Tag Archives: United Nations

16 May: International Day of Living Together in Peace


An article from the United Nations

United in differences and diversity

Living together in peace is all about accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognize, respect and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way.

The UN General-Assembly, in its resolution 72/130, declared 16 May the International Day of Living Together in Peace, as a means of regularly mobilizing the efforts of the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity. The Day aims to uphold the desire to live and act together, united in differences and diversity, in order to build a sustainable world of peace, solidarity and harmony.

Doves are released during the “Flame of Peace” ceremony in which arms were destroyed to mark the beginning of the country’s disarmament and reconciliation process in Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire. PHOTO: ©UN /Basile Zoma

The Day invites countries to further promote reconciliation to help to ensure peace and sustainable development, including by working with communities, faith leaders and other relevant actors, through reconciliatory measures and acts of service and by encouraging forgiveness and compassion among individuals.

Question for this article:

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


Following the devastation of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. One of its purposes is to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems, including by promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.

In 1997, the General-Assembly proclaimed – by its resolution 52/15  — the year 2000 as the “International Year for a Culture of Peace”. In 1998, it proclaimed the period 2001-2010 as the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for Children of the World.”

In 1999, The General-Assembly adopted, by resolution 53/243, the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which serves as the universal mandate for the international community, particularly the United Nations system, to promote a culture of peace and non-violence that benefits all of humanity, including future generations.

The declaration came about as a result of the long-held and cherished concept — contained within the Constitution of UNESCO — that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” The Declaration embraces the principle that peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but also requires a positive, dynamic participatory process, in which dialogue is encouraged and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.

The Declaration also recognizes that to fulfill such an aspiration, there is a need to eliminate all forms of discrimination and intolerance, including those based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

United Nations: Guterres urges countries to recommit to achieving SDGs by 2030 deadline


An article from the United Nations News Service

More than half the world is being left behind at the midpoint for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told ambassadors in New York on Tuesday (April 25). 

UN News Students in Tanzania hold Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) cards.

Launching a special edition of the Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs) progress report, he warned that their collective promise made in 2015 of a more green, just and equitable global future, is in peril. 

“Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda  will become an epitaph for a world that might have been,” he said.
Rising poverty and hunger 

The report reveals that just 12 per cent of the 169 SDG targets are on track, while progress on 50 per cent is weak and insufficient. Worst of all, he said is the fact that progress has either stalled or even reversed on more than 30 per cent of the goals. 

The 17 SDGs are in a sorry state due to the impacts of the COVID-19  pandemic and the devastating “triple crisis” of climate, biodiversity and pollution, amplified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As a result, the number of people living in extreme poverty is higher than it was four years ago.  Hunger has also increased and is now back at 2005 levels, and gender equality is some 300 years away.   Other fallouts include record-high inequality and rising greenhouse gas emissions. 

Fundamental changes needed 

The UN chief noted that many developing countries cannot invest in the SDGs because of burdensome debt, while climate finance is far below commitments. Richer nations have not yet delivered on the $100 billion promised annually in support, he recalled, among other climate pledges. 

“The 2030 Agenda is an agenda of justice and equality, of inclusive, sustainable development, and human rights and dignity for all.  It requires fundamental changes to the way the global economy is organized,” he said. 

“The SDGs are the path to bridge both economic and geopolitical divides; to restore trust and rebuild solidarity,” he added.  “Let’s be clear: no country can afford to see them fail.” 

SDG Stimulus 

Mr. Guterres has appealed or an SDG Stimulus  plan of at least $500 billion a year, and for deep reforms to the international financial architecture, both key recommendations in the report.

(Article continued in the right side of the page)

Question for this article:

Can UN agencies help eradicate poverty in the world?

(Article continued from the left side of the page)
The SDG Stimulus aims to scale up affordable long-term financing for all countries in need, tackle debt and expand contingency financing – all areas that require action.
Although these measures can help to turn the situation around, he stressed that they will not solve the fundamental issue of the current unjust and dysfunctional global financial system, which will require deep reforms.  

Globalization that benefits all 

Repeating his call for “a new Bretton Woods moment” – when the first negotiated international monetary rules were established in 1944, including the International Monetary Fund – Mr. Guterres said developing countries must have greater representation in global financial institutions.
“We need a financial system that ensures the benefits of globalization flow to all, by putting the needs of developing countries at the centre of all its decisions,” he said.  

The SDG progress report also contains five other important recommendations.   
Commit and deliver 

The first calls for all UN Member States to recommit to achieve the goals, at the national and international levels, by strengthening the social contract and steering their economies to the green transition. 

The second point urges governments to set and deliver on national benchmarks to reduce poverty and inequality by 2027 and 2030, which requires focus on areas such as expanding social protection and jobs, but also education, gender equality, and “digital inclusion”. 

