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UNRIC Library Newsletter - March 2017

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UNRIC Library Newsletter - March 2017
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UN in General

UN DESA has launched the 2030 Agenda Voluntary National Reviews online platform. The platform provides ease of access to reports, documentation, web cast sessions, statements and presentations from countries taking part in the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

On 23 March, the President of the General Assembly will convene a High-Level Event entitled “Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda” in collaboration with the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This event will provide an opportunity to highlight synergies between Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda and to gather representatives of Governments, International Organizations, the Private Sector and other stakeholders who are advancing solutions to implementation of the SDG and Climate Change agreements.

UN-EU Partnership Report - Saving and Empowering Lives
uneupartnershipreportThe UN-EU Partnership Report 2014-2015 reflects the humanitarian and development cooperation between the United Nations and the European union, and our coordinated work on peace and security and human rights. The EU supported many of the country-led, UN-coordinated multi-donor arrangements that enabled – through the hard work of countries, their governments and people – progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through 2015. The results included in the report are not exhaustive; they do, however, illustrate key UN-EU partnership achievements and highlight our work together around the world in 2014-2015.

TOGETHER is a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. TOGETHER brings together the organizations of the United Nations System, the 193 member countries of the United Nations, the private sector, civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.
The campaign was initiated during the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016.

"UN - How To" App (UNITAR) 
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) with sponsorship from the Swedish government has launched its new mobile app “UN - How To” on 9 March 2017.  The main purpose of the app is to provide essential services to all delegates, but especially, LDC’s, SIDS’ and members of FOSS. The app ranges from basic administrative forms to the vast breadth of UN research tools and documentation. This app is essential to the UN community and will provide delegates an accessible and portable avenue to have all the information and documents they need to successfully navigate the United Nations System.


ECLAC Digital Repository
English & Spanish:
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) continues to strengthen its digital outreach platform to expand access to their vast academic assets. ECLAC’s two main digital communication tools - the website and the Digital Repository -  are now more tightly integrated and improved; offering easier navigation and access to downloads of ECLAC publications and official documents. The Digital Repository is an online collection of 37,000 ECLAC documents related to the region’s development from 1948 to the present. Maintained by the Hernán Santa Cruz Library, it covers 8,000 authors, 120 collections, and five different languages for a total of more than 2.5 million pages of historical and current information.


Peace and Security

Concept note for the Security Council’s open debate on “Trafficking in persons in conflict situations: forced labour, slavery and other similar practices”
English, French & Spanish:
The Security Council held an open debate entitled “Trafficking in persons in conflict situations: forced labour, slavery and other similar practices” on 15 March 2017. The Security Council President for March, United Kingdom, has prepared this concept note.

Conduct in Field Missions (DFS) 
The UN Department of Field Support (DFS) launched its new website on conduct and discipline on 7 March 2017. The new website comes amidst the Secretary-General’s continuing call for strict enforcement of United Nations standards of conduct in peacekeeping operations and political missions. The site contains in-depth information on the conduct and discipline mandate of UN missions, policies, training, awareness-raising activities and the handling of allegations of misconduct. The site also contains a new and enhanced section on data.  

Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach; Report of the Secretary-General (A/71/818, 28 February 2017)
Report in English, French & Spanish:
Addendum in English, French & Spanish:
News Centre Story:
Underscoring that the United Nations should not be, in any way, associated with the vile and vicious crimes of rape, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, Secretary-General António Guterres has outlined a new victim-centred approach to prevent and respond to such abuses committed by those serving under the UN flag. “Such acts of cruelty should never take place. Certainly no person serving with the United Nations in any capacity should be associated with such vile and vicious crimes,” said Mr. Guterres in a message announcing his report released on 9 March 2017 on the issue. “Let us declare in one voice: We will not tolerate anyone committing or condoning sexual exploitation and abuse. We will not let anyone cover up these crimes with the UN flag,” he added.  The Secretary-General's report outlines a victim-centred strategy that is rooted in transparency, accountability and ensuring justice.

