Families, Education and Well-Being

This briefing was co-organized by the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) and the Department of Public Information Non-Governmental Organizations (DPI NGO) in observation of the International Day of Families on May 15th, 2017.

International day of families

World family organization

The speakers discussed the vital role of early childhood education in a child’s development and the role of parental education to ensure family well-being. In addition, the relation between corporate responsibility, work-family balance, and the global home index was depicted. Furthermore, the speakers conveyed the role of media within a child’s development and within the promotion of parental involvement.

 

 

Eduardo Garcia Rolland conveyed how the relationship between genes and the environment is closer than ever before. He expressed that within the first year of life, the brain grows at a pace of 700/1000 new neural connections per second. The plasticity of the brain is greatest within the first year of life. This stage is considered as the most important for a child’s development. Rolland discussed how 204 million children are not developmentally on track. He cited an increase in attendance to early childhood education as a way to augment a child’s development.

Patricia Debeljuh discussed how parents working long hours in a job that lacks flexibility can cause damage to the quality of their life. She expressed the necessity of families for the maintenance of sustainable societies.  Diego Barroso depicted how parenting education is highly effective. He cited the importance of legislative support for families. Following this, Michael Robb discussed how media can impact the development of a child. Background television was cited as an issue which can have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of the interaction between a parent and a child.

Meeting: Briefing entitled “Families, Education and Well-Being”

Date/ Location: Thursday, May 18, 2017; 11:00-12:45; Conference Room 4
Speakers: Esuna Dugarova, Policy Specialist, UNDP; Eduardo Garcia Rolland, Early Childhood Development ECD-Specialist, UNICEF; Patricia Debeljuh, IAE Business School, Austral University; Diego Barroso, Director of Family Enrichment Courses. Coordination and Expansion, International Federation for Family Development; Michael Robb, Director of Research, Common Sense Media
Written By: WIT Representative Donna Sunny

 

100th plenary meeting on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS held by the General Assembly

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The meeting was operated for countries to declare their commitment against AIDS as well as implement political declarations. The President began with the opening remarks on addressing the above importance. Soon after, Mr. Sey revealed the key to preventing AIDS was to monitor the HIV transmission together with maintaining economic growth, where prosperity could alleviate poverty, with fewer women getting HIV. In addition, Prof. Randrianarimanana stated AIDS could be eradicated by focusing on high impact intervention, effective decentralization, and strengthening the health-care system. He admitted the epidemic was still existed, even if the current prevalence was low.

On the other hand, Dr. Numbi recalled the dedication on the previous declaration cheered the international commitment, technical and financial partners with a multisector approach to combat AIDS. Meanwhile, Dr. Al-Jasser added with a compliment on the comprehensive national program, safeguarding the access on treatment, had enhanced the community responsibility, cooperation and civil societies’ engagement. Moreover, Mr. Hamach reminded the stigma and discrimination would implicitly harm the Universal Health Coverage program where social restructuring was demanding. He ended his speech by reiterating political leadership and devotion to international community were vital to the Fast-Track to ending AIDS. Then, Ms. Skogen appealed to all members, to provide funding to high-burden and developing countries on quality education, sexual education, reproductive services along with well-trained health-care workers.

Last but not least, the above speakers declared their unceasing allegiance to combating AIDS financially or putting efforts on regulation compliance, demanding stronger prevention of AIDS.

Meeting: 100th plenary meeting on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment and the political declarations on HIV/AIDS held by the General Assembly

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, June 08, 2016; 15:00-18:00; General Assembly Hall

Speakers: His Excellency, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the General Assembly; His Excellency, Mr. Omar Sey, the Minister of Health & Social Welfare of Gambia; His Excellency, Prof. Dieudonné Randrianarimanana, the Minister of Health, Family Planning and Social Protection of Madagascar; His Excellency, Dr. Félix Kabange Numbi, The DRC Minister of Public Health; His Excellency, Dr. Sulaiman bin Mohammed Al-Jasser, the Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia; His Excellency, Mr. Masakazu Hamach, the Parliamentary Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Japan; Her Excellency, Ms. Tone Skogen, the State Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Written By: WIT Representative, Kelvin HO

Edited By: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

Photo: https://twitter.com/unaids

Community and Policy Action to Empower Women

2415633098_37d02e886aMs. Colakovic discussed the status of women in Bosnia, where 25% of peacekeepers are required to be women. Currently, 10 safe houses for women exist and victims of domestic violence are now more encouraged to report violence to NGOs and agencies working on issues related to domestic violence and protection. Ms. Colakovic stated that the most common form of violence is psychological followed by physical and sexual abuse.

