Day 3: 16 March 2022
SESSION 5: Gender Equality (SDG5) & Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10)
Dr. Luay Shabaneh, Regional Director for the Arab States and North Africa, UNFPA, Chair, focused on the social aspect of emerging and protracted crises in the region, making women’s lives more difficult due to harmful practices which require more action. Inequality is driven by patriarchal systems and state tolerance for pervasive gender inequality, and harmful practices include sexual assault, GBV and FGM, while forced child marriages are continuing despite some engagement with academia and civil society. COVID’S negative impact is showing with less access to health services. The progress made is not enough, it needs to be more focal to confront these issues, it needs a booster to make a real change: zero MGM, end social incubators, and change convictions at community level. The NEXUS is to be the umbrella for programming to have an impact in the future. Lessons Learned show the need for innovation, a human rights based approach to address vulnerability and close coordination as well to involve justice.
Gender inequality can reach catastrophic levels, not always visible but present. A vocal booster is needed to change with kick-off human rights campaign, fixing data missing, needing innovation and partnerships. (Attachment)
Dr. Shereen El Feki, Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa (MENA), UNAIDS, gave the social perspective of HIV/AIDS which is still a large problem in the MENA region with concentrated epidemics and on the rise by 7% due to low testing, treatment and lower suppressing virally. This is largely due to the stigma, discrimination, cultural reticence and inequality at home, restrictive laws and policies, and only modest investment in response which is mostly coming from outside the region and NGOs. One in 14 HIV patients are living in a humanitarian crisis and only half of them receive treatment due to being mobile. In the region, HIV has mainly a male face due to a lack of reliable data while women are more vulnerable and affected. Solutions are proposed with a new declaration strategy 2021-26 to end HIV by 2030, linked to SDGs, through innovation, prevention, testing and treatment, better information with data; and empowering women by community led initiatives.
The joint programme for AIDS of the Global Fund, IOM, WHO and UNAIDS, together with malaria and TB programmes, targets six countries in the Middle East Region with access to diagnosis and treatment for refugees, migrants, IDPs and hard to reach populations. In conclusion, speaker noted that it is important to put a human face on the epidemic to better address the needs of people affected by AIDS in a humanitarian crisis. (Attachment)
Dr. Dorothee Klaus, Director of Relief and Social Services, UNRWA, concentrated on regional economic and social developments in Syria, Gaza and Lebanon where UNRWA is currently providing assistance. More refugees are dependent on aid and basic humanitarian assistance support. In Lebanon, 89% of Palestinian women above 16 are not employed, compared to 40% of males; in Gaza and in Syria the figures are 87% of females out of the labour force compared to 42% of men. Poverty is rampant in all three countries and there are few or no efforts to improve the employment rates for females.
A survey on the way in which women cope in Gaza showed that education barely translates in income; women take care of chores and household, but do not go for medical care, which impacts their overall mental health and wellbeing. Many women try to generate income also by unsuitable work with shops which brings resistance from males or community as they are exposing themselves. Man as the breadwinner gives men status, but women working or financing their needs is seen as undermining men’s self-esteem.
Approaches to mitigate the impact of gender inequality require to change structures in ongoing operations. The current registration system must be adjusted as it relates a woman to her father or husband and not as an individual. All people should be allowed family registration cards without mention of their marriage status, cash systems must be created for female headed households to allow for safe shelter, and the family counselling approach must include awareness of the threat of gender inequality. (Attachment)
Ms Fairuz Taqi-Eddin, Chief of Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation, UNICEF Gulf Area Office, related her presentation to SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and SDG 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries). The 2022-2025 action plan has a key focus on the adolescent age group with promotion of girls’ nutrition, pregnancy care and AIDS prevention, education, skills training, initiatives to eliminate child marriage, and access to inclusive social programmes to give them access to lives free of poverty. Actions include support for caregivers; core health and education to avoid drop-out; and ensuring gender data is analysed and actionable.
In Afghanistan, lifesaving initiatives aim at the survival of women and girls health by mobile health units and hygiene kits; safe spaces and prevention of GBV; promoting positive community engagement to grassroots networks of boys and girls; social protection of female headed households and GBV survivors, and access to income.
Brokering partnerships through a gender lens, UNICEF is becoming a gender transformative organisation, together with other agencies looking at the deeper causes of inequality. (Attachment)
|Comments from the floor:
The Washing Machine Project in the UK aims at tackling discrimination against women by alleviating the burden of hand-washing clothes, in particular for displaced and low-income communities.
