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Source: RelifWEb

The Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development of the Federal Government of Somalia took a major step forward in strengthening the rights of children today by launching the drafting process of its Child Rights Bill, a gesture that the Ministry strongly believes will guarantee a better future for Somali children.

Source: UN News

Adverse climatic conditions, a sluggish global economy and conflicts are key factors driving food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, the United Nations agriculture agency said on Thursday. 

Source: allAfrica

Experts say confusion over the rights of local healthcare workers to provide the service while receiving US funds only benefits Trump administration.

Source: UN News

The armed groups in Darfur have largely been defeated and the ferocity of intercommunal violence has declined, but anxiety over safety continues to keep many people from returning to their homes, a senior United Nations peacekeeping official told the Security Council on Wednesday. 

Source: NewEra

Windhoek-Veteran journalist and gender activist, Sarry Xoagus-Eises who died on Monday was a ‘warrior for women’s rights. This is according to gender activist, Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi who also said it would be hard to replace her.

Source: IPS

“Five years ago, when we first started talking about including gender in the negotiations, the parties asked us, ‘Why gender?’ Today, they are asking, ‘How do we include gender?’ That’s the progress we have seen since Doha,” said Kalyani Raj.

Raj is a member and co-focal point of the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Established in 2009, the WGC is an umbrella group of 27 organizations working to make women’s voices and rights central to the ongoing discussions within the UNFCCC and the climate discussions known as COP23 in Bonn.

On Tuesday, as the COP observed Gender Day – a day specifically dedicated to address gender issues in climate change and celebrate women’s climate action – UNFCCC had just accepted the Gender Action Plan, a roadmap to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment in all its discussions and actions.  For WGC and other women leaders attending the COP, this is a clear indication of progress on the gender front.

“For the first time ever, we are going to adopt a Gender Action Plan. It’s very good and over one year, it will be a matter of implementing it. So that’s where we are,” said Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and former Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Climate Change.

Gender Action Plan: The main points

The creation of a Gender Action Plan (GAP) was agreed upon by the countries at last year’s conference (COP22) in Morocco. All over the world, women face higher climate risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change. Yet they are often left out of the picture when decisions on climate action are made.

The aim of the GAP is to ensure that women can influence climate change decisions, and that women and men are represented equally in all aspects of the UNFCCC as a way to increase its effectiveness.

The GAP is made of five key goals that are crucial for improving the quality of life for women worldwide, as well as ensuring their representation in climate policy. These range from increasing knowledge and capacities of women and men to full, equal and meaningful participation of women in national delegations, including women from grassroots organizations, local and indigenous peoples and women from Small Island Developing States.

In brief, the five goals are:

  • Gender-responsive climate policy including gender budgeting
  • Increased availability of sex and gender disaggregated data and analysis at all levels
  • Gender balance in all aspects of climate change policy including all levels of UNFCCC.
  • 100% gender-responsive climate finance
  • 100% gender responsive approach in technology transfer and development.

The adopted draft, however, is a much watered-down version of the draft GAP that the GEC submitted. It has omitted several of the demands, especially on including indigenous women and women human rights defenders in the climate action plan.

“I would have expected a much-expressed acknowledgement of the participation, the voices and the knowledge of the indigenous and local women. We worked very hard to get that in, but it’s not there as much as I would have liked,” said Robinson, before adding that the adoption of the GAP, nonetheless, is “definitely some progress.”

Omission leads to disappointment

Not everyone, however, is taking the omissions in the GAP quietly. At Tuesday noon, representatives of over a dozen women’s organizations from Latin America, Africa, the MENA region and Asia gathered at Bula zone 1 – where the negotiations are taking place and held a protest.

“We are here because we want to tell the parties that women human rights defenders are legitimate and critical actors not only in SDG 5, but all the SDGs including combating climate change and all areas of 2030 agenda and Paris Agreement,” said a protester as others nodded in silence, their mouth sealed with black tape.

Prior to the protest, however, Lina Gualinga, an indigenous leader from the Kichwa tribe in Ecuador shared some details of how women environmental activists feel.

“The representation of women environment and climate defenders is minimal at the COP as the UNFCCC has built a firewall around it. So, very few women can actually be here and be part of the COP,” she said.

“In the meantime, the language of the negotiations is drafted and shaped leaving no room to address our concerns. For example, what is sustainable development? For us, it’s nothing but clean water, fresh air, fertile land. Is that reflected in the language of the COP?” she asked.

No access to climate finance

Besides the continuous disappointment over human rights and indigenous issues, accessing finance has emerged as the biggest hurdle for women climate leaders. According to Robinson, the number of women who are getting climate finance is shockingly small.

“The latest figures by OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) shows that only 2 percent of the finance is going to women in the grassroots and southern groups. Only 2 percent! Its tiny. And yet that is where an awful lot of climate work is taking place, where women are trying to make themselves resilient,” Robinson said.

There are three simple ways to solve this, she said:  One, increase local funding. Two, simplify the process to access climate. And three, train women in new, green technologies.

Citing the example of the Barefoot College in India –  a government funded and NGO-run institution that trains women from developing countries in solar technologies before they become “Solar Mamas” or solar entrepreneurs – Robinson said that trainings like this are a great way to include women in climate action at the local level.

