conflict resolution

International Day of UN Peacekeepers

2021 Theme

The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization and to honour more than 4,000 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 130 last year

This year, the challenges and threats faced by our peacekeepers are even greater than ever as they, like people around the world, are having to cope not only with the COVID-19 pandemic but also the continued requirement to support and protect the people in the countries in which they are based.

The theme for this year’s Day is “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security.”

Today, tens of thousands of young peacekeepers (between the ages of 18 and 29 years) are deployed around the world and play a major role in helping the missions implement their mandated activities including the protection of civilians.  And UN peace operations — in line with a series of Security Council resolutions (22502419 and 2535) — are increasing their collaboration with youth and youth groups to help build sustainable peace and implement their mandates on the ground.

The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 89,000 military, police and civilian personnel in ;12 operations.

To mark the Day at the UN Headquarters in New York on 27 May, the Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of all peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag over the past seven decades. And a virtual ceremony will be held at which the Dag Hammarskjold medal will be awarded posthumously to peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2020 and in January 2021. The Military Gender Advocate of the Year award will also be presented at the virtual ceremony.

To keep apprised of this year’s events and learn more about the origins of this observance, visit  un.org/en/observances/peacekeepers-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com. 

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Cultural events cancelled, cultural institutions closed, community cultural practices suspended, empty UNESCO World Heritage sites, heightened risk of looting of cultural sites and poaching at natural sites, artists unable to make ends meet and the cultural tourism sector greatly affected… The impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector is being felt around the world. This impact is social, economic and political – it affects the fundamental right of access to culture, the social rights of artists and creative professionals, and the protection of a diversity of cultural expressions.

The unfolding crisis risks deepening inequalities and rendering communities vulnerable. In addition, the creative and cultural industries (CCI) contribute US$2,250bn to the global economy (3% of GDP) and account for 29.5 million jobs worldwide. The economic fall-out of not addressing the cultural sector – and all auxiliary services, particularly in the tourism sector – could also be disastrous. (source “Culture & COVID-19: Impact and Response Tracker – Issue 2

Why does cultural diversity matter?

Three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.

Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. This is captured in the culture conventions, which provide a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.

At the same time, acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity – in particular through innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) – are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.

To read more about the origin of this observance and peruse relevant materials, visit un.org/en/observances/cultural-diversity-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org

 

ECOSOC Youth Forum 2021 [10th Anniversary]

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum will be held on 7 and 8 April 2021. The modalities of participation will depend on the evolving spread of COVID-19 and its impact on travel restrictions as well as considerations on the safety, health and wellbeing of participants.

The Forum provides a global platform for a candid dialogue among Member States and young leaders from around the world on solutions to challenges affecting youth wellbeing. It also serves as a unique space for young people to share their vision and actions as well as to provide youth perspectives on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

The 2021 Forum’s discussions will be guided by the overall theme of the 2021 ECOSOC and HLPF: “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: Building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. Consideration will also be given to the group of SDGs decided by Member States for in-depth discussions at the 2021 HLPF, namely, SDGs 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17.

As more specific information becomes available, it will be available here: https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en/content/ecosoc-youth-forum-2021

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights, please email the co-chair at  . For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org

Civilian Safety in Armed Conflict: Community-based protection, early warning, and conflict preparedness

Civilian Safety in Armed Conflict: Community-based protection, early warning, and conflict preparedness

In this webinar, the second of a two-part series exploring existing efforts to improve the safety of civilians during armed conflict, we at PHAP will be discussing “secondary” prevention programs, in particular those focusing on strengthening communities in conflict-affected areas to reduce the risk of harm and mitigate the effects of armed conflict on civilian populations. We will hear from NGOs active in situations of armed conflict around the word about how they approach building capacity for prevention in communities – what the main considerations are and in which situations they are effective. We will also discuss what other organizations can learn from their approach and the implications this has for the humanitarian community as a whole.

Register here!

Background:

In armed conflict, the humanitarian community continues to witness highly disturbing situations where the safety of civilians is ignored or not addressed, or where civilians are purposely targeted by parties to a conflict. While protection services continue to provide much-needed support to vulnerable and marginalized groups and individuals and respond to protection concerns with remedial service provision, limited progress has been made on contributing to civilians’ safety in armed conflict. As Hugo Slim expressed it in the recent Oxford Lecture Series on Protection: “When you look at protection’s track record through wars, protection is at its weakest here, in this challenge in protecting people from physical harm and unlawful devastating attacks on their persons and homes.”

