UN PGA High Level Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda

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Peace Boat US participated in the recent UN PGA High-level Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda, where leaders from around the world gathered to discuss the challenges they face to mitigate climate change, making it clear that many nations are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the well-being of the Earth today and in the future. The event provided an opportunity to highlight synergies between Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda and to gather representatives of Governments, International Organizations, the Private Sector and other stakeholders who are advancing solutions to implementation of the SDG and Climate Change agreements.

20170323_165436 (1)Agreeing on the fact that the planet should not warm by more than 2 degrees Celsius within the next century, it is the responsibility of each and every nation, developed and developing, to implement new practices in response to this ongoing environmental crisis. New, old and improved climate change action plans were brought to the audience’s attention through shared information on what has been tried before, what methods are actually working, visions of innovative approaches and predictions of a substantial amount of positive change. As was pointed out at the conference, global temperatures are rising each day, and we must remember that this affects us all. Temperature change is not limited to a particular part of the world, but contributes to all weather patterns globally.

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Many representatives from developing countries put emphasis on their need for committed support from developed ones. Every nation is to provide concrete ownership and share the responsibilities of implementation of the SDGs. Peace Boat supports the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the message stated by Ambassador Sareer from the Permanent Mission of the Maldives to work towards solutions to climate change across all sectors and take significant steps to reach the goals of the Samoa Pathway outcome document. Greater improvement requires all forces to join together to help those vulnerable populations in creating new lifestyles that are “harmonious with Mother Earth”. Climate change not only affects the environment, but trickles down to other SDGs such as poverty, health care, and social and economic growth. Representatives from the Philippines and Nicaragua stressed this point in order to present the need for assistance when determining how to adapt its population to the change. Representatives from the Permanent Mission of Sri Llanka agreed that, “Adaption is the most suitable way to approach climate change”, while representatives from Morocco reassured everyone that their methods of reducing greenhouse gases and energy dependencies continue to work. They are willing to transfer this knowledge to others and to continue to spread awareness to conserve the environment.

The 2030 Agenda,  which “recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge” (according to the UN Division for Sustainable Development), and the Paris Agreement, which “brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so” (according to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), influenced the direction of presentations for many speakers during the assembly. Representatives from Panama shared that what is done by other countries should benefit everyone. Integrating new policies, innovating strategies and assuring everyone’s commitment should start things off on the right track for a better future for the planet and its people. With Earth Day coming up in April, the shared perspectives were useful and necessary to spark innovative ideas globally and locally to protect the environment within our own communities.

This post was created and published by Sommer B. Flood (Intern from Peace Boat US). 

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A Day at the UN: Together Campaign, The Ocean Conference, and Forging Partnerships

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The United Nations has declared 2017 “the year of peace,” and on  January 19, Peace Boat interns gathered to hear the first briefing of the year at the DPI/NGO (Department of Public Information/Non Governmental Organization) Inaugural meeting in New York City. It was the first time this team of interns had the opportunity to sit among NGO representatives at the table. Speakers Maher Nasser and Damian Cardona introduced the TOGETHER campaign, which is an umbrella coalition to counter xenophobia and negative perceptions and attitudes towards immigrants and refugees. This global movement aims to distinguish between facts and myths of narratives circling in the media about immigrants. Daniel Shepard and Kim Quarles spoke about the upcoming Ocean Conference being held June 5 – 9, 2017. The conference aims to build partnerships among the private, public, and civil society society sectors; develop a firm commitment to act and preserve the oceans; and to educate and share a more robust understanding of ocean issues and the negative impacts of these.

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We also had the opportunity to attend the UNDESA/DSPD (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Division for Social Policy and Development) Stakeholder Engagement Series on Partnerships to Transform Goals. Speakers Daniel Perell, Chair of the NGO Committee on Social Development, and Hanifa D. Mezoui, Senior Advisor of the Humanitarian Affairs and Civil Society, emphasized the importance of bringing all voices to the table such as those of indigenous peoples, older generations, and people with disabilities. The guest speakers emphasized inclusive NGO meetings that are representative of a variety of backgrounds and NGO work. Together, the meeting participants agreed to start a dialogue on specific tasks they can do to ensure that the information collected and discussed in their meetings is dispersed throughout the entire UN. The team also agreed to develop a statement to collectively emphasize the team’s stance as well as educate non-members on the activities and initiatives of the team.

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Utilizing Information And Communication Technology For Sustainable Development

csm_unsustainabledevelopmentgoals_cover_01_43148a588aToday Peace Boat US interns attended “The Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in accelerating the achievement of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development” at the United Nations Headquarters. They learned that while 98% of Americans have access to the internet, only 47% of the global population has similar access. This meeting focused on the opportunities and concerns involved in increasing the connectivity of the international population.

