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Friday, 30 March 2012

World Autism Awareness Day - 2 April.





Secretary-General's Message for 2012

Autism is not limited to a single region or a country; it is a worldwide challenge that requires global action.

Although developmental disabilities such as autism begin in childhood, they persist throughout a person’s life. Our work with and for people with autism should not be limited to early identification and treatment; it should include therapies, educational plans and other steps that lead us towards sustained, lifelong engagement.

Reaching out to people with autism spectrum disorders requires global political commitment and better international cooperation, especially in sharing good practices. Greater investments in the social, education and labour sectors are crucially important, since developed and developing countries alike still need to improve their capacities to address the unique needs of people with autism and cultivate their talents. We also need to promote further research, train non-specialized care providers, and enable the autism community to more easily navigate care systems to obtain services that can support and mainstream individuals with autism.

The annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day is meant to spur such action and draw attention to the unacceptable discrimination, abuse and isolation experienced by people with autism and their loved ones. As highlighted by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with autism are equal citizens who should enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

On this Day in New York, Vienna and Geneva, the United Nations Postal Administration is releasing six commemorative postage stamps and two collectible envelopes dedicated to autism awareness. These tiny pieces of paper — with images created by artists who have been diagnosed with autism — will send a powerful message to people around the world that talent and creativity live inside all of us.

My wife has been very involved with autism awareness and advocacy efforts, and has shared with me inspiring stories not only about individuals with autism, but also about those committed to improving their lives. Let us all continue to join hands to enable people with autism and other neurological differences to realize their potential and enjoy the opportunities and well-being that are their birthright.

Ban Ki-moon

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade - March 25

March 25th is the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It serves as a reminder that greater effort must be made to ensure that the history of the transatlantic slave trade is not forgotten and that it is used as a tool to combat discrimination and inequality. Julie Walker caught up with the Jamaican Ambassador to the UN Raymond Wolfe at a special event at United Nations headquarters in New York to discuss his plans for a permanent memorial at the UN.

“The story of the end of the slave trade deserves to be told here at the United Nations. Indeed, the defense of human rights is at the heart of this Organization’s global mission. Our Charter proclaims equal rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude”.

Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

The Transatlantic slave trade persisted for four centuries.

Imagine being torn from your weeping family as a result of ethnic warfare…forced to walk hundreds of miles until you reach the sea on the West African side of the Atlantic Ocean. You are stripped of your name, your identity, of every right a human being deserves. The European ship that you are forced to board, is headed across the Atlantic to Caribbean and South American plantations, a voyage through the awful “middle passage”. A multitude of black people of every description chained together, with scarcely room to turn, traveling for months, seasick, surrounded by the filth of vomit-filled tubs, into which children often fell, some suffocating. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying renders the whole scene of horror almost inconceivable. Death and disease are all around and only one in six will survive this journey and the brutal, backbreaking labour that follows.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The number of acres of forest lost since you arrived on this page

“The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry” WORLD WATER DAY 2012

Water Security

“The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry” is the message of the 2012 World Water Day. It puts in a nutshell one of the key links in the complex nexus of water, food, climate and energy: the crucial relationship between water and the production of our food.




Water Security - the Water Energy Food Climate Nexus

World Meteorological Day 2012

Message by Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade - 25 March

The theme of this year’s observance, “Honouring the heroes, resisters and survivors”


Message of the United Nations Secretary-General

The transatlantic slave trade was a tragedy because of slavery’s fundamental barbarism and immense scope, and because of its organized, systematic nature.  One set of human beings – the traders, owners and others who participated in and profited from this evil enterprise – elevated themselves above another, assaulting their victims’ very essence.
“I can remember”, said one former slave in recorded testimony now posted on the UN website (http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/tag/slavery/), when “they carried my father away and carried two sisters and one brother, and left me”.  This International Day was established for this woman -- and for the many millions of people whose lives and families were destroyed, and whose dignity was so brutally negated.
As a reminder for future generations of the inhumane suffering endured by the victims over a 400-year period, and as a tribute to the spirited resistance to the system, a permanent memorial is to be erected at UN Headquarters. I am proud that the United Nations will host a memorial symbolizing universal recognition of a tragedy that befell Africans and people of African descent and disgraced humankind as a whole.
In addition to remembering the crimes of the slave trade, we also use this Day to teach about the causes and consequences of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  And we pledge to be ever vigilant about the many contemporary forms of slavery, including debt bondage, trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
New laws, institutions and mindsets have given us better tools for the struggle against these ills.  Yet we must also recognize that bias has increased in many parts of the world.  We see discriminatory practices gaining political, moral and even legal recognition, including through the platforms of some political parties and organizations and the dissemination through modern communication technologies of ideas based on the notion of racial superiority.
The United Nations remains firmly committed to countering such hateful acts and trends.  This is a matter of principle, in keeping with our Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Political Declaration adopted at last year’s High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.  But it is also a means to an end: intolerance and discrimination are among the roots of conflicts and are major obstacles to development.
The theme of this year’s observance, “Honouring the heroes, resisters and survivors”, recognizes those who stood up against slavery when the trade was at its height, and those who stand up now to protect against its manifestations today.  On this International Day, let us all reaffirm our commitment to combating racism and building societies based on justice, equality and solidarity.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Unwise Use of Water Will Result in Persisting Hunger, Drought, Political Instability, Secretary-General Warns in Observance Message

15 March 2012
Secretary-General
SG/SM/14163
ENV/DEV/1262
OBV/1075

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Unwise Use of Water Will Result in Persisting Hunger, Drought, Political Instability, Secretary General Warns in Observance Message



Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World Water Day, to be observed on 22 March:

Over the coming decades, feeding a growing global population and ensuring food and nutrition security for all will depend on increasing food production.  This, in turn, means ensuring the sustainable use of our most critical finite resource — water.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is water and food security.  Agriculture is by far the main user of freshwater.  Unless we increase our capacity to use water wisely in agriculture, we will fail to end hunger and we will open the door to a range of other ills, including drought, famine and political instability.

In many parts of the world, water scarcity is increasing and rates of growth in agricultural production have been slowing.  At the same time, climate change is exacerbating risk and unpredictability for farmers, especially for poor farmers in low-income countries who are the most vulnerable and the least able to adapt.

These interlinked challenges are increasing competition between communities and countries for scarce water resources, aggravating old security dilemmas, creating new ones and hampering the achievement of the fundamental human rights to food, water and sanitation.  With nearly 1 billion people hungry and some 800 million still lacking a safe supply of freshwater, there is much we must do to strengthen the foundations of local, national, and global stability.

