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UNRIC Library Newsletter - March 2015

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UNRIC Library Newsletter - March 2015
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New UN websites & publications

UN in General – revamped website
The Web Services Section of the Department of Public Information has unveiled the new in all six official languages. The new-look website has been completely redesigned and restructured resulting in a more intuitive, visually arresting and dynamic user experience that reflects a forward-looking United Nations in its 70th year.  The website contains a wealth of information about the Organization, almost all of which is fully accessible for persons with disabilities. The audience-driven taxonomy will help specific audiences such as delegates, journalists, the business community, the civil society, academia, students, job seekers and visitors easily find links to relevant information with their own dedicated pages of resources.  New sections such as ‘In Focus’, ‘In the Spotlight’ and ‘The UN System at Work’ promote the multifaceted work of the UN around the world and also enable us to highlight prominent themes, events and personalities to engage users.  For example, with a single click, users can access important resources, such as UN Documents, main bodies of the UN, key topics that they follow or the latest news.


Dag Hammarskjöld Library Research Guides - Commission on the Status of Women: A Quick Guide 
The Dag Hammarskjöld Library has created a resource guide for the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. It contains: current information on CSW59/Beijing+20 (2015), links to Commission on the Status of Women resources, FAQs on women and gender, official UN documents on women, conventions and international instruments related to gender, databases and statistical resources.

UNOG Library & Archives Research Guides: Unforced Disappearances 
This guide is designed as practical tool intended to facilitate your legal research through the most relevant, quality and reliable sources.

UNESCO’s Open Access (OA) Curriculum is now online  
Within the overall framework of the organization’s strategy on Open Access, the recent launch of OA curricula for Researchers and Library Schools by UNESCO highlights its efforts for enhancing capacities to deal with Open Access issues. The carefully designed and developed sets of OA curricula for researchers and library and information professionals are based on two needs assessment surveys, and several rounds of face-to-face and online consultations with relevant stakeholders.

League of Nations Archives - Materials related to the Republic of Lithuania
The Library of the United Nations Office at Geneva has completed the digitization project launched in 2014 in collaboration with the Republic of Lithuania. Over 35,000 pages of archives relating to Lithuania’s activities at the League of Nations (1920-1946), the first global international organisation aiming at the establishment of peace and cooperation and the precursor of the United Nations, are now available online. This achievement is the result of a joint team effort between the staff of the Institutional Memory Section of the UNOG Library, who selected and prepared materials, and the staff of the National Archives of Lithuania who came to Geneva for several weeks to digitize the archived documents.

Peace and Security

Security Council Concept Note: Open debate on children and armed conflict, with a particular focus on child victims of non-State armed groups
English, French & Spanish:
The Security Council held an open debate on Wednesday, 25 March 2015, on “Maintenance of international peace and security: reflecting on history and reaffirming our strong commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations”. The Security Council President for the month of March, France, had prepared this concept note.

Security Council Concept Note: Open debate on the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East
English, French & Spanish:
The Security Council held an open debate on Friday, 27 March 2015, on the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East. The Security Council President for the month of March, France, had prepared this concept note.

United Nations Peacekeeping Operations – Fact Sheet: 28 February 2015 (DPI/1634/Rev.166, March 2015)

United Nations Political and Peacebuilding Missions – Fact Sheet: 28 February 2015 (DPI/2166/Rev.138, March 2015)

Economic & Social Development

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action turns 20: Summary Report (UN Women)
Beijing Summary ReportUrgent action required in five key areas, says Beijing summary report. To be presented at the opening of the Commission on the Status of Women on 9 March, today UN Women Executive Director highlighted the key findings of the new report The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action turns 20, which sheds a critical light on how far we’ve come 20 years after the adoption of this landmark blueprint for advancing women’s rights.

