Be inspired! International Women’s Day 2014


Working in different countries I am still angered at the level of abuse that girls have to put up with -just to try to get a basic éducation. Girls may be abused at school and while travelling to school. Girls living in poverty in Shinyanga, Tanzania may be approached by ‘uncles’ on their way to school, first offering a lift so that they can get to school ‘safely’. Then they are offered such precious items as soap or shoes and then after such grooming, they are abused. Stories such as this one are all too common around the world  and international women’s day might just remind us once more that we must inspire change –  in  women and particularly, men.


International Women’s Day 2014 Theme: INSPIRING CHANGE

Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.


Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.



Cultural Survival informs us of some of the inspiring stories from indigenous women:

Set amidst rolling prairies and the Badlands, Young Lakota shares with viewers the perspectives of three young Lakota as they find themselves in the middle of political controversy in the small town of Kyle on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. The film centers on Sunny Clifford, who has recently returned to Pine Ridge after two years in college and aspires to improve the reservation she grew up on. “I never really experienced anyone talking about women’s rights and what they deserve… I always had this pity for myself because I was a woman, and on top of that I’m Native American. I’m at the bottom of the bottom.” Her twin sister Serena, a struggling single mother, and their ambitious friend Brandon Ferguson, a father of two, also want to make life better for themselves and their community.

When South Dakota seeks to pass a bill making abortion a felony, even in the case of rape and incest, Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female tribal president of the Oglala Lakota, controversially challenges the move by attempting to establish a women’s clinic on the sovereign territory of the reservation and with it, the right to chose. Considering the high rape statistics and poor access to health care among communities on reservations, Lakota women are particularly vulnerable to potential bans on abortion. The reservation quickly becomes divided over the plan and Fire Thunder is impeached by pro-life Tribal Council members swayed by right-wing forces outside of the reservation and by a religion that was pushed upon them hundreds of years ago. Fire Thunder states that medicine for terminating pregnancies has been in Lakota society for hundreds and hundreds of years and sees this ban as another attack by white men on her culture. “I’m challenging white men right now and white men have already done a tremendous amount of damage to my people.” At one point she addresses a group of supporters of the anti-abortion ban and demands “Keep your white hands off my brown body!”

The political conflict during the next elections campaigns becomes more than a battle between candidates as the affects of the ensuing chaos sees the young Lakota members’ paths diverge. In their first introduction to politics, Sunny, Serena, and Brandon are caught up in the interplay between political, economical, and cultural circumstances. Sunny and Serena rally behind Fire Thunder while Brandon is offered a job he can’t pass up working for Fire Thunders opponent Alex White Plume. The film follows their struggles with choosing between prospects and principles, between individual opportunity and community, and their fight for personal dignity as well as the dignity of their Lakota heritage. Cecelia advises Sunny, “When you stand in the middle of that community of craziness, you have to be real clear about who you are and what you believe in because they’re going to come at you from all different directions and no matter what they do… you’re going to still stay standing because you believe in who you are and you believe in what you stand for.”

and a short animation from Asia Indigenous People’s Pact:

We live in a time when public opinion is demanding a fairer and more equitable planet. There is no more important element to address this than the equality of men and women. This 4-minute animation video outlines the recommendations from CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) and UNDRIP (UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) particularly on indigenous women that guide and help us to move in this direction.(From Cultural Survival).

From South Africa:

Mphatheleni “Mphathe” Makaulule
© Photo courtesy of UNFF Secretariat.

Indigenous women leaders gathered together for two weeks in New York to take part in a Global Leadership School for Indigenous Women and to participate in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. They traveled from regions of Latin America, North America, Asia, Africa, the Arctic, and the Pacific to take part in this leadership school run by the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI) from May 13–25, 2013. Lectures and discussions on topics ranging from technologies of activism to advocacy and negotiation techniques created a collective environment for these Indigenous women to grow and establish networks with other leaders worldwide.

