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Resolution 2012!

Our work here at UNA-GB is rooted in the founding principles of the United Nations – universal peace, international security, and respect for human rights, to name a few, and as we enter 2012, we are filled with hope and anticipation in this season of new beginnings.  Last year, we kicked off 2011 by sharing the top UN Resolutions of the previous year as a connection to the new year and theme of resolution making, and we thought it was a tradition worth continuing!  This is our New Year’s Resolution, or Resolution 2012!

It is our sincere wish that this coming year be filled with stories of health, equality, and opportunities for positive development, and we will continue to do all that we can to inform, inspire and mobilize the greater Boston community around critical global issues. 

Check out our list of key 2011 UN resolutions below and post in the comments section what issues you hope to see the UN address in 2012!

Resolution 1999 (adopted July 13, 2011) welcomed the membership of the newly formed South Sudan.

On July 9, 2011, South Sudan declared its independence from Sudan and became its own country.  It was then admitted into the UN as the 193rd member state.  In support of South Sudan’s formation, the UN announced its new mission, the UNMISS UN Mission in Southern Sudan that will specifically focus on the development of the new country.  The Security Council voted unanimously to set up a new United Nations mission to help Africa’s newest nation consolidate peace and lay the foundation for longer-term state-building, conflict prevention and economic development.

Resolution 2009 (adopted Sept 16, 2011) created a United Nations Support Mission in Libya.

One of the more violent clashes and uprisings amid the Arab Spring this year was in Libya, and with an unanimous vote to adopt resolution 2009, the Security Council affirmed a leadership role for the United Nations in international efforts to support a nationally led process aimed at building a democratic, independent and united Libya.  The Council decided that the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) would be to assist Libyan national efforts to restore public security, promote the rule of law, foster inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation, and embark on constitution-making and electoral processes.  Learn more here.

UNESCO approved a Resolution allowing the member state bid from Palestine at the end of October, sparking a wide controversy that led to the removal of US support for UNESCO.

On Monday, October 31, the full United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) membership voted 107 to 14 with 52 abstentions to accept the Palestinian Authority as a full member of UNESCO.  Due to an existing U.S. law dating back to the 1990s, the U.S. is prohibited from funding any UN entity that gives full membership to Palestine. UNESCO’s vote led the U.S. to cut all funding to UNESCO, which amounts to approximately 22% of the total UNESCO budget.  Discussions are on-going as to how to navigate the impact of the US’ defunding, and sets the stage for continued debate, as Palestine promises to renew its bid for membership in the General Assembly and Security Council.

Resolution 66/137 (adopted December 19, 2011) affirmed the power and necessity of human rights education (something we at UNA-GB are DEEPLY committed to!).

On a busy day in the General Assembly, with over 60 resolutions being adopted, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training was passed. This declaration was originally adopted by the Human Rights Council by resolution 16/1 earlier this year in March.  Reaffirming the call of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, which was held in Vienna, for all States and institutions to include human rights, humanitarian law, democracy and rule of law in the curricula of all learning institutions, the Declaration says that everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Declaration specifies not simply what one should learn about human rights, but also how (“through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners”) and also why (“for human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others”).

The adoption of this new Declaration also offers educators and policy makers an occasion to reassess national policies and priorities in the light of international standards.  It affirms the belief that human rights education is not only the entitlement of every human being, but also a necessity for responsible global citizenship.  Since building a strong network of global citizens is our mission at UNA-GB, we are very excited about this Resolution!  One of our flagship programs is our human rights education program for youth, our comprehensive Model UN program, serving more than 3,000 6th-12th graders in the Boston area each year.  We look forward to strengthening ties with other human rights educators as this resolution gains momentum.

Resolution 1987 (adopted June 17, 2011) recommended the appointment of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to his second term in office.

Adopted by acclamation at a closed meeting, the Council recommended to the General Assembly that Mr. Ban Ki-moon be appointed for a second term of office from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2016.  Ban’s election was uncontested and nations had approved of his decision immediately.    His appointment was subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly.

