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Sunday, 21 September 2014

International Day of Peace, September 21st


To mark the 30th anniversary of the General Assembly Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, the theme of this year’s International Day of Peace is the “Right of Peoples to Peace”. This anniversary offers a unique opportunity to reaffirm the United Nations commitment to the purposes and principles upon which the Organization was founded.
The Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace recognizes that the promotion of peace is vital for the full enjoyment of all human rights.

Message from the United Nations Secratary-General on the occasion of the International Day of Peace 2014.

 Today is the International Day of Peace.

Each year, on this day, the United Nations calls for a global ceasefire.
We ask combatants to put down their arms so all can breathe the air of peace.
Armed conflict causes untold grief to families, communities and entire countries.

Too many are suffering today at the brutal hands of warmongers and terrorists.
Let us stand with them in solidarity.
Peace and security are essential foundations for social progress and sustainable development.

That is why, three decades ago, the United Nations affirmed the right of peoples to peace.
Throughout the coming year, we will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.
Our organisation is founded on the pledge to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.
We have made much progress.
But much remains to be done.
We must douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root causes of conflict.

Peace is a long road that we must travel together – step by step, beginning today.
Let us all observe a minute of silence, at noon.
Let us all reflect on peace – and what it means for our human family.
Let us hold it in our hearts and minds and tenderly nurture it so it may grow and blossom. 


Ban Ki-moon


 Message from the President of the United Nations General Assembly on the International Day of Peace 2014.

PEACE BELL CEREMONY
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
FRIDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2014

Excellencies,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to participate in the Peace Bell Ceremony this morning, a time honored tradition in celebration of the International Day of Peace.
Thirty years ago, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Peoples to Peace, reaffirming that the aspiration for peace is universal among all peoples and that every human being should have a right to live in a peaceful environment.
As the Peace Bell rings today, belligerents across the world are called upon to lay down their weapons and observe a day of ceasefire.
We are called upon to turn our attention to the plight of populations caught in the grip of war, living in fear and uncertainty. We are reminded of the lives lost, property destroyed, families and communities torn apart and development efforts disrupted.

Today, we should recommit our efforts towards the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the building of lasting peace. This organization was founded to rid our world of the scourge of war. It is our duty and collective responsibility to promote tolerance, dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes.

Excellencies,
Peace is a prerequisite for the achievement of sustainable development. Therefore, on this International Day of Peace, let us rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of peace across the world. May the ringing of the Peace Bell today send a message of peace and hope that resonates loud and clear across the world. The people afflicted by the scourge of violent conflict deserve to live in peace. As Dag Hammarskjold stated sixty years ago, "The pursuit of peace and progress cannot end in a few years in either victory or defeat.
The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned."


I thank you for your attention.



John W. Ashe

Resources :

Forum  : Join the discussions on the  International Day of Peace - September 21.

 The 2014 Global Peace Index score deteriorated slightly for the sixth year in a row continuing to record a gradual slide in global peacefulness since 2008.

2014 GLOBAL PEACE INDEX report


For 2014, five out of the nine geographical regions experienced an improvement in peace and, among those that became less peaceful, substantial changes in the Index were only seen in two: sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which continues to suffer from the political aftermath of the Arab Spring. Yet again, Europe maintained its position as the most peaceful region in the world, supported by a lack of domestic and external conflicts. The largest improvement, however, was seen in what nevertheless remains the world’s most violent region, South Asia, which includes Afghanistan. In terms of societal safety and security, an improvement in the relative number of jailed population was coupled with a deterioration in the level of violent crime.

The perception of criminality in society deteriorated accordingly. Aside from sub-Saharan Africa, where criminality is often fuelled by ethnic strife and political unrest, Latin America clearly remained the world’s most violent region in terms of crime, as highlighted by its poor results in most related categories, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean, where many of the world’s highest homicide rates can be found. Generally lower (better) scores were also seen in political instability and political terror although it is notable that the former category deteriorated slightly in Europe, which over the past few years has suffered from austerity-driven dissatisfaction and unrest. Meanwhile, the political terror score also improved or remained static in all regions except sub-Saharan Africa, which points to less widespread use of state repression on a global scale. This bodes well for the gradual consolidation of democratic institutions in some of the world’s more fragile states, although higher likelihood of violent demonstrations in many regions stands out as a latent risk.

