Women's organizations, governments and United Nations entities celebrated the 15th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325. This landmark resolution stated that women's participation, security and protection were essential in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict. This resolution was much heralded at the time and was followed by seven additional resolutions on women, peace and security. However, civil society organizations have observed again and again that these strong words have not been translated into action.
The world is littered with women and men who feed on the misery of entire societies, who have grown fat in their spoils and comfortable in their impunity, sheltering behind national jurisdictions and national institutions they have been able to twist to their benefit. But there is a higher law. There is a deeper justice. And we will stand up for it.
In 1992, Canada was the world's leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Canada now ranks a dismal 68th in personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping. This dramatic decline began under the Liberals. Our international engagement programs took us from #1 to #32 by the time the Conservatives took office in 2006 -- they continued the Liberal abandonment of UN peacekeeping as a key role for Canada.
Demand for peace operations has never been greater, and the UN has never been busier, with more than 128,000 civilian and uniformed personnel serving in 39 missions across four continents. Canada has been absent from peace operations for many years. We currently have a risible total of 28 military personnel and 88 police officers on UN missions. Once we were number one in this field; now we are number 68 -- right behind Paraguay. Canada, and all our international partners, must provide the UN with the expertise and capabilities it needs to respond to this unprecedented challenge.
Canada has received a rebuke from a United Nations treaty monitoring body for its lack of respect for human rights. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) released a lengthy list of issues it cited as concerning as part of its concluding observations on the country's review of civil and political rights. Included was an important reference to the federal government's efforts to silence human rights organizations and advocacy through the Income Tax Act -- a welcome expression of support for charities under audit.
The need to ensure developing country ownership over development processes has been well-established. Yet, as the world moves towards the establishment of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, there has been little conversation on the extent to which the new agenda will indeed support country ownership of sustainable development processes.
2015 promises to be a transformative year on the international development front and is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on a noteworthy milestone. The United Nations enters its 70th year -- and like some 70-year-olds, the beleaguered UN has found new vigour and relevance in people's lives, with Canada playing a role in some noteworthy accomplishments.
Dear World Leaders, There are moments in history that become turning points. In our view, 2015 will be such a moment. We believe it's just possible that we could end 2015 with a new global compact -- an agreed pathway to a better, safer future for people and planet that will inspire all the citizens of the world. We can choose the path of sustainable development. Which side of history will you be on?
Have you noticed that when politicians in the U.S. and Canada talk about education reform, they say it's what "the economy" needs. They tell us the only way to do that is for schools to produce the kinds of workers that corporations want. Given the fact that there can be no economy without a healthy environment, isn't this focus on what the economy needs a bit short-sighted?
Although the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that every child, everywhere, has the right to survive, grow and be protected from all forms of violence, a new report by UNICEF of 190 countries shows that emotional, physical, and sexual violence is "ever present" in children's lives.
In the 14th century, the Black Death wiped out a third of Europe's population -- at the time nearly 100-million people. And then there is Ebola, which has infected over 2,400 and so far killed 1,229. True, this is the largest, most severe outbreak of the disease we have seen, but that doesn't mean this isn't controllable.
In my recent travels and discussions with seasoned foreign policy experts and politicians in the U.S. and Europe, I haven't met one who took Canada seriously anymore, except as a posturer, a poseur, a political game player. Canada is seen as the international equivalent of a Ted Cruz filibuster in the Senate. Is this really the best we can do?