Where to find hope….

In these days, pessimism fills the media – so where do we find stories of hope for a better future?

Start here:

The Brightest Hope blog series
INEE

This once-a-week blog series features essays from the Education in Emergencies Essay Contest, which was organized by INEE and the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative. INEEreceived 720 essay entries from 52 countries in four languages, from authors between the ages of seven and 68. Twelve of these essays made it into the final contest booklet entitled “The Brightest Hope“, and we will feature them in this blog series.

Common in all of the essay submissions from crisis-affected learners was a strong desire and an unyielding drive to continue or get back to education as quickly as possible. INEE works to increase awareness of the necessity and benefit in providing education alongside other lifesaving measures in humanitarian settings, and to elevate the voices of those whose education has been affected by emergencies.

Read the first two blog posts in the series now.

Children’s rights at the United Nations

Children’s rights at the United Nations

From CRIN

Annual day on the rights of the child

The theme of this year’s annual day on the rights of the child is “Information and communication technology and child sexual exploitation”. The full-day meeting will constitute an important opportunity to discuss different national, regional and international initiatives to empower children through information and communications technologies (ICTs). The meeting will discuss the need for children to be protected against child sexual exploitation online and offline, while ensuring their digital rights are upheld. The annual day will explore:

  • The relationship between ICTs and the rights of the child, including opportunities and challenges to the realisation of these rights;

  • Good practices and lessons learnt aimed at promoting regional and international cooperation on this issue;

  • Strategies to empower children to make better use of the internet, and to contribute to their online protection;

  • Recommendations to guarantee safe and equal access for children to ICTs and to ensure the criminalisation of online child abuse and exploitation.

You can watch the event live and archived on http://webtv.un.org.

Child rights events at the Human Rights Council:

Monday – 07/03/2016

Tuesday – 08/03/2016

Thursday – 10/03/2016

 

Special rapporteur reports at the Human Rights Council

Special procedure mandate-holders are requested by the Human Rights Council to present annual reports in which they describe their activities undertaken during the previous year. The annual reports discuss general issues concerning: working methods, theoretical analysis, general trends and developments with regard to their respective mandates and may contain general recommendations. Reports on country visits are usually presented as addenda to the annual reports.

The following reports will be presented at this year’s Human Rights Council:

  • A/HRC/31/19 – Annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

  • A/HRC/31/20 – Annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children.

  • A/HRC/31/29 – Report of the Secretary-General on the impact of the arbitrary deprivation of nationality on the enjoyment of the rights of children concerned, as well as on the existing laws and practices on accessibility for children to acquire nationality, inter alia, of the country in which they are born, if they otherwise would be stateless.

  • A/HRC/31/33 – Follow-up report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on investment in the rights of the child.

  • A/HRC/31/34 – Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on information and communications technology and child sexual exploitation.

  • A/HRC/31/35 – Study of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of migrants in transit, including unaccompanied children and adolescents, as well as women and girls.

  • A/HRC/31/37 – Annual report on Protection of the family: contribution of the family to the realization of the right to an adequate standard of living for its members, particularly through its role in poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development. Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • A/HRC/31/58/Add.2 – Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography on her mission to Armenia.

  • A/HRC/31/80 – Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on technical cooperation and capacity-building to promote and protect the rights of all migrants, including women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

An important report:

Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children

In light of this year’s annual day on the rights of the child, and speaking on the occasion of Safer Internet Day last month, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, renewed her call to ensure that the empowerment of children is at the heart of building a safer and more inclusive Internet. She noted that rather than curtailing children’s natural curiosity and sense of innovation, it is critical to tap into their resourcefulness and enhance their capacities to use the internet with confidence and safety.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Study on Violence against Children and the start of efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including goal 16.2 on ending all forms of violence against children. The annual report of the Special Representative reviews key developments and initiatives she has promoted. This year’s annual report addresses the SDGs, the Global study on the deprivation of liberty, regional processes for the protection of children from violence and a special note of concern drawing attention to the serious impact on children of cyberbullying and challenges to their digital rights.

World’s largest lesson…

Worth following:

UN/Ken Robinson/Aardman: The World’s Largest Lesson
September 25–and beyond. We’re working with a UN/TES initiative called The World’s Largest Lesson that seeks to raise the horizons of teachers and students all over the world by teaching them about the latest UN development goals and how we can all help fulfill them. For starters, check out the World’s Largest Lesson introductory film, written by Sir Ken Robinson, introduced by Malala Yousafzai (leading Pakistani advocate for women’s education, the youngest-ever Nobel laureate, at the age of 17) and animated by Aardman Animations (of Wallace & Gromit andChicken Run fame)

http://bit.ly/twll_intro_film

More to come on this…

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY 2015

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

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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.

