Global Climate Strategy Launch, 9/23

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We need all hands on deck.

On the day of the UN Climate Summit, Sept. 23, 2014, Citizens’ Climate Lobby released its fully annotated Global Strategy Whitepaper, and launching its effort to pull together a coalition of stakeholders, thought-leaders, businesses, nonprofits and governments, to achieve an economically efficient, value-building plan to price carbon and transition to climate-smart economic and investment policies.  Continue reading “Global Climate Strategy Launch, 9/23”

Gender Links Roundtable on Governance Calls for Resource-building

On the second morning of the 54th Commission on the Status of Women, Gender Links and the African Woman and Child Feature Service —through the Gender and Media Diversity Centre— hosted a roundtable dialogue involving Marren Akatsa-Bukachi of the Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI), Francisco Cos-Montiel of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Revai Makanje of Hivos, Norah Matovu-Winyi of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network, and Jennifer Lewis of Gender Links as facilitator, with Mwendabai Yeta Mkhize and myself providing event support and reporting.

The discussion opened with comments on statistical analysis of proress toward the goal of achieving 50/50 parity. With a 7% improvement since Beijing, the discussion moved quickly toward the question of how to accelerate the rise of women in decision-making and leadership roles.

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CSW54: New Media, Social Action & Women’s Economic Security

Motivating social action through social media was the subject of one of the morning sessions on Day 1 of the 12-day 54th annual Commission on the Status of Women, at the UN headquarters in New York. A panel of pioneering and accomplished women, from diverse fields of research, activism, and enterprise, offered a far-reaching exploration of the ways in which new media can help to effect change and improve the situation of women, around the world. Outreach, social networking, and informational access, were integral to the morning session’s discussion.

As social networking technologies have evolved, they have become not just user-friendly in the extreme, but have created a global forum through which individuals and communities, organizations and governments, can work to build connectivity among people, and share information in a way that promotes opportunity, liberty and stability for women in even remote corners of the world. Social networking tools decentralize the flow of information, allowing for a more flexible, dynamic application of global communications platforms, handing the control of access and information to the people who seek or require it.

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‘Unimaginable Humanitarian Catastrophe’ Unfolding in Sri Lanka

A UN envoy has said the fighting in Sri Lanka, which has continually targetted unarmed civilians and civilian infrastructure and has left an estimated 190,000 without shelter, food, water or adequate medical care, could become “an unthinkable humanitarian catastrophe“, according to the Red Cross. A UN spokesman in Colombo has warned there could be a “bloodbath” as government forces escalate the intensity of their fight to seize the last remaining territory held by the rebels.

The UN spokesman said the slaughter of further numbers of ethnic Tamil Sri Lankan civilians “seems inevitable” as he charges the government appears to have “no end except the end-game”: the UN has warned the Sri Lankan government against indiscriminate military action in civilian areas, and today there have been calls for an independent investigation, including possible charges of war crimes and/or crimes against humanity for the still unconfirmed but reportedly high number of civilian dead.

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Forcing Aid Groups Out of Darfur Puts Millions at Risk

The government of Sudan, based in Khartoum, and under the rule of Pres. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has expelled more than a dozen international aid organizations from the country, charging that their activities in Darfur helped agents for the International Criminal Court (ICC) develop their war crimes case against Bashir. Bashir has been indicted on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, and a fierce crack-down on dissent, press and international visitors, has been underway since.

One source, who wished to remain anonymous for reasons of personal safety, said there is increasing volume of calls and messages coming from aid workers in Darfur, saying they are afraid and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. While the government has pledged that local aid workers and UN agencies will fill the gap left by the departing NGOs, those expelled represent as much as half the aid, in the world’s largest humanitarian aid project.

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Explaining Away Violence Against Women in Darfur, Sudan Gov’t at UN

The Sudanese government attempted an artful campaign of misinformation by way of its presentation at the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women last week in New York. The event, hosted by the Sudanese Women Parliamentary Caucus (SWPC), focused on a government-backed study that was designed to show Khartoum to be concerned about violence against women, willing to take great pains to combat it, yet unable to find evidence of many cases in war-torn Darfur.

Despite hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, and reports of rapes per year exceeding 10,000, eve of the government supporting the use of rape as a “tool of war”, the study counted only those cases where the government’s narrow legal definition of rape (”proven” and documented prior to any investigation) permitted actual charges and an eventual conviction. Despite the session’s being advertised as focusing on “women in conflict”, not one aspect of conflict, in the abstract or the particular, was mentioned, save the sparing now-and-then references to “the camps”.

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UN Commission on the Status of Women Reviews ‘Pacific Realities’

The Pacific Islands region is comprised of 22 nations, with a combined population of roughly 9 million, more than half of which live in Papua New Guinea. The island nations present a range of complex and unique issues for development and gender-equality efforts, including entrenched social attitudes that limit women’s ability to pursue education and career performance equal to those available to men, benefitting women’s autonomy and society broadly.

A panel of presenters from several of the island nations spoke of the need to conceive “gender-responsive programs” that are able to grasp women’s real immediate interests and implement relevant strategies for improving conditions for them across Pacific island society.

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