The new year ushers in the official launch of the bold and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders last September at the United Nations. The new Agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next 15 years. “The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s Continue reading
- Reports on the first 36 hours of military operation indicate that activities on the ground have taken place in less populated areas, not leading to immediate large scale displacements of affected people.
- Displacement Tracking and Monitoring (DTM), managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), for Mosul commenced on 17 October.
- An estimated 200,000 people could be displaced in the first weeks; a worst-case scenario could see one million displaced and 700,000 in need of emergency accommodation.
Shelter is currently available for some 60,000 people in camps and emergency sites. Construction of additional sites, with capacity for some 250,000 people, is accelerating.
Possible IDP movement from Mosul, UNOCHA, 18 October 2016
CANBERRA / GENEVA (18 October 2016) – United Nations independent expert Michel Forst today called on the Government of Australia to urgently dispel civil society’s growing concerns about the combined ‘chilling effect’ of its recent laws, policies and actions constraining the rights of human rights defenders.
“I was astonished to observe mounting evidence of a range of cumulative measures that have concurrently levied enormous pressure on Australian civil society,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders at the end of his first fact-finding visit* to the country.
Recognizing Australia’s traditional safeguards of constitutional democracy, rule of law and free media, Mr Forst noted that his initial expectation from his official visit was to “encounter only laudable implementation of the State’s obligations under international human rights laws, aimed at ensuring a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders.”
Instead, the expert found a number of detrimental measures which include a growing body of statutory laws, both at the federal and state levels, constraining the rights of defenders. “They have ranged from intensifying secrecy laws to proliferating anti-protest laws, from the stifling Border Force Act to the ‘Standing’ bill shrinking environmental access to courts,” Mr. Forst specified.
“Those laws have not only accentuated the disparity between Government’s declared commitments at the international forums and their implementation within the country,” he noted. “They have also aggravated the situation following the drastic defunding of peak bodies by the Government, following their advocacy or litigation on such topical issues as immigration, security, environment and land rights protection.”
In his preliminary observations, the expert noted that Community Legal Centres are facing nearly one third of their budget cut nationally, and that Environmental Defenders Offices and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples have completely been defunded by the Federal Government. And those that continue receiving funds have to abide by the so-called ‘gagging’ clauses in their funding agreements, instructing them against ‘lobbying’ the Governments or to ‘engage in public campaigns’.
“In addition, I was astounded to observe what has become frequent public vilification of rights defenders by senior government officials, in a seeming attempt to discredit, intimidate and discourage them from their legitimate work. The media and business actors have contributed to stigmatization,” the Special Rapporteur warned. “Environmentalists, whistleblowers, trade unionists and individuals like doctors, teachers, and lawyers protecting the rights of refugees have borne the brunt of the verbal attacks.”
“Even the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, faced Government’s intimidation and public questioning her integrity, impartiality and judgement, after the Commission’s inquiry into the child harm in immigration detention,” the expert said.
Mr. Forst noted that “the Australian Government has historically made commendable efforts in pursuit of its human rights obligations, so it is unfortunate that the combination of the detrimental laws and practices by the Government has recently instilled a ‘chilling effect’ on the Australian civil society.”
“This situation can be reversed and improved. The Government should start re-building confidence of human rights defenders,” he said. “For that purpose, I urge the Government to consider adopting a national action plan on human rights, through meaningful consultation with civil society.”
The UN Special Rapporteur expressed his readiness for further constructive dialogue to identify ways to help ensure enabling environment for human rights defenders in Australia.
During his two-week visit, at the invitation of the Government, the expert met with vast range of federal and state officials, members of the parliament and judiciary, statutory bodies, as well as human rights defenders and representatives of civil society, media and business.
Mr. Forst will present a final report with his findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in 2017.
(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s full end-of-mission statement:
Eight months since Tropical Cyclone Winston devastated the South Pacific Island nation of Fiji, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) recovery efforts in partnership with the Fiji Government have been progressively underway to rebuild people’s livelihoods.
