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UNRIC Library Newsletter - March 2018

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New UN websites & publications

UN in General

Dag Hammarskjöld Library Research Guide: UN System Documentation 
The UN System is made up a complex group of organizations, institutions and entities. More information is available in the new research guide.

essentialUNThe Essential UN
As the world’s only truly universal global organization, the United Nations has become the foremost forum to address issues that transcend national boundaries and cannot be resolved by any one country acting alone. This authoritative reference provides a comprehensive introduction and overview of the work of the UN in key areas of international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights, and humanitarian action.

Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: Report of the Secretary-General (A/72/751, 15 February 2018)
English, French & Spanish:
The number of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by personnel serving with the United Nations dropped from 165 in 2016 to 138 last year, according to the latest report by the UN Secretary-General on implementing a zero-tolerance policy for these crimes.


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

Global Report on Food Crises 2018
Report in English: 
Key messages in English: 
Key messages in French: 
Key messages in Spanish: 
grfc2018The 2018 Global Report on Food Crises provides the latest estimates of severe hunger in the world. An estimated 124 million people in 51 countries are currently facing Crisis food insecurity or worse (the equivalent of IPC/CH Phase 3 or above). Conflict and insecurity continued to be the primary drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries, where almost 74 million food-insecure people remain in need of urgent assistance. Last year’s report identified 108 million people in Crisis food security or worse across 48 countries. A comparison of the 45 countries included in both editions of the report reveals an increase of 11 million people – an 11 percent rise – in the number of food-insecure people across the world who require urgent humanitarian action. Now in its third edition, the report is not a UN-owned publication but rather a public good, for use by those committed to achieving the objective of minimizing human suffering and eventually ending hunger. Prepared collectively by 12 leading global and regional institutions under the umbrella of the Food Security Information Network, the report provides thematic, country-specific, and trends analysis of food crises around the world.

Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration (World Bank)
Report in English, Overview in English, French, Spanish & Portuguese:
The worsening impacts of climate change in three densely populated regions of the world could see over 140 million people move within their countries’ borders by 2050, creating a looming human crisis and threatening the development process, a new World Bank Group report finds. But with concerted action - including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning at the country level – this worst-case scenario of over 140m could be dramatically reduced, by as much as 80 percent, or more than 100 million people. The report, released on 19 March 2018, is the first and most comprehensive study of its kind to focus on the nexus between slow-onset climate change impacts, internal migration patterns and, development in three developing regions of the world: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action: High-Level Panel on Water; Outcome Document, 14 March 2018
makingeverydropcount“Preface: The United Nations and World Bank Group convened a High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) to provide leadership in tackling one of the world’s most pressing challenges – an approaching global water crisis. As leaders of our organizations, the challenge we put before the Panel was to identify ways in which the world could accelerate progress towards ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6) as well as to contribute to the achievement of the multiple SDGs that also depend on the development and adequate management of our planet’s water resources and thereby achieve the 2030 Agenda. To ensure the highest level of political leadership, we invited 11 sitting Heads of State or Government, as well as a Special Advisor, to lead the Panel for a two-year period starting in April 2016. During the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016, the Panel issued an Action Plan which called for a fundamental shift in the way the world looks at and manages water. Since then, the Panel members have explored ways to implement this Plan and have taken initiatives in many of the action areas, leading by example. This report presents a summary of the Panel’s findings and recommendations. …”

Global education monitoring report gender review 2018: Meeting our commitments to gender equality in education (UNESCO)
Online report: 
pdf version:  
globaleducationmonitoringOnly 44% of countries have made full legal commitments through international treaties to the cause of gender parity in education, according to this year’s Gender Review, published by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report on 8 March, International Women’s Day. This is the key finding of its sixth annual Review, which surveyed 189 States to assess whether they ensured that girls and women fully benefit from the right to education. The Review, produced with the support of United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), looks at the causes of slow progress towards gender equality in education, and how such issues may be addressed. Recalling countries’ legal commitments to the right to education for girls and women through international treaties, it focuses on three: the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention against Discrimination in Education (CADE), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Seven countries had not fully ratified the conventions.

One in Five Children, Adolescents and Youth is Out of School (UIS, Fact Sheet No. 4, February 2018) 
New figures on the number of children out of school worldwide reveal that despite decades of efforts to get every child into the classroom, progress has come to a standstill. According to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), about 263 million children, adolescents and youth worldwide - one in every five - are out school, a figure that has barely changed over the past five years. The rate of progress, or the lack of it, varies by age group, according to a UIS paper released on 28 February 2018. At primary level, the out-of-school rate has barely moved at all over the past decade, with 9% of children of primary age (about 6 to 11 years), or 63 million, out of school. In addition, 61 million adolescents of lower secondary age (about 12 to 14 years) and 139 million youth of upper secondary age –one in every three – are not enrolled in school. These youth, between the ages of about 15 to 17 years, are four times more likely to be out of school than children of primary age, and more than twice as likely to be out of school as those of lower secondary age.