A legal framework is needed to advance a strong movement for women’s equality.
Empowering women can often not be supported by their environment.
In Afghanistan, rural women often gain access to food only by sexual favours and abuse from military / peacekeepers.
“Working on gender equality is everyone’s business”.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: “Panama reiterates its commitment to Sustainable Development”
H.E. Ms Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, Minister of Government, Republic of Panama, pointed at the high vulnerability of the region of Latin America and the Caribbean to natural disasters with greater earthquakes in the last years such as in Haiti. Panama enjoys a strong logistical infrastructure and air connectivity, and is an effective leader of the region as the humanitarian hub, making it the venue for good humanitarian practices, distribution of aid to 44 countries in the region. The hub is active with the Red Cross movement, WFP and the national civil protection system. COVID has changed the dynamics and showed the need for international coordination to achieve national goals: In 2018, the hub mobilised about USD 8 million, in 2020-21 with the pandemic and two devastating hurricanes it ended with USD 46 million. This shows also the opportunity for self-improvement and reform with non-stake actors, the new enterprise. During COVID the Government undertook specific actions to expand collaboration in the region with Central America. As humanitarian aid needs to reach beneficiaries in time, new customs procedures have been adopted and private sector alliances with four agreements signed with training and exchange of experiences. On the occasion of her visit, the Minister also signed an agreement with IHC Dubai. She stressed the need to diversify the supply chain with growth and expansion of relations to also expand capacity. The Ministry is committed to continue fulfilling its noble mission, fully connected to SDG 17 for a prosperous and sustainable world.
SPECIAL SESSION: Children of DIHAD
In the presence of HH Sheikha Latifa Rashid Al Maktoum a small panel of children discussed what for them humanitarian sustainability stands for. Their descriptions included proposing thinking outside the box to help families, provide sustainable housing from 3D printers, access to clean water, education for all. At the individual level their suggestions included access to education, employment, free health care, and voluntary work.
SESSION 6: Life below Water (SDG 14) & Life on Land (SDG 15)
Ms. Elise d’Epenoux, Senior Director for Public Affairs and International Communications, the SeaCleaners, Chair, spelled out the large threat to species in plants and animals. SDG 14 focuses on fishing, and 15 on sustainable management by preserving biodiversity and be integrated into national planning. Before giving the floor to the panel members, she summarised the main focus of the SeaCleaners project and stressed the crucial role of SDG 17.
SeaCleaners has become aware that 9 – 14 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean every day, which represents 50 kg for every km coastline by 2040, and by 2050 more plastic than fish. On land the project includes teaching, waste collection, development and demonstration of ecological solutions, open data sharing, collection plastic waste in high populated areas, preservation of biodiversity and fight against plastic pollution which is one of three major global threats to our environment. The first victim of plastic pollution is marine biodiversity, with deaths of 100,000 marine mammals per year, by which the entire food chain is affected. Plastic falls apart in micro-plastics, ingested by humans. While the project is contributing to SDG 13, plastic pollution threatens at least seven other SDGs. The plastic legacy will never be eliminated but can be reduced by addressing it at the source, e.g. with mangroves. The mantra is that the enemy is insidious and becomes invisible when coming into rivers. The plastic tap must be turned off as mankind is threatened by plastic pollution. There is some progress with a UNEP resolution paving the way to combat plastic pollution adopted earlier this year, addressing the full life of plastic. Focus first is on South East Asia, to be followed by Africa in 2025. (Attachment)
Dr. Sayeda Ali Ahmed Khalil, National Climate Change Expert and REDD+ Coordinator, Sudan, has long experience in struggle to save life on land, through sustainable management of resources and keeping temperature increase below 2oC. The Great Green Wall initiative was started in 2013, covering cross Africa from Senegal to Djibouti, with the ambition to restore degraded land, remove 250 million tons of carbon and create ten million green jobs by 2030 to help communities along the Wall. It brings together African countries and international partners under the leadership of the African Union Commission and the Pan-African Agency of the Great Green. Movable enclosures in White Nile State combat desertification and protect areas and farms to safeguard food security and income generation. The project also aims at combatting deforestation and forest degradation caused by overgrazing, mining and drought. The strategy to save the land includes integrated forest landscape and climate smart agricultural and range land management, land use planning, sustainable energy supply and use, and promoting participation in climate change responses.
