At the UN SDG Summit
in New York, the Forus global civil society network
is calling for decisive action on SDG implementation. Clearly, as we hit the midpoint towards the "finish line" of the Agenda 2030, progress is stagnating.
In the midst of a complex web of crises, spanning climate change, biodiversity depletion, constraints on civic space and mounting debt burdens, civil society organizations and human rights defenders from over 50 countries have united their voices
to call for immediate and impactful action from Public Development Banks (PDBs).
In today's world, human rights defenders face immense challenges, with threats, attacks, and repression being rampant in many countries. According to the latest report by Front Line Defenders, killings of rights defenders increased in 2022, with a total of 401 deaths across 26 different countries
. Despite the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders 25 years ago, the threats faced by defenders persist globally.
In 2022, Saudi Arabia “quietly” sentenced Salma al-Shehab
to 34 years in prison over her Twitter activity, marking the longest Saudi sentence ever for a peaceful activist. Fast forward and award-winning Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was charged with two counts of "offensive communication"
after making unflattering remarks about the president and his son on Twitter. The message is clear: your well-crafted 280 characters can land you in jail.
A coalition of civil society organisations is demanding public development banks (PDBs) to take radical and innovative steps to tackle human rights violations and environmental destruction. No project funded by PDBs should come at the expenses of vulnerable groups, the environment and collective liberties, but should instead embody the voices of communities, democratic values and environmental justice.
In the last 20 years, disasters affected over 4 billion people
. At global level we witness on average one sweeping disaster a day, the majority of which are floods and storms. From the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, calamities are taking new shapes and sizes, infiltrating every dimension of society. From the emotional to the political, how do we deal with disasters? How can we create a whole-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction?
On Human Rights Day, civil society calls for the protection of civic space as a fundamental freedom, as more than 80% of the world’s population live in countries where civic space is closed, repressed or obstructed.
I am speaking with Gladys and Raúl about civic space in Paraguay, when Raúl suddenly tells me about the fires. Thick smoke has reached the capital Asunción where he is based. In October, Paraguay became Dante’s Inferno.