Regional exchange on promoting human rights in Asia

Published on Friday, July 05, 2013  by Maya Nyagolova

clip_image002A regional exchange on Promoting Human Rights in Asia: UNDP’s engagement with the International Human Rights System and following up on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held in Bangkok last month. The APRC Justice and Human Rights team under the Democratic Governance Practice brought together civil society advocates, National Human Rights Institutions, UN agency and Country Office colleagues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, donors, academics, and human rights champions from across 20 jurisdictions in Asia. The event served as a forum for participants to share their knowledge, best practices and experiences in engaging with the international human rights system, and the UPR process in particular. Panel presentations and plenary discussions highlighted a variety of successes in translating UPR and Treaty Body recommendations into practice; the challenges facing implementation, reporting and monitoring of human rights recommendations; as well as gaps and opportunities for improved coordination, cooperation and support. In working groups, participants identified critical areas for a regional engagement strategy, and reinforced partnerships for South-South peer support mechanisms. The results from discussions and reinforced partnerships will inform a regional strategy and programme on promoting human rights. The event was succeeded by an additional two-day Human Rights Based Approach training workshop, facilitated upon request for our Country Office and APRC colleagues with the aim of enhanced proficiency on how to integrate human rights system outcomes into UNDP programming, capacity development and advocacy processes. All relevant information and documents will be available on the UNDP APRC Access to Justice Portal shortly: http://a2jportal.org. With thanks to tricia.kennedy@undp.org and antje.kraft@undp.org


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Pacific youths to take on organic agriculture

Published on Friday, July 05, 2013  by Maya Nyagolova

Last week Vanuatu was host of the second in a series of workshops to build the skills of youth in organic agriculture. Organic agriculture is a farming system that relies on working closely with the ecosystem without dependence on chemicals to increase yields or manage weeds and pests.  Organic agriculture is also one of the areas attracting young farmers worldwide. Against the backdrop of an aging farming population in the Pacific, organic agriculture has been identified as a means to get more young Pacific Islanders involved in farming. The workshop enabled the participants to examine the similarities and difference between traditional practices and organic farming. A key component of the workshop was the role of organic guarantee systems and organic certification in building consumer trust and in developing markets for organic products both locally and internationally. Throughout the week-long event, participants engaged in extensive practical demonstrations and field work and tested firsthand the science behind growing food organically. Followed on from a pilot workshop held in March this year in Tonga, the Melanesian sub regional workshop in Vanuatu was attended by 25 youth farmers, including five women.

Andrew Waileilakeba, a farmer from Navuso village in Fiji said he learnt a lot from the workshop. "I am not an organic farmer but the knowledge I gained at the workshop will immensely help me to move into organic farming in phases. What I liked most about this workshop was that was only 30% lecture but 70% was practical hands on experience in farms which are our open field labs," he said. The participants at the workshop were from NGOs and organizations from across Melanesia including:  Zai Na Tina Organic Systems Demonstration Farm, Solomon Islands; Foundation for Rural Integrated  Enterprises and Development (FRIEND); Nausori Young Farmers, Fiji; National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Papua New Guinea; Farm Support Association and Rural Training Centre, Vanuatu; and the Vanuatu Agricultural College as well as heads of extension services from the ministries of agriculture in Kiribati and Tuvalu. Read the press release or listen to the Radio Australia interview. For more information, contact Asif Chida.


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Governance for Peace

Published on Friday, July 05, 2013  by Maya Nyagolova

The Regional Meeting on Governance for Peace took place in Bangkok at the beginning of July. This cross practice event was convened by the Crisis Prevention and Recovery and the Democratic Governance teams at the APRC in joint collaboration with BDP and BCPR New York. Senior programme officers from 15 UNDP Country Offices attended the event along with external presenters from OECD, Asia Foundation, civil society representatives. The objectives of the workshop were to increase the knowledge of new programming approaches which specifically address governance in fragile, transition and conflict affected countries, including the value of new corporate tools of institutional and context analysis and/or conflict analysis. The meeting also aimed to identify recommendations to respond to challenges raised by Country Offices in the region and decide on follow-up actions to improve coherence and effectiveness of peace and state building interventions in fragile, transition and conflict-affected contexts in Asia and the Pacific and to improve the understanding of ongoing international debate and good practices on state building and peace building in fragile contexts, in particular, regarding the New Deal for Engagement with Fragile States and the UNDP Governance for Peace Framework. This was the first time that the issue on Governance and Peacebuilding was addressed at regional level. A final report with the case studies and analytical recommendations for further regional engagement on the issue will be published soon. With thanks to ana.patricia.graca@undp.org


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Women’s voices and priorities at the centre of the Indonesian Conflict Prevention Framework

Published on Thursday, June 20, 2013  by Maya Nyagolova

clip_image002UNDP is supporting the Government of Indonesia in formulating a new Conflict Prevention Framework (CPF) which identifies seven key sources of conflict and articulates five approaches on how these can be addressed to reduce to the risks of conflict. This cutting edge work is anchored with the UNDP Country Office’s flagship project on Peace through Development of Disadvantaged Areas which also includes the N-Peace initiative. An exciting three days meeting began on 18 June, with a public consultation on the current draft of the CPF in Aceh allowing media, civil society, police and local government officials to discuss the CPF in the local context. The following two days focused on the training of 20 women peace advocates on advocacy skills to promote the inclusion of women’s voices and priorities in the CPF. The N-Peace Indonesia trainers Siti Rohmanatin Fitriani, Mercy Christy Barends, Adriana Venny Aryani and Khairul Hasni came together to deliver the training in Ache. A second and similar process of consultation and training will be conducted in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, in July and will be led by another group of N-Peace Indonesia trainers: Suraiya Kamaruzzaman, Zakiyah Samal and Shadia Marhaban. With thanks to radhika.behuria@undp.org


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Consultation identifies ways to support a culture of peace and non-violence

Published on Thursday, June 20, 2013  by Maya Nyagolova

There are many ways in which women can be empowered to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, just as there are many ways in which culture has been used as an excuse to limit the rights of girls and women. At a consultation on Women’s Empowerment for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence in the Pacific, participants from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu shared examples of how culture, gender issues and women’s empowerment interact. The consultation ended with an agreement on a range of actions at local, national and regional level that could promote increased dialogue amongst leaders and policy makers on the contribution culture and heritage can make to address gender inequality and gender based violence. A draft statement identified the importance of building positive cultural models using a range of key actors including women leaders, faith based leaders, and traditional leaders as well as political leaders and parties. The draft statement also emphasized that education curriculum could place a stronger emphasis on values, gender equality and building positive cultural models. The follow up actions, identified through the draft statement include: public awareness on the role of women in bringing peace to conflict afflicted communities; targeting young people as the next generation of leaders; using arts, cultural and sports events to break down gender stereotypes; enhancing economic empowerment, access to justice and service delivery. The draft statement will be finalized in a month’s time and will be used to advocate for change at the local, national and regional levels. The consultation was jointly organized by UNESCO, UNDP and UN Women. Click here for the press release. Click here to listen to the Radio Australia interview with Janet Murdock, Conflict Prevention Specialist. With thanks to Shobhna Decloitre.


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Journalists encouraged to increase reporting on housing issues

Published on Thursday, June 20, 2013  by Maya Nyagolova

imageMedia stories on urbanization and housing in the Pacific are not always given the prominence they deserve, yet the role of the media in giving a voice to the people living on the margins of society is crucial in shaping public opinion and catalyzing policy decisions that respect people’s rights. The Manager of the UNDP Pacific Centre Garry Wiseman made these comments at the opening of a workshop aimed at improving the skills of journalists to increase public awareness on housing rights and urbanization in Melanesia. “Journalists face plenty of pressures and the right to adequate housing is an issue that is often pushed aside by stories on politics, crime, sports and business, which are deemed to be more newsworthy than people living in squatter settlements in and around Suva, Port Vila, Honiara or Port Moresby,” said Mr Wiseman. He was speaking to 25 journalists from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu attending the workshop on Promoting Housing Rights in Melanesia that started in Lami yesterday. The workshop is part of a project implemented by the UNDP Pacific Centre in partnership with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the University of the South Pacific’s Journalism Program, with the support of the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS). The project aims to enhance the role of media in raising public awareness and facilitating an informed public debate on housing and urbanization as key development challenges in the region. Click here for opening press release, Listen to Simone Troller’s interview on Radio Australia and on Fiji TV. For more information contact Simone Troller. With thanks to Shobhna Decloitre. For photos, visit our Facebook page


