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The Ripple Effect of Rights-based Approaches

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  • Equal, inclusive and just societies, without discrimination, are the ultimate realization of the vision embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; this vision is the bedrock on which the 2030 Agenda is built.
  • Without thinking of the rights of every individual as the central driver of policy reform, we will not end poverty or reduce inequalities.
  • However, we can shift the world onto a just and sustainable path for people, planet and prosperity if everyone is fully able to take part in decisions affecting their lives.

The 2030 Agenda is our roadmap to a world in which all human beings live free and equal in dignity and rights. With just over ten years left on the clock, and with political commitments too often flagging, human rights-based approaches can generate a surge towards achieving all SDGs.

We can shift the world onto a just and sustainable path for people, planet and prosperity only if everyone is fully able to take part in decisions affecting their lives. Recognizing this, the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Developmentwill convene this July under the theme ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.’

Equal, inclusive and just societies, without discrimination, are the ultimate realization of the vision embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This vision is the bedrock on which the 2030 Agenda is built. Without thinking of the rights of every individual as the central driver of policy reform, we will not end poverty or reduce inequalities. We will not create conditions for shared and sustainable prosperity or promote sustainable peace and justice. We will not reach those furthest behind – and others may be pushed even further back.

You don’t have to be a wealthy country. But you do have to be bold enough to confront some powerful lobbies.

Adopting people-centered policies and using human rights-based approaches as tools can generate priceless dividends. It can create waves of positive change – transforming societies, and eradicating exclusion, discrimination, inequality and injustice. As a former Head of Government and Head of State, I am well aware of the constraints that burden policymakers. But I also know that human rights-based policies can be put in place – and I know they can achieve important progress.

You don’t have to be a wealthy country. You don’t need to have attained some mythical level of social, economic or political development. But you do have to set priorities and be bold enough to confront some powerful lobbies. And most of all, you must put human beings, and human rights, at the center of policies.

Though we may sometimes overlook them, we are surrounded by good human rights stories – cases where human rights-based policy has led to transformative change. The most effective remedies address root causes. They are also the product of broad discussion in spaces where ideas and solutions can be discussed constructively, giving a voice to all involved.

Good human rights stories will, I hope, be shared at the 2019 HLPF, which will examine progress on SDG 4 (quality education); SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth); SDG 10 (reduced inequalities); SDG 13 (climate action); SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions); and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). I am sure we can all learn from good practices linked to these Goals; in fact, I heard some inspiring examples at the Human Rights Council Intersessional meeting on human rights and the 2030 Agenda earlier this year, and hope to hear more, both at the Forum and the SDG Summit in September.

Human rights are integral to each and every one of the SDGs. Take SDG 10, for example. Reducing inequalities is fundamental to promoting human rights. By stripping people of opportunities, resources and voice, inequalities and discrimination push the most marginalized to the outskirts of society. They are the most likely to go hungry, live in unhealthy conditions, suffer from natural disasters and epidemics, lose access to services and essential safety nets, and suffer violence and injustice.

The connections with other SDGs are clear. People who suffer discrimination and marginalization are also among those most vulnerable to natural disasters – the focus of SDG 13. SDG 8 is about decent work: a secure livelihood can keep hunger away. Quality education is vital to achieving other goals beyond SDG 4. And how do we achieve the Goals? SDG 16 provides the “process” keys to unlocking the transformative potential in the SDG framework to sustain just and peaceful societies by committing to participatory, representative, inclusive, decision-making processes and governance. SDG 17 maps it: through partnerships and by securing adequate resources to ensure delivery.

Failure to deliver on these Goals would be a political, economic, social and environmental calamity. Inequalities, exclusion, discrimination and human rights violations deprive people of their voice in decision-making – their power. They fuel grievances and erode social cohesion. They feed into an increasing backlash – not just against élites, but against institutions of governance – as people who feel powerless and ignored turn to the voices of anger and hatred. They undermine peace, they undermine development, and they undermine human rights – the three pillars of the United Nations.

Reforming policy with a people-centered approach means taking concrete action to strengthen state role and responsibilities to secure freedom from fear and want. It means ensuring a fair tax system that generates the resources to deliver. It means providing universal social protection and universal health coverage, protecting labor rights, and securing the right to education for all children. It means putting an end to all forms of discrimination and exclusion. And it means ensuring that everyone can fully participate in decisions that affect them.

