#UN; #UNPeaceKeeping; #UNMISS#WomenInPeacekeeping; #MINUSCA
Geneva, May 30 (Canadian-Media): To honour the more than 3,900 women and men who have lost their lives under the UN flag since 1948, Secretary-General António Guterres laid a wreath at the Peacekeepers’ memorial on Friday, International Day of UN Peacekeepers, UN reports said.
UN Peacekeeping. Image credit: Twitter handle
At a related event, he upheld that while the COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost everything the Organization does, it has not inhibited the powerful sense of “service, sacrifice and selflessness”, of the more than 95,000 women and men serving in 13 peacekeeping operations worldwide.
“Every day, our peacekeepers continue to protect vulnerable local populations, support dialogue and implement their mandates while fighting COVID-19”, said the UN chief. “They are doing everything they can to be an integral part of the solution to this crisis while keeping themselves – and the communities they serve – safe”.
Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix noted their “tremendous contributions towards peace”, and paid tribute to “the service of those peacekeepers who paid the ultimate sacrifice”, saying in a tweet that it was “their memory that we continue to carry our work forward”.
Saluting women in blue helmets
Under this year’s theme, “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace”, Mr. Guterres emphasized how women help improve all aspects of UN peacekeeping, saying it is “more effective for everyone when we have more women peacekeepers at all levels, including in decision-making”.
“We will continue to do everything we can…to reach this goal”, he stated.
Women in blue helmets. Image credit: UN
During an awards ceremony, the Secretary-General formally bestowed the ‘2019 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award’ on Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo, a Brazilian naval officer serving with the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and to Major Suman Gawani from India, who served in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Diversity in peacekeeping As UN peacekeeping has evolved to better reflect the populations it serves, women have become increasingly more involved, generating positive impacts in areas ranging from servicing in a police or military role, as well as civilian.
In all areas, women have proved that they can perform the same roles, to the same standards and under the same difficult conditions, as their male counterparts, bolstering women’s rights at the same time.
Women ‘blue helmets’ have greater access to communities, help promote human rights and the protection of civilians, and encourage women to become a meaningful part of peace and political processes.
They help to build trust and confidence with communities and support local women, such as by interacting with those who are prohibited by custom from speaking on equal terms with men.
These peacekeepers also work to mitigate the disproportionately negative effect that conflict has on women by addressing the needs of women in conflict and post-conflict settings – including those of women ex-combatants and child soldiers during the process of demobilizing and reintegration into civilian life – and serve as mentors and role models, setting examples for affected women and girls to advocate for their own rights and pursue non‐traditional careers.
In short, “more women in peacekeeping means more effective peacekeeping”, the department said.
#Canada; #UN; #IDUNP; #UNPeacekeepingMissions; #COVID19Pandemic
Ottawa, May 30 (Canadian-Media): A joint statement was issued May 29 by François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence; and Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to observe International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (IDUNP), media reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
Deployment of the first Canadian peacekeepers was in the Middle East in 1948.
Canada was the largest voluntary financial contributor to the UN Department of Peace Operations in 2019.
The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which was co-sponsored by Canada recognizing the importance of women in all aspects of peace and security.
Canadians across the world recognize the service of the women and men who put themselves at risk in UN peacekeeping missions around the globe to help the most vulnerable threatened by conflict and violence.
These members of the United Nations Peace Mission have also been working tirelessly with devotion to support the health of people around the world since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They have been saving lives and stabilizing complicated situations under very difficult circumstances to maintain peace and security
The statement said that raising the number of women in peacekeeping would imply more communities engage with a more diverse and representative range of peacekeepers.
Canada launched the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations in 2017 in recognition of a unique and much-needed perspective to operations, women bring in increasing the effectiveness of these missions. The statement said that increasing women peacekeepers’ meaningful participation is the right thing to do.
#Washington, #US; #LOC; #NationalBookFestival; #VirtualFestival; #SocialDistancing; #Covid19Pandemic
Washington, May 28 (Canadian-Media): As part of Library of Congress' (LOC) 220th anniversary year, the 20th LOC National Book Festival would be celebrated in a reimagined virtual festival the weekend of Sept. 25-27, LOC reports said.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
The 20th LOC National Book Festival would highlight American Ingenuity in 2020, featuring the creativity and inspiration of some of the nation’s most gifted authors.
The lineup for this festival includes Madeleine Albright, John Grisham, Joy Harjo, Jenna Bush Hager, Colson Whitehead, Melinda Gates, Kate DiCamillo, Jason Reynolds and more.
Books have been the source of of inspiration for people around the world during social distancing measures caused by Coronavirus pandemic.
The online festival would serve a a global audience and demonstrate how authors and their stories help to connect and illuminate the world during the social distancing.
“Although we cannot hold our usual National Book Festival, which attracts more than 200,000 attendees of all ages, I believe this virtual festival has the potential to convey the same spirit of inventiveness and creativity to an even wider book-loving community,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “I invite everyone who loves to read – including students resuming their studies this fall – to join us in September.”
#AfricaDay2020; #57thAnniversary; #OrganizationOfAfricanUnity; #AfricanUnion
Ottawa, May 25 (Canadian-Media): A joint statement was issued May 25 by François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade; and Karina Gould, Minister of International Development in celebration of Africa day.
Africa Day 2020. Image credit: Twitter handle
“Today, Canada joins the African Union in celebrating Africa Day, and takes this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to further deepening our relationships with the diverse and dynamic nations of Africa.
“Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. With shared priorities including investing in sustainable economies that benefit everyone, Canada sees the diverse nations in Africa as important trading partners, and we are keen to strengthen these connections.
“Canada also continues to work together with our African partners on efforts such as Silencing the Guns, a campaign against war and conflict; supporting women’s empowerment in peace and security; building resilience against climate change; and mitigating the consequences of the current pandemic on vulnerable people, especially women and girls.
“Now more than ever, the African Union’s vision of a prosperous and peaceful Africa reminds us that by working together, we will overcome the extraordinary challenges that we currently face.
“We look forward to building on our strong relationships with African nations to create prosperity for both Canadians and Africans alike.
“On this 57th anniversary of the creation of the Organization of African Unity, succeeded by the African Union, we wish a very happy Africa Day to all.”
#Canada; #EnvironmentCanada; #BiologicalDiversity; #OurSolutionsAreInNature
Ottawa, May 22 (Canadian-Media): : During the observance of the International Day for Biological Diversity 2020 on May 22, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson said this year's theme for this day is ‘Our Solutions Are in Nature.’
Image credit: United Nations
Jonathan Wilkinson. Image credit: Twitter handle
“Today, the world marks International Day for Biological Diversity, and this year’s theme is ‘Our Solutions Are in Nature.’
“First and foremost, the health, safety, and well-being of all Canadians are top priorities for the Government of Canada. Science tells us that there is a fundamental link between nature, a stable climate, and human well-being.
“As Canadians, we are fortunate to have an abundance of nature in our backyards: a gift that comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility to protect it. Caring for our precious forests, oceans, lakes, and rivers also preserves the diverse plant and animal species that call those places home.
“Climate change continues to present a long-term threat to our health and well-being, and nature is an important part of the solution. We simply cannot get to where we need to be without effective nature-based climate solutions, which have the potential to provide over 30 percent of global climate solutions.
“I am proud to be working hard with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to achieve Canada’s goal of conserving a quarter of our land and a quarter of our oceans by 2025 and working toward 30 percent of each by 2030. We are actively creating more protected areas and expanding our Parks Canada network in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities to achieve these ambitious targets.
“I am working with the Minister of Natural Resources on Canada’s plan to plant two billion trees over the next 10 years. This action will help fight climate change, while also advancing progress on Canada’s biodiversity priorities including improving habitat for species at risk, conserving wetlands, reducing water pollution, and more.
“Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are vital to our health and well-being as Canadians. Together, we can protect our natural legacy for generations to come.”
International Tea Day: Trusty cuppa represents ‘crux’ of today’s issues – UN General Assembly president
#UN; #TeaParty; #Art, #culture, #heritage; #SDGs; #FAO; #Livelihood
Geneva, May 22 (Canadian-Media): Art, culture, heritage, and a source of livelihood for millions. Because tea is so much more than just a drink, on Thursday, at a virtual event commemorating the first-ever International Tea Day, the president of the UN General Assembly lauded the plant for its role in pursuing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN reports said.
Tea is a cultural and social tradition in Kyrgyzstan. Image credit: FAO/Vyacheslav Oseledko
Against the backdrop of the 74th Assembly’s continued prioritization of action on poverty eradication, climate action and inclusion, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said: “It is incredible to think that a cup of tea serves as a crux of these most fundamental issues of our time”.
Last year, on 19 December, the General Assembly decided to designate 21 May as International Tea Day to, among other things, raise public awareness of the importance of tea for rural development and sustainable livelihoods.
He called the tea industry “a main source of income and export revenues” for some of the least developed countries, saying that its production and processing constitute “a main source of subsistence and livelihoods” for millions of families in developing countries as one of the most vital cash crops.
Tea export earnings help to finance food import bills, supporting the economies of major tea-producing countries.
Because the plant thrives in specific agro-ecological conditions that are highly vulnerable to climate change, to ensure benefits for both people and the environment, the tea value chain must be sustainable at all stages, from field to cup.
“We must galvanize multilateral collective action to implement activities in favour of the sustainable production and consumption of tea, and join the co-convenors and participants in raising the awareness of importance of tea in fighting hunger and poverty”, Mr. Muhammad-Bande said.
Tea and the SDGs
Tea production and processing directly contributes to several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the first goal, the reduction of extreme poverty; Goal 2, the fight against hunger; Goal 5, the empowerment of women; and Goal 15, the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
And, tea plays a part in many important traditions, including marriage ceremonies and as formal apologies, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
As we begin the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the SDGs, the Assembly president called on tea-producing countries to integrate the global goals into their national tea development strategies – with particular emphasis placed on climate action, poverty eradication, zero hunger, gender equality, and the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
In closing, he looked forward to continued collaboration on these priority areas, with the expectation that tea will continue to hold prominence throughout cultures for generations to come.
“Let us not forget”, he concluded, “there is little that cannot be solved in conversation over a cup of tea”.
#InternationalMuseumDay2020; #Equality; Diversity; #Inclusion; #UNESCO; #ICOM
Paris (France), May 19 (Canadian-Media): International Museum Day (IMD) was observed this year on May 18 with the theme Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion, media reports said.
IOM. Image credit: Twitter handle
According to the official website of the International council of museums (ICOM), the aim of the theme chosen for IMD 2020 is to celebrate the diversity of viewpoints and overcoming the bias.
Since 1977 IMD has been observed each year with different themes.
In 2009 more than 90 countries with almost 20,000 museums participated in the IMD. In 2010 the number increased to 98, and in 2011, 100 countries joined the participation.
In 2011, the poster of the IMD was translated into 37 languages
In 2012, 129 countries with almost 30,000 museums participated in the IMD
Studies conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the ICOM, on the occasion of IMD 2020 revealed that COVID-19 pandemic has specially effected museums, with nearly 90 percent of them, or more than 85,000 museums having closed their doors for different lengths of time during the crisis.
UNESCO. Image credit: Twitter handle
In Africa and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), only 5 percent of museums could offer online content to their audiences. It is estimated that nearly 13 percent of museums around the world may never reopen.
Besides studying the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the museums, these two studies, involving Member States and museum professionals, also aimed at finding the adaptation of the museums to the pandemic and explore ways to support institutions in its aftermath.
“Museums play a fundamental role in the resilience of societies. We must help them cope with this crisis and keep them in touch with their audiences,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “This pandemic also reminds us that half of humanity does not have access to digital technologies. We must work to promote access to culture for everyone, especially the most vulnerable and isolated.”
Within the framework of its ResiliArt movement, UNESCO launched in mid-May a series of debates devoted to museums.
The first three debates, in partnership with Ibermuseums, will focus on the situation in the Ibero-American region and will explore strategies to support museums and professionals.
The ResiliArt movement aims to support artists during and after the COVID-19 crisis and to analyse the issues at stake, through high-level exchanges between international professionals from the cultural sphere.
The study conducted by ICOM highlighted that museums deprived of their visitors will face a decrease in their income. This would also seriously affect the professions related to museums, their operations and their outreach.
“We are fully aware of and confident in the tenacity of museum professionals to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ICOM President Suay Aksoy. “However, the museum field cannot survive on its own without the support of the public and private sectors. It is imperative to raise emergency relief funds and to put in place policies to protect professionals and self-employed workers on precarious contracts.”
Capacity building, social protection of museum staff, inventorying and digitization of collections, development of online content, technical assistance, Conservation of equipments in the laboratories, and the mobilization of resources are some of the priorities mentioned in the UNESCO study.
The notable increase of museums worldwide by almost 60 percent since 2012 to some 95,000 institutions revealed by the UNESCO study is a proof of the importance of museum sector in national cultural policies over the past decade.
However, wide disparities are revealed by the study with Africa and Small Island Developing States together accounting for only 1.5 percent of the total number of museums worldwide.
These findings are a stark reminder of the latest report published in December 2019, on the implementation by its Member States of the 2015 UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society.
The fundamental role that museums play in education and the dissemination of culture is underlined by UNESCO in terms of social solidarity as well as supporting the local and regional creative economy.
The full results of these two studies will soon be published by UNESCO and ICOM and will continue their collaboration to support museums worldwide, with the help of Member States and networks of museum professionals.