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Addressing stigma and discrimination, enhancing the rights of LGBT communities

Published on Thursday, June 20, 2013  by Maya Nyagolova

clip_image002The Indonesian National LGBT Community Dialogue was held recently in Bali. Convened by UNDP, USAID, Forum LGBTIQ and GWL-INA, this first truly national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) meeting gathered over 75 participants from the tip of Aceh to the hills of Papua. Welcoming the participants, the UNDP Indonesia Country Director Beate Trankmann stated: "We know that a lot of work needs to be done to address discrimination, stigma, and rights deprivation for LGBT communities. And it is through sharing with everyone here your insights on the challenges and deprivations that you face but also the progress that you have made together, that we can change the story of LGBT rights in Indonesia and around the globe." USAID Indonesia Mission Director Andrew Sisson seconded these remarks. Academic and government stakeholders form the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, National Human Rights Commission and National Women's Commission were given the opportunity to discuss LGBT issues and ways to improve the human rights situation of LGBT people. The diverse participants explored regional differences: for example in Aceh and Papua, the regions farthest away from the capital Jakarta.  Small groups engaged in topical deliberations, such as family affairs and culture, health, education and young people, politics and law, employment and housing, media and technology. Participants shared case studies on advocacy related to these thematic areas and jointly brainstormed how to prioritize and develop appropriate recommendations for working in these areas. A comprehensive national report will be prepared in English and Bahasa Indonesia over the coming months. With thanks to li.zhou@undp.org


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“Think.Eat.Save.”: how Mongolia hosted the World Environment Day

Published on Thursday, June 20, 2013  by Maya Nyagolova

clip_image002This year’s global celebration of the World Environment Day was held in Mongolia, and the APRC Energy and Environment Team participated in a number of events during the week long special programme, implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Green Development (MEGD) with support from UNEP, UNDP and other international and national partners. The programme included a special session of the government on a draft national green development strategy, National Green Development Forum, International Conference on Renewable Energy, dialogue on extractive industry transparency, public exhibit of development assistance projects in the environment sector, NGO/CSO roundtable meeting, launch of the first wind farm, a carless day and a marathon, involving wider public and especially the youth.

The President of Mongolia Ts. Elbegdorj opened the National Green Development Forum, attended by over 650 participants representing the government, development partners, civil society and non-governmental organizations and local communities. The forum enabled participants to learn from international best practices in pursuing green development path and science and policy co-design, as well as to exchange views on how best Mongolia should ensure sustainable development in view of a rapid economic growth fueled by mining boom. Gordon Johnson, Environment and Energy Team Leader, UNDP/APRC presented regional best practices during the session “Green Development: International experiences and local design.” At the parallel pubic exhibit, UNDP projects on environmental governance, ecosystem-based adaptation, strengthening protected area networks, sustainable land management, trans-boundary ecosystems, water and sanitation and building energy efficiency, presented their achievements at the national and local levels. At the roundtable meeting, organized by MEGD and UNDP, on “Challenges and opportunities for an increased NGO/CSO involvement in environmental conservation”, representatives from the Ulaanbaatar city and provinces discussed current challenges faced by Mongolian NGOs and compared international experiences and good practices in involving NGOs and CSOs in environmental conservation. The local and regional NGO/CSOs highlighted the lack of funding sources and capacities to provide specialized services, the weak partnerships between government and environmental NGO/CSOs and the low level of youth participation in environmental conservation. A common understanding was reached on a number of follow-up action points by government, UN Agencies and NGOs and CSOs. With thanks to bunchingiv.bazartseren@undp.org


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