As mangroves face many threats by pollution, mangrove rehabilitation is important to mitigate the impact of climate change as a blue carbon ecosystem. Measures to sustain life on land include reducing desertification by afforestation, reforestation, revision of policies to reduce farming system problems, information sharing with young and communities, and introducing technology, research and tracking systems. (Attachment 1; Attachment 2)
Mr. Laurens de Groot, International Center for Future Generations (ICFG), started out by going after illegal whaling with old methods and was not always successful. By changing to a fast vessel, the group was ultimately successful in ending illegal whaling. As a next step he moved to wildlife preservation using high technical support, a rapidly evolving sector which cannot adapt to the exponential age and the downside of development but also the risk of AI. He wondered whether we are becoming irrelevant and the system blames humanity for the problems. Therefore, to solve the biggest challenges for life on earth and in the oceans, it is important to think long-term to find solutions to existential catastrophes over next century, to bridge the gap between policymakers and youth movements, in particular in fragile states with low-tech tools to create solutions. We need to use the air for energy with wind and solar, and in particular geothermal power. To do this, the main challenge is a lack of political will, for which reason collaboration and partnerships are needed to save life on earth. (Attachment)
Ms Raabia A.K. Hawa, Founder, Ulinzi Africa Foundation, Kenya; Founder, Walk with Rangers Initiative, East Africa’s first non-profit dedicated to focusing on ranger welfare, facilitation and empowerment with an aim to enhance wildlife protection and conservation.
She pointed out that life under water has become now the focus of the project, such as fighting the illegal practice of trawler fishing. Beach Management Unit (BMU) in Kipini where the Tana River meets the Indian ocean, is helping to mitigate the negative impact of the trawler fishing industry. The population is traditionally for over 80% depending on income from fishing, but this is greatly threatened by illegal fishing seriously emptying the waters.
The potential for income once fishery is regulated could reach USD 2.3 billion and ensure sustainable production and consumption. Therefore, the project has submitted a petition to forbid the illegal fishery and be able to restore the biodiversity and critical endangered species.
The project strives to achieve by 2050 the goal of living in harmony, with biodiversity as a key to a sustainable future and survival of the species of biodiversity. (Attachment)
KEYNOTE ADDRESS “Be collaborative or become irrelevant: the power of “WE”
H.E. Ms Gerda Verburg, Coordinator, Scaling-Up Nutrition, Geneva, stressed that all SDGs are interconnected and understanding this is key to success. Sectors and stakeholders need to work together to achieve sustainable positive change, which is why the “WE” was created. The question would be how to approach this and by whom as the richest knowledge is to be found at country and local level. Many actors at all levels have to work together to achieve commitments built on strong country ownership with strong government action and accountability to their constituencies and stakeholders at all levels.
SDGs also have to be part of the private sector and can no longer be delegated to only its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It needs to be part of the boardroom’s strategy, and leadership needs transformation from having power to serving people, society and the planet. The focus has to be on the special needs and value of women and youth. Only by giving them equal access and involvement in decision making and implementation and the opportunity to have their voices heard the sustainability agenda can be attained.
Only by collaboration between all sectors will we achieve the power of “WE”. We need to change how and with whom we are doing business, thinking and acting from local towards global level up. Only this way will we reach the desired outcome, inspire each other, to create and celebrate success together through the power of WE. (Attachment Video)
“Perspectives on the SDGs from the Dubai Council on the Future of Humanitarian Aid, MBRGI”
Dr. Waleed Al Ali, Advisor, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, focused on future trends for humanitarian work, in particular of the report of the Council. While in 2020 a record number of 168 million people were in need of help, in 2022 this has increased to the alarming number of 274 million and expected to grow. Furthermore, poverty and crisis statistics indicate that worldwide two billion people live on less than USD 3.2 a day, of whom 753 million live in extreme poverty with less than USD 1.9 a day. It is, therefore, necessary to see how this crisis will impact the world.