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Documents

International Conventions and Declarations

UN Documents on Youth

Publications and Other Resources

A transformative vision?

The vision for education has often been too limited or even absent in public education, often due to a fire-fighting attitude because of  low investment, lack of teachers, poor quality etc. Lets hope that a ‘transformative vision’ , as described below, can translate into real change and more investment in education (rather than arms and the war industries!)

INCHEON, Republic of Korea, 21 May 2015 – A transformative vision for education over the next 15 years has been adopted at the World Education Forum, which concluded today in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The Incheon Declaration was welcomed by the global education community, including government ministers from more than 100 countries, non-governmental organizations and youth groups. It encourages countries to provide inclusive, equitable, quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all. The Declaration will underpin the education targets in the Sustainable Development Goals that will be ratified at the United Nations in September.

“This Declaration is a huge step forward,” stated the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.  “It reflects our determination to ensure that all children and young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to live in dignity, to reach their potential and contribute to their societies as responsible global citizens. It encourages governments to provide learning opportunities through life, so that people can continue to grow and develop. It affirms that education is the key to global peace and sustainable development.”

The Incheon Declaration builds on the global Education for All (EFA) movement that was initiated in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and reiterated in Dakar, Senegal in 2000. EFA – and the Millennium Development Goal on Education – resulted in significant progress, but many of its targets, including universal access to primary education, remain unfulfilled. Currently, 58 million children remain out of school – most of them girls. In addition 250 million children are not learning basic skills, even though half of them have spent at least four years in school. The Incheon Declaration must finish the ambitious EFA and MDG agendas.

“If this generation of children is to someday reduce the inequalities and injustices that afflict the world today, we must give all our children a fair chance to learn.  This must be our collective vision and commitment,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake.

The Incheon Declaration will be implemented through the Education 2030 Framework for Action, a roadmap for governments to be adopted by the end of the year. It will provide guidance on effective legal and policy frameworks for education, based on the principles of accountability, transparency and participatory governance. Effective implementation will require strong regional coordination and rigorous monitoring and evaluation of the education agenda. It will also require more funding, especially for the countries furthest from providing inclusive, quality education. The Declaration and Framework will urge countries to set nationally appropriate spending targets and increase Official Development Assistance to low income countries.

Speakers at the closing ceremony included Susan Hopgood, President of Education International, Kishore Singh, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mohamed Sameh Amr, Chair of UNESCO’s Executive Board, Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, António Guterres, High Commissioner of UNHCR (via video), Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, Keith Hansen, Global Practices Vice President of the World Bank Group, Michaëlle Jean, Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Hwang Woo Yeo, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

“We all agree that every student has the right to quality, free, public education,” said Susan Hopgood, the President of Education International – an organization representing more than 30 million teachers and education workers around the world. “However, in order to realize any education goals, students in every classroom must be guaranteed a well-trained, professionally-qualified, motivated and supported teacher. Providing quality education for all will require changes to education systems. To implement the Education 2030 Framework for Action and improve the quality of education, it is fundamental that our education systems are transformed into ones that foster an open and collaborative culture.”

Education is essential to achieving all of the new Sustainable Development Goals. It is necessary to eradicate poverty, boost shared prosperity and broad-based economic growth, and build peaceful, tolerant societies. Today’s Declaration demonstrates the common commitment to deliver this vision. It shows how education can transform lives.

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Quotes from the co-convenors

UNHCR

“We have a collective responsibility to ensure education plans take into account the needs of some the most vulnerable children and youth in the world – refugees, internally displaced children, stateless children and children whose right to education has been compromised by war and insecurity. These children are the keys to a secure and sustainable future, and their education matters for us all.” António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

UNFPA

“Together we must promote and protect every person’s right to education, and ensure that quality education reaches all, and instils values of peace, justice, human rights and gender equality. We are proud to have been a co-convener of the World Education Forum and pledge to take forward the new action agenda on education for all by 2030.” Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director.

UN Women

“The Incheon Declaration rightly commits us to non-discriminatory education that recognizes the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment for sustainable development. This is a crucial opportunity for us to work together, across sectors, towards the fulfilment of the Education for All promise of peaceful, just and equal societies. A world where people are equal can only be achieved if our education also universally teaches this.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General.

 

and how do we know when we have made progress…read on….

New Proposed Indicators to Monitor the Post-2015 Education Framework
EFA Report

The post-2015 sustainable development agenda, including the education goal, has received praise for its ambitious and universal scope. The challenge now lies in developing a solid monitoring framework, which can be used to track progress towards the targets while helping to focus international efforts on areas that might be left behind.

