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NOVEMBER 2013 VOL. XI NO. 11


UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan

November 2013, Vol. 11, No. 11, Total pages: 20

Peace

UN DAY SPECIAL
Development

UN Photo/Eric Kanalste

in

Human Rights
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SG's UN Day Message

UN Day Special 3 Report Card 17

UN Women/Gaganjit Sin

News From Asia-Pacic 9 Library Chat 19

UNICEF

India/2010/ Ran

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UN India Plus Coming UP

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Human Rights Monitor 16

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depend on UN humanitarian personnel for life-saving assistance. UN experts are working handin-hand with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to destroy Syrias stockpiles. And we are pushing for a diplomatic solution to end suffering that has gone on far too long. Our most urgent development challenge is to make sustainability a reality. The Millennium Development Goals have cut poverty in half. Now we must maintain the momentum, craft an equally inspiring post-2015 development agenda and reach an agreement on climate change. This year again, we saw the United Nations come together on armed conict, human rights, the environment and many other issues. We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more. In a world that is more connected, we must be more united. On United Nations Day, let us pledge to live up to our founding ideals and work together for peace, development and human rights. n

UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-Generals UN Day message


nited Nations Day is a chance to recognize how much this invaluable Organization contributes to peace and common progress.

It is a time to reect on what more we can do to realize our vision for a better world. The ghting in Syria is our biggest security challenge. Millions of people

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UN 2.0: The Peacemaker in Need of a Pacemaker?


Excerpts from the UN Day Lecture 2013 delivered by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Honble Minister of State for HRD, Government of India

he UN was established in the aftermath of the World War II and one of its prime objectives was to achieve lasting and pervasive global peace. The goal post is noble, tall and ever-expanding. The UN's journey to match the stated objective with as much zeal and honesty is not completely devoid of awkward mis-steps and a few stumbles. The UN's obituary has become more of a popular exercise with the recent contestations over its role in the Syrian crisis, and before that in handling the Arab Spring in 2011, Iraq in 2003, to mention just a few recent ash points in its turbulent history. Despite such enthusiastic and often critical concerns, I rmly believe that the UN is as relevant to the world as it

was in 1945. In fact, as the problems plaguing the world develop ever greater complexity, the UN's role is going to be even more critical in the coming decades. However, I do believe this great institution needs renewed rigor and relevance to stay true to its objectives. At 68 today, it is well beyond the age of retirement, but I would argue that the institution needs reform rather than retirement. But, before we craft lofty idea of reforms, we must visit the big question Does the UN have a future? Also, we should ask a rather more basic question Has the UN been relevant in the past? The leaders of the coalition that had won the war

were determined to make the second half of the twentieth century different from the much-troubled rst. Hence, the United Nations was established in 1945. The initial idea, which is now called global governance, was to create an international architecture that could foster international cooperation, elaborate consensual global norms and establish predictable, universally applicable rules, to the benet of all as an alternative to the military alliances and balance of power politics that wreaked such havoc in the rst ve decades of the twentieth century. It was desired that the new United Nations would stand for a world in which people of different nations and cultures would look on each other, not as subjects of fear and suspicion, but as potential partners, able to exchange goods and ideas to their mutual benet. A place where small and big states would be able to work as sovereign equals, pursuing common objectives in a universal forum. The philosophy of world peace, one of the primary objectives of the UN, was also reected in President Harry Truman's words: We all have to recognise, he declared, "no matter how great our strength, that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please. No one nation ... can or should expect any special privilege which harms any other nation ... Unless we are all willing to pay that price, no organisation for world peace can accomplish its purpose. And what a reasonable price that is! It is difcult to imagine an American President using such words today, but valuable to recall the founding spirit of the world organisation. The rst two peacekeeping missions were the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in 1948 and the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan

Photos: UNIC/S. Dhillon

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(UNMOGIP) in 1949 to solve the Israel-Palestine and India-Pakistan crisis, respectively. It established itself as the 'global peacemaker'. Running for the last 68 years and counting, the UN has achieved more than it set out to do. It has observed and run elections in sovereign states, conducted intrusive inspections for weapons of mass destruction, imposed comprehensive sanctions on the entire import-export trade of a Member State, set up international criminal tribunals and coerced governments into handing over their citizens to be tried by foreigners under international law. It has also administered territory, conducted huge multi-dimensional peace-keeping operations with nearly 116,000 soldiers on the eld, deployed human rights monitors to report on the behaviour of sovereign governments. In the 1970s, it was inconceivable to imagine the UN in its current version 2.0 of working for world peace. We could not think then that the UN will take sides between democracy and dictatorship, seek to intervene in the internal affairs of its members, or fervently advocate safeguarding human rights across the globe. However, during recent years, the UN has done more than any other single organisation to promote and strengthen democratic institutions and practices around the world. India is a leading donor to the UNs Democracy Fund, which provides assistance for building democracy, and the UN established a Peacebuilding Commission to help countries in transition from war to durable peace. And in the past two decades, more civil wars have ended through mediation than in the previous two centuries combined. Over the years, more than 170 UN-assisted peace settlements have ended regional conicts. Such a feat has been possible because the UN provided leadership, opportunities for negotiation, strategic coordination and the resources to implement peace agreements. In addition, more than 300 international treaties have been negotiated at the
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UN, setting an international framework that reduces the prospect for conict among sovereign States. The UN holds unparalleled experience, leadership and authority in coordinating humanitarian action, from tsunamis to human waves of refugees. When the blue ag ies over a disaster zone, all know that humanity is taking responsibility not any one Governmentand that when the UN succeeds, the whole world wins. The UNs recently established revolving fund for emergency response to humanitarian disasters reects and strengthens its ability to make a difference. And these are achievements the world can build on. The UN has truly earned the title of 'Peacemaker'. Its contribution is largely

