Global Human Rights Defence

The SDGs, Blueprints for Today to Build a Better Tomorrow

Climate change is the defining issue of the millennium, and in order to stay below the 2°C goal,[1] it will require actions at a global level. Scientists worldwide are warning governing instances of the need for a more united approach to tackle problems raised by unsustainable development.[2]

This urgency is partly reflected in international actions. In the wake of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20,[3]the Member States began to develop a set of goals, building upon the Millennium Development Goals,[4]which were meant to be achieved by 2015.

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.The agenda offers a blueprint for sustainable development by presenting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) divided according to the triptych of sustainable development: economic growth, environmental protection and social development (UN, 2015). The agenda lays out 169 targets to be reached in the process of achieving the SDGs and also has indicators to keep track of their implementations.[5]

These goals shine a light on global common issues, namely, issues that affect countries worldwide and need to be assessed on a global scale. These include concerns such as climate change, freshwater resources, food security (on land and in the sea), pandemic threats, biodiversity (fauna and flora), but also human security (Goldin & Reinert, 2012). Despite being divided into 17 separate goals, each possesses at least one component related to another with one recurring theme. Climate Action, being the focus of the Sustainable Development Goal nº13, is explicit in at least 8 out of the 17 goals. To achieve these goals and take appropriate actions towards climate change, there has to be deep cooperation put in place at a global level with a specific focus on countries that are home to unique and rich ecosystems, such as Peru.

Goal n°13: Climate Action

As previously mentioned, the climate change crisis endures, and cooperation between countries is needed in order to combat it. Sustainable Development Goal nº13 aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.It has been estimated that, in 2020, the global average temperature was at 1.2 ºC above the pre-industrial baseline. With the continuous increase of greenhouse gas emissions that have been surging  for  decades, shifting economies towards carbon neutrality is a vital necessity.

This goal comprises different areas  such as food security and production, terrestrial and wetland ecosystems, freshwater resources, human health, and, finally, key economic sectors and services. It requires national climate adaptation plans in every country; so far, 125 developing countries are implementing and formulating those. However, the global economy needs to  urgently  adapt to this issue.

The implementation of SDGs, as stated earlier, can be monitored by the examination of targets and their indicators. For this specific goal, we can mention three main targets:

  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

One of its indicators would be the number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population. Another indicator would be the proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies.

  • Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.

One of the indicators would be the total greenhouse gas emission per year.

  • Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

One of the indicators would be the extent of global citizenship education, education for sustainable development etc.

Peru and the SDGs

In this sense, the Government of Peru has aligned its General Government Policy to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. CEPLAN (Centro Nacional de Planeamiento Estratégico), the specialized technical agency that acts as the governing, guiding and coordinating body of the National Strategic Planning System and the principal entity in Peru for the 2030 Agenda, annually publishes a National Report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Peru is part of the ten most diverse countries globally and has the second largest share of Amazon Forest which, combined, make up 70% of the planet’s total biodiversity. Peru’s Andes mountains, cold oceans, and tropical locations feature diverse ecosystems, flora, and fauna. 

This wealth of biodiversity provides essential ecosystem services that contribute to both a healthy natural environment and human wellbeing. However, Peru’s biodiversity and ecosystem services are under threat due to land use change and different threats. The main threats to Peru’s mountain and forest ecosystems are land use change, climate change, deforestation, and extractive activities. The main threats to its continental water ecosystems relate to pollution, degradation, damming and overfishing.

While Peru contains the second largest segment of the Amazon Rainforest with extensive biodiversity, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has been increasing over the past years.

                                     Photo by Paula Nardini

To monitor progress towards achieving the SDGs, the Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI), with the support of the UN in Peru, has developed an online platform to monitor and track the indicator based on statistical data obtained from household surveys and national censuses.

Unfortunately, Government driven business engagement around the 2030 Agenda has been minimal. Basic sustainability practices are being implemented, such as the Superintendencia de Mercado de Valores (Superintendency of Securities Market) that requests sustainability reports from all companies trading in the Peruvian Stock Exchange as a first step towards more disclosure and transparency from businesses.

Peruvian businesses tend to place more weight on SDGs related to social impact over environmental priorities because companies recognize the importance of satisfying particular basic human needs for their employees and consumers before having the ‘climate action dialogue’. Some companies, however, do recognize and engage with the SDGs as an integral system in which all aspects – such as people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships – are connected.