The report calls for all countries to commit “to end the war on nature”. Governments are urged to support the Acceleration Agenda for climate action, under which leaders of developed countries commit to reaching net zero emissions, and to deliver on the new Global Biodiversity Framework, signed in December. 

Support for development 

The fourth point focused on the need for governments to strengthen national institutions and accountability. “This will require new regulatory frameworks and stronger public digital infrastructure and data capacity,” said Mr. Guterres. 

His final point underscored the need for greater multilateral support for the UN development system and decisive action at the Summit of the Future  to be held next year. 

Hopes for SDG Summit 

In the interim, world leaders will gather at the UN in September for the SDG Summit. This will be a moment of truth and reckoning, Mr. Guterres said, though adding that it must also be a moment of hope towards kickstarting a new drive to achieve the goals. 

The Secretary-General insisted that “SDG progress is not about lines on a graph”, but rather about healthy mothers and babies, children learning the skills to fulfil their potential, renewable energy and clean air, and other such development accomplishments. 

“The road ahead is steep. Today’s report shows us just how steep,” he said.  “But it is one we can and must travel – together – for the people we serve.” 

United Nations International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace, 2023 


An article from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

On 27 January 2023, the official launch ceremony of 2023 as the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace took place at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat. This official ceremony brought together over 200 representatives from the UN Member States, UN sister agencies including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for Central Asia, relevant international and regional organizations, and civil society in person and online.

The year 2023 was declared as the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace, according to the resolution 77/32 of the United Nations General Assembly at the initiative of Turkmenistan.

This resolution was adopted by consensus and was co-sponsored by 68 member countries of the Organization, including all countries of Central Asia.

Turkmenistan underlines that the initiative directly correlates with the António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General’s “New Agenda for Peace”, which includes reducing global strategic risks, investing in conflict prevention and peacemaking, and supporting regional preventive measures.

Question for this article:

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

Vepa Hajiyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan in his opening remarks noted: “Today we are starting a joint results-oriented work to create conditions for improving and developing international relations, restore trust in the world politics, and establish a respectful dialogue. Currently, these principles and goals are particularly relevant against the background of the existing systemic problems of international relations. In this context, we see a common task in turning the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace into a powerful constructive process designed to provide an incentive for dialogue, cooperation, and mutual understanding”.

Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia in her speech emphasized: “While the World, and the region, in particular face the triple crisis of conflicts, climate change and COVID, magnifying the impact of the world drug problem, organized crime and terrorism, and deepening vulnerabilities and desperation, we in Central Asia need to join our efforts to strengthen peace, stability, and security in the region, especially through negotiations and dialogue.”

During the event, UN sister agencies, national and international participants presented their initiatives and proposals to observe the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace, shared information on activities aimed at implementation of the International Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

“The promotion of the international partnership, which is the basis of the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is fundamental in preserving peace and security, supporting, developing and ensuring human rights. That’s why the adopted Resolution of the UN General Assembly, which calls for the development of dialogue as a valuable tool for resolving and preventing conflicts, alleviating tensions and settling disputes, is of particular value to us,”- highlighted Dmitry Shlapacheko, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan in his speech.

Following the official launch ceremony, the high-level participants adopted a Roadmap for the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace.

Women Hold Up Half the Sky


An article from UN Peacekeeping

Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, assistant secretary-general for Africa at the United Nations, reflects on several inspiring examples of women overcoming differences and leading movements for peace, gender equality and women’s rights.

In 2015, I became Ghana’s first female ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations  in New York. As we celebrate International Women’s Day  on March 8, I reflect on this life-changing experience.

I remember feeling the thrill of this new recognition in my career, which was applauded by many in Ghana—but also my dismay at the number of people expressing surprise at seeing a woman take on this post.  They thought that New York would be too difficult for me—irrespective of my training in multilateral diplomacy and 26 years in the Ghana Foreign Service—and that it should be a male ambassador instead.

In much of my career, I have had to go the extra mile, and perhaps double of what my male colleagues did, to be recognized as capable. I strongly believed that I could bring the same determination and confidence to bear on the task of representing my country at the U.N. It took five years of hard work in New York but was well worth it.

But the challenges for women do not start or end at the workplace. As the United Nations  assistant secretary-general for Africa, I know the immense challenges women face in conflict situations. But I also have firm belief and appreciation of the important role they play in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and lasting peace.

Yet women face many barriers to their participation in political and peace processes. Some are cultural and others are the result of institutions not making room for them to participate, let alone to lead. This means women are often shut out from conflict resolution and peace negotiations.

(Article continues in right column.)

Questions related to this article:

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

(Article continued from left column.)

