Protecting children…in Gaza and beyond.

Protecting children in a situation of ongoing conflict: Is resilience sufficient as the end product?
Ritesh Shah, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

This paper, using the case study of Gaza Strip within the Occupied Palestinian Territories, suggests that while programmatic interventions focussed on supporting the resilience of children and the institutional networks of support on which these children rely may deliver short-term benefits, a restoration of the status quo or the effective adjustment of these individuals and institutions to a new state of normalcy may be ineffective and counter-productive in the medium to long-term.

Click here to read the full paper.

Hear it from the Children!

We know about Children’s Rights to express themselves, but their voices are still stifled in many countries – when they do get the opportunity, they are worth listening to…

Report: Hear It From The Children
Save the Children South Sudan

Save the Children South Sudan launched a new report titled ‘Hear It From The Children’. The report provides a fascinating insight into what children from communities that have been most affected by the South Sudan conflict consider to be their top priorities. A clear message has emerged from the children, and it is that, “…we want to learn – even during war.” It is a simple but powerful message that challenges us all to re-think how we can best respond to children’s needs in times of conflict.

Click here to download the report.


We can ask ourselves are we investing enough in our young people, seeing they have the energy and creativity to solve many of the problems that have been handed down to them? Through education, can we provide opportunities for young people to develop their skills to engage more fully with decision makers in the local government and civil society? Do we have to wait until they are ‘grown up’ or can we capitalise on their goodwill before they have been excluded through unemployment and other forms of exclusion.

The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is “Youth Civic Engagement.”

On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

The theme of International Youth Day, 12 August 2015, is “Youth Civic Engagement.” The engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development. Yet often the opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are low or non-existent.

There has been recent increasing attention and policy and programming focus on youth civic engagement by governments, UN entities, regional and multilateral organizations, CSOs, youth and researchers. As part of its celebrations for International Youth Day, the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, led by the co-chairs, DESA and UNDP, is running an online campaign in the lead up to International Youth Day 12 August 2015.

Secretary-General’s Message for 2015

Emerging threats, violent extremism, shifting political conditions, economic turmoil and social transformations are combining to heighten the challenges facing the world’s young people. No one knows better than them the issues at stake or the best way to respond. That is why I am calling on young people to speak out – and I am urging leaders to listen.

As the world changes with unprecedented speed, young people are proving to be invaluable partners who can advance meaningful solutions. Youth movements and student groups are challenging traditional power structures and advocating a new social contract between States and societies. Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, taken proactive measures, and mobilized through social media as never before.

I applaud the millions of young people who are protesting for rights and participation, addressing staggering levels of youth unemployment, raising their voices against injustice, and advocating global action for people and the planet.

In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.

Volunteerism is an ideal way to improve society – and it is open to virtually everyone. Youth can also join forces with the United Nations as we move from forging the new sustainable development goals to implementing them. That spirit of action is embodied in the theme of this International Day: “Youth and Civic Engagement.”

I stand with the world’s young people in calling for measures to secure human rights, economic progress, environmental stewardship and social inclusion.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Charter and the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth. In support of their aims, my Youth Envoy is helping to mobilize this largest generation of young people in history. As he says, youth engagement can help turn the world we want into the world we deserve.

Let us all support young people in creating a future where our planet is protected and all people live in dignity.

Ban Ki-moon



Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

International Youth Day is an opportunity to celebrate the creative force and the innovative impetus that young people bring to every society. This year’s theme – “Youth Civic Engagement” – emphasizes the role played by the involvement and inclusion of young people in building social cohesion and collective well-being.



International Conventions and Declarations

UN Documents on Youth

Publications and Other Resources

Sustainable Development Goals – can we afford them?


Sustainable Development Goals

After tense negotiations, 193 countries have agreed the next set of development goals, which will seek to end poverty, achieve gender equality and ensure food security in every corner of the globe by 2030.(The Guardian)

“This is the people’s agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, irreversibly, everywhere, and leaving no one behind,” said Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, after the targets were agreed on Sunday.

The new targets have been debated by civil society and UN member states for more than two years. The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), which contain 169 targets, will replace the millennium development goals (MDGs), which expire at the end of the year. Implementation of the sustainable development agenda will begin on 1 January 2016.

