Tag Archives: United Nations

Proposal to the UN Summit of the Future from the International Alliance of Women

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A submission on the UN Website for the Summit of the Future (abridged)

website: https://womenalliance.org/
President Alison Brown iawpresident@womenalliance.org
Secretary General Tunica Miranda Rosario iawsecgen@womenalliance.org

Chapeau

International Alliance of Women (IAW) is an international non-governmental organization in consultative status with ECOSOC since 1947. It firmly believes that a strengthened well-functioning United Nations, working on the basis of “trust, solidarity and universality” will be able to build peace through “multilateral cooperation and collective security” as well as advance economic independence for all.

Chapter I. Sustainable development and financing for development (not copied here)

Chapter II. International peace and security

IAW strongly supports the New Agenda for Peace and wishes to contribute constructively to Member States’ and civil societies’ deliberations in preparation for the *2024 Summit of the Future.*

At its 39th Triennial Congress 2022, IAW adopted a series of resolutions of relevance to the five priority areas, as they relate to a culture of peace, greenhouse gas emissions and the military as well as the necessary UN Security Council Reform.

Culture of Peace:

The 39th Congress affirming the commitment to secure and foster a global Culture of Peace by ensuring such a culture in the homes, communities, and between nations;

noting that global peace must be restored to ensure human security and sustainable development; is of the opinion that gender equality and women’s empowerment must be at the centre of the UN Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so that future generations may thrive;

trusts in the spirit of respect, sharing, solidarity, non-violent conflict resolution, arbitration and reconciliation to be practiced in everyday life and promoted by peace education;

recalls the banner in front of the NGO peace tent in Huairou during the 4th UN World Conference on Women 1995 reading

“Change the Culture of War to a Culture of Peace

calls on the UN and all stakeholders to increase political and financial resources for social protection, prevention, and early intervention for girls and women of all ages and abilities affected by violence and conflict.

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Questions related to this article:

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

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

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Greenhouse Effects and the Military:

The 39th Congress alarmed by global warming and the neglect of the greenhouse effect caused by the military

is of the opinion that the dangerous pollution caused by the military activities worldwide has to be formally recognized and made public. It is grotesque to scandalize the citizens’ footprints and to close one’s eyes in the face of the monstrous pollution caused by the military worldwide;

is deeply concerned about the fact that since the Kyoto protocol, 1997 (in force since 2005) through the Paris Climate Agreement, 2015 (in force since 2016) until today, the CO² and other climate relevant emissions caused by the military either in times of combat or in times of preparations for military activities is not included in the statistics of worldwide emissions;

believes that there will be no reduction and mitigation on the impact of climate change by the military without holistic and gender differentiated data and that it is particularly important to work on the basis of these data on the scientifically proven immense amount of emissions produced by the military;

is convinced that in order to save the planet and people’s survival and well-being, these statistics are needed to advocate for a profound change of people’s mindset and the military system.

Chapter III. Science, technology and innovation and digital cooperation (not copied here)

Chapter V. Transforming global governance

UNSC Reform:

The 39th Congress considering that the UN Security Council structure should be reformed as soon as possible on the basis of equal responsibilities and shared power;

is of the opinion that the UN General Assembly should urgently setup a task force mandated for creating structural changes of the UNSC in order to become operational and serving the UN Charter. This process should urgently come into force and produce a first draft in a timely manner;

calls on the UNGA, UNSG and this upcoming task force to change the structure in such a way that all UN member states will be in charge to keep, shape and sustain peace by shared and equal power of member states of all regions by alternating terms and in a balanced relation of regions. The veto powers’ rights must be eliminated;

further calls on the UNGA and the UNSG and all members states that this task force should discuss their proposals system wide within the UN and ensure that it shall be composed by 50 percent of women delegates and the stakeholders involved as experts shall be consisting of 50 percent of women, also young women, youth in general, indigenous women and men, vulnerable groups and minorities and citizens from regions under war shall be invited for contributions and listened to;

finally calls on the UNGA, the UNSG, the permanent and former and current non-permanent UNSC members and all member states, civil society and all stakeholders to support these efforts and donate resources and capacities for any support to this reforms end.

(Editor’s note: The International Alliance of Women was founded in 1902 as the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Legal Citizenship. At the present time its membership includes 43 women’s organizations in 32 countries.)

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World Court to Review 57-Year Israeli Occupation

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article from Human Rights Watch

An unprecedented number of countries and international organizations are expected to participate in the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) oral hearings on Israel’s occupation beginning February 19, 2024, Human Rights Watch said today (February 16). Fifty-two countries and three international organizations will participate in the oral proceedings, more than in any other case since the world’s highest court began functioning in 1946.


The broad participation in the hearings and the many written submissions reflect growing global momentum to address the decades-long failure to ensure respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“The International Court of Justice is set for the first time to broadly consider the legal consequences of Israel’s nearly six-decades-long occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinian people,” said Clive Baldwin, senior legal adviser at Human Rights Watch. “Governments that are presenting their arguments to the court should seize these landmark hearings to highlight the grave abuses Israeli authorities are committing against Palestinians, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

The oral proceedings stem from a December 2022 request by the United Nations General Assembly for an advisory opinion  by the court on the legal consequences of Israel’s policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The court has the opportunity to address the prolonged occupation, to consider Israel’s practices and policies violating international legal prohibitions against racial discrimination, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution, and to appraise the legal responsibilities of other countries and the UN to address violations of international law arising from the occupation.

Although ICJ advisory opinions are non-binding, they can carry great moral and legal authority and can ultimately become part of customary international law, which is legally binding on states.

These proceedings, which will last six days, are distinct from the case brought  by South Africa to the same court alleging that Israel  is violating the Genocide Convention amid the hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups that escalated following the October 7, 2023, Hamas-led attacks.

The General Assembly first asked the ICJ for an advisory opinion related to the Occupied Palestinian Territory in December 2003. In July 2004, the ICJ’s advisory opinion  found that the route of Israel’s separation barrier violated international law and that it should be dismantled.

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

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

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

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The December 2022 request to the court is wider in scope. The General Assembly asked the court to give its opinion on the “legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation” of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including “its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures,” and on the legal consequences of the occupation and Israel’s practices for all states and the UN.

