The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.
Liberian National Police Officer Lois Dolo provides security at the third annual commemoration of the Global Open Day on Women, Peace and Security in Liberia. The event was themed âWomen Demand Access to Justiceâ. Credit: UN Photo/Staton Winter
- This October will mark the 15th anniversary of the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325. The landmark resolution on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) recognises not only the disproportionate impact armed conflict has on women, but also the lack of womenâs involvement in conflict resolution and peace-making.
It calls for the full and equal participation of women in conflict prevention, peace negotiations, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction and urges member states to incorporate a gender perspective in all areas of peace-building and to take measures to protect women from sexual violence in armed conflict.
Since its passage, 1325 has been followed by six additional resolutions (1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106 and 2122).
But despite all these commitments on paper, actual implementation of the WPS agenda in the real world continues to lag, according to humanitarian workers and activists.
Data by the U.N. and NATO show that women and girls continue to be disproportionately affected by armed conflict.
Before the Second World War, combatants made up 90 percent of casualties in wars. Today most casualties are civilians, especially women and children. Hence, as formulated in a 2013 NATO review, whereas men wage the war, it is mostly women and children who suffer from it.
Kang Kyung-wha Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who spoke at a recent lecture series on WPS, cited as example the situation of women and girls on the border between Nigeria and Niger, where the average girl is married by 14 and has two children by age 18.
Secondary education for girls is almost non-existent in this area and risks of violence, sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking are particularly high, she said.
âThus marginalised and disempowered, [these women and girls] are unlikely to play any part in building stable communities and participate in the socio-economic development of their societies and countries,â Kang said.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second from left) with Irish Minister and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Dublin. Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
- The U.N.âs highly ambitious post-2015 development agenda, which is expected to be finalised shortly, has come fire even before it could get off the ground.
A global network of civil society organisations (CSOs), under the banner United Nations Major Groups (UNMG), has warned that the agenda, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), âlacks urgency, a clear implementation strategy and accountability.â
Savio Carvalho of Amnesty International (AI), which is part of the UNMG, told IPS the post-2015 agenda has become an aspirational text sans clear independent mechanisms for people to hold governments to account for implementation and follow-up.
âUnder the garb of national ownership, realities and capacities, member states can get away doing absolutely nothing. We would like them to ensure national priorities are set in conformity with human rights principles and standards so that we are not in the same place in 2030,â he added.
The 17 SDGs, which are to be approved by over 150 political leaders at a U.N. summit meeting in September, cover a wide range of socio-economic issues, including poverty, hunger, gender equality, sustainable development, full employment, quality education, global governance, human rights, climate change and sustainable energy for all.
All 17 goals, particularly the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger worldwide, are expected to be met by the year 2030.
The proposed follow-up and review, as spelled out, lacks a strong accountability mechanism, âwith several references to national sovereignty, circumstances and priorities which risk undermining the universal commitment to deliver on the SDGs,” says UNMG.
âWe are wondering how committed member states will be able to ensure genuine public participation, in particular of the most marginalised in each society, in decisions that will have an impact on their lives.â
This applies also to questions related to financing (budget allocations) in the actual implementation of the agenda, says a statement titled âDonât break Your Promise Before Making itâ.
Hunger is constant in India's refugee camps, with meagre rations of rice, lentils, cooking oil and salt falling short of most familiesâ basic needs. Women are forced to walk long distances to fetch firewood for woodstoves. Credit: Priyanka Borpujari/IPS
- The world received an important report card last month, in the form of the latest annual Millennium Development Goals Report. The report highlights a number of important achievements, but omits mention that some targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were lower than those agreed to at the relevant U.N. international conferences of the 1990s.
Some of the good news is real. Halving the share of the worldâs population who are extremely poor during 1990-2015 was achieved well ahead of schedule. But there is more to the story. Upon closer inspection, it is clear that progress on poverty has been uneven across and within regions and countries, with the rapid development of China alone accounting for much of world poverty reduction.
Progress toward most other MDG targets has been more limited. Slower growth for over half a decade, increased economic inequality in many countries and reduced public social provisioning in recent decades, have undermined progress despite growth in average incomes.
Progress, yes, but less than aimed for
Scenes from the Apollo 11 television restoration press conference held at the Newseum in Washington, DC on July 16, 2009. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/cc by 2.0
- Although the United States as a whole is becoming more ethnically diverse, newsrooms remain largely dominated by white, male reporters, according to a recent investigation by The Atlantic magazine.
It found that just 22.4 percent of television journalists, 13 percent of radio journalists, and 13.34 percent of journalists at daily newspapers came from minority groups in 2014.
While the percentage of minority groups in the U.S. has been steadily increasing, reaching a recent total of 37.4 percent of the U.S. population, the number of minority journalists, by contrast, has stayed at a constant level for years.
This is particularly true for the share of minority employment at newspapers, which has been staggeringly low – between 11 and 14 percent for more than two decades, as illustrated in a graphic by the Pew Research Center and the American Society of News Editors (ASNE).
In 2011 the Coopesantos cooperative installed a wind park in the mountains of La Paz and Casamata, some 50 km southeast of the capital of Costa Rica. With an installed capacity of 12.7 MW and 15 wind turbines, the wind park supplies 120 communities with ties to the cooperative. Credit: Diego Arguedas Ortiz/IPS
- Central America, a place of abundant wind and sunshine, is still chained to thermal power and large-scale hydroelectricity and has failed to include local communities in clean, environmentally-friendly and less invasive projects.
Although the region has been trying for years to increase the proportion of renewables in its energy mix, an average of 36 percent of its electricity is produced by enormous plants fired by coal and other fossil fuels.
Shams 1 Concentrated Solar Plant. Credit: Inhabitat Blog/cc by 2.0
- When the government of Kenya hosted a U.N. Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy in Nairobi back in 1981, one of the conclusions at that meeting was a proposal for the creation of an international agency dedicated to renewable energy.
After nearly 28 years of on-again, off-again negotiations, the first-ever International Renewal Energy Agency (IRENA) was established in 2009.
Hurricane Sandy floods a street in Lindenhurst, Long Island. Credit: Jason DeCrow/CC BY SA/2.5
- Although four in 10 adults have never heard the phrase âclimate change,â many are aware that something is amiss with local weather patterns, a new survey covering 119 countries has found.
Published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, the study based on Gallup poll results found that worldwide, a personâs level of education is the single strongest predictor of climate change awareness.