United Nations Political and Peacebuilding Missions – Fact Sheet: 31 January 2017 (DPI/2166/Rev.162, February 2017)


Economic and Social Development

UN Environment launched on 23 February 2017 an unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022. Launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, the #CleanSeas campaign is urging governments to pass plastic reduction policies; targeting industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products; and calling on consumers to change their throwaway habits – before irreversible damage is done to our seas.

dontpolluteDon’t pollute my future! The Impact of the Environment on Children's Health (WHO)
In 2015, 5.9 million children under age five died. The major causes of child deaths globally are pneumonia, prematurity, intrapartum-related complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital anomalies, diarrhoea, injuries and malaria. Most of these diseases and conditions are at least partially caused by the environment. It was estimated in 2012 that 26% of childhood deaths and 25% of the total disease burden in children under five could be prevented through the reduction of environmental risks such as air pollution, unsafe water, sanitation and inadequate hygiene or chemicals.

The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and Challenges (FAO) 
Mankind's future ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality, and the fallout from a changing climate, warns a new FAO report out on 22 February 2017. Though very real and significant progress in reducing global hunger has been achieved over the past 30 years, "expanding food production and economic growth have often come at a heavy cost to the natural environment," says the report.

Global context for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Sustained global economic growth (Development Issues No. 8) 
The Development Policy and Analysis Division at DESA has prepared a series of policy notes to review current trends in the global economy with the intention of stirring debate about the urgent need to create an enabling international environment for sustainable development.  This note reviews recent trends in global economic growth and the challenges it poses for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

hdr2017Human Development Report 2016: Human Development for Everyone (UNDP)
English, French & Spanish:
A quarter-century of impressive human development progress continues to leave many people behind, with systemic, often unmeasured, barriers to catching up. A stronger focus on those excluded and on actions to dismantle these barriers is urgently needed to ensure sustainable human development for all. These are the findings of the ‘Human Development Report 2016 released on 21 March 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, one in three people worldwide continue to live in low levels of human development, as measured by the Human Development Index.     

Inequalities and the World of Work: What role for industrial relations and social dialogue? (ILO) 
Labour market policies and the industrial relations systems underpinning collective bargaining practices have a key influence on the level of inequalities observed in EU Member States, a new ILO report shows. The report looks beyond wage inequalities and also analyses other forms of inequality, such as inequality in working time, as well as access to jobs, training, career opportunities and social protection. It examines overall trends in Europe and includes specific chapters on Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Baltic States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In several European countries, the erosion of collective bargaining has led to an increased number of low-paid jobs and rising inequality among the workforce. Conversely, countries with more centralized or highly coordinated collective bargaining systems such as Sweden or Belgium have been successful at preventing the rise of low-paid or employment insecurity and the growth of inequalities.

inheritingInheriting a sustainable world: Atlas on children’s health and the environment (WHO)  
More than a decade after WHO published “Inheriting the world: The atlas of children’s health and the environment” in 2004, this new publication presents the continuing and emerging challenges to children’s environmental health. This new edition is not simply an update but a more detailed review; we take into account changes in the major environmental hazards to children’s health over the last 13 years, due to increasing urbanization, industrialization, globalization and climate change, as well as efforts in the health sector to reduce children’s environmental exposures. It aligns with the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, launched in 2015, in stressing that every child deserves the opportunity to thrive, in safe and healthy settings.   

Leave No One Behind: Taking Action for Transformational Change on Women’s Economic Empowerment 
The final report to the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel (HLP) on Women’s Economic Empowerment has now been published, stressing that building women’s economic empowerment must be done in ways that leaves nobody behind, particularly the most marginalized women at the bottom of the pyramid. The report also acknowledges that gender inequalities remain persistent across the world, but they can be overcome if barriers are removed. In its report, the Panel lays out concrete actions for accelerating progress towards women’s full and equal economic participation. Some of these measures include: actions to eliminate violence against women (at home and in the workplace), sharing the burden of unpaid care work, ensuring women’s access to financial services and new technology, increasing women’s access to justice, changing culture and practices in employment, procurement and other practices of both the public and the private sector, and ratifying key international agreements for protecting the rights of women workers, especially women in the informal sector and domestic workers. It also elaborates on how economic policies and legal reforms can facilitate an enabling environment, which is critical for breaking the constraints on women’s economic empowerment.  

Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2016 (INCB)
Report & Press Material in English, French & Spanish:
Press Release in German:
This year’s report of the Board contains a thematic chapter on women and drugs, the specific needs of women who use drugs and the harms they face in connection to drug use. That chapter looks at the epidemiology of drug use among women and the socioeconomic contexts surrounding issues such as drug injection. Drug-related harms to women and the resulting consequences for communities are often sorely under-studied, and gender-disaggregated data on drug use are rarely collected. There are also inadequate budget allocations by Member States for the specific prevention and treatment of drug dependence and substance use disorders among women, who often do not have access to any assistance and suffer in silence. INCB believes that this year’s thematic chapter can change perceptions and remind people, particularly policymakers, of the importance of protecting the rights of women who use drugs or who have committed drug-related crimes and of protecting the rights of their families.

Towards a better future for women and work: Voices of women and men (ILO / Gallup)
gallupThe ILO-Gallup report provides a first-ever account of global attitudes and perceptions of women and men regarding women and work. The results come from the Gallup World Poll which was conducted in 142 countries and territories and surveyed almost 149,000 adults. It is representative of more than 99 per cent of the global adult population. The findings are revealing: A total of 70 per cent of women and a similar 66 per cent of men would prefer that women work at paid jobs. Each of these figures are more than double the percentages of those who would prefer women to stay at home. Women worldwide would prefer to be either working at paid jobs (29 per cent) or be in situations in which they could both work and take care of their families (41 per cent), according to the joint ILO-Gallup report. Only 27 per cent of women want to stay at home.    

whenwomenleadWhen women lead, change happens: Women advancing the end of AIDS (UNAIDS)  
On International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017, UNAIDS has released a new report which shows that there is an urgent need to scale up HIV prevention and treatment services for women and girls. The report shows that globally in 2015, there were 18.6 million women and girls living with HIV, 1 million women and girls became newly infected with HIV and 470 000 women and girls died of AIDS-related illnesses. It also shows that women are more vulnerable to HIV than men. Domestic violence and sexual abuse have been shown to increase the risk of HIV among women. Data show that in high HIV prevalence settings women who experience intimate partner violence are up to 50% more likely to acquire HIV.

23percentStopTheRobbery campaign (UN Women)
Join #StopTheRobbery campaign by UN Women to raise awareness of the gender pay gap. Globally, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, effectively being “robbed”. Visit to spread the word and help stop the biggest robbery in history.
See more at:

Women in Politics 2017 Map (UN WOMEN / IPU)
The number of women in executive government and in parliament worldwide has stagnated, with only marginal improvements since 2015, according to the data presented in the Women in Politics 2017 Map launched on 15 March 2017 by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women. The Map, which depicts global rankings for women in the executive and parliamentary branches of government as of 1 January 2017, shows slow progress towards gender equality in these areas at regional and national levels. The presentation took place at a joint IPU-UN Women press conference in New York, in the context of the ongoing session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61).

WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2016
The year 2016 made history, with a record global temperature, exceptionally low sea ice, and unabated sea level rise and ocean heat, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Extreme weather and climate conditions have continued into 2017. WMO issued its annual statement on the State of the Global Climate on 21 March 2017 ahead of World Meteorological Day on 23 March. It is based on multiple international datasets maintained independently by global climate analysis centres and information submitted by dozens of WMO Members National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and Research Institutes and is an authoritative source of reference. Because the social and economic impacts of climate change have become so important, WMO partnered with other United Nations organizations for the first time this year to include information on these impacts.