Progress for Every Child in the SDG era (UNICEF)
Report in English, Executive Summary in English, French & Spanish: 
Latest data on development progress for children reveals that more than half a billion live in countries where the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are “quickly falling out of reach,” the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on 6 March 2018. UNICEF’s Progress for Children in the SDG Era, is the first thematic performance assessment report toward achieving the global targets that concern children and youth. The report raises the alarm that 520 million children live in countries that lack data on at least two-thirds of child-related SDG indicators, or lack sufficient data to assess their progress – rendering those children effectively “uncounted.” Where sufficient data is available, the scale of SDG target challenges remains daunting. The report warns that without accelerated progress, 650 million children live in countries where at least two-thirds of the SDGs are either out of reach or whose lives could actually be worse by 2030.

Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2017 (INCB)
Report and Press Kit in English, French & Spanish:
Governments are being urged to invest more in drug treatment and rehabilitation rather than just focusing solely on prevention, the latest report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recommends. The study, published on 1 March 2018, reveals that only one in six people globally who needs treatment has access to these services. Further, even where treatment is available, the quality often is poor or not in line with international standards. The INCB is an independent quasi-judicial body which monitors implementation of three United Nations international drug control conventions. In addition to pressing for more government action in the areas of treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration, it is calling for attention to be paid to “special populations” such as women, migrants and refugees. The report also highlights the need for the global community to support Afghanistan, where illicit opium production and opium poppy cultivation hit a record high last year.

unwomentimelineTimeline: Women of the world, unite! Explore women’s activism from generations past and present. 
“A single moment can spark a revolution, collective actions can transform laws, creative expression can change attitudes and an invention can alter the course of history. It’s these threads that weave together to propel the women’s movement — even in the face of obstacles. Discover how some of these strands, big and small, have shaped your lives, and the rights and lives of women and girls worldwide.”

Tobacco product regulation: building laboratory testing capacity (WHO)
Case studies for regulatory approaches to tobacco products: menthol in tobacco products (WHO)
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) launched on 9 March 2018 new guidelines on the role that tobacco product regulations can play in saving lives by reducing the demand for tobacco and tobacco products – estimated to kill over seven million people annually. The guide provides practical and stepwise approaches to implementing tobacco testing relevant to a wide range of countries, especially those with inadequate resources to establish testing facilities. It also provides regulators and policymakers with comprehensible information on how to test tobacco products, what products to test, and how to use testing data in a meaningful manner to support regulation. The guidelines will also assist in the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – a global treaty combatting the tobacco epidemic – through strengthening tobacco product regulation capacity in WHO member States. The accompanying publication, Case studies for regulatory approaches to tobacco products – Menthol in tobacco products, includes practical steps as well as policy options countries can employ to make regulations more effective, such as the regulators’ enforcement of a total ban on the use of flavours in tobacco products such as menthol. The guidance document and the accompanying publication were launched at the 2018 World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town, South Africa.

weso2018World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends for Women 2018 – Global snapshot (ILO) 
The women’s labour force participation rate worldwide stands at 48.5 per cent in 2018, 26.5 percentage points below that of their male counterparts, according to this report, released on 7 March 2018 on the eve of International Women’s Day. The report, authored by the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), also shows that the global unemployment rate for women is six per cent for 2018, about 0.8 percentage points higher than that for men. Altogether, for every 10 men in a job, only six women are employed.

WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2017
wmo2017The very active North Atlantic hurricane season, major monsoon floods in the Indian subcontinent, and continuing severe drought in parts of east Africa contributed to 2017 being the most expensive year on record for severe weather and climate events. The high impact of extreme weather on economic development, food security, health and migration was highlighted in the WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2017. Compiled by the World Meteorological Organization with input from national meteorological services and United Nations partners, the report provides detailed information to support the international agenda on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change. The Statement, now in its 25th year, was published for World Meteorological Day on 23 March. It confirmed that 2017 was one of the three warmest years on record and the warmest not influenced by an El Niño event. It also examined other long-term indicators of climate change such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, sea level rise, shrinking sea ice, ocean heat and ocean acidification.


International Peace and Security

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the theme “Collective action to improve United Nations peacekeeping operations: supporting greater impact and performance in today’s complex and high-risk environments”
English, French & Spanish: 
The Security Council plans to hold an open debate on Wednesday, 28 March 2018, on the theme “Collective action to improve United Nations peacekeeping operations”. The Security Council President for March, the Netherlands, has prepared a concept note for this debate.

Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict
pathwaysforpeaceViolent conflicts today are complex and increasingly protracted, involving more non-state groups and regional and international actors. It is estimated that by 2030—the horizon set by the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals—over half of the world’s poor will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence. Information and communications technology, population movements, and climate change are also creating shared risks that must be managed at both national and international levels. “Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict” is a joint United Nations–World Bank Group study that originates from the conviction that the international community’s attention must urgently be refocused on prevention. A scaled-up system for preventive action would save between US$5 billion and $70 billion per year, which could be reinvested in reducing poverty and improving the wellbeing of populations. The study aims to improve the way in which domestic development processes interact with security, diplomacy, mediation, and other efforts to prevent conflicts from becoming violent. It stresses the importance of grievances related to exclusion—from access to power, natural resources, security and justice, for example—that are at the root of many violent conflicts today.

The Safety Guide on Arrangements for the Termination of a Nuclear or Radio-logical Emergency (IAEA) 
One of many challenges authorities face in the preparation for nuclear or radiological emergencies relates to their end: when to terminate an emergency situation and transition to a normal state needs to be well-supported. A new IAEA Safety Guide provides guidance and recommendations on when and how to do that. The guide (No. GSG-11), published in March 2018, aims to facilitate the timely resumption of normal social and economic activity in the wake of a nuclear or radiological emergency. It offers guidance on topics such as how to determine when to lift protective actions imposed earlier in the response, including evacuations and restrictions on the consumption of local produce. The Guide supports national authorities in developing arrangements for such decisions as part of their overall emergency preparedness efforts.


Human Rights

Committee against Torture - General Comment No. 4 (2017) on the implementation of article 3 of the Convention in the context of article 22 (Advance Unedited Version)
New guidelines developed by the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) aim to help governments avoid violating international human rights law, and to help asylum seekers avoid torture or other ill-treatment. The new document, known as a General Comment, addresses governments’ implementation of article 3 of the Convention against Torture. That article deals with non-refoulment, a ban on expelling, returning (“refouling”) or extraditing a person to another State where he or she could face torture. Through writing the new General Comment no. 4 (2017) on how governments ought to live up to that obligation, the Committee against Torture gives guidance to States. The General Comment helps Governments assess whether an asylum seeker faces a personal risk of torture or ill-treatment in his or her country of origin, if returned there. It provides a check list of guarantees and risk factors for governments to pay attention to. The Committee against Torture developed the new checklist in response to the migration crisis and the consequential increase in complaints from people alleging they risked torture or other ill-treatment if forcibly removed from their countries of asylum to their countries of origin.

Double Injustice: Human rights violations in the investigation of the Ayotzinapa case (OHCHR)
Report in Spanish: 
Executive summary in Spanish:
Executive summary in English:
There are strong grounds to believe that some of the people detained in Mexico during the early stages of the investigation into the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa in 2014 were arbitrarily detained and tortured, and that these serious violations were in turn inadequately investigated and even covered up, a report by the UN Human Rights Office said on Thursday. The report, published on 15 March 2018, examined information relating to 63 individuals out of a total of 129 people prosecuted in connection with the students’ disappearance. Based on the judicial files, including medical records of multiple physical injuries, and on interviews with authorities, detainees and witnesses, the UN Human Rights Office has solid grounds to conclude that at least 34 of these individuals were tortured.

#HerStoryOurStory is a new interactive game that aims to raise awareness of the prevalence and impact of violence against women and girls. #HerStoryOurStory is part of the #SpotlightENDViolence Initiative, a global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. Established by the European Union and the United Nations, the Spotlight Initiative will provide targeted, large-scale investments in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific and the Caribbean, aimed at achieving significant improvements in the lives of women and girls.

“I lost my dignity”: Sexual and gender-based violence in the Syrian Arab Republic; Conference room paper of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/37/CRP.3, 8 March 2018)
For the past six and a half years, parties to the Syrian conflict have subjected thousands of women, girls, men, and boys to sexual and gender-based violence, a group of UN experts said on 15 March 2018. Such acts have been used as a tool to instil fear, humiliate and punish or, in the case of terrorist groups, to enforce draconian social order. The report is based on 454 interviews with survivors, relatives of survivors, defectors, healthcare practitioners, lawyers, and members of affected communities, and examines the perpetration of sexual and gender-based violence by parties since the uprising in March 2011 through December 2017.

Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/37/72, 1 February 2018)
English, French & Spanish: 
The brutal conflict in Syria has not only claimed civilians as unintentional victims but has seen all the warring parties deliberately target them through unlawful methods of warfare with complete impunity, a new report by a United Nations-mandated inquiry on the war-ravaged country has said. Drawing from over 500 interviews, the latest report from of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria – established by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and record all violations of international law since March 2011 – documents deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and protected objects, starvation, unlawful internment, and the use of chemical weapons.

