The Refugee & Migrants Summits September 2016 : What Was Achieved?

October 13, 2016

Two important global Summits were held at UN Headquarters in New York last month:

  • The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants
  • The Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis.

So what did the Summits achieve? Inevitably, those who were hoping for some radical breakthrough that would reform a broken refugee system in the midst of crisis were disappointed. 

But there were significant achievements. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants unanimously agreed at the UN Summit provides a set of principles around which countries can cooperate in developing a more coordinated and comprehensive response to the needs of refugees.

Pledges at the Leaders’ Summit, if fully implemented, would almost double resettlement places for refugees, increase humanitarian aid for refugees by $4.5bn, provide education to 1 million more refugee children and improve access to legal work for a further million adults. The Guardian commented that while there was disappointment after the Monday Summit, the mood changed on Tuesday, with 18 developed countries announcing plans to increase legal access for refugees, 17 developing countries pledging to increase refugees’ access to education, and 15 claiming that they would take various measures that could help to expand refugees’ access to work.

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Sustainable Development Goals and the Culture of Peace

September 16, 2016

Speaking at the High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace at the UN on September 1, 2016, David Nabarro referred to efforts to implement the SDGs as a movement for what it means to be a human being. Nabarro is the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Achievement of the Goals depends, he said, on our ability to resolve differences in a way that is peaceful. Without the Declaration and Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and we will not have a fit world for the generations to come. 

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UN High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace, 1 September 2016

September 16, 2016

Multiple conferences take place at UN Headquarters in New York every day. It is truly a house of dialogue. This is not surprising when we consider that the Charter calls on the nations of the world to harmonize their actions for the common good. World Goodwill recently attended one of these conferences:  the High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace. It took place under the gaze of an angelic statue in one of the most visually stunning conference rooms in the HQ complex – the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

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Kofi Annan Describes what Ordinary Citizens Can do to Help Bring About Change

July 13, 2016

Writing in The Guardian, former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, describes with simplicity and clarity how ordinary citizens can help bring about the change we need and encourage our leaders to actually lead on issues from drugs to climate change.

What does the illegal drugs trade have in common with the death toll from the Ebola epidemic? Or our collective failure so far to address climate change (the climate agreement in Paris marks the beginning, not the end, of the road) or the security council’s inability to stop the violence in Syria and Iraq? In each case – as with so many other crises in our world – they have at their heart a lack of political will and a failure of leadership. Narrow, short-term self-interests have overshadowed the understanding of how, in a truly global world, interdependent are our destinies. ...

The expertise, experience and evidence needed to solve ... pressing problems already exists. What holds us back is the lack of leadership that can galvanise the political will needed to deliver solutions. The world is experiencing a crisis of leadership, not a crisis of knowledge.

So how can ordinary citizens help bring about the change we need and encourage our leaders to actually lead? Let me give three clear answers: Vote, make some noise and use your power as a consumer.

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Ban ki-Moon Speaks in Tel Aviv About The Battle for Minds in Today’s World

July 12, 2016

On June 27, soon after the UK referendum vote to leave the EU, UN Secretary-General spoke to students at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

He spoke of a tug of war going on in our world today – a push and pull in societies north and south, east and west. 

Never have we been so able to reach out and engage with the world.  At the same time, never in my years as Secretary-General have I seen such potent forces rising up in societies urging people to retreat.  Preying on insecurity.  Profiting on division.  Promoting fear. 
Turn inward, they say.  Build barriers.  It is our way or no way. 
I think perhaps the biggest war being waged today does not involve guns or tanks or fighter jets. 
The biggest confrontation is the battle for minds.  On the one hand, there are those who want to divide the world into “us and them”.  On the other, stand those who see humanity, in the words of the UN Charter, as “we the peoples”.

This short statement by the Secretary-General who is in the final months of his final term, deserves wide circulation.

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