My Office is strongly supporting implementation of the 2030 Agenda. But it is not just our job – it is your job, too. Together, we can create that surge of change.

The author of this guest article, Michelle Bachelet, is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Source: IISD

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Arts

Chautauquas and Lyceums and TED Talks, oh my!

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Our future is in OUR Hands

We are aiming with Mobilized to create a vibrant forum for ideas.  “Big deal”, you might say, there are already places for that.

Well, you’re not wrong.  There was, in the earliest days of the web, a loose and wild forum called The Well.  The great and powerful Google had as it’s mission the goal of “bringing all the knowledge of the world to every person”… before it pivoted to a new goal of just making money off of what it knows about us.  That change was a real pity.  There have been sites such as Wiser Earth, which aimed to be a global directory of people and non-profit organizations so that collaboration could happen on a larger scale than ever before.  It lasted about two years, sadly; not long enough to create a legacy.  Huffington Post had a good run in its’ early days, sharing ideas widely and helping to boost its’ contributors in the public’s mind.

What’s important to know, is that as of this writing, there is not really a widely recognized forum online or in ‘meat-space’.  There are print publications such as YES! magazine, Tikkun, The Sun Magazine, and The Utne Reader, all of which which reach a population of hundreds thousands.  Great, but their reach could be even more broad, in my humble opinion.  Within social media sites there are plenty of good ‘groups’ but they also don’t reach enough folks outside of their own memberships.

Probably the most popular comparable live events right now are the TED talks, which do serve a valuable purpose.  Sadly, they also tend toward the ‘Gee-Whiz‘ and the ‘Shiny New Buzzword‘ in their contents.  Mobilized really wants to focus on the proven, the existing, and the hidden.  There are already, all over, groups doing wonderful work, but too many of them are laboring in obscurity.

So, how do we do that?  Well to begin with, we’re not trying to be a technology startup.  There is no secret sauce, no fancy algorithm at work here.  Almost all the underlying code behind Mobilized is made with off-the-shelf parts, such as WordPress.  There is zero reason to re-invent the wheel, and frankly the notion that one must do so has tripped up several earlier attempts at building a successful progressive community.  We take the approach of using the tools at hand to build our house.

Secondly, we are going into the future with an eye firmly on the past.  And that leads us to the point of this essay, a look at how America became America.  We can take many lessons from the past.  One of our best ideas as a nation was the Chautauqua movement.   It had it’s heyday from the 1870’s right up until the beginning of World War II.  In part, it helped spawn a Lyceum movement, the Vaudeville traditions in the theater world; and had an effect on the earliest days of the motion-picture industry.  Here’s why it was so popular: the average person, anywhere in the land, could go to a Chautauqua when it came to their town, and engage in spirited discussion with the brightest minds of the day.  It was direct, person-to-person, and offered a mix of local and national ideas and people; presented on a rotating basis.  So ideas could be hashed out and spread rapidly.  And they did.  In no small part due to these two movements, the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age were defeated.  The Great Depression was tackled too, and along the way no less than Susan B. Anthony, Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain became huge fans.  No part of society could, or wanted to, ignore the notion that average people could teach other average people.

Mobilized aims to help bring that back into common understanding.  In the present era, there may well be a place for tents and lecturers setting up in farmer’s fields.  There certainly is a crying need for an educational platform that is accessible to the masses.  And now, there exist enough robust tools for us to re-create the ethos of a Chautauqua on the internet.

We, the people, when it really mattered and the stakes were high, collectively taught ourselves how to better ourselves.  Now, in every corner of the world, the stakes are once again pretty high.  It is time for a new Chautauqua movement, and this one will be truly global.  So step right up, come on inside our virtual tent.  Welcome to the show.

 

 

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CITIES

Rethinking Democracy From the Perspective of Political Ecology

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The issue of the governance of human societies immediately leads us to the issue of democracy, since the so-called democratic model is one of the pillars of modern civilization, today in crisis. Seen in historical perspective, governance — the ability to make collective decisions that are adequate to the extent that they are fair because they respond to the interests of the individuals who make them — became more complicated as societies grew in number of inhabitants and in functional complexity.

By Victor M. Toledo, originally published by Resilience.org

Ed.note: This piece originally appeared in Spanish in La Jornada, December 1, 2020

Translation into English by Jane K. Brundage

The issue of the governance of human societies immediately leads us to the issue of democracy, since the so-called democratic model is one of the pillars of modern civilization, today in crisis. Seen in historical perspective, governance — the ability to make collective decisions that are adequate to the extent that they are fair because they respond to the interests of the individuals who make them — became more complicated as societies grew in number of inhabitants and in functional complexity.

In the first extractive and agrarian societies, which make up 99 percent of the history of the human species, governance was carried out in a direct and balanced way. Governance began to become problematic with the appearance of the first cities, the State, class society and the diversity of work tasks. The democratic model, which according to E. Dussel was born not in Greece, but in Egypt and other Mediterranean cities, was defined as the power of the people in order to differentiate it from the various autocratic or despotic forms.

Today, modern governance in non-autocratic societies is generally synonymous with institutional, representative, electoral, formal or bourgeois democracy, in which decisions are made by representatives who are distantly elected by vote and usually through political parties. A good part of Western thought has forgotten or concealed the existence of another democracy, which was prior to the representative one, and which can be described as direct, participatory, radical or local. Four thousand years later, it continues to exist essentially among the planet’s 7,000 villages of indigenous peoples. Today, in the presence of the crisis of modernity, it resurfaces as the basic cell for constructing an innovative governance scheme that runs up the scale from the local to the global.

Today, the supreme and greatest challenge for contemporary science is to contribute to overcoming the crisis in which the modern world is plunged and to offer clarifications, clues, alternatives. The ineffectiveness of electoral or representative democracy as a way of reaching consensus and above all,  as a way of offering solutions to the phenomena of social injustice and the deterioration and depredation of nature, requires study and research. Modern democratic systems are also highly expensive. In Mexico, the National Electoral Institute (INE) will spend a budget of 12,493 million pesos in 2021 to organize elections and sponsor political parties.

In this context, because its long civilizational history has left a current legacy of 25 million Mexicans who identify themselves as indigenous and live in thousands of traditional communities, the Mexican case provides numerous living examples of a radical and participatory democracy. There are innumerable examples in the territory, especially in those regions where an inextricable relationship survives between culture and nature, together with a vigorous defense of communal territories.

This is the case in the state of Oaxaca, where 80 percent of its 570 municipalities elect their authorities directly. Likewise, the neozapatista caracoles[1] in the state of Chiapas, and the most recent processes of self-management and self-defense in the municipalities of Cherán[2], state of Michoacán; Oxcub, Chiapas, and Cacahuatepec and Ayutla de los Libres, state of Guerrero. By the same token, keep in mind the actions of the self-defense groups of Michoacán, a project frustrated by the power of the State, and the community police still serving in 920 towns and communities within 51 of the 81 municipalities in Guerrero.

All these experiences have been ignored, vilified, despised and repressed by the national system, because they contain the seeds of a profound transformation in the ways of governing. Their subversive power extends and multiplies beyond the local and acquires regional dimensions. In the Sierra Norte de Puebla, about 250 Nahua and Totonaca communities have held regional assemblies since 2014 (they have 30) with thousands of participants in defense of their territories, their forests, their springs and their mountains. Representative democracy, which maintains and conceals social exploitation and exploitation of the natural world, is under siege.

These reflections were shared by this writer speaking at the program “Rethinking Democracy in the Current World”, organized by the UNAM [National Autonomous University of Mexico]. It was a very successful event owing to the quality of the speakers and the number of those who followed the conferences virtually (ours was attended by more than 20,000 people.

For Dr. José Manuel Mireles, hero and martyr, for a true democracy.

+   +   +

Translator’s notes:

[1] Caracol is the Spanish word for conch shell — long used by Mexico’s indigenous peoples in ritual ceremonies. Blown into, they emit an unmistakable, hauntingly plaintiff tone that, once heard, is never forgotten. In the autonomous Zapatista communities of Mexico, caracol is the name given to its organizational regions, created in 2003 to replace the earlier organizational structure, Aguascalientes [Hot Waters]. Formed in 1995, the objective of Aguascalientes was to serve as contact points between Zapatista communities and other cultures in Mexico, and with cultures in the outside world. The Zapatista Caracoles were formed following a period of extensive discussion about the necessity of changing the traditional relation between Zapatista communities and other Mexican communities, and between Zapatista communities and the outside world.

 

In that sense, the objective of the caracoles is similar to its antecedent. In the Zapatistas’ own words, to be “windows for us to see ourselves, and for us to look outside” with “horns [ie, conch shells, in the sense of loudspeakers] to get our word out and to listen to those who are far away.” Source: Los Caracoles ZapatistasRaúl Romero, La Jornada, August 17, 2019.   (Spanish)

[2] Cherán, an indigenous community|municipality located on the Purhépecha Meseta [Highlands] in western Michoacán, is a remarkable story of community resilience, resistance, persistence and triumph over seemingly overwhelming odds. It is all the more remarkable for having been initiated and driven by the community’s women and young people. Here’s a good review at the 5-year marker: Mexico Indigenous: Cherán Celebrates 5 Years of Autonomy and Dignity.

Source: Resilience

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A Smarter Conversation

How localization leads to optimal health and well-being, hope and happiness.

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At a time of rapid change, there is a better way forward. A path that leads to optimal health and well-being, hope and happiness. 

Localization.

As globalization and consolidation has changed many of the ways we live and work, it has also contributed to the depletion of resources, on-going pandemics and crises and human suffering.

For four decades, Local Futures has revitalized  communities and local economies around the world

Mobilized spent about one hour speaking with the visionary founder of Local Futures to the ideas into action for a better way forward.

“A new human story founded on connection and diversity is emerging. It’s called localization.”

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Founder and Director is the founder and director of Local Futures/ISEC. A pioneer of the ‘new economy’ movement, she has been promoting an economics of personal, social and ecological well-being for more than forty years. She is the producer and co-director of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness, and the author of several books, including Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, described as “an inspirational classic”, and most recently Local is Our Future. She was honored with the Right Livelihood Award (or ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) for her groundbreaking work in Ladakh, and received the Goi Peace Prize for contributing to “the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.”

 


Become a Mobilized Collaborator in Creation and help to transform the news to the stories that serve, inspire and empower our collective human potential. Sign up now to be a collaborator in creation


 

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Mobilized TV

Mobilized TV on Free Speech TV  takes a deep look at our world, the consequences of human activity on our planet, and how we can reverse and prevent existing and future crises from occurring. Mobilized reveals life on our planet as a system of systems which all work together for the optimal health of the whole. The show delves into deep conversations with change-makers so people can clearly take concerted actions.

Produced by Steven Jay and hosted by Jeff Van Treese.

Mobilized’s TV series Mobilized TV  premieres on Free Speech TV on Friday, October 15, 2021. All episodes appear:

Fridays 9:30 PM Eastern (USA/Canada)

Saturdays; 6:30 PM (Eastern USA/Canada)

Sundays: 8:30 AM Eastern (USA/Canada)

Nov 26,27,28: Imagination will take you Everywhere: Howard Bloom
Howard Bloom has worn many hats. As an Author, he’s known for “The Global Brain” and “The Lucifer Principle” and many others.  As the head of the Howard Bloom Organization, for many years, he empowered a team of publicists to connect his stable of artists with media, creating successful campaigns for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Amnesty International, The Jacksons Victory Tour, Billy Joel and John Mellencamp. But his real passion is science and discovery, and empowering human soul into the creation of optimal systems that serve all.  Howard claims that “We need a vision for the future that we could reach towards by looking up, the same way JFK encourage us to look into the sky and go to the Moon.”  It is this type of vision that great societies try to attain.”

December 3,4,5: How can we eliminate heart disease featuring Dr. Michael Ozner

How a better understanding of whole system health can bring about more health and well-being. We spend a little quality time with celebrated preventative cardiologist and Author of The Complete Mediterranean Diet, Dr. Michael Ozner.

December 10, 11, 12 Dr. Julie Peller: Plastics Everywhere: What can we do about it?

Dr. Julie Peller is a professor of chemistry at Valparaiso University, where she studies microplastic solution. On today’s show, Dr. Peller discusses the extent of microplastic pollution in our environment and the risks they pose to human health.

December 17,18, 18: Population Matters with Dave Gardner of Growthbusters

Scientists have stated that unlimited growth on a finite planet with finite resources is an impossibility? So if growth is unsustainable, what does that mean for a growing population?

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