Finally, the number of refugees and displaced persons rose during the past year, exacerbated by internal conflict in the Middle East and North Africa primarily, but also in certain Latin American countries, notably Colombia and Haiti. In the case of Colombia, a potential peace plan between government and FARC rebels offers hope of an end to one of the region’s most long-standing conflicts. With regards to domestic and international conflict, a fall in the number of deaths from organised external conflict was offset by a rise in those originating from internal conflict, triggered primarily by a small number of severe crises in key global hotspots. In the case of sub-Saharan Africa, this was largely driven by the outbreak of ethnic warfare in South Sudan, Central African Republic and Mali, which although internal in origin has impacted relations with neighbouring countries as well as foreign powers (in the last two cases resulting in French military intervention).

The Middle East and North Africa also performed poorly in the relevant categories as a result of the added international dimension of the Syrian civil war, which, during 2013, came close to involving military operations by the Western powers before an agreement was reached to dismantle Syria’s chemical-weapons arsenal. The ousting of president Mohammed Morsi and the violence that preceded and followed it also resulted in Egypt dragging down the region’s scores significantly; in fact, the Middle East and North Africa was the only region in the world not to see an improvement in at least one of the five of the indicators that comprise the domestic and international conflict dimension (it worsened in four).

Elsewhere, the main flare-up has been the ongoing crisis between Russia and the Ukraine, which was triggered by the Euromaidan protests in November 2013 and later escalated into a Russian military intervention in the Crimea. Aside from incidents in these three regions, however, there was very little in the way of international conflict during the past year, one which saw no major war between states. Nevertheless, tense relationships between the two Koreas, concerns over China’s growing military assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region, and the everpresent possibility that the Russia-Ukraine standoff could escalate into all out military conflict suggest these as a potential hotspots for conflict in the future.

Lastly, the militarisation domain was characterised by a widespread reduction in the number of armed services personnel. This was contrasted by an overall rise in military expenditure as a percentage of GDP in three key regions; Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and (especially) the Middle East and North Africa. The arms trade also saw a fall in inter-European transfers (both exports and imports), but the flow of Russian arms to the Middle East and Asia-Pacific continued. Much of this has been sent to support Syrian government forces against the rebels which, in contrast, have received much lower quantities of weaponry from the West. A major positive development has been the decrease in nuclear and heavy weapons capabilities. This trend has been most evident in some of the world’s most militarized regions such as Europe, Russia and Eurasia, and the Middle East and North Africa, although in the latter case this was partly due to losses incurred by Syrian government forces in the civil war.

This broad improvement, however, may prove to be short-lived if there is greater impetus for rearmament among NATO countries as a result of Russian aggression. This would be particularly evident in some of the NATO states bordering (or close to) Russia itself but could also affect core countries like Germany which over the past few years have trimmed down their armed forces and stocks of heavy weaponry.

For more information visit http://www.economicsandpeace.org/



The Right of Peoples to Peace


Ban Ki-moon - Peace bell ceremony, International Day of Peace 2014



19 Sep 2014 - Remarks by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the peace bell ceremony to commemorate the International Day of Peace 2014. Remarks
19 Sep 2014 - Remarks by Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the United Nations General Assembly’s sixty-ninth session at the peace bell ceremony to commemorate the International Day of Peace 2014. 

The 2014 theme – The Right of Peoples to Peace – marks the 30th anniversary of the General Assembly Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace. This anniversary offers a unique opportunity to reaffirm the Declaration’s central message that humanity’s sustainable progress and the realization of fundamental rights and freedoms depend on peace and security.
 
19 Sep 2014 - Remarks by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the opening of the Student Observance on the occasion of the International Day of Peace 2014 "The Right of Peoples to Peace"




Tuesday, 16 September 2014

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2014, September 16th



Protecting Ozone, Protecting You, The Mission goes on , 16 September 2014



United Nations Secretary-General's Message on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, 16 September 2014.

Just over a quarter-century ago, the world united to reverse the rapid depletion of the atmospheric ozone layer, which protects Earth from harmful radiation from space. Today, the ozone layer is well on track to recovery within the next few decades.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is widely recognized as one of the most successful environmental treaties in history. It establishes legally binding controls on the national production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, and enjoys universal ratification by 197 parties.

Recent scientific findings reveal the importance of the Montreal Protocol. Without the Protocol and associated agreements, atmospheric levels of ozone-depleting substances could have increased ten-fold by 2050. Concerted action has prevented millions of cases of skin cancer.

The Protocol has also significantly contributed to the fight against climate change, as many ozone-depleting substances are powerful greenhouse gases. Climate change is affecting communities, economies and ecosystems across the globe.  It is essential that we act to mitigate the threat with the same unity of purpose as we have in facing the dangers of ozone depletion.

Let us take inspiration from our efforts to preserve the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol has shown that decisive action by the international community, including the private sector, can achieve transformative results for the common good. Let us learn from this example and apply its lesson to the urgent task of addressing the climate challenge.

Ban Ki-moon

Resources : 
Latest ozone measurements
Forum International Day of the Ozone Layer - September 16.


PublicationScientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion : 2014.


 The Earth's protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery in the next few decades thanks to concerted international action against ozone depleting substances, according to a new assessment by 300 scientists.
The Assessment for Decision-Makers, a summary document of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014, is being published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and is the first comprehensive update in four years.

Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion : 2014



Sunday, 14 September 2014

International Day of Democracy 2014, September 15




 

As we observe this year’s International Day of Democracy, the world seems more turbulent than ever. In many regions and in many ways, the values of the United Nations, including some of the most fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the UN Charter, are being tested and challenged.

Recent outbreaks of violence reinforce a truth we have seen time and again: that where societies are not inclusive, and where governments are not responsive and accountable, peace, equality and shared prosperity cannot take hold. We need to do more to empower individuals, focusing on the billions of people who are underprivileged, marginalized, jobless, hopeless and understandably frustrated. We need to ensure they are heard and can take an active part in their future.

That is why my message today goes out to those who will be at the forefront of the world beyond 2015, and who by nature are at a turning point in their own lives: young people. One person out of five today is between the ages of 15 and 24. Never before has the transition from youth to adulthood been so weighed by challenges, yet so blessed by opportunities. You have powers to network that would have been unimaginable when the United Nations was founded nearly 70 years ago. You are connecting about issues that matter. Injustice. Discrimination. Human rights abuses. The discourse of hate. The need for human solidarity.

I call on members of the largest generation of youth in history to confront challenges and consider what you can do to resolve them. To take control of your destiny and translate your dreams into a better future for all. To contribute to building stronger and better democratic societies. To work together, to use your creative thinking, to become architects of a future that leaves no one behind. To help set our world on course for a better future.

On this International Day of Democracy, I call on young people everywhere to lead a major push for inclusive democracy around the world.  

Ban Ki-moon. 

Events  


Organised by the United Nations Working Group on Democracy, the International Peace Institute, the Community of Democracies, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and International IDEA (Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance).

- Do young people find politics irrelevant and dull? 
- Have young people discovered more powerful tools for democratic change than any generation before them?

People between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five constitute one-fifth of the world’s population, and in many developing countries the proportion is even higher. However, numerous studies show decreasing levels of youth participating in elections, political parties, and traditional social organizations. At the same time, informal, youth-led movements for democratic change are on the rise. Using new communication tools, young people are making their mark on democracy-building in untraditional ways.

The United Nations, several other international organizations, and a range of civil society groups have set out to facilitate and support the participation of young people in democracy worldwide.

- But what is the reality on the ground? How do young people engage in politics and policymaking? 
- How can they contribute to creating more inclusive and participatory democracies? 
- What challenges are they encountering? 
- How do they perceive the role of the international community in strengthening young people’s engagement with democracy? 
- How do they view the changes brought about by young people in the Arab Spring and elsewhere, and what are the lessons learned?

Venue: Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security & Development; International Peace Institute; 777 United Nations Plaza, 12th Floor
When : Monday, September 15, 2014
Hours : 1:00pm – 2:45pm

Introductory Remarks:
Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Moderator:
Warren Hoge, Senior Adviser for External Relations at the International Peace Institute
Panellists:
  • Hafsa Afailal, Programme Officer, Médiateur pour la Démocratie et les Droits de l'Homme, Rabat, Morocco
  • Gustavo Arturo Martínez Rodríguez, Youth Volunteer, Coordinadora Intersectorial Pro Juventudes de El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, Member of Afghanistan Parliament, Lower House, Kabul, Afghanistan
We hope you can join the engaging and dynamic discussion on this important issue.

For more information, please visit the International Peace Institute. Register here.
You can follow the live webcast.

Forum :  Join the forum of discussion about the  International Day of Democracy- 15 September

Resources : Publications

Best Practices Manual on Democracy Education - Council for a community of Democracies

This Best Practices Manual on Democracy Education is the culmination of more than a decade during which the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD) has made democracy education a priority for the Community of Democracies (CD) and the democracy community at large.

Whether in South Africa, Chile, Poland, Korea, or Tunisia, the struggle to establish democracy has been a noble and heroic one, fraught with great sacrifice. We have come to realize that the great democratic
transformations that have swept the globe, if they are to endure and fulfill the aspirations of a people, require more than the ouster of a dictator and more even than free and fair elections. If democracy is truly to take root, an extensive institutional framework and, perhaps more importantly, the active participation of a population are needed if a government of the people — democracy — is to survive and thrive. That participation can only be generated if the people of the new democracy are educated, informed, and encouraged to exercise their rights. Our premise is that education for democracy is the glue that sustains and holds a democratic system together.




Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns - A Handbook on Political Finance. (IDEA)

All political parties need funding to play their part in the political process, yet the role of money in politics is arguably the biggest threat to democracy today. This global threat knows no boundaries, evident across all continents from huge corporate campaign donations in the United States and drug money seeping into politics in Latin America, to corruption scandals throughout Asia and Europe. Attempts to tackle these challenges through political finance laws and regulations are often undermined by a lack of political will or capacity, as well as poorly designed and enforced measures.
This handbook addresses the problems of money in politics by analysing political finance regulations around the world and providing guidance for reform. The chapters are divided by region; each assesses the current state of regulations in relation to its challenges and offers a series of recommendations to tackle the identified shortcomings. This contextual approach has the benefit of revealing regional trends and patterns. An additional chapter focuses on gender, reflecting the reality that women remain grossly under-represented in politics, and how the increasing influence of money in politics perpetuates this inequality.

 More publications of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)

Freedom in the world 2014


An Eighth Year of Decline in Political Rights and Civil Liberties.


The state of freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, according to Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House’s annual country-by-country report on global political rights and civil liberties.

Particularly notable were developments in Egypt, which endured across-the-board reversals in its democratic institutions following a military coup. There were also serious setbacks to democratic rights in other large, politically influential countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Venezuela, and Indonesia.

Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East and North Africa registered the worst civil liberties scores of any region. Gains: Iraq’s political rights rating improved as the result of greater political activity by opposition parties during provincial elections, and Tunisia earned an increase in its civil liberties rating. Declines: Egypt saw its status decline from Partly Free to Not Free. The Gaza Strip received a decline in its political rights rating.

Sub-Saharan Africa
In recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has been the most politically volatile region, with major democratic breakthroughs in some countries, and coups, insurgencies, and authoritarian crackdowns in others. This trend continued in 2013. Gains: Mali moved from Not Free to Partly Free due to successful elections and an improved security situation in the north. Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and Zimbabwe all saw ratings improvements. Declines: The Central African Republic dropped from Partly Free to Not Free because of a rebellion that ousted the president and parliament and suspended the constitution, and Sierra Leone’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to persistent problems with corruption. Ratings declines were also seen in South Sudan and Uganda.

Eurasia
Eurasia continues to be one of the most repressive areas in the world. Three of its countries—Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are among the worst-rated. Russia intensified domestic persecution of political opponents and vulnerable minority groups in 2013. Gains: None. Declines: Azerbaijan suffered a downgrade in its civil liberties rating due to blatant property rights violations by the government.

Asia-Pacific
China became increasingly intolerant of dissent in 2013, as officials expanded the criminalization of online speech and police arrested dozens of activists who had advocated anticorruption reforms. Gains: Bhutan, Japan, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga all registered improvements. Declines: Indonesia’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to a new law restricting the activities of nongovernmental organizations. South Korea registered a downgrade in its political rights rating.