In my role at the U.N., I have had the opportunity to visit several countries in Africa affected by conflict. During one such visit to visit Bamako, the capital of Mali, I met women from all over the country who shared with me their experiences and the challenges in making their voices heard. In the country’s initial peace talks in 2012, women were not invited, but they demanded a seat at the negotiating table. This courageous step paved the way for a very different situation today, where women make up 38 percent of the Peace Agreement Monitoring Committee  in Mali. Hearing their inspiring stories and seeing what they achieved, even in the worst possible circumstances,  humbles and inspires me. These women had a vision of peace and fought for their inclusion in efforts to secure that peace and ultimately a better future for their country. 

In South Sudan, we have women like Alokiir Malual  who, after immense efforts and advocacy, made history in 2015 as the first woman to sign a peace agreement. Her signature set a precedent for future women’s representation and participation in peace processes in South Sudan.

On the other side of the border, in Sudan, our political mission facilitated consultations with women’s civil society groups and leaders on bringing the country back to a civilian-led transition. They successfully pushed for women’s rights provisions in the Framework Agreement, signed between civilian and military forces on Dec. 5, 2022, and 15 percent of signatories were women. The hope is that Sudanese women will continue to lead change and bring women’s rights to the negotiating table.

There are countless women’s participation in peace negotiations  brings human security to the fore and is beneficial for the whole of society. Peace is also more likely to last when women are part of the process, and we can rest assured that matters pertaining to the protection of civilians, food security, health and education will be given due primacy.

Women hold up half the sky, and consequently they have a fundamental right to be part of discussions and decision-making that define the future of their families, communities and countries.

The international community has over several decades adopted norms and conventions for women’s inclusion in all aspects of national life. It is now time to live up to those commitments and walk the talk. We need to bring the voices of women to the negotiation table in political and peace processes. We must empower them through capacity-building and provide the support they need to be heard. This is a must for sustaining peace.

United Nations: CSW67 Opening statement: Digital rights are women’s rights


Opening statement to the Commission on the Status of Women at its 67th session, by Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

A new kind of poverty now confronts the world, one that excludes women and girls in devastating ways—that of digital poverty.   

The digital divide has become the new face of gender inequality, which is being compounded by the pushback against women and girls that we see in the world today.    

Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, delivers her opening statement to the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters in New York, 6 March 2023. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

That is why the work of this 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) could not be more timely nor more critical.   

We meet to do what this Commission does best: develop norms and standards for an urgent issue of significant importance that offers both opportunity and challenge.  

The CSW mandate is exemplified in the priority theme of this year’s Commission. 
The digital revolution presents unprecedented opportunities for women and girls.  At the very same time, it has also given rise to profound new challenges, compounding gender inequalities in severe ways.   

The Secretary-General’s report is unambiguous. We will not achieve gender equality without closing the digital gap. 
The data are sobering.  Women are 18 per cent less likely than men to own a smartphone, and far less likely to access or use the Internet.  This past year alone, 259 million more men than women were online. Only 28 per cent of engineering graduates and 22 per cent of artificial intelligence workers globally are women, despite girls matching boys’ performance in science and technology subjects across many countries.
In the technology sector globally, women not only occupy fewer positions, but they also face a gender pay gap of 21 per cent.  Nearly half of all women working in technology have faced workplace harassment. 

The gap in access to digital tools and opportunity is widest where women and girls are often most vulnerable. This gap disproportionately affects women and girls with low literacy or low income, those living in rural or remote areas, migrants, women with disabilities, and older women.  It jeopardizes our promise to leave no one behind. 
These differences have serious consequences for women and girls.   

The digital divide can limit women’s access to life-saving information, mobile money products, agricultural extension, or online public services.  In turn, this fundamentally influences whether a woman completes her education, owns her own bank account, makes informed decisions about her body, feeds her family, or gains productive employment. 
At its heart, the digital gap is pervasive because technology is pervasive in all aspects of our modern lives. 
We must also squarely face the threats to the safety and well-being of girls that technology can present when abused.  Even where they enjoy access to digital tools and services, discrimination has taken a foothold and continues to find new ways to deny them their rights. 
Research has shown that 80 per cent of children in 25 countries reported feeling in danger of sexual abuse and exploitation when online, with adolescent girls the most vulnerable. 

A survey of women journalists from 125 countries found that three-quarters had experienced online violence in the course of their work and a third had self-censored in response. 

Afghan women who spoke out through YouTube and blogging had their doors marked by the Taliban, with many fleeing their country for safety.  
In Iran, and as noted in the Secretary General´s report on the situation of human rights there, many women and girls continue to be targeted because of their participation in online campaigns.  
We continue to see radical groups and some governments use social media to target women, particularly women human rights defenders.  

Women’s rights activists cannot play their role in advancing equality if they fear reprisals.  They become, in effect, invisible.   

This is the new, digital repression and oppression. We stand in full solidarity with women and girls subjected to repression and oppression worldwide. 