Ki-moon is the world body’s eighth secretary-general and the first from Asia since U Thant, from what is now Myanmar, who served from 1961 to 1971.  Upon his election, Ban indicated that ending violence in the Sudanese region of Darfur and tackling climate change were among his top priorities. There has been progress on both fronts, including a recent vote to create an independent state in southern Sudan and evolving negotiated frameworks to address global warming, though significant challenges remain.

Ban has also found himself and the United Nations at the forefront of many crises that few anticipated in 2006. The past year, especially, has been tumultuous given the massive earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan; the wave of popular unrest in the Arab world; and the continued fallout from the ongoing global economic crisis.  As Ki-moon’s 2nd term begins today, one major agenda item is sustaining the effects of the Arab Spring.

And the National Action Plan (NAP) for Women, Peace and Security, complete with an accompanying fact sheet and Executive Order, was introduced by Secretary Hilary Clinton on December 15, 2011, in support of the landmark Resolution 1325.

The NAP is the outcome of a process that began over a decade ago with the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which encouraged the UN and its member states to integrate a gender perspective in all aspects of peace and security. In October 2004, a subsequent Security Council Presidential Statement called on the “development of national action plans” to further implement Resolution 1325. Before the US’s NAP, thirty-two other countries had already released their own NAPs.

The document makes the compelling case for why it is in U.S. national interest to integrate a gender-based perspective in foreign policy decisionmaking. In countries where women and girls have equal rights and opportunities, there is a strong correlation with economic prosperity and peace. The NAP also includes a workplan for all relevant U.S. government agencies, as well as the creation of an interagency review mechanism to track progress through 2015.  This development is particularly exciting, as we have a strong commitment to gender equity issues and have a robust Women’s Forum program throughout the year.  We hope to focus more on these issues in 2012, so stay tuned!

This list is only a sampling of the hundreds of resolutions adopted in 2011.  See the full list of Resolutions from the 65th and 66th General Assembly sessions and the Security Council.  As both the President of the GA and SG Ban Ki-moon have expressed, 2011 was a year of remarkable advances and improvements, and emphasizes the importance of a global governing body like the UN, which is able to respond to natural disasters, support democracy, and uphold the universal principles of human rights and peace-building.

What Resolution would YOU write in 2012 if you had the chance??

Thank you for all you’ve done to support our work this year and we look forward to all that 2012 has in store!  We’ll do our best to keep you informed and engaged as the UN’s 2012 agenda unfolds.

Happy New Year from the UNA-GB team –Lena, Kaitlin, Jennifer, Rebecca, Ann and our awesome interns!

Invest in Healthy Ecosystems

With the global population set to reach 7 billion people later this year food and resource security is becoming increasingly more important. This week a new report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and its partners announced that investing in healthy ecosystems could improve food security, enhance resilience to climate change, as well as provide economic benefits for poor communities.

The report, which was written by over 50 contributors, uses case studies of China, Guatemala, Jordan as well as others to present the issues as well as recommend changes. The three specific areas of change in order to improve food security and reduce stresses on water supplies are detailed as: environmental protection, water resources management and food production. The report also explains that one of the most difficult challenges in improving current levels of food production is the availability of water because it is needed for livestock, crop irrigation, fisheries and other agricultural uses. Likewise, the report also makes recommendations for drylands, wetlands, crop systems, fisheries and livestock systems.


“Maintaining healthy, resilient ecosystems to ensure water availability for agriculture and other ecosystem services is thus essential for long-term food security,” a press release on the report produced by UNEP and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) stated.

Investing in our healthy ecosystems could make huge differences in the everyday and long-term lives of communities around the globe. You can also get involved in a variety of ways, both small and big, through WhyHunger.com – a organization building a movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions. Likewise you can read more about the global food crisis and what the UN is doing to help here.

Here at UNA-GB we will be holding a Women’s Forum Luncheon Roundtable on October 6th, which will focus on Women, Population, and the Millennium Development Goals.  Jane Roberts, a grassroots advocate who is the co-founder of the 34 Million Friends of the UNFPA project will share how supporting gender equality makes a positive impact on all of the MDGs and population issues as a whole. Her contributions in the fields of population, development, the environment, and the human rights of women and girls have led to many recognitions, including a feature chapter in Nicholas Kristof’s NY Times bestseller Half the SkyRSVP now to get involved and join the conversation!