Americas
The death in March 2013 of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez brought early hopes of improvements in the country’s political rights and civil liberties environment. However, his successor, Nicolás Maduro, further weakened the independent media, reduced the opposition’s ability to serve as a check on government policy, and made threats to civil society groups. Gains: Nicaragua’s political rights and civil liberties ratings improved due consultations on proposed constitutional reforms, gradual improvements for the rights of women, and advances in efforts to combat human trafficking. Declines: The Dominican Republic and Panama suffered declines due to the stripping of citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian descent and the Panamanian government’s corruption problems.

Europe
Most countries in Europe showed respect for democratic standards and civil liberties, even as many faced growing nationalist sentiment in response to an influx of immigrants. However, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan displayed increasingly authoritarian tendencies, including a crackdown on protesters in Istanbul and a campaign against critical voices in the media. Gains: Italy’s political rights rating rose following free and fair national elections and improvements in the country’s anticorruption environment.

Friday, 12 September 2014

United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation 2014, September 12.








This year’s United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation comes as the international community is transitioning to a post-2015 development agenda centred on shared prosperity and environmental sustainability.
Despite remarkable advances in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, progress across the South has been uneven. Extreme poverty, rampant inequality, malnutrition and vulnerability to climate and weather-related shocks persist.
According to the UN Multidimensional Poverty Index, 2.2 billion people still live in abject  poverty. About 1.4 billion people, the majority in the South, still have no reliable electricity, 900 million lack access to clean water and 2.6 billion do not have adequate sanitation.
In the face of this stark reality, South-South and triangular cooperation offer a path to balancing growth and equity in the context of a new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
I encourage countries of the South and all development partners to come together to share, disseminate and scale up successful development solutions and technologies.  This November’s Global South-South Development Expo in Washington, D.C. will provide one such important platform.
On this United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, let us reaffirm our commitment to pioneering South-South approaches that will ensure shared prosperity, sustainable development and a life of dignity for all.  
Ban Ki Moon


 Resources:
Forum 



Video IOSSC SSC from South-South News on Vimeo.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

International Literacy Day 2014, 8 september

International Literacy Day, September 8.
 Journée internationale de l’alphabétisation, 8 septembre.
 Día Internacional de la Alfabetización, 8 de septiembre.
 Международного дня грамотности, 8 сентября.
 年国际扫盲日, 9月8日.
 اليوم الدولي لمحو الأمية,

 

Journée internationale de l’alphabétisation

 
Literacy and Sustainable Development, 8 september 2014

Journée internationale de l’alphabétisation
ournée internationale de l’alphabétisation
ournée internationale de l’alphabétisation

 


 International Literacy Day, devoted this year to the connection between literacy and sustainable development, provides us with an opportunity to remember a simple truth: literacy not only changes lives, it saves them. Literacy helps reduce poverty and ena bles people to find jobs and obtain higher salaries. It is one of the most efficient ways of improving the health of mothers and children, understanding doctors’ prescriptions and gaining access to healthcare. The lives of more than two million children un der the age of five were saved between 1990 and 2009 thanks to improvements in the education of women of reproductive age. Literacy facilitates access to knowledge and triggers a process of empowerment and self - esteem that benefits everyone. This energy, multiplied by millions of people, is essential to the future of societies. Today, 781 million adults worldwide cannot read, write or count. Two thirds of them are women. More than 250 million children are unable to read a single sentence, even though half of them have spent four years in school. What kind of societi es do we expect to build with an illiterate youth? This is not the kind of world we wish to live In . We want a world where everyone can participate in the destiny of their societies, gain access to knowledge and enrich it in turn. To succeed, we must also change the traditional approach of literacy programmes to encompass, beyond reading and writing in the narrower sense, broader skills with regard to consumption and sus tainable lifestyles, the conservation of biodiversity, poverty reduction, disaster risk reduction as well as civic participation. In these ways, l iteracy programmes can unlock their full transformative potential. 