The reality is that those forces and actors who would deny women and girls their rights are as adaptable as they are evil. 
So, we must adapt faster and more effectively than they do, with stronger responses, protections and ultimately, greater resolve.  
Technology and innovation are indeed enablers.  What they enable is up to us. 

At the same time, the digital revolution offers the potential for unprecedented improvement in the lives of women and girls.  We must not spurn it. 

Research by UN Women and DESA shows that global progress towards the SDG targets has become more precarious than ever.   

We live in a world of poly-crises that make progress ever more uneven including in the digital space, creating new and unique barriers for women and girls.   

These crises span from the still-unresolved challenges of COVID, to the global economic divide advancing unprecedented inequities across food and energy access, to conflict and instability such as that in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Myanmar, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Ukraine and Yemen. 

We need every advantage we can find to bring the SDGs back on track. 

Technology and innovation are proven accelerators to drive concrete progress, once again, across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

(Article continues in right column.)

Questions related to this article:

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Is Internet freedom a basic human right?

(Article continued from left column.) 

Harnessed effectively, technology and innovation can be the game-changers to catalyse poverty reduction, decrease hunger, boost health, create new jobs, mitigate climate change, address humanitarian crises, improve energy access and make entire cities and communities safer and more sustainable – benefitting women and girls. Now is the time to shape the outcomes of CSW67 to inform the SDG Summit and the Summit of the Future in 2024 and the Global Digital Compact. 

In countless ways, the Sustainable Development Goals depend on the world’s ability to leverage technology and innovation for good.   

Consider social media.  It allowed women, desperately seeking help in the face of rising domestic violence during COVID-19 lockdowns, to access information and support.   

It has generated ‘heat maps’ to focus disaster response, most recently in the tragic earthquakes of Türkiye and Syria.  

Social media has been a crucial connector for the women’s movement within and between countries. 

Technology has facilitated our work across UN Women’s bold mandate.   

In countries such as Niger and Haiti, we have been able to digitalize data collection in Rapid Gender Assessments, saving time and money, as well as offering new, more powerful data management and visualization. 

In Ukraine, national authorities, civil society organizations and the private sector are working together to build digital solutions that support gender-responsive aid, economic recovery and reduce digital gaps.   

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality, to the blockchain – possibilities to harness technology, to save and improve lives and achieve the vision of the United Nations Charter, where every member of the human family lives a life of freedom and dignity, seem truly limitless.  

It is up to us to decide the course we wish to chart, and whether, ultimately, we use the opportunity being afforded us to build a better world, leaving no woman or girl behind in the digital revolution.   

Let me turn to the way forward. 

Our challenge is not to train more women or distribute mobile handsets.  Rather, it is to fix the institutions and the harmful gender stereotypes surrounding technology and innovation that fail women and girls.   

The Secretary-General’s report offers us solutions that I hope will be reflected in your Agreed Conclusions.   

First, we must close the gender digital divide.  Every member of society, especially the most marginalized, must have equal access to digital skills and services.  Digital services, especially e-government services, must be tailored and accessible for all women and girls. 

Second, we must invest in digital, science and technology education for girls and women, including those girls who missed out on education first time around.   

These opportunities cannot merely be the provision of basic computer skills. They must extend to the whole suite of capabilities needed to secure 21st century jobs in a digital world.  

Third, we must ensure jobs and leadership positions for women in the tech and innovation sectors.  As the Secretary-General said: “There is a great danger for gender equality, misogyny is embedded in the Silicon Valleys of this world”.  This demands profound institutional change.  That burden lies in large part on the leaders of the technology sector.    

Fourth, we must ensure transparency and accountability of digital technology. By design, technology must be safe, inclusive, affordable, and accessible.  This includes ensuring that unconscious or conscious bias is not embedded into new technologies and in the field of artificial intelligence.   

Fifth, we must place the principles of inclusion, intersectionality, and systemic change at the core of digitalization.  

If women are not included among technology and artificial intelligence creators, or decision-makers, digital products will not reflect the priorities of women and girls.    We must ensure that women and girls are a central part of the design, development, and deployment of technology.   

Sixth, we must confront misinformation head on, and we must work with men and boys to foster ethical and responsible online behaviour and make equality a cornerstone of digital citizenship. 

Finally, we must make the necessary effort and investment to ensure that online spaces are free of violence and abuse, with mechanisms and clear accountability to tackle all forms of harassment and discrimination and hate speech.   

We have turned a blind eye to their damaging effects for too long.   

Technology should liberate, it is instead aggravating violence, with online behaviours that seek to control, harm, silence or discredit the voices of women and girls.  

If we do not leave this Session having said collectively, unambiguously, “enough, no more”, then we will have failed. 

All these solutions demand the concerted actions not only of governments but of the whole of society, and in particular the private sector.   

The Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation, launched as part of the Generation Equality Forum, is one example of a platform that cultivates multi-stakeholder partnerships dedicated to advance gender equality through alliances between governments, private sector, youth, civil society, and the UN System.  We need to see this reflected at national levels and extended further. 

The issues of which this Commission is seized have always evolved, but rarely has that evolution been so dramatic, the opportunities it presents so transformative, the threats accompanying it so alarming, yet the solutions so clear.   

The pace of change demands that we contribute a global normative framework that ensures we harness technology towards the achievement of gender equality –  and that we do it here and now.   

We cannot indulge in distraction when presented with an opportunity to achieve something so necessary and so timely.  
I am confident we will spare no effort in showing that this Commission is of one mind and asserts with one voice that “digital rights are women’s rights”.  

This must be the vision and the outcome of CSW67.  

I look forward to working with you all to that end. 

I thank you. 

UN Security Council: ‘Radical change of direction’ needed in women, peace and security agenda


An article from the United Nations

New goals and effective plans on women’s involvement in peacebuilding are needed before it is too late, the head of the UN agency leading global efforts to achieve gender equality warned the Security Council on Tuesday. 

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, was speaking during a Council meeting to reaffirm the importance of Resolution 1325  on women, peace and security,  adopted in October 2000, and to take stock of implementation since it turned 20 nearly three years ago. 

UN Photo/Manuel Elías Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, Minister for Foreign
Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique and President of the Security Council
for the month of March, chairs the Security Council meeting on
Women and peace and security.

“As we meet today at the mid-point between the 20th and 25th anniversaries, on the eve of International Women’s Day, it is obvious that we need a radical change of direction,” she said

No significant change 

Ms. Bahous noted that although several historic firsts for gender equality occurred during the first two decades of the resolution, “we have neither significantly changed the composition of peace tables, nor the impunity enjoyed by those who commit atrocities against women and girls.” 

She said the 20th anniversary “was not a celebration, but a wake-up call,” pointing to situations from across the globe that have emerged since then.

They include the regression of women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover, sexual violence committed in the war in the Tigray region in Ethiopia, and online abuse targeting women opposing military rule in Myanmar. 

Women and children also comprise a staggering 90 per cent of the nearly eight million people forced to flee the conflict in Ukraine, and nearly 70 per cent of those displaced within the country.
Military spending increasing 

Furthermore, women peacebuilders had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause countries to rethink military spending, as the global crisis revealed the value of caregivers and the importance of investing in health, education, food security and social protection. 

“Instead, that spending has continued to grow, passing the two-trillion-dollar mark, even without the significant military expenditure of the last months,” she said. “Neither the pandemic nor supply-chain issues prevented another year of rising global arms sales.”  

The way forward 

Ms. Bahous outlined two suggestions that show what a change of direction could look like for the international community. 

“First, we cannot expect 2025 to be any different if the bulk of our interventions continue to be trainings, sensitization, guidance, capacity building, setting up networks, and holding one event after another to talk about women’s participation, rather than mandating it in every meeting and decision-making process in which we have authority,” she stipulated. 

Her second point focused on the need to get resources to women’s groups in conflict-affected countries, particularly through the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund

The UN-led partnership was established in 2015 and has so far supported more than 900 organizations. 

“We urgently need better ways to support civil society and social movements in these countries. That means being much more intentional about funding or engaging with new groups, and especially with young women,” she said. 

(Article continues in right column.)

Questions related to this article:

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

(Article continued from left column.)

Women’s involvement equals success 

The meeting was chaired by Mozambique, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month.
The country’s Foreign Minister, Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, expressed hope that the debate will lead to action, such as stronger strategies on gender equality, as well as women’s effective participation in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. 

“There is no doubt that by involving women in the peacebuilding and peacekeeping agenda in our countries, we will achieve success,” she said, speaking in Portuguese. 
“Under no circumstances do we want that the people who bring life into the world are negatively impacted. We must protect them. Use women’s sensitivity to resolve conflicts and maintain peace on our planet.” 

Respect international law 

Currently, more than 100 armed conflicts are raging around the world, according to Mirjana Spoljaric, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The organization sees the daily brutal impacts of armed conflict on women and girls, she said, which include “shocking levels” of sexual violence, displacement, and deaths during childbirth because they lack access to care.
Ms. Spoljaric upheld the importance of international humanitarian law during conflict and urged States to apply a gender perspective in its application and interpretation. 

“Respect for international humanitarian law will prevent the enormous harm resulting from violations of its rules, and it will help to rebuild stability and reconcile societies,” she said. 

States also must ensure that the clear prohibition of sexual violence under international humanitarian law is integrated into national law, military doctrine and training. 

“Engaging more boldly and directly weapon bearers on this issue – with the ultimate goal that it does not occur in the first place – should become a de facto preventive approach, supported and facilitated in times of peace to prevent the worst in times of war,” she added. 