Report on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East January – December 2017 (OHCHR)
Routine extensions of the state of emergency in Turkey have led to profound human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people – from arbitrary deprivation of the right to work and to freedom of movement, to torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detentions and infringements of the rights to freedom of association and expression, according to a report issued by the UN Human Rights Office on 20 March 2018. The report, which covers the period between 1 January and 31 December 2017, warns that the state of emergency has facilitated the deterioration of the human rights situation and the erosion of the rule of law in Turkey, and may “have long-lasting implications on the institutional and socio-economic fabric of Turkey.” While the UN Human Rights Office recognizes the complex challenges, Turkey has faced in addressing the 15 July 2016 attempted coup and a number of terrorist attacks, the report says, “the sheer number, frequency and lack of connection of several [emergency] decrees to any national threat seem to…point to the use of emergency powers to stifle any form of criticism or dissent vis-à-vis the Government.”

Women and girls of African descent: human rights achievements and challenges (OHCHR)
In Latin America, poverty rates are high for women, but even higher for women of African descent; in the USA, 37 percent of households head by African-American woman live below the poverty line; and First Nations Canadian and Afro-Canadian women and girls have less opportunity for education and academic achievements. These were some of the findings of a new publication by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Department of Public Information. It is based on the UN Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent to the UN General Assembly last year. It contains analysis of the findings of human rights mechanisms and illustrates the realities of discrimination against women and girls of African descent.


Humanitarian Affairs

herturnHER TURN: It's time to make refugee girls' education a priority (UNHCR)
“Her Turn”, a new report from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, reveals that refugee girls at secondary level are only half as likely to enrol in school as their male peers, even though girls make up half of the school-age refugee population. Access to education is a fundamental human right. Yet, for millions of women and girls among the world’s growing refugee population, education remains an aspiration, not a reality. For all refugee children around the world, the school gates are a great deal harder to prise open than they are for their non-refugee peers. For refugee girls, it is even tougher to find – and keep – a place in the classroom. As they get older, refugee girls face more marginalization and the gender gap in secondary schools grows wider.

Booklet of Success Stories:
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, presented on 2 March 2018 the results of a pilot project that connected thousands of refugees, employers, migrant groups and local authorities and made strides towards integrating beneficiaries of international protection in the EU into the labour market. The EU-funded Skills2Work project, which ran from January 2016 and closed on Wednesday (28/02) in nine EU member states (Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom), was initiated to address the absence of a coordinated approach to labour market integration both nationally and regionally, particularly with regard to recognizing the skills and qualifications of refugees.

Words into Action guideline: Implementation guide for local disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies (Public consultation version) (UNISDR) 
A new guide designed to support local governments in their efforts to prevent disasters and reduce disaster losses is now available in draft form for public review before it will be finalized and launched in three months’ time. The ‘Implementation guide for local disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies’ addresses the need to tackle underlying disaster risk drivers and strengthening good governance in disaster risk management, with a focus on local governments including authorities, planners and managers at city or other sub-national levels. It provides an important boost to efforts to meet a key target in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the global plan to reduce disaster losses, target (e) which seeks to increase the number of countries with national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction. The guide offers practical advice on how to develop and implement a holistic and integrated disaster risk reduction strategy that contributes to building resilience at the local level.


Justice and International Law

Environmental Rights Initiative (UNEP)
Taking a stand against ongoing threats, harassment and murder of environmental defenders, the United Nations launched on 6 March 2018 an initiative enlisting business communities to champion a clean and healthy environment. By helping people to understand how to defend their rights, and by assisting governments to safeguard environmental rights, UNEP maintains that the initiative will bring environmental protection nearer to the people. Although, since the 1970s, environmental rights have grown more rapidly than any other human right and are enshrined in over 100 constitutions, in January the international non-governmental organization (NGO) Global Witness documented that almost four environmental defenders are being killed weekly – with the true total likely far higher. Many more are harassed, intimidated and forced from their lands. Moreover, around 40-50 per cent of the 197 environmental defenders killed in 2017 came from indigenous and local communities.

GOALI - Global Online Access to Legal Information (ILO)
goaliThe ILO and a group of academic partners have launched a programme to provide free or inexpensive access to legal information and training to promote research in low- and middle- income countries and help strengthen the rule of law. The programme, known as GOALI (Global Online Access to Legal Information) will give users in more than 115 developing countries access to a wide range of essential legal information for their work and studies that they would not normally be able to obtain. Eligible institutions include governments, universities, law schools, research and not-for-profit institutions, as well as the secretariats of national workers’ and employers’ organizations. Some of the key topics covered in the programme are international law, human rights, humanitarian law and labour law – areas that can help strengthen legal frameworks and institutions in many developing countries. The programme will also contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.