In the last few years, there has been a push by both humanitarian agencies and donors to examine how we can prevent and protect civilians from physical harm during conflict. Key questions remain: what does prevention mean and look like within our protection of civilians programming? Where does civilian safety “fit” within the humanitarian architecture?

There are, however, several existing approaches to mitigate and reduce risk in armed conflict for the civilian population, including how to prevent violence from happening in the first place and how to strengthen civilian self-protection strategies through community-based initiatives. This two-part webinar series aims to provide an overview of the range of strategies currently undertaken by national and international civil society organizations, UN agencies, and donors, providing examples of good practice, and discuss how such efforts can be advanced and systematized in the wider humanitarian community.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Migration, please visit ngo-migration.org.

Redefining Leadership, Re-Envisioning Faith and Reconstructing Humanitarianism

Dear Religions for Peace Leaders,

We are so pleased that many of you have already registered for the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW 65). If you have not already registered on the NGO/CSW platform, please be informed that the event will be live-streamed on 25 March at 9AM ET from our Facebook page.

Kindly be sure to select our event, “Redefining Leadership, Re-Envisioning Faith, and Reconstructing Humanitarianism” on 25 March here. To join the webinar, please select the button “Join Meeting,” which will appear exactly at 9:00 am ET.

Program Agenda

  • Moment of Silence

PART I: WELCOME AND OPENING REMARKS

Prof. Azza Karam, Secretary General, Religions for Peace

PART II: A CONVERSATION ON WOMEN IN PUBLIC LIFE: REDEFINING LEADERSHIP

Moderated by Prof. Azza Karam, Secretary General, Religions for Peace

  • Dr. Mary McAleese, Former President, Republic of Ireland; Advisor to the Religions for Peace Secretary General
  • H.E. Sima Samar, Former Minister of Women’s Affairs; Member, Religions for Peace Standing Commission on Advancing Gender Equality, Afghanistan
  • Mr. Humberto Carolo, Executive Director, White Ribbon Campaign Canada, MenEngage Network, Religions for Peace Standing Commission on Advancing Gender Equality, Canada
  • Hon. Ela Gandhi, Trustee, Gandhi Development Trust and Religions for Peace Co-President, South Africa
  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism and Religions for Peace Honorary President, United States

PART III: A CONVERSATION ON RE-ENVISIONING FAITH AND RECONSTRUCTING HUMANITARIANISM

Moderated by Grand-Mother Marie-Josée Rankin-Tardif, President, Kina8at Together; Elder from the Anicinape (Algonquin) Tradition, Canada

  • Rev. Clement Joseph, Secretary General of the Social Mission of Haitian Churches; Secretary General, Religions for Peace-Haiti, Haiti
  • Rt. Rev. Francisco Duque-Gomez, Anglican Bishop and leader of Religions for PeaceColombia, Colombia
  • Ms. Nageeba Hassan Tegulwa, Board Member, Women of Faith Uganda, Executive Member, African Women of Faith Network; Board Member, ACRL; Member, IWCC, Uganda
  • Ms. Fatima Hallal, Junior Researcher, Hartford Seminary-Interreligious Relations; Member, International Youth Committee, Lebanon

PART IV: Q&A 

PART V: CLOSING REMARKS

  • Prof. Azza Karam, Secretary General, Religions for Peace

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Mr. Pietro Bartoli at pbartoli@rfp.org or Ms. Lexie Ruth Mitchell at lrmitchell@rfp.org.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, please visit unforb.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch

Civilian Safety in Armed Conflict: Strategies and approaches for direct prevention of violence

Civilian Safety in Armed Conflict: Strategies and approaches for direct prevention of violence

In this first of two webinars exploring existing efforts to improve the safety of civilians during armed conflict, we at PHAP will be discussing “primary” prevention programs, which focus on advocacy, armed actor behavior change, and direct engagement with armed actors, either by the humanitarian organization or by facilitating this engagement by communities. We will hear from civil society organizations and UN agencies about their approaches to primary prevention – what the main considerations are and in which situations they are effective. We will also discuss what other organizations can learn from their approach and the implications this has for the humanitarian community as a whole.

The event will be held virtually, and participants will need to connect via Zoom. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in Spanish, English, and French. Register here!

