The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.
Remarks to the Press by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Russiaâs decision to annex Ukrainian territory. Credit: UN Photo/Manuel ElÃas
- The Kremlin has announced that a ceremony will take place Friday in Moscow that will launch a process of annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
In this moment of peril, I must underscore my duty as Secretary-General to uphold the Charter of the United Nations.
The UN Charter is clear.
Any annexation of a Stateâs territory by another State resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the Principles of the UN Charter and international law.
The United Nations General Assembly is equally clear.
In its landmark Friendly Relations Declaration of 24 October 1970 ârepeatedly cited as stating rules of general international law by the International Court of Justice â the General Assembly declared that âthe territory of a State shall not be the object of acquisition by another State resulting from the threat or use of forceâ and that âno territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legalâ.
And I must be clear.
The Russian Federation, as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, shares a particular responsibility to respect the Charter.
Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned.
UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous addresses the inaugural meeting of the UNGA Platform of Women Leaders at UN Headquarters during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, 20 September 2022. Credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown
- When the UNâs high-level meeting of world leaders concluded last week, the head count seemed lopsided: 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, 4 Vice-Presidents, 5 Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and 7 Heads of Delegationsâoverwhelmingly male.
Among the 190 speakers, there were only 23 women, âa figure that represents around 10 per cent of leaders who participated this yearâ, according to the UN.
The President of the General Assembly Csaba KÅrÃ¶si of Hungary struck a note of political consolation when he said: âBut though their numbers are small, women leaders âpack a punchâ, to quote former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who moderated this yearâs first General Assembly Platform of Women Leadersâ.
But the reaction from rights activists and civil society organizations (CSOs) was mostly negative.
Antonia Kirkland, Global Lead on Legal Equality at Equality Now told IPS âthe dismal number of women leaders speaking at UNGA this year is very worrying given the regression on women’s rights in many parts of the world, including in the United States, where the UN General Assembly meetsâ.
There is a well-documented correlation, she said, between peace and security generally, economic development and women’s rights, which has an impact on everyone.
“The low number of female leaders speaking at UNGA is less than half the already low number of women parliamentarians worldwide (just over 26% according to IPU).â
âAnd as it becomes harder and harder for civil society to access the United Nations, women’s rights organizations have less of an opportunity to hold governments accountable to their legal obligations and commitments to ensure gender equality,” Kirkland declared.
Junwoo Na and Jeeyoon Na campaign to save street dogs.
- When I started living in Thailand, I noticed something peculiar that I had never seen in other countries I had visited before. It was the stray dogs. I ran into so many stray dogs when jogging on the streets.
At first, I was scared of them because they might attack me, as I had read in news articles. Surprisingly, most of these stray dogs in Thailand seemed friendly. Unfortunately, since they slept on dirty streets and drank sewage water, they contracted various diseases such as rabies, babesiosis, inflammation of the lungs, canine monocytic ehrlichiosis, etc.
Woods, a little Bichon FrisÃ©, is looked after at home, but stray dogs in Thailand live tough lives.
As a pet owner, I felt they were not supposed to be on the streets. Imagine, my Woods, a little Bichon FrisÃ©, out on dirty streets bitten by ticks and getting rabies! It just breaks my heart. Every time I look at the stray dogs in Thailand, they look like my Woods. And I wondered, âWhere do these stray dogs come from? And why do Thai people leave them on the streets?â Then I had a big awakening and decided I needed to help these stray dogs. This is how I began my public campaign and fundraising for stray dogs.
Ricksani Alice, 19, who was married at a young age but is now back in school hoping to complete her education thanks to the Spotlight Initiative talks with UNFPA Gender Programme Officer Beatrice Kumwenda at Tilimbike Safe Community Space in Chiludzi village, Dowa, Malawi on November 2, 2020. Credit: UNFPA ESARO
- Child marriage continues to be a scourge in many African countries â despite legislation and efforts of many, including parliamentarians, to keep girls in school and create brighter futures for them. This was the view of participants in a recent webinar held under the auspices of the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (FPA) and UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO).
The webinar, supported by the Asian Population and Development Association (APDA) and the Japan Trust Fund, heard how progressive legislation prohibiting marriage for adolescents under 18, and in one case, 21, was not enough to stop the practice.
Dr Kiyoko Ikegami, Executive Director, and Secretary General, APDA, noted in her opening address that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected child marriage prevention programmes and increased poverty and inequality, which was a driving force in child marriages.
Chinwe Ogbonna, UNFPA ESARO Regional Director a.i, said while there had been considerable achievements since the 1994 ICPD conference in Egypt â the work was not yet done.
Large cardamom grower Kaushila Moktan at her farm in Salakpur, eastern Nepal. Credit: Birat Anupam/IPS
- Two and a half hoursâ drive north from Kakarbhitta, Nepalâs eastern-most border crossing with giant neighbour India, lies the hilly hamlet of Salakpur where lives Kaushila Moktan, a famed farmer of large cardamom.
âI run a homestay for guests visiting our village, I also grow green vegetables and do beekeeping,â said Moktan. âHowever, our biggest source of family income is alaichi (large cardamom, in the Nepali language).â
The FRACTAL project (Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands) engaged a trans-disciplinary group of researchers, officials and practitioners that worked across six cities in southern Africa between 2015 and 2021.Voices of the marginalized and at-risk people are crucial for generating appropriate locally owned solutions.
- Equity and justice feature prominently in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th (IPCC) Assessment Report Working Group II, published in 2022. The report focuses on the impacts of climate change, as well as vulnerability and adaptation.
In its summary for policymakers, the report states: âInclusive governance that prioritizes equity and justice in adaptation planning and implementation leads to more effective and sustainable adaptation outcomes (high confidence).â This is a welcome, albeit long overdue development.
The villagers work in a forest they planted to save themselves from the ravages of climate change. Credit: Umar Manzoor Shah/IPS
- Some ten years ago, Sheemanto Chatri, a 39-year-old farmer hailing from India’s northeastern state of Meghalaya, was reeling with distress. The unseasonal rainfall had washed away all the crops he had cultivated after year-long labor in his far-off hamlet.
In 2013, this farmer had sowed a ginger crop on his half-acre land and was hoping for a profitable yield. However, providence had willed otherwise. In September that year, unseasonal rains wreaked havoc on Sheemantoâs village, destroying his crops beyond repair.