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UNGA CONFERENCE 2018

TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD:
SDGS TO ENSURE NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND

25 SEPTEMBER 2018, NEW YORK
www.unga-reception.org

The Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), in partnership with the Alliance for Shared Values (AfSV), is organizing the UNGA Conference 2018 entitled “Transforming our World: SDGs to Ensure No One is Left Behind” on 25 September 2018, in the margins of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The UNGA Conference 2018 will focus on the frameworks of the culture of peace, the pressing concerns related to migration and refugees, and the freedom of the press as the fundamentals of sustainable development.

Every year during the UNGA General Debate, the JWF brings together the relevant stakeholders on a platform aimed at fostering a discussion on the most pressing issues regarding sustainable development, in partnership with civil society organizations and the private sector. By creating a broad alliance among the Heads of States, UNGA Delegates and civil society organizations, the UNGA Conference 2018 aims at generating alternative perspectives towards the implementation of the Global Agenda 2030.

“Dialogue and strengthening of multilateralism as a catalyst for the well-being of all persons and a sustainable planet” is the strategic vision of the 73rd Session of the UNGA under the leadership of Her Excellency María Fernanda Espinosa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of the Republic of Ecuador.

Guided by the overall strategic vision of the 73rd Session, the OBJECTIVES of the UNGA CONFERENCE 2018 are:

• Raising awareness among the global society on the current themes and priority agenda items of the 73rd Session of the UNGA;

• Facilitating collaboration by creating a platform for the discussion of Public-Private Partnerships in the implementation of the Global Agenda 2030;

• Mobilizing the private sector and civil society organizations around the globe to build local and global networks and create diverse perspectives for sustainable development,

• Sharing best practices and lessons learned from the MDGs to work together for achieving the SDGs,

• Ensuring a higher level of accountability by encouraging participation of the civil society organizations in all phases of the development processes.

PANEL 1: THE CULTURE OF PEACE AND CONFLICT PREVENTION

“Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG Adoption)” states that “Sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security; and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development”. Therefore, conflict prevention rests at the root of the peace agenda.

In addition, the 1998 UNGA Resolution defines the culture of peace as “an integral approach to preventing violence and violent conflicts”. It is based on quality education, the rule of law and good governance, respect for human rights, equal participation of women and men in decision-making positions and collaboration of all stakeholders of development to enhance preventative methods for prospected conflicts.

In this panel discussion, JWF aims at discussing how the culture of peace contributes to conflict prevention and analyze the following fundamentals by engaging UNGA delegates, experts and academics, as well as representatives of the civil society organizations and explore:

UN Peacekeeping Operations

• How does the UN Peacekeeping help countries navigate the difficult pathway from conflict to peace, in particular in view of the challenges presented by recent reform effort? What are the basic principles of the UN Peacekeeping operations? How can the civil society organizations strengthen their contribution to UN Peacekeeping operations throughout the world?

The Role of Education

• How does education foster the culture of peace? What is the role of informal educational institutions to promote the culture of peace and enhance cohesive societies? What is the role of education in conflict prevention?

Women in Conflict Prevention

• How does inclusion of women reduce conflicts and advances stability? What is the role of women in identifying the root causes of conflicts and generate solutions to sustainable peace? How does women foster mediation processes and peace agreements in conflict zones?

Preventative Methods

• How do we move from prevention to positive peace? What are the methods to ensure continual engagement in sustaining the peace?

PANEL 2: POPULATIONS AT RISK: HUMAN RIGHTS, MIGRATION, AND REFUGEES

“Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG Adoption)” recognizes “the positive contribution of migrants and refugees for inclusive growth and sustainable development”. Today, communities globally are facing several challenges among which the migration and refugees are the frameworks that require an increasing international collaboration among development stakeholders.

International Organization for Migration`s World Migration Report 2018 found that there are 244 million international migrants globally, which corresponds to 3.3% of the current world’s population. The increasing trend in migration is mainly caused by regional conflicts, persecutions, human rights violations, and the lack of opportunities to pursue better lives.

The UN Secretary Report of for the 2016 UN High-Level Meeting calls the attention of the stakeholders for the “new global commitments to address large movements of refugees and migrants, commencing with recommendations to ensure at all times the human rights, safety and dignity of refugees and migrants”. When the protection of human rights of the newcomers is made an essence of the government’s migration policies, this transformational experience contributes to the positive peace.

In this panel discussion, JWF aims at elaborating on successful experiences in integrating migrants and refugees into the host countries through the promotion of human rights and explore:

Contributions of Refugees to the Host Countries

• What are the economic and social contributions of the refugees into the host countries? What are the challenges in the integration of newcomers? How can the experience of migration be transformed into a positive and peaceful journey?

Refugees as Entrepreneurs: A Best Practice

• What is the role of entrepreneurship in migrants` integration? How to promote ethnic entrepreneurship for the economic development?

The Responsibility to Protect (RtP) and the Right to Leave (RtL)

• What are challenges that the recently increasing influx refugees are going through? In what ways “the right to leave one’s own country” is being violated in recent authoritarian states?

PANEL 3: PRESS FREEDOM FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE

“Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG Adoption)” indicates that stake- holders of the development need to “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms” in order to promote peaceful and cohesive societies. Press freedom is an important indicator of sustainable development, good governance and inclusive societies.

Ensuring freedom of opinion and expression is a key to raise awareness on the protection and promotion of human rights. Declining trends in ensuring the freedom of opinion and expression only contribute to more authoritative societies, where individuals are less and less knowledgeable about their inherent human rights and fundamental freedoms; thus, people lose their incentives to protect their own social and economic rights. In order to disseminate information, the press needs to be independent of any government, political or economic control. It is the State’s responsibility to ensure its citizens` rights to access a transparent flow of information, and protect the professional environment of the journalists.

Unfortunately, authoritarian states are increasingly extending a series of restrictive policies against media outlets and journalists, thus limiting individuals` right to access information. The increasing global trend of shrinking space for journalists and pose media pose a great threat to fostering free and democratic states governed by the rule of law.

In this panel discussion, JWF aims to elaborate on the role of the press freedom for sustainable development and explore:

Press Freedom as an Indicator of Democracy

• What is the correlation between the press freedom and democracy? How does free media contribute to the sustainable development? What is the link between press freedom, insecurity, and violence?

Protection of Journalists Working in Conflict Zones

• What are the challenges that journalists face while working in conflict areas? How can we protect journalists who are working in conflict zones? What are the provisions in the International Law to protect humanitarian workers and journalists reporting from conflict areas?

Shrinking Space for Journalists: Cases and Solutions

• What is the latest status quo of the media independence worldwide? What are the violations of rights of the journalists? How work of the media outlets and journalists influenced by the current authoritarian regimes?