Nominations for civil society representatives
Latest information suggests that a High Level Panel or Independent
Commission to lead the UN post-MDGs process on post-2015 will be
established after the Rio+20 Summit. The Beyond 2015 campaign, which
campaigns for a global development framework after the MDGs, has been
unofficially encouraged to suggest potential civil society
representatives to sit on this body. Nominations should be submitted by
9 March 2012.
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56th Commission on
the Status of Women
Source: UN Women
The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional commission of the
United Nations Economic and Social Council and the principal global
policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and
advancement of women. The 56th session of the Commission will take
place at UN Headquarters in New York, USA from 27 February to 9 March
African Local Summit
The African Local Summit, to be held in Kumasi, Ghana, 1 to 4 April
2012, will share collaboration tools, appropriate technologies and
networks to advance the MDGs in an African context.
Officer for Rio+20 (application deadline 20 February 2012)
UNDESA is seeking a Youth Development Officer for the Rio+20 Major
Group for Children and Youth. Applications must be received no later
than 20 February 2012.
Humanitarian Affairs Officers (application deadline 25 February 2012)
As a result of conflict, underdevelopment, endemic natural disasters,
and limited economic opportunity, considerable human suffering
continues in Afghanistan, rendering large portions of the already
acutely vulnerable population highly susceptible to additional shocks.
In response to gross and acute need, more than eight of an estimated 30
million civilians rely upon timely and coordinated humanitarian
(application deadline 29 February 2012)
for Human Rights
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) is an independent human rights
organisation with a 30-year track record of human rights activism and
public interest litigation in South Africa. LHR provides free legal
services to vulnerable, marginalised and indigent individuals and
communities. LHR offers an exciting and challenging work environment
covering a wide range of human rights and social justice work. LHR
seeks to appoint a Litigation Attorney, based in Johannesburg.
Head of Africa Head Office (application deadline 19 February 2012)
Source: Consumer International
International (CI) has been sowing the seeds of consumer rights in
Africa for nearly two decades, and we are now looking for someone to
help us really grow across the continent. We are seeking to recruit a
passionate 'people person' and experienced manager who is committed to
social justice and development.
business as usual trump transformational change at Rio+20?
Two of the fora I've participated in recently sought to shape new
models for our species and planet. At the World Economic Forum in
Davos, Switzerland the theme , program
and presence of #Occupy protestors combined to ensure inequality,
governance and popular uprisings were, at least, on the agenda. At the
UN meeting on the changing context of development and its implications
for cooperation and global partnership , on the other hand, these
barely found mention. Despite that superficial difference, however,
both events struck me as being completely out of touch with the scale,
persistence and sheer outrage of citizens around the world and with the
dire consequences of inaction on climate change.
At the WEF the gap between the diagnoses of the problem, exemplified by
the annual risk report and the 2012 edition of the Edelman Trust
Barometer on the one hand, and the solutions posited on the other, was
stark. Even as participants painted a picture of impending economic and
ecological doom, there seemed to be little ap
for any significant change in their norms or approaches to
accountability, collaboration or sustainability, and even less change
in their priorities and practices. Fingers were duly wagged at the
Europeans for failing to reach agreement on the Eurozone's economic
woes. Grim warnings of economic meltdown or long-term economic stasis
were duly issued by economists and international institutions. The
emerging powers smugly strutted their new clout while disavowing any
responsibility for global remedies to problems they did not cause. A
predictable roster of causes permitted businesses to showcase meager
evidence of social responsibility. And then, it seemed to me,
conversation reverted to the deal-making that characterizes such
events. Calls from civil society organisations, academics and young
people for radical re-imagining of the very purpose of business and the
metrics by which we measure success were, in my view, politely attended
to, then ignored.
Submit an activity proposal for the 2012 World Assembly
CIVICUS welcomes activity proposals for its annual World Assembly,
which in 2012 has the theme 'Defining a new social contract - making
the future together'. Activity proposals should fall within at least
one of the programmatic tracks of the World Assembly: changing nations
through citizens; building partnerships for social innovation; and
redefining global governance. CIVICUS members, partners and friends are
particularly encouraged to propose activities. The deadline is 9 March
2012. The CIVICUS World Assembly will be held in Montreal, Canada from
5 to 7 September 2012.
CIVICUS plays hosts to young activists for democratic change
This week, CIVICUS helped host a workshop for young activists on the
theme 'From Cape to Cairo: The Role of Youth in Democratic Transition'.
The workshop, which brought together activists from countries such as
Belarus, Egypt, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, focused on transitional justice
and activism in repressive contexts.
justice and solidarity with Bahrain protestors
A year on from Bahrain's pro-democracy protests that began on 14
February 2011, CIVICUS urges the Arab League and Bahrain's military and
trading partners to release protestors imprisoned by military courts,
desist from using force to disperse pro-democracy demonstrations and
start criminal proceedings against members of the security forces
alleged to have committed human rights violations.
CIVICUS calls for release of Burundi anti-corruption activist
CIVICUS has added it is voice to those of Burundi CSOs to urge the
president to release arrested anti-corruption activist and CSO leader
Faustin Ndikumana, who faces a prison sentence of up to ten years.
On the road to Rio
Reminder: Deadline for new accreditations to Rio+20 summit is 20
NGOs and other organisations that are not yet accredited to the UN and
wish to participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
(Rio+20) will be offered a one time opportunity to become accredited.
The deadline for new accreditations is 20 February 2012. Once
registration is approved, organisations can pre-register
representatives until the general deadline of 20 May 2012.
Vitae Civilis guide
Brazilian NGO Vitae Civilis has launched its publication 'Rio+20: The
Essential Information' to support the participation of civil society at
the Rio+20 summit and in the processes around it. This is a useful
guide for all who want to understand Rio+20 and the myriad of
opportunities for engagement available.
Conference of Sustainable Development
SD-Learning, to be held 13 to 22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
is a capacity building event offering multiple courses on crucial
aspects of sustainable development. The courses will offer practical
knowledge and hands-on training from experts around the world. A full
schedule of courses will be released in April 2012. People are advised
to register in advance in order to secure their participation.
United Nations Conference of Sustainable Development
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20, will be held in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012. The conference will be
preceded by the third Preparatory Committee meeting of the Conference,
from 13 to 15 June 2012. In accordance with General Assembly resolution
A/C.2/66/L.53, the pre-registration for participation in the
preparatory meeting and in the Conference by relevant NGOs and other
major groups is open.
Follow threats and
take action to protect civil society - join Civil Society Watch at www.cswatch.org
Etherington fears emergence of 'fourth sector'
Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for
Voluntary Organisations, UK, fears that civil society delivery of
public services may eventually be limited to only a small number of
large-scale providers, effectively creating a 'fourth sector'. In a
recent speech, he also expressed concern that smaller CSOs lack
capacity to cope with modern technical demands, that dissent is being
marginalised since advocacy is becoming increasingly hard to support,
and that giving and philanthropy are too concentrated on the wealthiest
individuals, creating implications for democracy and accountability.
defy KGB and the threat of jail in latest crackdown
Amidst soaring food prices and rocketing inflation, protest is growing
in Belarus and state propaganda is increasingly being exposed as false,
provoking government crackdown on dissenting voices. The legal adviser
of human rights organisation Viasna, whose head Ales Bialiatski was
jailed in November, comments, "There was a time when the two pillars of
the regime were the social contract and repression. Now the first one
UN expert urges
Honduras government to protect human rights defenders
The Honduras government needs to establish a clear policy to protect
human rights defenders, stated UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya
at the end of a mission to the country. Journalists, staff of the
National Human Rights Commission, lawyers, prosecutors and judges, and
people working on the rights of women, children, the LGBTI community,
the indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities and on environmental and
land rights issues are particularly targeted.
What next for Occupy?
