Leaving No One Behind: Are We Succeeding?

July 18, 2018

On Friday, July 13, Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivered a sobering assesment of challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals during his keynote address to a session of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, currently meeting at UN Headquarters in New York. 

Leaving no one behind is an affirmation of the principles that are central to human rights: equality and non-discrimination.  Indeed, the core aim of the SDGs, as agreed by all Member States in the 2030 Agenda, is to “realise the human rights of all”, to make our programmes people-centred.  

With both multilateralism and human rights taking such a pummelling at the moment, this core commitment of the SDGs seems a rare beacon of hope.  Along with today’s agreement on the Migration Compact.  

But are we succeeding?  Are we meeting this great pledge to leave no one behind?  

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UN Celebrates International Day of Yoga

July 13, 2018

Each year on June 21, the United Nations sponsors the International Day of Yoga, a celebration of the ancient science of yoga and its many benefits to humanity. In acknowledgement of the day, organizations around the world hold events that bring together yoga practitioners and interested newcomers from all age groups, religious affiliations, and ethnic backgrounds. This year the program at the UN Headquarters in New York included a yoga session on the North Lawn and a meditation session at the Church Center for the UN called Yoga, Peace, Unity and Healing: Sharing Collective Meditation in Stillness

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2018 UN/DPI NGO Conference

July 6, 2018

The 2018 UN/DPI NGO Conference (August 22-23 at UN Headquarters in New York) is an opportunity for NGOs across the world to come together to address global issues of interest to the work of the United Nations. Recent annual conferences have attracted over 2000 civil society delegates from every region of the earth. This year’s theme, “We the Peoples…Together Finding Global Solutions to Global Problems”, will focus on the importance of multilateralism in solving world problems.

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World Goodwill Plays the 2030 SDGs Game

June 27, 2018

Last month two representatives from World Goodwill were delighted to attend a gathering in Islington, London, to participate in one of the launch events for the English language edition of a board game designed to deepen understanding of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Speaks from the Heart

June 23, 2018

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, will be resigning next year at the end of his four-year term. In his final Global Update on the state of human rights to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 18, he spoke from the heart.

Those of us in the UN Secretariat, originating from all the 193 Member States, work collaboratively and we do not answer to any State. In contrast, too many governments represented at the UN will often pull in the opposing direction: feigning a commitment to the common effort, yet fighting for nothing more than their thinly-thought interests, taking out as much as they can from the UN, politically, while not investing in making it a true success. The more pronounced their sense of self-importance – the more they glory in nationalism – the more unvarnished is the assault by these governments on the overall common good: on universal rights, on universal law and universal institutions, such as this one.

And as the attack on the multilateral system and its rules, including most especially international human rights law, intensifies, so too will the risk increase of further mischief on a grander scale. The UN’s collective voice must therefore be principled and strong; not weak and whining, obsessed with endless wrangling over process, the small things, as it is the case today.

If my Office, of which I am very proud, and I, have gotten one thing right over the last few years, it is our understanding that only fearlessness is adequate to our task at this point in time. Not ducking for cover, or using excuses or resorting to euphemisms, but a fearlessness approaching that shown by human rights defenders around the world – for only by speaking out can we begin to combat the growing menace of chauvinistic nationalism that stalks our future.

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