Sustainable development is a challenge for diverse rural communities living in frontier regions of tropical forests (Meredith, 2020).      

As an example, the Interoceanic Highway cuts through the region. It is more than 2,600 kilometres long and connects the Brazilian part of the Amazon to the Pacific coast. Experience in past decades shows that with improved accessibility, deforestation for agriculture and illegal logging tend to follow suit. The concessions stretch over 100,000 hectares covered by dense rainforest. Effective surveillance of this area to prevent unlawful      dwelling and destructive forest use is only possible with the support of carbon certificate revenues.[6]This effective surveillance helps develop initiatives that increase the value of the healthy forest and the income from the sustainable harvesting of Brazil nuts. And enables small farmers to protect and maintain their forest. Regional families benefit from a secure source of income. Illegal deforestation becomes therefore unattractive. To support this economic redirection, the project has implemented a significant outreach campaign to educate the local population on the benefits of an intact rainforest, holding workshops in each town within the region (Ozga, nd).

Conclusion                    

It has become  evident  that there has been substantial progress made throughout the Amazon basin. Herein, we can witness a shift from the intense and unchecked industrialization and over-liberalist policies toward a raised awareness of sustainable development approaches. Indeed, numerous  indicators related to the MDGs have improved such as access to health care (MDGs 5 and 6), lower child mortality rates (MDG 4), and halving poverty rate (MDG 1).[7]However, the road is still long regarding the achievement of the Agenda 2030, especially as it relates to      climate change.

With several social and environmental indicators in the Amazon scoring relatively low, such as the indicators 15.2.1 concerning sustainable forest management, 15.3.1 on the proportion of land that is degraded over total land area, we face a substantial loss of ecosystem services. The consequences of such a loss are of immense concern for the global community. Still, they are also, for States directly concerned like Perú, cause for social concern, especially among indigenous and rural communities. Indeed, these threat on the ecosystem bring with them the risk of disrupting ancestral practices. Social consequences that can be monitored for example through indicator 11.4 focusing on strengthening efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

For the Amazonian rainforest   and the States on which it lies, the main challenge for the coming years is finding the fragile balance of development that combines environmental protection and poverty reduction, leaving no one behind. In this research, the blueprints of the SDGs, and notably the goal nº13, are a welcome help but cannot stand alone. When looking back at the targets proposed for the goal n º13, it becomes evident that consequent participation and strong will from both public and private entities will be necessary in order to achieve “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (UN- Bruntland, 1987).[20]

Authors: Antonio Zelada, Julia Moreta and Sarah Gaudenz

The 2ºC goal has been the flagship of environmentalists for the past decade. The idea being to limit the production of greenhouse gases and adopt greener policies to obstruct the rise of the global average temperature to keep it below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Scientific evidence is increasingly displaying a correlation between the different issues faced by the Earth as a global entity. Indeed, the effect of climate on food production and access to water, to only cite a couple, are undeniable which makes climate change a prior consideration for future politics

Held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012

The Millennium Summit led to the elaboration of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce extreme poverty by 2015. See the list of the MDGs: https://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/mdgmomentum.shtml

The UN SDGs webiste list a total of 247 indicators including 12 which are repeated under multiple goals: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/Global%20Indicator%20Framework%20after%202021%20refinement_Eng.pdf

COOPERATIVE FUND FOR FOREST CARBON (FCPF).

The FCPF began to be designed in 2006, by the World Bank, at the request of a group of donors that includes developed countries, non-governmental organizations and development entities. It was created with the objective of supporting developing countries in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

For a in depth review of how successful the MDGs were, see: :https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2017/01/11/how-successful-were-the-millennium-development-goals/

Biography

 

Goldin, I. and Reinert, K. (2012). Globalization for Development, Meeting New Challenges. Oxford University Press                                                          

Meredith, G. (2020). Analysing Sustainable Development Goals in the Peruvian Amazon. University of Sussex. Available at: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/52499

 

Ozga, E. Sustainable Forestry in the Amazon Basin in Peru. ABN Resource Recruitment Redefined. Available at: https://abnresource.com/38/sustainability/peru-sustainable-forestry-in-the-amazon-basin-in-madre-de-dios-province/

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300

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Human Rights Film Festival The Hague

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Kenza Mena
Team Coordinator -China

Kenza Mena has expertise in international criminal law since she is currently pursuing a last-year Master’s degree in International Criminal Justice at Paris II Panthéon-Assas and obtained with honors cum laude an LLM in International and Transnational Criminal Law from the University of Amsterdam. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in French and Anglo-American law. 