 Commitment to these goals will be central to the forthcoming Aichi - Nagoya conference on education for sustainable development to be held in Japan this November. It will also be at the heart of the World Education Forum to be held next year in Incheon, Repu blic of Korea, to lead the global debate towards the adoption of new sustainable development goals at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. UNESCO is working across the world – in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal an d elsewhere – to ensure that literacy is integrated into national development strategies. The Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’ s Education and the Malala Fund for Girls’ R ight to Education , launched by UNESCO, also focus on literacy. The programmes acknowledged by the UNESCO - Confucius Prize for Literacy and the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize enable us each year to celebrate innovative practices that show that achievement is within our re ach. New technologies, including mobile telephones, also offer fresh opportunities for literacy for all. We must invest more, and I appeal to every Member State and all our partners to redouble efforts – political and financial – to ensure that literacy is fully recognized as one of the most powerful accelerators of sustainable development. The future we want starts with the alphabet. 
Irina Bokova  

 

International Literacy Day 2014: Literacy and Sustainable Development

International Literacy Day 2014 will be celebrated worldwide on 8 September under the theme Literacy and Sustainable Development. The Day will be “an opportunity to remember a simple truth: literacy not only changes lives, it saves them,” explains the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, in her message for the Day.

Literacy Day will start with the award ceremony in Dhaka for this year’s five UNESCO Literacy Prizes, attended by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.
It will continue with the International Conference Girls’ and Women’s Literacy Education: Foundation for Sustainable Development, organized by the Government of Bangladesh and UNESCO, and opened by the Prime Minister and Director-General. The conference takes place within the framework of the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) whose Champion Countries* are expected to have high level representatives at the Conference.
Representatives from several United Nations organizations will also take part in the conference alongside donors, including international financial institutions, national and international non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
They will draw the world’s attention to the importance of girls’ and women’s literacy and education for sustainable development, contributing to the new international development goals that will come into effect in 2015. Almost two-thirds of the world’s 781 million illiterate adults are women, with no progress in reducing this share since 1990.
In a number of sessions, participants will reflect on girls’ and women’s education and literacy as conditions for lifelong learning and sustainable development, drawing on experiences from Bangladesh and around the world, as well as the findings of the 2013/14 Education For All Global Monitoring Report (GMR). Evidence from the report shows, for example, that if all women had a primary education, child mortality could fall by a sixth and maternal deaths by two-thirds. Child marriages would fall by 14% if all girls in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia had primary education, and by 64% with secondary education.

Poor quality education is leaving a legacy of illiteracy more widespread than previously believed: one in four young people—175 million adolescents—is unable to read a single sentence. Based on current trends, the GMR projects that it will take until 2072 for the poorest young women in developing countries to learn to read.
But even in high-income countries, education systems are failing significant minorities. In New Zealand, almost all students from rich households achieve minimum learning standards in grades 4 and 8, but only two-thirds of poor students do. Many immigrants in rich countries are also left behind: in France, for example, fewer than 60 per cent of immigrants have reached the minimum benchmark for reading.
Despite slow global progress in reducing the number of illiterate adults, there are examples of success. In Bangladesh, women’s literacy more than doubled from 1990 to 2011. In Ethiopia, the number of literate young people increased by nearly 20 per cent between 2000 and 2011.
This year’s activities focus on the links between literacy and sustainable development. They underscore the power of literacy to enable people to make choices that promote economic growth, social development and environmental integration. Literacy is the basis for lifelong learning and plays a crucial role in the creation of sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies.
 “We must invest more,” states the Director-General of UNESCO. “I appeal to every Member State and all our partners to redouble efforts – political and financial – to ensure that literacy is fully recognized as one of the most powerful accelerators of sustainable development.”
                                          
Events marking Literacy Day will be held in many countries around the world. See our webpage
For more information about countries’ progress towards achieving EFA objectives, see UNESCO’s annual Education for All Monitoring Report
* Andorra, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, China, Croatia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Guyana, Mozambique, South Africa, Tunisia, and the United States of America.


UNESCO Literacy Awards Ceremony, 8 September, Dhaka Programme (Draft) 

DELEGATES REGISTRATION (9:00-9:30)
INAUGURATION & PRESENTATION OF UNESCO LITERACY AWARDS (9:30-11:00)
 SESSION: PLENARY (11:00-13:00 ) Panel discussion on the global literacy challenge and the importance of focusing on girls and women's literacy and education for sustainable development
LUNCH BREAK (13:00-14:00)
 SESSION 2: PARALLEL SESSIONS (14:00-16:00)  - Policies, programmes, funding, monitoring, institutional strengthening, multi-stakeholder partnerships
SESSION 3: PLENARY (16:30-1800)  - Reporting from the groups and charting the way forward fold COFFE BREAK
CULTURAL PROGRAMME FOLLOWED BY DINNER (18:30-20:30)

