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Author: Social Media Team

Coming Up at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday

Keeping the momentum going after Sunday’s People’s Climate March on Sunday, more than 120 Heads of State and Government will join business and civil society leaders for Tuesday’s UN Climate Summit that aims to mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement on climate change in 2015 and deliver concrete new commitments. The meeting begins at 8 a.m. Follow along using #climate2014 and see @climate2014live on Twitter for updates on all the commitments being made by leaders at the Summit.  Also, expect updates from the UN’s first-ever “Social Media Zone” where world leaders, CEOs and supporters are expected to stop by to share their support for climate action. Get ideas for how you can take climate action. The first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples will come to a close on Tuesday and is expected to conclude with the adoption of an action-oriented outcome document on the realization of the rights of all indigenous peoples. Panel discussion and roundtable sessions will begin at 3 p.m, followed by the closing plenary at 5 p.m. Follow along using the #WCIP2014 hashtag. Tuesday is the opening day of the annual Treaty Event. Each September, states are asked to commit to new treaty actions whereby they sign or ratify one of the numerous treaties that make up international law. The UN acts as the depository of these treaties. This year, special emphasis is being made on the Minamata Convention on Mercury...

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Aaron gets a taste of reality in NBC’s Revolution: Think.Eat.Save

Guest post by Dana Gunders, Staff Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (@dgunders) In last week’s episode (“Dreamcatcher”) of NBC’s dramatic science fiction series Revolution, Aaron is jolted back to the present day where energy, food, and comfort are abundant. Seeing a half-eaten sandwich in a street garbage bin, the instincts he’s developed from the ‘powerless’ life 15 years in Revolution’s future move him to eat it. The time travel may be science fiction in today’s world, but the reality of food scarcity is not.  There are 842 million hungry people in the world and, at the same time,...

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The UN looks back at its Oscar win!

In its nearly 70 years, the United Nations has won many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize several times for its work on peacekeeping, climate change, children, refugees and more. But lesser known is that the UN has been decorated by the film industry – with an Oscar! In 1947, the UN short film “First Steps” won the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject. The 10-minute piece about the treatment of children with disabilities takes us on the journey of one young boy as he learns to walk – first to move his legs, then to stand and then finally to take his first steps. Several aspects of the film are now outdated and over the last decades the UN has supported the full participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society, including through the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Yet the film’s overall theme of achieving a life of dignity for all is one that continues to guide the work of the UN. The Oscar still resides at UN Headquarters in New York and recently took a quick tour of the building in honour of this weekend’s Academy Awards ceremony. Oscar even paid a visit to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who wished luck to this year’s nominees! The Academy Award also posed with several UN staff, including Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. Related...

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Fashion finds inspiration at the United Nations

The United Nations reflects our world which is rich in diversity of thought, languages, traditions, symbols, colours and styles. By tuning in to the Lifetime network in the US at 9 pm US (Eastern) on Thursday, 9 January 2014, you’ll glimpse that global tapestry as it has never been seen before at the UN. The finale episode of Project Runway All Stars Season 3 takes place at the world body’s New York Headquarters.  Inside the UN complex, the ultimate challenge of the grueling fashion design competition plays out in the historic UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber. After a tête-à-tête with diplomats of their respective countries to the UN, each designer had just five days to create a six-piece collection to show on a makeshift runway in front of guests from the fashion world and entertainment industry, as well as UN delegates and staff. An all-star line up accompanied the finalists, including show host and UNICEF Ambassador Alyssa Milano; judges and legendary fashion designers Isaac Mizrahi and, Georgina Chapman; not to mention UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal and guest judges Gayle King and Zac Posen. On a normal day the ECOSOC Chamber is home to discussions among UN Member States on some the world’s most pressing economic, social and environmental challenges, including employment and education. Given the critical importance of the textiles and clothing sector in the global...

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What is the role of human rights independent experts?

We’ve been receiving lots of comments and questions on social media about the human rights special procedures experts and issues raised recently concerning the Dutch celebration of Black Pete, also known as “Swarte Piet,” which is part of the annual Saint Nicholas Event. The special procedures experts of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts who report and advise on human rights in all parts of the world from a thematic or country-specific perspective. The experts work on a voluntary basis. They are not UN staff and don’t get paid a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serves in their individual capacity. Their work includes: making country visits acting on individual cases as well as broader concerns by sending communications to bring alleged violations or abuses to the attention of States and others conducting studies raising public awareness. Recently, four of these experts sent a letter to the Dutch Government relaying information they had received predominantly by people in the Netherlands. According to the information, the character and image of Black Pete perpetuate a stereotyped image of African people and people of African descent as second-class citizens, stirring racial differences as well as racism. The experts also asked whether, as had been reported to them, the Dutch authorities had selected the annual Saint Nicolas Event to be submitted for inclusion in...

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