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UNRIC Library Newsletter - September 2017

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UNRIC Library Newsletter - September 2017
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New UN websites & publications

UN in General


The 72nd regular session of the General Assembly opened on 12 September 2017, the General Debate will start on 19 September 2017.

Press Kit

Delegates Handbook
English, French & Spanish:

General Debate Website

High-level meetings

•    18 September – High-level meeting on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse: building momentum for change (This is an event convened by the Secretary-General)

•    26 September – High-level meeting convened by the President of the General Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear

•    27-28 September – High-level meeting on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

 UNhandbook201718United Nations Handbook 2017-18
App & pdf version:  
“The UN Handbook is a valuable reference guide that helps everyone working with or within the United Nations navigate the UN system effectively.  The UN Handbook app makes the content more useable and accessible.  An updated version of the app has now been released.  New Zealand has demonstrated its long-standing commitment and practical support for the United Nations by producing the UN Handbook since 1961.”

Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

glo2017Global Land Outlook (UNCCD)
Report, Executive Summary, Key Messages in English, French & Spanish: 
The first edition of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification’s (UNCCD) Global Land Outlook (GLO) was published in September 2017. The GLO is a strategic communications platform and publication that demonstrates the central importance of land quality to human well-being, assesses current trends in land conversion, degradation and loss, identifies the driving factors and analyzes the impacts, provides scenarios for future challenges and opportunities, and presents a new and transformative vision for land management policy, planning and practice at global and national scales.

Soils’ potential to contribute to offset international aviation emissions (FAO)    
soilspotentialInternational aviation is responsible for 1.3 per cent of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Even considering the technological and operational improvements planned by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a gap of 523 megatonnes CO2 emissions remains to meet their set emission reduction targets. This informative note presents soil carbon sequestration as an option for offsetting this emissions through a market-based mechanism within the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. Success stories of FAO projects such as the development and implementation of the Quesungual System in Honduras can enhance soil carbon stocks, thus mitigating increasing contents of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and at the same time improving food security and climate change resilience.

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) ‘Heat Maps’
The maps have been launched using the latest energy data from knowledge partners that help identify countries and regions around the world making the most progress – and facing the biggest challenges – on key sustainable energy issues.

state2017The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017
Interactive digital edition:
pdf in English:
pdf in French:
pdf in Spanish:
After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people in 2016, or 11 per cent of the global population, says a new edition of the annual United Nations report on world food security and nutrition released on 15 September 2017. At the same time, multiple forms of malnutrition are threatening the health of millions worldwide. The increase - 38 million more people than the previous year - is largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks, according to report.

Trade and Development Report 2017 - Beyond austerity: Towards a global new deal (UNCTAD)
Report in English, Executive Summary in English, French & Spanish:
Noting that the world economy in 2017 “is picking up but not taking off,” a new United Nations trade and development report has cautioned against fiscal austerity and harnessing finance to support job creation and infrastructure investment. According to the report's findings, growth this year is expected to reach 2.6 per cent, slightly higher than last year, but still well below the pre-financial crisis average of 3.2 per cent. Most regions are expected to register small gains, with Latin America exiting recession and posting the biggest turnaround, even if only at 1.2 per cent growth. The Eurozone is expected to see a 1.8 per cent growth while the United States could witness 2.1 per cent. However, with insufficient global demand, trade remains sluggish and only minor improvement is anticipated this year, primarily due to a recover in South-South trade (led by China). Furthermore, in the absence of a coordinated expansion led by the advanced economies, sustaining the limited global economic acceleration hinges on lasting improvements in emerging economies, noted UNCTAD.

International Peace and Security

Concept paper for the Security Council open debate on "United Nations peacekeeping operations: their potential contribution to the overarching goal of sustaining peace"
English, French & Spanish:
On 29 August 2017, the Security Council held an open debate on the theme “United Nations peacekeeping operations: their potential contribution to the overarching goal of sustaining peace”. The Security Council President for August, Egypt, has prepared a concept paper for this debate.

Annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (A/72/275, 2 August 2017)
English, French & Spanish:
“Summary: Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/177, the present annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children provides an overview of major initiatives and developments to sustain and scale up efforts to safeguard children’s freedom from violence, including information on field missions and regional initiatives, and on progress achieved and the challenges remaining to protect children from all forms of violence. The report builds upon the process of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its target to end all forms of violence against children.”

Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (A/72/276, 2 August 2017)
English, French & Spanish:
“Summary: The present report is submitted to the General Assembly pursuant to its resolution 71/177 on the rights of the child, in which it requested the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict to continue to submit reports to the General Assembly on the activities undertaken in the fulfilment of her mandate and on the progress achieved and the challenges remaining on the children and armed conflict agenda. The report covers the period from August 2016 to July 2017 and describes current trends. In addition, the report provides information on the vision of the new Special Representative, including on her engagement with regional organizations and international partners, as well as on dialogue with parties to conflict, which includes an analysis of the “Children, not soldiers” campaign. It outlines a number of challenges and priorities on her agenda and concludes with a set of recommendations to enhance the protection of children affected by armed conflict.”

Human Rights

Human rights violations and abuses in the context of protests in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela from 1 April to 31 July 2017 (OHCHR)
Extensive human rights violations and abuses have been committed in the context of anti-Government protests in Venezuela and point to “the existence of a policy to repress political dissent and instil fear in the population to curb demonstrations,” a report by the UN Human Rights Office has found. The report calls on the UN Human Rights Council to consider taking measures to prevent the human rights situation in Venezuela, currently a Council member, from worsening. Analysis by the UN Human Rights Office indicates that of the 124 deaths linked to the protests being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office as of 31 July, the security forces were reportedly responsible for 46 and pro-Government armed groups, known as armed colectivos, for 27. Responsibility for the remaining 51 deaths has not yet been determined. During the period covered by the report, 1 April to 31 July, the Attorney-General’s Office opened investigations into at least 1,958 cases of reported injuries in the context of demonstrations. The report’s analysis of injuries shows the use of force progressively escalated. In the first half of April, the majority of injuries were from inhaling tear gas; by July, medical personnel were treating gunshot injuries.

Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment (UNDP) 
journeytoextremismDeprivation and marginalization, underpinned by weak governance, are primary forces driving young Africans into violent extremism, according to a comprehensive new study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – the first study of its kind. Based on interviews with 495 voluntary recruits to extremist organizations such as Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, the new study also found that it is often perceived state violence or abuse of power that provides the final tipping point for the decision to join an extremist group. The study presents the results of a two-year UNDP Africa study on recruitment in the most prominent extremist groups in Africa. It reveals a picture of a frustrated individual, marginalized and neglected over the course of his life, starting in childhood. With few economic prospects or outlets for meaningful civic participation that can bring about change, and little trust in the state to either provide services or respect human rights, the study suggests, such an individual could, upon witnessing or experiencing perceived abuse of power by the state, be tipped over the edge into extremism.

Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine: 16 May to 15 August 2017 (OHCHR) 
August 2017 bucked the trend of the past three years of the conflict in eastern Ukraine with a decrease in the number of civilian casualties, according to a report by the UN Human Rights Office published today. The “harvest ceasefire”, which began at the end of June, may have contributed to this. However, the ceasefire never fully took hold, with hostilities suddenly flaring and then easing. The report stresses that this unpredictability made daily life particularly dangerous for civilians living close to the contact line on both sides. The report covers the period from 16 May to 15 August 2017, during which the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine recorded 26 conflict-related civilian deaths and 135 injuries.

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/36/55, 8 August 2017 - Advance Edited Version)
Despite reduced violence in some places in Syria, warring parties continued to perpetrate unthinkable crimes against civilians, including the use of chemical weapons by Government forces, a group of United Nations investigators said on 6 September 2017 as they released a new report. In its fourteenth report to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, covering the period between March and July this year, the Commission noted that the Syrian air force used sarin in opposition-held Khan Shaykhun on 4 April, killing over 80 people, most of whom were women and children. A press release issued by the Commission noted that such attacks constitute clear violations of international humanitarian law and the Convention on Chemical Weapons, which Syria ratified in 2013 following a previous sarin attack.

The situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/36/33, 5 September 2017 – Advance unedited version)
Report, Press release, Video, Infographics:
Human rights violations and abuses continue unabated in Yemen, along with unrelenting violations of international humanitarian law, with civilians suffering deeply the consequences of an “entirely man-made catastrophe”, according to a UN human rights report published on 5 September 2017. The report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, records violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law over three years, since September 2014. Between March 2015, when the UN Human Rights Office began reporting on civilian casualties, and 30 August, at least 5,144 civilians have been documented as killed and more than 8,749 injured. Children accounted for 1,184 of those who were killed and 1,541 of those injured. Coalition airstrikes continued to be the leading cause of child casualties as well as overall civilian casualties. Some 3,233 of the civilians killed were reportedly killed by Coalition forces.

Humanitarian Affairs

Desperate Journeys: Refugees and migrants entering and crossing Europe via the Mediterranean and Western Balkans routes; January – June 2017 (UNHCR) newly compiled report by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, shows a decline in the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe in the first half of 2017. However, without legal means available to them many are still resorting to being transported by ruthless people-smuggling and trafficking networks, risking death, serious abuses, or both. The report says that overall Mediterranean crossings fell sharply in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2016, due mainly to a 94% decline in people using the sea route from Turkey into Greece. Meanwhile, crossings from North Africa to Italy have remained at around the same level as last year (83,752 people as of end June, and lower arrivals rates since). Despite the fall in arrivals, the likelihood of dying among people seeking to reach Europe is still alarmingly high. The report says an estimated 2,253 people died or went missing at sea, and at least 40 died on land routes at or near European borders. As most people travel clandestinely, such information is hard to confirm and these estimates are considered conservative. Violence and abuse along the journey, most notably in Libya, are rife.

Harrowing Journeys: Children and youth on the move across the Mediterranean Sea, at risk of trafficking and exploitation (UNICEF / IOM)
Report in English, Executive Summary in English, French & Spanish: and refugee children and youth trying to reach Europe face appalling levels of human rights abuses, with 77 per cent of those traveling along the Central Mediterranean route reporting direct experiences of abuse, exploitation, and practices which may amount to human trafficking – IOM, the UN Migration Agency and UNICEF said on 12 September 2017 in a new report. Harrowing Journeys shows that while all migrants and refugees are at high risk, children and youth on the move are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than adults aged 25 years and above: nearly twice as likely on the Eastern Mediterranean route and at a rate 13 per cent higher on the Central Mediterranean route.    


Missing Migrants (IOM) 
IOM, the UN Migration Agency has launched its new Missing Migrants Project website on 7 September 2017. The Missing Migrants Project tracks migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers, who have died or gone missing while migrating to an international destination.

leftbehindLeft Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis (UNHCR) 
More than 3.5 million refugee children did not have the chance to attend school in the last academic year, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, says in a report published on 12 September 2017. the report says that, globally, 91 per cent of children attend primary school, but for refugees that figure is just 61 per cent, and in low-income countries less than 50 per cent. It says there are 6.4 million refugees of school age – between five and 17 – among the 17.2 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate. “In 2016, only 2.9 million were enrolled in primary or secondary education. More than half of them – 3.5 million – did not go to school,” it continued.    

Nuclear, Chemical and Conventional Weapons Disarmament

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: Signature and Ratification 
tpnwThe Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities. These include undertakings not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. The Treaty also prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons on national territory and the provision of assistance to any State in the conduct of prohibited activities. States parties will also be obliged to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty undertaken by persons or on territory under its jurisdiction or control. The Treaty also obliges States parties to provide adequate assistance to individuals affected by the use or testing of nuclear weapons as well as to take necessary and appropriate measure of environmental remediation in areas under its jurisdiction or control contaminated as a result of activities related to the testing or use of nuclear weapons. This brochure describes the procedures that States must follow in order to sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to this treaty. Included are model instruments that can be used for deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.