“This not only builds their capacity to be more climate resilient, but also helps them become economically empowered,” she said, before admitting that more such initiatives would require more direct funding by local institutions.

Numbers still missing

White the central debate is on mainstreaming gender in the core process of negotiations, some also want to draw attention to the low representation of women in the conference. At the 2015 Paris summit, just over 38 percent of national delegations were women, with Peru, Hungary, Lesotho, Italy and Kiribati among the most balanced delegations and Mauritius, Yemen, Afghanistan and Oman the least.

This year, some countries such as Turkey, Poland and Fiji have 50 percent female delegates while three countries – Latvia, Albania and Guyana – have sent all-female delegations. But the average percentage of female negotiators at country delegations is still 38. Several countries, including Somalia, Eritrea and Uzbekistan, did not include a single women in their delegations.

Noelene Nabulivou, an activist from Fiji, said that it’s time to seriously fill the gender gap at the conference.

“If we are asking for equal opportunity, why can’t we ask for equal participation?” asked Nabulivou.

Meanwhile, Kalyani Raj thinks that quotas could limit the potential scope. “We want a balance, but at the same time, why limit ourselves to a mere 50 percent? It could be anything!” said Raj.

The first report to evaluate the progress on the implementation of the Gender Action Plan will be presented in November 2019.

Source: UN News
With the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23), in Bonn, Germany, entering its final week of negotiations, the Fiji Presidency today announced an agreement on a Gender Action Plan, highlighting the role of women in climate action.

Source: UN Women
More than 2 million people across Mozambique, especially in the southern and central regions, have been affected by severe drought since 2015. The prolonged crisis has exhausted household food stock, disrupted lives and livelihood. For Mozambican women and girls, who are primarily responsible for managing food and water for their families, the drought has also meant increased work burden and earlier marriages, leading to lost childhood, education and opportunities.

Source: AllAfrica

Despite efforts to stem malnutrition, children across Africa remain deeply impacted, says the Global Nutrition Report launched this week in Abidjan.

The report says Africa is the only region where absolute numbers are rising, due to population growth.

At least 10 million children in Africa are now classified as overweight, out of 41 million world over.

Up to 59 million children on the continent are stunted-too short for their age due to lack of nutrients and suffering irreversible damage to brain capacity.

African economies lose between 1.9 and 16.5% of gross domestic product annually to undernutrition, due to increased mortality, absenteeism, and chronic illnesses and associated costs, and lost productivity.

Some 14 million children are wasted-too thin for their height.

Almost every country in the world now faces a serious nutrition-related challenge, whether stemming from undernutrition, obesity, or non-communicable diseases.

The gathering brings together high-profile global leaders, 60 countries and 700 participants to discuss how to tackle malnutrition

"The problem of malnutrition, be it undernutrition or obesity, is an alarming public health problem and real global concern. Malnutrition is at the heart of the problem of fighting extreme poverty, and an important dimension of social and human development," said Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice-President of Côte d'Ivoire.

Source: Reuters

At least 46 children, some as young as 18 months, were raped near the village of Kavumu between 2013 and 2016.

Source: Reuters

Big foreign companies growing crops in Africa often promise jobs and development to local communities then leave them in even greater poverty when their projects falter, a campaign group said on Wednesday.

SOURCE: Guardian

Promised economic and educational opportunities her parents thought too good to refuse, Rose left home for Zanzibar. But a life of fear and exploitation awaited the 13-year-old – a fate that has become all too familiar to kids in the region.

Source: UN NEWS

Thanks to the recent expansion of HIV/AIDS services conducted by the United Nations migration agency, some 171,000 civilians and their host communities have gained benefit from these health facilities in South Sudan.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

"I stay because I don't have a choice. I'll put up with it until I can't take it anymore."

Source: World Economic Forum 

Gender parity is fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive. Ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide. The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In addition, this year’s edition also analyses the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations.

Link to download PDF file: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf

Source: UN News
Briefing the press at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the first time, the first-ever UN advocate for the rights of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse on Friday highlighted her role to give those who have suffered “visibility” and amplify their voices.

Source: OpenDemocracy

When we hear about irregular migration from Africa to Europe, migrants are frequently portrayed as victims of human traffickers who exploit vulnerable people on the move. Migrants have even been called ‘modern-day slaves’ in need of humanitarian protection. But is this an accurate assessment? Are irregular migrants today really enslaved, or are they simply trying to make their way through borders that have become progressively securitised?

ISS Africa

As 2017 comes to a close, so does the African Union’s (AU) Year of the Youth. It was crucial for the AU Commission to mainstream young people in its policies and structures for good governance, peace and security. The task now is for the commission, regional economic communities (RECs) and African states to match policy commitments with investments in implementation.

Source: IISD

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a report that calls for investments in health, education and the protection and empowerment of women and girls in Africa. The report argues that the right investments can set the foundation for a demographic dividend that could lift hundreds of millions of Africans out of extreme poverty and contribute to enhanced prosperity, stability and peace.

Source: HRW

While Egypt conducts wholesale persecution of sexual and gender minorities at home, its United Nations representatives are undermining universal human rights by using the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people as a wedge issue. 

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