The general objective of the leadership school is to strengthen capacities of Indigenous women leaders, particularly in the use of international instruments on human rights,Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and Indigenous women’s rights, as well as advocacy strategies to promote and sustain social change. The training sessions were conducted in three phases, beginning on a virtual platform from January to April, followed by a two-week intensive class concurrent with the forum in May, and concluding with a monitoring process (again through a virtual platform) to support the implementation of advocacy plans at the local, national, and regional level.

Mphatheleni Makaulule, representing the Venda people of the Limpopo province of South Africa, was among the leaders present. Toward the end of the session she was awarded a Global Leadership Award for her collective work with women and local communities: in 1999, Makaulule built the Luvhola Cultural Village with the help of community members, and in 2007 she founded the Mupo Foundation. The foundation works to foster food security, protect sacred natural lands, and revive cultural diversity, all while focusing on the advocacy and transmission of traditional Indigenous knowledge systems to women and the younger generations.

Mariana Lopez from FIMI commented on the inspiring legacy that Makaulele and others are creating: “We are celebrating Indigenous women who have implemented creative ways to address pressing social issues, demonstrating courage, creativity and vision. Indigenous women desire to no longer be viewed as vulnerable victims. They must be recognized as having huge capacity as catalysts of socio-cultural change,” Lopez said.

Makaulele explains that the word Mupo “describes the origin of creation, the creation of the whole Universe. When we look at nature, we see Mupo. When we look at the sky, we see Mupo. Mupo means all that is not man-made. Mupo gives everybody a space: men have their own space, children have their own space, women have their own space. Our role as women is to accompany all—from family, clan, community —to go back to that order. That is where we come to the name Makhadzi. Makhadzi is the name for VhaVenda women elders, but it literally means ‘the space of a woman’s role.’”

Makaulele and the Mupo Foundation have campaigns operating on many diverse fronts; Indigenous language revitalization efforts, eco-cultural mapmaking, protection of sacred territories, local seed cultivation and knowledge, and water advocacy amidst threats from mining industries make up the holistic approach. Currently, the Mupo Foundation is igniting a campaign against the Australian mining company CoAL of Africa, which plans to open a mine in the region.

For Makaulele, “The future is in the past. This future is not about the human children; it’s about the future children of all communities, from the insects up to the big animals.” With issues such as climate change and food security on her mind, Makaulele endorses the necessity of Indigenous knowledge systems and hopes to see them as part of the dialogue in every agenda.

Reflecting on what she learned during her time at the FIMI leadership school, Makaulele emphasized the role of leadership at home. “In our Indigenous knowledge system, everyone is a leader. We are leaders for the future generation. We are the leaders of the ancestral knowledge. We are the leaders of our ancestors to transfer this knowledge. And we are all leaders to protect mother earth. We cannot live without leadership. The knowledge which I have learned from here is a courage, is a motivation. In our work we do our work on the base of a dialogue. I’m going to sit, not getting tired, to involve our leaders, who are the chiefs, to involve our elders to do dialogue. I’m going to share this knowledge in the form of a dialogue. It is from the dialogue that the younger
generation also become the leaders.”

“I am very proud to be Indigenous,” Makaulele says. “It’s a big motivation because for me, my life is my Indigenous way. We [the Venda people] are the children of the Indigenous lens. Our life is Indigenous knowledge practice. I would like to say to all the women who are here, to carry this message outside to the women outside. We are the last generation to learn from our elders to protect the Indigenous forests, and this is the main root of our hope for the future. There is no longer time: we are the last generation on the edge of the elders who are going. We are going to become elders, and we women need to transfer this knowledge to our girls.” Directly addressing the girls in her culture, Makaulele says, “[You] need to create and take opportunity from your mothers and your elders to learn this knowledge, to get [it] into your veins like ourselves.”

For more information on Makaulele and Mupo, visit: For more information on FIMI, visit:

– See more at:

And from UN Women:

From China to Costa Rica, from Mali to Malaysia acclaimed singers and musicians, women and men, have come together to spread a message of unity and solidarity: We are “One Woman”.