Of particular interest to our interns were the impacts ICTs could have on the environment. They learned ICTs can serve as an integral tool in collecting big data for analysis of biodiversity, pollution, weather patterns and ecosystem evolution. In addition, satellite monitoring increases accountability by providing accurate global data. Running parallel to these positive impacts of ICTs, however, are the concerns. An increase in ICTs also creates an increase in electronic waste (e-waste).  According to the EPA, e-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America. Internationally, 40 million tons of electronic waste are created each year. In addition to having a negative environmental impact e-waste is also a health hazard, particularly to the impoverished young girls and women who scavenge for survival in various countries. Peace Boat interns were thrilled to learn about the various opportunities and concerns surrounding ICTs, and how they can be used in the undertaking of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They look forward to incorporating this knowledge and awareness into Peace Boat’s mission of promoting sustainable and equitable development around the world.

 

(This post was created by Lilly Potter)

 

January Term 2017 Interns from Hollins University

Collaboration with Peace Boat US and Hollins University

Hollins University is a liberal arts school located in Roanoke, Virginia. Each year students have the opportunity for the month of January to choose between studying abroad, interning with an organization, researching independently under a professor, or taking a course on campus. This is the fourth year Hollins and the Peace Boat US have partnered together to give students a closer look into what the Peace Boat does for the world and current projects and initiatives to promote peace and sustainability. This month 4 Hollins interns will be promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through various activities in New York, attend events hosted by the UN and other local partnership organizations such as Global Kids, research funding opportunities for building the world’s greenest ship, the Ecoship, and canvass for the summer Peace Boat voyage  entitled “Peace Education and the Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America.”

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Nicole Curran is a senior International Studies major at Hollins University. Through her major, Ms. Curran’s studies focus on the DPRK (North Korea), China and Japan. She is interested in the censorship and its portrayal in media; specifically how it creates preconceived notions and negative effects that play around the world today. Peace Boat US caught Ms. Curran’s attention because it is a place where anyone from any background and anywhere in the world can come together to create sustainable dialogue and break barriers to promote peace.

15879361_10210563412428810_1154074831_nAlexis Hughes will be a graduate from Hollins University in February of 2017 with a degree in philosophy. Prior to the Peace Boat US, Ms. Hughes interned with the largest child law program in Virginia, the Legal Aid Justice Center, advocating for equal access to education and proper support for children with special needs and mental health issues. She worked briefly with the Legal Justice Aid team on the RISE for Youth campaign to close juvenile prisons and promote community-based and rehabilitative alternatives to youth incarceration. Ms. Hughes is enthusiastic about women’s rights as well as moving education and religious systems forward. She is skilled in problem solving and public speaking. Alexis plans to devote her life to advocacy for disenfranchised populations and will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution in the fall. She’s thrilled to have the chance to be mentored by professional peacemakers at the Peace Boat who spend their time fighting for a more equal, just, and peaceful world.

15942703_10210563412588814_767808214_oLilly Potter is a sophomore at Hollins University double majoring in English and International Studies. She is passionate about human rights, international relations, and sustainable development. Ms. Potter has taken every opportunity to be a global student, listen to foreign perspectives, and immerse herself in other cultures. She was fortunate enough to study environmental sustainability through urban development and eco-farming while in Singapore and Malaysia. Ms. Potter is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue her global education as an intern at Peace Boat. Looking forward, she hopes to take the lessons she has learned at Peace Boat and apply them in her pursuit of a graduate degree in international law.

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Dade Hundertmark is a sophomore at Hollins University double majoring in international studies and philosophy. At this time, she is also the standing president of Humans for Justice, a 501(c)3 that supports education for survivors of human trafficking within the United States. Passionate about ethics and developmental economics, she looks forward to this opportunity to observe and participate in an internship that will allow her to see the extent to which nonprofits can make their mark on the world. Outside of her work, Ms. Hundertmark is an avid equestrian and a resident feminist killjoy, as well as a fan of nail polish, Daenerys Targaryen, and the mangrove ecosystem. She believes that through practical application of theory, passion, and an ear toward the community, both sustainability and development can flourish, while protecting the rights and customs of native communities. Ms. Hundertmark also firmly believes in the role that youth serve to further these goals in this age of communication, and is grateful for her chance to serve Peace Boat US for this term.

One-on-one Conversation with Cristina Gallach

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On October 27, 2016 Peace Boat US joined an event organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) that gave NGOs the opportunity to have one-on-one conversation with Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information of the United Nations.