#Homophobia, #Transphobia, #Biphobia; #LGBTQ2; #Covid19Pandemic
Gatineau, May 17 (Canadian-Media): Today, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, we recognize the stigma, discrimination and violence that LGBTQ2 individuals, in Canada and around the world, continue to face, simply for being themselves. This reality has negative impacts on the social, health, and economic outcomes of LGBTQ2 people in our country.
Bardish Chagger. Image credit: Twitter Handle
In the absence of supportive families, many LGBTQ2 people find strength in their chosen families. And this year’s theme in Canada is “Family support is essential: Send love to your LGBTQ+ relatives.”
This theme also has particular resonance during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know far too well that some LGBTQ2 individuals, especially youth and seniors, are suffering as a result of being isolated in unwelcoming or unsafe environments.
Today, we reaffirm the fundamental rights and dignity inherent to all people. Everyone deserves to be valued and respected, regardless of their gender identity and expression, or who they love.
The Government of Canada is committed to better serving LGBTQ2 people and organizations in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an apology to LGBTQ2 people for historical injustices. There is now legislation protecting people against discrimination based on gender identity and expression. We introduced an historic $20-million LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund for organizations in Canada, and most recently, Bill C-8, legislation to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy.
Diversity and inclusion strengthen our country, making it a more vibrant and compassionate society. That’s why, on behalf of the prime minister and the Government of Canada, I encourage all Canadians to reach out to their LGBTQ2 family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues. Together, we can build a society where LGBTQ2 persons feel safe, valued, and free to be themselves.
#GlobalAffairsCanada; #InternationalDayOfLivingTogetherInPeace; #UNPeacebuilding
Ottawa, May 17 (Canadian-Media): Global Affairs Canada issued May 16 the following statement on International Day of Living Together in Peace:
Global Affairs Canada. Image credit: Twitter Handle
“On this day, Canadians join with people around the globe to celebrate our differences and our diversity, confident in the knowledge that these strengths are key to living together in peace—within our communities, our countries and our world.
“Peace and stability endure when solutions are inclusive and when we work together to reach a consensus and support international peace efforts. Together, we can build a world with fewer conflicts and less violence, one realized through solidarity, tolerance and reconciliation.
“Canada values peace and continues to invest in conflict prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding initiatives through key programs such as the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program. As chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Canada is also working with international partners to address the inequalities that often fuel conflicts.
“During these turbulent times, Canada is focused on meeting the needs of people living in fragile and conflict-affected states, reiterating the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire. We also support the efforts of local peacebuilders to reduce tensions, build trust and strengthen social cohesion, which are critical for peacebuilding.
“In everything we do, Canada upholds an explicitly feminist approach to peace and stability, as women are powerful agents of change and have the right to participate fully in peace and security efforts.
“Canada hopes to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2021 to 2022. Our candidacy is focused on five pillars, including economic security at the centre of our platform. Without inclusive and equitable economies, peace will continue to be elusive. To succeed in fulfilling its role, the Security Council needs to take economic considerations into account across its agenda. This is perhaps even more applicable in a post-pandemic world, where financial constraints are more pronounced, food security is at risk and supply chains need protection. Canada’s long tradition of effective action in these areas positions us well to deliver results.”
#InternationalNursesDay; #NationalNursingWeek; #FlorenceNightingale; Covid19Pandemic
Ottawa, May 12 (Canadian-Media): Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today in recognition of International Nurses' Day:
Harjit S. Sajjan. Image credit: Twitter handle
“Today we celebrate International Nurses Day as part of National Nursing Week. This year’s theme is ‘Nursing the World to Health,’ which is appropriate, given the current circumstances of the pandemic.
“We also commemorate the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who was born 200 years ago on this day. Universally recognized for her pioneering work in nursing, I would like to think she would be proud of the dedication and tireless efforts shown by our Canadian military nurses as well as all Canadian nurses, who, time and time again, are helping Canadians in need.
“During the initial outbreak of COVID-19, our nursing officers were deployed to China, Japan, and the United States, where they supported repatriation efforts of Canadian citizens. Most recently, during the ongoing pandemic, they have answered the call to care for Canadian seniors in long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec. As Canadians, we are proud of our brave women and men in arms and we appreciate the ongoing efforts and sacrifices they—and indeed, all Canadian nurses—are making on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
“This week, and in the future, I urge all Canadians to keep our dedicated nurses in their thoughts. We recognize their unwavering commitment during this exceptional crisis, we thank them for their courage and tireless effort, and we hope for their safety and wellbeing during these trying times”.