This blog presents the proposal – by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) established by UNESCO – for a set of indicators to monitor the post-2015 education targets. This proposal will be presented at a special session of the World Education Forum in Incheon on 20 May.  The proposal complements the draft Framework for Action on Education 2030, which will be debated at the Forum.

The TAG proposal includes 42 thematic indicators that could be used to monitor education progress globally. Ultimately, it is expected that about six to ten of these indicators will be selected by the United Nations Statistical Commission to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, while the broader set of indicators proposed will be used to monitor progress towards the 10 education targets under this Goal.

To read more about the proposed indicators, click here

 

2015 – a year of fear?

Fear is not a new emotion for children, particularly when relating it to school. Children have been bullied, been threatened and humiliated by teachers and other students, just for being different or coming from a home where poverty is experienced. But a range of new fears are affecting children worldwide whether it is from direct conflict and its associated threats of being drawn into becoming child soldiers or being trafficked for sex or child labour. These threats and fears are on the international agenda:

2015 Is ‘Year of Fear’ for Children Worldwide, Gordon Brown Warns
Children are bearing the brunt of escalating worldwide refugee crises, armed conflicts and natural emergencies with 2015 – dubbed “the year of fear” – already the most dangerous since 1945 for the youngest and most vulnerable in society, according to Gordon Brown, UN special envoy for global education.

Delivering an impassioned call for urgent international action in a briefing in New York, the former British prime minister said more than half the world’s record numbers of 38 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 16.7 million refugees are children.

“This is not the year of the child but the year of fear, with 2015 already the worst year since 1945 for children being displaced, the worst year for children becoming refugees, the worst year for children seeing their schools attacked,” he said. “We expect the figure to rise in crisis zone after crisis zone as even school-age children who were once at school are being forced into child labor. Today in some of the world’s most troubled spots it is open season for traffickers, with girls snatched from the streets in Nepal to adolescents forced into marriage in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.”

The extreme impact on children of the four-year-old civil war in Syria has received more international attention than many other crises. According to Save the Children, 10,000 Syrian children have been killed since the conflict began, 5.6 million are in need of humanitarian aid and 3.5 million have been forced from their homes. Nearly 2 million children have fled the country, while 3 million are unable to go to school.

But 2015 has also seen an alarming spate of new, or renewed, crises including those in Burma and Bangladesh, where many of the Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants who have fled by sea in recent weeks are unaccompanied children under 18.

Former child soldiers wait to be released in Bambari, Central African Republic, in May as part of a UN-brokered deal.

Former child soldiers wait to be released in Bambari, Central African Republic, in May as part of a UN-brokered deal. Photograph: Emmanuel Braun/Reuters

In northern Nigeria and Pakistan, schools have been attacked and schoolgirls abducted by Islamist extremists. In Burundi, more than 100,000 refugees, mostly women and children, have fled current political unrest. Many are now at risk from a cholera epidemic affecting makeshift camps in Tanzania, with 400 new cases being reported daily.

In South Sudan, children are being forcibly recruited as child soldiers as internal conflict has flared in the wake of the country’s 2011 declaration of independence. In Nepal, meanwhile, homeless young girls have become increasingly vulnerable to people traffickers in the wake of the recent earthquake disaster.

“This week, Nepalese state radio messages are confirming what we already know,” Brown said. “In the midst of the fallout from the earthquake, the government is directly warning half a million girls – now on the streets – and their parents, to beware of suspicious gangs trying to recruit them and traffic them out of the country.”

Brown said improved educational opportunities provided the best way to help vulnerable children, and called for the creation of a new international fund to help quickly target and assist young people caught up in wars and emergencies. He called on governments, aid agencies and development organisations to back the proposed “global humanitarian fund for education in emergencies”, which he said could be launched at the UN general assembly in New York in September.

The UN’s World Education Forum, held in Incheon, South Korea, this month, heard that worldwide, 58 million children currently have no schooling at all, while 250 million are not learning basic skills even though half have spent at least four years at school.

The forum adopted targets intended to provide “inclusive, equitable, quality education for all”, underpinning the new Sustainable Development Goals that will supersede the 15-year-old Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when the general assembly meets this autumn.

Significant progress has been made in some least developed countries in improving early life education but many aspects of the MDGs on education, including universal access to primary education, remain unmet, the forum was told.

Anthony Lake, executive director of the UN children’s fund (Unicef), said: “If this generation of children is to someday reduce the inequalities and injustices that afflict the world today, we must give all our children a fair chance to learn. This must be our collective vision and commitment.”

Kishore Singh, UN special rapporteur on education, called for new strategies focusing on girls and women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and children living in conflict-affected areas, rural areas and urban slums. He said: “It is the weakest among us who need education the most and we cannot stand by as they are being excluded.”