Background:

In armed conflict, the humanitarian community continues to witness highly disturbing situations where the safety of civilians is ignored or not addressed, or where civilians are purposely targeted by parties to a conflict. While protection services continue to provide much-needed support to vulnerable and marginalized groups and individuals and respond to protection concerns with remedial service provision, limited progress has been made on contributing to civilians’ safety in armed conflict. As Hugo Slim expressed it in the recent Oxford Lecture Series on Protection: “When you look at protection’s track record through wars, protection is at its weakest here, in this challenge in protecting people from physical harm and unlawful devastating attacks on their persons and homes.”

In the last few years, there has been a push by both humanitarian agencies and donors to examine how we can prevent and protect civilians from physical harm during conflict. Key questions remain: what does prevention mean and look like within our protection of civilians programming? Where does civilian safety “fit” within the humanitarian architecture?

There are, however, several existing approaches to mitigate and reduce risk in armed conflict for the civilian population, including how to prevent violence from happening in the first place and how to strengthen civilian self-protection strategies through community-based initiatives. This two-part webinar series aims to provide an overview of the range of strategies currently undertaken by national and international civil society organizations, UN agencies, and donors, providing examples of good practice, and discuss how such efforts can be advanced and systematized in the wider humanitarian community.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org

Addressing GBV: A Key Element in Gender-Sensitive Addiction Treatment Programs

Addressing GBV: a Key Element in Gender-Sensitive Addiction Treatment Programs

Free online event in English – Monday, 22 March 2021, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST (NY time), 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. CET (España)

Women with substance use disorders face many obstacles in accessing and engaging in addiction treatment programs. Considering that gender-based violence is an initiating or aggravating factor of substance use disorder, it is imperative to address this complex relation in a holistic manner. Within male-dominated environments, where gender aspects are frequently overlooked, women who experience GBV and substance use disorders find it difficult to address this problem effectively. This parallel event will explore the links between GBV and substance use disorders and will shed light on how gender-sensitive programs address GBV as a key element in the therapeutic process.

Pre-registration is mandatory. For registration instructions, click here.

Moderator: Maria Victoria Espada – Representative to the United Nations, Dianova International

Speakers:

  • Lois A. Herman – Managing Director, Women’s UN Report Network (WUNRN)
  • Gisela Hansen Rodríguez, Ph.D. – Clinical and Health Psychologist, Dianova
  • Edward C. Carlson, MA, M.F.T. – Chief Executive Officer, Odyssey House Louisiana, Inc.
  • Nazlee Maghsoudi, BComm, MGA – Chairperson, Executive Committee, New York NGO Committee on Drugs (NYNGOC)

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Drugs-NY, please visit nyngoc.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Mental Health, please visit ngomentalhealth.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Drugs-Vienna, please visit vngoc.org.

Intergenerational Dialogue on Gender, Peace and Disarmament

UNFOLD ZEROYouth Fusion and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) cordially invite you to join an inter-generational dialogue on March 8 highlighting the roles of women in the peace, disarmament and security fields, and the importance of including gender approaches to these issues in order to build more effective and sustainable security for all.

The dialogue will be conducted in four mini-panels, each one with a highly experienced woman leader and a youth advocate introducing the sub-topics: Women in disarmament, Shifting security frameworks from nuclear deterrence to common security, Disarmament and sustainability, Nuclear disarmament and a feminist foreign policy, and Nuclear disarmament & grassroots/interfaith action.

The event will also include the launch of the PNND Gender, Peace and Security program, which consolidates and builds upon the work PNND has been doing on gender and nuclear disarmament since their establishment in 2003.

We welcome both women and men to the event. A gender approach is about inclusivity, cooperation and expanding our notions of security. It is not about setting women against, or in competition with, men.

The dialogue will be held by zoom on International Women’s Day, Monday March 8 at 18:30 CET (12:30 Eastern Time USA/Canada). Click here to register.

Speakers

Moderator: Michaela Sorensen (Denmark), UN Youth Association of Denmark. PNND Program Officer on Gender, Peace and Security.

Introduction to the PNND Gender, Peace and Security Program: Vanda Proskova (Czech Republic). Vice-Chair, PragueVision Institute for Sustainable Security. PNND Program Officer on Gender, Peace and Security.

Closing Comments: Alyn Ware (Czech Republic/New Zealand), PNND Global Coordinator.