Formalizing the Informal: Challenges and Opportunities of Informal Settlements in South-East Europe (UNECE)
In 2014, there were some 3.5 million informal buildings (i.e. constructed without building permits) in South-Eastern Europe, including approximately 2,500,000 in Greece; 500,000 in Albania; 350,000 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; and 130,000 in Montenegro. In spite of the initiatives taken in recent years in many countries to implement formalization measures, greater efforts to legalise informal settlements and prevent future illegal construction are needed in the region. These are the main findings of this study, presented at the UNECE workshop “The challenges of Informal Settlements”, on 25 February. 

Leveraging the cooperative advantage for women’s empowerment and gender equality (ILO) 
An online survey conducted by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Cooperatives Unit and the International Co-operative Alliance shows 75 per cent of survey respondents feel that women’s participation in co-operatives has increased over the past 20 years.

Socio-Economic Impact of Ebola Virus Disease in West African Countries (UNDP)
The effects of Ebola, which has infected nearly 24,000 people and killed nearly 10,000, mainly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, extend beyond the people who suffer from the virus and even beyond the borders of the worst-affected countries, says a new United Nations report released today. Even in West African nations that experienced low or zero incidence of Ebola, the effects of the outbreak have been powerful because of the strong ties between the countries of the region, according to the report, which was produced by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Saving Lives, Protecting Futures: Progress Report on the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health
savinglivesAlmost five years since the strategy and subsequent “Every Woman Every Child” movement launched, this report provided the Secretary-General with an opportunity to report back to Member States and other stakeholders on the progress made and lessons learned under the “Global Strategy”. The report also sets the rationale for continued and accelerated action on the unfinished MDG agenda.

Women in Politics 2015 Map (IPU / UN Women)
The launched by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women today shows that although the numbers of women in executive government and in parliament continue to inch forward, the slow rate of progress will severely check global development plans due to be adopted later this year. Women’s political empowerment and equal participation in political decision-making have underpinned global development targets since 1995 and are likely to feature in the new sustainable development agenda taking over from the Millennium Development Goals this year. The snail’s pace of progress on gender equality and women’s participation in public and political life will need to be tackled head on for the overall success of the new goals. The Map, which presents latest data and global rankings for women in politics, reveals a mixed picture on gender equality in executive government and in parliament at regional and national levels.


Human Rights

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Iraq in the light of abuses committed by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated groups (A/HRC/28/18, Advance Unedited Version)
The so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) may have committed all three of the most serious international crimes – namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – according to a report issued by the UN Human Rights Office on 19 March 2015. The report, compiled by an investigation team sent to the region by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights late last year, draws on in-depth interviews with more than 100 people who witnessed or survived attacks in Iraq between June 2014 and February 2015. It documents a wide range of violations by ISIL against numerous ethnic and religious groups in Iraq, some of which, it says, may amount to genocide. It also highlights violations, including killings, torture and abductions, allegedly carried out by the Iraqi Security Forces and associated militia groups. The report finds that widespread abuses committed by ISIL include killings, torture, rape and sexual slavery, forced religious conversions and the conscription of children. All of these, it says, amount to violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some may constitute crimes against humanity and/ or may amount to war crimes.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt (A/HRC/28/66)
Violence committed in the name of religion does not simply ‘erupt’, but is typically caused by contemporary factors and actors that provide the fertile ground for the seeds of hatred, United Nations human rights expert Heiner Bielefeldt said on 10 March 2015 during the presentation of his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council. “That kind of violence typically originates from geographic, historical, political, social, economic circumstances as well as communal, local, regional and international ones,” Mr. Bielefeldt noted. In his study on preventing violence committed in the name of religion, the human rights expert warns that “while it would be wrong to focus on religion in isolation when analysing the problem, it would be equally simplistic to reduce religious motives to mere ‘excuses’ for violent crimes perpetrated in their name.”

Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine: 1 December 2014 to 15 February 2015 (OHCHR)
The estimated number of people killed in eastern Ukraine since April 2014 has now passed the 6,000 mark, in spite of successive ceasefires, and 14,740 wounded. There are now one million registered internally displaced people. The ninth report of the UN Human Rights Mission in Ukraine, which covers the period between 1 December 2014 and 15 February 2015, refers to reports that heavy weaponry and foreign fighters, including from the Russian Federation, continue to flow into areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by the armed groups.

Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in Syria Crisis: A Journalist's Handbook (UNFPA)
reportingGender-based violence is a complicated and sensitive subject. Reporting on gender-based violence means discussing issues that are often considered ‘taboo,’ and talking publicly about intimate and distressing matters. This can be particularly challenging in countries where tradition and religion play an important role in everyday life. Whilst effective reporting on gender-based violence requires a certain amount of extra effort to get it right, doing so involves building upon internationally recognised ethical principles which all journalists should be familiar with: accuracy, fairness, as well as respect for and protection of interviewees. The handbook – available in English & Arabic - sets out to examine some of the terminology, ethical questions, and practical concerns associated with covering gender-based violence, and to provide an overview of some of the organisations involved in combating gender-based violence and providing support services for survivors.

Syria: Alienation and Violence; Impact of the Syria Crisis Report (Syrian Centre for Policy Research / UNDP / UNRWA) 
syriaalienationFour years of armed conflict, economic disintegration and social fragmentation in Syria have hollowed out its population by 15 percent, forced some 10 million people to flee their homes and reduced life expectancy by two decades – from nearly 76 years of age to 56 – according to a United Nations-backed report released today on the “catastrophic” impact of the conflict.
“While crushing the aspirations of the Syrian people and their ability to build and form institutions that can restore human security and respect human dignity and rights, the armed conflict has depleted the capital and wealth of the country,” according to this report, produced by the Syrian Centre for Policy Research with the support of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). 

Women and Girls Safe Spaces: A guidance note based on lessons learned from the Syria crisis (UNFPA) 
womengirlssafespacesThe creation of women and girls safe spaces has emerged as a key strategy for the protection and empowerment of women and girls affected by the Syrian crisis. This document provides an overview of what safe spaces are, and what key principles should be followed when establishing such spaces in humanitarian and post-crisis contexts. This guidance is based on the experiences of UNFPA and its partners in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. It also refers to experiences documented by the Gender-Based Violence coordination mechanisms in Jordan and Lebanon. Lessons learned from other regions are also referenced. Guidance has also been taken from the child protection and adolescent girls sectors in establishing child-friendly spaces and girls’ safe spaces.

Update on the Treatment of Conflict-Related Detainees in Afghan Custody: Accountability and Implementation of Presidential Decree 129 
A UN report released on 25 February 2015 on the torture and ill-treatment of conflict-related detainees in Government detention facilities in Afghanistan shows some progress and welcomes the new administration’s commitment to accelerate its efforts to fully eliminate the practice of torture and ill-treatment in detention facilities. However the new UNAMA report shows a persistent lack of accountability with a single criminal prosecution for torture observed since 2010, despite numerous verified incidents raised with officials over the course of the observation period. The report notes that the National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Interior internal accountability and oversight mechanisms remain inadequate, lacking independence, authority, transparency and capacity.

Humanitarian Affairs

whatdoesittakeNew global campaign asks #whatdoesittake to end Syria crisis? (UNOCHA) 
More than 200,000 people have been killed since the Syria crisis began in March 2011. The UN estimates that 12.2 million people need some form of humanitarian assistance, while more than 11 million have been forced to flee their homes. The United Nations calls on the public, Member States, world leaders and the wider humanitarian community to join the #WhatDoesItTake social media campaign to express their frustrations around the deteriorating humanitarian situation and to send a message of solidarity with the people of Syria so they do not give up hope.