Human Rights

Institutional leadership and the Sustainable Development Goals: Note by the Secretariat (E/C.16/2017/4, 30 January 2017)
English, French & Spanish:
“The Secretariat has the honour to transmit to the Committee of Experts on Public Administration the paper prepared by Committee member José R. Castelazo. The content of the paper and the views expressed therein are those of the author and do not imply any expression of opinion on the part of the United Nations.
This paper considers the activities of societies and governments in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  It deals with political and administrative issues and emphasizes governments’ responsibilities to undertake interconnected tasks for achievement of the Goals. These include engagement of organized society, and citizens generally, in an environment of multiple interests, which will need to be focused on common purposes in order to improve quality of life and ensure preservation of the human habitat.”

Report on Human Rights Violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Context of the Events of 19 December 2016 (United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) MONUSCO-OHCHR)
Defence and security forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo used excessive, disproportionate and at times lethal force to prevent and contain demonstrations in December 2016, a UN report published on 1 March 2017 has found.
According to the report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO (UNJHRO), at least 40 people, including five women and two children, were killed between 15 and 31 December 2016 across several cities of the DRC, among them Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Boma and Matadi.
The findings of the UNJHRO investigation show that 28 individuals were killed by soldiers of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), six by agents of the Police Nationale Congolaise (PNC) and the remaining six during joint PNC and FARDC operations. All but two of the victims were killed by live ammunition. During the same period, at least 147 individuals were injured by State agents, including 14 women and 18 children, and at least 917 individuals, including 30 women and 95 children, were arrested by defence and security forces. The report also notes that some protesters carried out acts of violence, including the killing of at least one PNC agent in Kinshasa on 20 December 2016. The report indicates that most of the victims were unarmed civilians wounded by live ammunition on upper parts of the body, suggesting an excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces in operations to contain the demonstrations.

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/34/64, 2 February 2017)
English, French & Spanish:
The battle late last year for control over Syria’s war-ravaged Aleppo was a stage of unrelenting violence, with civilians on both sides falling victim to war crimes committed by all parties, read a report issued on 1 March 2017 by the United Nations-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria. The report documents brutal tactics employed by the parties to the conflict in the country as they engaged in the decisive battle for the once iconic city between July and December 2016, resulting in unparalleled suffering for Syrian men, women and children.

Report on the human rights situation in South-East Turkey: July 2015 to December 2016 (OHCHR, February 2017) 
The UN Human Rights Office published on 10 March 2017 a report detailing allegations of massive destruction, killings and numerous other serious human rights violations committed between July 2015 and December 2016 in southeast Turkey, during Government security operations that have affected more than 30 towns and neighbourhoods and displaced between 335,000 and half a million people, mostly of Kurdish origin. The report describes the extent of the destruction in the town of Nusaybin, in Mardin Province, where 1,786 buildings appear to have been destroyed or damaged, and the Sur district of Diyarbakir, where the local government estimates that 70 percent of the buildings in the eastern part of the district were systematically destroyed by shelling. The destruction apparently continued even after the security operations ended, reaching a peak during the month of August 2016. Before-and-after satellite images from Nusaybin and Sur show entire neighbourhoods razed to the ground.

Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, 16 November 2016 to 15 February 2017 (OHCHR) 
A sharp escalation of hostilities between 29 January and 3 February 2017 had a devastating impact on all aspects of life for civilians living along the contact line in eastern Ukraine. Fighting caused seven civilian deaths and 46 civilian injuries in only six days (equal to the monthly average in 2016), extensive damage to civilian infrastructure, and deprived tens of thousands of people of life-saving services and basic necessities, according to a UN report released on 15 March 2017. Military and armed group presence in residential areas and close to water facilities exacerbated the situation, endangering lives, civilian property and essential infrastructure. The UN Human Rights Mission documented such presence as close as 200 metres. The report covers the period between 16 November 2016 and 15 February 2017, during which the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission recorded 130 conflict-related civilian casualties: 23 deaths and 107 injuries. The total death toll from mid-April 2014 to 12 March 2017 is at least 9,940, with at least 23,455 people injured. This is a conservative estimate based on available data. These figures include Ukrainian armed forces, civilians and members of armed groups. Over 2,000 are civilians who have been killed in hostilities. The number of civilians injured due to the conflict is estimated at between 7,000 and 9,000.