Since September 2021, she has been the coordinator of Team China at GHRD, a country where violations of human rights, even international crimes, are frequently perpetrated by representatives of the State. Within Team China, awareness is also raised on discrimination that Chinese women and minorities in the country and, more generally, Chinese people around the world are facing.

Kenza believes that the primary key step to tackle atrocities perpetrated around the world is advocacy and promotion of human rights.

Aimilina Sarafi
Pakistan Coordinator

Aimilina Sarafi holds a Bachelor’s degree cum laude in International Relations and Organisations from Leiden University and is currently pursuing a Double Legal Master’s degree (LLM) in Public International Law and International Criminal Law at the University of Amsterdam.
She is an active advocate for the human rights of all peoples in her community and is passionate about creating a better world for future generations. Aimilina is the coordinator for the GHRD team of Pakistan, in which human rights violations of minority communities in Pakistan are investigated and legally evaluated based on international human rights legal standards.
Her team is working on raising awareness on the plight of minority communities such as women, children, religious and ethnic minorities within Pakistan.

Lukas Mitidieri
Coordinator & Head Researcher- Bangladesh

Lucas Mitidieri is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). As the GHRD Bangladesh Team Coordinator, he advocates for human rights and monitors violations across all minorities and marginalized groups in Bangladesh. Lucas believes that the fight for International Human Rights is the key to a world with better social justice and greater equality.

Nicole Hutchinson
Editorial Team Lead

Nicole has an MSc in International Development Studies with a focus on migration. She is passionate about promoting human rights and fighting poverty through advocacy and empowering human choice. Nicole believes that even the simplest social justice efforts, when properly nurtured, can bring about radical and positive change worldwide.

Gabriela Johannen
Coordinator & Head Researcher – India

Gabriela Johannen is a lawyer admitted to the German bar and holds extensive knowledge in the fields of human rights, refugee law, and international law. After working for various courts and law firms in her home country, she decided to obtain an LL.M. degree from Utrecht University where she studied Public International Law with a special focus on Human Rights. Additionally, while working as a pro-bono legal advisor for refugees, she expanded her knowledge in the fields of refugee law and migration.

Gabriela is the coordinator and head researcher for GHRD India, a country, she has had a personal connection with since childhood. Her primary focus is to raise awareness for the severe human rights violations against minorities and marginalized groups that continue to occur on a daily basis in India. By emphasizing the happenings and educating the general public, she hopes to create a better world for future generations.

João Victor
Coordinator & Head Researcher – International Justice

João Victor is a young Brazilian lawyer who leads our team of International Justice and Human Rights. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and possesses over 5 years of experience in dealing with Human Rights and International Law issues both in Brazil and internationally, including the protection of refugees’ rights and the strengthening of accountability measures against torture crimes.

João has an extensive research engagement with subjects related to International Justice in general, and more specifically with the study of the jurisprudence of Human Rights Courts regarding the rise of populist and anti-terrorist measures taken by national governments. He is also interested in the different impacts that new technologies may provoke on the maintenance of Human Rights online, and how enforcing the due diligence rules among private technology companies might secure these rights against gross Human Rights violations.

Célinne Bodinger
Environment and Human Rights Coordinator

As the Environment and Human Rights Coordinator, Célinne is passionate about the health of our planet and every life on it.

Angela Roncetti
Team Coordinator and Head Researcher- South America

Angela holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from Vitória Law School (FDV) in Brazil. Her research combines more than five years of experience conducting debates and studies on the rights of homeless people, the elderly, children, and refugees. Besides that, she also volunteers in a social project called Sou Diferente (I am Different in English), where she coordinates and takes part in actions aimed at the assistance and the emancipation of vulnerable groups in the cities of the metropolitan area of Espírito Santo state (Brazil).

Lina Borchardt
Team Head (Promotions)
(Europe)

She is currently heading the Promotions Team and University Chapter of Global Human Rights Defence. Her background is the one of European and International Law, which I am studying in The Hague. She has previously gained experience at Women´s Rights organizations in Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey over the past years.
She has been working for Global Human Rights Defence in the Netherlands since 2020. Her focus now is concentrated on the Human Rights and Minorities Film Festival and the cooperation of GHRD with students across the country.