African women leaders network

Bineta Diop of the African Union Commission also addressed the Council, highlighting its work in getting countries to accelerate implementation of the resolution.
This is being done through a strategy focused on advocacy and accountability, and in building a network of women leaders on the continent.

“We are ensuring that women’s leadership is mainstreamed in governance, peace and development processes so as to create a critical mass of women leaders at all levels,” she said.

“We need to make sure that they are in all sectors of life. not just in peace processes.”

Partner with women activists 

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee from Liberia called for amplifying the women, peace and security agenda. She recommended steps such as engaging and partnering with local women peace activists, who she called “the custodians of their communities.” 

Women must also be negotiators and mediators in peace talks. “It is amazing to see how only the men with guns are consistently invited to the table to find solutions, while women who bear the greatest brunt are often invited as observers,” she remarked. 

She also urged countries to “move beyond rhetoric” by ensuring funding and political will, because without them, Resolution 1325 “remains a toothless bulldog”.
Ms. Gbowee stressed that women, peace and security must be seen as a holistic part of the global peace and security agenda.  
“We will continue to search for peace in vain in our world unless we bring women to the table,” she warned.  “I firmly believe that trying to work for global peace and security minus women is trying to see the whole picture with your one eye covered.” 

Historic UN Ocean Treaty agreed – Greenpeace statement


An article from Greenpeace (reprinted according to CC-BY International License)

A historic UN Ocean Treaty has finally been agreed at the United Nations after almost  two decades of negotiations. The text will now go through technical editing and translation, before officially being adopted at another session. This Treaty is a monumental win for ocean protection, and an important sign that multilateralism still works in an increasingly divided world.

A school of fish swim in the Pacific Ocean in Australia. © Ocean Image Bank/Jordan Robin  published by the United Nations.

The agreement of this Treaty keeps the 30×30 target – protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030  – alive. It provides a pathway to creating fully or highly protected areas across the world’s oceans. There are still flaws in the text, and governments must ensure that the Treaty is put into practice in an effective and equitable way for it to be considered a truly ambitious Treaty. 

(article continued in right column)

Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

(Article continued from the left column)

Dr. Laura Meller, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace Nordic, said from New York: “This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, protecting nature and people can triumph over geopolitics. We praise countries for seeking compromises, putting aside differences and delivering a Treaty that will let us protect the oceans, build our resilience to climate change and safeguard the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.

“We can now finally move from talk to real change at sea. Countries must formally adopt the Treaty and ratify it as quickly as possible to bring it into force, and then deliver the fully protected ocean sanctuaries our planet needs. The clock is still ticking to deliver 30×30. We have half a decade left, and we can’t be complacent.”

The High Ambition Coalition, which includes the EU, US and UK, and China were key players in brokering the deal. Both showed willingness to compromise in the final days of talks, and built coalitions instead of sowing division. Small Island States have shown leadership throughout the process, and the G77 group led the way in ensuring the Treaty can be put into practice in a fair and equitable way.

The fair sharing of monetary benefits from Marine Genetic Resources was a key sticking point. This was only resolved on the final day of talks. The section of the Treaty on Marine Protected Areas does away with broken consensus-based decision making which has failed to protect the oceans through existing regional bodies like the Antarctic Ocean Commission. While there are still major issues in the text, it is a workable Treaty that is a starting point for protecting 30% of the world’s oceans.

The 30×30 target, agreed at Biodiversity COP15, would not be deliverable without this historic Treaty.  It’s vital that countries urgently ratify this Treaty, and begin the work to create vast fully protected ocean sanctuaries covering 30% of oceans by 2030.

Now the hard work of ratification and protecting the oceans begins. We must build on this momentum to see off new threats like deep sea mining and focus on putting protection in place. Over 5.5 million people signed a Greenpeace petition calling for a strong Treaty. This is a victory for all of them.

United Nation General Assembly divides over Ukraine resolution and Belarus amendment


Analysis by CPNN

The United States and its allies claimed victory at the United Nations with the vote on a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. The final vote was 141 for, 7 against and 32 abstentions.

But a thorough analysis suggests that the victory was not so one-sided. If one considers the votes on the Belarus amendment to condemn arms shipments to the Ukraine, the General Assembly was divided with more than half (101 countries) failing to follow the American line regarding the vote on this amendment.

Of the 91 votes that defeated the Belarus amendment, 45 were cast by Europe and the US/Canada while 46 by all the rest of the world.

Voting on Belarus resolution condemning arms shipments to Ukraine

Here are the operative paragraphs of the two resolutions and the voting details.