With potential eviction of the Occupy London camp and the dismantling
of many others, the question now turns to how the momentum of the
movement can be sustained without physical occupations, but impact on
shaping public, political debate on corporate excess can already be
must play a key role in selecting next World Bank President
A coalition of CSOs has called on the US to end its monopolisation of
the presidency of the World Bank, following Robert Zoellick's
announcement that he is stepping down as president. The new president
must have the support of developing countries.
need strong civil societies
The relative stability of Brazil amongst the BRICs group of countries
suggests that a strong civil society is a key asset in emerging
economic powers, in exercising scrutiny over the central role
governments play in such economies.
measures are an assault on human rights
for Economic and Social Rights
A new report from the Centre for Economic and Social Rights suggests
that Ireland's response to its economic crisis has effectively impinged
on the social contract. Fundamental principles of transparency,
accountability and participation were largely ignored in crisis
response, while human rights institutions experienced heavy reductions
unlawful arrests and hasty deportations
Since October 2011, the International Organisation for Migration
estimates that almost 10,000 refugees have been forcibly returned from
South Africa to repressive Zimbabwe. In a recent submission to the UN
Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Lawyers for Human
Rights noted that, "Despite the legal protections afforded to asylum
seekers, refugees and other migrants in South Africa, the detention and
deportation of foreign nationals is often carried out in an unlawful
trafficking in innocent Somalis must stop
The ongoing Somali conflict has seen a burgeoning in the business of
smuggling and trafficking people from Somalia, a risky and sometimes
fatal undertaking for those seeking to flee the conflict. At least 11
people died in the latest boat disaster. A recent report from the UN
Independent Expert on the situation of Human Rights in Somalia calls
attention to the legal and humanitarian obligations to guarantee the
safety and dignity of Somali refugees.
climate sees closure of human rights network
International Council on Human Rights Policy
A declining funding climate, particularly for human rights work and
research into human rights policy, has seen the closure announced of
the International Council on Human Rights Policy after 14 years. Its
work on analysing the policy implications of international human rights
principles and standards has been preserved in a new web archive.
UN Global Compact
expels 3,000 companies
The UN Global Compact, an initiative which seeks to align businesses to
key social, environmental and human rights principles, has now expelled
over 3,000 companies over failure to produce evidence of commitment and
Bringing it together: organising for civil society effectiveness in Cameroon
Guest post by Christine Andela of PLANOSCAM
A divided civil society sector is easy to ignore and will struggle to
exert influence. By overcoming barriers to collaboration, civil society
can improve its effectiveness and be taken more seriously. The Istanbul
Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness have provided a framework
to increase civil society collaboration in Cameroon. Here, Christine
Andela of PLANOSCAM, the National Platform of Civil Society
Organisation of Cameroon, describes the steps they took in uniting
civil society and applying common principles of joint working to
January 2012 Violations Report
Palestinian News Network
2011 did not begin well for journalists in the occupied Palestinian
territories with widespread rights violations in January, which saw
incidences of journalists being targeted with rubber coated steel
bullets, live rounds and tear gas projectiles, extension of arrests and
issuing of an exclusion order.
cross-sector collaborations in the Middle East
Research suggests social partnerships between different actors from
civil society, private sector and the state are on the increase in many
Middle East and North African countries. There is a need for careful
analysis of the nature of such partnerships, their power dynamics, and
how they are changing in the light of the mass protests of the Arab
Spring. Current thinking is captured in the recently published report
of a New York University Abu Dhabi workshop on cross-sector social
partnerships in the Middle East, in which CIVICUS participated.
Film: Out of sight:
blind migrants in Johannesburg
A new film, Out of Sigh, calls attention to the largely undocumented
plight of blind migrants from Zimbabwe in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The film is available for viewing online.
support an enabling legal framework for civil society
The International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and USAID are
offering two fellowships in Washington DC, USA to conduct research on
the legal framework for civil society. The fellowships will run between
May and July 2012 and are open to applicants from Bangladesh, Belarus,
Burundi, Malawi, South Sudan and Zambia. The application deadline is 15
Support an Enabling Legal Framework for Civil Society in the Middle
International Centre for Non-profit Law
ICNL and USAID are also offering two fellowships in Jordan, Amman to
conduct research on the legal framework for civil society. The
fellowships will run between May and July 2012 and are open to
applicants from Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. The application
deadline is 15 March 2012.
Call for proposals
The Open Forum conference will take place in Cape Town, South Africa,
22 to 24 May 2012, on the theme 'Money, power and sex: the paradox of
equal growth'. The organisers are currently seeking session proposals,
with a deadline of 24 February 2012.