The request provides the court the opportunity to evaluate the situation two decades after its last advisory opinion on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and provide guidance on the law, including the continued application of international humanitarian law and human rights law. The court could also assess Israel’s conduct under international human rights law, including prohibitions on racial discrimination, and international criminal law, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.

The ICJ adjudicates disputes between states and issues advisory opinions on international law. It lacks jurisdiction over the conduct of non-state armed groups like Hamas. The International Criminal Court (ICC), by contrast, addresses serious international crimes allegedly committed by individuals, including members of armed groups. The ICC prosecutor confirmed that since March 2021 his office has been conducting an investigation into alleged atrocity crimes committed in Gaza and the West Bank since 2014, and that the court has jurisdiction over international crimes committed by all parties in the current hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups.

Human Rights Watch has documented that Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution  against Palestinians. Given that the responsibilities  of an occupying power toward the rights of the occupied population increase over time, Human Rights Watch has also called for Israel to provide Palestinians in the occupied territory with rights at least equal to those it grants its own citizens, in addition to the protections of international humanitarian law.

The ICJ is composed  of 15 judges elected by the UN General Assembly and Security Council for nine-year terms. Fifty-seven states and international organizations had filed a written statement  in the proceedings in July 2023, before the October escalation in hostilities. Fifteen states and international organizations filed additional written comments in October and November 2023. Among those participating in the oral proceedings are Palestine, South Africa, Belgium, Brazil, the United States, Russia, France, China, Namibia, Pakistan, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the African Union. Israel submitted a written statement and chose not to participate in the oral hearings.

The ICJ will issue its legal opinion at a date to be determined. Past practice suggests that the opinion will be issued before the end of 2024.

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Global South unites for sustainable development, urges shift in global balance of power

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Xinhua, China News (with links added by CPNN)

Leaders of developing countries gathered in the Ugandan capital of Kampala over the past week, reaching a consensus to promote South-South cooperation to enhance their capability of pursuing sustainable development, seek strength from unity and increase the role of the Global South in international affairs.

High-level representatives of more than 100 countries and heads of United Nations agencies attended the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that concluded on Saturday and the 3rd South Summit of the Group of 77 (G77) that wrapped up on Monday.


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) greets President of the UN General Assembly Dennis Francis (R) during the opening session of the Third South Summit of the Group of 77 and China in Kampala, January 21, 2024. /CFP

Participants said they are optimistic about the future of the Global South in world affairs, gearing up to influence the outcomes of the UN Summit of the Future scheduled for September in New York. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the September summit as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvigorate global action, recommit to fundamental principles, and further develop the frameworks of multilateralism so they are fit for the future.

In the outcome documents of the two summits, the countries of the Global South said they hope to play an influential role in shifting the balance of the geopolitical landscape from conflict, confrontation and mistrust to diplomacy, dialogue, peace and understanding.

NAM countries, in their declaration over the weekend, said they would positively contribute to the summit to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance.

Developing nations stressed that there is a need to reform the multilateral global governance architecture, including the United Nations and the international financial system. This reform would make the institutions fit for purpose, democratic, equitable, representative and responsive to the current global realities and the needs and aspirations of the Global South, according to the NAM Kampala Declaration.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of the article)

Questions related to this article:

How can ensure that development is equitable?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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They said the current violation of international laws and UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, coupled with the unfair treatment of developing countries facing debt distress amid a slow-growing global economy, are the key issues that have revitalized the call for a reformed global system.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the chairperson of the NAM Summit, said the forum should be used to exercise considerable influence, particularly at the UN, for an effective transformative process. “In the negotiations for the Pact of the Future, the outcome document of the upcoming UN Summit of the Future, we should clearly define priorities that favor developing countries by maintaining unity, solidarity, and collective coordination among member states,” Museveni said.

Dennis Francis, president of the UN General Assembly, said addressing the current global challenges requires creativity and consensus-building to fashion effective solutions.

Francis said the current crises, ranging from the Ukraine-Russia, Israel-Palestine and those in Africa, raise questions about the relevance and value of the UN in terms of its ability to resolve global issues. He argued that the Summit of the Future will offer a historic opportunity to forge a new global consensus to transform the multilateral system to deliver better impact for people.

The Global South, according to Secretary-General Guterres, bears the responsibility of changing the form of the global system, noting that those who currently benefit from it are unlikely to lead its reform.

“We have a chance to cultivate a just, peaceful, and prosperous future, where no one is left behind. But for that, a lot needs to be changed and reformed. Together, let’s unite and fight to make that a reality,” Guterres told the 3rd South Summit on Sunday.

He urged the international community to reform and revitalize multilateralism so that it works for everyone, everywhere, and meets the challenges of today. “We rely on the G77 plus China to make the Summit of the Future a success. To seize this opportunity and to find common solutions. The summit will consider deep reforms of the international financial architecture,” the UN top envoy said.

(Editor’s note. Putting the terms “Group of 77” and “Kampala” into the Google search engine for the preceding month on February 16, we found articles about the event above from press in Uganda, India, Brazil, Bahamas, Philippines, South Africa, Jordan, Angola, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Pakistan, Saint Vincent, Bhutan, Namibia, Cameroon, Yemen, Mongolia, Tanzania, Myanmar, Morocco, Cuba, Maldives, Kenya, Eritrea, Mozambique, Nigeria, Malaysia, Oman, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Somalia, as well as from China and from the United Nations, but with the exception of an agency by the name of Newsbeezer, ABSOLOUTELY NO ARTICLE IN ENGLISH from a press agency based in Europe or North America! By using other languages, we found an article in French in the news site of l’Humanité which remarked that the event was totally ignored by the West (” un événement totalement passé sous silence dans les pays occidentaux”>. And in Spain, one could read about the event in Spanish on the news media that subscribe to EFE. )

The UN Summit of the Future: a fight at the end of the tunnel?

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY .

An article by Richard Gowan for Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Ongoing crises keep multilateralism in turmoil, but ambitious reforms are still on the table. What to expect from the September 2024 UN Summit of the Future?

Germany faces a tough task trying to build consensus among members of the United Nations on how to strengthen multilateralism in the year ahead. The German mission in New York is working with Namibia to facilitate preparations for the Summit of the Future, an event that will take place during the annual high-level week of UN meetings in September 2024.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres originally proposed this summit in 2021 as an opportunity for presidents and prime ministers to debate improvements to the global system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with arguments over Ukraine and Gaza simmering at the UN, diplomats fear it will be hard to make new agreements on international cooperation this year.