Guaranteeing sustainable food and water security for all will require the full engagement of all sectors and actors.  It will entail transferring appropriate water technologies, empowering small food producers and conserving essential ecosystem services.  It will require policies that promote water rights for all, stronger regulatory capacity and gender equality.  Investments in water infrastructure, rural development and water resource management will be essential.

We should all be encouraged by the renewed political interest in food security, as evidenced by the high priority given to this issue by the agendas of the G-8 and G-20, the emphasis on the nexus of food, water and energy in the report of my Global Sustainability Panel, and the growing number of countries pledging to Scale Up Nutrition.

On this World Water Day, I urge all partners to fully use the opportunity provided by the “ Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.  In Rio, we need to connect the dots between water security and food and nutrition security, in the context of a green economy.  Water will play a central role in creating the future we want.

Ensuring access to water for agriculture vital for sustainable future – UN



22 March 2012 Ensuring universal access to water and using it wisely in agriculture is essential to end famine, drought and political instability, United Nations officials stressed today, adding that countries must strive to provide this vital source to all their citizens to achieve a sustainable future.

“Over the coming decades, feeding a growing global population and ensuring food and nutrition security for all will depend on increasing food production. This, in turn, means ensuring the sustainable use of our most critical finite source – water,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message marking World Water Day.
The theme of this year’s observance is water and food security. Currently, nearly one billion people suffer from hunger and some 800 million still lack a safe supply of freshwater.
In his message, Mr. Ban emphasized that guaranteeing food and water for all will require countries’ full engagement.
“It will require policies that promote water rights for all, stronger regulatory capacity and gender equality,” Mr. Ban said. “Investments in water infrastructure, rural development and water resource management will be essential.”
A Senior Technical Adviser for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, Rudolph Cleveringa, echoed Mr. Ban’s remarks, stressing that securing water access is particularly important in rural communities.
“For smallholder farmers in developing countries, water and land cannot be treated as separate issues. If we are to reduce poverty in rural areas, we must develop a holistic approach to focus on water in all of its contributions to development such as in areas of health and agriculture,” he said.
According to IFAD, approximately 70 per cent of the world’s water resources are used for agriculture and by 2025 two-thirds of the population could struggle to get access to this resource.
Meanwhile, a UN water and sanitation expert, Catarina de Albuquerque, urged countries to address the right to water during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place in Rio de Janeiro in June, in which world leaders as well as members from the private sector and civil society will come together to discuss ways to encourage green economies and eradicate poverty.
In particular, Ms. Albuquerque called for all countries to recognize the right to water and sanitation for all, stressing that countries cannot go back on their decision to support this right.
“Some States, including Canada and the United Kingdom, are apparently proposing the removal of an explicit reference to the right to water and sanitation for all from the first draft of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development outcome document,” Ms. Albuquerque warned. “We should be marking World Water Day with progress, not debating semantics and certainly not back-tracking on these issues.”
To mark the day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is hosting a series of events at its headquarters in Rome, Italy, which include discussions on improving water management, reducing food and water waste, and building up communities’ resilience to climate change.

Press Conference on Occasion of World Water Day

Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on Occasion of World Water Day



An integrated approach to water management was crucial in putting the world on the path to a sustainable future, experts said today at a Headquarters press conference to mark the occasion of World Water Day.

The fact that the Millennium Development Goals on drinking water had been met was evidence that other related targets could also be met if the international community pulled together, said Rolf Luyendijk, Senior Statistics and Monitoring Specialist with the Statistics and Monitoring Section of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

He said UNICEF was currently working to mitigate the food and water crisis in Africa’s Sahel region, recalling that a similar crisis that had started in the Horn of Africa in 2001 was continuing, with millions of people in Somalia at risk of starvation.  As for the Sahel, the Fund estimated that 5.4 million people were at risk in Niger, where about a million children suffered from under-nutrition.  People were streaming into feeding centres because the rains had not fallen, crops had not been planted and food prices had soared.

Water, sanitation, food and hygiene were inextricably linked, he noted, adding that the next billion of the world’s population were all children under the age of 10 years.  They needed access to water in order to lead “a dignified and healthy life”, said Mr. Luyendijk, who was accompanied by Ania Grobicki, Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership, Ana Persic, Science Programme Specialist at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and Csaba Körösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations.

Dr. Grobicki described water as “a global issue and a global risk”, pointing out that in addition to its domestic uses, it was essential for agriculture and industry.  Water was the “engine of the economy” and also critically important in supporting biodiversity.  Noting that the Millennium Development Goal on food security would not be met this year, she said agriculture took the lion’s share of water in most countries around the world, from 70 to 90 per cent.  There was also the question of cross-border food trading, she said.

Wastewater management was a tremendous opportunity and challenge in agriculture, she continued, recalling that the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation had called for “a global vision for waste water management”.  It was also important to increase water productivity — producing more crops for every drop of water used — she said, calling upon Governments to recommit themselves to an integrated approach to solving the world’s water problems while coming up with financial strategies to implement that approach.

Ms. Persic, highlighting key findings and messages from the World Water Development Report, said it was crucial to see water as the link between the agriculture sector, energy production and human consumption.  The world’s fast-growing urban population was responsible for increasing human consumption of water, she said, adding that 1 billion households relied on groundwater, an “over-used and non-renewable” resource, and that climate change exerted an important additional pressure.  Beyond access, there was also the question of water quality in a time of pollution, she said.

Mr. Körösi, who was helping to facilitate water-related negotiations as Member States prepared for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), said that if there was a decision to create sustainable development goals at that event, water would be high on the list.  He stresesed the importance of bringing the debate on water down “from the high-flown to the down-to-earth”.

He said that a series of workshops on water-related issues had focused on issues including risk management and the impact of human activities.  Strong cooperation would be needed at the local, regional, and national levels.  He hoped that the negotiations between Member States could be “boiled down to very simple solutions”.

In response to a question about the “worst-case” water scenarios, Dr. Grobicki emphasized that there were far more instances of water cooperation than otherwise.  The more water scarcity hit, the greater incentive there was to invest in water security.

Mr. Körösi added that agreements on access to water would be necessary, but agreements on the quality of water that was returned to nature would be equally crucial.  “Imagine a river that flows through 20 countries,” he said.  If one country polluted it, all the downstream countries would be affected in terms of food, health and social structure.  That was all the more reason for “a good understanding of the integrated approach”, he added.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Water challenges around the globe

U.S. Water Partnership

The U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) is a U.S.-based public-private partnership (PPP) established to unite American expertise, knowledge, and resources, and mobilize those assets to address water challenges around the globe, especially in the developing world. Fact Sheet»

Remarks in Honor of World Water Day 2012



Remarks Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State George C. Marshall Auditorium  , WWD 2012

Washington, DC
March 22, 2012

Thank you so much, and welcome, everyone, to the State Department for this World Water Day event. I am delighted to have this opportunity with so many partners and colleagues who care deeply about this essential issue to mark this day, and to talk further about what we can do together.

