Remarks: New Approaches to Poverty Eradication among Women with Disabilities

Remarks: New Approaches to Poverty Eradication among Women with Disabilities
Posted on March 25, 2014
New York, 19 March 2014. Remarks by UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri
CSW58 side event on New Approaches to Poverty Eradication among Women with Disabilities,

Good afternoon, excellencies, distinguished delegates and guests,
I would like to thank the Permanent Mission of Germany and UN DESA for co-organizing this event that addresses an issue that does not receive the attention it critically needs – women and girls with disabilities.

Evidence has shown us that persons with disabilities experience disproportionately high rates of poverty and exclusion, and they lack equitable access to resources such as education, employment, health, as well as legal and support systems. Women and girls with disabilities are disproportionately affected in all these areas.
In the case of employment, although all persons with disabilities face barriers to employment, men with disabilities have been found to be almost twice as likely to be employed as women with disabilities.

Because many women with disabilities experience severely limited access to employment, they often turn to self-employment. They then face additional challenges due to the lack of capital and access to financial services and products.

Despite these challenges, we know that solutions exist. We have seen great initiatives to enhance access of women with disabilities to productive resources, including financial services and products.

For example, I could highlight “The Fund for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities” in Thailand. The Fund provides opportunities for women with disabilities to access loans. We also know of the “Financial Inclusion Support Framework” of the World Bank, that supports policy, regulatory and institutional reforms to catalyze and expand financial services to women, including women with disabilities. The organization “ProMujer” in Nicaragua supports a village bank created by, a women with disabilities organization and provides financial services to women with disabilities without special conditions, as well as business training.

There are also a number of initiatives that have worked to expand access to employment opportunities and economic decision-making among women with disabilities. In South Korea, the government put in place an initiative to provide larger amounts of financial assistance to business owners who hire women with disabilities. In Germany, the government’s national network entitled “Political Representation of the Interests of Women with Disabilities” focuses on initiating schemes to realize the participation of women with disabilities, in particular in the fields of participation in working life, protection against violence, healthcare and parenthood. Our very own “Global Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment”, recently launched by UN Women, is an online platform, which enables women with disabilities to get access to up-to-date information, technical resources and contacts on economic empowerment.

But the key to the economic empowerment of women with disabilities is with Member States. There are two international conventions and agreements that address women and girls with disabilities and offer guidance, including CEDAW and CRPD, the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities. Member States need to take full advantage of the reporting process to these conventions to put in place and expand national initiatives to support the financial inclusion of women with disabilities. Today, there is still too little information in CEDAW reporting with regard to the rights of women and girls with disabilities.

The intersection of gender and disability needs to be better addressed by leveraging CRPD and CEDAW Conventions together, strengthening country reports, supporting governments and NGOs to provide better information, and closely working with committee members.

UN Women has begun to mainstream disability into our work and has already achieved some results. We have engaged with Member States to secure references to women with disabilities in the Agreed Conclusions of the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, and we are doing the same this year. We have also worked to integrate gender components into the outcome document of the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development. UN Women has also placed women and girls with disabilities as a group deserving special attention in our new strategic plan covering the period 2014-2017.

Although some progress has been made, there is more work ahead. We need to step up systematic efforts to mainstream a gender and disability perspective into all the work of international organizations, such as the Global Partnership for Disability and Development and the UN Partnership to promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
We need to develop best practices based on what has already been done to protect and promote the rights of women and girls with disabilities and the Beijing+20 review and appraisal process offers a crucial and important opportunity for the international community to review, further develop, and scale up best practices.

We need to develop a global partnership for the rights of women and girls with disabilities, and we must recognize and support collective action of women with disabilities. They have played a critical role in advancing women’s rights, holding decision-makers accountable and putting emerging issues on the agenda and they deserve our attention and commitment.

This organized voice needs to be nurtured and represented in the disability and gender work. Let us take every opportunity to explore synergy and identify existing networks of organizations of women and persons with disabilities for our partners to build on this important issue.
Thank you.

Report: World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development

Report: World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development
March 2014, 104 pages
Executive Summary (Excerpt)
Freedom of expression in general, and media development in particular, are core to UNESCO’s constitutional mandate to advance ‘the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication’ and promoting ‘the free flow of ideas by word and image.’ For UNESCO, press freedom is a corollary of the general right to freedom of expression. Since 1991, the year of the seminal Windhoek Declaration, which was endorsed by our Member States, UNESCO has understood press freedom as designating the conditions of media freedom, pluralism and independence, as well as the safety of journalists. It is within this framework that this report examines progress as regards press freedom, including in regard to gender equality, and makes sense of the evolution of media actors, news media institutions and journalistic roles over time.

This report has been prepared as the basis of a summary report on the global state of press freedom and the safety of journalists, presented to the General Conference of UNESCO Member States in November 2013, on the mandate of the decision by Member States taken at the 36th session of the General Conference of the Organization.1

The overarching global trend with respect to media freedom, pluralism, independence and the safety of journalists over the past several years is that of disruption and change brought on by technology, and to a lesser extent, the global financial crisis. These trends have impacted traditional economic and organizational structures in the news media, legal and regulatory frameworks, journalism practices, and media consumption and production habits. Technological convergence has expanded the number of and access to media platforms as well as the potential for expression. It has enabled the emergence of citizen journalism and spaces for independent media, while at the same time fundamentally reconfiguring journalistic practices and the business of news.