The right summit at the wrong time?

Guterres and his advisers argue that it is necessary to take a hard look at the state of multilateralism for three main reasons. Firstly, it is clear that existing international institutions lack the mechanisms and authority necessary to deal with challenges such as pandemics and climate change effectively. Secondly, there are as yet no serious global regimes to regulate new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), which the Secretary-General predicts will profoundly reshape societies, economies and international relations. Lastly, many non-Western countries feel that they lack real influence at the UN and in other international organizations, where the U.S. and European countries often still dominate decision-making.

The mood at the UN is currently very sour

In a best-case scenario, the Summit for the Future would be an opportunity for UN members to tackle these challenges simultaneously, reforming existing institutions to make them more inclusive and effective, and establishing new bodies to fill gaps in the system. Guterres has, for example, floated the idea of establishing a new international agency to regulate the uses of A.I., as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) oversees the uses of nuclear power.

While diplomats acknowledge the Secretary-General’s breadth of vision, many question whether this is a propitious moment to tackle such big issues. The mood at the UN is currently very sour. Developing countries have become increasingly vocal in criticizing richer states’ failures to meet past pledges to invest more in development aid and climate adaptation. The war between Hamas and Israel has reopened old wounds in the UN General Assembly. The bulk of states from the so-called “Global South” have condemned the U.S. and many European countries for failing to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Arab diplomats ask how the UN can hold talks on “the future” when there is no future for young people in Gaza.

A ‘Pact for the Future’: Germany and Namibia taking the lead

Germany and Namibia have volunteered for the unenviable task of managing preparations for the Summit of the Future against the bleak backdrop. The two co-facilitators are working on the initial draft of a Pact for the Future for leaders to adopt in September. Once they circulate this text – which is meant to be ready by the end of January – negotiations on the document will begin in earnest. This is likely to be a grinding and protracted process, as the General Assembly has agreed that UN members will have to agree the final Pact by consensus.

An opportunity for civil society groups that advocate a stronger multilateral system

This is not a prospect that fills New York-based diplomats with glee. Many see the existence of the summit as a problem to be solved, not an opportunity to be seized. But this may be a mistake.  For as long as hostilities drag on in Gaza, it will be difficult to focus on the Pact of the Future.

But if and when the war recedes, talking about improving the international system – even in quite technical ways – could be one pathway to restoring some sense of common purpose among UN members, although it is unlikely to erase memories of recent disputes. The Summit is also an opportunity for civil society groups that advocate for a stronger multilateral system to focus attention on global issues, even if they cannot secure big reforms.

Mind the gaps: climate change and human rights missing

While Germany and Namibia led preparatory talks on the substance of the Pact last year, UN members were only able to agree on a skeletal outline. There will be chapters on: peace and security; development; science and technology; future generations and global governance. UN officials and diplomats say that they expect the paper to be 20 to 30 pages in length at most, and to be pitched at the strategic level. This means that even if negotiators do agree to some big reforms in principle through the Pact, it won’t go deep into the details.

The exact contents are still up for debate

Some observers have highlighted two potentially worrying gaps in this outline. One is climate change, which Guterres has previously argued should be an overarching theme for the organization.  UN officials say that they hope the Pact will endorse existing agreements and processes for dealing with global warming, even if it doesn’t propose any new ones. The second notable omission from the outline is a dedicated chapter on human rights, although the Pact is supposed to refer to the rights-related dimensions of the other topics it covers. Many Western diplomats worry that the UN system as a whole is paying less attention to rights issues than in the early post-Cold War period, and are likely to insist that the Pact refers to common values and freedoms.

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Question for this article:

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

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More broadly, the exact contents of the Pact are still up for debate. The negotiators have no shortage of material. In the course of 2023, Guterres released a series of eleven policy briefs  on issues ranging from education to the governance of outer space to stimulate the negotiations. He also convened a High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism  which released a report on potential reforms to international institutions last summer. But everyone involved in the process recognizes that UN members will pick and choose topics.

Reforming the international financial architecture

It seems certain that developing countries will want to focus a lot of upcoming discussions around the Pact on the oversight and activities of international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Many non-Western officials would like to gain a greater share of decision-making power in these institutions, which are currently still dominated by the U.S., the EU and other major Western economies.  They would also like to see these global lenders make it easier for poor countries to access financing. While the Biden administration and European governments agree that it is necessary to get money flowing to vulnerable nations, it may be harder to get a deal on governance reforms.

UN Security Council reform

Another tricky global governance issue waiting in the wings is UN Security Council reform. Since Russia used its veto to block criticism of its all-out aggression against Ukraine in 2022, many UN members have argued that it is time to overhaul the membership and rules of the Council. While the Biden administration has also used its veto to protect Israel from pressure over its campaign in Gaza, the U.S. still claims to want reform. Germany, as a long-time aspirant to a permanent Council seat, might like to see progress too. There is, however, no chance that UN members will agree on a broadly acceptable model for reform in the next nine months. The best possible outcome may be for member states to agree to hold a set of high-level talks on the issue pegged to the 80th anniversary of the UN Charter in 2025.

Governing A.I. and other new technologies

If Security Council reform is a well-worn subject for UN diplomacy, the planned chapter of the Pact on “science and technology” could open up new fields for discussion.  In addition to his proposal for an IAEA-type body to oversee A.I., Guterres has proposed  that UN members agree a treaty banning Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) by 2026, and establish new mechanisms to manage biotechnologies. Some powerful players at the UN agree that it is time to start developing more international rules of the road in this area. The U.S. has floated a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution on the use of A.I. to promote sustainable development. In parallel with the main Pact for the Future process, Sweden and Zambia are co-facilitating talks on a Global Digital Compact  which could also be adopted in September; this agreement would outline guiding principles for managing the internet, A.I., and data.

Coalitions of member states may table more ambitious side agreements

But if this is a good time to talk about new technologies, diplomats and scientific experts seem less convinced that this is the right moment to establish new institutions and binding agreements around those new technologies. Marietje Schaake, a former Member of the European Parliament who participated in a panel advising Guterres on A.I. last year, recently argued  that it is premature to start designing new agencies to govern this evolving field. Instead, she argues that governments and A.I. developers need to hammer out the basic principles and laws that should govern A.I. before building international frameworks to monitor them. The Summit of the Future offers a hook for exploratory discussions of this type, but it is probable that UN debates about how to govern such new technologies will extend well into the future.