I want to thank the congressman for his very kind remarks, but much more than that, his longstanding commitment to this and so many other important issues. I really admire the way that he does take on issues and stay with them. Sometimes it’s hard to do that in the Congress because you’re being buffeted from so many different directions. But it’s only through persistence and perseverance that you can get things done. And the Paul Simon Water For The Poor Act is a great accomplishment.

And I also want to thank Under Secretary Maria Otero for her tremendous leadership. When we decided we wanted to focus on water because it cut across so many of the concerns that we had in dealing with the crisis of the moment, we needed a really great commitment from a proven leader, and she has done just that committed leadership on this issue. And of course, Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones, who I literally recruited while she was in the water, and has been just a tremendous champion of the issues within the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science, along with her great team, USAID, which was part of the partnership from the very beginning, and deeply committed as well.

We are all here because we know ensuring that everyone has the clean water they need to live and thrive has to be a high priority for all of us. When I spoke on World Water Day two years ago, I talked about how water is clearly integral to many of our foreign policy goals. When nearly 2 million people die each year from preventable waterborne disease, clean water is critical if we’re going to be talking about achieving our global health goals. Something as simple as better access to water and sanitation can improve the quality of life and reduce the disease burden for billions of people. When women and girls don’t have to spend 200 million hours a day, as Earl just said, seeking water, maybe they can go to school, maybe they can have more opportunities to help bring income in to the family. Reliable access to water is essential for feeding the hungry, running the industries that promote jobs, generating the energy that fuels national growth, and certainly, it is central when we think about how climate change will affect future generations.

Now, we are pursuing this not only because we care about it around the world; we care about it here at home. We’ve had increasing problems meeting our own needs in the Desert Southwest or managing floods in the East. No country anywhere, no matter how developed, is immune to the challenges that we face. So we’ve been working steadily across multiple fronts to make progress on our comprehensive complex water agenda, and I’d like to update you today.

Since I signed our government-wide agreement with the World Bank last year, we have identified 30 activities where various U.S. agencies can work more closely with the World Bank and with each other to improve our individual efforts on water security. USAID and NASA are working together using earth science and satellite technology to analyze water security and other water-related challenges in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. We’re working with the international community on the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership, which is designed to help countries where access to water remains a critical barrier to growth, to build political commitment and capacity to begin solving their own problems.

And USAID recently launched the WASH – W-A-S-H – the WASH for Life partnership with the Gates Foundation. It’s a very fitting acronym – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, or WASH. This project will identify, test, and scale up evidence-based approaches for delivering these services to people in some of the poorest regions of the world.

So let’s look at one example about how all of this comes together. In Haiti, you know the terrible problems that occurred because of the cholera epidemic, which was imported from the outside. Well, USAID’s programs are helping to prevent the further spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera. We are supporting a range of programs to improve health, from increasing access to safe drinking water, to promoting regular hand-washing and other practices. We are also helping farmers use water more efficiently, protecting Haiti’s watersheds, a critical source of water, and rehabilitating irrigation systems that provide water to as much as 15,000 hectares of crops so that Haiti can once again become a regional agricultural exporter. We have planted thousands of trees to reinforce riverbanks and to help prevent flooding, which has saved lives and protected property throughout Haiti’s productive plains.

Now, this kind of work and that of so many other examples I could give you is paying off. Last week, the UN announced that we met the Millennium Development Goal to cut in half the proportion of people living without access to safe drinking water, and we reached it almost four years ahead of schedule. There aren’t many of the MDG’s that we’ve actually achieved, so the fact that we’ve achieved this one is, I think, not only good in and of itself, but should serve as a spur on others as well. We know it not only translates into better lives, but it proves the international community, when focused and working together, can actually achieve goals that are set.

But with the news of this accomplishment, we’re reminded about how much more we have yet to do. At this rate, nearly 700 million people will lack access to safe drinking water in 2015. And many countries still are not making enough progress reaching their most vulnerable populations, and those conditions will only deteriorate as populations grow and crowd into already overcrowded cities without adequate infrastructure.

Last year, I called on the intelligence community to conduct a global assessment of the impact water could have and was having on our national security. Today, the National Intelligence Council released the unclassified version of its report on Global Water Security. You can go online, read it for yourself, see how imperative clean water and access to water is to future peace, security, and prosperity, globally. I think it’s fair to say the intelligence community’s findings are sobering.

As the world’s population continues to grow, demand for water will go up, but our freshwater supplies will not keep pace. In some places, the water tables are already more depleted than we had thought. In northern India, for example, over-extraction of groundwater could impact food security and access to water for millions of people. Some countries will face severe shortages within decades or even sooner. And some hydrologists predict that many wells in Yemen will run dry in as little as 10 years.

The assessment also highlights the potential threat that water resources could be targeted by terrorists or manipulated as a political tool. These difficulties will all increase the risk of instability within and between states. Within states, they could cause some states to fail outright. And between and among states, you could see regional conflicts among states that share water basins be exacerbated and even lead to violence. So these threats are real and they do raise serious security concerns.

This assessment is a landmark document that puts water security in its rightful place as part of national security, and I’d like to thank everyone involved in helping to produce it. It is also a call for American leadership in this area. Our domestic experiences with water and our technical expertise are valued around the world. And as countries become more water stressed or nations face water-related crises, they are increasingly turning to the United States for assistance. We hear this all the time at embassies everywhere. Local leaders meet with our ambassadors and ask, “What did you do in the United States? How did you do it? Can you help us?”

Well, today, we are launching a new public-private partnership to help answer that call for leadership and to expand the impact of America’s work on water. The U.S. Water Partnership exemplifies the unity of effort and expertise we will need to address these challenges over the coming years, and it advances our work in three critical ways.

First, it brings together a diverse range of partners from the private sector, the philanthropic community, the NGOs, academics, experts, and government. This approach will help catalyze new opportunities for cooperation. For example, if Coca-Cola has the best data on available water supplies, and the Army Corps of Engineers has the capacity to advise on how to build water delivery systems, and the Nature Conservancy knows how to minimize the disruption to the environment, then we want everybody sharing information and delivering clean water in a sustainable way to communities in need.