Humanitarian Affairs

A Deadly Journey for Children: The Central Mediterranean Migration Route (UNICEF)
deadlyjourney“Refugee and migrant children and women are routinely suffering sexual violence, exploitation, abuse and detention along the Central Mediterranean migration route from North Africa to Italy,” UNICEF warned in a new report released on 28 February 2017. At the time of the report, 256,000 migrants were recorded in Libya – of who about 54,000 included women and children. UNICEF estimates that this is a low count with actual numbers at least three times higher. In addition, it is believed that at least 181,000 people – including more than 25,800 unaccompanied children – used smugglers in 2016 to try to reach Italy. At the most dangerous portion – from southern Libya to Sicily – one in every 40 people is killed, according to UNICEF.

Desperate Journeys: Refugees and migrants entering and crossing Europe via the Mediterranean and Western Balkans routes (UNHCR Bureau for Europe) 
In a new report released on 27 February 2017, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, details the impact of the increased border restrictions introduced in 2016 on refugee and migrant movements towards and inside Europe. It shows that people continued to move but undertook more diversified and dangerous journeys, often relying on smugglers because of the lack of accessible legal ways to Europe. After the “closure” of the Western Balkan route and the EU-Turkey Statement in March 2016, the number of people reaching Greece via the Eastern Mediterranean route drastically decreased. The Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy has since become the primary entry point to Europe. However, arrival trends in Italy show that the primary nationalities who crossed to Greece had not switched in significant numbers to the Central Mediterranean route.

Directions on Protection, Access and Solutions for IDPs and Returnees in North-Eastern Nigeria / Co-facilitated by the Government of Nigeria and UNHCR, 24 February 2017, Oslo, Norway 
As growing numbers of displaced Nigerians start to return home, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi co-presented a way forward for ensuring protection, access and lasting solutions for them at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.
Discussed as part of a special thematic session at the conference, the document focuses on opportunities for solutions; critical protection needs; and empowerment and social cohesion. With return movements of internally displaced people - some 950,000 since August 2015 - and refugee returnees from neighbouring countries under way in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, the document says “it is critical that these returns remain voluntary, occur in safety and in dignity, and that additional opportunities for solutions are identified and seized upon.”

Hitting Rock Bottom: How 2016 became the worst year for Syria's children (UNICEF)
hittingrockbottomGrave violations against children in Syria were the highest on record in 2016, said UNICEF in a grim assessment of the conflict’s impact on children, as the war reaches six years. Verified instances of killing, maiming and recruitment of children increased sharply last year in a drastic escalation of violence across the country.
• At least 652 children were killed – a 20 per cent increase from 2015 – making 2016 the worst year for Syria’s children since the formal verification of child casualties began in 2014.
• 255 children were killed in or near a school.
• More than 850 children were recruited to fight in the conflict, more than double the number recruited in 2015. Children are being used and recruited to fight directly on the frontlines and are increasingly taking part in combat roles, including in extreme cases as executioners, suicide bombers or prison guards.
• There were at least 338 attacks against hospitals and medical personnel.  


International Law

The Role and Importance of the Hague Conferences: A Historical Perspective 
A period of sustained efforts to codify and develop the rules of war, which began in the mid-nineteenth century, peaked with the 1899 and 1907 Hague Peace Conferences. Participating delegates adopted numerous binding instruments covering various aspects of peaceful dispute settlement and war-fighting. This paper places the two Hague Peace Conferences within the context of humanity’s attempts to regulate warfare. It identifies the main factors that made them successful at the time; shows how these factors have changed over time; and assesses the conferences’ contemporary relevance in view of such changes.