developments threaten world peace in a more acute and complex manner. Notably, as the nature of problem changed, so did their epicenter. While the conicts of 1940s were largely in the West, the current list of concerns nds their birth in the Middle East, West Asia and Africa. The shift in epicenter is often accompanied by extreme tectonic shifts. Hence, the question arises whether the UN has undergone changes of similar magnitude to acquire the relevance, resources and authority to tackle these shifts. The UN needs reforms not because it has failed but because it has succeeded enough to be worth renewing. Thus, it is imperative that we continue to invest in the global experiment which has achieved more than it was initially expected to do. Hence, the benchmarks for its future performance have only swelled to match the challenges that lie ahead. Let us not forget that the United Nations is both a stage and an actora stage where Member States decide to offer a course of action and then an action in the form of the Secretary-General and his staff, the peacekeeping operations, the UN agencies which go out to implement what has been agreed on stage. So blaming the United Nations for failing to prevent genocide in Rwanda or Darfur or Syria, overlooks the real question, who is the UN? In this case it is the Member States who have not given the UN either mandate or means to end the killing. Though unpleasant, it is too often the practice to make the UN a convenient scapegoat for the failures of its Member States. Ko Annan often used to joke that the acronym by which he was known inside the Organisation "SG" in fact stands for "Scape Goat". But those who need a whipping-boy must be careful not to og him to death. Reforms, of course, are a process and not a stand alone event. There is a case for reviewing and reviving the entire architecture of the international system that had been built up since 1945, in order to construct a more effective house

The new UN must encapsulate the 21st centurys equivalent of the spirit that informed its founding
unblemished with respect to its impact, efcacy, and professionalism. Currently, there are 16 peacekeeping operations active in four continents on a budget of USD 7.23 billion. Since, 1948, 68 peacekeeping operations have been deployed by the UN, out of which 55 have been deployed since 1988and as one who joined the peacekeeping staff in 1989, I was present at the creation of many of them. The ever expanding goal post of expectations has moved with greater speed than the ability and achievements of this great institution have kept up. World peace is now not only threatened by the traditional dangers but also by the more complex developmentsthe neverceasing cyber threat, expanding food security issues, changing governance regimes, ghting over natural resources including water, manufacture of chemical weapons, increasing threat of pandemics, rising regional tensions, abject poverty and sophisticated terrorism. These

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of global governance for the twenty-rst century. But change at the UN comes as adaptation, rarely as legislative at. The perennial saga of Security Council reform the Open-Ended Working Group of the General Assembly set up in 1992 to resolve the problem is now widely disparaged as the Never-Ending Talking Group demonstrates the point. One of the biggest legacies of the last decade is the sophisticated and acutelyplanned terror strikes. In the early 2000s, for the rst time ever we had a clear and unqualied condemnation by all governments of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes. A greater cooperation between the international policing agencies, sweeping intelligence inputs, and advanced preparationall of which would occur outside the UNhas to be aided by the sustained efforts from the UN to build an international political consensus on terrorism. The demand for reforms in the UN is as wide ranging as its operations democracy reforms, nancing reforms, UN Secretariat transparency, Security Council reform, human rights reform, among many others. But it is important to have realistic expectations from UN reforms. The topic of United Nations reform is in any case a rather vast one, which ideally needs to embrace the functioning of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Human Rights Council, to name just a few organs of the world body. But yes, our peacemaker needs a pacemaker and the heart of this great institution is its Security Council. If reform is unduly delayed, the result could be a UN dramatically diminished by the decision of some of its most important members to ignore or neglect it, while other bodies could well arrogate political responsibilities to themselves, unrestricted by any constraint other than their own self-restraint. If that were to occur, the loss will be that of the rest of the world, which at least today has a universal organisation to hold it together under the rules of international lawwhich is vastly preferable to a directoire of self-appointed oligarchs that say, a politically empowered G20 could become. In any case, to seek a perfection in the UN that is absent in other forms of human endeavour is itself unrealistic. As the UNs Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold, put it, "the UN was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell." Since the UN is a mirror and reconciler of the world conicts, it should be inspired by the words of Mahatma Gandhi, You must be the change you wish to see in the world. The way I see it, the UN is an international organisation, with its feet standing rmly on its unparalleled achievements but its eyes set on a future course and its mind engaged in transforming itself in the light of changing circumstances. I imagine a refurbished UN, built on the strong foundations, reinforced by the innovations and achievements of the last sixty-eight years, and renovated to take account of the problems that lie ahead. The UN must continue to lead the way in its areas of expertise. It will be the rst and foremost agency to coordinate the worlds response when major humanitarian disasters strike. In addition, it will continue to be the most successful practitioner to regulate and monitor peace treaties and conduct peacekeeping operations. Even the reformed UN, as I imagine, will not lead military interventions peacekeeping excepted although its legislative bodies will undoubtedly remain the primary source of legitimacy for any such interventions. No other agency can replace the UN in tackling the surviving issues of the last century along with the newly emerging international issues, from cyber space to outer space, with the legitimacy and objectivity of the UN itself. The UN will continue to be a levelling ground where the rich and powerful commit their might and their resources to the developing and under-developed nations, and a forum in which the voice of the weak is heard as loudly as the roar of the strong. So much for the architecture. But, as the old saying goes, a house is not a home. Something moresomething extremely important, although not quite so tangible is needed before we can be happy that the United Nations is all it can be in the twenty-rst century. Thus, the new UN must encapsulate the 21st centurys equivalent of the spirit that informed its founding. Our new UN must never lose sight of the problems facing the vast majority of humanity. It must remain true to the we, the peoples, in whose name the UN Charter was signed. n Please nd the complete version of the lecture on our website: www.unicindia.org
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UN Associations, diplomats observe UN Day