Breaking down silos, barriers, obstacles has been one of my goals as Secretary of State, within our own government, with multilateral institutions, and between and among governments. Bringing people with varied water experience and expertise together will also force us to look for system-wide solutions. Now, you can’t work on water as a health concern independently from water as an agricultural concern, and water that is needed for agriculture may also be water that is needed for energy production. So we need to be looking for interventions that work on multiple levels simultaneously and help us focus on systemic responses.

Now, of course, while water is a global problem, solutions happen at the local level. So the second goal of the U.S. Water Partnership is to make all this American knowledge and expertise accessible. The U.S. Water Web Portal will provide a single entry point to our data, best practices, and training to help empower people taking on these problems in their own communities. And it will help build international support for American approaches, technologies, companies, government agencies, our whole universe of experts standing ready to assist.

Finally, because this is a public-private venture, the U.S. Water Partnership will not depend on any one government agency or any one private organization to keep it going. The State Department is proud to be a founding partner, but we also hope that the partnership will spawn many new projects that may or may not involve us. The Water Partnership has built-in flexibility to address the world’s changing water needs and to continue our work to find sustainable solutions.

In brief, we believe this will help map out our route to a more water secure world: a world where no one dies from water-related diseases; where water does not impede social or economic development; and where no war is ever fought over water.

I have said before that no resource defines this planet more than water. I mean, look at those great pictures from the Hubble telescope, or even just look at a globe, and you see all that blue. And we know how absolutely essential it is to life. We’re still wondering whether did Mars ever have water? What do those craters on other planets actually mean? And it is though not only life-sustaining, it is – and we have argued this from the beginning of our involvement and commitment – an essential ingredient of global peace, stability, and security.

We have been working the diplomatic level with a number of countries to bring into higher relief some of the water challenges they are, or will be, facing. Back in 2009, we began something called the Lower Mekong Initiative, where we brought together countries that are in the Lower Mekong region, and began to meet with them and talk with them and provide expertise to them, and create linkage with the Mississippi River Basin in order to raise understanding and visibility about these issues. And it’s been fascinating to watch over the three years that we’ve met – we’ll have a fourth meeting at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Cambodia in July – how the level of interest has grown and the willingness to tackle some of the hard problems and also the political will to raise some tough questions with others – other nations through which the Mekong travels.

This is not something that will immediately, directly affect the United States. We are a long way away after all. But it will affect the climate; it will affect the quality of life; it will affect the tensions among and between nations, which could very well then have follow-on effects that we would have to respond to. So there’s a lot that is connected that may not appear so at first glance, but which a little tiny bit of digging and reflection illustrates how important this issue is for each and every one of us.

So we think it actually is our duty and responsibility to make sure that this water issue stays at the very top of America’s foreign policy and national security agenda. We’ve proven we can make progress, but we know we have a lot more work to do. So I hope on this World Water Day we rededicate ourselves to that hard work and to being innovative and creative, using the new tools that we’re announcing today to bring people together in our own country, across our own government, and all the constituencies that care about water, working closely with leaders like the congressmen in the Congress, to continue to be on the cutting edge of helping to solve the problems that are posed to so many millions of people everywhere in the world, including here at home.

It’s exciting that it’s not only about water. It is about security, peace, and prosperity as well. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)



PRN: 2012/433

IYC 2012 : Make your voice heard. "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World."

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC). The designation serves to highlight the contribution cooperatives have had in reducing poverty, creating jobs and promoting social integration. The theme for the International Year of Cooperatives 2012 is "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World."

Make your voice heard.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

World Water Day 2012



World Water Day - March 22

Dia Mundial del Agua 2012

Giornata Mundiale dell' Acqua 2012

Journée Mondiale de L'eau 2012

The first commemoration of World Down Syndrome Day.

UN Secretary-General's Message

Today marks the first commemoration of World Down Syndrome Day.  I congratulate the global partnership of governments, activists, families, professionals and others that worked so tirelessly and passionately to bring this Day into existence.
For too long, persons with Down syndrome, including children, have been left on the margins of society. In many countries, they continue to face stigma and discrimination as well as legal, attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their participation in their communities.
Discrimination can be as invidious as forced sterilization or as subtle as segregation and isolation through both physical and social barriers.  Persons with Down syndrome are often denied the right to equal recognition before the law, as well as the right to vote or be elected. Intellectual impairments have also been seen as legitimate grounds for depriving persons with Down syndrome of their liberty, and for holding them in specialized institutions, sometimes for their entire lives.
In many countries, girls and boys with intellectual disabilities lack sufficient access to mainstream education.  The prejudice that children with Down syndrome obstruct the education of others has led some parents of children with intellectual disabilities to put their children in special schools or keep them at home.  Yet research shows — and more people are coming to understand — that diversity in the classroom leads to learning and understanding that benefit all children.
The United Nations has worked for decades to ensure the well-being and human rights of all people. These efforts were strengthened by the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. The Convention embodies a paradigm shift in which persons with disabilities are no longer regarded as objects of charity and welfare, but as persons with equal rights and dignity who can make an enormous contribution to society in their own right.
On this day, let us reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of their societies on an equal basis with others. Let us build an inclusive society for all.
Ban Ki-moon

World Down Syndrome Day 2012

DOWN SYNDROME INTERNATIONAL IS DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE CONFERENCE "BUILDING OUR FUTURE" AT THE UNITED NATIONS WILL BE BROADCAST LIVE THROUGH THE UN WEBCAST ON WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY. CLICK HERE AND LOOK OUT FOR THE CONFERENCE IN THE CHANNEL MENU TODAY.



On World Down Syndrome Day 2012 self-advocates from Australia, Brazil, Peru, Spain and United States and specialists from every continent will discuss inclusive education, human rights and political participation, independent living, how to work with the media and scientific research, among other topics, in the first celebration of World Down Syndrome day at the UN Headquarters in New York.

