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ODIHR Director calls on states to leverage current momentum to address gender-based violence, sexual assault, harassment

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Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), called on participating States today to leverage current momentum in addressing gender-based violence in all its forms, including sexual assault and harassment, ahead of International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

“In the last few months, we have witnessed millions of women virtually joining hands in a world-wide act of solidarity demanding justice, inspiring courage and calling for action. The #MeToo campaign has generated an unprecedented impetus to speak up at all times about sexual harassment, assault and violence suffered by women all over the world,” Gísladóttir said on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Vienna. “Breaking the silence has become a powerful and rights-affirmative denunciation of tolerance towards violence.”

Noting that, as every year, the final day of this year’s 16 Days Campaign of Activism against Gender-Based Violence falls on International Human Rights Day, the ODIHR Director stressed that, while states have the primary responsibility to protect the rights of everyone, acting against gender-based violence is the shared responsibility of all men and women

“Reacting to violence and discrimination against women should become a reflex for all of us, like blinking when you get something in your eye. The message has to be that tolerating sexism on billboards or magazine covers, or accepting sexual harassment as part of the workplace or violence as part of the home, are unacceptable,” she said. “States, for their part, need to act swiftly to condemn and prosecute all forms of such violence, to send a clear message of support for victims, and to perpetrators that these acts are crimes.”

The ODIHR Director stressed that all OSCE participating States have committed themselves to preventing and combatting violence against women. She also recalled that Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the United Nations Committee that approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year.

“Security of the person is one of the first rights spelled out in the Universal Declaration, and violence against women, including sexual violence and harassment, is the most basic violation of that right,” Gísladóttir said. “We owe it to Eleanor Roosevelt, to all women, to ensure that the words in the Declaration’s first article – ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ – become the reality.”

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EU and 16 WTO members agree to work together on an interim appeal arbitration arrangement

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EU and Ministers from 16 Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have agreed to develop a multi-party interim appeal arrangement that will allow the participating WTO members to preserve a functioning and two-step dispute settlement system at the WTO in disputes among them. This initiative was launched in mid-December 2019 by the EU and a number of other WTO members following the effective paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body, due to the blockage of any new appointments since 2017.

Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said: “This statement testifies to the high importance that the EU and the participating WTO members attach to retaining a two-step dispute settlement process in WTO trade matters. The multiparty appeal arbitration arrangement will guarantee that the participating WTO members continue to have access to a binding, impartial and high-quality dispute settlement system among them. Let me underline again that this remains a contingency measure needed because of the paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body. We will continue our efforts to seek a lasting solution to the Appellate Body impasse, including through necessary reforms and improvements.”

The multi-party interim arrangement will be based on Article 25 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). It will secure the participating WTO members (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland, and Uruguay) an effective and binding dispute settlement process for potential trade disputes among them.

The arrangement is a contingency measure and it will only apply until the WTO Appellate Body becomes operational again. The EU believes that an independent and impartial appeal stage, giving the necessary guarantees of rulings of the highest quality, must continue to be one of the essential features of the WTO dispute settlement system.

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CTCN publication explores role of technology transfer in raising climate ambition

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The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) has published a report titled, ‘Climate Change Strategies 2020′, which highlights the role of technology transfer in the fight against climate change. The publication includes contributions from Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as a foreword by CTCN Director, Rose Mwebaza, on how CTCN connects countries with the know-how, technology and finance to achieve their climate goals.There are different sections introducing best practices and cases stories regarding the action, technology, systematic change and making it happen.

The publication outlines the organizational structure and operating modalities of the CTCN in fulfilling its technology support and financing mandate for Parties to the UNFCCC. It explains how CTCN interventions help to build country capacities to adopt and use climate technology,  including through engaging local partners to develop context-specific solutions that are implemented through the global network of more than 500 specialized technical partners. 

It discusses the role of CTCN members in disseminating knowledge products, such as technology assessments, and information on new technologies and approaches, through the ctc-n.org online portal, which also serves as a clearinghouse for information on technical assistance interventions undertaken by the CTCN and its partners.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) hosts the CTCN in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the support of a consortium of partners that are engaged in some 1,500 activities related to climate technologies in over 150 countries.

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Mongolia, ADB Sign Grant to Develop Participatory Food Waste Recycling

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Mongolia have signed a $3 million grant agreement to improve food waste recycling in local communities in the capital city, helping to keep Ulaanbaatar cleaner.

“Discarded food waste sullies the city and can be unhealthy for the people living here,” said ADB Country Director for Mongolia Mr. Pavit Ramachandran. “Implemented jointly with the government, the grant will help improve the living conditions in Ulaanbaatar by introducing participatory food waste recycling practices. It supports national programs and policies of Mongolia on solid waste management and the operational priorities of ADB’s long-term strategy—Strategy 2030.”

Around 1.2 million tons of solid waste are generated annually in Ulaanbaatar. Although close to 20% of the waste is recycled, food waste is typically dumped in formal or informal landfills. This large quantity of food waste pollutes the soil and groundwater and damages the health of urban communities, particularly in ger areas, where there are few water, sanitation, and waste disposal services.

The Ulaanbaatar Community Food Waste Recycling Project, with the participation of local communities, will identify food waste generation and composting options based on current food waste recycling practices. It will also pilot both smaller and larger food waste recycling activities, scale-up existing projects across Ulaanbaatar, and raise overall awareness of the need to recycle food waste.

The project is funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, which has supported projects in Mongolia in poverty alleviation, improving livelihoods, and safeguarding the environment over the past 20 years.

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