Active Citizens

‘Conference Emphasises Need for Partnerships to Create a World Without Leprosy’

Forty years ago, Yohei Sasakawa saw his father moved to tears after meeting and witnessing the suffering of people affected by leprosy – also known as Hansen’s disease. Not only did the patients have a physical illness, but they also suffered from social exclusion and discrimination. It made the young Sasakawa vow to work for the elimination of leprosy from the world – just as his father had been doing.

The Emergence of a Global Voice for Hansen’s Disease Affected Persons

The Global Forum of People’s Organisations on Hansen’s Disease, which was attended by members of people’s organisations from 23 different countries, wrapped up in Manila, Philippines, today Sept. 10 after four days of discussion and deliberation. The main outcome was a set of recommendations, which included participants stating that those affected by the disease should have more inclusive roles in the global campaign against leprosy.


Culture of Peace Takes Big Stride as UN Observes 20th Anniversary of Norm-Setting 1999 Decision

It has been a long, arduous journey – a journey ridden curiously with obstacles and indifference. Two decades have passed by since the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted, by consensus and without reservation, its landmark and norm-setting resolution 53/243 on the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace in 1999.

Litigation, a Mechanism to Ensure Justice and End Stigma for Hansen’s Disease

Professor Ai Kurosaka remembers the day she first interacted with a person affected by Hansen’s disease. It was 2003 and Kurosaka, then a graduate student of sociology at the Saitama University in Japan, had been assigned to interview ex-patients and their family members to document what kind of discrimination they faced. It was a very difficult task because nobody wanted to speak or identify themselves.

The Business of Social Enterprise

Organisations supporting people affected by Hansen’s disease (leprosy) have social rather than capitalist aims, but they need to take a business-minded approach to their work if they wish to be sustainable, experts at a global conference in Manila, Philippines said.

Global Network Key to Strengthening Leprosy Organisations

Organisations of people affected by Hansen’s Disease or leprosy agree that a global network of volunteer groups is key to eradicating the disease, but concrete steps need to be taken to move the idea from an often-discussed concept to a reality.

First Global Forum of Leprosy-Affected People’s Organisations Kicks off in Manila

Being part of a platform where leprosy-affected people from all over the world can freely interact, exchange and share opinions, ideas, experiences and strategies was always something Tasfaye Tadesse dreamt of.

A Global Forum to Encourage Dialogue and Share Solutions

Professor Takahiro Nanri is the executive director of the Sasakawa Health Foundation, co-organiser of the Global Forum of People’s Organisations on Hansen’s Disease, which will take place from Sept. 7 to 10 in the Philippines.

Festival Pays Tribute to Singer, Civil-Rights Icon Nina Simone

It must be a daunting prospect to sing songs made famous by the incomparable Nina Simone, but performers Ledisi and Lisa Fischer brought their individual style to a BBC Proms concert in London, honouring Simone and gaining admiration for their own talent.

Let the World’s Future Not Turn into Ashes

With the record rate blaze in the Amazon that struck Indigenous communities, the world is confronted by a humanitarian crisis in the midst of an ever-worsening political-economic condition.

Disaster Risk Resilience: Key to Protecting Vulnerable Communities

The past five years have been the hottest on record in Asia and the Pacific. Unprecedented heatwaves have swept across our region, cascading into slow onset disasters such as drought. Yet heat is only part of the picture. Tropical cyclones have struck new, unprepared parts of our region and devastatingly frequent floods have ensued. In Iran, these affected 10 million people this year and displaced 500,000 of which half were children. Bangladesh is experiencing its fourth wave of flooding in 2019. Last year, the state of Kerala in India faced the worst floods in a century.

Close the Door on Nuclear Testing

Everybody knows that nuclear weapons have been used twice in wartime and with terrible consequences. Often overlooked, however, is the large-scale, postwar use of nuclear weapons:

Amazon Fires Heat Up Political Crisis in Brazil

August is the month of major political crises in Brazil, but no one suspected that an environmental issue would be the trigger for the storms threatening the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, just eight months into his term.

Solving the Climate Crisis is Beyond Governments

Throughout my ten years working in international development and climate policy, I’ve mostly heard colleagues talk about the private sector as if it was this intangible, multifaceted medusa with its own business lingo that is impossible for us policy experts to tackle: “the ‘private sector’ needs a return on investment in order to act on climate” or “the ‘private sector' does not have the right incentives, but we need ‘private’ capital to solve this crisis”


Forests, Food & Farming Next Frontier in Climate Emergency

The special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  on climate and land, launched last week, makes it clear that without drastic changes in land use, agriculture and human diets, we will fall significantly short of targets to hold global temperature rise below 1.5°C. 

Mexican Women Use Sunlight Instead of Firewood or Gas to Cook Meals

Reyna Díaz cooks beans, chicken, pork and desserts in her solar cooker, which she sets up in the open courtyard of her home in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of this town in southwestern Mexico.

Revitalizing Indigenous Languages Is Critical

Being fluent in a world language is a desirable skill in modern day society. However, some languages are suffering and in danger of extinction -- namely those of the indigenous peoples.

A Call for Healthy, Blue Oceans in Asia and the Pacific

Leaders at the Group of 20 summit last month agreed on the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision,” which aims to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) stands ready to support Japan and other countries in the region to ensure healthy and sustainable oceans.

Is Civil Society Arguing Itself out of Political Space?

As some of you will know I have a new book out Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in a Time of Fear.  (other contributors to the book were:  Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, Carolina Duque Chopitea, Minu Hemmati, Susanne Salz, Bernd Lakemeier, Laura Schmitz, and Jana Borkenhagen). 

Using Renewable Energy and the Circular Economy to Fight Poverty in Argentina

On the outer edges of Buenos Aires proper, where the paved streets end and the narrow alleyways of one of Argentina’s largest shantytowns begin, visitors can find the En Haccore soup kitchen.

How Skills Can Change Lives of World’s Youth

When the United Nations commemorated World Youth Skills Day, there was one stark reality that emerged out of the event: the world’s youth account for over a third of the global population of more than 7.7 billion people, and they also account for over a third of those unemployed across the globe.

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