Civil Society

Addressing Gender & Protection Issues During Humanitarian Emergencies

Vanuatu is among the world’s ‘most at-risk’ countries to natural disasters. In the last 12 months alone, the country has faced multiple volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, cyclone and tsunami.

The Role of Women’s Organisations in Crisis-Settings

To mark World Humanitarian Day, we celebrate the overlooked women leaders who are first responders, unwavering advocates, and powerful change-makers in humanitarian emergencies.

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.

Five Million Palestinians Deserve Better!

An old adage passed on by veteran U.N. staff to younger recruits is, “Do nothing whenever possible. It’s safer.” For a junior officer that might indeed be career-enhancing. 

The Nairobi Summit – Towards a Watershed Moment

In 2019 a female scientist created an algorithm that gave the world the first ever images of a black hole. Working with a team of astronomers, physicists, mathematicians and engineers, a young woman led the development of a computer program that in her own words enabled them to “achieve something once thought impossible.”

The Moral Responsibility for Arms Trade

“I don’t want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster.” 1 These were the words of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 22 May 1940 when he learned of individuals profiting because of the booming arms trade industry during the Second World War. Seven decades down the line, President Roosevelt’s warning against the rise of the military-industrial complex and war profiteers is more relevant than ever and a telling testimony that for many in safe places war means profit. But, should the pursuit of economic profit be allowed to supplant ethical considerations, especially when weapons often end up in the hands of terrorists, human rights violators and criminal governments?

Will Palestinian Refugees Pay a Heavy Price for UNRWA Bungling?

A crisis that has threatened to undermine the future of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is expected to have a devastating impact—not only on the credibility of the United Nations-- but also on the lives of over five million Palestinian refugees whose very survival depends on the humanitarian services provided by the beleaguered UN agency based in Amman and Gaza.

Communication is Key to Overhauling Safeguarding

The term ‘safeguarding’ has been squarely in the spotlight in recent times and is now used to refer to all areas relating to prevention of and protection against sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment and bullying. Heightened use of the word is a direct result of the abuses that came to light in the last few years, which shook the sector and prompted an overhaul of systems, policies, procedures and entire organisations.

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.

UNRWA Faces Donor Backlash Amidst Charges of Sexual Misconduct & Nepotism

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which has been undermined by a sharp cut in US contributions, has been embroiled in a scandal that threatens to jeopardize its very future.

Tackling Inequality: A Focus on Cities can Improve Upward Economic Mobility

Tackling inequality in the 21st century requires us to understand and address barriers to upward mobility that segments of people face within countries. In a world with high and increasing levels of urbanization, the conversation on challenges to mobility must start with cities.

A Rural Sanitation Model That Works

Research and experience across more than two decades in rural Odisha, India, show that an effective rural sanitation model requires both financial assistance and an integrated water supply.

Power is a Privilege & a Responsibility: Q&A with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

It’s on all of us to make gender equality a reality – which means harnessing our collective power to build a gender equal world. By empowering girls and women, realizing sexual and reproductive health and rights, tackling gender-based violence, and confronting the combinations of sexism, misogyny, racism, and colonialism, we can take steps towards true gender equality.

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.

Human Rights Watch Disappoints on Human Rights

On 22 July 2019, Kenneth Roth published an article in Publico, Lisbon, entitled: “UN Chief Guterres has disappointed on Human Rights”.

The Precipitous Barbarisation of Our Times

When all is said and done, it appears that Thomas Hobbes, the 17th century English philosopher who had a dire vision of man, was not totally wrong. From the frivolous to the serious, in just a week we have had four items of news which would not happen in a normal world. An English porn beauty with 86,000 followers on social media has put bottles of the water she bathes in on sale at 30 pounds a bottle and has sold several thousand bottles.

It Takes Listening to Children to End Violence

We see many challenges that affect children around the world. Child marriage, corporal punishment, voting ages, air pollution, teachers going on strike…

Finland’s Education System Leads Globally

Finland has garnered attention for its top-notch education, and the newly appointed Minister of Education for Finland is planning to continue with the success of her country’s education system through various and innovative approaches.

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