 More Information
Join the Forum : September 8 is International Literacy Day
Invitation International Literacy Day 2014 (PDF) 
Information Note for the celebration of the International Literacy Day 2014 (PDF)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

International Day of Charity 2014, September 5

 


Charity plays a significant role in the work of the United Nations and its agencies. Charity may come in many forms, from the volunteering of time and expertise to straightforward financial or in-kind donations by individuals, corporations or philanthropic foundations.  Whatever the case, such generosity and kindness, with no expectation of financial gain, can make profound differences in human well-being.
At times of intense fiscal and budgetary constraint, charity takes on greater importance in global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and implement what we hope will be an ambitious post-2015 agenda.  While charity cannot be seen as a replacement or alternative to public spending, it plays an invaluable complementary role.
I welcome this second observance of the International Day of Charity, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly at the initiative of the Permanent Mission of Hungary, to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, whose life and good works for some of the human family’s poorest and most vulnerable members has been such an enormous inspiration.
Let us recognize charity for what it is at heart: a noble enterprise aimed at bettering the human condition. On this International Day, I call on people everywhere to act on the charitable impulse that resides in every human being -- to start giving and to keep on giving.

Ban Ki-moon


Discussions and Forum.





Events

The Permanent Mission of Hungary, in cooperation with UNDP and philanthropic organizations, is organizing two panel discussions in New York to introduce new, innovative forms of charitable giving which are spreading around the world and explore how charity can become a formidable partner in realizing the future sustainable development goals.
Participation is by invitation. For more information, please contact: hungary@un.int
Time and venue of the event: September 5, 2014, 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.; Permanent Mission of Hungary to the UN, New York.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS TO MARK THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CHARITY

Time and venue: September 5, 2014 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations
227 East 52nd Street, New York
  • Welcoming remarks by H.E. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations
Timing: 10:00-10:15 am

Panel discussion 1: Innovations in Charitable Giving

Timing: 10:15-11:15 pm
Moderator: Heather Grady, Senior Fellow, Global Philanthropy for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Panelists:
  • Mari Kuraishi, Co-Founder and President, GlobalGiving Foundation
  • Jeremy Heimans, Co-Founder and CEO, Purpose
  • John Holm, Senior Director, CAF America

Panel discussion 2: Post-2015 Partnership Platform for Philanthropy

Timing: 11:15-12:15 pm
Moderator: Ed Cain, Vice President, Hilton Foundation
Panelists:
  • Marcos Neto, Head of Private Sector and Foundations, UNDP
  • Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
  • Member State representative (tbc)
The panel discussions will be followed by a lunch reception from 12:30 to 2:00 pm


Event description:

The growth in sheer size as well as variety of forms of charity across the world creates unprecedented opportunity to engage philanthropy as a force for social change and rally them around the Post-2015 development vision. Private flows, including those from philanthropy, are increasing as a proportion of overall traditional financial flows. By its nature, philanthropic giving is more independent, responsive, nimble and opportunistic than traditional development assistance. There is little understanding about the possible roles charity can and should play in development and how to create bridges with official development giving. The discussion will present new, innovative forms of charitable giving which are spreading around the world and explore how charity can become a formidable partner in realizing the future sustainable development goals. Presenters will also reflect on how to build bridges between traditional donors’ assistance and the new models of social change driven by charity.


World Giving Index 2013.

 The fourth edition of the World Giving Index looks at the charitable behaviour of more than 130 countries. Find out who is the most giving in terms of donating to charity, volunteering time and helping a stranger. (December 2013).
Read the World Giving Index 2013 press release

 World Giving Index 2013

The Third Dimension of Intelligent Giving - Charity Navigator

At Charity Navigator believes in three dimensions that donors should consider in making wise charitable giving/ social investment decisions. Those dimensions are: (1) Financial Health, (2) Accountability & Transparency, and (3) Results Reporting. CN 3.0 embodies all three dimensions.
 

Friday, 29 August 2014

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances 2014, 30 August.