– Alexandra

Malaria No More Today (and every day after)!

If you have not been aware, now you know that April 25th is World Malaria Day! It is a day to commemorate global efforts to control malaria, examining the progress that has been made toward malaria elimination and to renew efforts toward achieving the target of zero malaria deaths by 2015.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease widespread in tropical and subtropical regions including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Americas. The disease causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases progressing to coma, and even death.

Malaria transmission can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites by distribution of inexpensive mosquito nets and insect repellents, or by mosquito-control measures such as spraying insecticides inside houses and draining standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs.

However, hundreds of thousands of people are still contracting malaria and many of these people are unable to access appropriate and timely, treatment.

All over sub-Saharan Africa, already struggling economies are being battered by the economic burden of the disease, which is estimated to cost Africa $12 billion a year. Malaria remains a leading cause of preventing children to attend schools and work absence putting tremendous pressure on household incomes. In addition, weak health systems are over-burdened by the relentless demand for care and medication.

Reducing the impact of malaria is key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which are geared towards not only combating the disease itself, but the improvement of women’s and children’s rights to health, access to education and the reduction of extreme poverty.


Photo by Maggie Hallahan/Sumitomo Chemical

World Malaria Day gives us a chance to make a difference.

Help end malaria by 2015! There are many ways you can help to reduce deaths caused by malaria. Donate mosquito nets by visiting NothingButNets.net or find out other ways to get involved at worldmalariaday.org.

Also, check out couple of events hosted by Harvard about Malaria:

Rethinking Malaria: From the Gene to the Globe

A Seminar in Recognition of World Malaria Day 2011

  • When: Tuesday, April 26, 12:00 – 2:00pm
  • Where: Harvard School of Public Health, Francois Xavier Bagnoud Building, Room 301
  • Talks by
    • Sangeeta Bhatia, PhD,Professor of Health Sciences & Technology and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
    • Caroline Buckee, PhD,Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health
    • Günther Fink, PhD, Assistant Professor of International Health Economics, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Sponsored by the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Epidemiology and Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health
  • Lunch will be served – Space is limited – Open to the Harvard community

Malaria Bytes

A Harvard Student Benefit Concert in Commemoration of World Malaria Day

  • When: Wednesday, May 4, 8:00 – 10:30pm
  • Where: Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge
  • Sponsored by the Harvard Malaria Initiative
  • For tickets visit www.cluboberon.com

Help us work today to achieve a malaria-free world tomorrow!

-NaEun

100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day

 

 

Tuesday marked the Centennial Anniversary of International Women’s Day, a celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women past and present that is observed around the world. This year is also notable for being the first International Women’s Day for UN Women, created by the UN General Assembly on July 2010 and formally launched just last month.  The theme this year is “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”.  Last week, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon highlighted the imperative need for the inclusion of women to achieve greater strides in meeting the Millenium Development Goals.

“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental to the global mission of the United Nations to achieve equal rights and dignity for all… But equality for women and girls is also an economic and social imperative. Until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals — peace, security, sustainable development — stand in jeopardy.”  – Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

The call to make equality a reality that was present in Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Message was also present in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s, where she called for more ways to include women in the international dialogue and provide access for all women to live with access to education and free from violence.

At the 1995 Beijing Conference, Clinton famously asserted that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”  This was further seen at Tuesday’s 14th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast hosted by Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change, and co-sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, with the theme “Unequal Treatment Under the Law: Women in the Criminal Justice System” which drew over 200 attendees from throughout the Boston area.

Karen Holmes Ward moderated the event and introduced panelists, Ph.D. Erika Kates, Representative Kay Khan, Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, and Girl Scouts Beyond Bars past program participant and current manager Dawn Coleman. Each of the panelists offered a unique perspective as they educated the audience on the challenges women face due to current laws and policy. The statistics were shocking and reinforced the statements made by many attendees that this breakfast was addressing an invisible issue within our national community. The moving personal account of Coleman’s own oppression within the justice system made both the extremity of the inequality and the timeliness of the issues clear to audience members. To close, Sheriff Cabral recognized many of the programs designed to give women agency and voice in this arena while also emphasizing the importance of us all in bringing to action the work that still needs to be done.