N Day was celebrated at the US Consulate in Mumbai, a wonderful setting where UNIC has earlier collaborated on other events. This Day was organized by the Maharashtra UN Association (MUNA), under the umbrella of the Indian Federation of UN Associations (IFUNA). A number of eminent speakers talked about different aspects of the United Nations. Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Delhi, Michael Pelletier, said he was pleased to host the celebrations together with Peter Haas, the Consul General in Mumbai. He emphasised the importance of different actors coming together to discuss the values of the UN, in particular in India, which plays an increasingly important role in the global eld, and has shown its ability and desire to face out and engage in the world. The US supports this very important role of the UN Associations

help in spreading and fostering conversations. UN Day is an occasion to celebrate the UNs achievements. Equally, it is a time to look ahead and assess the way forward, said UNIC Director Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, because our task will never be done until the manifold challenges facing the world are addressed. Peace, development and human rights these are not abstract concepts but practical tasks that the UN sets out to do on a daily basis around the world. She thanked MUNA and the US Consulate for organising and hosting the event, particularly Secretary-General A. A. Syed and MUNA Secretary and Youth Wing President Ashraf Ahmed Sheikh. At the UN Information Centre, we undertake campaigns that highlight the work of the UN and also promote its various messaged and interlinked themes, she added. Quoting from UN

Secretary-Generals message for the day, she said: We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more. In a world that is more connected, we must be more united. Dr. Mukul Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Chairman of IFUNA, was unable to attend but sent an inspiring message, delivered by Dr. Sheshadri Chari. Other speakers included Suresh Srivastava; Secretary-General, IFUNA; Mohini Mathur, Executive Chairperson, MUNA; H.E. Mark Pierce, Consul General of Australia in Mumbai who gave an extremely interesting overview of UN and Australia and the latters role in the Security Council; and H.E. Jaroslaw Mikus, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Mumbai who provided an emotional account of Polands struggle over the years. He recounted the poignant story of how more than 50,000 Polish refugees were given asylum by the Maharaja of Nawanagar in India, between 1942 and 1948 and how welcoming the Indian people were. He also noted Poland's presidency of the Human Rights Council in 2013. H.E. Ceylan Ozen Erisen, Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Mumbai, talked about the UN and the girl child and the signicant progress Turkey has made in this respect. n

Photo: MUNA

Volunteers in Mumbai school celebrate spirit of UN Day


NIC New Delhi has been working closely with the NGO Anant Vikas Trust, headed by Hriitu Rana, actively involved in inspiring school children into volunteerism. Several schools and colleges across the country, in particular in Delhi and Mumbai, are
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part of this project which takes on villages and provides them with support in leading a better life. Together with some sponsors and the volunteers, the NGO has provided sanitation, sports facilities, education, safe drinking water facilities, skills development for women and children, among other

innovative activities such as providing opportunities for marketing products made by the villagers. One such school which has been extremely active is the Jamnabai Narsee School in Mumbai where students have put their heart and soul

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into their village projects, including hard digging to make sanitation pits. To celebrate their achievements, in the spirit of the United Nations, they prepared a short video on their visits to the villages, which was presented at the event. UNIC Director Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, who was the Chief Guest at the event, said: The UN is more than just meetings and conferences in New York and Geneva. Sure, that is important too; but a lot of the work the UN does is on the ground. And you are part of that equation, the new generation which will be part of the solution. She went on to ask them whether they had felt this was a satisfying and fullling experience and each and every one of them were full of energy and enthusiasm, already discussing how they could do more, even though they have very heavy study schedules. Sudeshna Chatterjee, Principal of the school, lauded the UNs role in bringing peace, development and human rights to the world, and reminded everyone that in India, the United Nations is on the curriculum of Classes 7 to 9. UN Day was also celebrated for sport and development and awards presented to the winners of the inter-school football tournament. n

Photo: Jamnabai Narsee School

UN Day celebrated in Bhubaneswar

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October marks the anniversary of the day on which India joined the UN in 1945. To mark the anniversary, UN

DAY was celebrated in Bhubaneswar, (capital of the state of Odisha) by the Indian Federation of United Nations Association (IFUNA) and Utkal Federation of United Nations Associations (UFUNA) under the chairmanship of Manoranjan Pattnaik, Advocate and President UFUNA. Addressing the gathering of over 100 participants, UNIC NIO Rajiv Chandran spoke of the close and special links that India shared with the UN. He remembered the contributions made by stalwart Indians at the UN, and also the contribution

that India made to UN peacekeeping operations. Mr. Chandran also explained the complex working of the UN system in India and of the key challenges India faced in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. P.C.Sinha, former Cabinet Minister from the state of West Bengal spoke of the valuable contributions made by UN towards common progress of humanity. He called for a renewed pledge by India to strengthen the United Nations and democratize the Security Council. Other speakers were: Ex-Speaker of the Odisha Assembly Sarat Kar; Former state minister Bajaman Behera; Social Activist Usha Jha; former Ambassador Abasar Beuria and former state legislator Bijaya Nayak. A large media corps was covering the event and prominent coverage was noted in Orissa Post and in Samaj. n
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Photo: Ufuna

UN DAY sPECIAL

Interaction with UN Studies scholars

ur work can be complex, but it is always interesting! UNIC Director Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman said in an address to graduate students of International Studies and UN Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on 28 October. UNICs goal is to connect, she added. And when we see the proliferation of Model UN conferences organized by schools and universities; the great interest in UN activities and campaigns; and the enthusiastic participation of experts, media and others in the ongoing debate on UN reform, we

are inspired and encouraged. Ms. MehraKerpelman also presented the message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for United Nations Day. The talk was organized by the International Students Association, led by Association President Lissette Martel, and was also attended by students as well as faculty of the School of International Studies including Prof. C.S.R. Murthy and Prof. Moushumi Basu. In the interaction that followed, both faculty members expressed the hope that UNIC would be able to preserve and

Photo: UNIC/R. Naik

upgrade its library facilities, so that the valuable documents and archival material would be available to scholars. They also had some interesting suggestions about a possible oral history project on the United Nations. n

