The 2016 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, with the theme “Ensuring no one is left behind,” will take place at UN Headquarters in New York from 11-20 July 2016. As the essential global platform for guiding worldwide efforts on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, this year's Forum represents the first time countries are sharing their development plans since the adoption of the SDGs.
During the Forum, 22 countries —including Georgia— will present an overview of their plans to achieve the SDGs. The Forum will consist of a 5-day expert level meeting and a 3-day ministerial meeting (18-20 July).
As 2016 marks the beginning of implementation efforts by all countries to achieve the SDGs, the focus this year will be on exchanging experiences on the initial steps and approaches taken to implementation and architecture for follow-up and review, rather than on measuring progress.
What: Media Briefing on the 2016 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
via WebEx with UN Headquarters New York
Who: Dr. David Nabarro, UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
When: Wednesday 13 July 2016, 17:00
Where: UN House, 9, Eristavi St. 0179 Tbilisi, Georgia
Contact: Keti Ghioshvili, UN Public Information Officer
Georgian Foreign Ministry hosted a preparatory meeting for the 36th round of the Geneva International Discussions between Georgia’s representatives and the EU, UN and OSCE Co-chairs. Deputy Foreign Minister, head of the Georgian delegation to the Geneva International Discussions David Dondua led the meeting from the Georgian side.
The Deputy Foreign Minister put special emphasis on the fatal shooting of a Georgian citizen by the occupation regime’s serviceman on 19 May in the village of Khurcha and called upon the Co-Chairs for due action. David Dondua underlined the need to put into place Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms in Gali in due time and in this regard to hold a special meeting this week. The Georgian side also underlined the necessity of carrying out effective measures in the occupied regions with a view to creating international security arrangements.
David Dondua expressed his concern over the plans of the Tskhinvali region authorities to hold a referendum on the possibility of joining the Russian Federation and called on the international organisations to carry out the preventive measures.
The participants of the meeting summed up the results of the 35th round of the Geneva Discussions and discussed the issues on the agenda of the next round. The Georgian side provided the Co-chairs with information regarding the security, human rights and heavy humanitarian situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. Extensive discussion took place concerning the restrictions to the provision of education in Georgian language in the occupied territories, with particular emphasis on the situation in the Gali region. The Georgian side expressed its concern over the adoption of discriminatory regulations against ethnic Georgians living in the occupied regions.
The Georgian delegations once again underlined the necessity of non-use of force commitment by Russia, creation of international security arrangements necessary to ensure the implementation of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and the necessity of safe and dignified return of the IDPs. The 36th round of the Geneva International Discussions will be held on 14-15 June 2016.
UN human rights expert urges Georgia to address the root causes of the institutionalisation of children
GENEVA/TBILISI (19 April 2016) – UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, has ended an eight-day visit to Georgia* by calling on the Government to address the root causes and risk factors that lead to the placement of children under care.
“While I welcome the substantial efforts deployed by the authorities over the past ten years to reduce the placement of children in institutions, several concerns remain,” the expert said. Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio stressed the need to ensure that non-State run residential child care institutions also comply with this process of deinstitutionalisation and insisted on the importance of monitoring and regulating such establishments.
“I am also concerned by the lack of long-term planning for the children in care, who, when they reach 18 are forced to leave the institutions. These children face numerous challenges when leaving State care and require long-term support, including psychological counselling, access to housing and social assistance, to be able to reintegrate into the community,” she said.
The Special Rapporteur noted the measures put in place to identify children living and/or working on the street and refer them to support services, such as temporary shelters. “Unfortunately, insufficient attention is given to prevention and long-term solutions for street children,” she pointed out. The expert insisted on the importance of addressing the root causes, by providing support to families in vulnerable situations as well as raising awareness on the rights of these children.
The Independent Expert welcomed the Government’s increased efforts to combat the trafficking in children. She also praised the adoption of the Juvenile Justice Code which incorporates measures to ensure child-sensitive justice. However, the Special Rapporteur urged the authorities to quickly pass the new draft Law on Adoption and Foster Care. “Once adopted, this law will be key in ensuring better protection for children, especially those living and/or working on the street and who are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, including forced begging and sexual exploitation,” said Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio.
Georgia is one of the few countries that provides international commercial surrogacy arrangements to foreign parents without regulation to protect the rights and best interests of children born through surrogacy and the rights of women acting as surrogates. “It is of the upmost importance to establish clear regulations to avoid protection gaps and abuses, which can lead to the sale of children,” stated the Special Rapporteur.
“The numerous interlocutors that I met during my visit acknowledged the existence of gaps and challenges in relation to the protection of children, but most importantly, they have expressed the willingness to address them,” Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio said.
“Solutions to these problems must be found in consultation with children and young people,” she added. “Despite the difficulties they encounter, the children I met during my visit are full of hope for their future and want to get involved in decisions affecting their lives. As a youth representative told me, ̔We are the force that can change things, otherwise there will be a lost generation’.̛̔”
During her visit to Georgia, from 11 to 18 April, the human rights expert met with high-level representatives of numerous ministries, members of Parliament, representatives of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, of the Public Defender’s Office, local authorities, child rights and protection NGOs, diplomats, the UN Country Team as well as children and young people. She also visited small group homes and shelters as well as an institution for children run by the Church and the IDP settlement of Tserovani.