Pedro Ivo Oliveira
Team Coordinator and Researcher
(Africa)

Pedro holds an extensive background in Human Rights, especially in Global Health, LGBTQ+ issues, and HIV and AIDS. He is currently finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Affairs at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Moreover, he successfully attended the Bilingual Summer School in Human Rights Education promoted by the Federal University of Minas Gerais and the Association of Universities of the Montevideo Group. Besides, Pedro Ivo has a diversified professional background, collecting experiences in many NGOs and projects.

With outstanding leadership abilities, in 2021, Pedro Ivo was the Secretary-General of the 22nd edition of the biggest UN Model in Latin America: the MINIONU. Fluent in Portuguese, English, and Spanish, Pedro Ivo is the Team Coordinator and Head Researcher of the Team Africa at Global Human Rights Defence. Hence, his focus is to empower his team from many parts of the world about the Human Rights Situation in the African continent, meanwhile having a humanized approach.

Alessandro Cosmo
GHRD Youth Ambassador
(European Union)

Alessandro Cosmo obtained his B.A. with Honors from Leiden University College where he studied International Law with a minor in Social and Business Entrepreneurship. He is currently pursuing an LL.M. in Public International Law at Utrecht University with a specialization in Conflict and Security. 
As GHRD’s E.U. Youth Ambassador, Alessandro’s two main focuses are to broaden the Defence’s reach within E.U. institutions and political parties, as well as mediate relations between human rights organizations abroad seeking European funding. 
Alessandro believes that human rights advocacy requires grass-roots initiatives where victims’ voices are amplified and not paraphrased or spoken for. He will therefore act on this agenda when representing Global Human Rights Defence domestically and abroad

Veronica Delgado
Team Coordinator and Researcher- Japan, Sri Lanka & Tibet

Veronica is a Colombian lawyer who leads our team of Japan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. She holds a master’s degree in Public International Law from Utrecht University. She has experience in Colombian law firms. Here she represented clients before constitutional courts. She also outlined legal concepts to state entities such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ombudsman’s Office on international law issues.

Veronica has an extensive research background with subjects related to public international law. She worked as an assistant researcher for more than two years for the Externado University of Colombia. Here she undertook in-depth research on constitutional, business, and human rights law issues. She was involved with consultancy services with the Colombian Army regarding transitional justice. 

Wiktoria Walczyk
Coordinator & Head Researcher (Nepal & Indonesia)

Wiktoria Walczyk has joined GHRD in June 2020 as a legal intern. She is currently coordinator and head researcher of Team Nepal and Indonesia. She has an extensive legal knowledge concerning international human rights and is passionate about children’s and minorities’ rights. Wiktoria has obtained her LL.B. in International & European Law and she specialised in Public International Law & Human Rights at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. Moreover, she is pursuing her LL.M. in International & European Law and focusing on Modern Human Rights Law specialisation at the University of Wroclaw in Poland. In order to gain an essential legal experience, Wiktoria has also joined Credit Suisse’s 2021 General Counsel Graduate First Program where she is conducting her legal training and discovering the banking world. She would like to make a significant impact when it comes to the protection of fundamental human rights around the world, especially with regard to child labour. 

Fairuz Sewbaks
Coordinator and Head Researcher
(Africa)​

Fairuz Sewbaks holds extensive legal knowledge regarding international human rights, with a specific focus on human rights dealings taking place in continental Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The Hague University in public international law and international human rights and successfully followed advanced human rights courses at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. She furthermore participated in the Istanbul Summer School where she was educated about the role of epidemics and pandemics in light of human rights.

 

Fairuz is the coordinator and head researcher for GHRD Africa. Her primary focus is to establish and coordinate long-term research projects regarding the differentiating human rights dealings of vulnerable and marginalized groups in continental Africa, as well as conducting individual research projects.

Priya Lachmansingh
Coordinator and Head Researcher, Political Advisor
(Asia & America)

Priya Lachmansingh is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in International & European
Law at the Hague University of Applied Science.
As GHRD’s Asia & America human rights coordinator and GHRD Political Advisor, Priya’s
prominent focus is to highlight human rights violations targeted against minority and
marginalized groups in Asia and America and to broaden GHRD reach within Dutch political
parties and as well seek domestic funding.

Jasmann Chatwal
Team Coordinator & Head Coordinator: North America

Jasmann is a political science student at Leiden University who joined GHRD in May 2021 as an intern in team Pakistan. Now, she is the team coordinator for North America and is responsible for coordinating the documentation of human rights violations in USA, Canada, and America.