Ms. Sisic asserted that to feel safe and protected is a human right. Violence against women and girls is a global human rights issue fueled by a global power imbalance. She stated that political action–not just political will–must be increased. Ms. Swahn explained that gender based violence and the global burden of alcohol are both barriers for development. People who are intoxicated have increased risk of rape and sexual violence, and very little research exists in areas where high levels of alcohol use take place, such as in African countries. Mr. Cortez introduced an initiative that UNDP and WHO are working together on to reduce alcohol consumption.  The goal of this conference is to interfere with health policy specifically in Africa, where alcohol policies have gotten stuck in draft phases.

Ms. Rojhani discussed how non-communicable diseases affect women and how they undermine sustainable development. At least half of the 40 million people with HIV are women, and women who have experienced violence are up to three times more likely to be infected with HIV. Women in general are less responsive to health systems because of a lack of screening, a “one size fits all” approach, and lack of access.

Meeting: Three Major Epidemics Burdening Women: Community and Policy Action to Empower Women (organized by the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina and IOGT International)
Date & Location: 18 March 2015, Conference Room E, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Kristina Sperkova, IOGT International; Aldijana Sisic, UN Trust Fund to End Women Against Violence; Adis Arnautovic, CEM Bosnia and Herzegovina; John Mututho, NACADA Kenya; Clifton Cortez, UNDP HIV, Health & Development Group; Ariella Rojhani, NCD Alliance; Monica Swahn, Georgia State University; H.E. Mirsada Colakovic, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UN
Written by WIT Representative: Paige Stokols
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

New ways to provide food assistance

ImageTo encourage innovative means to provide food assistance to regions in need of humanitarian aid, Ambassador Patriota convened a panel discussion on this matter. In doing so, the Ambassador highlighted the Brazilian application of cash transfer to implement the “Bolsa Familia” safety-net programme as a way to motivate families to send children to school and to clinic check-ups.

In the context of short-term action, Mr. Mogwanja highlighted the difference between direct provision of food aid and cash-transfer style food assistance, the latter being preferable as it is a more economically sustainable tool. Mr. Janz stated that cash-transfer is a viable form of food assistance, as it pinpoints to the problem of lack of purchasing power of disaster victims without having crippled the local agricultural market by flooding the market with relief food. Mr. Janz elaborated on the benefit of cash-transfer food assistance, stating that it gives disaster victims dignity by giving them choices in food and enhances efficiency of aid by reducing the logistical cost of transporting food aid. Ms. Souza stated how the World Food Programme implemented the cash-transfer in conjunction with local purchase of relief material to further enhance food assistance’s positive impact to the local economy, a point which Ambassador Boureima echoed when detailing the “Nigerien feeds Nigerien” initiative in his country.

Speaking on behalf of the donors, Ms. Fink-Hooijer stated that the donor community in general support the cash-transfer initiative, but adopts a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the effectiveness of large-scale implementation in disaster relief. Ambassador Shearman echoed this point, and added that he hopes future cash-transfer can be implemented in form of cash handout instead of voucher to further reduce its distortion of the local market.

Meeting Title: Cash Transfers, Local Purchases and Social Safety-Nets: Bridging the Divide between Assistance and Development
Speakers: Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF; H.E. Ambassador Boubacar Boureima, Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations; Darana Souza, Programme Coordinator for World Food Programme; Udo K. Janz, Director of UNHCR Office in New York; Israel Klug, Project Coordinator of PAA Africa Programme; Minister Counsellor Nuria Mohammed, Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations; Florika Fink-Hooijer, Policy Director of ECHO; Martin Shearman, Ambassador for Development and Human Rights, UK Department for International Development; H.E. Ambassador Michael Grant, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations; Jordan Ryan, Assistant Administrator of UNDP; Scott Paul, Humanitarian Policy Advisor of OXFAM; Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Chief of Policy Development and Studies Branch of UN OCHA
Location: Conference Room 5, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 24 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

 

Exploring narratives towards sustainable development


sustainable-energy

A side event was held this afternoon to examine the values and narratives towards a sustainable future for all. Mr. Kjørven moderated the session and acknowledged the unprecedented engagement of people expressing their interest in the future development framework. Yet, he addressed their core questions focusing mainly on ‘what and how SDGs should be’, without addressing the fundamental question of ‘why one should care about SDGs’. He saw embedded values were the ones to compel us in making effort to create a sustainable future and overcome global indifferences.