Conflict in Syria and Iraq: 14 Million Children & Adolescents in the Region Affected (UNICEF)
syriacrisismarch2015Some 14 million children across the region are now suffering from the escalating conflict sweeping Syria and much of Iraq, said UNICEF on 12 March 2015. With the conflict in Syria now entering its fifth year, the situation of more than 5.6 million children inside the country remains the most desperate. That includes up to 2 million children who are living in areas of the country largely cut off from humanitarian assistance due to fighting or other factors. Some 2.6 million Syrian children are still out of school. Almost 2 million Syrian children are living as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and other countries. This is in addition to the 3.6 million children from vulnerable communities hosting refugees, who themselves are suffering due to the strain on services like education and health. Meanwhile, the increasingly interlinked crisis gripping Iraq has forced more than 2.8 million children from their homes, and left many trapped in areas controlled by armed groups.

Four Years of Human Suffering – The Syria conflict as observed through satellite imagery (UNITAR/UNOSAT) 
unosatsyriaDuring the last four years UNOSAT - UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme - has documented a wide range of dramatic events directly linked to the impact on civilian life and the corresponding human suffering the people of Syria has endured and still face today. These research findings have been provided to the requesting UN sister agencies since the onset of the Syria conflict. The complex situation the people of Syria is facing today includes atrocities reportedly carried out by all sides of the conflict, including government forces, local opposition forces and numerous fractions of foreign fighters, including Da’esh. Trapped in the middle of all this fighting is a civilian population trying to survive under conditions of extreme hardship. The terrible conditions that children, elderly, women and men are faced with are clearly observed in the satellite imagery UNOSAT has used in this study. This report is our contribution to the United Nations repeated calls to put an end to the hostilities in Syria and the need to find a political solution to a highly complex situation.

Ebola: Getting to zero – for communities, for children for the future (UNICEF) 
gettingtozeroAs slight hints of recovery begin to surface in West Africa, UNICEF is looking at the impact of Ebola on children and the response and work of the affected communities in this report. The document traces some of the outbreak’s history along with the stories of survivors, health care workers and those working to make things better on the ground. The report also helps map out the actions that urgently must continue to help build resiliency and resuscitate basic services and systems decimated by Ebola.

Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 (UNISDR)
GAR2015The 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR15), prepared by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and launched on 5 March 2015 by the Secretary-General, states that economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of US$250 billion to US$300 billion annually. GAR15 finds that governments need to be setting aside US$314 billion every year to meet annual average losses from just earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and river flooding. This is a major lost opportunity for financing poverty reduction programs in the areas of health and education. Another key finding is that the majority of governments are too focused on managing disasters rather than tackling the underlying drivers of disaster risk such as poverty, climate change, the decline of protective eco-systems, poor urban planning and land use, and lack of building codes which contribute significantly to the creation of risk.

The United Nations and its partners launched an appeal on 12 February 2015 for nearly $2 billion to provide vital humanitarian assistance to millions of people in nine countries across Africa’s Sahel region. The “Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2015” is part of a regional multi-year strategy to respond better to the chronic challenges in the region by emphasizing early intervention and forging closer partnerships with governments and development actors.

Overview of Natural Disasters and their Impacts in Asia and the Pacific, 1970 – 2014 (UNESCAP) 
88 per cent of the people affected by natural disasters worldwide in the past 45 years live in the Asia and Pacific region. The region has lost two million lives and US $1.15 trillion, accounting for 56.6 and 41 per cent of global disaster impacts respectively. The report illustrates how floods, storms, earthquakes and tsunamis have been the most violent natural disasters in the region, claiming 92 per cent of lives lost and 76 per cent of economic losses. It also shows a decline in the average number of fatalities per event, despite a rise in the number of natural disasters. However, the economic losses in the region have surged significantly from US$ 5 billion per year in the 1970s to around US$ 75 billion per year in recent years.

Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance: UNDP Support during the HFA Implementation Period 2005-2015 (UNDP)
Executive Summary:
The report examines the strategies and methodologies employed by UNDP over the last decade to promote an enabling governance environment for disaster risk reduction (DRR). In particular, it presents an analysis of UNDP support for getting DRR on the political agenda as a cross-cutting development priority, and facilitating the translation of DRR policy frameworks into action at the local level. The report provides valuable lessons to inform future policy and programming, as well as recommendations for UNDP’s and other actors involved in the implementation of the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk reduction.