7 April 2016
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited all world leaders to a signing ceremony on 22 April for the historic climate agreement that was reached in Paris in December last year.
The signing event will take place at UN Headquarters in New York on the first day the agreement will be open for signature, which coincides with the observance of International Mother Earth Day, observed in many countries as simply Earth Day.
The Secretary-General intends to use the occasion of the signing ceremony to further engage leaders from business and civil society to put the new agreement into action. At least 55 countries, representing at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, are needed to ratify the agreement before it can take legal effect.
In Paris, the 196 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change reached an historic agreement to combat climate change that will spur actions and investment towards a low-carbon, resilient and sustainable future. It is the first agreement that joins all nations in a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.
The main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen capability to deal with the impacts of climate change.
To reach these ambitious and important goals, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives.
For more information and access to an online petition urging world leaders to sign the agreement visit the website of the climate reality project.
The story of the 'Panama Papers’ leaks have captured world headlines in recent days. The leaked information is a major breakthrough for tax justice and anti-corruption advocates, and impacts various groups around the world, from the political scene in Iceland, to struggling small-business owners in Nigeria.
Gabriel Zucman, an economics professor at UC Berkeley, estimates that the money in offshore tax havens totals at least $7.6 trillion. That’s upward of 8 percent of all the world’s financial wealth, and it’s growing fast. Zucman estimates that offshore wealth has surged about 25 percent over the past five years.
The Panama Papers should be seen as another marker as to why genuine financial transparency is needed. One simple step that some governments are already taking is to create public registries that disclose a company’s beneficial owners—the real person or people actually in control. With registers of this information, the secrecy that Mossack Fonseca and countless other firms sell would become far less attractive.
Further suggestions can be found at the tax justice network website
East Timor may be looking towards a brighter future, as the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has signalled its commitment to enter fresh negotiations with East Timor to establish permanent maritime boundaries and the commitment to take the dispute to independent arbitration if necessary.
This development was welcomed by the spokesperson for the Timor Sea Justice Campaign Tom Clarke, who stated that the ALP committing to follow international law will inevitably result in the fair establishment of maritime borders.
Following a long struggle for independence from Indonesia, East Timor became a sovereign nation in 2002, and has yet to experience complete closure with legal maritime borders. The Australian government has only allowed for temporary resource sharing agreements after having withdrawn it’s recognition of the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the ICJ and the International Tribunal of the Laws of the Sea just prior to East Timor’s independence.
It is in East Timor’s legal right to have established boundaries and full access to the billions of dollars in oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Not only would fair boundary agreements contribute tremendously to the growth of one of the poorest countries in Asia, but would also help rebuild the Australian governments tarnished reputation.
The Timor Sea Justice Campaign is holding a series of protest actions, to stand in solidarity with East Timor and their legal right to what is theirs.
In presenting her latest report at the recent Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Farha explained that being homeless does not only mean not having a roof above one’s head, or temporarily living with friends and family or in a shelter; it also implies being part of a group that is excluded from society, and barred from accessing and enjoying their rights to housing, health and even, in some cases, life.
The UN expert explained that government policies that are inconsistent with human rights were the structural causes of homelessness. To respond strategically to homelessness, Governments should eliminate the practice of forced evictions; and ensure that legal remedies are afforded to people who have become homeless because their rights were violated.
Governments should also combat inequality: by ensuring social protection for vulnerable populations; regulating rapid speculative urbanisation which reduces the availability of affordable housing; and placing a special focus on women, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, who are forced into homelessness because of factors such as domestic violence, unequal access to property and land, and unregulated private actors.
Farha called for a global campaign to eliminate homelessness by the deadline of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which commits to ensuring access to adequate housing for all.
Homelessness is not just a problem that affects less less developed countries but is a growing problem that affects affluent countries as well:-
Click here for information about homelessness in Australia.
Click here for information about homelessness in Ireland
Click here for information about homelessness in the United Kingdom.
Click here for information about homelessness in the United States.