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This World AIDS Day is a critical moment in the fight to combat HIV/AIDS. We know what works: access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Posted by Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

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Clipped from Dipnote. The Annual World Food Day was on October 16th. Women are the key to  food security:

Photo of the Week: Observing World Food Day | U.S. Department of State Blog.

POSTED BY SARAH GOLDFARB / OCTOBER 19, 2012

A Kenyan man shows millet he has grown at his farm in Siranga in western Kenya, July 18, 2012. [USAID/Kenya photo/ Public Domain]

Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote’s Associate Editor.

Every year on October 16, the international community unites around World Food Dayto increase awareness about global hunger. Today, nearly one billion people suffer from chronic hunger, and more than 3.5 million children die from undernutrition each year. As President Barack Obama said in his message recognizing World Food Day, “The United States has a moral obligation to lead the fight against global hunger, and we have put food security at the forefront of global development efforts. Through initiatives like Feed the Future, we are helping partner countries transform their agriculture sectors by investing in smallholder farmers — particularly women — who are the key to spurring economic growth and sustainably cultivating enough food to feed their people.”

In remarks at a Feed the Future event in New York last month, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “As a result of all the work of so many people over the last four years, food security is now at the top of our national and foreign policy agendas, as well as that of so many other nations in the world, because we understand it is a humanitarian and moral imperative, but it also directly relates to global security and stability. I’ve seen in my travels how increased investments in agriculture and nutrition are paying off in rising prosperity, healthier children, better markets, and stronger communities.”

In this week’s “Photo of the Week,” which comes to us from USAID/Kenya, a farmer, who benefits from the support of Feed the Future, shows millet grown on his farm in western Kenya on July 18, 2012. Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, supports agricultural cooperatives and producers organizations throughout the world, helping link smallholder farmers to markets.

You can learn more about U.S. efforts to to improve food security and nutrition worldwide by following @FeedtheFuture@USAID, and @StateDept on Twitter, or visiting the websites of Feed the Future, USAID, and the State Department’s Office of Global Food Security. In the comments section below, let us know how you observed World Food Day.

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International Women’s day is a natural fit to Women’s History Month in the US. The UN states that March 8th, 2010 “marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.” The theme this year is “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”. A history of the day, which the UN traces back to 1909 in the US, as an anniversary to the 1908 NY garment workers strike, can be found at their site HERE.

If you are interested, the UN has a long list of  documentation regarding their 15 year review and appraisal of women’s and girls progress. It can be found HERE.

The conference, meetings and events for this review have been ongoing since March 1st and will continue through the 12th of March. The UN is sponsoring a Webcast of events, and several are scheduled for Monday, March 8th, the  earliest, between 10:00AM and 3:00 PM EST, HERE

It seems a lifetime ago that Hillary Rodham Clinton; now, Secretary of State Clinton, with other forward souls, went to Beijing and developed the benchmarks for women’s progress that would take us into this century. It seems three lifetimes ago that a younger naive woman like me assumed that the ERA would pass, and we women would be equal citizens of the United States. I am hopeful still. And determined.  And, when the rage strikes me, I remind myself that it is the journey, rather than the goal, that makes us who we are.

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Against the background of the Chinese refusal to allow monitoring of green house emissions and insistence that the 1992 treaty be honored in which they are to receive assistance toward the reduction of such emissions, the US Agenda was that of “pragmatism”.  Meanwhile smaller nations, notably from Africa, walked out briefly in protest on Monday over proposed assistance and perceived sidelining of the Kyoto Protocol.

Through the week concerns continued that progress of the overall climate negotiations regarding technical, financial and emotional issues, for an interim agreement, was too slow and would leave too much unsettled when world leaders sit down to negociate a binding global accord next year.

SOS Hillary Clinton was scheduled to attend today’s conference and leaders events in advance of the President’s arrival on the 18th.

Then today, Japan Times reported the following:

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009

Gridlock threatens to doom COP15

By ERIC JOHNSTON and SETSUKO KAMIYA

Staff writers

[COPENHAGEN — U.N. negotiators at the COP15 conference worked through the night Tuesday, increasingly desperate to reach agreement before more than 120 world leaders gather Thursday night and Friday and following an official warning that the stalemated negotiations could doom the conference….

…One of the main sticking points on financing is which developing countries should receive financial assistance. U.S. officials have stressed they would refuse to provide China with funds. On Tuesday, China said the world’s poorest and most vulnerable should be prioritized, a sign Beijing may agree to U.S. demands that funding target small island states in the Pacific or African nations threatened by global warming, rather than large, industrialized developing countries such as itself…]

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20091217a1.html

Neither China nor the US has yet signed the Kyoto Protocol as regarding green house gas emission.  This is a continuing major issue for many signatory countries. Most would prefer to keep the Kyoto Protocol, however, there is negotiation ongoing to develop a second legally binding protocol that the US might sign.

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If you are  on something faster than dial-up, the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark  has a live feed HERE, as presented by the US State Dept. Even if you are on dial up, the link is worth visiting, because it contains the agenda of the conference, running between December 7th and 18th. The list of issues is impressive, there is a summary of each below, and there are many .pdf documents available for download at this site.  Today’s agenda in Copenhagen time is:

Wednesday, December 16
9:00-10:00 AM Climate Federalism: U.S. States in Partnership with U.S. EPA
10:15-11:15 AM The U.S. Transportation Sector: A Part of the Climate Solution
11:30-12:30 PM The Science of Climate Change
4:45-5:45 PM Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Bioenergy: a New Tool for Reporting and Comparing Lifecycle Analyses
6:00-7:00 PM National Security Implications of Climate Change
Copenhagen is 9 hours ahead of San Francisco.