MUN: UN spirit at Modern School

ver 700 student delegates from schools in and around India, 11 committees, plenty of preparation and professionalism, and loads of enthusiasm. This is what characterized the inauguration of the ModMun 2013 Model United Nations held at Modern School, New Delhi. The huge hall was bursting at its seams as Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, spoke of the importance of democracy, especially in a country like India. One vote can change a government, Dr. Quraishi observed,

going on to give a concrete example of a case in Rajasthan. Voter apathy is not acceptable. You will lose your moral rights, he told the delegates. Young people also played a very important role in motivating people to register their vote, he added. UNIC Director Kiran MehraKerpelman told the MUNers that MUNs teach them a number of skills and techniques that will help them throughout their lives and careers. She pointed to how this experience enhances their communication and negotiation

skills, teaches them leadership skills and also how to strive for consensus, that is, taking everyone with them, not necessarily scoring points against the other. She reminded them that they should keep in mind the aims and goals of the real United Nations, namely the three pillars of the UN peace, development and human rights which encompass a range of pledges and promises made the Member States. It is up to you as young citizens to ensure that the position your governments take at the global high table is in consonance with the values and principles that are the basis of Indias character as a democracy, Ms. Mehra-Kerpelman said. Lata Vaidyanathan, Principal of Modern School, said that the Model United Nations society had brought great laurels to the school in a short span of three years. I hope that we, as an institution, pioneer Model UN Conferences and lead the way for institutions all across the country to raise awareness, broaden horizons, promote research, inspire debate and inculcate values that are a must for every leader. n

Photos: Modern School, New Delhi

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NEWS FROM ASIA-PACIFIC

Milestone Asia-Pacic agreement on dry ports signed

ecognizing the critical need to move toward a more sustainable path of development, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacic (ESCAP) and member countries showed their leadership and commitment at the signing ceremony of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports held as part of the Forum of Asian Ministers of Transport. Convened by ESCAP from 7-8 November, the Forum witnessed 14 member countries sign the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports, the third Intergovernmental Agreement to be negotiated under the auspices of ESCAP. By signing the Agreement, the governments of Armenia, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Thailand and Viet Nam underscored their pledge toward achieving the shared vision of an integrated intermodal transport and logistics system.

ESCAP at the signing ceremony. This Agreement today is our commitment to change that reality. Dry ports are key hinterland hubs which will help us to leverage the investments we have already made in road and rail, added Dr. Heyzer. Together we will create transport and trade corridors of prosperity, transforming landlocked countries into land-linked centres of development. The Dry Port Agreement builds on the intergovernmental agreements of the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks, built through the ESCAP platform. The Agreement aims to promote international recognition of dry ports, facilitating investment in dry port infrastructure, improving operational efciency and enhancing the environmental sustainability of transport. The Agreement also signals a move to a more sustainable growth path. Dry

ports create the conditions for the muchneeded shift of cargo ows from road transport alone to intermodal options using road services in combination with more energy-efcient, less polluting alternatives such as rail, short sea shipping and inland waterways. At the signing ceremony for the Agreement, Thailand went one step further by becoming the rst Party to the Agreement through ratication, thereby initializing the process by which the Agreement will enter into force. The agreement will enter into force after eight countries have become Parties. The ceremony marks the culmination of a process initiated by ESCAP in 2010. The Agreement was nalized in October 2012, and adopted by Member States at the Commissions annual legislative session held in Bangkok in April 2013. The agreement will be open for signature until 31 December 2014 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. n

The benets of economic growth have, for too long, been concentrated mainly in our prosperous coastal communities with landlocked countries and areas facing challenges of prohibitive costs and complex logistics to get their goods and services to market, and to access regional and global production and supply chains, said Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Transport-handling at ports and Executive Secretary of Photo: Kibae Park
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Disaster Preparedness & Mitigation UNDP: Teaching communities to adapt

UNDP partnership with the government of Odisha supported by the Australian Agency for International Development is enabling communities in Puri district to adapt to extreme weather events. As a result of efforts to strengthen community water management systems, crop yield has increased more than three times despite ooding, villages now have piped water supply and incidences of water-borne diseases are declining. For people living in the oodplains of the Mahanadi river delta in the Indian state of Odisha, life is one of extremes. For six months in a year (July-December), miles of paddy elds, roads and homes are ooded with water. Three months later, water is in short supply as villagers combat water scarcity, affecting everyday life and crop yields. As weather extremes become more apparent, three villages in the Satyabadi Block which is about a 30 minute drive from the popular beachtown of Puri, came together to identify their most pressing vulnerabilities and ways by which they could address the misery brought by an increasingly erratic rainfall. As a rst, the villagers identied the need to improve ood-water drainage from their elds. They renovated the Kharbar canal, a 12 km long drainage channel that snakes through the villages of Bambarada and Dokhandapur. Built 30 years ago to irrigate elds, the canal had not been used for a long time. It was cleaned out and reconnected to the river, and its progress was monitored by a committee of farmers. The results have been remarkable. In an area which receives as much as 1500 mm of annual rain in just 15 days, water now drains out much faster and
Photo: UNDP

rice elds no longer remain water logged for months. In 2012, farmers were able to plant the paddy crop a month earlier than expected because water receded much faster from their elds. In the summer months when rain is in short supply, the ow can be reversed providing much needed water for irrigating crops. The Kharbar canal renovation was part of an adaptive water management project supported by UNDP and funded by AusAID that aims to build the resilience of poor women and men to climate change and reduce their vulnerability to disasters. Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, India says, This partnership demonstrates that when

communities in high risk areas manage their own water resources the impact can be very signicant. Farm productivity increases, children have clean drinking water and women who would ordinarily have to travel a long distance in search of water have easier access. The drainage system has allowed us to start farming earlier in the year. The possibilities of being able to grow a Rabi crop (summer crop) and easily drain away water has provided us with hope and strength says 68 year old Kunja Bihari Sahu from Bambarada. Close to 2100 hectares of land was cultivated in 2012, more than three times that of 2011. In Dokhandapur village, the UNDPAusAID partnership supported the village in establishing a rain water harvesting pond. Connected to a small

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ltration plant, piped water is now supplied to the village in an area where the nearest source of clean drinking water was two kilometres away. Better access to clean drinking water will reduce the high incidence of diarrhoea amongst children caused by excessive water logging in the area. According to Russel Rollason, First Secretary, AusAID Changing rainfall

patterns are forcing villages to change their farming methods and systems. A more holistic community based approach to adaptive water management will help build climate resilience for poor rural communities. In nearby villages, communities are improving the quality of water in the village pond by growing vegetables around the pond to prevent the area

being used for open defecation. The two adjacent villages now manage the sh pond and garden and in the rst 6 months of activities, the villages earned ` 12,000 from the sale of sh and vegetables. The villagers have established a common bank account and the funds are used to buy seed and other necessary inputs to sustain these activities. n www.undp.org

UNESCO: Post-disaster damage assessment in Uttarakhand


n response to the devastating ash oods in Uttarakhand, India, which resulted in signicant damage to the cultural heritage of the region, ICOMOS India, in partnership with UNESCO New Delhi, began a pilot project to assess the damage in the area and determine priorities for salvage and recovery. On 25 July 2013, fourteen architecture and engineering students came together at a workshop to develop a tool kit for eld workers engaged in damage assessment. Later, over a period of eight days, these heritage volunteers conducted eld surveys of movable and immovable cultural heritage in the oodaffected region where they examined cultural objects, temples, vernacular residences and sacred landscapes. Working at thirty different sites, the volunteers recorded the damage and identied the challenges for recovery of the areas cultural heritage. During the debrieng session at UNESCO New Delhi, the students spoke about all that they had learnt, and were extremely eager to participate in future eld surveys and expand the volunteer base. The greatest issue facing the region, they observed, was unplanned and uncontrolled development, which has serious implications for the integrity and maintenance of heritage resources in the area.

To help governmental and nongovernmental agencies work better together, the data collected during this mission is being uploaded onto crowd sourcing crisis mapping software that will serve as an online platform for assessing damage, sharing information, and facilitating salvage and recovery. The information will also be available in printed form, thus serving as a resource bank to document the initiative. Climate change and disaster risk reduction Climate change is likely to have varying impacts on each and every one of us. There is scientic evidence of climate change, globally manifested through a rise in temperature levels and an increase in the incidence of extreme climatic events in the form of recurring droughts and oods, melting glaciers, and sea-level rise, among others. The recent disaster in Uttarakhand also raised questions on the inter connectedness between disasters and climate change. To explore this link, UNESCO New Delhi in association with Development Alternatives organized a one-day workshop on "Regional Priorities for Knowledge Management and Strategy for Action: South Asia on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction on 26 June 2013 in New Delhi. The workshop

discussed knowledge management perspectives on disaster preparedness and risk reduction strategies. It brought together more than 120 various stakeholders from research, grassroots and policy working on natural disasters and climate change communities. The discussions included the role of scientic inquiry and tools to facilitate policy formulation, as well as prospects for better collaboration between various stakeholders. One of the key points that emerged was that climate change adaptation and disaster management strategies must move up on the political agenda, not as an environmental issue alone, but recognised as a challenge to human development and economic growth. It was strongly emphasized that in order to mainstream climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, national governments should strengthen knowledge management perspectives in their national policies. These need to be supported with adequate institutional capacities, such as legal frameworks, guidelines, structures, nancial incentives and mechanisms. Finally, the participants highlighted the need to strengthen risk communication strategies between national experts/ agencies and local communities. n www.unesco.org
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UN-INDIA PLUS

UNODC would like to strengthen its work towards fair and humane justice systems in South Asia.
CRISTINA ALBERTIN is the UNODC Representative for South Asia covering six countries in this region. In an interview with UNIC National Information Ofcer RAJIV CHANDRAN, Ms. Albertin highlights aspects of UNODCs work, especially in India.
Photo: UNIC/R. Naik

What have been some of the policy interventions that you have worked with in India towards creating a drug-free environment?
Cristina Albertin

Rajiv Chandran: Since you arrived in India in 2009 what have been some of the changes in UNODCs approach to the challenges that your agency tackles in South Asia? Cristina Albertin: UNODC as a part of the UN Secretariat has a very well dened mandate enshrined in 5 UN Conventions, which are legally binding instruments. When I came in 2009 to the region, I actually found that two of the more recent conventions, the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC, 2003) and the Convention against Corruption (UNCAC, 2005) had not been ratied by most of the countries in the region. So when you ask me about the approach of UNODC, the rst thing I looked at was the ratication status and then I sought the engagement with Governments to nd out why conventions had not been ratied, if ratication was in process, etc. It took almost two years and in 2011 most of the countries in the region had ratied the Conventions. However, I also want to say that the fact that countries have not ratied the Conventions does not mean that they have not worked on these issues. I think, for example, Bhutan is a very good example to show how committed the country is about corruption prevention work without yet having ratied the Convention. Rajiv Chandran: Lets look rst at the traditional work that UNODC is tasked with: Drugs and Drug Control.
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Cristina Albertin: The three UN Drug Control Conventions that UNODC is mandated to help implement call for a comprehensive and balanced approach. This means we need to simultaneously address demand reduction and supply reduction while keeping our focus on the health implications of drug use. However, it seems that often there is more focus on law enforcement and supply reduction and less on the demand reduction. When I came to India, I found it quite unique that UNODC was working a lot on drug treatment, helping to build and improve the capacity of different services for drug users, including injecting drug users. I had not seen that in other countries. Nevertheless, drug treatment is only one side of the coin of demand reduction, the other side is prevention. Part of effective drug use prevention is also to have regular data on drug use. Only if we have evidence about the nature and scope of the problem that we try to address, can we really advocate for and make the proper policy decisions. We have been advocating with the Government of India for a national drug use survey. The last drug use survey took place in 2001. But drug markets are evolving, nowadays people do not only consume alcohol, cannabis or opium, they consume heroin, synthetic drugs that come mainly from Southeast Asia and prescription drugs that contain narcotics /opioids, which are produced by the domestic pharmaceutical industry and which are easily available. We also talk about new challenges such as legal highs through psychoactive substances,

which recently have been registered increasingly in Europe. Drug markets change so much and subsequently do drug use patterns. It is important for countries to catch up with these trends and conduct drug use surveys regularly. Lack of data is a real weakness in the region, we do not have updated data on drug use patterns, which would be important to develop drug use prevention and treatment policies. Rajiv Chandran: In your work in HIV/AIDS, what have been some of the lessons learnt from the India experience? Cristina Albertin: In its HIV work, UNODC works closely with UNAIDS, WHO and other UN co-sponsors of UNAIDS. Together, the three agencies have developed globally a so-called comprehensive package with nine measures to prevent HIV among injecting drug users. The challenge is how to implement the full package. Even when services are offered, we see that drug users do not easily access services and we need to identify why and overcome any barrier. Another challenge or lesson has been the need to design specic services for female injecting drug users and female partners of male injecting drug users. Worldwide, we usually nd that 9 of 10 drug users are men. Women drug users remain a hidden, invisible population, Women who use drugs are more stigmatized and more marginalized than male drug users. So I think one of our lessons that we learnt in the many years that we have been working on HIV and drug use in India is that we have to develop specic approaches or models to reach out to women and ensure that they receive the services they need and seek. In the

UN-INDIA PLUS
Northeast of India, we have currently such four interventions in place. These are run by NGOs who know the local reality and who can provide required services specically targeting female drug users. Rajiv Chandran: What is precisely the nature of technical assistance that UNODC has offered to state governments and the central Government of India? Cristina Albertin: UNODC provides mainly technical assistance to build capacities in designing and implementing models in drug use prevention and treatment that can be used for scale-up. For example, we have developed drug use prevention modules in the northeast and specic intervention models for female injecting drug users. We have also piloted methadone maintenance treatment in India in ve sites. Regarding drug supply reduction, we are helping to build capacities of law enforcement ofcials to seize drugs and investigate related offences. We have developed globally computer-based training with 88 hours of learning on how drug law enforcement starting with, both the international and national legislation for drug control over operational issues such as how to identify drugs, how to effectively search vehicles and planes to how to deal with the illicit proceeds of crime. This model has been more effective than class room teaching and has allowed to reach out to a greater number of ofcials. We still need to reach out to the states and we have to work more on the investigation part. Rajiv Chandran: There is a feeling that the money for HIV/AIDS in the international community is decreasing. What impact could that have on the work of UNAIDS and its other agencies? And how can we build safeguards to prevent dilution of valuable programmes? Cristina: It is a fact that globally funding for HIV prevention and treatment is dwindling and we have been feeling this impact already since some years. This has denitely a negative impact on our current and future activities. Regarding ongoing activities, we have worked closely to adapt costings of our model interventions for female injecting drug users to the costings used by the Government so that these can be taken over once the new National AIDS Programme starts implementation. Regarding future activities, injecting drug use continues to fuel HIV in many parts of India where we have not yet worked. Less resources mean less possibilities for us to act. We also engage more with states directly to help design proper drug use and HIV prevention policies and programmes. Rajiv Chandran: In the area of human trafcking, what have been some of the interventions that UNODC has brought in to the dialogue in South Asia, and especially with the Government of India? Cristina Albertin: Addressing human trafcking is a very important part of our work. One specic protocol of the UNTOC is dedicated to it. The protocol sets out comprehensive actions to be taken in the areas of penalization/ prosecution, prevention and protection of victims. Various UN sister agencies work on human trafcking in line with their mandate and specialized expertise, such as UNICEF with regard to children, UNWOMEN with regard to women, ILO on the elimination of slavery and exploitation and IOM on migration in general. In this context, UNODC has specialized more on the criminal justice response, especially with regard to sensitizing law enforcement ofcers on how to identify victims of human trafcking and subsequently provide referrals or any other required help. India has ratied UNTOC and its three protocols and amended recently its penal code introducing human trafcking as a serious offence. This has been an important step forward. At the operational level, there is still a lot of sensitization required towards a change of mindset so that law enforcement ofcials at the frontline are alert and vigilant and can offer help when identifying a victim of trafcking. In addition to the identication of victims, proper referrals for survivors is a critical part of the capacity building and so is the aspect of strengthening investigative capacities. The crime of human trafcking involves a lot of crime scenes. Criminal justice ofcers are not yet sufciently trained or equipped to investigate all the crime scenes and the possible suspects which would allow to conclude successfully an investigation in human trafcking, both at domestic, inter-state and crossborder level. We have been working with the Government of India on all the above issues and we are encouraged to see that gradually more convictions are taking place and that anti human trafcking units have been scaled up in the country. We also now see solid efforts between India and Bangladesh regarding the formulation of protocols to repatriate victims of human trafcking. UNODC will continue to work with India, Bangladesh and Nepal to strengthen cross-border collaboration within the region with a view to safeguarding the rights of interests of the survivors and to ensure a proper trial. Rajiv Chandran: In South Asia, are there any specic issues that UNODC would like to take additionally to engage with in the future? Cristina Albertin: UNODC also has a mandate to work with the criminal justice system regarding the standard minimum rules for treatment of prisoners and preventing violence against women vis-a-vis the criminal justice system. Working towards fair and humane justice system is a huge task we would like to engage more in within the region, in particular with regard to the treatment of prisoners, prison reform and the fair treatment of women in the justice system. We need to do much more advocacy to generate understanding for the importance of these issues within societies so that concrete policies and programmes can be designed and implemented. n
November 2013 | 15

HUMAN RIGHTS MONITOR

Bangladesh: UN rights chief alarmed by death sentence to 152 soldiers


obligations, including those pertaining to fair trial standards, as laid down in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bangladesh ratied in 2000, she said. The trial of these 847 suspects has been rife with procedural irregularities, including the lack of adequate and timely access to lawyers. The ofcers of the Bangladesh Border Guards were convicted of crimes such as murder and sexual assault during a February 2009 mutiny in Dhaka, when 74 people, including army ofcers, were brutally killed. Bodies were dumped in ditches and some wives of army ofcers were sexually assaulted. On 5 November, a special court in Bangladesh set up to prosecute the crimes sentenced 152 people to death and 161 people to life imprisonment. However, reports indicate that a number of suspects detained for their alleged role in the mutiny died in custody. In addition, there are allegations of widespread abuse and torture of the detainees and evidence obtained under torture was reportedly admitted in court DID YOU KNOW? The International Criminal Court of which Bangladesh is a State party and other international criminal tribunals all exclude the death penalty for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. during group trials of hundreds of defendants. Ms. Pillay called for an independent and thorough investigation into the allegations of human rights abuses, particularly custodial torture and deaths that took place after the mutiny. "The results of the investigation should be made public and those responsible must be held accountable, she said, noting that, having ratied the UN Convention against Torture, Bangladesh is obliged to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. The conviction and sentencing of each of the suspects must be reviewed individually, and any evidence obtained under torture must not be admitted in court. Ms. Pillay also expressed concern about the conduct of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) established in 2010 by the Bangladeshi Government to try citizens accused of committing atrocities during the countrys 1971 independence war. "The ICT should be a very important means to tackle impunity for the mass atrocities committed in 1971, and to provide redress to the victims who have had a long and difcult road to justice, she said. But it is important that the proceedings meet the highest standards if they are to reinforce the rule of law in Bangladesh and the ght against impunity in the broader region. The Tribunal has so far sentenced 10 individuals, seven of whom have received death sentences. The UN opposes the imposition of the death penalty under any circumstance, even for the most serious international crimes. n

UN Photo: Amanda Voisard

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay

he United Nations human rights chief on 6 November expressed alarm at the death sentences handed out in Bangladesh to 152 paramilitary soldiers for their role in a 2009 mutiny, following reports that they were tortured and their mass trials fell short of human rights standards. The crimes committed during the mutiny were utterly reprehensible and heinous, and my sympathies are with the grieving families, but justice will not be achieved by conducting mass trials of hundreds of individuals, torturing suspects in custody and sentencing them to death after trials that failed to meet the most fundamental standards of due process, said High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. Ms. Pillay urged the Government not to proceed with the death penalty, particularly given concerns about the fairness of the trials. "The perpetrators of the crimes must be held accountable in compliance with the laws of Bangladesh and the countrys international

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November 2013

REPORT CARD

UNESCO: Dynamics of internal migrants

n the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October 2013, UNESCO Social and Human Sciences Sector organized a media launch of its latest publication at the UN Conference Hall, New Delhi. Honble Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Rural Development, Government of India, released the publication titled Social Inclusion of Internal Migrants in India. In his keynote address the Honble Minister said, Internal migration is a force for good for the migrant family, a force for good for the local economy, and a force for good for the country. An expert panel comprising government ofcials, researchers, social activists and partners, shared their experiences on social inclusion of internal migrants and interacted with the media.

The publication, supported by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and UNICEF, provides an overview of existing innovative practices that help to increase the inclusion of internal migrants in society and dispels current myths and misconceptions about internal migrants. It displays ten key areas that are essential to the social inclusion of internal migrants: registration and identity; political and civic inclusion; labour market inclusion; legal aid and dispute resolution; inclusion of women migrants; inclusion through access to food; inclusion through housing; educational inclusion; public health inclusion and nancial inclusion. Internal migrants account for nearly 30 per cent of the total Indian population309 million as per Census of India 2001, and by more recent estimates, 326 million (NSSO

2007-2008). The many positive aspects of internal migration remain unrecognized. Mr Shigeru Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka said There is an urgent need to raise awareness of internal migrants positive benets to society. This will in turn lay the foundations for a more inclusive and integrated society, and balance economic prosperity and social diversity. Internal migration is an integral part of the development and urbanization of cities; Internal migrants are vital, yet invisible, key actors of socially dynamic, culturally innovative and economically prosperous cities. Download publication at: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/ images/0022/002237/223702e.pdf Further details are also available at www.unesco.org/ en/newdelhi n

Left to right: Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, Representative for UNICEF in India, Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director UNESCO, Ms. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, Director, UNIC, Honble Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Rural Development, Government of India, Mr. V. R. Mehta, Trustee, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Shri Rakesh Ranjan, Advisor, Housing and Urban Affairs, Planning Commission, Government of India
Photo: UNIC/S.Dhillon

November 2013 | 17

REPORT CARD

WMO & UNEP: Greenhouse gases in atmosphere at record high

Photo: WMO/olga Khoroshunova

he amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2012, continuing an upward trend which is driving climate change and which will shape the future of the planet for hundreds and thousands of years, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The agencys annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012, there was a 32 per cent increase in radiative forcing the warming effect on the climate because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuelrelated emissions, accounted for 80 per cent of this increase, WMO stated in a news release. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the past 10 years. What is happening in the atmosphere, said the Geneva-based WMO, is one part of a much wider picture. Only about half of the CO2 emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed in the biosphere and in the oceans. The latest ndings highlight yet again how heat-trapping gases from human activities have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and are a major contribution to climate change, said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. He recalled that the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stressed in its recent Fifth Assessment Report that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide,
November 2013

methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. "As a result of this, our climate is changing, our weather is more extreme, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising, said Mr. Jarraud. He underscored that limiting climate change will require large and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. We need to act now, otherwise we will jeopardize the future of our children, grandchildren and many future generations, said Mr. Jarraud. Time is not on our side, he added. The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations and not emissions of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere, the agency pointed out. Concentrations represent what remains in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere and the oceans. At the same time, the Emissions Gap Report 2013, involving 44 scientic groups coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), urges wide-ranging global action to close the emissions gap. If the international community fails to take action, the report warned, the DID YOU KNOW? Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), governments have agreed to limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

chances of remaining on the least-cost path to keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius this century will quickly diminish and open the door to a range of challenges. The UNEP report, which was released on 5 November as leaders prepare to meet for the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, nds that although pathways exist that could reach the 2-degree Celsius target with higher emissions, not narrowing the gap will exacerbate mitigation challenges after 2020. This will mean much higher rates of global emission reductions in the medium term; greater lock-in of carbon-intensive infrastructure; greater dependence on often unproven technologies in the medium term; greater costs of mitigation in the medium and long term; and greater risks of failing to meet the 2-degree Celsius target. As the report highlights, delayed actions mean a higher rate of climate change in the near term and likely more near-term climate impacts, as well as the continued use of carbon-intensive and energy-intensive infrastructure, said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. This lock-in would slow down the introduction of climate-friendly technologies and narrow the developmental choices that would place the global community on the path to a sustainable, green future. "However, he added, the stepping stone of the 2020 target can still be achieved by strengthening current pledges and by further action, including scaling up international cooperation initiatives in areas such as energy efciency, fossil fuel subsidy reform and renewable energy. n

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LIbrArY ChAt

E-challenges for academic libraries

NIC Director Kiran MehraKerpelman attended a conference on Challenges of Electronic Environment in Academic Libraries, organized by the University of Panjab Library for its Golden Jubilee Celebrations at Chandigarh. Panjab University has been given the highest ranking in India. I am here to connect with your academic and student community as you discuss the changing paradigms of accessing information, Ms. Mehra-Kerpelman said, and how our traditional libraries have to rise to the challenge. She spoke about how the arena of information access is so challenging in a country such as India where broadband accessibility in many areas is extremely difcult, and even more challenging is the lack of electricity in many villages. How do we reconcile the fact that while many of us in urban hotspots are tapping and surng along at high speeds on the information highway, she questioned, there are millions of people who must rely on printed material as a matter of necessity? Libraries therefore have to navigate this digital divide, she added. They have to look ahead at new technologies, but also look back to make sure that people are not left behind.

A lively discussion took place on how librarians will need to reskill and retrain and face the new generation of libraries which highlight information access services and seek to optimize the infrastructure in line with users requirements. And in this process of managing and communication of information, technological advances are playing a vital role. Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Mr. Arun K. Grover said that in addition to the Central Library, the University had 75 other departments with their own specialized libraries, and that his dream was to have all these electronically connected in the next 12 months. Former librarian Ms. A.K. Anand focused on the fact that existing infrastructure should be upgraded and she emphasized that training and upgrading of skills was extremely important. She also made a case for not forgetting the old and traditional as the new and technology-oriented is ushered in. UNIC Librarian Dr. R. K. Sharma chaired two Technical Sessions on E-Resources and Emerging Technologies/ Web Resources Management and the Growing Trends in Library & Information Science. He said that the Library and
Photo: Panjab University

Information Science scene is changing fast in the face of new challenges and in response to new demands. Library professionals are experiencing a transition from stand-alone libraries to library and information networks. Today libraries can in principle be completely web-based. He explained how libraries are entering into collaborative utilization of resources through Cloud Computing. Problems like risk of data security, archiving of e-books and back volumes of e-journals have emerged as a big challenge to the libraries known as a place for heritage of documents. A library without walls or a virtual library is now becoming a reality, and it is possible now to provide library services and access to information even outside the library, Dr. Sharma said. n

UN reading corner at US Consulate


NIC Director Kiran MehraKerpelman, together with Anamika Chakravorty, Cultural Affairs Ofcer, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai, and Philip Roskamp, Public Affairs Ofcer at the Consulate, inaugurated a UN Information Centre corner with UN publications at the Consulate Library, enabling the numerous students who

visit the Library to avail of this added information. When I visited this beautiful library a couple of years ago, said UNIC Director, I dreamt of how we could have some UN publications in there. Thank you to all those who have helped to make it a reality. Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Delhi
Photo: MUNA

Michael Pelletier thanked UNIC for the contribution, and said that he appreciated the opportunity to make the UN better known among Librarys visitors. n
November 2013 | 19

ComIng UP

Regd. No. DELBIL/2005/15087 DL(S)-17/3076/2011-13

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 3 December Persons with disabilities are both agents and beneciaries, who would also take the lead in development processes. The full and effective participation of persons with disabilities is a prerequisite for inclusive, sustainable and equitable development. The commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2013 provides an opportunity to address this exclusion by focusing on promoting accessibility and removing all types of barriers in society. 3 December was proclaimed as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by the General Assembly in its resolution 47/3 of 14 October 1992. International Anti-Corruption Day 9 December Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes. On 31 October 2003, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the SecretaryGeneral designate the United Nations Ofce on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Conventions Conference of States Parties (resolution 58/4). The Assembly also designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

World Aids Day 1 December The global theme for World AIDS Day from 20112015, as selected by the World AIDS Campaign, is Getting to Zero. echoing the UNAIDS vision of achieving zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths. Observed worldwide on 1 December since 1998, World AIDS Day unites people from around the world to raise awareness of the global AIDS response and join, in solidarity, the millions of people living with and affected by HIV.

International Volunteer Day 5 December International Volunteer Day (IVD) offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make visible their contributions - at local, national and international levels - to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Apart from mobilising thousands of volunteers every year, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme works closely with partners and governments to establish national volunteer programmes to create structures that foster and sustain local volunteerism in countries. Through the Online Volunteering service volunteers can take action for sustainable human development. In the wake of the 2013 high-level meeting on disability and development, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to bring global attention to the situation of persons with disabilities, to create a strategic vision and to plan for disabilityinclusive development.

Human Rights Day 10 December Human Rights Day 2013 has special signicance in this 20th anniversary year of the establishment of the mandate of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Human Rights Day continues the celebration of the anniversary with 20 YEARS: WORKING FOR YOUR RIGHTS as its theme but with the emphasis on the future and identifying the challenges that lie ahead. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention of the peoples of the world the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
Reproduction of material from this newsletter is encouraged; please credit UNews. For more information on UN activities, link to: UN web site: www.un.org; UNIC web site: www.unic.org.in www.facebook.com/UNICNewDelhi 20 | @UNICDELHI

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