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PeaceTalks: February - Sustainable Development Goals - Realistic or Idealistic?

To celebrate our first PeaceTalk of the year, we hosted our 30th PeaceTalk, Sustainable Development Goals - Realist or Idealistic? at the HiVE. We had an awesome turnout combined with a great line up speakers: Shannon Kindornay, Niki Soni, and Mike Simpson as well as our moderator, Peter Wood.

Shannon, a faculty member at Carlton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs began the discussion, touching on the transition between millennium developmental goals to sustainable development goals (SDG). She followed the quote “Leave no one behind”, and argued that if the most vulnerable people are not benefiting from our actions, then we as a whole are not succeeding, which left the audience inspired with awe.

Next, we saw the wonderful Nikunji Soni from the Pacific Institute of Public Policy. He covered topics from the differing perspectives held by the government and civil society, to where he referenced Shannon’s presentation on SDGs. He also provided some possible solutions and pitfalls we may encounter with the SDGs.

Our last speaker, Mike Simpson from the BC Council for International Cooperation urged the importance of SDGs. He stated, “We are the last generation to saving the planet”, where he placed concern on the indescribable amount of pressure that he been bounded upon our generation.

Mike asked the audience whether they believed we would be able to end poverty within 15 years, which lead to various comments and discussions. Half the audience was faithful, believing that the 15 year goal is possible, while the other half believed that ending poverty was not possible in that time limit. Mike pointed out that if did not believe that poverty could be solved within the next 15 years, then how could we even begin to solve it? He then talked about how change is definitely possible with reference to The Great Bear Rainforest. It was not a feasible project twenty years ago, but BC government finally agreed to safeguard 85% of the rainforest in 2016. Things are constantly undergoing changes; this opens up new possibilities that didn’t exist before.

To end the night off, we opened up a Q&A for the audience where audience members asked questions such as “How can we come to peace, when we are so close to coming to a third world war? Us countries do not trust one another.” Mike proceeded to answer this question and placed emphasis on the fact that we have to trust on another, otherwise we will all go down together. We will be left with no choice but to trust each other and help each other in order to thrive.

We had a wonderful outcome for our 30th and first PeaceTalk of the year and we would like to thank the panelists for speaking and for everyone who cleared the schedule to come to our event!

We hope that the audience left feeling inspired and motivated to make a difference in the world.

Feb 10, 2016

PeaceTalks #30: Sustainable Development Goals - Realistic or Idealistic?

Guest Speaker:
Mike Simpson, Nikunj Soni
Feb 3, 2016
6:00 8:30pm
HiVE Vancouver

Near the end of 2015, the United Nations announced "a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity."

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

" to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve.
They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental."

Join PeaceGeeks and Amnesty International for PeaceTalks #30: Sustainable Development Goals - Realistic or Idealistic? at the HiVE on February 3!

With our expert speakers, this discussion will explore:

- What, exactly, are the SDGs?
- How do they differ from the Millenium Development Goals proposed in 2000 and are they any more likely to succeed?
- What is the potential value of the SDGs and what are the pitfalls?

Our featured speakers are Mike Simpson of the BC Council for International Cooperation, Nikunj Soni, who works for the Pacific Institute of Public Policy and Shannon Kildornay of the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. The discussion will be moderated by Peter Wood of the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Reserve your space to guarantee seating.

Jan 12, 2016
Category: PeaceTalks
Time 2:
6 PM to 8 PM

15 years later, what impact did UNSCR 1325 have on women's lives?

On Oct. 31, 2000 the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. It was intended to address modern warfare’s increasing impact on civilians, including women, and the exclusion of women from post-conflict peace processes. UNSCR 1325 identified four pillars to support its goals of empowering women in conflict zones: Participation, Protection, Prevention and Relief & Recovery.

This was an ambitious, hopeful step toward peace, taken by key members of the global community. In the words of Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, president of the Security Council when Resolution 1325 was passed, “The main question is not to make war safe for women, but to structure peace in a way that there is no recurrence of war and conflict.”

15 years later, while the impact of the resolution has been felt, its goals are far from fully achieved.

In Uganda, the Coalition for Action on Resolution 1325 (CoACT) has “has spearheaded monitoring of the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Uganda since 2010 to document the progress made...and provided useful recommendations toward effective implementation of the resolution,” according to CoACT National Coordinator Robinah Rubimbwa.

Rubimbwa says a lack of political will has hampered efforts to achieve UNSCR 1325’s goals, as has a lack of dedicated funding. Despite these barriers, CoACT, in partnership with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders to provide support to victims of trauma due to armed conflicts in the country. They are also actively advocating to increase Ugandan women’s participation in government. Progress has been slow, as shown by numbers from a report generated by CoAct and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders in 2014.


Rubimbwa also says, “The incidence of gender based violence and oppression of women continue to rise with sexual violence, especially the rape of underage girls, reaching worrying proportions.” She says that official support is crucial to further success in upholding UNSCR 1325. “The government of Uganda needs to invest in gender-specific training programs for women in high offices.” Training initiatives for social and health care workers that deal specifically with gender based violence are also needed, as are gender-related affirmative action policies for the military and the police.

While there is much work still to be done, positive strides have been made on many global fronts. In its final report, the UN found the efforts to increase women’s political participation resulted in “higher rates of female voters and politicians, as well as increased legal provisions to support gender equality.” In the end, Resolution 1325’s largest impact can be found in an increased awareness of issues affecting women and a proliferation of dialogue surrounding them.

The biggest reasons for optimism may be what comes next. This year, UN member states agreed to adopt 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” The goals were developed following the largest consultation ever undertaken by the agency and were drafted an open working group of 70 participating countries. The deadline for achieving the goals is 2030.

While a global focus on issues like gender equality and empowerment are undoubtedly important, the ultimate success of efforts like the UN’s SDGs and Resolution 1325 rests in large part with the community-based initiatives of grassroots organizers like CoACT. Their understanding of local needs and connection to the community helps inform effective strategies. Support for their work is a crucial component to achieving the outcomes that Resolution 1325 aspired to and that the SDGs have set their sights on.

Nov 2, 2015
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