Given the many obstacles to agreeing major reforms in the Pact of the Future, some UN members are already predicting that the document will prove fairly insubstantial. This does not mean that the Summit of the Future will necessarily be a dud. As I have argued elsewhere, coalitions of member states may table more ambitious side agreements – which would not require all UN members to assent – on advancing priorities such as women’s rights that can be signed off in September. As a leading advocate for focusing on the security implications of climate change, to take another example, Germany could well be part of a coalition pushing for greater UN engagement on climate and peace, even though Russia – which vetoed a 2021 resolution on the topic in the Security Council – would want to keep this out of the Pact.

The role of civil society

While UN member states will formally take the lead on these initiatives, civil society organizations can also add some extra energy to the pre-Summit process. Many diplomats, especially from smaller missions in New York, admit that they have had little time to think in depth about what the Summit can deliver. The Secretary-General has put a significant number of complex issues on the table for discussion while other urgent issues such the war in the Middle East, have sucked up time. In the coming month, non-governmental actors can step in to advise UN members on what the Summit can achieve on issues like new tech.

Civil society can add some extra energy pre-summit

Civil society actors can also use their global networks to focus more global attention to the Summit of the Future. UN officials admit that they have struggled to get the international media to focus on the event, given the sheer flow of bad news stories coming out of the UN in recent times. While Guterres would like to draw political leaders into this discussion about global issues (and gave visiting heads of state and government packs of his policy briefs at the UN last September) very few capitals are prioritizing UN reform.  A push by international civil society networks in the coming months to raise awareness of the Summit would be welcome.

The way forward

Nonetheless, Germany and Namibia must make the best of their roles in preparing the Pact of the Future. There will surely be arguments among member states along the way.  But the co-facilitators can at least aim to frame this process as an opportunity to promote diplomatic dialogue among UN members about the future of multilateralism after a very divisive period. It may be possible to agree on common starting principles and begin long-term dialogues on issues such as new technologies and international financing which, even if they do not lead to spectacular results in 2024, could pave the way for more substantive deals down the road. 

About the author 

Richard Gowan is the UN Director of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and oversees the organization’s advocacy work at the United Nations in New York.

Proposal to the UN Summit of the Future for a UN Council of Peace

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY .

A submission on the UN Website for the Summit of the Future

From Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace (GAMIP), https://gamip.org Organizational sponsor: Paul Maillet, Board Member, pmaillet48@gmail.com

Chapeau

Project – Creation of a UN Council of Peace

The challenge of our times is in daring to create new thinking about peace.

Our proposal is to incrementally increase a focus of peace away from the existing central attention to global security through military means, with the establishment of a UN Council of Peace. This council will require enough resources so it will be sustainable and effective with sufficient authority and leadership so that over time it will help bring a new paradigm/worldview of peace.

In the preamble for the UN Charter, to achieve its stated ends, it is written that UN members are to practice tolerance and live together in peace as good neighbours, followed by a goal to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.
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Sadly, the maintenance of international peace has been constructed through a perpetual threat of military dominance and annihilation.

The UN Charter was developed with two world wars as background history. At that time, the victors of the Second World War chose to become the leaders of global security. In retrospect, it would have been difficult not to place peace within the security framework at that time. For 75 years, these leading states have practiced “tolerance of one another” by imposing a nuclear threat regime upon the world.

Why Now?

The UN needs to strengthen itself to better face the onset of the climate crisis, war and conflict, the erosion of democracies, and the current dominance of military security.

Peace is often an after-thought, for when military affairs of conflict get settled. Since the inception of the UN , the priorities and rivalries managing current affairs have failed Peace. The world is desperate for a UN Council of Peace, as part of UN fiscal priorities, so that nations can prioritize the establishment of new, effective peace-driven institutions.

What is Peace?

We agree that “peace is a human right. It is essential to the realization of human rights. Peace is also a product of human rights: The more a society promotes, protects and fulfils their obligations towards these rights, the greater the chances for curbing violence and resolving conflict peacefully.”

In the current worldview of security, peace is narrowly defined as the absence of hostility, violence, conflict or war; and now perceived as “stable” by nuclear deterrence.

However, a worldview of peace as an intrinsic state of relationships, becomes an intergenerational vision of freedom, political social justice, harmonious co-existence, and a movement away from the primacy of military means.

Question for this article:

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

What is missing at the UN?

There exists many initiatives regarding UN and peace, such as the Agenda for Peace, the New Agenda for Peace and UN A/RES/52 -243. “Declaration and Programme for a culture of peace”; all that require structure to be effective.

The UN project of “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets have integrated peace into their objectives. It “seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom.” It reveals a determination “to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.”

In particular, goal SDG 16 is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

However, there is abundant proof for the need to do much better. The creation of a UN Council of Peace could provide a means to help fulfill the original and optimistic ideals of the UN Charter. We believed that peace must be the foundational framework for global decisions and not an elusive outcome of the present-day “primacy of military” security context.

Potential Organizational Factors

Both the General Assembly (Chapter 4, article 22) and the Security Council (Chapter 6, article 29) can establish subsidiary organs as they deem necessary for the performance of their functions.

Usually, membership of UN organs has been provided through UN Member representation. However, other bodies such as credible academic institutions, peace movements or expert individuals should be welcome, and their participation in a founding Council of Peace would be encouraged.

For example, one could envision the inclusion of The Elders group, whose engagements and values would benefit the elevation of peace as a primary, hopeful value, together with their commitments towards Multiculturalism, Human Rights, Gender equality and Women in Leadership and intergenerational dialogue.

One could envision a fulsome reform of the UN Trusteeship Council to focus on codifying new major principles of international relations, centering on peace first, prohibition of the use of force in international relations, and a commitment to disarm the planet.

Lastly, one could envision a wider public citizen engagement for partnership and funding, recognizing that citizens rarely have a say in priorities and spending for national and international security.

Potential Status

The vision of this project would see the UN Council of Peace initially empowered as an advisory group and ultimately with decision making authorities within the United Nations, in relation to the Secretary General, the General Assembly and Security Council. We believe that the time is now, for the Creation of the UN Council of Peace. In the name of humanity, let us “Give Peace a Chance.”