The SDG targets must now be formally adopted by member states at a special UN summit from 25-27 September in New York. The UN said more than 150 world leaders are expected to attend.

Included in the final text of the SDG outcome document (pdf) are plans to ensure access to water and sanitation, reduce economic inequality and take urgent action to fight climate change. “We are resolved to free the human race within this generation from the tyranny of poverty and want, and to heal and secure our planet for the present and for future generations,” the outcome document said.

“In order for the SDGs to be met, implementation and financing plans must address inequalities and human rights, especially for women and girls. The financing plan being advocated by the US and other northern countries will merely uphold the world we have and not get us to the world we want,” said Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity.

The UN has estimated that the new goals could cost as much as $172.5tn (£110.67tn) over the 15-year timeframe.

So perhaps it is the lack of funds that could ensure that the SDGs are never met?

Can countries afford to reduce poverty, ensure everyone has access to clean water, basic health facilities and a quality education?

It all depends on priorities….

Present priority for spending – weapons, armies and war mongering  – just 10% of one year’s military spending would pay for the whole 15 year plan to meet the SDG’s.

$1.756 trillion -global military spending for one year (SIPRI 2013)

Can we change these priorities? What would it take to put another  10% tax on weapons research and production? Would it be worth it?

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples‏

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples‏ -August 9th

August 9 was first proclaimed International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations in 1994 to promote and protect the rights of the world’s Indigenous population. This day also commemorates the achievements and contributions that Indigenous people make in the world. August 9 also marks the first time the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations met in Geneva in 1982.
This year’s theme is “Post 2015 Agenda: Ensuring indigenous peoples’ health and well-being.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has stated, “The interests of the Indigenous peoples must be part of the new development agenda in order for it to succeed. […] Together, let us recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world. Let us work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations.”
Cultural Survival reminds us to:

Monday, August 10, 

3:00pm – 6:00pm EST.

Attend a special event online at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday 10 August, from 3 to 6pm. The event will be webcast live at

2. Read Asia Indigenous People Pact’s Statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 

3.   Raise awareness about Indigenous Rights and International Human Rights Mechanisms through Community Media.

Share these free radio programs widely about Indigenous Rights based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Available in English, Spanish,and several Indigenous languages.

4. Listen to our new Indigenous Rights Radio interviews.

Interviews with Indigenous leaders at this year’s UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues about the development of a sacred mountain in Hawai’i, community conversations, consumerism, deep sea mining in the Pacific, and climate change, among many others. In English.  In Spanish. 

5.  Share this poster  by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Development.

6.   Read the latest issue of the Cultural Survival Quarterly.
Standing Strong from the Ground,

CSQ 39-2, June 2015. 
Don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Quality learning begins with teachers….

Even though we may still not have full agreement on what constitutes quality in education, we know that a skilled teacher , who is committed to all children learning well, no matter what their background or staring point may be, will be a treasure in any community.

Quality learning begins with teachers
Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education

The new post-2015 education agenda should challenge us to accept that no goal can be considered met, until it is met for all. Inequity, discrimination and barriers to education must be eliminated. Achieving equity in education will require a focus on access and learning outcomes, aimed at the hardest to reach children. This goal is about quality, and the quality of an education system cannot rise above the quality of the teachers that stand in the classroom.

Click to read the full article.

and considering professional development for teachers:

4 Barriers to teachers’ professional development in fragile contexts
Mary Burns, senior technology specialist and professional development specialist, Education Development Center (EDC)

Teachers in fragile and crisis contexts face enormous barriers to quality professional development. This is not news to most readers. But what are these barriers and how can we begin to address or reverse engineer professional development? This post outlines some of these obstacles. Most of the information in this post is taken from research and from the discussions that informed the publication of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) guide, Where it’s needed most: Quality professional development for all teachers.
Of course we want quality PD -but in many rural areas there may be no professional development, at all, unless teachers sign up for further study for promotion purposes.
What is needed is school based professional development facilitated by an experienced teacher, who has status in the school and is provided time to observe and  mentor fellow teachers.Reflective teaching approaches should be normal rather than rare.