. To be credible and for constituencies to be strengthened, politicians must ensure that they represent the interests and views of their communities in peace talks, and that they make themselves accountable for shaping the negotiating agenda, ensuring the requests of women are being dealt with.”

Introducing special temporary measures to increase women’s representation in peacebuilding

Odi Lagi, Program Director of the Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI), Nigeria, highlights the importance and challenges of gender quotas and other temporary special measures in fostering more gender-inclusive peace processes. “I believe the introduction of quotas as a temporary measure to achieve gender equality in political participation is very much necessary,” says Lagi. “We underestimate the importance for women and girls of seeing women in leadership positions and the power of role-modelling: seeing women in power is the first step toward becoming one. However, quotas also have limitations – their introduction by governments has increasingly become a box-ticking exercise rather than a tool to foster positive change. We need to set a 50/50 benchmark if we truly want to see structural transformation in decision-making spaces.”

In Nigeria, a 30 per cent quota for representation in political processes was introduced in the early 2000s. Since then, women’s participation has been declining and, as conflict escalated, women’s voices have been increasingly ignored. “While instruments like quotas have strong transformative potential, there is also a clear danger that they might restrict greater women’s participation and be used by conflict parties as bargaining chips to appeal to minority and women’s groups, while in fact making little progress in advancing meaningful political inclusion,” adds Lagi.

About the Global Convening

From 7-27 July 2021, UN Women, in partnership with CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, hosted the global convening on “Gender-Inclusive Peace Processes: Strengthening Women’s Meaningful Participation through Constituency Building.” The conference explored good practices and strategies for gender-inclusive constituency building and the links between constituency building and women’s meaningful participation in formal peace processes, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It was made possible through a long-term collaboration with, and financial support from, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Visit the conference public dashboard on SparkBlue for more information 

Cameroon : From a life of violence to a culture of peace

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from the United Nations

A young peace campaigner from Cameroon who turned his back on the violence prevalent in his hometown and became a youth civil society activist, has been telling the United Nations about how he is helping other young people to reject conflict, and take a greater role in building peace in the country.


© UNICEF/Salomon Marie Joseph Beguel
Young people in Cameroon are key to promoting a peaceful culture in the West African country.

Christian Achaleke spoke to the UN ahead of International Youth Day, which is marked annually on August 12th.

“My decision to become a peace activist was influenced by my personal experience. I grew up in a community plagued by violence: it was a way of life. At some point, I came to realize that violence leads us nowhere. I lost some friends and acquaintances, and others were thrown into jail.

I began volunteering in 2007, and this gave me a new perspective built around peace and helping to improve communities. It has been an inspiring, life-changing experience.

As a young person involved in peacebuilding and countering violent extremism, I find myself speaking to my peers. When I go to prisons to speak to other young people, I can show them that there are better ways to respond to the challenges they face than violence and develop solutions to the drivers of conflicts.

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

Question related to this article:
 
“Put down the gun and take up the pen”, What are some other examples?

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Underestimated youth

However, I would say that our role has been underestimated. Sometimes I feel that communities, leaders and institutions turn a blind eye to what we are doing, even though we are the ones who suffer the most in times of conflict. 

In Cameroon, we have tried to provide young people with the opportunity to engage in local community peacebuilding and peace process initiatives, giving them guidance, mentorship and support. 

We are telling the government, the UN and other organizations that it is a good strategy to involve youth, to give them the skills to take part in mediation and provide a safe space in which they can be a part of the process.

Culture, diversity and heritage are very important to me as a Cameroonian. They should serve as a unifying factor but, because we did not properly harness them, we are facing a violent conflict. 

That is why managing culture, heritage, diversity and our diaspora community is very important for peace, and it is something that we have been trying to practice for a long time.

Values to prevent conflict

To me, a culture of peace is a set of values, lifestyle, morals, and ethics which are developed as a way to prevent conflict or violence and also to engage people towards peaceful and ethical living. 

To create a culture of peace in Africa, young people and women need to be engaged, and at the forefront of the process. It is also important to provide opportunities for people and communities to be able to share experiences and ideas.