World Toilet Day 2014 – Equality and Dignity

World Toilet Day 2014 – Equality and Dignity

 

Every year on Nov. 19, the international community celebrates World Toilet Day to create awareness about the lack of access to basic sanitation currently affecting 2.5 billion people.

This year’s theme is “Equality and Dignity.” Different stakeholders will convene at the United Nations headquarters in New York to explore, among other issues, the linkages between gender-based violence and sanitation, highlighting the incidence of increased vulnerability to all forms of violence for women and girls when there is a short supply of safe, private and easily accessible sanitation.

U.N. Women leads the global effort to end all forms of violence against women. This month, the organization places emphasis on ending violence against women by featuring facts, stories, audiovisual and social media content, and calling for action against this grave human rights violation, as part of a yearlong campaign leading up to the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action called “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity — Picture It!

toilet day

 

WHAT IS WORLD TOILET DAY?

World Toilet Day is a day to take action. It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet – despite the human right to water and sanitation.

It is a day to do something about it.

LOGO_En

Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.

We cannot accept this situation. Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. This day had previously been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world but was was not formally recognized as an official UN day until 2013. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders.

As we accelerate efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and draft a solid post-2015 development agenda, we have a historic opportunity to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. Addressing the needs of women and girls with regard to proper sanitation needs to be a vital component. Why? Because women and girls are disproportionately affected by inadequate access to sanitation due to a number of physiological, social and cultural factors. These challenges cannot be overcome without addressing the correlation between sanitation and women’s vulnerability to gender-based violence.

Overall, inadequate access to sanitation unequally affects women and girls in many of the following ways: Unhygienic public toilets and latrines threaten the health of women and girls who are prone to reproductive tract infections caused by poor sanitation; during menstruation, pregnancy and postnatal stages, the need for adequate sanitation becomes even more critical; and, when sanitation facilities are available, it tends to be women who bear cleaning responsibilities and disposal of human waste such as “manual scavengers,” making them susceptible to disease.

When women and girls do not have access to private sanitation facilities, they resort to open areas, find a remote (often unprotected and hidden) place or travel a distance to where facilities exist.

Not only does this cause women and girls to suffer indignity, severe health risks, fear, shame and ostracism, but it increases their risk of multiple abuses including harassment, bullying,  physical and sexual assault, inappropriate touching and other nonconsensual sexual acts, including rape. This causes individual harm, curtailing their freedom of mobility, limiting their productive activities, and denying them full participation in community matters and decision-making that have a bearing on their lives — while the lack of adequate sanitary facilities in schools inhibits access to education.

 

 

EQUALITY AND DIGNITY

Equality and dignity is the theme of World Toilet Day 2014. The campaign will inspire action to end open defecation and put spotlight on how access to improved sanitation leads to a reduction in assault and violence on women and girls. More about this here. 

Having to defecate openly infringes on human safety and dignity. Women and girls risk rape and abuse as they wait until night falls because they lack of access to a toilet that offers privacy.

Where toilets do exist, additional inequalities present in usability. Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.

Without accessible toilets for these populations, they remain excluded from opportunities to attend school and gain employment.

wsp-july-2014-581x410

 

Know your toilets…..

http://water.org/toiletday/fieldguide/

 

Important policy actions include analyzing and responding to vulnerabilities to violence in sanitation-related policies, strategies, plans, budgets and systems; building the capacity of staff and partners; consulting with gender-based violence specialists to support an appropriate response in the sector; designing, constructing and managing infrastructure to account for and reduce vulnerabilities; ensuring that community members have adequate information on safety linked to water and sanitation and hygiene and have access to reporting and recourse mechanisms; and most importantly, ensuring that women and girls, especially those who may be marginalized are consulted and part of the planning processes.

Social movements, like the “No Toilet, No Bride” initiative in India, are helping to alter behavior, social and cultural norms.

Also critical is the acknowledgement that violence occurs fundamentally because women and girls have less power in society and because of the gender discrimination they face. It is not enough to only address the immediate needs within water and sanitation. These key measures must be accompanied by the broader and more comprehensive work that is required to address violence against women and girls. This requires governments to proactively and concretely invest in structural and institutional change and social transformation that can undo the systemic gender inequality and discrimination that tolerate and allow abuse.

 

Much violence against girls occur at or near schools – there is a big job to be done to challenge inequalities, discrimination and violence in schools – and then to take action.

small_Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 16.27.11

 

Gender equality and access to clean, safe and private sanitation, must be prioritized in the post-2015 development agenda, taking into account the particular needs of women and girls to secure economic progress, and ensure a life of dignity and safety for all.

(ref:Begoña Lasagabaster)