Principles of the Charter of the United Nations underlying a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine Draft resolution A/ES-11/L.7

1. Underscores the need to reach, as soon as possible, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in line with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations;

2. Welcomes and expresses strong support for the efforts of the SecretaryGeneral and Member States to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, consistent with the Charter, including the principles of sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States;

3. Calls upon Member States and international organizations to redouble support for diplomatic efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, consistent with the Charter;

4. Reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters;

5. Reiterates its demand that the Russian Federation immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and calls for a cessation of hostilities;

6. Demands that the treatment by the parties to the armed conflict of all prisoners of war be in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 12 August 1949 2 and Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, 3 and calls for the complete exchange of prisoners of war, the release of all unlawfully detained persons and the return of all internees and of civilians forcibly transferred and deported, including children;

7. Calls for full adherence by the parties to the armed conflict to their obligations under international humanitarian law to take constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian objects, to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need, and to refrain from attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population;

8. Also calls for an immediate cessation of the attacks on the critical infrastructure of Ukraine and any deliberate attacks on civilian objects, including those that are residences, schools and hospitals;

9. Emphasizes the need to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes under international law committed on the territory of Ukraine through appropriate, fair and independent investigations and prosecutions at the national or international level, and ensure justice for all victims and the prevention of future crimes;

10. Urges all Member States to cooperate in the spirit of solidarity to address the global impacts of the war on food security, energy, finance, the environment and nuclear security and safety, underscores that arrangements for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine should take into account these factors, and calls upon Member States to support the Secretary-General in his efforts to address these impacts;

11. Decides to adjourn the eleventh emergency special session of the General Assembly temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly to resume its meetings upon request from Member States.

Belarus: A/ES-11/L.9 – amendment to draft resolution A/ES-11/L.7

1 ; After the eighth preambular paragraph, insert a new preambular paragraph reading: Noting with concern the continuing supply of weapons by third parties to the zone of conflict that obstructs the prospects for sustainable peace,

2. After operative paragraph 5, insert a new operative paragraph reading: Calls for the start of peace negotiations;

3. After existing operative paragraph 10, insert a new operative paragraph reading: Calls upon Member States to address the root causes of the conflict in and around Ukraine, including legitimate security concerns of Member States;

4. After existing operative paragraph 10, insert a new operative paragraph reading: Also calls upon Member States to refrain from sending weapons to the zone of conflict.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

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

(Article continued from the column on the left)

Here are the voting details of the 101 countries that did not follow the American line regarding the vote on the Belarus amendment.

15 countries voted for the Belarus amendment

North Korea

52 countries abstained on the Belarus amendment

Brunei Daresalam
El Salvador
Saint Vincent
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
South Sudan
Sri Lanka
United Arab Emirates

17 countries did not vote on the Belarus amendment although they voted for the final resolution

DR Congo
Saint Lucia
Solomon Islands
Timor Leste

4 countries did not vote on the Belarus resolution while they abstained on the final resolution

Central African Republic

13 countries did not vote on the Belarus or the final resolution

Burkina Faso
Equatorial Africa
Guinea Bissau
UR Tanzania

Note 1: The fact that a country does not vote on a resolution is not always a political statement. However, in this case, 21 countries did not vote on the Belarus amendment but voted or abstained on the final resolution while no country did the opposite, voting or abstaining only on the Belarus amendment. The other 13 that failed to vote on either the amendment or the resolution tend to be aligned with other countries that abstained rather than being aligned with the US, NATO and their allies. Thus it seems likely that in most cases the absence of a vote was a political statement, and it has been counted as such here.

Note 2: The representative of Mexico voiced his regret that the last-minute amendments by Belarus had not been tabled in sufficient time for their full consideration.

International Women’s Day 2023: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”


An article from UN Women

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023 (IWD 2023) is, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. This theme is aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67), “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. 

Photo: UN Trust Fund/Phil Borges

The United Nations Observance of IWD recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. IWD 2023 will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. The event will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.

(continued in right column)

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)

Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs: as per UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report, women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved $1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade—a loss that will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025 without action. Reversing this trend will require tackling the problem of online violence, which a study of 51 countries revealed 38 per cent of women had personally experienced.

A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement. Advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals. Unfortunately, the opportunities of the digital revolution also present a risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. Growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide. The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future.

The United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day under the theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, will be marked by a high-level event on Wednesday, 8 March 2023, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EST. The event will bring together technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and gender equality activists to provide an opportunity to highlight the role of all stakeholders in improving access to digital tools and be followed by a high-level panel discussion and musical performances.

‘Historic Win’: UN Members to Start Talks on ‘Inclusive and Effective’ Global Tax Standards


An article by Jessica Corbett from Common Dreams

Tax justice advocates around the world on Wednesday celebrated the unanimous adoption of a resolution to “begin intergovernmental discussions in New York at United Nations Headquarters on ways to strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation.”