Speaker suggested that the crisis offers several opportunities to the post COVID challenges, including: the accelerated adoption of technology, in particular of prevention; more localised and sustainable humanitarian work, with a travel ban pushing for localisation of humanitarian work; proactive vs reactive measures by reducing vulnerability and managing risks by comprehensive services; doubling efforts in international assistance rather than becoming become increasingly inward-looking; lastly unification and integration efforts in response to crises due to limited budgets and by complementing each other through humanitarian partnerships. (Attachment)
“The Multiple Partnership of IHC”
Mr. Giuseppe Saba, CEO, International Humanitarian City (IHC), Dubai, set out that partnerships are the foundation of the IHC with now more than 80 organisations, UN, NGOs, governmental agencies, private sector, and recently also academia. All are working on humanitarian issues in different areas. In 2021 agreements were signed with a number of partners serving humanitarian purposes. In 2020 126 and in 2021 120 countries were served. IHC is aiming at better preparedness and service delivery by innovation, e.g. innovation centre of DHL. A group of young entrepreneurs by applying AI have created a logistics data bank which was cleared in an agreement with the Dubai customs and Italy. Exponential growth of the delivery of medical supplies has created the need to focus on how to give the best service. IHC works with a network of humanitarian hubs, the latest of which is the MOU signed with Panama. Other hubs are in Spain, Ghana, Cameroon, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Australia and China. (Attachment Video)
“Partnering for Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods in Marginal Environments”
Dr. Tarifa Al Alzaabi, Acting Director-General, International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), focused on the role of partnerships in meeting challenges in marginal environments with severe impacts from climate change. They cover about 21% of land with water scarcity and land degradation with more than 1.13 billion people, with a cost of salinisation of about USD 27.3 billion due to lost crop, and loss of 310 million hectares.
The initiatives go hand in hand with SDG 1 (no poverty), e.g. quinoa in Morocco and use of grains also as meat replacement; with SDG (female empowerment), e.g. AWLA for women to be leaders in food and agriculture as decision makers; preparation of youth through the Youth Engagement Society (ICBA YES) to be catalyst for biodiversity as innovative solutions to global food security with internships, capacity development programmes and involvement of science with 9,200 participants. It also relates to SDG 6 with focus on clean water in Africa with solar-powered small scale irrigation system, water innovative technologies and climate action by modelling climate change.
The initiatives have shown the importance to harness lessons and work in partnerships as technology is important, in particular by working together globally – one plus one is 11. (Attachment)
“Models of Respectful Partnership, Dignity First, and Co-creating Solutions”
Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director, IFRC, MENA, expressed great concern and wondered whether there are models of partnerships that do work. Despite some progress, a critical mass is still lacking to push through with SDG 17. Interventions often show disrespect for lives, with wrong proportions in aid and wrong agendas.
Respectful partnerships encounter competition of the unhealthy type, lack of agility and re-engineering, a poor understanding of the core humanitarian principles, the humanitarian agenda being overruled by political or other bigger agendas, and a lack of engagement in good implementation. Trust, humility and absolute honesty are needed. Often a perfect model does not work as a project about the dignity of people which starts with interaction with the affected community and localisation of locally led and locally owned work. This requires collaboration among technical teams working in parallel, but donor criteria are often not helpful to reach such dignity.
In conclusion, speaker stressed that respect and dignity only as afterthoughts will only bring more of such crises. Traditional approaches need to be undone to be replaced by an approach of dignity and respect, undoing decades of lip service. We can change and are already there, but a critical mass is lacking. Let us start from fresh with dignity for all.
H.E. Mr. Sergio Piazzi, Secretary General of PAM, summarised the spirit of the Conference to make a difference in following the concept of partnership. He appreciated the interesting presentations and panels, good debates, and often moving comments and questions from participants. He thanked all for their commitments and empathy.
On the parliamentary side, the link between DIHAD and PAM with the UAE becoming full member this year at our Plenary Session several days before, and hosting both conferences, is important, not competing but collaborating in advancing the humanitarian, peace, security and development agenda for the region and beyond. The importance and value of the theme of the Conference – SDG 17, Partnerships and Cooperation in Sustainable Development – was frequently stressed. Partnerships are closely associated with the concept of leadership and vision, which was strongly felt here in Dubai. It entails responsibility for ourselves and for others. In this context, many concerns were expressed on the dramatic human situation in Ukraine caused by the unprovoked and unilateral aggression by Russia.
This year again, the Conference has shown its value in allowing personal networking, also with and among the private sector. Progress has been made but far more remains to be done. He looked forward to meeting all again in 2023 to expand on some of the discussions and priorities identified or looming at the horizon.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
H.E. Amb. Gerhard Putman-Cramer, CEO, DIHAD Sustainable Humanitarian Foundation, agreed that partnerships have provided ample opportunities to renew or enter into new ones. He announced the dates for the next DIHAD to be 13-16 march 2023. The theme will possibly touch upon (new) sources of energy and implications on humanitarian assistance and development as a whole.