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“It is not only governments and financial institutions that need to do more to prevent corruption and strengthen integrity. Corruption affects us all. It weakens democratic institutions, undermines the rule of law and enables terrorists to finance their nefarious work. On this International Day, let us all do our part to strengthen integrity, play by the rules, and turn the tide against this global menace.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Message on International Anti-Corruption Day

9 December 2009

Part of the chain of United Nations international observances that fall within the 16 days campaign to eliminate violence against women, this day arose out of the 43 page UN Resolution 58/4 on October 31, 2003. This resolution was made an official Convention by adoption in December 2005 after a minimum of 30 states (countries) had ratified the document and a Secretariat assigned. The Convention lays out definitions, agreements and procedures by which state and other entities such as regional economic organizations agree to abide, toward the elimination of corruption.

I have been unable to root out of the UN documents the most recent list of signatories to the Convention, however as of 2006, a total of 98 states had ratified it.

Education is an example of one area of human rights where the impact of corruption is different then men. UNIFEM has published a flagship biennial report entitled, “Progress of the World’s Women 2008/2009”. It part it indicates that women appear to be less tolerant and more vulnerable to corruption than men.

The U4 Anti Corruption Resource Center explains further that while there is no empirical evidence, there is a general consensus that women are disproportionately affected.  They make several points in this regard.

First, where women lack access to economic power, they are more reliant on public services. Where corruption occurs, those services suffer and undermine quality.

Second, without personal income it is more difficult to pay bribes and informal payments that may be part of the public system, and they may represent a higher portion of income for poor families. Since women head of households represent a disproportionate share of poor families, they are more greatly affected.

Third, in a non-equal world, poor families tend to reserve their available funds for boys.

Finally, women tend to have less access to redress, because of gender restricted roles and culture, and the lack of economic power, In a justice system that is gender based, rather than human based, women tend to lose out.

The thrust of these organizations is directed towards developing and war torn areas. However, their talking points resonate in the United States, as well.

Women here also represent a disproportionate share of poor heads of household. They are more likely to be dependant on public service. While most families may not make decisions by gender, over who should attend school, there is still disparity in educational choices and treatment. Since women are not equal under the eyes of the law, redress for grievances is different.

For further information, Transparency International has a wonderful resource page HERE.

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As part of the 16 days campaign toward the Elimination of Violence against Women, the UN has announced the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

“Combating slavery means not only its direct prohibition by law but also fighting against poverty, illiteracy, economic and social disparities, gender discrimination and violence against women and children.  We need to enforce laws against slavery; create mechanisms to combat such practices; reinforce bilateral, regional and international cooperation, including with non-governmental organizations that assist victims; and launch awareness raising campaigns.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Message for the International Day

for the Abolition of Slavery

2 December 2009

Slavery is an international problem. Wikipedia identifies slavery as:

[Slavery is a form of forced labor in which people are considered to be the property of others. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages)…]

Perhaps we in the United States like to think we fully know what slavery is and condemn it. After all, we sent Eleanor to the United Nations in 1948 and thought we took care of that. We passed civil rights laws and thought that was an end. Some of us have  attempted apologies or reparations.

However, it still exists internationally and it still exists here. We are still a patriarchal society; we don’t place an economic value on the work that people, say, like abused women trapped in their home, do, or are not able to do, because of their situation. Women (and some men) still only have a domestic value if they take their skills across the street to their neighbor who pays them an hourly wage for their babysitting, caretaking and cooking. Therefore, we don’t count an abused woman’s plight as an aspect of slavery. It is. Yet domestic violence is rarely even treated as assault and battery, much less attempted murder or slave trafficking. Never the less, the abusers diminishment tactics that are used are very much the same.

Human trafficking is a component of slavery. It is here in the United States.

Wikipedia says:

[…Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world,[4] with the total annual revenue for trafficking in persons estimated to be between USD$5 billion and $9 billion.[5] The Council of Europe states, “People trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion.”[6][7] Trafficking victims typically are recruited using coercion, deception, fraud, the abuse of power, or outright abduction…]

The FBI website has the “Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line” at 1-888-428-7581.

The FBI also has a website devoted to understanding your rights and where you can find help it you are a victim of trafficking and are in the United States.

HumanTrafficking.org is an organization previously supported by the USA State Department, and now, by the Academy of Educational Development (AED). It’s purpose is to bring Governments and NGO’s (Nongovernmental Organizations) in East Asia and the Pacific together, to share knowledge country specific information and laws, action plans and activities in the realm of human trafficking.

They have a hotline you can call if you suspect trafficking.

HOTLINE: 1.888.3737.888

HumanTrafficking states that the United States is principally a transit and destination country for human trafficking.  However, their numbers, while large, appear to reflect that of 2007. In fact, in looking around the web I realized that there was a dearth of figures for 2008 or 2009.

I found a clue to this mystery at another UN organization, UNESCO. They have begun a new project to strengthen research and conduct a literature review and meta-analysis of existing statements on human trafficking.

UNESCO offers a data comparison sheet to show the difficulties with which they are working. Big crime activities are notoriously hard to quantify precisely because they are hidden. Assume, however, that the smallest figure of 600-800,000 people, supplied by the US, has been trafficked globally, between 2000 and 2008.

That figure does not include those who are trafficked within their national borders. According to Wiki, in 2007, 40% were thought to be trafficked sex slaves worth an estimated $29,210 each. The average profit was $3,175 with the lowest for a bonded slave laborer at $950. That is 2.54 billion.  In fact, Wiki quoting, Siddharth Kara, estimates the total for slavers to be around 91.2 billion in just 2007.

This figure does not include the asset and production value of slaves to the new owners. However, these values can be quantified. Learning is one of the first steps toward understanding and then acting. One of my must-reads this week is Siddarth Kara’s book, “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery”.

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