CONFERENCE PROGRAM

10:00 - 10:30am Opening Remarks and Launch of World Down Syndrome Day
Penny Robertson OAM – Chair of Board of Trustees, Down Syndrome International (DSi) – Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, – United Nations Deputy Secretary-General – Message on WDSD
Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti – Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations
Ambassador Witold Sobkow – Permanent Representative of Poland to the United Nations
Diana Stolfo – Self-advocate, National Down Syndrome Society

1) 10:30am – 11:00am UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Inclusion - The Importance of Global Coordination Efforts to Promote the Convention
Akiko Ito – Chief, Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities/DSPD/DESA, United Nations (Moderator)
Rosangela Berman-Bieler – Senior Adviser on Children with Disabilities, UNICEF – The Convention and inclusive education
Penny Robertson – DSi - Promoting inclusion in schools in Indonesia
Shona Robertson – Australia, Self-advocate – My education…my life
Thiago Rodrigues – Brazil, Self-advocate, Carpe Diem Association – Communicating and understanding

2) 11:00am - 11:30am Human Rights and Political Participation of Self-Advocates
Emily Perl Kingsley – USA, Author of “Welcome to Holland” – (Moderator)
Jason Kingsley – USA, Self-advocate/Author – Growing up with Down syndrome
Maria Alejandra Villanueva Contreras – Peru, Self-advocate – Fighting for the right to vote
David Egan – USA, Self-advocate – Congressional advocacy: “One of us and not one among us”
Ester Nadal Tarrago – Spain, Self-advocate – Understanding the Convention

3) 11:30am - 12:00pm Changing Society Attitudes - From Neglect to Protagonist and Living in the Community
Jessamy Tang – USA, Down Syndrome International – (Moderator)
Rose Mordi – Nigeria, President of Down Syndrome Association Nigeria – Social attitudes in Africa
K.S. Sripathi – India, Down Syndrome Association of Tamil Nadu – State of Inclusion in India
Tom Forester – USA, Residential Services, ACDS – Supporting safe independence
Michael Brennan – USA, Self-advocate – Living my life

4) 12:00pm - 12:30pm The Power of Media – A Guide to Work with the Media to Promote Inclusion
Michelle Whitten – USA, Global Down Syndrome Foundation – How to get media attention in a positive, constructive way
Patricia Almeida – Brazil, MetaSocial Institute – Occupy the Media – (Moderator)
Tatiana Heiderich – Brazil/Holland, Self-advocate – Her experience as a TV reporter

5) 12:30pm - 1:30pm Care and Treatment – Improving Quality of Life
Dr. Jose Florez – Mass Gen Hospital, Adult and Adolescent DS Clinic – Caring for adults with Down syndrome: Preparing now for a healthy future
Dr. Brian Chicoine – Adult DS Center, Lutheran Gen Hospital – Living Longer, Living Healthier
Dr. Dennis McGuire – Psychosocial Services, Adult DS Center, Lutheran Gen Hosp – Promoting Mental Health

6) 1:30pm - 2:00pm Research – Latest Down Syndrome News
Dr. Edward McCabe – Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome – Exciting new era
Margie Doyle – Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF) – Latest news on research and how to help it move faster

2:00pm - 2:30pm – Launch:
· DSi 2012 WDSD Global Video Event – Let us in - I want to learn!
· New WDSD Website
· DSi UN Convention Global Outreach Programme

Book Signing
There will be a book signing at the end of the conference.
· “Change the way you speak and I will change the way I understand” – By Carolina Yuki Fijihira, Ana Beatriz Pierre Paiva, Beatriz Ananias Giordano, Carolina de Vecchio Maia, Carolina Reis Costa Golebski, Claudio Aleoni Arruda, Thiago Rodrigues, by Carpe Diem Association, with the support of Secretary of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, São Paulo State, Brazil.
· “The United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities commented by its Protagonists” – By Down España, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain.

Resolution
World Down Syndrome Day was proclaimed in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 66/149, to be observed annually. The resolution was proposed and promoted by Brazil, and co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States. From 2012 onwards the date will be celebrated by all 193 UN Member States. To learn about the resolution process at the UN, visit:
http://www.inclusive.org.br/?p=21550. The resolution is available at:
http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/resolutions/a_res_66_149.pdf

“Building Our Future” Conference
The “Building Our Future” Conference is sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, Permanent Mission of Poland to the United Nations, UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities/DSPD/DESA, and UNICEF and organized by Down Syndrome International. It is a momentous opportunity for the world to come together to show support for the Day and listen to self-advocates with Down syndrome express their concerns, hopes and dreams. We expect that this first World Down Syndrome Day recognized by the UN, will help create a trend of self-advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities, thus promoting their individual autonomy and full and effective participation in society, in accordance with the principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

About World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) was first established by Down Syndrome International and celebrated since 2006, being observed in over 60 countries around the world. The aim of the Day is to raise awareness and increase the understanding about Down syndrome, to promote the inherent rights and dignity of persons with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and to recognize the worth and valuable contributions of people with Down syndrome (DS). The Day also works to ensure the inclusion of people with Down syndrome in every aspect of their community and society, in general. For more information about WDSD, visit www.worlddownsyndromeday.org.

Down Syndrome International
Down Syndrome International (DSi) is an international charity, comprised of memberships from individuals and organisations from all over the World. Members include people with Down syndrome, parents, family members, friends, care givers, professionals, practitioners, researchers, organisations and more. DSi’s mission is to improve quality of life and champion the rights of people with Down syndrome worldwide, raise standards of care, and provide a platform for people with Down syndrome to live full and rewarding lives. DSi believes this can only be achieved through improved knowledge of the condition, sharing of information and resources, and good communication and co-operation throughout the global Down syndrome community. For more information: www.ds-int.org.

Supporting Organizations
Sponsored by the Brazilian Mission and Polish Mission to the United Nations, UN Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and UNICEF and Organized by Down Syndrome International in collaboration with the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome (FBASD), Down España, National Down Syndrome Congress, National Down Syndrome Society, Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation, and Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

Organizing Committee
Patricia Almeida (Chair) I João Alberto Dourado Quintaes I Maciej Janczak I Fred Doulton I Jessamy Tang
Attachment                                      Size
WDSD at UN Program 2012.pdf                                  526.59 KB

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - 21 March

Message of the Secretary-General for 2012

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an important opportunity to remember the pernicious impact of racism.
Racism undermines peace, security, justice and social progress. It is a violation of human rights that tears at individuals and rips apart the social fabric.
As we mark this International Day under the theme of “racism and conflict,” my thoughts are with the victims.
Racism and racial discrimination have been used as weapons to engender fear and hatred. In extreme cases, ruthless leaders instigate prejudice to incite genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
There are many valuable treaties and tools – as well as a comprehensive global framework – to prevent and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Nevertheless, racism continues to cause suffering for millions of people around the world. It thrives on ignorance, prejudice and stereotypes.
The United Nations is responding by working to foster inclusion, dialogue and respect for human rights. Where societies have been shattered by conflict, the United Nations strives to promote peace processes and peacebuilding that foster inclusion, dialogue, reconciliation and human rights. Uprooting racism and prejudice is essential for many war-torn societies to heal.
At the same time, I look to all people to join the United Nations in our drive to eliminate racism. We must, individually and collectively, stamp out racism, stigma and prejudice.
This year, we are spreading the word through social media. Visit our new website: "Let's Fight Racism!". Tweet your support with the hashtag #FightRacism. Share the text of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination with the link http://bit.ly/xGOrnX. Post to one of our Facebook pages in English, French or Spanish. Or create your own campaign.
Join us, on this International Day, in spreading awareness to stop racism.
Ban Ki-moon


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Women's Day 2012 : Message From the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova

First celebrated over 100 years ago, International Women’s Day has grown into a global celebration of past struggles and accomplishments of women, and more importantly an opportunity to look ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

Women's Day 2012 : Message From the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova

Address by Irina Bokova on the occasion of the International Women's Day during the 189th Session of the Executive Board

"The rights of rural women must be protected, and their aspirations must be supported. International Women’s Day is a chance for all to take a stand against this form of discrimination and marginalization that weakens all of our societies" said UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova.

