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UNRIC Library Newsletter - April 2018

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The President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, identified peacebuilding and sustaining peace as a key priority. Therefore he convenes a High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace on 24 and 25 April 2018 to assess efforts undertaken and opportunities to strengthen the United Nations’ work on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

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EU and United Nations are co-chairing the 2nd conference on 'Supporting the future of Syria and the region' on 24-25 April in Brussels. The conference will aim to mobilise humanitarian aid to Syrians inside the country and in the neighbouring countries as well as to garner political support for the UN-led peace process.
Further information:
- Syrian Arab Republic: The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria as of 23 April 2018 (OCHA): https://un4.me/2qUBkfT
- UNRIC Library Backgrounder – Syrian Arab Republic: https://un4.me/2mWOdVQ


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

Accelerating SDG 7 achievement: Policy briefs in support of the first SDG 7 review at the UN High-Level Political Forum 2018 (DESA)
acceleratingWithout urgent action, the world will fall short of its 2030 energy targets and, consequently, fail to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new publication supported by UN DESA says. Launched on 18 April 2018, this set of policy briefs draws on the expertise of 50 organizations to identify priority areas where urgent action could place the world on track to achieving sustainable energy for all. The publication, includes 27 policy briefs by global energy authorities from the UN System, international organizations, Member States and others. It proposes a new Global Agenda for Accelerated SDG7 Action as a clear roadmap towards achieving universal energy access by 2030 and maximizing its positive impact on other SDGs.

Education and Disability: Analysis of Data from 49 Countries (UNESCO-UIS)
A new paper from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS)presents the first in-depth analysis of available data for 49 countries. It confirms that persons with disabilities are less likely to ever attend school, more likely to be out of school and that they tend to have fewer years of education than persons without disabilities. They are less likely to complete primary or secondary education and are less likely to possess basic literacy skills.

Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects 2018 (IATF)
The prospects of around 800 million of the world’s poorest people remain dire. The global economy is experiencing a moderate upturn, and momentum around sustainable investing is growing, the UN said on 13 April 2018. But the vast majority of investment is still short-term oriented and commitments by the international community to create sustainable economies are not being met. The Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development (IATF) report cover 2018There is an increasing interest in socially responsible investing, but that is no substitute for a broader transformation in the financial system. The report states that the current system rewards investors, financiers and project managers that prioritize short-term profits. Similarly, policy makers are excessively focused on short-term considerations. But there is a price to pay. Infrastructure projects are shelved in favour of short term priorities. Small businesses and women remain excluded from the financial system.

Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report 2018 (UNEP)
renewableenergyIn 2017, solar energy dominated global investment in new power generation like never before, according to a new United Nations-backed report, which shows a steady move away from fossil fuel-based power production to ‘green’ power sources. Last year, the world installed a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity, far more than the net additions of the rest – other renewables, fossil fuel and nuclear, according to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, released on 5 April 2018 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and its partners. Solar power also attracted far more investment than any other technology, at $160.8 billion, up 18 per cent. A driving power behind last year’s surge in solar was China, where an unprecedented boom saw some 53 gigawatts added – more than half the global total – and $86.5 billion invested, up 58 per cent.

Online Forum: Just Transition(s) to a Low-Carbon World (UNRISD)
justtransitionPursuing its focus on environmental policies that are also socially sensitive, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) as a partner in the Just Transition Research Collaborative has launched this new Online Forum: Just Transition(s) to a Low-Carbon World. The Just Transition  refers to the idea that justice and equity must form an integral part of any transition towards a low-carbon world. The concept is gaining in popularity but at the same time is the subject of some contestation: Is it simply another “buzzword”? Should we take it seriously? Can it play a positive role in the international climate and sustainable development debates? This forum explores these questions and in the process connects social sciences and humanities with climate and development conversations, which too often are dominated by economists and climate scientists and merely pay lip service to the social and human implications of the climate crisis and the measures to address it.


International Peace and Security

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on the theme “Preventing sexual violence in conflict through empowerment, gender equality and access to justice”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2018/311 
The Security Council held an open debate on sexual violence in conflict on 16 April 2018. The focus of the open debate was preventing sexual violence in conflict through empowerment, gender equality and access to justice. The Security Council President for April, Peru, had prepared a concept note for this debate.

Concept note for the Security Council open debate on youth, peace and security
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/en/S/2018/324
The Security Council held an open debate on youth, peace and security on 23 April 2018. The Security Council President for April, Peru, had prepared a concept note for this debate.

Improving the impact of preventing violent extremism programming: A toolkit for design, monitoring and evaluation (UNDP)
Programmes aiming to prevent violent extremism need to be grounded in the context in which they are intervening, based on evidence and have a realistic monitoring framework, according to a new toolkit published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with International Alert. The toolkit, published on 9 March 2018, provides guidance to development practitioners and specialists to improve the design, monitoring and evaluation of programmes that focus on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE). The first of its kind, the toolkit provides a comprehensive set of tools on all stages of PVE programming, responding to an urgent need to improve efficiency, targeting and design of such programmes to ultimately have the highest impact.

OPCW Issues Report on Technical Assistance Requested by the United Kingdom
Press release & Summary of the Report: https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-issues-report-on-technical-assistance-requested-by-the-united-kingdom/
salisburyThe Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) transmitted on 11 April 2018 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) the report of the OPCW’s mission to provide requested technical assistance in regard to the Salisbury incident on 4 March 2018. The results of the analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people.


Human Rights

OHCHR Library Research Guide: Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Children and Youth
The OHCHR Library has launched a new research guide dedicated to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for children and youth. The guide, illustrated with watercolour drawings, provides a brief adoption history of the Declaration and 2 versions of the text: one specifically adopted for the children and the second written in plain English. The guide also includes activities and games designed to facilitate the understanding of the notion of human rights, as well as videos in English, Chinese, French and Russian and a glossary.

Abuse Behind Bars: Arbitrary and unlawful detention in Libya (April 2018)
Armed groups in Libya, including those affiliated with the State, hold thousands of people in prolonged arbitrary and unlawful detention, and submit them to torture and other human rights violations and abuses, according to a UN report published on 10 April 2018. Since renewed hostilities broke out in 2014, armed groups on all sides have rounded up suspected opponents, critics, activists, medical professionals, journalists and politicians, the report says. Hostage-taking for prisoner exchanges or ransom is also common. Those detained arbitrarily or unlawfully also include people held in relation to the 2011 armed conflict - many without charge, trial or sentence for over six years. The report, published in cooperation with the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), summarizes the main human rights concerns regarding detention in Libya since the signing of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) on 17 December 2015 until 1 January 2018. The implementation of provisions in the LPA to address the situation of people detained arbitrarily for prolonged periods of time has stalled, it notes.

Regional Roma Survey 2017 (UNDP / World Bank / European Commission)
Country fact sheets: http://www.eurasia.undp.org/content/rbec/en/home/library/roma/regional-roma-survey-2017-country-fact-sheets.html
Press Release: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2018/Despite-some-progress-Marginalized-Roma-community-still-most-excluded-in-Western-Balkans.html 
More marginalized Roma girls and boys are attending compulsory education in the Western Balkans than ever before. However, when compared to their non-Roma neighbours, Roma people face twice as high unemployment, and are less likely to see a doctor when needed or go to bed on a full stomach. That is according to a new survey supported by the European Commission and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. The Regional Roma Survey is the first major collection of data on marginalized Roma in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo, since 2011. This study will form the basis for two reports and policy recommendations which will be published in June.uprsdg

UPR - SDG Data Explorer
A new interactive database promises to give users a chance to visually check on progress on achieving both sustainable development and human rights goals across the globe. The database was developed by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR). It is based on more than 50,000 recommendations made during the first and second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR is a peer-review mechanism of the Human Rights Council that looks at the human rights situation on the ground for each of the United Nation’s 193 Member States. At the end of each review, recommendations are issued to improve human rights before the next review. The reviews take place once every 4.5 years.


Humanitarian Affairs

desperatejourneysDesperate Journeys: January 2017 - March 2018 (UNHCR)
Despite a drop in the number of refugees and migrants reaching Europe last year, the dangers many face along the way have in some cases increased, according to a new report by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, setting out changing patterns of movement. The Desperate Journeys report found that sea arrivals to Italy, mostly from Libya, have drastically reduced since July 2017. This decrease has continued in the first three months of 2018, with a 74 per cent drop compared to last year.

Engaging with Employers in the Hiring of Refugees: A 10-point multi-stakeholder action plan for employers, refugees, governments and civil society
engagingwithemployersA newly-launched action plan that encourages employers to expand job opportunities for refugees aims to be a “win-win situation” for both sides, as well as host communities, according to a senior United Nations official. Launched on 24 April 2018 by the UN refugee agency and the 35-member Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the plan identifies challenges to integrating refugees into the labour market, but also lists concrete actions to boost their participation. The Action Plan was based on extensive consultations with employers, trade unions, civil society organizations and others. It lays out 10 recommendations, such as taking stock of refugees’ skills, identifying possible gaps and matching “refugee talent” with employers’ needs.

Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection and Solutions for Internally Displaced People (2018-2020)
English & French: http://www.globalprotectioncluster.org/news/2018/gp20-draft-plan-of-action.html  
With multiple crises forcing millions of people away from their homes, United Nations agencies, Governments and partners have launched a set of measures to strengthen protection of internally displaced persons as well as find solutions to address their problems. The framework, formally called the Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection and Solutions for Internally Displaced People (2018-2020), calls on all relevant actors to step up efforts to prevent, respond to and resolve internal displacement. It also proposes concrete activities to strengthen the participation of internally displaced persons in decisions concerning them and expand national laws and policies on internal displacement as well as actions to improve data collection and analysis on displacements globally. By the end of 2016, more than 40 million people were displaced within their own countries due to insecurity or rights violations. An additional 24 million were driven from their homes due to disasters. Every year, an estimated 15 million people are also displaced by development projects.

UNHCR Recommendations to the European Union: EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027; Addressing forced displacement effectively (18 April 2018)
Today over 65 million people are forcibly displaced, including 22.5 million refugees, many of whom have been driven from their homes by a historic rise in conflict and violence. The global responsibility to respond to this mass movement has largely been shouldered by a small number of countries hosting refugees and other forcibly displaced as well as donors providing support to them. The EU is a central partner to address forced displacement globally and assist the forcibly displaced and their hosts abroad and at home. With progressive policy frameworks in place, the EU seeks to find political solutions to the root causes of forced displacement, to ensure the operationalization of the humanitarian and development nexus and to pursue a development-led approach to forced displacement. Moreover, the EU has put mechanisms into place which address forced displacement through a whole of institution approach.