Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting ready for June Rio+20

The first to react to the idea of the Sustainable Development Goals was the 64th UN DPI Conference on sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens, which was held in Bonn in the first week of September  2011.  The conference was attended by over 1500 NGO's, some governments and all the major UN Agencies and Programs.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012


UN-NGO UNANIMA International assisted in establishing the RIGHT TO WATER as a HUMAN RIGHT

Something very interesting is going on at the United Nations, with regard to water. The delegates are in the middle of a two-week session of preparations for Rio+20 (the world-wide summit on sustainable development to be held in June). They are preparing a document that will (when finished) form the core of the negotiations at Rio. Yesterday several countries indicated that they wanted to remove the reference to clean water and sanitation as "a human right." 

Several NGOs began advocacy work and the UN's own Special Rapporteur on Water and Sanitation was called in.  She took the unusual step of calling some of the more influential countries to task on it, and released the following press statement:

Happy World Water Day!

Michele Morek
Coalition Coordinator
UNANIMA International
Rio+20: “Do not betray your commitments on the human right to water and sanitation”
GENEVA (22 March 2012) – On World Water Day, United Nations water and sanitation expert Catarina de Albuquerque called on countries not to go back on their decisions to recognize the right to water and sanitation for all, and act consistently with them. The right to water and sanitation was explicitly recognised by the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council in 2010.
“Some States, including Canada and the United Kingdom, are apparently proposing the removal of an explicit reference to the right to water and sanitation for all from the first draft of the ‘Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development’ outcome document,” warned the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. This declaration is currently being discussed in New York.
“States are wasting their time on re-negotiating their own decisions rather than moving forward to implement the right to water and sanitation for all,” Ms. de Albuquerque stressed. “We should be marking World Water Day with progress, not debating semantics and certainly not back-tracking on these issues.”
“In the context of the Rio+20 agenda,” she said, “who does not want a future where every single individual enjoys safe drinking water? Who does not want a future where nobody dies due to drinking unsafe water? Who does not want to eradicate the indignity and humiliation of open defecation?”
“In order to achieve the future we want, we need to again underline our commitments to the human right to water and sanitation. We need to speak up for the millions who are marginalized and forgotten – people sleeping on the street, girls who walk miles to fetch water every day, boys who drop out of school because of diarrhoea, people who cannot access water because of their disabilities.”
We should not forget that billions still lack a safe supply of water and access to safe sanitation,” Ms. de Albuquerque underscored.
“Rio+20 and post-2015 development goals should not betray the previous commitments on the right to water and sanitation. It is now time to focus on the world population who only have access to unclean and unsafe water and inadequate sanitation,” the UN Special Rapporteur appealed on World Water Day.
Catarina de Albuquerque is the first UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. She was appointed by the Human Rights Council in 2008. Ms. de Albuquerque is a Professor at the Law Faculties of the Universities of Braga and Coimbra and the American University’s Washington College of Law and a Senior Legal Adviser at the Office for Documentation and Comparative Law, an independent institution under the Prosecutor General’s Office. Learn more, log on to:
For additional information and media requests, please contact Madoka Saji (+41 22 917 9107 / email: msaji@ohchr.org) or write to srwatsan@ohchr.org)
UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights  
Twitter: http://twitter.com/UNrightswire  
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/UNOHCHR

Friday, March 16, 2012

From the Perspective of Women

The UN Conference on the Status of Women (CSW) held its yearly convocation in early March. This Conference brings together women from across the globe to examine women's progress toward equity throughout the world, prepares recommendations on promoting women's rights in political, economic, social and educational fields, and addresses women's rights problems requiring attention.  It also drafts treaties and other instruments aimed at improving the status of women in all areas of public and private life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


What are you doing to be part of the change ... to be part of the future we want?

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Rights of Mother Earth

Proposal Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
We, the peoples and nations of Earth:
Considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny;
Gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well;
Recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today at risk through phenomena such as climate change;
Convinced that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth;
Affirming that to guarantee human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so;
Conscious of the urgency of taking decisive, collective action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth;
Proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.
Article 1. Mother Earth
(1)  Mother Earth is a living being.
(2)  Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.
(3)  Each being is defined by its relationships as an integral part of Mother Earth.
(4)  The inherent rights of Mother Earth are inalienable in that they arise from the same source as existence.
(5)  Mother Earth and all beings are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, species, origin, use to human beings, or any other status.
(6)  Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.
(7)  The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.
Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth
(1)  Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights:
(a)  the right to life and to exist;
(b)  the right to be respected;
(c)  the right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;
(d)  the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interrelated being;
(e)  the right to water as a source of life;
(f)   the right to clean air;
(g)  the right to integral health;
(h)   the right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;
(i)    the right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens it integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
(j)    the right to full and prompt restoration the violation of the rights recognized in this Declaration caused by human activities;
(2)  Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for her harmonious functioning.
(3)  Every being has the right to well being and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings.
Article 3. Obligations of human beings to Mother Earth
(1)  Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth.
(2)  Human beings, all States, and all public and private institutions must:
(a)  act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;
(b)  recognize and promote the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;
(c)  promote and participate in learning, analysis, interpretation and communication about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with this Declaration;
(d)  ensure that the pursuit of human wellbeing contributes to the wellbeing of Mother Earth, now and in the future;
(e)  establish and apply effective norms and laws for the defence, protection and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth;
(f)   respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth;
(g)  guarantee that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration are rectified and that those responsible are held accountable for restoring the integrity and health of Mother Earth;
(h)  empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings;
(i)    establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the destruction of ecosystems or the disruption of ecological cycles;
(j)    guarantee peace and eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;
(k)  promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs;
(l)    promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration. 
Article 4. Definitions
(1)  The term “being” includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities which exist as part of Mother Earth.
(2)  Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or specified beings.