Address by the Director-General on the Occasion of the International Womens Day During 189 Session of the E...

Address by H.E. Ms Katalin Bogyay, President of the General Conference - International Women 's Day 2012

UNESCO for Women



Women's Day 2012 Speech - Address by H.E. Ms Katalin Bogyay, President of the General Conference

World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education

The UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education

The UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education



With over 120 maps, charts and tables, the UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education enables readers to visualize the educational pathways of girls and boys in terms of access, participation and progression from pre-primary to tertiary education.
The Atlas features a wide range of sex-disaggregated data and gender indicators from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. It also illustrates the extent to which gender disparities in education have changed since 1970 and are shaped by factors such as national wealth, geographic location, investment in education and fields of study.
Also planned for mid-2012 is an online data mapping tool for tracking trends over time, adapting the maps and exporting the data

Download the Publication


>> Chapter 1: Increased worldwide demand for quality schooling (1,16 Mo)
>> Chapter 2: Girls’ right to education (3,79 Mo )
>> Chapter 3: Enrolment and gender trends: primary education  (2,52 Mo)
>> Chapter 4: Enrolment and gender trends: secondary education (1,60 Mo)
>> Chapter 5: Enrolment and gender trends: tertiary education (1,00 Mo)
>> Chapter 6: Trends in school-life expectancy ( 4,13 Mo)
>> Chapter 7: Gender trends: adult and youth literacy ( 5,82 Mo)
>> Chapter 8: How policies affect gender equality in education (6,94 Mo) 


Chapter 1: Increased worldwide demand for quality schooling

Increased Worldwide Demand for Quality Schooling

Chapter 2: Girls’ right to education

Girls’ right to education

Chapter 3: Enrolment and gender trends: primary education

Enrolment and Gender Trends - Primary Education

Chapter 4: Enrolment and gender trends: secondary education

Enrolment and Gender Trends -Secondary Education

Chapter 5: Enrolment and gender trends: tertiary education

Enrolment and Gender Trends- Tertiary Education

Chapter 6: Trends in school-life expectancy - UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education

Trends in School-life Expectancy

Chapter 7: Gender trends: adult and youth literacy - UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education

Gender Trends- Adult and Youth Literacy

Chapter 8: How policies affect gender equality in education : UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education

How Policies Affect Gender Equality in Education

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

United Nations Secretary-General's Message : International Women's Day 2012

United Nations Secretary-General's Message

Gender equality and the empowerment of women are gaining ground worldwide. There are more women Heads of State or Government than ever, and the highest proportion of women serving as Government ministers. Women are exercising ever greater influence in business. More girls are going to school, and are growing up healthier and better equipped to realize their potential.

Despite this momentum, there is a long way to go before women and girls can be said to enjoy the fundamental rights, freedom and dignity that are their birthright and that will guarantee their well-being. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world’s rural areas. Rural women and girls — to whom this year’s International Women’s Day is devoted — make up one quarter of the global population, yet routinely figure at the bottom of every economic, social and political indicator, from income and education to health to participation in decision-making.

Numbering almost half a billion smallholder farmers and landless workers, rural women are a major part of the agricultural labour force. They perform most of the unpaid care work in rural areas. Yet rural women continue to be held back in fulfilling their potential. If rural women had equal access to productive resources, agricultural yields would rise by 4 per cent, strengthening food and nutrition security and relieving as many as 150 million people from hunger. Rural women, if given the chance, could also help end the hidden development tragedy of stunting, which affects almost 200 million children worldwide.

Discriminatory laws and practices affect not just women but entire communities and nations. Countries where women lack land ownership rights or access to credit have significantly more malnourished children. It makes no sense that women farmers receive only 5 per cent of agricultural extension services. Investing in rural women is a smart investment in a nation’s development.

The plight of the world’s rural women and girls mirrors that of women and girls throughout society — from the persistence of the glass ceiling to pervasive violence at home, at work and in conflict; from the prioritization of sons for education to the hundreds of thousands of women who die each year in the act of giving life for want of basic obstetric care. Even those countries with the best records still maintain disparity in what women and men are paid for the same work, and see continuing under-representation of women in political and business decision-making.

On this International Women’s Day, I urge Governments, civil society and the private sector to commit to gender equality and the empowerment of women — as a fundamental human right and a force for the benefit of all. The energy, talent and strength of women and girls represent humankind’s most valuable untapped natural resource.

Ban Ki-moon

UN Women Executive Director's Message : International Women’s Day 2012

UN Women Executive Director's Message

This International Women’s Day, I join women around the globe in solidarity for human rights, dignity and equality. This sense of mission drives me and millions of people around the world to pursue justice and inclusion. Looking back at the first year of UN Women, I applaud every individual, government and organization working for women’s empowerment and gender equality. I promise the highest commitment moving forward.

The creation of UN Women has coincided with deep changes in our world — from rising protests against inequality to uprisings for freedom and democracy in the Arab world. These events have strengthened my conviction that a sustainable future can only be reached by women, men and young people enjoying equality together.

From the government that changes its laws, to the enterprise that provides decent work and equal pay, to the parents that teach their daughter and son that all human beings should be treated the same, equality depends on each of us.

During the past century, since the observance of the first International Women’s Day, we have witnessed a transformation in women’s legal rights, educational achievements, and participation in public life. In all regions, countries have expanded women’s legal entitlements. Women have taken many steps forward. More women are exercising leadership in politics and business, more girls are going to school, and more women survive childbirth and can plan their families.

Yet while tremendous progress has been made, no country can claim to be entirely free from gender-based discrimination. This inequality can be seen in persistent gender wage gaps and unequal opportunities, in low representation of women in leadership in public office and the private sector, in child marriage and missing girls due to son preference, and in continuing violence against women in all its forms.