The broad global patterns identified in this report are accompanied by extensive unevenness within the whole. The trends summarized above, therefore, go hand in hand with substantial variations between and within regions as well as countries.

The benefits of PPPs in global health

The benefits of PPPs in global health
Seth Berkley, GAVI CEO
25 March 2014
If countries are healthier and more prosperous, then we all benefit. After all, global health means economic health.

This is one reason why many governments in wealthier countries have helped fund disease prevention in developing countries, far outside their borders. It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also smart policy. Global health is a fundamental cornerstone of a vibrant global economy.

In particular, children’s health — starting with immunization — has the power to fundamentally change the economic progress of developing countries beyond the basic benefit of saving lives and improving health. Vaccines are a far better value than treating disease. By keeping people healthy, vaccines also help break the cycle of poverty, enabling children to be better nourished and go to school; parents to work more productively; and countries thereby to attract foreign investment that brings trade, infrastructure and technology.

Healthy kids mean healthy families, communities and societies. This makes the economic, education and labor impact of vaccines immense. It is truly a proven, sustainable approach to development. But with government budgets squeezed and many on-the-ground challenges outside of their expertise, governments cannot do this alone. How do we get to the next level? Businesses have the ability to rally the public by providing solutions and applying know-how to problems of any size. One example of this public-private partnership model is my organization, the GAVI Alliance, whose mission is to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in developing countries. Since 2000, GAVI has helped immunize more than 440 million children and prevent 6 million deaths in the process.

The private sector has become an important partner in this cause. There is a growing corporate awareness that the world’s biggest health challenges — including how to reach the 22 million children who go un-vaccinated each year — also have profound economic implications. Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pneumonia, measles and deadly diarrhea, take an enormous toll on people in developing countries. Companies recognize that their competitiveness and the health of communities where they do business are mutually dependent. We all are stakeholders.
It is imperative that both the public and private sectors work together. Businesses have invested in GAVI because they know that one of the strongest ways to promote global health is through immunization. And quite simply, vaccines provide a strong return on investment…

Displacement, violence likely cause of Iraq’s first polio case in 14 years

Displacement, violence likely cause of Iraq’s first polio case in 14 years
DUBAI, 24 March 2014 (IRIN) – Health officials in Iraq are stepping up polio immunization and surveillance following the first confirmed case of the virus in the country in more than a decade. “It is a huge blow because for 14 years Iraq has been polio free,” Syed Jaffar Hussain, head of mission for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq, told IRIN. WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region poliovirus laboratory in Egypt and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA both confirmed the outbreak, detected after a six-month-old baby living on the outskirts of Baghdad became paralysed. The strain’s genetic sequence matches the one found last September in Syria – wild polio virus type 1 (WPV1) – but it is not yet clear how the virus made it to the Iraqi capital or how the boy became infected. His family has no links with Syria or record of recent travel there…

WHO: Burden of disease from Household Air Pollution for 2012

WHO: Burden of disease from Household Air Pollution for 2012
Released March 2014
Summary of results
Globally, 4.3 million deaths were attributable to household air pollution (HAP) in 2012, almost all in low and middle income (LMI) countries. The South East Asian and Western Pacific regions bear most of the burden with 1.69 and 1.62 million deaths, respectively. Almost 600’000 deaths occur in Africa, 200’000 in the Eastern Mediterranean region, 99’000 in Europe and 81’000 in the Americas. The remaining 19’000 deaths occur in high income countries.
The large increase in burden compared with the previous estimate of 2 million deaths from HAP from 20041 is mainly due to 1) additional health outcomes such as cerebrovascular diseases and ischaemic heart disease included in the analysis2; 2) additional evidence that has become available on the relationship between exposure and health outcomes and the use of integrated exposure-response functions3; and 3) an increase in non-communicable diseases.
Although women experience higher personal exposure levels than men2,4 and therefore higher relative risk to develop adverse health outcomes due to their greater involvement in daily cooking activities, the absolute burden is larger in men due to larger underlying disease rates in men.

AMREF [to 29 March 2014]

AMREF [to 29 March 2014]

Nursing students register exemplary results
Students from the AMREF Virtual Training School (AVTS) are celebrating their success and have every reason to be proud.
In the just released results by the Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK) for the January 2014 National Licensure exams, AVTS posted a pass rate of 88 per cent against a national pass rate of 68 per cent. The AMREF Virtual Training School further posted seven credits. This is the highest number of credits registered from any one school nationally. The 44 students were among the over 1,798 students from 48 schools who registered for the National Licensure exams.
AMREF congratulates all the students on their exemplary performance and commends all partners, tutors and supporters for making the AMREF virtual training a model for nursing and midwifery training.

AMREF calls for greater synergy and investment to find ‘missed’ TB cases
Despite major progress made towards the global Millennium Development Goals in recent years the Tuberculosis burden remains enormous. In 2012, an estimated 8.6 million cases of TB infection were recorded and 1.3 million people died from the disease. At the same time, however, three million TB cases are missed by national notification systems every year, accelerating the spread of the disease. Many of these three million people live in the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities, including in Africa, underlining the need for innovative action both at health system and community levels to identify all cases of TB infection, illness and ensure that they get the right treatment and care.
As Africa’s leading health development organisation working with vulnerable and underserved communities, AMREF joins the global TB Partnership in calling for increased efforts to reach the three million missed cases.

AMREF ‏@AMREF_Worldwide Mar 25
There are 109 community health workers enrolled by the HELP project so far through partnership with GoK, @SafaricomLtd @Accenture #mLearning