A final report on the visit will be presented by the Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council in 2017.
(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement:
Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in May 2014. As a Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organisation and serves in her individual capacity. To learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Pages/ChildrenIndex.aspx
The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
United Nations human rights expert Dubravka Šimonović will visit Georgia from 15 to 19 February 2016 to assess the situation of violence against women and girls in the country and gather first-hand information from victims of violence.
“I am grateful to the Government of Georgia for the invitation to conduct the first official visit to the country by a UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences,” Ms. Šimonović said.
“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every woman worldwide”, she stressed. “States have a primary responsibility to take effective action to eliminate violence against women, so it is ultimately up to State authorities to make its eradication a reality.”
During her five-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with Government authorities, civil society representatives and other stakeholders in Tbilisi, as well as Kakheti and Shida Qartli regions.
The expert will also visit a shelter for victims of domestic violence, a camp for internally displaced persons and she will meet with individual victims of gender-based violence and minority women. “I hope that as a result of my interactions with government and civil society representatives, I will contribute to the current discussions and efforts in the fight against such violence in the country”, she said.
The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on the initial findings of her visit on Friday 19 February at 17:00 at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel (4 Freedom Square, Tbilisi). Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.
Based on the information obtained during the visit, Ms. Šimonović will present a report with final findings and recommendations during the thirty-second session of Human Rights Council, in June 2016.
Ms.Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015, to recommend measures, ways and means, at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences. Ms. Šimonović has been member of the CEDAW Committee from 2002 to 2014. She headed the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and was the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the UN in New York. She was also Ambassador to the OSCE and UN in Vienna. She co-chaired the Ad hoc Committee (CAHVIO) of the Council of Europe that elaborated the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).She has a PhD in Family Law and published books and articles on human rights and women’s rights. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/SRWomen/Pages/SRWomenIndex.aspx
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, Country Page – Georgia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GEIndex.aspx
Giorgi Kvirikashvili has met Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development at the United Nations
Georgian Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili met Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development at the United Nations
Discussions mainly focused on the activity of the Solidarity Fund of Georgia. Philippe Douste-Blazy welcomed the conduction of the International Solidarity and Innovative Financing Forum in Tbilisi and positively assessed the activity of the Fund, as a successful project of co-operation and innovative financing of private and public sectors. Talking points also included the current issues of co-operation with the World Health Organisation.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Philippe Douste-Blazy agreed to strengthen efforts towards the enhancement of co-operation.
As part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, the General Assembly today began a two-day debate to draw lessons from the experiences of the past seven decades in the area of peace and security and take stock of present challenges.
"Today our world continues to be re-shaped by globalization, urbanization, migration, demographic shifts and other seismic trends. New threats have emerged, from climate change to cyber-crime and pandemics.
"In many respects, the world is shifting beneath our feet. Yet the Charter remains a firm foundation for shared progress.”
"He highlighted a number of threads that run through the activities of the Organization, from human rights and peacekeeping to humanitarian assistance and sustainable development.
"These include a greater emphasis on prevention, mediation, and the peaceful resolution of disputes and grievances, as well as strengthening peacebuilding in order to sustain peace and keep post-conflict societies from repeating cycles of disaster.
"He also highlighted addressing the roots of conflict, including through heightened attention on violations of human rights – often the warning signs of worse to come, as well as providing adequate and predictable resources.
"Let us take inspiration from the good news of the past week,” Mr. Ban said, highlighting in particular the adoption of the new global sustainable development agenda; tangible support for UN peace operations; momentum on climate change; high-level commitments to gender equality; and encouraging steps to address the refugee crisis.
"Alongside despair in many corners, there remains great hope in the power of working together. That is the founding spirit of the United Nations – and in this 70th anniversary year, in the face of grave and global challenges, it is the spirit we must summon today.”
General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft noted that over the past 70 years, the UN’s approach, capacity and responsibilities in the area of peace and security have undergone major changes.
“Yet today, with unsolved conflicts in many parts of the world and with millions of women and children greatly affected, it is clear that the UN has much more to learn and much more to do, to fulfil its mandate.”
Preventing conflict from breaking out in the first place is “the epitome of success” in this field – and by far the best investment in maintaining peace and security, he said.
Also, since the UN was founded and the Charter adopted, the nature of security challenges, conflicts and threats have continued to change, he said, noting that the UN has responded and continues to adapt to these ever-changing challenges.
In this regard, he pointed to the report of the high-level independent panel on peace operations, which the General Assembly will take up on 12 October, as well as the ongoing 10-year review of the peacebuilding architecture, which will enable the UN to “face head on” the uncertainties of building and sustaining peace and the ever-present risk of lapse or relapse into conflict.
Mr. Lykketoft added that, in the same vein, the global study on Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security allows for taking stock and devising ways to better address this key aspect of international peace and security.
“A UN that is truly fit for purpose is in our common interest,” he stated. “It is our responsibility to ensure that the UN can respond in a timely, well-calibrated and effective manner.
“This requires a concrete, sustainable, and more effective budgetary framework for special political missions. And this also includes the longstanding issue of Security Council reform, which will continue to receive attention during this session.”