 

Youth speakers

  • Kehkashan Basu, (UAE/Canada) Founder of Green Hope Foundation, UN Human Rights Champion, Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize & Winner of the First-Ever Voices Youth Gorbachev-Shultz Legacy Award for Nuclear Disarmament 
  • Vanessa Lanteigne, (Canada) National Coordinator of Voice of Women, One of the winners in the 2020 UN #75Words4Disarmament Youth Challenge
  • Lejla Hasandedic-Dapo, (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Europe Liaison Officer for United Religions Initiative. Board member of European Interfaith Youth Network
  • Yasmeen Silva, (USA) Partnerships Manager for Beyond the Bomb, Team member of the 2020 Count the Nuclear Weapons Money action in New York
  • Nico Edwards, (Sweden/UK) PNND Gender, Peace and Security Program Officer

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For information on the NGO Committee on Peace (Vienna), contact the Chair: Helga Kerschbaum | Pax Romana | helga.kerschbaum@aon.at

Informal Meeting of the GA Plenary on Syria with President of the GA

Dear Civil Society Partners,

The UN Human Rights Office in NY wishes to inform you about an upcoming informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters. The meeting will allow a high-level panel to brief on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic pursuant to A/RES/74/169. The meeting will be open and webcast on UN Web TV with interpretation in all official languages.

Further information, including with respect to the modalities for interested civil society representatives to submit questions to the high-level panel, is included in the correspondence below from the President of the General Assembly.

Sincerely,

UN Human Rights NY

 

Excellency,

I have the honour to inform you that I will convene an informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters. The meeting will allow a high-level panel to brief the General Assembly pursuant to A/RES/74/169, operative paragraph 37, in which the General Assembly,

“Urgently request[ed] the convening of a high-level panel discussion, funded by voluntary contributions, led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Commission of Inquiry and Syrian civil society to brief the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and encourages United Nations monitoring and reporting to help this panel to further document violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, to provide recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures, and to feature witness testimony of Syrian human rights defenders and other Syrian voices through appropriate and safe means”.

In addition to briefing on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic the panel will focus on:

(i) violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, in particular arbitrary detention, torture, the missing and disappeared, with a focus on women, peace and security; and,

(ii) recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures.

The high-level panel will be moderated by Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant SecretaryGeneral for Human Rights and Head, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York. Ms. Brands Kehris will also present OHCHR’s role in documentation, accountability, and engagement with key counterparts including the United Nations, humanitarian partners and accountability mechanisms such as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI), the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), the Syrian Government, and civil society. The high-level panel will be comprised of the following six panelists from the COI and civil society:

  • Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair, COI
  • Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner, COI
  • Hanny Megally, Commissioner, COI
  • Mazen Darwish, President, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression;
  • Sabah Hallaq, Syrian League for Citizenship
  • Wafa Moustafa, Families for Freedom.

The meeting will be open and webcast on UN Web TV with interpretation in all official languages. Each panelist will have up to 7 minutes to deliver his/her remarks. The floor will then be open for up to 3-minute interventions and/or questions. Please note that there will be no pre-established list of speakers for this meeting. For planning purposes only, delegations are encouraged to register their interest to speak by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, 26 February 2021 via e-mail to Mr. Igor Bondiuk (igor.bondiuk@un.org), Human Rights Adviser, copying Ms. Hila Wesa (wesa@un.org), Team Leader for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

Civil society representatives interested in submitting questions to the high-level panel are requested to do so by 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, 24 February 2021, via e-email to Ms. Giorgia Passarelli (passarellig@un.org), Human Rights Officer at OHCHR. The moderator will select some of the questions for the panelists to answer during the discussion.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Volkan BOZKIR

View this meeting via UN Web TV here on March 2, and read the full schedule of General Assembly Plenary and Related Meetings here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

Briefing to Civil Society on UNODC Strategy

UNODC has recently launched its new five-year strategy, covering 2021-25. Recognizing that a key to successful implementation of this Strategy will be the expanded use of partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders, the online meeting on February 25th will provide a briefing to Civil Society partners. The briefing will include a presentation of the Strategy by Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA), UNODC and Bo Mathiassen, Deputy Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA), UNODC. The presentation will be followed by a Question & Answer session for the civil society participants.

Register here!

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, please visit crimealliance.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org

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