Little is being spoken about young people changing the face of the African continent but that does not mean that we are not doing good work. I am calling on heads of States, policy makers, communities and every person of good will, to stand and support young boys and girls, and ensure that they can lead the transformations of their countries, and build the African continent”.

UN pledges full support to Nagasaki voices fuelling ‘powerful global movement’ against nuclear arms

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from the United Nations

António Guterres has reaffirmed the full support of the United Nations to amplifying the powerful testimony of the survivors of the atomic bomb that was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, 76 years ago, which has helped build a “powerful global movement against nuclear arms”.


In his message to the Nagasaki Peace Memorial on the 9 August anniversary, the UN Secretary-General said he continued to be humbled by the “selfless acts of the hibakusha, the name given to those who survived and continue to bear witness.

“Your courage in the face of immense human tragedy, is a beacon of hope for humanity”, he said in his address, delivered on his behalf at the ceremony by the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu.

“I reaffirm the full support of the United Nations to ensuring that your voices are heard by the world’s people, and especially by younger generations.”

Out of the ashes

The UN chief told the people of the city that was devastated in 1945, just days after the first bomb was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima during the final days of World War Two, that they had built a “cultural metropolis” out of the ashes.

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

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“Your dynamic city exemplifies modernity and progress, while you work diligently to prevent devastation from ever befalling another city”, he said, warning however that the prospect of another nuclear weapon being used, were as dangerous now, as any time since the height of the Cold War between the US and former USSR.

“States are racing to create more powerful weapons, and broadening the potential scenarios for their use. Warlike rhetoric is turned up to maximum volume, while dialogue is on mute”, said the Secretary-General.

Grounds for hope

But two developments this year provide grounds for hope, in the form of the reaffirmation from the US and Russia, “that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”, together with a commitment to engage in arms control talks.

Secondly, said Mr. Guterres in his message, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has now come into force, representing “the legitimate fears of many States, about the existential danger posed by nuclear weapons.”

And for the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the UN chief said they all parties now need to reinforce “the norm against nuclear weapons” at the upcoming Tenth Review Conference, and take real steps towards elimination.

It is incumbent on all Member States of the UN, “to seek the abolition of the most deadly weapons ever made”, said Mr. Guterres, and together, we must prevent the tragedy of Nagasaki’s nuclear destruction, “from ever occurring again.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A press release from the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released today. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.

However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26.

The Working Group I report is the first instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed in 2022.

“This report reflects extraordinary efforts under exceptional circumstances,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “The innovations in this report, and advances in climate science that it reflects, provide an invaluable input into climate negotiations and decision-making.”

Faster warming

The report provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades, and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.

The report shows that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming. This assessment is based on improved observational datasets to assess historical warming, as well progress in scientific understanding of the response of the climate system to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

“This report is a reality check,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte. “We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”

Every region facing increasing changes

Many characteristics of climate change directly depend on the level of global warming, but what people experience is often very different to the global average. For example, warming over land is larger than the global average, and it is more than twice as high in the Arctic.

“Climate change is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways. The changes we experience will increase with additional warming,” said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai.

The report projects that in the coming decades climate changes will increase in all regions. For 1.5°C of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2°C of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows.

But it is not just about temperature. Climate change is bringing multiple different changes in different regions – which will all increase with further warming. These include changes to wetness and dryness, to winds, snow and ice, coastal areas and oceans. For example:

* Climate change is intensifying the water cycle. This brings more intense rainfall and associated flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions.

* Climate change is affecting rainfall patterns. In high latitudes, precipitation is likely to increase, while it is projected to decrease over large parts of the subtropics. Changes to monsoon precipitation are expected, which will vary by region.

* Coastal areas will see continued sea level rise throughout the 21st century, contributing to more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying areas and coastal erosion. Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century.

* Further warming will amplify permafrost thawing, and the loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice.

* Changes to the ocean, including warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and reduced oxygen levels have been clearly linked to human influence. These changes affect both ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them, and they will continue throughout at least the rest of this century.