Disappeared Persons V. Missing Persons


The enforced disappearance of individuals by States constitutes an unacceptable violation of human rights. Acts tantamount to enforced disappearance of individuals by armed and terrorist groups also constitutes a gross abuse of human rights. This abhorrent practice places people outside the protection of the law, and thus potentially in great danger of physical violence and sometimes barbaric execution. In addition to causing unimaginable worry and anguish for the victims and their loved ones, this creates a generalized climate of fear and terror across entire societies.

Enforced disappearance was once employed mainly by military dictatorships. Increasingly it has become a tool of many States around the world -- some operating under counter-terror strategies, or fighting organized crime, and others seeking to quash dissent and human rights activism.

On this solemn day, I reiterate in the strongest possible terms that under international law, no one should be kept in secret detention. Any person deprived of his or her liberty must be held safely in officially recognized and supervised locations that observe the rule of law. States should provide full information about the whereabouts of persons who have been disappeared. And they must effectively implement the right to the truth, justice and reparation for all victims and their families. Enforced disappearance is a practice that cannot be tolerated in the 21st Century.

To date, the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which entered into force in December 2010, has been signed by 93 States and ratified by 43. It provides a sound foundation for fighting impunity, protecting disappeared persons and their families and strengthening the guarantees provided by the rule of law -- including investigation, justice and redress.

I urge all Member States to sign and ratify the Convention without delay. It is time for the universal ratification of the Convention and a final end to all enforced disappearances.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances Saturday 30 August 2014. Remove all obstacles to aid search for the disappeared, UN experts urge governments 

GENEVA (30 August 2014) –Two United Nations expert groups on enforced disappearances call on States “to remove all obstacles” to aid investigations into the fate of disappeared persons. On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances urge Governments to support relatives of the disappeared by removing all obstacles hindering their search for loved ones, including through the opening of all archives, especially military files.

 “More than 43,000 cases, the majority dating back decades, remain outstanding with the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. These cases stay open for several reasons, often because relatives have no support in finding out what happened.

The search for disappeared family members and, in many cases, the identification of discovered remains, is always the most pressing request of relatives who endure tremendous suffering in their long wait to know the fate or whereabouts of their loved ones.

 Many relatives face unjustified hurdles in their search, due to the lack of political will, or insufficient and inadequate investigations.

The recent reunion of Estela de Carlotto, president of the Argentine human rights organisation Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, with her grandson after a 36-year search shows that with good will, cooperation and commitment, a positive outcome is possible, even many years after a disappearance occurs.

 Transparency and information-sharing is a good demonstration of political will, so we call on States to immediately open all archives, including military files, as these sometimes contain information relating to the whereabouts of disappeared persons.

 States should ensure that relatives, their representatives and all persons with a legitimate interest in finding out what happened have full and prompt access to national, regional and international mechanisms aimed at establishing the truth on the disappearances. This does not just mean removing obstacles to accessing these mechanisms, but actively promoting and facilitating their use.

 It is also essential to expand the use of forensic expertise and DNA testing and make adequate use of all the available technological and scientific techniques.

 The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance is clear: families and friends of a disappeared person are themselves victims and they have the right to know the truth regarding the circumstances of the enforced disappearance, the progress and results of the investigation, and ultimately the fate of the disappeared person.

 For this reason, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances encourages Governments, whenever appropriate, to set up ad hoc bodies and specialized units to investigate cases of enforced disappearance and to create national DNA banks to hold genetic samples of all cases reported.

 The time for promises has passed. Now it is the time to act. States must urgently address the anguish of the relatives of the disappeared and reinvigorate their investigations into cases of disappearances. We owe it to the disappeared and to their families and friends who wake up every day, hoping to know the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones.” ENDS

 Resources :

 For more information, log on to:
 Working Group on Disappearance,
Committee on Enforced Disappearances,
 Read the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance,
 Timetable of reports due under article 29.1 of the International Convention for the protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
 

External links
 
Treaty Body Webcast
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
International Federation for Human Rights
International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances
TRIAL
World Organisation Against Torture

 FORUM AND DISCUSSIONS :



  Information and media requests :
  For more information and media requests, please contact:
 Ugo Cedrangolo (+41 22 917 9286 / ucedrangolo@ohchr.org)
or write to wgeid@ohchr.org Maria Giovanna Bianchi (+41 22 917 9189 / mgbianchi@ohchr.org)
or write to ced@ohchr.org