A team from the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji and visiting representatives from the Russian Government paid a site visit to Koro Island yesterday, which bore the brunt of the Category Five Cyclone – to witness how the Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston Response and Recovery Project is benefiting the people, as they strive to recover from one of the most powerful cyclones to ever hit the country.
· Reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Kigali Amendment can prevent up to 0.5°C of global warming, while continuing to protect the ozone layer
· HFCs consumption to be reduced in 2019 in developed countries and frozen in 2024 and 2028 in developing countries
Kigali, 15 October 2016 – Nearly 200 countries struck a landmark deal today to reduce the emissions of powerful greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in a move that could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century.
The amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer endorsed in Kigali today is the single largest contribution the world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at the Paris climate conference last year.
“Last year in Paris, we promised to keep the world safe from the worst effects of climate change. Today, we are following through on that promise,” said UN Environment chief Erik Solheim.
“This is about much more than the ozone layer and HFCs. It is a clear statement by all world leaders that the green transformation started in Paris is irreversible and unstoppable. It shows the best investments are those in clean, efficient technologies.”
The Government of the Russian Federation in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji are launching a Regional Disaster Resilience in the Pacific Small Island Developing States (RESPAC) Project.
The Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable in the world and most countries are frequently threatened by natural hazards such as cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts and floods.
The three year project aims to improve Pacific SIDS resilience to climate-related hazards and strengthen countries ability to reduce the negative impacts of disasters as lower the associated risks that are in some respects triggered by the onset of climate change. The project places importance on the use of climate related data and how this can be used by policy makers, government agencies and the general public to make informed decisions on reducing risks and taking preemptive action to safeguard lives and protect assets and livelihoods.
We welcome and invite you to provide media coverage of the launch and the opening of the projects first official board meeting. Below are the specific details and attached is the agenda and you’re welcome to attend sessions that you feel is relevant to your audience.
When: Monday, 17 October 2016
4:30pm – 8:30pm
Limitations on policies, public financial management, law making and legal affairs, limited citizen outreach and demand for accountability are some of the issues behind the development of the Palau Local Governance Strengthening Project.
The Government of Palau in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji this week launched the project to address these challenges that were findings of an initial scoping assessment undertaken earlier this year.
The Secretary-General expresses his deep condolences to the Royal family, Government and people of Thailand on the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Secretary-General acknowledges King Bhumibol’s long dedication to his country and his legacy as a unifying national leader. He was revered by the people of Thailand and highly respected internationally. In recognition of his work, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Nations Development Programme in 2006.
The Secretary-General expresses his hope that Thailand will continue to honour King Bhumibol’s legacy of commitment to universal values and respect for human rights.
New York, 13 October 2016
New York, 13 October 2016
SG: I am very happy and pleased and honoured to welcome to the 38th floor this new Secretary-General-designate. He will soon become Secretary-General, succeeding me.
He will be looking and he will be addressing so many challenges from this 38th floor. There may be many challenges, at the same time, there is some hope for all of us. We have the Sustainable Development Goals, and Climate Change. These are two guides which will really bring a good sense of hope to many people.
Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 to 20 October, 2016. In resolution 66/207 and in line with the bi-decennial cycle (1976, 1996 and 2016), the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene the Habitat III Conference to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, to focus on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, building on the Habitat Agenda of Istanbul in 1996.
Member States of the General Assembly, in resolution 67/216, decided that the objectives of the Conference are to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable urban development, assess accomplishments to date, address poverty, and identify and address new and emerging challenges.
12 October 2016
On 23 September 2016, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Pacific Island Forum leaders and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum.
President Peter Christian of the Federated States of Micronesia outlined the outcomes of the 47th Summit of the Pacific Islands Forum held in Micronesia from 7 to 11 September. He highlighted the discussion on the sustainable development, management and conservation of the oceans and its resources, human rights, the welfare of Small Island Developing States in combating climate change and the many challenges that the Pacific region faces.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked the leaders for their intention to boost the partnership between the Pacific and the United Nations. He emphasized the role of the Pacific in forging agreement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement.