UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – February 2019

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UN in General

2019 Yemen Pledging Conference
On 26 February, the United Nations and the Governments of Sweden and Switzerland will convene the third High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen. The event will aim to garner support for the humanitarian response in Yemen and alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.

Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation
The Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20-22 March 2019. The General Assembly, recognizing the need to strengthen and further invigorate South-South cooperation, decided by resolution 71/244 of 2 February 2017, to convene a high-level United Nations conference on South-South cooperation on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among developing countries (TCDC).

High-level Event on ‘Women in Power’, 12 March 2019
Making the UN relevant for allThe President of the General Assembly will host a High-Level Event on ‘Women in Power’ on 12 March 2019. The High-Level event will bring together senior leaders and other participants from governments, observers to the General Assembly, the UN system, private sector and civil society to identify barriers that hinder women’s participation and leadership, and to share best practices that can accelerate women’s empowerment in this area.

International Court of Justice: Basic Toolkit
English: https://www.icj-cij.org/en-basic-toolkit
French: https://www.icj-cij.org/en-basic-toolkit
This new multimedia product aims to familiarize the general public with the history, role and functioning of the Court by providing basic information and links to practical resource.

Working with ECOSOC: an NGOs Guide to Consultative Status
English: http://csonet.org/content/documents/ECOSOC%20Brochure_2018_Web.pdf
French: http://csonet.org/content/documents/ecosoc_2018_french.pdf
Spanish: http://csonet.org/content/documents/ecosoc_2018_Spanish.pdf
Working with ECOSOC: an NGOs Guide to Consultative Status This informational booklet that briefs Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on the benefits of establishing a consultative relationship with ECOSOC, as well as to provide instructions on how to obtain this status within the framework provided by ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31.  The dual objective of this publication is to encourage relevant NGOs to apply for consultative status with the Council, as well as to help organizations already in consultative status to get the most of this relationship while increasing their contribution to the work of ECOSOC. The booklet consists of 44 pages and provides basic information about the way in which NGOs can interact with the United Nations in general and with ECOSOC in particular. It describes the different formal and informal mechanisms that civil society can utilize in order to work with the different ECOSOC Commissions (i.e. attendance to meetings, submission of statements, side-events, oral interventions, etc.) as well as the obligations that NGOs assume by entering in this consultative relationship.


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

The 2018 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition Report (UNECA / FAO)
The 2018 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition Report (UNECA / FAO) A new United Nations report reveals that hunger is on the rise in Africa following years of decline due to a number of reasons, including difficult global economic conditions, adverse climatic conditions due to El Niño and soaring staple food prices. The joint UN Report reveals that the prevalence of undernourishment continues to rise and now affects 20 percent of the population on the continent, more than in any other region. After years of decline, recent statistics from the joint report of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) show that there are 821 million undernourished people in the world. Of these, 257 million are in Africa, of which 237 million in sub-Saharan Africa and 20 million in Northern Africa. Compared to 2015, there are 34.5 million more undernourished people in Africa. Nearly half of the increase is due to the rise in the number of undernourished people in Western Africa, while another third is from Eastern Africa.

The 2030 Agenda in Action – What does it mean? (UNDP) The 2030 Agenda in Action – What does it mean? (UNDP)
The 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted in 2015 by all countries of the United Nations. It is often called a radical plan for humanity and a new way of ‘doing’ development. But what do we mean by that? This explainer leaflet shows what is new about the SDGs, what moving away from ‘business as usual’ of doing development implies, and how UNDP is helping countries to make the 2030 Agenda a reality.

Beyond the Gap: How Countries Can Afford the Infrastructure They Need while Protecting the Planet (World Bank)
Beyond the Gap: How Countries Can Afford the Infrastructure They Need while Protecting the Planet (World Bank) The publication aims to shift the debate regarding investment needs away from a simple focus on spending more and toward a focus on spending better on the right objectives, using relevant metrics. It does so by offering a careful and systematic approach to estimating the funding needs to close the service gaps in water and sanitation, transportation, electricity, irrigation, and flood protection. Exploring thousands of scenarios, this report finds that funding needs depend on the service goals and policy choices of low- and middle-income countries and could range anywhere from 2 percent to 8 percent of GDP per year by 2030. It also identifies a policy mix that will enable countries to achieve key international goals—universal access to water, sanitation, and electricity; greater mobility; improved food security; better protection from floods; and eventual full decarbonization—while limiting spending on new infrastructure to 4.5 percent of GDP per year.

GEF GOLD Program
Multimedia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OAF_1BXWHE
As gold production exposes millions of men, women and children globally to toxic levels of mercury every year, a new $180-million Global Environment Facility-backed Global Opportunities for the Long-term Development of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector (GEF GOLD) programme will improve conditions for miners across eight countries while slashing harmful mercury emissions. Spanning eight countries, the five-year programme is a partnership between UNEP, UNDP, UNIDO, the Global Environment Facility, Conservation International and the governments of Burkina Faso, Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, the Philippines and Peru.

Katowice Climate Package (UNFCCC)
The secretariat of UN Climate Change has published an overview of the Katowice Climate Package, adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice last December. The package constitutes the guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The guidelines establish an effective international system for promoting and tracking progress while empowering countries to build national systems for implementing the agreement.

Key Statistics and Trends in Trade Policy 2018: Trade Tensions, Implications for Developing Countries (UNCTAD)
With trade wars topping the news agenda, who’s feeling the pain and who’s seeing gains? And what does the ongoing wrangling mean for developing countries? A new study by UNCTAD looks at the repercussions of existing US and Chinese tariff hikes, as well as the effects of the increase scheduled for 1 March.

A New Circular Vision for Electronics: Time for a Global Reboot (In support of the United Nations E-waste Coalition, January 2019)
The global consumption of smart phones and other electronic devices is increasing, and bringing benefits to many people in areas as wide-ranging as health, education, finance and commerce. But there is a downside: the world is now seeing a growing tsunami of e-waste. A new report launched by the United Nations E-waste Coalition indicates that the global economy generates approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste every year. This is a huge amount, representing the mass of all the commercial aircraft ever produced. Unfortunately, less than 20% of this is waste formally recycled. This results in global health and environmental risks, as well as the unnecessary loss of scarce and valuable natural materials. But businesses, policy makers, and the public can turn this global challenge around. And the rewards will be significant. Indeed, the proper management of e-waste yields not just one, but multiple gains for development. The new report calls for a systematic collaboration with major brands, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), academia, trade unions, civil society and associations in a deliberative process to reorient the system and reduce the waste of resources each year with a value greater than the GDP of most countries.

Right to education handbook (UNESCO)
Right to education handbook (UNESCO) Education is a fundamental human right of every woman, man and child. However, millions are still deprived of educational opportunities every day, many as a result of social, cultural and economic factors. UNESCO and the Right to Education Initiative (RTE) recently released the Right to education handbook, a key tool for those seeking to understand and advance that right. It is also an important reference for people working towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 by offering guidance on how to leverage legal commitment to the right to education. The handbook was designed to be accessible. Each chapter starts with the key questions addressed in the chapter and ends with a short summary consisting of key points and ‘ask yourself’ questions, designed to make the reader think deeper about issues raised in the chapter or to encourage people find out more about the situation in their own country.

Safe Listening Devices and Systems: A WHO-ITU standard
Safe Listening Devices and Systems: A WHO-ITU standard Report: https://bit.ly/2X0fpTz
Toolkit: https://bit.ly/2SQiqGM
Nearly 50% of people aged 12-35 years – or 1.1 billion young people – are at risk of hearing loss due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music they listen to through personal audio devices. Ahead of World Hearing Day (3 March), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have issued a new international standard for the manufacture and use of these devices, which include smartphones and audio players, to make them safer for listening.

Towards universal social protection for children: Achieving SDG 1.3; ILO-UNICEF Joint Report on Social Protection for Children
Towards universal social protection for children: Achieving SDG 1.3Social protection is critical in helping children escape poverty and its devastating effects, yet, the vast majority of children have no effective social protection coverage, UNICEF and the ILO said in a joint report released on 6 February 2019. Evidence shows clearly that cash transfers play a vital role in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability. Yet, globally only 35 per cent of children on average are covered by social protection which reaches 87 per cent in Europe and Central Asia, 66 per cent in the Americas, 28 per cent in Asia and 16 per cent in Africa. At the same time, one in five children lives in extreme poverty (less than US$ 1.90 a day), and almost half of the world’s children live in ‘moderate’ poverty (under $3.10 a day). Almost everywhere, poverty disproportionately affects children, as they are twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. The report calls for the rapid expansion of child and family benefits, with the aim of achieving universal social protection for children, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such benefits are a key element of policies to improve access to nutrition, health and education, as well as reducing child labour and child poverty and vulnerability.

UNDP’s Engagement with the Media for Governance, Sustainable Development and Peace
https://bit.ly/2TcPOIc UNDP's Engagement with the Media for Governance, Sustainable Development and Peace
The past few decades have seen a global revolution in the ways in which people access, consume and share information. New challenges and opportunities brought about by these transformations now intersect with longer-standing challenges to media pluralism, freedom and independence. Featuring thirteen new country case studies, this report highlights the diverse scope, successes and lessons of UNDP’s recent engagement with the media for promoting inclusive governance, sustainable development and peace.

What does it mean to leave no one behind? (UNDP)
Discussion Paper & Brochure: https://bit.ly/2WHK08g
What does it mean to leave no one behind? (UNDP)With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, UN Member States pledged to ensure “no one will be left behind” and to “endeavour to reach the furthest behind first”. This paper advances a framework that governments and stakeholders can use to act on their pledge in a way that enables and accelerates progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also seeks to inform the manner in which UNDP works with countries to implement the 2030 Agenda. Five factors are proposed as key to understanding who is being left behind and why: discrimination; place of residence; socio-economic status; governance; and vulnerability to shocks. The factors can be applied using a three-pronged approach: to examine the disadvantages people face in and across the five factors; empower those who are being left behind [or who are at risk of being left behind]; and to enact inclusive, far-sighted and progressive SDG policies.

World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2019
Report in English, Summary in English, French & Spanish: https://bit.ly/2TQ6tyq
World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2019Poor quality employment is the main issue for global labour markets, with millions of people forced to accept inadequate working conditions, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO). New data gathered for the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2019 (WESO) show that a majority of the 3.3 billion people employed globally in 2018 had inadequate economic security, material well-being and equality of opportunity. What’s more, progress in reducing unemployment globally is not being reflected in improvements in the quality of work. The report, published by the ILO, cites the persistence of a number of major deficits in decent work, warning that, at the current rate of progress, attaining the goal of decent work for all, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 8, seems unrealistic for many countries.

World Youth Report 2018: Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
World Youth Report 2018The World Youth Report 2018, prepared by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), examines the mutually supportive roles of the new agenda and current youth development efforts. The report provides insight into the role of young people in sustainable development in the context of the implement-tation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and related frameworks, in particular, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the World Programme of Action for Youth. The Report considers the role the 2030 Agenda can play in enhancing youth development efforts and examines how evidence-based youth policies can help accelerate youth-related objectives. It explores the critical role young people have in the implementation of sustainable development efforts at all levels.



International Peace and Security

Concept note for the Security Council high-level debate on the theme “Mercenary activities as a source of insecurity and destabilization in Africa”
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/S/2019/97
The Security Council held an open debate on 4 February 2019 on the topic “Mercenary activities as a source of insecurity and destabilization in Africa”. In order to guide the debate, Equatorial Guinea, the Security Council President for February, has prepared this concept note.

Concept note for the Security Council ministerial debate on the theme “Transnational organized crime at sea as a threat to international peace and security”
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/S/2019/98
The Security Council held an open debate on 5 February 2019 on the topic “Transnational organized crime at sea as a threat to international peace and security”. In order to guide the debate, Equatorial Guinea, the Security Council President for February, has prepared this concept note.

Paths between Peace and Public Service: A Comparative Analysis of Public Service Reform Trajectories in Postconflict Countries (World Bank)
Paths between Peace and Public Service Building a capable public service is fundamental to postconflict state building. Yet in postconflict settings, short-term pressures often conflict with this longer-term objective. To ensure peace and stabilize fragile coalitions, the imperative for political elites to hand out public jobs and better pay to constituents dominates merit. Donor-financed projects that rely on technical assistants and parallel structures, rather than on government systems, are often the primary vehicle for meeting pressing service delivery needs. What, then, is a workable approach to rebuilding public services postconflict? Paths between Peace and Public Service seeks to answer this question by comparing public service reform trajectories in five countries—Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste—in the aftermath of conflict. The study seeks to explain these countries’ different trajectories through process tracing and structured, focused methods of comparative analysis. To reconstruct reform trajectories, the report draws on more than 200 interviews conducted with government officials and other stakeholders, as well as administrative data. The study analyzes how reform trajectories are influenced by elite bargains and highlights their path dependency, shaped by preconflict legacies and the specifics of the conflict period. As the first systematic study on postconflict public service reforms, it identifies lessons for the future engagement of development partners in building public services.

Eighth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat (S/2019/103, 1 February 2019)
English, French & Spanish: http://undocs.org/S/2019/103
Introduction: “This is my eighth report on the threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security. The report was prepared by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, in close collaboration with the Office of Counter-Terrorism, other United Nations entities and international organizations. The report highlights that, while ISIL has transformed into a covert network, including in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, it remains a threat as a global organization with centralized leadership. This threat is increased by returning, relocating or released foreign terrorist fighters. The United Nations has continued to support Member States so as to address this evolving threat.”

IAEA International Peer Review Mission on Mid-and-Long-Term Roadmap Towards Decommissioning of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Units 1-4 (Fourth Mission) (5-13 November 2018), Mission Report, 31 January 2019
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published the final report by an IAEA expert team that reviewed Japan’s efforts to plan and implement the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS). In the final report, the team reiterated that “significant progress has already been accomplished to move Fukushima Daiichi from an emergency situation to a stabilized situation. This should allow the focus of more resources for detailed planning and implementation of the decommissioning project of the whole site with considerations extended up to the completion of the decommissioning.”

Monitoring food security in countries with conflict situations: A joint FAO/WFP update for the United Nations Security Council (January 2019)
The fifth issue of the FAO/WFP update for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) provides United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members with an overview of the magnitude, severity and drivers of acute food insecurity in eight countries and regions that have the world’s highest burden of people in need of emergency food, nutrition and livelihood assistance as a result of protracted conflict combined with other factors. These countries are: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lake Chad Basin, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. According to latest analyses from late 2018 (mainly Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC]), around 56 million people need urgent food and livelihood assistance in these countries.

UN Peacemaker – relaunched and updated website
United Nations (UN) Peacemaker is an online mediation support tool developed by the Mediation Support Unit (MSU) in the Policy and Mediation Division of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA). Intended for peacemaking professionals, it includes an extensive database of peace agreements, guidance material and information on the UN’s mediation support services. UN Peacemaker is part of the UN’s overall efforts to support UN and non-UN mediation initiatives.



Human Rights

Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Northern Unity: September – December 2018 (UNMISS / OCHCR)
Report: https://bit.ly/2GJA4GX
Infographic material: https://bit.ly/2GJA9KL
A UN report released on 15 February 2019 highlights persistently high levels of sexual violence in South Sudan’s northern Unity region, with at least 134 women and girls raped, and 41 having suffered other forms of sexual and physical violence just between September and December 2018. Among the survivors, some were as young as eight. The actual level of sexual violence is likely to be considerably higher than the number of cases recorded. The report by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) warns that although attacks against civilians have decreased significantly since the peace agreement was signed on 12 September 2018, endemic conflict-related sexual violence continues in northern Unity. The sexual violence was committed in a context of “pervasive impunity, which contributed to the normalization of violence against women and girls,” the report notes.



Humanitarian Affairs

Children under attack (UNICEF)
English, French & Spanish:
Children under attack (UNICEF) This edition of UNICEF’s report on requirements for humanitarian action highlights major emergencies affecting children and families around the world, and the results achieved by UNICEF and partners in response to those crises. Noting that more violent conflicts are raging today than at any time since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 30 years ago, the report also describes UNICEF initiatives to improve the quality of its humanitarian response in 2019 – particularly in high-threat contexts. Additional information about humanitarian action and UNICEF funding appeals at the country and regional levels is available online at www.unicef.org/appeals.

Desperate Journeys: Refugees and migrants arriving in Europe and at Europe’s borders; January – December 2018 (UNHCR)
Report in English, French, Spanish & Italian:
Desperate Journeys: Refugees and migrants arriving in Europe and at Europe's borders; January – December 2018 (UNHCR) Refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea lost their lives at an alarming rate in 2018, as cuts in search and rescue operations reinforced its position as the world’s deadliest sea crossing. The latest ‘Desperate Journeys’ report, released on 30 January 2019 by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, says six lives were lost on average every day. An estimated 2,275 died or went missing crossing the Mediterranean in 2018, despite a major drop in the number of arrivals reaching European shores. In total, 139,300 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe, the lowest number in five years.

The Mobility of Displaced Syrians: An Economic and Social Analysis (World Bank)
The Mobility of Displaced Syrians: An Economic and Social Analysis (World Bank) The war in Syria, now in its eighth year, continues to take its toll on the Syrian people. Over half of the population of Syria remains displaced (as of September 2018), with more than 5.6 million registered as refugees outside of country and another 6.2 million displaced within Syria’s borders. This study sheds light on the “mobility calculus” of Syrian refugees. While dismissing any policies that imply wrongful practices involving forced repatriation, the study analyzes factors that may be considered by refugees in their own decision to relocate. By doing so, it aims to provide a conceptual framework, supported by data and analysis, to facilitate an impartial conversation about refugees and their mobility choices.



Justice and International Law

Strengthening the Rule of Law through Education: A Guide for Policymakers (UNESCO / UNODC)
Strengthening the Rule of Law through Education: A Guide for Policymakers (UNESCO / UNODC) This new joint publication by UNESCO and UNODC explores the role that education institutions can play in promoting the rule of law and building new forms of engagement based on global citizenship, human rights and inclusion — all of which are vital to take forward the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The guide is intended for education policymakers and other professionals working in the formal education sector, within and outside Ministries of Education, and who are seeking to promote the rule of law and a culture of lawfulness. The guide may also be of interest to professionals working in non-formal education settings or other sectors – namely the justice, social and health sectors – in the area of crime and violence prevention, who are seeking to work more closely with the education sector.