Nowhere are disparities and barriers greater than in rural areas for women and girls. Rural women and girls comprise one in four people worldwide. They work long hours with little or no pay and produce a large proportion of the food grown, especially in subsistence agriculture. They are farmers, entrepreneurs and leaders, and their contributions sustain their families, communities, nations and all of us.

Yet they face some of the worst inequities in access to social services and land and other productive assets. And this deprives them and the world of the realization of their full potential, which brings me to my main point on this International Women’s Day. No enduring solution to the major changes of our day — from climate change to political and economic instability — can be solved without the full empowerment and participation of the world’s women. We simply can no longer afford to leave women out.

Women’s full and equal participation in the political and economic arena is fundamental to democracy and justice, which people are demanding. Equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies.

Providing women farmers with equal access to resources would result in 100 to 150 million fewer hungry people. Providing women with income, land rights and credit would mean fewer malnourished children. Studies show that higher levels of gender equality correlate positively with higher levels of per capita gross national product. Opening economic opportunities to women would significantly raise economic growth and reduce poverty.

The time is now.

Every human being has the right to live in peace and dignity. Every human being has the right to shape their future and the futures of their countries. That is the call for equality that I hear wherever I go. For this reason UN Women will place special focus this year on advancing women’s economic empowerment and political participation and leadership. We look forward to continued strong partnership with women, men and young people and with governments, civil society and the private sector.

Today on International Women’s Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to women’s rights and move forward with courage and determination. Let us defend human rights, the inherent dignity and worth of the human person, and the equal rights of men and women.

Michelle Bachelet

Message of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights : International Women's Day 2012

Message of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mary Kini, Angela Apa and Agnes Sil belong to three warring tribes in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. Tribal laws prohibited them from any interaction with one another. But after years of intertribal violence in their district, they flaunted social taboos and schemed, in secret, to bring peace to their communities. Risking their lives, they surreptitiously discussed peace plans while shopping at the local market, successfully mobilised others to their cause, and walked out onto the battlefield to send out messages of peace.

The women, who have since set up an organisation to promote peace and end violence against women which has received wide recognition in the region, exemplify the kind of crucial work women are courageously doing in communities small and big, sometimes quietly, sometimes in higher profile ways, often in the face of grave risks, in all parts of the world.

It is an established fact that women are most frequently the first to suffer when basic human rights are threatened. Food crises, wars and conflict, climate change, economic downturns and other societal upheavals tend to disproportionately affect women. But what is acknowledged far less is that women can be, and are, powerful agents for change. Women can be counted on to face seemingly insurmountable challenges with great strength of spirit, creativity and intelligence.

This year, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, I call on governments, community leaders and heads of families around the world to recognise, acknowledge and tap into the enormous potential of women to positively impact the world around them. This is a call directed not at any particular region of the world — it is a global call because the failure to capitalise on women’s potential is a global problem.

UN statistics show that as of last year, women held only 19.3 per cent of seats in single or lower houses of parliament worldwide. It was also noted in the latest Millennium Development Goals Report that many women contenders for political office suffer from a shortage of both media coverage and public appearances. In the economic sphere, only 12 of the Fortune 500 companies have women at the helm. Women in rural areas produce 60 to 80 per cent of the food in developing countries, but they rarely have rights to the land they cultivate. Figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation show that for every 100 land owners globally, only 20 are women.

With too few women leaders in politics, and woefully insufficient numbers of women leaders in industry, women are not taking part in decisive discussions on how to respond to global crises. Such exclusion is at our own peril — the refusal to embrace gender equality has led to many scourges, one tragic example being the ferocious spread of HIV/AIDS.

This is why, in echoing the voices from the streets of many cities, towns and villages around the world, we must insist upon structural and institutional changes that will ensure that women are recognized as equal citizens and equal partners in decision-making. This applies particularly in times of transition for states.

Meaningful participation requires that women are able to access relevant information and are empowered, through education and political access, to make contributions. And by women, I am also referring to women from minority groups, poor, elderly, women with disabilities and otherwise vulnerable women. We must think about these women as legitimate rights-holders and future leaders.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, Empower rural women: end hunger and poverty, emphasizes that efforts at a local community level can have a reverberating impact well beyond. Only by capitalizing on the potential of women to effect change can we ever expect to realize the global aspiration for more just societies, where the human rights and dignity of every woman, child and man are respected.

Navi Pillay

International Women’s Day 2012

The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2012 is Empower Women – End Hunger and Poverty.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

UN target for access to safe drinking water achieved ahead of 2015 deadline

06 March 2012

The goal of reducing by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water has been achieved, well ahead of the 2015 deadline for reaching the globally agreed development targets aimed at ridding the world of extreme poverty, hunger and preventable diseases, the United Nations said today.

Between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells, according to a joint report by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF ) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO ).

Full article
Running time: 00:01:12
Language(s) available: English


"Co-operative enterprises build a better World. " IYC 2012

Connecting girls, inspiring futures


"Various initiatives from the co-operative sector have provided women with educational and financial opportunities to promote their entrepreneurship and there is tangible evidence that co-operatives empower women by giving them a wider freedom of choice and action, encouraging their individual and collective self-development in the economic, social and family areas," writes ICA Gender Equality Committee chair María Eugenia Pérez Zea in the ICA's annual International Women's Day message.
"An increasing number of women are directly involved in the management and administration of co-operatives and their organizations promoting thereby women’s empowerment but the inequity gap is still large and its mitigation would require more sustained and long-term efforts."
The ICA is working with the Global News Hub this International Women’s Day, March 8, to create a diary of women’s co-operation around the world. We want to collect personal reflections from women about how co-operatives has made a difference or changed lives. read more
Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World

World can not lean on one business model, says Green

World leaders can no longer depend on one dominant model of business, Dame Pauline Green told a gathering of Asian government ministers and co-operators in Bangkok, Thailand.  The message she delivered in late February at the conference organised by ICA's Asia Pacific offices was “diversify or risk ongoing global financial crisis”. In the wake of the unresolved G20 meeting in Mexico, the President of the International Co-operative Alliance told Asian government representatives to take back to their G20 group that a greater diversity of corporate structure needs to be pursued in order to ensure economic sustainability and to find a solution to the financial mire in which the global economy finds itself. read more