We remain available should you have any questions on this proposal, Paul Maillet, pmaillet48@gmail.com, Canada Dr. Sylvie Lemieux, slemieux3599@rogers.com, Canada

(Editor’s note: On the UN website, the proposal is accompanied by footnotes citing the documents that are mentioned.)

Proposal to UN Summit of the Future from Fabrica dos Sonhos, Brazil

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY .

A submission on the UN Website for the Summit of the Future

From Fábrica dos Sonhos and Right to Dream Movement, www.fabricadossonhos.org / www.fabricadossonhos.net, Myrian Castello, Executive Director, mcastello@fabricadossonhos.net

Chapeau:

Embracing the urgency of our interconnected challenges and dreaming of the world we want to live in, we propose a Pact for the Future that amplifies commitment and action. Our vision is action-oriented, concrete, and transformative, fostering inclusivity, innovation, regenerative solutions and sustainability. By uniting nations and generations, we forge a path to a future where no one is left behind.

Chapeau:

Embracing the urgency of our interconnected challenges and dreaming of the world we want to live in, we propose a Pact for the Future that amplifies commitment and action. Our vision is action-oriented, concrete, and transformative, fostering inclusivity, innovation, regenerative solutions and sustainability. By uniting nations and generations, we forge a path to a future where no one is left behind.

Chapter I. Sustainable Development and Financing for Development:

1. Transform the global financial architecture to be more inclusive, just, and responsive, investing upfront in SDGs, climate action, and future generations. Re-soul and open space for new economies supporting initiatives and grassroots movements.

2. Reform global economic governance to enhance the voice and representation of developing countries, fostering coherence under the United Nations.

3. Ensure fair and diverse representation, and data based driven in decision-making.

4. Partnership and commitment of 1st, 2nd and 3rd sector, also between countries and generations.

5. Incentivize family agriculture to prevent food deserts and create opportunities so that people want to stay and work with the soil and food production.

6. Support indigenous communities including the demarcation of indigenous lands to protect their rights and preserve biodiversity.

Chapter II. International Peace and Security:

1. Reform the Security Council to reflect the global South’s diversity and ensure equitable representation.

2. Promote the New Declaration for a Culture of Peace in the XXI Century

Question for this article:

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

3. Strengthen collective security through regional and local approaches and invest in sustainable development to address underlying drivers of conflicts.

4. Promote disarmament, prevent weaponization in emerging domains, and enhance peace operations with a focus on responsible innovation.

5. Invest in education and in a culture of peace.

6. Take care of the environment.

7. Exchange for good, knowing different realities is easier to empathize with and commit to make a change.

Chapter III. Science, Technology and Innovation, and Digital Cooperation:

1. Foster a culture of innovation, recognizing dreaming as a Universal Human Right and a new SDG.

2. Prioritize racial equality as a new SDG and human right, ensuring the inclusion of diverse voices in shaping the digital future.

3. Phase out fossil fuels, limiting global warming to 1.5°C, while supporting indigenous communities and embracing evidence-based decision-making.

Chapter IV. Youth and Future Generations:

1. Establish dedicated national youth consultative bodies to empower young voices in decisionmaking.

2. Create public policies and actions so that all can feel safe and with that they can dream and achieve more.

3. Recognize Dreaming as a Universal Human Right, infusing hope and aspirational thinking into policymaking.

4. Enshrine racial equality as a new SDG and human right, affirming our commitment to a diverse and inclusive global governance.

5. Cultivate opportunities for youth, mainly the ones living in outskirts and the countryside, ensuring their active participation in shaping the future.

Chapter V. Transforming Global Governance:

1. Decentralize decision-making to the local level, employing evidence-based approaches to address unique challenges.

2. Cultivate a culture of peace for all, emphasizing diplomacy, dialogue, and conflict resolution.

3. Bring culture and art to the local and global level.

4. Re-Humanize global leaders and people in power beyond their titles.

This concise document outlines actionable recommendations that, when implemented, will propel us toward a future characterized by sustainability, inclusivity, and a culture of peace.

We want to be part of the creation of the future that will make a better world for us all. Present and future generations.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Selects Seven Youth-Led Organizations as Recipients of its Youth Solidarity Fund

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

A press release from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is pleased to announce the latest recipients of its Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF).

UNAOC received over 600 applications from 86 countries to consider for funding and capacity-building support. Seven youth-led organizations across three continents were selected, following a rigorous evaluation process, to implement projects contributing to the promotion of peaceful societies based on their creative approaches to building peaceful communities through intercultural and interfaith dialogue and their potential to have a positive impact on their respective communities.

The seven recipients join a group of 73 other youth-led organizations that have benefited from YSF. Since it was established in 2008, YSF has contributed to advancing the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 by providing opportunities for partnership, capacity-building and financial means to young people to carry out activities that prevent violent conflict, and promote peace and social inclusion.

Further, YSF continues to be one of the leading mechanisms in the UN system that works directly with young people to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and drive positive change in their communities and societies.

All of the selected projects are developed and implemented by young people. While their projects frequently target other young people, they have the potential to impact entire communities by involving religious and political leaders, policymakers, educational institutions, and media entities. UNAOC supports projects that reach out to, and connect, marginalized youth from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds to foster broader and transformative engagement of all youth and reduce polarization in their communities.

In addition to seed funding, YSF recipients receive technical support to strengthen the implementation of their projects. Workshops and training sessions to boost their intercultural and peacebuilding competencies are delivered alongside mentorship guidance to bolster
organizational development.

The Youth Solidarity Fund Recipients are:

1. Community Engagement for Peace and Conflict Resolution by Ikon Initiative for Sustainable Development, Sierra Leone

Ikon Initiative for Sustainable Development aims to address the issue of election-related violence in Bombali district, northern Sierra Leone, which often undermines electoral processes and generates unrest, hatred and mistrust among community members. By using intercultural dialogue, sports and drama, the initiative strives to promote peaceful coexistence, create safe spaces for open conversations, foster empathy and equip community members with conflict resolution skills.

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Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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2. Amplifying Community Voices for Sustainable Peace in the Rwenzori region by Access Youth Initiative Uganda, Uganda

Access Youth Initiative Uganda aims to focus on strengthening engagement of young people in peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism through their meaningful inclusion in mediation platforms, dialogue sessions, youth camps and sport tournaments. The initiative seeks to develop youth peace champions while integrating intergenerational exchange, community service and mentorship with innovative information and communication technology and sports activities to build resilient relationships and engage in intercultural
conversations for peace.