Launched on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2013, the song is a rallying cry that inspires listeners to join the drive for women’s rights and gender equality. “One Woman” was written for UN Women, the global champion for women and girls worldwide, to celebrate its mission and work to improve women’s lives around the world. “One Woman” reminds us that together, we can overcome violence and discrimination against women and look toward a brighter future: “We Shall Shine!” Join us to help spread the word and enjoy this musical celebration of women worldwide.

Be the change…

An addition:

She Builds..



A spotlight on the critical role women play in creating healthy, stable and thriving communities around the world. This week we will showcase the vital role women have in the advancement of their communities – as political and spiritual leaders, educators and advocates, health workers and law enforcement personnel, as well as in many other capacities.





The Classroom: A Place for Inner Peace Education

The Classroom: A Place for Inner Peace Education
Gloria María Abarca Obregón, Mexico
I have been a primary school teacher for 12 years and strangely enough I always wanted to be one. I love being a teacher and thanks to my job, I have had the opportunity to be in many diverse encounters and meet the most different people. This is how I experience being a teacher, and above all, how I experience being a human who, through education, found a way of teaching, learning and living, where peace and education go hand in hand. It has become not only a teaching style, but a personal philosophy and a lifestyle.
I wish to share with you my lived experiences in the classroom of a public primary school in Mexico, with the goal of giving a voice to my own real experiences of inner peace. As a teacher, I want to share with other teachers all around the world what is possible to achieve through this transformative approach.
To read the full post, please download here.
To download Spanish version, please click here.
teachwithout brders

If wars begin in the human mind, then it is through our minds – through education – that war can be vanquished by peace. At Teachers Without Borders, we believe that teachers can lead the way towards peace in their classrooms and communities. Our Peace Education Program is designed to help them in this pursuit. By providing teachers with a framework for peace education, we are contributing to the growing movement towards a global culture of peace.

Teachers Without Borders’ Introduction to Peace Education is a teacher professional development course that explores peace education in theory and practice. In addition to offering the course as an onsite workshop in various contexts around the world, we make it available as a free download or a free self-paced online course.

Learn More:

A note about the UN’s approaches to Peace Education:

In 1945, the United Nations was established to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”, “to reaffirm faith in the …dignity and worth of the human person [and] in the equal rights of men and women”, “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”, and “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom…”. (
Preamble to the UN Charter  outside link)

Peace education has developed as a means to achieve these goals. It is education that is “directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”. It promotes “understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups” and furthers “the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.” (Article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights  outside link)

In other words, peace education is an integral part of the work of the United Nations. Through a humanising process of teaching and learning, peace educators facilitate human development. They strive to counteract the dehumanisation of poverty, prejudice, discrimination, rape, violence, and war. Originally aimed at eliminating the possibility of global extinction through nuclear war, peace education currently addresses the broader objective of building a culture of peace. In this global effort, progressive educators world-wide are teaching the values, standards and principles articulated in fundamental UN instruments such as the UN Charter  outside link, Human Rights documents, the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)  outside link, the Convention on the Rights of the Child  outside link (CRC), the World Declaration on Education for All, and many others.

UNICEF and UNESCO are particularly active advocates of education for peace. UNICEF describes peace education as schooling and other educational initiatives that:

• Function as ‘zones of peace’, where children are safe from violent conflict
• Uphold children’s basic rights as outlined in the CRC
• Develop a climate that models peaceful and respectful behaviour among all members of the learning community
• Demonstrate the principles of equality and non-discrimination in administrative policies and practices
• Draw on the knowledge of peace-building that exists in the community, including means of dealing with conflict that are effective, non-violent, and rooted in the local culture
• Handle conflicts in ways that respect the rights and dignity of all involved
• Integrate an understanding of peace, human rights, social justice and global issues throughout the curriculum whenever possible
• Provide a forum for the explicit discussion of values of peace and social justice
• Use teaching and learning methods that stress participation, Cupertino, problem-solving and respect for differences
• Enable children to put peace-making into practice in the educational setting as well as in the wider community
• Generate opportunities for continuous reflection and professional development of all educators in relation to issues of peace, justice and rights. (Peace Education in UNICEF Working Paper Series, July 1999)

Much of the work of UNESCO is centred on the promotion of education for peace, human rights, and democracy. The notion of a “culture of peace” was first elaborated for UNESCO at the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men, held at Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, in 1989. The Yamoussoukro Declaration called on UNESCO to ‘construct a new vision of peace by developing a peace culture based on the universal values of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between women and men’ and to promote education and research for a this vision. (UNESCO and a Culture of Peace, UNESCO Publishing, 1995)

Underlying all of this work in the field of peace education are the efforts of committed educators, researchers, activists, and members of global civil society. Acting in partnership with the United Nations and its Specialised Agencies, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), educational institutions, and citizen networks have advanced education for peace by linking ideals with extensive research and practice. The Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century (UN Document: Ref A/54/98  outside link), is a significant example of such work. One of the first principles of this document is the necessity of instituting systematic education for peace. According to the Agenda, their Global Campaign for Peace Education aims to “support the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World and to introduce peace and human rights education into all educational institutions, including medical and law schools.”

“A culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems, have the skills to resolve conflicts and struggle for justice non-violently, live by international standards of human rights and equity, appreciate cultural diversity, and respect the Earth and each other. Such learning can only be achieved with systematic education for peace.” -Hague Appeal for Peace Global Campaign for Peace Education

The International Peace Research Association, founded with support from UNESCO, has a Peace Education Commission that brings together educators working to promote a culture of peace. The Peace Education Network, based in London, also works alongside the UN in promoting peace through education. Overall, the participation of global civil society in building a culture of peace is essential. Get connected!

Framework and Rationale
Many teachers are already practising peace education without calling it by name. Historically, in various parts of the world, peace education has been referred to as Education for Conflict Resolution, International Understanding, and Human Rights; Global Education; Critical Pedagogy; Education for Liberation and Empowerment; Social Justice Education; Environmental Education; Life Skills Education; Disarmament and Development Education; and more. These various labels illuminate the depth and diversity of the field. Using the term peace education helps co-ordinate such global initiatives and unite educators in the common practice of educating for a culture of peace.

Because the year 2000 is the International Year for the Culture of Peace  outside link (UN Doc A/RES/52/15) and the period 2001-2010 is the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (UN Doc A/RES/53/25), the UN Cyberschoolbus Peace Education site joins the global movement  outside link to build and sustain a culture of peace through education.

Some more reading and resources for studying and implementing peace education:

            Education for human rights…young people talking (DVD), UNESCO: 2011.

Teaching the transatlantic slave trade: achievements, challenges and perspectives, UNESCO, 2011.

World development report 2011: conflict security and development, World Bank: 2011.

Education under attack, 2010: a global study on targeted political and military violence against education staff, students, teachers, union and government officials, aid workers and institutions, UNESCO, Paris: 2010.

Davies L. and Bentrovato D, Understanding education’s role in fragility Synthesis of four situational analyses of education and fragility: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Liberia, IIEP, 2011.

The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education, EFA Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO, 2011.

Smith A, The Influence of education on conflict and peace building, Background paper for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011, 2010.

UNESCO Guidebook on Textbook Analysis and Textbook Revision, UNESCO/ GEORG ECKERT INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL TEXTBOOK RESEARCH, Paris/Braunschweig: 2010.

Guidebook for planning in emergencies and reconstruction, IIEP, 2010.

Davies L, Think piece on education and conflict, Think piece prepared for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011, 2009.

Opportunities for change, Education innovation and reform during and after conflict, Ed. By S. Nicolai, UNESCO IIEP, Paris: 2009.

Brochure on UNESCO’s Work on Education for Peace and Non-Violence – Building Peace through Education (ED-2008/WS/38), English, Paris: 2008.

Expert meeting: stopping violence in schools. What works? Report, 2007.

A Human Rights-based Approach to Education for All, UNESCO/UNICEF, New York: 2007.

UNESCO Guidelines on Intercultural Education, UNESCO, Paris: 2006.

Intercultural Understanding and Human Rights Education in the Era of Globalization, APCEIU, 2006.

Margaret Sinclair, Learning to Live Together: Building skills, values and attitudes for the 21st Century, UNESCO/IBE, Geneva: 2004.

UNESCO’s Work on Education for Peace and Non-Violence, UNESCO, Paris: 2008.

UNESCO (1996) Learning: The Treasure Within (also known as the Delors Report; Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century).

East Asia and Pacific Regional UNGEI: Adolescents and Gender Equality in Education

From the INEE newsletter

East Asia and Pacific Regional UNGEI: Adolescents and Gender Equality in Education


This newsletter is dedicated to highlighting the challenges and solutions – faced by adolescent girls in particular – in the areas of gender equality in education, sex and reproductive health education, and education for those with learning disabilities.


The newsletter is available here.

Peace=Future – the International Day of Peace – 21st September

Youth for Peace and Development

Kabul peace activity

The International Day of Peace, observed each year on 21 September, is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence. This year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on young people around the world to take a stand for peace under the theme, Youth for Peace and Development.

UNMIT / UN Photo

The United Nations is looking for stories from young people around the world who are working for peace. The campaign slogan this year isPeace=Future, The math is easy.”

This year, the International Day of Peace (IDP) falls within the same time period as a major summit on the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s largest anti-poverty campaign. The Summit brings world leaders together at the United Nations in New York from
20 – 22 September.

In addition, the UN General Assembly has proclaimed 2010 asInternational Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. A campaign to be launched by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on 12 August will promote the ideals of respect for human rights and solidarity across generations, cultures, religions, and civilizations. Those are key elements that reinforce the foundations of a sustainable peace.

Youth, peace and development are closely interlinked: Peace enables development, which is critical in providing opportunities for young people, particularly those in countries emerging from conflict. Healthy, educated youth are in turn crucial to sustainable development and peace. Peace, stability and security are essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, aimed at slashing poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child death by 2015.

The Secretary-General has recognized the incredible potential of youth which must be tapped to ensure these goals are met in their lifetimes.

Each year, the Secretary-General, his Messengers of Peace, the entire UN system and many individuals, groups and organizations around the world use the Day of Peace to engage in activities that contribute to ceasefires, end conflict, bridge cultural divides and create tolerance.

On 13 June 2010, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace, calling on young people around the world to submit their stories via social media, detailing what they do for peace.

Resources for the International Day of Peace

Peace Education

Links and resources  -Peace Education

UN Documents

Web Links

Still not enough?

Why not have a month of it and get involved with Peace One Day

Global – Peace One Day Global Education Resource

This year (2010) Peace One Day has partnered with Skype to develop and launch the Peace One Day Global Education Resource. Available in the six official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, Russian and Spanish, the Resource includes 13 interactive, student-centred lesson plans, with accompanying student resources.

Included in this resource, and in all new editions, is a new lesson – ‘Intercultural Cooperation’ – enabling young people to connect with others in different countries using free Skype software. Young people are encouraged to explore cooperation on Peace Day and build lasting bridges with other cultures.

As with all Peace One Day education materials, the Global Education Resource is designed to be used in conjunction with The Day After Peace Documentary.

and Lenny Kravitz….

and Peter Gabriel…

For younger children

Make a Pinwheel for peace (see: blog )

Many children around the world will be making a pinwheel for peace on Peace Day.

See examples from previous years on:

and finish with a song….

Accelerating progress towards all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 -report.

Newly published in Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies Bi-Weekly Bulletin

EVENT: United Nations MDG Summit

Date: September 20-22Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY The United Nations will convene a MDG summit to help accelerate progress towards all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
The summit will review the progress made towards the internationally agreed development goals and is expected to review the successes, best practices and lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, “leading to concrete strategies for action.”
The latest draft of the MDG Outcome document highlights the critical steps that must be taken to achieve each goal by 2015.

Page 11 highlights MDG 2 on primary education and page 12 highlights MDG 3 on gender parity in education.

To access the MDG Outcome document click here.

Universal Children’s Day – fighting for their rights -20/11/09 -more resources

Universal Children's Day

November 20th 2009 is Universal Children\’s Day. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. Today 193 states have ratified the CRC.

As trainers and teachers we have a responsibility to inform children of their rights and to inform others that all children have basic rights. Most governments have signed the Convention but may not be active in promoting the Convention, but we can use our influence to implement the Convention on a daily basis. Awareness may be a first step, but without action, awareness has limited effect.


20 November is celebrated as the international day for children. The United Nations General Assembly recommended in 1954 (resolution 836 (IX)) that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of understanding between children and of activity promoting the welfare of the world’s children. The date of 20 November marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.

UNICEF Cameroon

What can we do?

UNICEF states:

Every one of us has a role to play in ensuring that every child enjoys a childhood. If you are a parent, teacher, social worker or other professional working with children, raise awareness of the Convention on the Rights of the Child among children. If you are a member or employee of an organization working for children’s rights, raise awareness of the Convention and its Optional Protocols, research and document governmental actions and policies and involve communities in promoting and protecting children’s rights. If you are a member of the media, promote knowledge and understanding of children’s rights and provide a forum for children’s participation in society. If you are a parliamentarian, ensure that all existing and new legislation and judicial practice is compatible with your country’s international obligations, monitor governments’ actions, policies and budgets and involve the community—including children—in relevant decision making.

UNICEF- children\’s rights – free expression

Despite this worldwide consensus on the importance of our children, 70% of the approximately 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six potentially preventable causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. These deaths occur mainly in the developing world. An Ethiopian child is 30 times more likely to die by his or her fifth birthday than a child in Western Europe. Among deaths of children, South-central Asia has the highest number of newborn deaths, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates.

UNICEF Pittenger

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is taking a huge toll on children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS is projected to reach 25 million by the end of the decade, 18 million of them in Africa. This, along with only modest progress fighting malaria, means the threats facing child survival are as grave as ever.

In 2000 world leaders outlined Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. Though the Goals are for all humankind, they are primarily about children. UNICEF notes that six of the eight goals relate directly to children and meeting the last two will also make critical improvements in their lives. (MDGs, UNICEF.)


 As educators, we have a duty to protect the rights of children as well as inform them of their rights and how they themselves can fight for their rights.

UNICEF- children\’s rights -education

United Nations links

International Labour Organization

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees


World Health Organization

Some additional resources:

Amnesty International – Child Soldiers

Child Rights Information Network

Children Now

Defence for Children International

Global Children’s Organization

Human Rights Watch – Children’s Rights

International Save the Children Alliance

Sources: UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library, UNICEF
Selected learning materials

Study Guide on the Human Rights of Children and Youth (HREA)

Conversation about child labour and the right to education with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (15 June 2005)

Children’s Rights Here and Now (Amnesty International-USA)

Fields of Hope: Educational Activities on Child Labor. Teacher’s Guide

“How to Protect Human Rights?” Lesson Plan: Children’s Rights in the UN System of Human Rights Protection (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland)

Lesson plan on refugee children (UNHCR)

Raising Children With Roots, Rights & Responsibilities: Celebrating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (USA)

Teaching for Human Rights: Pre-school and Grades 1-4

Teaching for Human Rights: Grades 5-10

World Environment Day – a war of the worlds?

World Environment Day  – 5th June 2009

Which world do you inhabit -a ‘tree -hugging’ world or a ‘fight you’ world? Read on….

tree hugger
tree hugger

World Environment Day (WED) was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.

Commemorated yearly on 5 June, WED is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. The day’s agenda is to:

  1. Give a human face to environmental issues;
  2. Empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development;
  3. Promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues;
  4. Advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.
increasing surface temperatures
increasing surface temperatures

The theme for WED 2009 is ‘Your Planet Needs You-UNite to Combat Climate Change’. It reflects the urgency for nations to agree on a new deal at the crucial climate convention meeting in Copenhagen some 180 days later in the year, and the links with overcoming poverty and improved management of forests.

climate change-can you control it?
climate change-can you control it?

While the United Nations tries to alert people about the potential environmental crisis looming ahead  -the ‘Nations’  part of the UN prefers to spend their money on arms production and use, than pay their dues to the UN.

Global military expenditure now stands at over $1.2 trillion in annual expenditure and has been rising in recent years.

Global arms spending
Global arms spending

Indeed, compare the military spending with the entire budget of the United Nations:

The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $20 billion each year, or about $3 for each of the world’s inhabitants. This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is just a tiny fraction of the world’s military spending. Yet for nearly two decades, the UN has faced  financial difficulties and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas. Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN’s voluntary funds. As of August 31, 2008, members’ arrears to the Regular Budget topped $919 million, of which the United States alone owed $846 million (92% of the regular budget arrears) and of course is the world’s biggest spenders on arms.

Summarizing some key details from chapter 5 of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s 2008 Year Book on Armaments, Disarmament and International Security for 2007:

  • World Military Expenditure in 2007 is estimated to have reached $1.339 trillion in current dollars (just over $1.2 trillion in 2005 constant dollars, as per above graph);
  • This represents a 6 per cent increase in real terms since 2006 and a 45 per cent increase over the 10-year period since 1998;
  • This corresponds to 2.5 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or $202 for each person in the world;

Of course with a billion people living in poverty, living on $365 per year or less, they may prefer  their governments spend their tax dollars in a different way. What about spending more on education and health?

UNESCO stated that governments of the world invested the equivalent of PPP$ 2.46 trillion in education in 2004 (or 1.97 trillion if converted into U.S. dollars on the basis of market exchange rates). This figure represents 4.4% of global GDP in PPP$. PPPs (purchasing power parities) are rates of currency conversion which eliminate differences in price levels among countries.

Total global expenditure for health US$ 4.1 trillion + Total global expenditure for health per person per year: US$ 639

So back to WED -what about spending on the environment?Guardian headlined in 2008

“Huge increase in spending on water urged to avert global catastrophe”

HEP Dam Chile.EPA
HEP Dam Chile.EPA

Countries across the world will have to dramatically increase investment in dams, pipes and other water infrastructure to avoid widespread flooding, drought and disease even before climate change accelerates these problems, experts have warned.

Global sea level rise?
Global sea level rise?

Investment needs to be at least doubled from the current level of $80bn (£45.5bn) a year, an international congress was told this week, and one leading authority said spending needed to rise to 1.5% of gross domestic product just “to be able to cope with the current climate” – one thousand times the current level.

The warnings follow a summer of dramatic events, from hurricane flooding in the Caribbean and the east coast of America to desperate measures in drought-stricken Mediterranean countries, including importing water by ship.

Rich nations suffer huge under-investment, but the threat of poor infrastructure to populations in developing countries is even greater, said Dr Olcay Unver, director of the United Nations’ Global Water Assessment Unit.

So serious is the problem that next year the UN’s World Water Assessment Report will make one of its main messages the need for investment to “accelerate substantially”, said Unver.

“You can’t justify the deaths of so many children because of lack of infrastructure or lost productive time of people [who are] intellectually or physically incapacitated because of simple lack of access to safe water or sanitation,” he added.

Dr Glen Daigger, senior vice-president of the International Water Association, said there was growing evidence that spending on clean water and sanitation was the single greatest contribution to reducing disease and death. The UN has identified dams for hydropower and irrigation as leading drivers of sustainable economic growth in developing countries. “Water and sanitation is clearly a better investment than medical intervention, but it’s not sexy,” added Daigger.

So on WED Governments could do some thinking -where do we get the money to attempt to start solving some of the big questions about the environment -and the step before that is to raise enough awareness so that action can be taken to pressurise Governments to act on your behalf…and the penguins!

Antarctic penguins
Antarctic penguins