* For cities, some aspects of climate change may be amplified, including heat (since urban areas are usually warmer than their surroundings), flooding from heavy precipitation events and sea level rise in coastal cities.

For the first time, the Sixth Assessment Report provides a more detailed regional assessment of climate change, including a focus on useful information that can inform risk assessment, adaptation, and other decision-making, and a new framework that helps translate physical changes in the climate – heat, cold, rain, drought, snow, wind, coastal flooding and more – into what they mean for society and ecosystems.

This regional information can be explored in detail in the newly developed Interactive Atlas interactive-atlas.ipcc.ch  as well as regional fact sheets, the technical summary, and underlying report.

Human influence on the past and future climate

“It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed,” said Masson-Delmotte. Yet the new report also reflects major advances in the science of attribution – understanding the role of climate change in intensifying specific weather and climate events such as extreme heat waves and heavy rainfall events.

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Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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The report also shows that human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate. The evidence is clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main driver of climate change, even as other greenhouse gases and air pollutants also affect the climate.

“Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate,” said Zhai.

For more information contact:

IPCC Press Office ipcc-media@wmo.int, +41 22 730 8120
Katherine Leitzell katherine.leitzell@ipcc.ch
Nada Caud (French) nada.caud@universite-paris-saclay.fr
 
Notes for Editors

Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Working Group I report addresses the most updated physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, global and regional climate simulations. It shows how and why climate has changed to date, and the improved understanding of human influence on a wider range of climate characteristics, including extreme events. There will be a greater focus on regional information that can be used for climate risk assessments.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) as well as additional materials and information are available at 

Note: Originally scheduled for release in April 2021, the report was delayed for several months by the COVID-19 pandemic, as work in the scientific community including the IPCC shifted online. This is first time that the IPCC has conducted a virtual approval session for one of its reports.

AR6 Working Group I in numbers

234 authors from 66 countries
31 – coordinating authors
167 – lead authors
36 – review editors
plus
517 – contributing authors

Over 14,000 cited references

A total of 78,007 expert and government review comments

(First Order Draft 23,462; Second Order Draft 51,387; Final Government Distribution: 3,158)

More information about the Sixth Assessment Report can be found here.

About the IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. In the same year the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC. It has 195 member states.

Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.

The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals. As part of the IPCC, a Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments (TG-Data) provides guidance to the Data Distribution Centre (DDC) on curation, traceability, stability, availability and transparency of data and scenarios related to the reports of the IPCC.

IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency. An IPCC assessment report consists of the contributions of the three working groups and a Synthesis Report. The Synthesis Report integrates the findings of the three working group reports and of any special reports prepared in that assessment cycle.

About the Sixth Assessment Cycle

At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and the Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle.

Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty was launched in October 2018.

Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems was launched in August 2019, and the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate  was released in September 2019.

In May 2019 the IPCC released the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, an update to the methodology used by governments to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

The other two Working Group contributions to the AR6 will be finalized in 2022 and the AR6 Synthesis Report will be completed in the second half of 2022.

For more information go to www.ipcc.ch.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Several Social Movements are boycotting the UN Food Systems Summit, will hold counter mobilizations in July

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Via Campesina

Over 300 global civil society organizations of small-scale food producers, researchers and Indigenous Peoples’ will gather online  (25-28 July) to protest against the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit. The People’s Counter-Mobilization to Transform Corporate Food Systems is the latest in a series of rejections of the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), including a coalition of scientists who petitioned  to boycott it. 


video

The  People’s Autonomous Response to the UNFSS  argues that the Summit distracts from the real problems the planet faces at this critical juncture. Resulting from a partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum (formed by the world’s top 1000 corporations), the Summit is disproportionately influenced by corporate actors, and lacks transparency and accountability mechanisms. It diverts energy, critical mass and financial resources away from the real solutions needed to tackle the multiple hunger, climate and health crises. 

Globalized, industrialized food systems fail most people, and the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation . According to the 2021 UN Report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition, the number of chronically undernourished people has risen to 811 million, while almost a third of the world’s population has no access to adequate food. The Global South still reels from Covid-19, unveiling the entrenched structural power asymmetries, fragility and injustice that underpin the predominant food system.

Over 380 million people make up the transnational movements of peasants and farmers, women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, pastoralists, landless, migrants, fisherfolk, food and agricultural workers, consumers, and urban food insecure joining the protest. They demand  a radical transformation of corporate food systems towards a just, inclusive and truly sustainable food system. They equally demand  increased participation in existing democratic food governance models, such as the UN Committee for World Food Security (CFS) and its High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE).

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Question for this article:

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

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The UNFSS threatens to undermine CFS, which is the foremost inclusive intergovernmental international policy-making arena. By exceptionally prioritizing a human rights-based approach, the CFS provides a space for the most affected to have their voices heard. Yet the multilateral UN system is being hijacked  by corporate interests to legitimize an even more detrimental, technologically-driven and crisis-ridden food system.

This counter-mobilization reflects concerns about the Summit’s direction. Despite claims of being a ‘People’s Summit’ and a ‘Solutions’ Summit, UNFSS facilitates greater corporate concentration, fosters unsustainable globalized value chains, and promotes the influence of agribusiness on public institutions.

False solutions  touted by UNFSS include failed models of voluntary corporate sustainability schemes, ‘nature-positive’ solutions which include risky technologies such as Genetically Modified Organisms and biotechnology, and sustainable intensification of agriculture. They are neither sustainable, nor affordable for small-scale food producers, and do not address structural injustices such as land and resource grabbing, corporate abuse of power, and economic inequality. 

The parallel counter-mobilization will share small-scale food producers and workers’ realities, and their visions for a human rights-based and agroecological transformation of food systems, highlighting the importance of food sovereignty, small-scale sustainable agriculture, traditional knowledge, rights to natural resources, and the rights of workers, Indigenous Peoples, women and future generations.

Discussions will center on real solutions: binding rules for corporate abuses, ending pesticide use, and agroecology as a science, practice and movement. The program will include the following activities:

*25 July 2021:  A Global virtual Rally with small-scale food producers and people’s voices.  
*26 July 2021: A political declaration followed by three public round table discussions on the Covid-19 context, the hunger and climate crises and the Summit’s push for corporate capture of governance and science.
*27 July 2021: 15 virtual sessions on people’s alternatives and visions on food systems.
*28 July 2021: A closing Panel will present preliminary conclusions and discuss ways to challenge the UNFSS in September. 

For more information, visit this link.

Culture of Peace and the Luanda Biennale

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from UNESCO (translation by CPNN)

Brief history

Inspired by the Constitution of UNESCO, the definition of the concept of a culture of peace is the culmination of a long process of maturation initiated by the Yamoussoukro Declaration on peace in the minds of men developed at the Congress International on Peace in the Minds of Men, organized jointly in Yamoussoukro (Côte d’Ivoire), from June 26 to July 1, 1989, by the Ivorian Government and UNESCO.


© UNESCO

The reflection on the concept of a culture of peace was further developed at the first International Forum on a Culture of Peace, organized from February 16 to 18, 1994, in San Salvador (El Salvador). The San Salvador Forum defied the basic principles for the development and implementation of national programs for the culture of peace. Between 1993 and 1996, apart from the National Program for a Culture of Peace in El Salvador, national programs were in fact envisaged by the Organization in several countries: Mozambique, Burundi, Kenya, South Africa, Congo, Sudan , Somalia, Philippines, Bosnia, Haiti.

During this period, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted, at its 28th session, the promotion of a culture of peace as an essential guiding objective of the Organization’s Medium-Term Strategy for 1996- 2001. This decision of the General Conference resulted in the implementation of a transdisciplinary project “Towards a culture of peace.” It inspired the objective of the “United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education”, described in the General Assembly resolution 50/173 , in 1996. By this resolution , the concept of a culture of peace was put for the first time on the United Nations agenda.

According to the resolution 52/13 of January 15, 1998 of the UN General Assembly , the culture of peace consists “of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society,”

The United Nations General Assembly then proceeded, the same year, to the proclamation of the “International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Non-violence and of Peace for the Benefit of the Children of the World” (2001-2010) , the adoption in 1999 of the “Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace” and the celebration of the year 2000, the International Year for the Culture of Peace, under the direction of UNESCO.

Among the many activities marking the celebration of the international year for the culture of peace was the publication of the Manifesto 2000 It was the basis for a world campaign in favor of the culture of peace. According to this Manifesto, the culture of peace is a personal commitment to:

(i) “respect the life and dignity of every human being without discrimination or prejudice”;

(ii) “practise active non-violence, rejecting violence in all its forms: physical, sexual, psychological, economic and social, in particular towards the most deprived and vulnerable such as children and adolescents”;

(iii) “share my time and material resources in a spirit of generosity to put an end to exclusion, injustice and political and economic oppression”;

(iv) “defend freedom of expression and cultural diversity, giving preference always to listening and dialogue without engaging in fanaticism, defamation and the rejection of others”;

(v) “promote consumer bhaviour that is responsible and development practices that respect all forms of life and preserve the balance of nature on the planet”;

(vi) “contribute to the development of my community with the full participation of women and respect for democratic principles in order to create together new forms of solidarity. ”

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

Question related to this article:

The Luanda Biennale: What is its contribution to a culture of peace in Africa?

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Signed by nearly 76 million people worldwide, the Manifesto 2000 contributed to the creation of a “World Movement for a Culture of Peace” which had been called for in the “Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace.”

Thirteen years later, for the Africa region, the call for the creation of a “continental and sustainable movement for peace” was included in the “Action plan for a culture of peace in Africa / Agissons for peace “. This plan was adopted at the end of the Pan-African Forum “Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace” , organized jointly with the Angolan Government and the African Union, in Luanda, from March 26 to 28, 2013.

The objective of the forum in 2013 was “to rely on the sources of inspiration and on the potential of the continent’s cultural, natural and human resources to identify avenues and concrete actions to build a lasting peace as the cornerstone of endogenous development and pan-Africanism.” In this context, the decision was taken to create a Biennial of the culture of peace.

As a follow-up to the call for the creation of a “continental and sustainable movement for peace”, several networks of African and Diaspora civil society organizations were created under the aegis of UNESCO and the AU, with the support of a certain number of Member States,:

1. In September 2013: the “Network of Foundations and Research Institutions for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace in Africa.” ​​It now includes more than 50 organizations, including UNESCO Chairs. The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research is in charge of the permanent secretariat of the network and its head office is therefore based in Côte d’Ivoire, more precisely in Yamoussoukro.

2. In December 2014: the “Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace.” It includes around 60 organizations, including National Youth Councils. The permanent secretariat of this network of young people is hosted by Gabon.

3. In June 2018 the idea of ​​creating a network of research organizations on women and the culture of peace in Africa and in the Diasporas was launched through the creation in Gabon of a national organization aptly named “Pan-African Women’s Network for the Culture of Peace and Sustainable Development.” This was extended in September 2019 through the holding of a women’s forum at the first edition of the Luanda Biennale,.

The Luanda Biennale

Launched in 2019, the Biennale de Luanda – “Pan-African Forum for a Culture of Peace” , aims to strengthen the Pan-African Movement for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence, by setting up:

1. A global platform for cooperation for the development of violence and conflict prevention strategies and the dissemination of initiatives and good practices, with a view to building sustainable peace and development in Africa (Thematic Forums);

2. A space for exchange between the cultural identities of Africa and its Diasporas, a privileged meeting place for the arts, cultures and heritage as instruments of dialogue, mutual understanding and tolerance (Festival of cultures);

3. A multi-actor partnership between governments, civil society, the artistic and scientific community, the private sector and international organizations. A major opportunity to support emblematic programs for Africa by developing on a larger scale projects and initiatives that have proven to be successful at the local, national or sub-regional level (Alliance of partners for the culture of peace in Africa).

The second edition of the Luanda Biennale will take place between October 4 and 8, 2021

Bibliography:

Adams (David), Early history of the culture of peace

Prera-Flores (Anaisabel) and Vermeren (Patrice), Philosophy of culture of culture, Paris, Editions L’Harmattan, 2001

Tindy-Poaty (Juste Joris), The culture of peace: an African inspiration, Paris, Editions L’Harmattan, 2020

United Nations: Landmark gender equality forum concludes with concrete commitments, plan to advance parity by 2026 

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article from the United Nations

With the chief of the UN’s gender empowerment agency declaring that women are still “sitting in the corridors when men are inside at the table negotiating peace”, the historic Generation Equality Forum  in Paris concluded on Friday [July 2] with new commitments designed to address that, and other injustices.


Photo: UN Women

Close to $40 billion was pledged in new investments, as well as ambitious policy and programme commitments from governments, civil society and others, to help fuel a new global five-year action plan to accelerate true gender parity, by 2026.  
“The Generation Equality Forum marks a positive, historic shift in power and perspective”, said  Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. 

The Forum has been held at a critical moment, as the world assesses the disproportionate and damaging impact of the  COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls. 

Gender equality advocates took the opportunity to press for gender-responsive stimulus and recovery plans to ensure that women and girls are not left behind as the world re-builds. 

Timely commitments  

The $40 billion in investments represent a major step-change in resourcing for women’s and girls’ rights, as lack of financing has been a major reason for slow progress in advancing gender equality and in enacting the women’s rights agenda of the milestone 1995 Beijing Conference, according to UN Women.
  
Governments and public sector institutions have committed to $21 billion spending on gender equality investments, the private sector $13 billion and philanthropy $4.5 billion.
  
UN entities, international and regional organizations committed an aggregate of $1.3 billion.  

“The Forum’s ecosystem of partners – and the investments, commitments and energy they are bringing to confront the greatest barriers to gender equality – will ensure faster progress for the world’s women and girls than we have seen before”, said the head of UN Women. 

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(Click here for the article in French.)

Questions for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Multilateral approach
 
Many organizations have made strong policy and program commitments, including 440 civil society organizations and 94 youth-led organizations.  

Hosting the event, the French Ambassador and Secretary-General of the Forum, Delphine O, said the it had “reversed the priorities on the international agenda and made gender equality, for too long underestimated, a long-term issue for the international community, along with climate, education and health. France will continue to be at the forefront to accelerate gender equality progress”. 

Others speak out 

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Anne Hathaway, gave her personal commitment to “continue to be a global advocate for the legal and policy changes that will empower both women and men to begin the equal distribution of care responsibilities that will help change our world”. 

Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who now heads the US international development agency, USAID, offered “a simple message, informed by decades of evidence: if you want peace in this world, trust women to deliver it”. 

African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage, Nyaradzayi 
Gumbonzvanda, said: “This week, I relived the experience of 1995, when I was a young women’s rights activist at the Beijing Conference…Now it’s time to invest in girls and young women even more – for resources to reach rural and marginalized communities, for technology for public good and available to all, and for Member States’ greater accountability to human rights of women and girls”. 

Taking the lead 

Over the past three days, the Forum engaged nearly 50,000 people in a mainly virtual format to rapidly advance of gender justice.  
It launched a  Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality  designed by six Action Coalitions, partnerships that have identified the most critical actions required to achieve gender equality, ranging from gender-based violence and technology to economic and climate justice.  

The Forum also launched a Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, and announced new gender equality initiatives focused on health, sports, culture, and education. 

UN Women will maintain a critical role driving the Forum’s 5-year action plan, overseeing the implementation of commitments to ensure accountability and progress. 

“Together we have mobilized across different sectors of society, from south to north, to become a formidable force, ready to open a new chapter in gender equality”, said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Women must no longer be ‘squeezed into a small corner’, landmark Forum declares 

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY .

An article from the United Nations News Service

In a bid to put gender equality at the heart of COVID recovery, UN Women kicked off a three-day “landmark effort” in Paris on Wednesday, aiming to lay out ambitious investments and policies to bridge the chasm between where women stand in the world today, and where they should be, by 2030.
 
“Gender equality is essentially about power, and power in a world that is still largely male dominated, with a culture that is still largely patriarchal”, Secretary-General António Guterres said at the Generation Equality Forum, launching a “five-year action journey”, based on the UN Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality


UN Women/Johis Alarcón People protest in a demonstration for women’s rights in Ecuador.

Noting that “power is very rarely given. You have to take it”, he stressed as one of his five priorities, the importance of parity to redistribute power and create the necessary conditions for true equality.  

Setting priorities 

The UN chief said that to achieve equal rights, discriminatory laws around the world must be repealed and transformed into ‘de facto’ equality.  

He said women in the informal economy, were “paying a heavy price for the pandemic”, also highlighting economic equality in pay, employment, and social protections. 

Noting a surge in violence against women and girls during COVID, Mr. Guterres said that putting an end to it must be “a central element of all policies and all of our objectives”.
  
Finally, he highlighted the importance of intergenerational dialogue as “another fundamental instrument for gender equality” to allow young people to be a part of decision-making in today’s digital society. 
 
Women worth more than a quarter 

In her statement, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that “women everywhere in the world are squeezed into a small corner”.  

She highlighted how they make up a quarter of all managers, parliamentarians, climate change negotiators and “less than one quarter of those who negotiate peace agreements”.  

“One quarter is not enough. One quarter is not equality. Equality is one half, where both men and women are together”, she spelled out. 

Moving forward 

Generation Equality is about change, the UN Women chief said, it’s about “moving from making promises” to saying what has been done to advance women worldwide. 

She detailed that Member States, the private sector and others, have made nearly 1,000 commitments to change the lives of women, including to change policies.  
However, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka continued, “the fight still has to continue…We need to be pushing upwards all the time, so that there is a race to the top” 

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(Click here for the article in French or here for Spanish.)

Questions for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

(continued from left column)

Stepping up funds 

The UN Women chief concluded by detailing that countries of the Global South, regional organizations, young people and civil society groups, have all “put their foot forward” raising $40 billion, saying “and we are still counting”. 

Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that Germany “is actively involved in the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights” and would invest an “additional €140 million, making a total of around €240 million in the International Action Coalition”. 

And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it would spend $2.1 billion to advance global gender equality. 

Achieving ‘tangible progress’ 

At the same time, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched a set of commitments  to achieve “tangible progress” towards gender equality over the next five years. 

The UN agency will support girls’ education  with quality gender-transformative teaching for 28 million learners in over 80 countries; work to close the digital gender divide, empower women scientists, and promote ethical Artificial Intelligence; and in Africa, empower  women economically in creative industries.  

UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay had called upon women worldwide to “take control and full leadership in every aspect of life and domain of society to build back a better future for all”. 

Co-host comments 

Co-hosting the event, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the struggle for gender equality is “far from won”. 
 
“It’s a battle today, but tomorrow it must be a matter of fact”, he underscored.
  
His counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico, said: “We must continue to fight against sexism. We must not forget economic and social equality, which is fundamental to achieve a better society”.  

Call to action from Clinton, Harris 

United States Vice President Kamala Harris, warned that “democracy is in peril” around the world. 

“I believe, resolutely, that if we want to strengthen democracy, we must fight for gender equality…Democracy is strongest when everyone participates – and it is weaker when people are left out…without doubt, gender equality strengthens democracy”, she said. 

Back in1995, at the World Conference on Women  in Beijing, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton proclaimed: “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all” . 

At today’s meeting she sent a message that “it’s no longer enough to talk about women’s rights…[as] they are nothing without the power to claim them. And we know that when women have the power to raise our voices, assert our rights, and rebuild economies, everyone will be better off”. 

Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, drew attention to the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, or the Istanbul Convention

“Last year, we saw a surge in domestic violence during COVID lockdowns. The Convention provides three advantages that no country alone can: it raises national standards; provides a monitoring mechanism; and ensures co-operation between governments in the prosecution of these crimes”, she said.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)