Indigenous Voices, Indigenous Rights: The Role of Community Media

Mr. Jeff Brez gave welcoming Remarks and outlined some of the existing policies that protect indigenous rights. Ms. Suzanne Benally discussed her work at Cultural Survival, and the right of all indigenous groups to their own community media, in their own languages. She further explained the need for access to non-indigenous media, without discrimination.

Mr. Shaldon Ferris shared the benefits of local radio stations, which include providing people with a voice and preserving community identities. Mr. Ferris grew up with mainstream American media, and while it was a good form of entertainment, no one ever looked or sounded like the indigenous people watching. Under the Apartheid regime, all media was controlled and consisted of news from other places. The indigenous need local radio to preserve their identity and culture. They have stories to share, but they have no platform.

Ms. Avexnim Cojití gave statistics on the Guatemalan population and indigenous languages. They are the poorest of the population; they are malnourished and do not have access to electricity and media. Newspapers do not reach indigenous communities, and most are not literate in Spanish, leaving radio as the best form of communication. Even though the government is supposed to support and allow indigenous media, current radio stations do not attend to the needs of local communities, and most operate unsupported by the government. While there is still pride for indigenous history, it is becoming shameful to be indigenous in Guatemala. Community Media would help spread pride, and advocate for human rights, indigenous rights, etc.

Mr. Dev Kumar Sunuwar explained that the indigenous people of Nepal lack resources, and have low access to education in technical knowledge and skills. The speakers were followed by a round of questions, reinforcing the need to spread media outlets to indigenous communities around the world.

Meeting: Briefing on “Indigenous Voices, Indigenous Rights: The Role of Community Media” (co-organized by NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section, Outreach Division; and the Strategic Communications Division, Department of Public Information (DPI))

Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 11:00-12:30; Conference Room 11, UNHQ NY

Speakers: Jeff Brez, Suzanne Benally, Shaldon Ferris, Dev Kumar Sunuwar, Avexnim Cojití

Written By: WIT Representative Renée S. Landzberg

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi

Identifying and Mitigating Long-term Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Building the Case for Continued International Cooperation

 

The Round Table Discussion was co-organized by Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations, Project Chernobyl, and Russian American Foundation. It brought together representatives from different countries, international organizations and scientists to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day. Its main purpose was to showcase the post-Chernobyl experience and discuss its implication for continued international cooperation on other technological threats.

Country and international organization leaders expressed their appreciation of the global collaboration efforts to identify and mitigate Chernobyl’s consequences. Representatives from Belarus, the Russian Federation, UN DESA and Kazakhstan especially thanked UNDP for its leadership, and scientists as well as the WHO for their quantitative studies on medical consequences in the affected region. Participants of the Round Table Discussion including the representatives from Belarus, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, WHO, IAEA, the United States, and Chernobyl Children International also shared the important contribution of their countries and organizations.

The invited scientist Valentina Drozd from Project Chernobyl turned the attention to the greater challenge now: helping to solve the puzzle of a virtual epidemic of thyroid cancer around the world. Her research identified this phenomenon in Belarus and other countries including the United States. Mary H. Ward found that contamination of drinking water with nitrates caused by agricultural fertilizers, animal, and human waste was one of the leading factors for the dramatic rise in the radiation-induced thyroid cancer in Belarus. At the same time, Yuri E. Nikiforov also suggested genetics mechanisms of post-Chernobyl cancer.

Throughout the meeting, participants emphasized that the terrible suffering experienced by millions after Chernobyl can be alleviated in part through the efforts of the international community to advance medical and scientific knowledge, which will benefit untold millions around the world.

Meeting: Round Table Discussion “Identifying and Mitigating Long-term Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Building the Case for Continued International Cooperation”
Date/Location: Wednesday, April 26, 2017; 15:00-18:00; Conference Room 8, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Dmitry Mironchik, Head of Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus;
Sergey Kononuchenko, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations;
Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UNDESA;
Rusian Bultrikov, Deputy Permanent Representative, Minister-Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations;
Dr. Nata Menabde, Executive Director, Office at the United Nations, WHO;
Valentina Drozd, MD, PhD, Head of International Department of “Project Chernobyl”;
Xolisa Mabhongo, Representative of the IAEA Director General, Director of the IAEA Office in New York;
Matthew Dolbow, Counsellor for Economic and Social Affairs, United States Mission to the United Nations;
Mary H. Ward, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Occupational and Environmental (Rockville, USA);
Kathleen Ryan, Chairperson of US Board, Chernobyl Children International;
Yuri E. Nikiforov, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology; Vice Chair of the Department of Pathology; Director, Division of Molecular & Genomic Pathology (Pittsburgh, USA)
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Post 2015 Development Agenda Recommendations

United Nations, New York Headquarters, 20 January 2014

On Monday, January 20th, the Woman’s International Forum (WIF) held a presentation featuring Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, special advisor to the secretary general on the post-2015 development planning. She opened her presentation by recognizing the 715 days left to accomplish current Millennial Development Goals (MDGs). With little time before the post-2015 agenda is implemented, Ms. Mohammed suggested various changes to the MDG’s to better adapt the new agenda with current global affairs. The special advisor stated the most essential characteristic of the post-2015 agenda is the need for realistic goals with common denominators. She finds this quality imperative to the effectiveness and adherence to the post-2015 agenda.

Following her introduction, Ms. Amina Mohammed continued her presentation by arguing that the post-2015 agenda should distribute its goals between climate change, openness and responsibility of governments, inequality and discrimination, technology, and job security rather than focusing primarily on poverty. Although she acknowledges the gravity of poverty throughout the world, she stated that the current MDGs focus far too heavily on this issue and not enough on the areas previously mentioned. Moreover, Ms. Mohammed argued that gender inequality should be a priority in the implementation of the post-2015 agenda. With inequality and discrimination embedded in economic, social, and political domains, the advisor to the secretary general emphasized that societies will not be able to successfully evolve, making regional issues of the world generational issues. The post-2015 agenda gives member states an opportunity for a global paradigm shift, changing worldwide views that negatively effect the population.

The final part of her presentation addressed the significance of the post-2015 agenda’s global success. “Failure is not an option,” Ms. Mohammed stated, as she argued the progress for this agenda must not mirror the limited success of the current MDGs. In addition, Ms. Mohammed emphasized the use of pilot projects should be completely eliminated in the post-2015 agenda, explaining the wealth of knowledge in the world to know if a program will be effective and scalable. She supported this idea with her personal experiences in Nauru, the United Nation’s smallest member state with a population of less than 10,000. With poverty rates extremely high and a meek future for their young people, Ms. Mohammed argued that the post-2015 development agenda must reach small nations similar to Nauru, as it is essential this agenda does not, “leave any member state behind.”

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Meeting Title: Women’s International Forum: Meeting on “The Post-2015 Development Agenda – Enabling a life of dignity for all”

Key Speakers: Special Advisor of the Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, H.E. Irmeli Viinanen, H.E. Malini Nambiar

Written by WIT Representative: Alexander Luong