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UN Internal Oversight Criticises Gender Imbalance – and More

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) – The Department of Political Affairs plays a central role in the United Nations efforts to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world. But it will not be on the radar screen of the Security Council when it opens on July 21 the first round of unofficial ‘straw polls’ to agree on one of the 12 candidates for the post of the Secretary-General.

A candidate who is acceptable to the five permanent members – USA, Russia, China, Britain and France – and is elected later by the General Assembly to succeed Ban Ki-moon, whose second five-year term expires on December 31, 2016, will however have to pay heed to the Evaluation of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (DPA). (P20) JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF


Recalling Mandela’s Contribution to Culture of Peace

By Lisa Vives

NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – On July 18, the international community will observe the ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ – formalised by the UN General Assembly in November 2009 – to recall the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

For 67 years Nelson Mandela, who was born in a village named Mvezo of South Africa in 1918, devoted his life to the service of humanity – as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa, recalls the UN.

He was the first black South African president who reigned from 1994 to 1999. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his contribution to make South Africa free and bringing peace in and around Africa.


African Nations Split with UN over Gender Identity Vote

GENEVA (IDN | GIN) – The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to appoint an independent monitor to help protect gay and transgender people around the world from violence and discrimination, but not without fierce resistance from African and Muslim countries.

The June 30 vote was called “a historic victory for the human rights of anyone at risk of discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Human Rights Watch and other rights groups in a coalition.

The independent monitor will report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on best practices to minimise discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity. It will work with states, UN agencies and other organizations.


UN Agenda 2030: Civil Society Holds Governments Accountable

Analysis by J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) – As the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development started its first review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) July 11-20, civil society coalitions from around the world brought to New York their own findings, calling on member states to take note of these.

Because the Forum is the UN’s central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda adopted by world leaders on September 25, 2015. It is slated to adopt a Ministerial Declaration to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and follow-up; keep track of progress of the SDGs; spur coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as address new and emerging issues. (P19) JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF


The 2030 Agenda: A Fresh Start Towards Global Sustainability?

Analysis by Jens Martens

Jens Martens wrote this analysis on behalf of the Reflection Group* on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is part of Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2016, a Reflection Group Report.

NEW YORK (INPS | IDN) – The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted unanimously at the United Nations by world Heads of States and Governments in September 2015 is highly ambitious. If taken seriously it has the potential to change the prevailing development paradigm by re-emphasizing the multidimensional and interrelated nature of sustainable development and its universal applicability.

The 2030 Agenda offers the opportunity to correct the errors and omissions of the ‘MDG approach’ – an approach that has reduced the development discourse to a focus on the symptoms of extreme poverty and the provision of basic social services in poor countries. While – without doubt – these issues are extremely important, the MDG approach failed to address adequately the structural flaws of


UN Spurs Sustainable Development in North and Central Asia

By Devinder Kumar

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Within days of being elected as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for two years beginning January 1, Kazakhstan has affirmed its “commitment to work in partnership to address the critical social and economic development needs of the people of North and Central Asia”.

An agreement for the purpose was signed on July 11 in Bangkok between the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Government Kazakhstan.

Under the Agreement, which supplements the Host Country Agreement, the Government of Kazakhstan has committed to provide the premises for the ESCAP’s Subregional office for North and Central Asia (SONCA), along with a recurring annual grant for operational and programme costs of the office.


New Partnership to Implement Paris Climate Change Agreement

By Jutta Wolf

BERLIN (IDN) – Many developing countries have made their first ever commitment to complying with climate targets with the adoption of the Paris Agreement endorsed in December 2015. A new partnership – initiated jointly by the German Ministry for the Environment and that for Economic Cooperation and Development together with the World Resources Institute (WRI) – now aims to help them transform these targets into specific strategies and measures.

The initiative aims at supporting developing countries in specifying and implementing their nationally determined contributions and help them unify existing climate and development goals with a view to achieving greater harmonisation of various donor programmes. The partnership will be officially launched at the Marrakesh climate conference (COP22) in November.


University Scholarships for Refugees Worldwide

BERLIN (IDN) – Germany is supporting the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees by providing 2500 additional scholarships, according to the Federal Foreign Office. The DAFI programme enables those recognised as refugees to access university education in their country of first admission.

It is particularly Syrian refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries who stand to benefit from the new student grants. Up to 1000 scholarships will be awarded in Turkey, a further 700 will be available for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and northern Iraq.


UN Fighting to Fend Off ‘The Little Boy’ and ‘The Little Girl’

By Jutta Wolf

BERLIN | ROME (IDN) – Three Rome-based UN agencies are keen to avert further havoc wreaked by the twins with euphemistic names – ‘The Little Boy’ and ‘The Little Girl’ – and are calling for governments and the international community to ramp up efforts to safeguard livelihoods of some 100 million people around the world.

“The new pattern of climate events (better known by their Spanish designations, El Niño and La Niña) is exposing weaknesses in our preparedness, in international and government systems and in community infrastructure,” says the newly-appointed United Nations Special Envoy on El Niño & Climate Ambassador Macharia Kamau. (P18) JAPANNESE TEXT VERSION PDF


Zimbabwe Battling to Promote Sustainable Economic Growth

Analysis by Jeffrey Moyo

HARARE (IDN) – Clad in faded trousers and shirt and an old pair of shoes dotted with a mixture of patches and holes, 38-year-old Jemitius Simango trudges along First Street in the Zimbabwean capital with a huge sack containing empty plastic bottles hanging on his back as he rummages through dustbins in search of valuables.

Simango holds a Marketing Diploma from Zimbabwe’s Harare Polytechnic College and at first glance many take him for a lunatic, although he is an ordinary man at ‘work’ trying to earn a living against the backdrop of this Southern African country’s faltering economy. After failing to secure employment, many like Simango have turned to doing various substandard jobs to sustain themselves. (P 17) JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | SPANISH | SWAHILI






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