Ms. Flores, believed the most daunting task for SDGs to be achieved was building partnerships and trust among countries, which require equity, accountability and transparency and intergenerational programmes are creating partnership to mobilize poor and marginalized people. Ms. Mohammad, readdressed the theme -why one should care about SDGs- through making references to tragedy of conflicts and global indifferences, and reiterated the gravity for humanity to stand for moral values. Bishop Sorondo, carried on by pointing out GDP was not the key to happiness, but rather universal values such as fraternity, stability, social equity and justice, so it was crucial to promote sustainable humanity and respect human right to bring about social peace.

Dr. Ramanathan, on the phone, stated the fact that the top one billion energy consumers should share the responsibility to address issue of energy access, renewables for the bottom three billion people who are living in poverty and bearing the consequences of pollution. Mr. Vendley discussed ignorance, individual-egoism and group-selfishness as the challenges faced in SDGs and he called for cultivation of virtue to bring social cohesion into full play in a bid to build a holistic society with peace and human dignity.

The last speaker, Mr. Sachs, noted that those challenges we are facing now were more of a moral question which require capacity and humanity to practice sustainable virtue. He ended the session by making a remark on breaking indifferences for SDGs to bring in human well-being, and the importance in making own moral judgment and calling out on selfish behaviour.

Meeting: What’s behind What People Want: Perspectives on Values for the SDGs
Speakers: Mr. Olav Kjørven, Special Adviser to the UNDP Administrator on the Post-2015 Development Agenda; Mr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Director, Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California; Mr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN); Ms. Mary Elizabeth Flores. Permanent Representative of Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations; Ms. Amina Mohammed, UN Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning; Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Science, Roman Catholic Church; Mr. William Vendley, Secretary General Religions for Peace International
Location: United Nations Secretariat Building, Conference Room 2, New York
Date: 12 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau

UN organizations address the 13th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The seventh meeting for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues facilitated a comprehensive dialogue from United Nations organisations on their progress in promoting the rights of indigenous persons with responses from Permanent members of the forum. Interventions from many UN bodies revolved around three major issue areas; the full participation of indigenous persons in their right to self-determination, ‘free, prior and informed consent’ in regards to Indigenous land rights, and the sufficient funding of organisations for long term protection of indigenous rights.

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Denmark, Bolivia, UNDP, IFAD, and the IFC all directly addressed concerns that governments are favoring the demands of the private mining industry and the sustainable development of our natural resources requires the collaborative consultation of indigenous persons. The African Caucus recognized that natural resources are usually extracted from heritage sites with unique and spiritual ties to indigenous traditions and ancestry. Therefore it is of paramount importance that indigenous persons be involved in the decisions directly affecting their sacred land.

UNECSO and FAO demonstrated that indigenous people have a unique understanding of the sustainability and protection of their environments through systems such as pastoral farming, which could enable a more resilient response to climate change for our fragile ecosystems. The IFAD, ILO and permanent member of the forum Joseph Goko Mutangah insisted that the United Nations should be capturing the wealth of agricultural, medicinal and ecological innovations that indigenous traditions encompass.

Representative of the American Indian Alliance and chairperson of the forum Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, expressed concerns that the United Nations organisations are only authorised to serve indigenous persons from developing countries. Statistics demonstrate that indigenous persons are equally marginalised in both developing and developed nations. They called for a revision of the policy to allow indigenous persons in all countries access to the United Nations’ agencies and funds.

Meeting Title: 7th meeting – Comprehensive dialogue with United Nations agencies and funds
Speakers: Chairperson Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, Permanent members of the forum Gervais Nzoa, Joan Garling, Kara-Kys Arakchaa, Miriam Wallet Aboubakrine, Miriam Wallet Aboubakrine, Maria Eugenia Choque Quispe, Joseph Goko Mutangah, Raja Devasish Roy
Representatives on behalf of organizations; UNICEF, FAO, ILO, IFAD, UNDP, IFC, UNESCO, World Bank, Ministry of foreign affairs Denmark, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, the African Caucus, Indigenous Parliamentarians, Alliance of Indigenous women of Central America and Mexico, WIPO (New York), Central & Eastern Europe, Russian federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia, Bolivia, and the American Indian Law alliance
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 15 May 2014
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark