2016 Human Rights Day

The achievement of the UN SDGs (Agenda 2030) A Human Right?

A seminar organised by the United Nations Association of New Zealand to mark Human Rights Day 2016. 

The UN SDGs programme, or Agenda 2030, is a comprehensive programme with specific goals for the promotion of the social, cultural, economic and political progress of all the people in the world. At this time of global political, economic and ecological crisis, the SDGs are a programme with no specific partisan bias. But is it a human right that people throughout the world should enjoy the benefits of the UN SDGs programme (Agenda 2030)? The UN believes it is. And thus UNA New Zealand believes so too. 


 

The Agenda 2030 was on everybody's mind at the Human Rights Day seminar in Wellington on 8 December. We heard about the role of the private sector as an equal partner to achieving the SDGs, social responsibility and the response-ability and duty of care of everyone on this planet. The need to break down the SDGs in bite size bits and change the language so we all get what we're are talking about. The SDGs is a communication tool but we mustn't forget to look at the agenda in its entirety. All 17 goals are grounded in Human Rights principles and people at all levels are recognising the importance of the agenda. The time to act is now and we are excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead in the new year. 

A huge thank you goes out to our speakers: Josie Pagani, Director, Council For International Development, Moana John Eruera Senior Human Rights Specialist New Zealand Human Rights Commission, Stephen Flood, Environment Social Science Researcher, Landcare Wellington, Marjan Van Den Belt, Assistant VC (Sustainability) Victoria University of Wellington, Regina Scheyvens, Professor of Development Studies Massey University, Betsan Martin Exec. Chair Alliance for Responsible and Sustainable Societies, as well as John Morgan, Human Rights Special Officer and Joy Dunsheath, President United Nations Association of New Zealand.

Read the Special Officer's report HERE

You can download the speaker's slides below:

              Moana Eruera, New Zealand Human Rights Commission
Stephen Flood, Landcare Wellington
Regina Scheyvens, Massey University
Betsan Martin, Alliance for Responsible and Sustainable Societies

Pulse Dinner

The event was followed up with a Pulse (Bean) dinner to acknowledge the UN Year of Pulse and to recognise that there is much that we can do to assist us achieving the SDGs. What we eat affects our health and what we grow and how we grow it will affect Climate Change. It is our agriculture emissions that produce methane and while we may be closer to solving this, the use of water for farming remains a critical issue in many areas of the world. Beans are a staple crop in many parts of the world and it was good to try dishes from Guatemala, China, Ethiopia and the Middle East and a NZ/Indian dish.


 

 

 

 


 

 

2015 HR Day was marked in the form of a seminar on the theme of Business/human rights nexus, sustainability and the UN Global Compact

                                                               

Introductory Speech by John Morgan, Special Officer for Human Rights, UN Association of New Zealand UNANZ

 

Good morning, nau mai haere mai ki tenei hui, and me respects to the members of the iwi of this rohe both alive today and departed.

I follow my colleague UN Association President Graham Hassall in warmly welcoming you this morning to this celebration of United Nations Human Rights Day 2015.

The issue of how fairly people are treated by their governments was a core concern of Eleanor Roosevelt, René Cassin, and the other distinguished people who drafted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

In the sobering circumstances of post-war 1948 that was very right and sound.

Today more and more people are also relating human rights to issues around how businesses work, climate change, and sustainability.

The preparation and endorsement of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 marked a great advance in the United Nations’ efforts to combat poverty and create a fairer world.

The establishment of the United Nations Global Compact in 2000 was part of the same impulse towards a more effective global development effort.
What is the United Global Compact? Not the UN’s best-known organ.

You can read about the UN Global Compact in the admirable brochure, produced by my intern Olivia Lévy of Paris.

Please do not be confused by the word ‘Compact’ in the organisation’s title.

The UN Global Compact is a UN organ based in New York. Our nearest UN Global Compact offices are a business-focused office in Sydney headed by Alice Cope, and a cities programme office in Melbourne headed by Elizabeth Ryan.

As you know, the MDGs programme has been replaced by the sustainability development goals SDGs programme endorsed by the UN General Assembly in September just past.

 

 

 

 

The UN Global Compact’s work particularly reflects SDG 8, focused on decent work and economic growth, SDG 9, focused on Industry, innovation and infrastructure, and SDG 12, focused on responsible consumption and production.

From the beginning of September this year, the UN Global Compact has been headed by Danishwoman Lise Kingo, who, as well as having business degrees and a background in leading Danish businesses and business associations’ efforts to promote human rights and environmental responsibility. Lise Kingo also has a degree in classical Greek culture.
For a fuller introduction to the work of the UN Global Compact, let me repeat, I refer you to the brochure about the UN Global Compact prepared by my diligent and hardworking intern of recent months, Olivia Lévy.
A moment’s reflection on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promulgated 67 years ago today.
Article Three reads: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
Article Twenty-five Clause One reads: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
The language of these two sections of the Universal Declaration clearly, in my view, indicate that business operations that damage the environment to the extent that now is becoming apparent, [pause], to the extent of threatening an enormous number of people’s health, and indeed lives, [pause], are a basic breach of the human rights guaranteed to the people of the world by the Universal Declaration.
Craig Mokhiber, who heads the Development and Economic Social Issues Division of the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva, has said just weeks ago, “Any agreement on climate change reached at #COP 21 Paris, the Paris Climate Change Conference, needs to have a human rights response at its core.”
Mr Sua William Sio is a member of our Parliament, MP for Mangere, a great many of whose constituents are from the Pacific Islands. On Thursday 3rd last week, on the eve of the #COP21, the Paris Climate Change conference, last week, Suo William Sio said in an Instagram post:  
“The people of the islands of the Pacific Ocean are entitled to that most fundamental of all human rights – the right to life itself. Climate change, the rising sea levels and the actions of industrial nations put these lives at risk. The world has a moral imperative to help the Pacific.”
To fight climate change means businesses, repeatedly described by United Nations Development Programme chief Helen Clark in recent months as the engine of economic development, adopting sustainable ways of doing business.
Carefully worked out philosophical arguments about how sustainability can be defined as a human right will have to wait for another occasion. A lot of thought-provoking discussion of those issues can be found on the Internet.
The aim of this seminar is to make an initial effort in our local environment here to stir thinking about how human rights relates to business, sustainability and the United Nations Global Compact.
I thanks the people who have kindly agreed to contribute to our seminar today to provoke and stimulate our thinking on this major challenge to develop a more and more effective human rights approach to our world.  
Many thanks again to you all for coming to our 2015 United Nations Human Rights Day seminar marking the 67th anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris.

The UN Global Compact’s work particularly reflects SDG 8, focused on decent work and economic growth, SDG 9, focused on Industry, innovation and infrastructure, and SDG 12, focused on responsible consumption and production.

From the beginning of September this year, the UN Global Compact has been headed by Danishwoman Lise Kingo, who, as well as having business degrees and a background in leading Danish businesses and business associations’ efforts to promote human rights and environmental responsibility. Lise Kingo also has a degree in classical Greek culture.
For a fuller introduction to the work of the UN Global Compact, let me repeat, I refer you to the brochure about the UN Global Compact prepared by my diligent and hardworking intern of recent months, Olivia Lévy.
A moment’s reflection on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promulgated 67 years ago today.
Article Three reads: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
Article Twenty-five Clause One reads: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
The language of these two sections of the Universal Declaration clearly, in my view, indicate that business operations that damage the environment to the extent that now is becoming apparent, [pause], to the extent of threatening an enormous number of people’s health, and indeed lives, [pause], are a basic breach of the human rights guaranteed to the people of the world by the Universal Declaration.
Craig Mokhiber, who heads the Development and Economic Social Issues Division of the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva, has said just weeks ago, “Any agreement on climate change reached at #COP 21 Paris, the Paris Climate Change Conference, needs to have a human rights response at its core.”
Mr Sua William Sio is a member of our Parliament, MP for Mangere, a great many of whose constituents are from the Pacific Islands. On Thursday 3rd last week, on the eve of the #COP21, the Paris Climate Change conference, last week, Suo William Sio said in an Instagram post:  
“The people of the islands of the Pacific Ocean are entitled to that most fundamental of all human rights – the right to life itself. Climate change, the rising sea levels and the actions of industrial nations put these lives at risk. The world has a moral imperative to help the Pacific.”
To fight climate change means businesses, repeatedly described by United Nations Development Programme chief Helen Clark in recent months as the engine of economic development, adopting sustainable ways of doing business.
Carefully worked out philosophical arguments about how sustainability can be defined as a human right will have to wait for another occasion. A lot of thought-provoking discussion of those issues can be found on the Internet.
The aim of this seminar is to make an initial effort in our local environment here to stir thinking about how human rights relates to business, sustainability and the United Nations Global Compact.
I thanks the people who have kindly agreed to contribute to our seminar today to provoke and stimulate our thinking on this major challenge to develop a more and more effective human rights approach to our world.  
Many thanks again to you all for coming to our 2015 United Nations Human Rights Day seminar marking the 67th anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris.

 

 


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