The U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the “promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations” was spearheaded by the African Group —which is composed of the continent’s 54 member states—and comes after about a decade of delays on the topic at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“We note that the OECD has played a role in these areas,” a representative of the Nigerian delegation to the U.N. reportedly said Wednesday. “It is clear after 10 years of attempting to reform international tax rules that there is no substitute for the global, inclusive, transparent forum provided by the United Nations.”

“The African Group urges countries to remain committed to the development of inclusive tax instruments at the United Nations and encourage the OECD to play a supporting role in this regard,” the Nigerian representative continued.

After the resolution was adopted, Global Alliance for Tax Justice executive coordinator Dereje Alemayehu declared that “this is a historic win for the tax justice and the broader economic justice movement and a big step forward to combat illicit financial flows and tax abuse.”

“African countries stood together and made historic strides, breaking through the long-standing blockade by the OECD countries,” Alemayehu added. “Shifting power from the OECD is paramount to end the exploitation and plunder of developing countries.”

Tax Justice Network chief executive Alex Cobham similarly commended member nations “on their bold action today to move rule-making on global tax into the daylight of democracy at the U.N.,” highlighting that “the adopted resolution will now open the way for intergovernmental discussions on the negotiation of a U.N. tax convention and a global tax body.”

A proposed amendment to the resolution from the United States that would have cut the mention of “the possibility of developing an international tax cooperation framework or instrument that is developed and agreed upon through a United Nations intergovernmental process” was defeated.

Cobham emphasized that the resolution moved forward despite the fact that “the OECD has been unprecedentedly aggressive in its lobbying.”

“Some OECD countries spoke in favor of the organization’s role after the resolution’s adoption, but… the OECD’s two-pillar tax proposal is on life support, with even the organization’s own members… struggling to defend its work,” he said. “Work which has failed to deliver after nearly a decade of promises and work which has left countries losing $483 billion in tax to tax havens a year; and work which has been widely identified as exclusionary by countries outside the core membership of rich countries. Ultimately, this only confirms the importance of moving tax rule-making to a globally inclusive and transparent forum at the United Nations.”

(Article continued on the right column)

Question for this article:

Opposing tax havens and corruption: part of the culture of peace?

(Article continued from the left column)

Though it was backed by more than 100 countries and jurisdictions last year, the OECD’s international tax reform framework has been called “skewed-to-the-rich and completely unfair,” with critics warning that its 15% global minimum tax for multinational corporations is “way too low.”

“Fears that the OECD process had stalled grew over the summer after the nation of Hungary blocked a 15% minimum corporate tax from being adopted in the European Union,” The Hill reported Wednesday. Experts said the timing of the UNGA resolution was tied to “the delay on the OECD provision that stipulates where a corporation can be taxed for the use of its products as well as frustration from lower-income countries about the amount of that tax.”

According to news outlet:

“There’s a document that’s supposed to be coming out in December outlining which unilateral measures will need to be abandoned, including digital services taxes,” Daniel Bunn, president of the Tax Foundation, a Washington think tank, said in an interview. “The goal is to have a multilateral treaty ready for signature middle of next year.”

On the amount that corporations can be taxed—which is known as Pillar Two within the agreement—E.U. finance ministers are set to meet again in December.

“The language of their announcement is that they’re going to be ‘aiming for agreement’ on Pillar Two, but it’s not clear that that’s certain. Hungary has been holding things up,” Bunn added.

Other analysts in Washington say that the interests of developing countries are not given proper consideration in the OECD’s framework, an oversight that could further delay a final deal.

Tove Maria Ryding, tax coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said Wednesday that “some rich countries are still holding on to the archaic idea that they can keep global rule-making on tax under the control of the OECD—also known as the rich countries’ club.”

“But today’s vote shows that at the end of the day, they know they cannot stop the development towards inclusive, transparent, and U.N.-led tax governance, which is already highly overdue,” Ryding argued. “The OECD-led governance is coming to an end—both because it was deeply unjust and biased in favor of a few rich countries. But also because the OECD has so blatantly failed to stop international tax abuse.”

While welcoming the success of the resolution on Wednesday, Pooja Rangaprasad at the Society for International Development warned that “the post-adoption statements by some developed countries have made it clear that the road ahead will be challenging.”

“However, it is in the interest of all countries to fix an outdated international tax system that is bleeding hundreds of billions of dollars in much-needed resources and public revenue,” Rangaprasad said. “The fight continues in holding all our governments accountable to agree to an effective U.N. tax convention that will ensure wealthy corporations and elites pay their fair share in taxes.”

Cobham of Tax Justice Network stressed that “the intergovernmental discussions next year will be crucial in setting the path for this new era of international tax. It is vital that countries in each region of the world follow the African leadership that underpinned this success, and engage together to generate common positions on an ambitious agenda.”