With March also being Women’s History Month, there are events being held throughout the month that focus on education and advocacy surrounding women’s issues.  Check out this month’s events!

Tuesday March 8th

International Women’s Day Celebration

Hosted by: Women’s Information Network

Time: All Day

Location: Back Bay Sheraton

NERD International Women’s Day Mixer

Hosted by: New England Research and Development Center

Time: 6-8 pm

Location: Microsoft New England R&D Center, One Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA.

Ladies Who Launch Networking Mixer

Hosted by: Ladies Who Launch

Time: 5:30 PM

Location: Top of the Hub

Saturday March 12th

Run for Congo Women

Hosted by: Women for Women International

Time: 10 am

Location: Boston’s Esplanade

Contact for more details!

Monday, March 14th

International Women’s Day Film Screening, Reception, and Panel

Hosted by: UNA-GB and My Sister’s Keeper

Time: Reception at 6:00 pm, Film Screening at 6:30 pm.

Location: Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc
10 Winter Place. Boston, MA 02108

COST: $10 Member/Student | $15 Non-member

RSVP NOW!

Friday, March 18th

V-Day Boston 2011: Spotlight on Violence Against Women and Girls of Haiti

Hosted by: UNA-GB and Suffolk University’s Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights

Time: 6:00 PM- 8:00 PM

Location: Suffolk University, 73 Tremont St, Boston, MA

Learn more and RSVP now.

 

Tuesday, March 22nd

The Challenges of Practicing Law in Sharia Courts in Nigeria

Hosted by: UNA- GB’s Women’s Forum

Time: 4:00 PM- 6:00 PM

Location: Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont St, Boston

Free

RSVP Now!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East

Time: Reception at 6:30 PM | Talk at 7:00 PM

Location: 6 Hilliard Pl. Cambridge, MA 02138

Cost: $15 Member Ticket | $20 Non-member Ticket

RSVP NOW – Limited Space Available!

 

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day either by coming to one of the events in the area or by learning more about your local and national policies and taking action within your community to ensure women’s voices are heard!

-Alex Teague & Katie Miles.

 

Become an advocate for the UN in 2011!

Working with a mission to inform, inspire and mobilize Americans to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations, advocacy is one of the works focused on at UNA-USA. It is important for us to engage our citizen rights to encourage our elected officials and our government to be active participants in global diplomacy and peace-building.  The 2011 Advocacy Agenda for the United Nations Association focuses on four core issue areas:

UNA-USA with Better World Campaign are working to coordinate activities in these four areas to maximize the overall advocacy impact in the future, and it is our goal as the Boston chapter to share ways YOU can engage in these campaigns!

UN funding: UNA-USA is working with Better World Campaign to strengthen the U.S. – UN relationship. There recently have been signs that members of the Congress may propose ways to reduce or commitment to the UN. H.R.557, The United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act, introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, would shift the funding mechanism for the regular budget of the UN from an assessed to a voluntary basis. The bill has more than 100 co-sponsors and is expected to be brought up for a vote in committee and on the House floor. It is our responsibility that the members of the Congress are encouraged to vote against this bill.

Human Rights: Human rights work is one of the key focus areas of the UN. Under the Obama administration in May 2009, the U.S. was elected to a three-year term on the Council with a full-time US ambassador appointed to the council. With the upcoming mandated review in March 2011, which will examine the Council’s performance over its first five years, members of Congress should be encouraged to play a constructive role in advising the Obama administration about ways in which the Council can be improved.

International Treaties: Prospects are decidedly mixed for United States ratification of several longstanding international treaties in the 112th Congress. The new senate contains many incoming senators who have little knowledge of the treaties that await ratification by the United States but will quickly become aware of the controversial issues surrounding them. The new configuration means that Senate approval treaties will only occur by reaching across party lines.  During the 111th Congress, there were important developments in support of treaty ratification, such as Senate approval of New START. It will be critical to build momentum toward Senate votes on pending treaties in the context of the Obama’s administration’s ongoing commitment to seek US ratification of such treaties.

