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The Copenhagen Accord: UN Climate Change Conference ’takes note’ of Final Document

arton1743“We underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities…We shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change.” -The Copenhagen Accord


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High Commissioner’s Dialogue: Focus on cities and urban settings

arton1735On 9 December, António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), opened a two-day international dialogue that brought together 300 delegates in Geneva to focus on the pressing problems faced by the increasing numbers of refugees and other forcibly displaced people living in cities and towns around the world.

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Climate Justice for a Changing Planet: Beyond Carbon Trading

- Oscar Reyes and Tamra Gilbertson

“Billions wasted on UN climate programme.” “Truth about Kyoto: huge profits, little carbon saved.” “UN effort to curtail emissions in turmoil.” The headlines attracted by the carbon trading mechanisms at the heart of the Kyoto Protocol, most notably the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), tell a story of a scheme in trouble. But why has it caused such controversy?

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Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN: The UN system’s footprint and efforts to reduce it

arton1737Today the United Nations Environmental Management Group (EMG) launched Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN: The UN system’s footprint and efforts to reduce it during the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. This new report shows the greenhouse gas footprint of the United Nations, including its headquarters and major centres, regional economic commissions, specialized agencies as well as peacekeeping and field offices, and highlights that the “biggest international body is emitting the equivalent of 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, of which approximately 1 million tonnes comes from peacekeeping operations.” Knowing the size of emissions, the United Nations aims with this report to further progress in making the UN system a climate-friendly body and to decrease its emissions.

To download the report, click here.

Copenhagen Climate Summit: Uncertainty Reigns

arton1734With the possibility of a legally binding treaty coming out of the current Copenhagen Climate Summit already discarded, hope remains that the two week negotiations that began this Monday will serve to lay down commitments and come to political agreements on key issues like emissions caps and climate funding - agreements that can lay the ground for a legally binding document in 2010.


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The World Summit on Food Security

arton1722“I am convinced that together we can eradicate hunger from our planet, but we must move from words to actions. Let us do it for a more prosperous, more just, more equitable and more peaceful world. But above all, let us do it quickly because the poor and the hungry cannot wait.” The words of FAO Director-General, Jacques Diouf at the end of the World Summit on Food Security well expressed the sense of urgency that prevailed throughout the 3 day summit.

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Climate Justice for a Changing Planet: Placing the Right to Development and Justice at the Heart of the Response to Climate Change

- Natalia Cardona, Advocacy Coordinator, Social Watch

Development and climate change have become inextricably connected. In order to deal with the effects of climate change on development the international community must deal with the issues of inequity and inequalities. The only way to address these emergencies is to forge a more equitable and equal sharing of the planet’s resources; placing the right to development at the heart of these initiatives is not only indispensable but also a matter of justice.

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Historic overview on the World Conferences on Women

In June 1946, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) established the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to ensure the empowerment of women and gender equality (E/RES/2/11, 21 June 1946), and to provide recommendations to the Council on the obstacles relating women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and education fields.

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Climate Justice for a Changing Planet: Climate and Development Goals: Is there need for a post-Copenhagen Framework?

- Richard Sherman

One of the key challenges for the Copenhagen Outcome is how to integrate the development context of climate change. In recent months we have seen issues such as water, agriculture and gender featuring more prominently in the negotiations. While this is welcomed, one must surely wonder why it has taken so long for these issues to feature on the climate stage. Furthermore, the current negotiating text merely references the important relationship between development and climate change, and currently lacks specific details to mobilize the development and climate communities. The challenge is not only to integrate development issues into the climate debate, which most countries are happy to elude towards, but to craft a climate and development framework that can mobilize international, regional and national action towards a set of goals and targets which are aligned with the existing global development agenda.

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Africa looks to private sector-led youth employment in achieving MDGs

arton1716“A larger and more productive private sector is a necessity if Africa is to experience sustainable development. Private sector-led growth must create more and better employment for Africa’s growing youth population. Employment will reduce poverty, improve the standards of living for Africans and create the basis for sustainable development and for reaching the Millennium Development Goals.” - Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Chairman of the Africa Commission, Report of the Africa Commission 2009

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Related Gender Initiatives within the UN

The twelve critical concerns identified in the Beijing Platform For Action (BPFA) include: poverty of women, unequal access to education, lack and unequal access to health care systems, violence against women, vulnerabilities of women in armed conflict, inequality in economic structures, inequalities in power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms to improve the advancement of women, lack of respects and inadequate protection in human rights, under-representation of women in the media, inequalities in natural resource management and in the safeguarding of the environment, and the discrimination and violation of the girl child.

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Regional initiatives on Beijing +15

Various regional initiatives are being undertaken, on the one hand by UN agencies and commissions, on the other hand by civil society at large. For example, all UN Regional Commissions, in cooperation with the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), have been sending a Beijing +15 questionnaire to their members to track their progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA). In addition, they are organizing regional reviews, that will feed into the global review in March 2010.

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OHCHR: Call for input – Study on preventable maternal mortality, morbidity and human rights

arton1686During its 11th session in June 2009,Resolution 11/8onPreventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rightswas adopted by theHuman Rights Councilin Geneva. As a result, theUN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights(OHCHR) was requested to prepare a study on the theme of the resolution in consultation with various UN entities, as well as other relevant stakeholders.

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NGLS publication on the UN engagement with people’s movements

arton1702"As this publication demonstrates, there is a continuing need for creating spaces for constructive dialogue and mutual cooperation, with the full participation of indigenous peoples in the decisions that affect them. This is essential not only in the context of UN activities but also at the local, national and regional levels. This publication showcases a number of initiatives to this end, which could be duplicated and further supported in order to ensure the full realization of indigenous peoples’ rights in the twenty first century.” - Prof. James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of  the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People


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The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is an inter-agency programme of the United Nations mandated to develop constructive relations between the UN and civil society organizations.


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OHCHR Report: Safe & Enabling Environment for Civil Society

OHCHR Civil society report2