3. Training of Young People to Promote Peace “NO KUDJI PAZ” by FINSJOR – Young Girls Social Intervention Forum, Guinea-Bissau

FINSJOR aims to increase awareness of young people to promote peacebuilding and conflict resolution in their communities and support the national development process by equipping young people with skills in non-violent communication. Additional activities, such as radio debates, school campaigns and conferences, will explore the root causes and consequences of ethnic tensions in the country.

4. Engaging Youth in Increasing Religious Tolerance Awareness through Online Peace Narrative Campaigns to Safeguard Religious Sites by Yayasan Pemberdayaan Masyarakat Indonesia Cerdas (YPMIC), Indonesia

YPMIC aims to respond to a rise in online radical religious views and vandalism of religious sites involving youth by actively engaging young people in creating and spreading peace narratives online and offline. The project aspires to increase religious tolerance among young people in South Sulawesi region through peace training, religious site visits, digital campaigns, talk shows and exhibitions.

5. Bridging Faiths: Fostering Interreligious Tolerance Among Muslim and Christin Youth in Zomba, Malawi by Zomba Center for Creative Arts (ZOCCA), Malawi

ZOCCA aims to address increased violence and incidents of religious intolerance among young people in Zomba, Malawi through sport, dialogue sessions, interfaith workshops, community service projects and cultural exchange events. These activities intend to promote interreligious dialogue, foster empathy and respect and encourage cooperation among young people from different faith backgrounds.

6. Detect, React, Protect by Youth for Peace, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Youth for Peace aims to address ever-present tensions and hate speech between people of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina by bringing together youth from both sides of the border to work together to foster better understanding among the two nations. Focusing on peace education and freedom of religion and belief, Youth for Peace will strive to create a space for safe interaction, open dialogues and and better relations.

7. Bridging Communities: Promoting Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue Among African and Egyptian Youth in Egypt – Diverse Voices, United Communities by AlMahrousa for Development and Participation (MDP), Egypt

MDP aims to bring youth from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds together with migrants and their peers in Greater Cairo communities to foster mutual understanding, collaboration and the promotion of the values of peace and inclusivity through youth-led workshops, interfaith and intercultural dialogues and public awareness campaigns. Young leaders from both groups will aim to develop plans of action and community initiatives to counter social polarization and ethnic/religious extremism.

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“Culture of Peace” Recommendation for UN summit “Pact for the Future”

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY .

Received at CPNN from Anne Creter, Peace Through Unity Charitable Trust

Today’s New Year’s Day opens with sharing the following “Culture of Peace “recommendation our UN NGO Global Movement for the Culture of Peace sub-group submitted yesterday (New Years Eve) as input to the big September 23-24, 2024 UN Summit of the Future “Pact for the Future” being developed now. 

The “actionable” evolutionary UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace A/RES/53/243 adopted by the General Assembly (GA) in 1999 must be integrated into A Pact for the Future (PACT) for greater UN innovation and synthesis, as it can provide a missing link helping the UN fulfill its mission to “end the scourge of war.” Aligned with the science of nonviolence, Culture of Peace is a comprehensive, UN established “blueprint” or “roadmap” of actions necessary at all levels of existence to manifest sustainable peace. If utilized in the PACT, Culture of Peace could provide a new, unified global structure for the UN to connect and coordinate worldwide peace actions for greater synergy and effectiveness. War will be inevitable until a better, rational, productive system is solidly in place providing the structure and platform for conflict resolution to routinely happen.

Chapter II: International peace and security:

The UN’s 75-year-old quest “to end the scourge of war” has paradoxically devolved into a worldwide culture of violence at this most dangerous inflection point in history. Thus, it is imperative that the advanced peacebuilding concept of the Culture of Peace be a focal point within this futuristic PACT, for it has received growing understanding and appreciation both at the UN and within civil society in the last 25 years. In keeping with its recently evolved history at the UN, A/RES/53/243 adds clear “actionable” guidance aligned with the relatively new field of peace studies at a time when the world is hopelessly paralyzed by the existential escalation of violence at all levels which, in becoming normalized, threatens even greater planetary peril. Examples of civil society “Infrastructures for Peace” based on A/RES/53/243 now making a difference in the world are the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission in Oregon USA and Rotary International showing great progress of peace at local city levels.

The landmark UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243) was adopted by the GA on 13 September 1999 after nine months of hard negotiations skillfully led by Bangladesh Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN; Founder of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace, who said: “I believe this document is unique in more than one way. It is a universal document in the real sense, transcending boundaries, cultures, societies and nations. Unlike many other GA documents, it is action-oriented and encourages actions at all levels, be they at the level of the individual, the community, the nation or the region, or at the global and international levels.” It defines Culture of Peace 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. Per the A/RES/53/243 mandate, the Programme of Action by its pure “action” structure speaks to the PACT’s goal of “action-oriented” recommendations, citing actions at all levels that are necessary to build the Culture of Peace within the following Eight Areas of Action:

1) Fostering a culture of peace through education
2) Promoting sustainable economic and social development
3) Promoting respect for all human rights
4) Ensuring equality between women and men
5) Fostering democratic participation
6) Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity
7) Supporting participatory communication & free flow of information & knowledge
8) Promoting international peace and security

UNESCO was charged with writing the “Declaration and Programme of Action” led by David Adams, Former Director, UNESCO Unit for International Year for Culture of Peace. It is not by accident that the term originated at UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and “Cultural” Organization) at a meeting in Africa in 1989. For Culture appears in the very name of UNESCO which was established as the UN’s cultural organization. Culture here is defined in the broad anthropological sense, not in the narrow popular sense restricted to music, dance, and other arts. UNESCO was not concerned with culture for its own sake, but culture for the sake of peace. It made a distinction between the old concept of peace between sovereign states and a new concept of peace between peoples. UNESCO’s constitution preamble declared in 1946: “That a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.” As UNESCO stated: “Each of these areas of action have been priorities of the UN since its foundation; what is new is their linkage through the culture of peace and non-violence into a single coherent concept. This is the first time all these areas are interlinked so the sum of their complementarities and synergies can be developed.”

Question for this article:

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

A/RES/53/243 gives clear guidelines on a new mode of governance which calls on the entire UN system; all governments, and all peoples to work together to build a more free, fair, and peaceful global neighborhood through a positive, dynamic participatory process where dialogue is encouraged, and conflicts are solved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation. It was a watershed moment when A/RES/53/243 was passed as never before had an “action-oriented” template been created based on the science of nonviolence articulating all the peacebuilding actions needed at every level from inner to international for world peace to take shape. A/RES/53/243 is innovative because it embodies this new peace knowledge by design, stating all the multi-dimensional, congruous actions that need to happen for the Culture of Peace to materialize. These preventative, multi-level actions by individuals and groups must be implemented and monitored in Member States to “end the scourge of war” – a function the UN could oversee by creating a “Culture of Peace Council” equal in status to the Security Council to balance its two main purposes of peace and security through developing national “Culture of Peace” Action Plans.

Culture of Peace is a clarion call for individual and collective transformation, indispensable for the safety, security and development of planet earth. Therefore, to make the PACT truly transformational, the concept of Culture of Peace must be integrated within it, reflective of the “new” positive view of peace. “Negative” peace is the absence of violence. Peace has traditionally been thought of simply as that. But we know now that peacebuilding is so much more. “Positive” peace is defined as the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies, like better economic outcomes, measures of well-being, levels of inclusiveness and environmental performance. “Positive” peace is transformational in that it is a cross-cutting factor for progress. Use of the word ‘Peace’ connotes “negative” peace, old paradigm thinking whereas ‘Culture of Peace’ connotes a new-paradigm “positive” peace mindset.

Culture of Peace has a recent rich history of evolution at the UN in the last 25+ years since A/RES/53/243 was first adopted in 1999. We are told it takes between ten to twenty years from the time UN resolutions are passed for them to be fully understood and utilized. Culture of Peace is no exception. The term was hardly ever used at the UN in the first ten years of its passage (the first decade of the new millennium). It took 12 years before the major breakthrough of the first High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace took place in 2012. That big milestone was first conceived back in the year 2000 when the International Year for the Culture of Peace was declared, along with its 2000 Manifesto for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence crafted by Nobel Laureates. Then from 2001 to 2010 there was the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World, producing Mid-Decade and End-of-Decade Culture of Peace Progress Reports, including a continuously running virtual Culture of Peace News Network of actions taken each month around the world in all eight of the Culture of Peace Areas of Action. Also, a UN NGO Culture of Peace Working Group which morphed into the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace NGO Coalition, along with 12 annual Culture of Peace High Level Forums with yearly self-standing GA Culture of Peace resolutions passed. Now that these milestones have been achieved, it is time for A/RES/53/243 to be fully utilized by being integrated within this forward-looking PACT.

Integrating Culture of Peace wisdom into the PACT would make that document more UN synthesized and wholistically complete, better enabling full implementation of A/RES/53/243. Culture of Peace is a state-of-the-art concept in human consciousness aligned within the powerful new discipline of peace studies. A/RES/53/243 provides a currently missing overarching peacebuilding framework on how to construct true and lasting world peace. Rendering it essential to the PACT would endow this major futuristic document genuine “new paradigm” relevance. So let Culture of Peace (already existing in the heart of humanity) become the foundation upon which our children and their children’s children can continue building the future civilization. As unleashing the knowledge of how to cultivate world peace in this way will accelerate desperately needed UN reform and transformation.

Chapter V: Transforming global governance:

Article 5 of A/RES/43/243 states that “governments have an essential role in promoting and strengthening a culture of peace.” Per the 2023 UN New Agenda for Peace Action #3 – one recommendation is to develop national prevention strategies to address the different drivers and enablers of violence and conflict in societies and strengthen national “Infrastructures for Peace.” Further that Member States seeking to establish or strengthen national “Infrastructures for Peace” should be able to access a tailor-made package of support and expertise. Uniting these 2 UN guiding principles “Culture of Peace and “Infrastructures for Peace” together would be an impactful step forward in UN fulfillment of its peace mission. For Culture of Peace establishes this UN peace vision as normative and prescribes the roadmap of actions needed at all levels to actualize it. Governmental “Infrastructures for Peace” such as “Departments and Ministries of Peace” are the roadways or platforms of peace architecture that support essential peace actions (like diplomacy) to readily occur so peace can take root and grow. Coupled together these two constructs give shape, form, and substance to building the “capacity” for peace by operationalizing and institutionalizing peacebuilding as the missing connective layer needed to sustain peace. Both principles are designed to prevent and reduce violence thus are mutually reinforcing. Integrated within the PACT, their synergistic impact of collaborative connection would facilitate significant UN reform and transformation.

UN NGO “Global Movement for the Culture of Peace” Signatories:

Peace Through Unity: Kate Smith, Director; Iris Spellings, UN NGO Representative; Anne Creter, UN NGO Alternate Representative

Pathways to Peace: Tezikiah Gabriel, Executive Director; David Wick, President

The Good News Agency – Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale: Georgina Galanis, UN NGO Representative

Comments

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South Africa Initiates Case Against Israel at International Court of Justice

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Julia Conley in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

“No one knows apartheid like those who fought it before,” said  one Palestinian rights advocate on Friday in response to the news that South Africa has taken a “historic”  new step to hold Israel accountable for its relentless bombardment and violent yearslong occupation of Gaza—calling on the International Court of Justice to declare that Israel has breached its obligations under the Genocide Convention.


South Africans hold a Free Palestine March on December 16, 2023 in Eldorado Park, South Africa. (Photo by Laird Forbes/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in South Africa said  it is “gravely concerned with the plight of civilians caught in the present Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip due to the indiscriminate use of force and forcible removal of inhabitants” and called on the ICJ to take action to force Israel to “immediately cease” its current attacks on Gaza’s 2.3 million residents.

The motion was filed as the death toll in Gaza surpassed 21,500 people and tens of thousands of displaced residents fled an Israeli ground offensive, as airstrikes continued in southern Gaza.

Noting that South Africa has consistently condemned all attacks on civilians, including the assault by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7, the country’s representatives at the ICJ said Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and [ethnic] group.”

“The acts in question include killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, and inflicting on them conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction,” reads the application filed at the ICJ.

South Africa took its latest action regarding Israel less than two weeks after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced  the government had submitted documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC) supporting its demand, made in November with several other countries, that the court investigate Israel for war crimes.

While the ICC prosecutes individuals and governments for committing war crimes, the ICJ operates under the United Nations to rule on disputes between countries. The ICJ’s orders are binding for Israel, as the country is a U.N. member state.

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

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South Africa has joined international human rights experts—including the U.N.’s top expert on human rights in occupied Palestine—in saying Israel’s blockade of Gaza and violent treatment of those in the enclave and the West Bank is a form of apartheid, comparing Israeli policies to the racial segregation that was imposed for nearly five decades by the white minority that controlled South Africa.

Last month, the government voted to suspend diplomatic ties  with Israel until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government agrees to a permanent humanitarian cease-fire.

“South Africa has continuously called for an immediate and permanent cease-fire and the resumption of talks that will end the violence arising from the continued belligerent occupation of Palestine,” the government said Friday.

Journalist Jeremy Scahill was among those who recognized the significance of South Africa’s application at the ICJ, noting  that the country “fought for its own liberation against an apartheid regime supported for decades by the U.S.,” which is backing Israel’s assault on Gaza despite international outcry and protests within the United States.

“The U.N. Genocide Convention must be upheld. Israel must be held accountable,” said former U.N. human rights official Craig Mokhiber, who resigned  from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in October in protest of the U.N.’s failure to stop Israel’s massacre of civilians. “International law must be preserved.”

At the ICJ, South Africa called  for an expedited hearing on Israel’s actions and asked the court to indicate provisional measures under the Genocide Convention to “protect against further, severe, and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Article 2 of the Genocide Convention, adopted in 1948, states that genocide includes acts committed with the “intent to destroy, either in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.”

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, pointed out  Friday that “the three leading Israeli officials have declared the intent” to wipe out Gaza’s population.

Bishara noted that Israeli President Isaac Herzog said  in October that all civilians in Gaza are “responsible” for Hamas’ attack on southern Israel, days after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said  the military would collectively punish the enclave’s population, who he called “human animals.”

Netanyahu also  said  this week that so-called “voluntary migration” of Gaza residents is the ultimate objective of Israel’s assault.

On Friday, the spokesperson for Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Lior Haiat, dismissed  South Africa’s motion as “baseless” and a “despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the court.”

Despite top officials’ recent statements, Haiat said the government has “made it clear that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not the enemy.”

Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, called  South Africa’s move “a vital step to propel greater support for impartial justice.”

(Editor’s notes. As of January 4, South Africa was joined in their motion by Malaysia and Turkey and as of January 11 by Brazil and Colombia. As of January 11, readers are urged to watch the proceedings at United Nations Web TV.)

COP28 Fails to Deliver a Fossil Fuel Phaseout

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A survey of reactions by major NGOs concerned to the final statement of COP28, United Nations Climate Change Conference

The Climate Action Network headlines “New path to transition away from fossil fuels marred by lack of finance and loopholes.” The text says “COP28 in Dubai sends an important signal on the end of fossil fuels but leaves more questions than answers on how to ensure a fair and funded transition that is based on science and equity. . . Although COP28 recognised the immense financial shortfall in tackling climate impacts, the final outcomes fall disappointingly short of compelling wealthy nations to fulfil their financial responsibilities – obligations amounting to hundreds of billions, which remain unfulfilled.”


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Friends of the Earth says “COP28 outcome undermined by dangerous distractions and lack of finance . . . (and) enormous loopholes which only serve to prolong the fossil fuel era. . . . “The COP28 deal has fallen short of delivering meaningful commitments on fossil fuel phaseout and urgently needed climate finance. The deal opens the door to dangerous distractions that will prevent a just and equitable energy transition– carbon capture utilisation and storage, hydrogen, nuclear, carbon removal technologies like geoengineering and schemes that commodify nature.”

Oxfam headlines its reaction, “COP28 outcome misses the mark on justice for the majority of the world.” “Everyone fighting against the global climate crisis has little to celebrate from this disappointing COP28. Its final outcome is grossly inadequate. Oil, coal and gas won again, but they had to struggle harder to do so and their era is nearing its end. COP28 was doubly disappointing because it put no money on the table to help poorer countries transition to renewable energies.”

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

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The Pacific Island States (Alliance of Small Island States, AOSIS), said that the resulting deal falls severely short. ““We see a litany of loopholes,” the AOSIS statement said. “It does not deliver on a subsidy phaseout, and it does not advance us beyond the status quo. . . We do not see any commitment or even an invitation for Parties to peak emissions by 2025.”

Activists of Fridays for the Future demonstrated their displeasure with the results in a demonstration in front of the Swedish parliament. Their spokesperson, Greta Thunberg, said, “This text is toothless and it is nowhere even close to being sufficient to keep us within the 1.5 degree limit. It is a stab in the back for those most vulnerable. It was undemocratic. It was signed when many island states were not in the room. We cannot talk about climate justice without having those affected in the room.”

The Center for International Environmental Law says “COP28 was unquestionably a fossil fuel COP – not because it was hosted in a petrostate, presided over by a fossil fuel executive, and flooded by fossil fuel lobbyists, but because people power and mounting political will led by progressive governments finally put the central cause of the climate crisis at the center of the climate talks.  The test for governments was not just to talk about fossil fuels, it was to act on them, by delivering an unequivocal commitment to end the era of fossil fuels, to leave no loopholes for delay or inaction, and to ensure rich polluters move first and fastest, with real money on the table. They failed profoundly –

Greenpeace says “Although the final text made a call for a transition away from fossil fuels, the outcome of the climate talks failed to produce the words ‘fossil fuel phase out’, resulting in yet another year of lack of accountability for polluters, as the planet moves closer and closer to warming limits. . . . Both weeks of the climate negotiations were spent swatting away the polluting interests of the record high fossil fuel industry representatives in attendance, to the end. Despite rumors and hopes of an early or on time finish from weary summit goers, negotiations went into overtime through Tuesday night, the scheduled last day. The dash to a finish line resulted in a mostly disappointing final text . . .”

The press release of 350.org says “It is frustrating that thirty years of campaigning managed to get ‘transition away from fossil fuels’ in the COP text, but it is surrounded by so many loopholes that it has been rendered weak and ineffectual. The prize is finally on the table – a phaseout of fossil fuels and a world powered by renewable energy – but rather than clearing the way to it, we’ve been presented with yet another set of distracting doors that could still hold oil and gas expansion, and we don’t know just where the finance will come from.”

NGO’s were joined in their criticism by leading scientists.