Millenium Development Goals: Although the September 2010 world summit at United Nations Headquarters reassured governments’ support for meeting the MDGs by 2015, the U.S. commitments may be challenged due to a stringent budget and the global financial crisis. However, extensive recent polling sponsored by the UN Foundation shows that solid majority of the American public supports the MDGs and the role for the U.S. in meeting them. UNA-USA chapters just concluded many successful local UN Day 2010 events which focused on the importance of the MDGs and UN Foundation programs hope to inspire activism in support of the MDGs in local communities and to recruit new UNA-USA members.

You can read the complete Advocacy Agenda here.  Stay updated as we all work together to strengthen the U.S.-UN relationship, and our global diplomacy as a whole.  Real change happens when we choose to act.  We look forward to working together with you this year!

-NaEun

Resolution 2011!

Our work here at UNA-GB is rooted in the founding principles of the United Nations – universal peace, international security, and respect for human rights, to name a few, and as we enter 2011, we are filled with hope and anticipation in this season of new beginnings.

It is our sincere wish that this coming year be filled with stories of healing, dignity, and international cooperation, and we will continue to do all that we can to inform, inspire and mobilize the greater Boston community around critical global issues.  You could call it our New Year’s Resolution, or Resolution 2011!

Since Resolutions are a big part of the work at the United Nations, we thought it quite fitting to highlight a few that were adopted in 2010.  Check out our list below and let us know what issues you hope to see the UN address in 2011!

Resolution 64/289 (adopted July 2, 2010) formally established the new agency UN Women.
In an historic move, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to create a new entity to accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.  The establishment of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — to be known as UN Women — is a result of years of negotiations between UN Member States and advocacy by the global women’s movement. It is part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact.

Resolution 1960 (adopted Dec 16, 2010) focused on sexual violence in conflict.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that will allow UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to list parties who have committed acts of sexual violence in reports to the 15-member body. The resolution cited “deep concern” that despite the Council’s “repeated condemnation of violence against women and children in situations of armed conflict,” such acts continue to occur and “in some situations have become systematic and widespread, reaching appalling levels of brutality.”  Read more here.

Resolution 1929 (adopted June 9, 2010) focused on non-proliferation with a particular emphasis on Iran.
This Security Council resolution is aimed at addressing the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.  The resolution offers the toughest sanctions to date for Iran, and included the creation of a supervision body to prevent delivery of nuclear material to Iran.  The resolution also encourages continued and renewed negotiations with Iran.

Resolution 65/4 (adopted October 18, 2010) reaffirmed Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace.
The General Assembly adopted a consensus resolution recognizing the potential of sport to help attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and foster an atmosphere of tolerance. The Assembly also acknowledged the need to strengthen efforts, including multi-stakeholder partnerships, at all levels, to maximize sport’s potential to contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and national peacebuilding priorities.  UNA-GB also focused on this issue at our 2010 Human Rights Day Luncheon.

Resolution 65/208 (adopted December 21, 2010) focused on condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions – had a special focus on LGBT rights.
The Assembly strongly condemned once again all extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and demanded that all States ensure the practice is brought to an end. Prior to action, an amendment offered by the United States, which added the words “or because of their sexual orientation” to an operative paragraph, was adopted, after this language was removed during an earlier floor debate in November, causing a fair amount of controversy.

See the full list of Resolutions from the 65th and 64th General Assembly sessions and the Security Council.

You can also check out one of the best Resolutions written by some of the delegates at our Middle School Model UN Conference (further proof that 12 and 13 year olds really can make a difference in the peace-building process!) focused on rebuilding efforts in Haiti.

What Resolution would YOU write if you had the chance??

Thank you for all you’ve done to support our work this year and we look forward to all that 2011 has in store!

Happy New Year from the UNA-GB team –Lena, Kaitlin, Jennifer, Rebecca and our awesome interns!