ICA World Co-operative Monitor launched

A new global ranking system for co-operatives called the ICA World Co-operative Monitor is inviting co-operatives to submit their data. "We want to relaunch the Global300 report in 2012 with a much more rigorous methodology," said Chuck Gould, ICA Director-General. "It is already a good, solid report, but as we raise our public profile, we need to notch up our game, and ensure greater accuracy and inclusiveness in our reporting. "To do this we will be working with Euricse - The European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises based in Trento, Italy. Euricse will help us deliver more robust data." The ICA first began ranking the top 300 co-operatives around the globe in 2005. These periodic reports, known as the Global300, demonstrated the scale and impact of co-operatives around the world. read more

Australian co-operative business council to be founded

The need for national representation of co-operative and mutual businesses, was a key topic with co-operative business leaders, when ICA President Dame Pauline Green toured Australia in February. Dame Pauline called on the sector to collaborate around their "shared DNA" of democratically-based, ethical and sustainable business - where commercial success goes hand in hand with social purpose. The formation of an Australian business council for co-operative and mutual businesses looks set to occur by the end of this year. Greg Wall, Chair of Australia's Secretariat for IYC 2012 and CEO of the first Australian member of the ICA, the Capricorn Group, said the business council was a legacy objective of the 2012 program that would enable the sector to capitalise on the increased public awareness of co-operative businesses coming out of the year's focus on the sector. read more

Distinguished line up for Quebec conference

A Nobel Prize winning professor will deliver the opening session of the 2012 International Summit of Co-operatives. A. Michael Spence, who received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001, will present the Summit's opening session. His speech will focus on the economic and financial challenges being faced by the co-operative and mutualist community. Spence holds a senior fellowship at the Hoover Institution and is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Business at Stanford University. The conference has also attracted a former special advisor to the French Republic, Jacques Attali, to take part in the round table “A new role to play – Thinking differently, thinking co-operatively”. This topic is intended to get Summit participants to imagine the future of co-operatives. Author and economist, Attali, is president of PlaNet Finance in France and an Honorary Member of the Council of State. read more

President appeals to globe's biggest coops

Global Development Co-operative and ICA staff attended the National Co-operative Consumer Conference in England in late February with the aim of encouraging smaller co-ops to contribute.  "The minimum investment is $US250,000 although for very small co-operatives we would be willing to see how we could help them contribute even though they may not be able to raise the funds independently," GDC Fund Manager Stuart Coe said. Meanwhile, Dame Pauline Green, the ICA President, has called upon the world's biggest co-operatives to get behind the GDC. “This project is a clear illustration of one of the founding principles of the movement - self help among co-operatives," said Dame Pauline. read more

Co-operatives undercut by lack of scientific attention

With just weeks to go before the "Promoting the understanding of co-operatives for a better world" begins in Venice, leading co-operative academic Carlo Borzaga discusses why the conference will make a difference. Carlo Borzaga, the president of Euricse, believes there is an disconnection between the importance co-operatives play in the global economy and the attention they're given by social sciences. "This contradiction has become even more evident with the economic and financial crisis," he says. "Despite the key role these enterprises play in improving well-being, supporting economic development and maintaining jobs, these institutions continue to not attract the scientific interest they deserve." read more

Bill Gates speaks at Global Poverty Project's initiative launch

The Global Poverty Project convinced one of the world's most well-know businessmen to address the launch of an initiative which seeks to sign up everyday people as ambassadors. The project - a three-year-old educational initiative aiming to educate the world's population about poverty - is supported by Bill Gates, the philanthropist, Microsoft founder and one of the world's wealthiest individuals. Gates spoke about extreme poverty at the launch of the Global Poverty Ambassadors initiative in London on January 25. The initiative is supported by the Co-operative Group which is seeking to bring attention to the co-operative model's role in dealing with the problem of poverty. Under the initiative, people from all walks of life are being signed up to take the concept of the poverty project to their communities. read more

Policy proposals and strategic direction key at ICA conference

The need to formulate policy proposals and a strategic direction for the global and Canadian co-operative sectors is at the core of an ICA conference to be held in June in Montreal. The Co-operating for Change in the International Year of Co-operatives conference will aim to assemble policy makers from government, from co-operative associations, from civil society organisations, from academia along with educators, researchers and practitioners. At the centre of its theme is a desire to demonstrate how co-operative make people's lives better, while helping build or make communities stronger.read more

Funds raised by ICA help assist Japan's recovery effort

"My previous workplace was washed away by tsunami, but JWCU member's smile lifted my soul," says a survivor of Japan's March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. "I want to study care and welfare as my first step to rejoin the society." This survivor's story is an example of the way in which the Japanese co-operative sector has responded and is using funds raised by the global co-operative community to assist in the wake of the natural disaster. This member is part of a new vocational training program by the JWCU Tohuku Reconstruction head office in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture. It is aimed largely at those who lost their jobs due to the disaster and is training them to become care workers. read more

Promising entries received for Coop'Art

The ICA is still accepting submissions for Coop’Art, its global youth art competition. Between now and 31 May 2012, anyone between the ages of 16 and 35 can participate by submitting a creative song, photograph or video that reflects the co-operative principles. The ICA has already received promising entries and looks forward to seeing what other young co-operators will contribute. “Through Coop’Art, the ICA seeks not only to inspire the future leaders of the co-operative movement, but also to share the advantages of the democratic, values-based, co-operative business model,” Euro Coop Secretary General Rodrigo Gouveia, who is helping the ICA manage the contest, said. read more

CONCOBOL of Bolivia joins the ICA

Confederacion Nacional de Cooperativas de Bolivia (CONCOBOL) from Bolivia became an ICA member in February. It takes the number of ICA members to 267, across 96 countries. CONCOBOL was founded on 5 August 1993 and is the apex organization of the Bolivian cooperative movement. It proposes guidelines for integration inside and outside their membership in relation to the different national and international organizations related to the co-operative system. read more

March 8th - International Women’s Day

As part of our celebrations of the UN International Year of Co-operatives and in partnership with Care International we are inviting you to join us to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in building a better world. read more

March 12th – 14th ANGKASA event in Malaysia

Appreciating the UN's recognition of 2012 as the International year of Cooperatives, the Malaysian National Cooperative Movement (ANGKASA) as the apex cooperative body representing Malaysian cooperative movement will be co-organising an international seminar entitled 'Cooperative Enterprises Build A Better World' with Cooperative College of Malaysia on 13 - 14th March 2012. read more

March 13th – Co-operative Housing event in Estonia

The Conference and Trade Fair organized by the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations is a new platform for housing innovation practitioners from Estonia. read more

March 27th – New Zealand launch of IYC

The International Year of Co-operatives will be launched in New Zealand by Minister of Commerce Hon Craig Foss MP in the Grand Hall at Parliament. read more

Dame Pauline Green in the "Zone"


International Year of Co-operatives spokester style!