The meeting began with moderator Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the DPI, thanking Peace Boat for the “Floating Festival for Sustainability” event it organized on October 20, 2016 in collaboration with the DPI. He also thanked Peace Boat for its acknowledgment of the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ms. Gallach expressed her gratitude for the work done by civil society, as well as the importance of continuing to work together and support one another. The planet is more unstable than before, she said, and therefore it is important to promote diversity, integration and dignity, which is one of the campaigns of the DPI. Currently, the global community is in a phase of transition, especially in regards to the change of the UN Secretary General, and it is crucial to make that transition smooth and easy she noted.

Various questions were raised during the meeting, many on the topic of access and sharing on social media. For civil societies to work with UN agencies, it is necessary for NGOs to have easy access to information provided by the UN–an effort the UN is constantly trying to improve through their live Webcast and through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This is also linked to how they are engaging youth. Youth are constantly changing how they use social media, and therefore the DPI is trying to change as well to keep up and to engage the youth, given that young people are the leaders who will need to use the SDGs to effect change. To raise awareness about the SDGs, it is important to bring more youth organizations onboard, and Mr. Nasser said: “You shouldn’t wait to get invitations; you should knock on the door and make your voice heard.”

Peace Boat knows the importance of awareness of the SDGs, and actively works to raise it.  It organizes voyages that focus on sustainability and the SDGs to this end. In 2017, Peace Boat will hold its 94th Global Voyage for Peace, and invites youth to join the Latin American segment of the voyage in the summer to learn more about the SDGs. To see the full voyage itinerary visit: http://peaceboat.org/english/index.php?page=view&nr=122&type=4&menu=64

This post was created and published by Cecilie Barmoen (Intern from Peace Boat US)

Introducing the Fall 2016 Interns

Meet our Fall Interns for 2016!

 

Introduction pic ChristinaChristina Irwin is a recent high school graduate, dedicating her gap semester to interning with Peace Boat US until December. She discovered Peace Boat while searching for an activist organization to which she could dedicate her time. She has prior experience volunteering with animals, and aims to broaden her scope of activities and impact. Christina cares deeply about the environment, human rights, mental health, and animal welfare. She is pleased to be part of an organization with passions that mirror her own, and where she can learn more about how to contribute to their objectives.

EIntroduction pic Emiliemilie Lervik is a social worker from Norway. She has a bachelor’s degree in social work
and studied human rights for a semester in New York. She visited the Peace Boat US office with her human rights teacher when she studied in New York, and knew immediately that she wanted to be an intern at Peace Boat US.  In Norway, she works with children with mental and physical disabilities and loves working with young people. Her dream is to one day work for UNICEF. She is passionate about child protection, children with disabilities and the #ENDviolence initiative. She also loves working with people from different countries and learning more about different cultures around the world. She views the internship as a great opportunity to learn more about how international NGOs work, and to gain knowledge about current issues.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaajoaaaajdmxyza5zge5ltaxnmytndbioc1imjiylti0zwmzmdrmnza4zaJulia Wilkinson is a Columbia SIPA MPA graduate who has joined Peace Boat US’ volunteer staff to work on the organization’s Ecoship Project. She learned about Peace Boat through friends who knew about her passion for conservation and peacebuilding, and after meeting the team she was eager to contribute to the mission. She is an impact investor focused on sustainability, technology for social change and development, and gender equality. Before attending Columbia SIPA she worked in international asset management. Julia is trilingual in English, Portuguese, and Spanish and lived in Mexico, Brazil, and Honduras for 11 years. She is excited to work with the Peace Boat team to bring the Ecoship project from concept to reality, and to contribute to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Cecilie Barmoen is a Norwegian student at Pace University, where she focuses on Global Studies. She has always had a passion for international politics and peace keeping, so when she found Peace Boat US, she thought it would be a great place to start to learn more about it in real life. From participating in the Model UN program, she learned much about conflict solving and peace resolutions, and the program fueled her interest in this field. In the future, she would like to work at the United Nations, where she can focus on cultural differences in regards to human rights. She is excited about her internship with Peace Boat US and is confident it will help her learn even more about peace building.

img_3842Briana Whylie is an International Business major at Berkeley College. With her interest in solving international issues, Briana participated in the Model United Nations to get in practice. Briana has always showed passion to change lives for the better; and describes herself as dedicated and enthusiastic. Her volunteer work at Peace Boat is a life changing experience to not only help the organization, but to become educated in world issues. Briana carries legacy from her late grandfather Vincent Whylie who helped pass a union law with Richard Nixon in 1970. Briana hopes to make great, yet bigger life changes, like her grandfather.

fullsizerenderJason Vargas is a student at Pace University with a major in Political Science and minors in Criminal Justice and Peace and Justice Studies. He is very interested in human rights, the laws of war, disarmament, and international law. Jason is very excited to be interning for an organization such as Peace Boat whose mission is to work towards a Nuclear-Free world. Furthermore, he sees himself either going to law school or getting his masters degree in U.S. Foreign Policy following his graduation from Pace. In the future Jason hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer and work abroad in the various U.S. embassies making a noticeable difference in the world.

 

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Alex Brizer is a student at Pace University with a major in Communications and a minor in Criminal Justice. Alex is very interested in Journalism, International Politics, Disarmament and Human rights. He has always had a strong passion for Peace Keeping and the Environment. He has Volunteered with local organizations such as the Clear water Festival in Croton On Hudson to help raise awareness for Environmental cleanup and to help promote the closure of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. Alex also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Dallas, Texas to help build schools in impoverished areas through the NBA Cares program. He has always cared for others wants to make the world a better place. Alex learned about Peace Boat through his Professor and is very excited to be working for such an amazing organization. His goal is to promote and learn a lot more about Peace building and to meet others from around the world while doing so.

Humans of Peace Boat US, Panyin Conduah

Peace Boat is dynamic in that it boasts a broad array of partners and participants working on projects in various corners of the world. Both on deck and on shore, members exchange ideas and knowledge, and quickly create bonds of friendship through common interests and motivation to engage in projects that promote a culture of peace and sustainability. On Peace Boat’s 88th Global Voyage held in the autumn of 2015, one such person included Panyin Conduah.

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Conduah is a recent graduate of DePauw University in New York, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing and Communication. She is a freelance writer, as well as a videographer, and has interned at various production houses. Currently she participates in the Downtown Community Television (DCTV)  Apprenticeship program in Pro-TV under the instruction of Johnny Ramos.

DCTV has been partners with Peace Boat US since 2003, and provided Conduah with the opportunity to film her experience on the 88th Global Voyage. DCTV is a media arts center offering a cooperative workspace used for professional training. Dedicated to using media to promote social justice, this program highlights economic as well as social divides in an effort to advance tolerance. Conduah’s latest project, for example, examines the effect of tuition costs and student loans on people’s lifestyles by illustrating their struggle. As a part of Pro-TV, the largest free media arts training program for youth in New York City, Conduah has honed her videography skills by taking lessons on cinematography and learning how to use video editing software, including Final Cut Pro.

Upon hearing about Peace Boat, Conduah was not sure what to expect. However, having thoroughly enjoyed her travels through Europe, she was eager to experience Central America on a three-day study program that would start in Mexico, continue on to Belize, and end in Panama. Conduah was also enthusiastic about having the creative freedom to film as she wished while maintaining a focus on sustainability issues.

Conduah’s first experience with Peace Boat’s sustainability project took place in Mexico. She helped communities become more aware of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by helping to paint a mural depicting the seventeen goals. Goal fourteen, which promotes the sustainability of oceans, features prominently in the mural. Catching to the eye and mind alike, the painting successfully emphasizes the importance of conservation for future generations.
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In Belize, Conduah, along with her fellow adventurers, stopped to enjoy a few hours of snorkeling in the renowned coral reefs of the country. Conduah was keen to let me know that Belize has the second largest coral reef system in the world after Australia. Despite her initial alarm at the presence of nurse sharks, she later enjoyed a swim and embraced the sea life in the ocean. She now remarks upon the beauty of the nature she had the opportunity to be so close to.

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The trip ended with final projects being carried out in the Kuna indigenous community in Panama that Peace Boat has worked with for the past decade. On this particular voyage, Peace Boat US aided the community in three ways:

(1) Supporting local Kuna women with their fair trade project making mola handicrafts. Mola are part of the traditional dress of women in the Kuna community and are worn on the back and front side of blouses.

(2) Constructing an improved sanitary system.

(3) Building safe pathways within the community of approximately 900 people.

Peace Boat US helped to raise funds to support these activities as part of the Music and Arts Peace Academy (MAPA) project in 2015. A total of $5,000 was raised. Peace Boat visits this Kuna community twice a year and is the only regular supporter of the village.

Conduah describes her involvement onboard Peace Boat just as positively as her experience on land, likening the ship to an incubator for sharing ideas. Cultural exchange through workshops and lectures en route allowed for knowledge sharing between a broad demographic of participants.

Piquing her interest in sustainability, Conduah says her experience onboard Peace Boat opened her eyes to future possibilities in terms of what she can give back to society to make the world more accessible to others. Her participation in Peace Boat’s projects has made her even more determined to travel and share the stories of underrepresented people. Conduah hopes her positive experience during the 88th Peace Boat Global Voyage will inspire others, especially youth, to partake in sustainability projects that support grassroots initiatives on future Peace Boat voyages.

In the near future, Conduah looks forward to screening her footage from Central America at the DCTV studio in New York, as well as the United Nations Headquarters. For now, she often relives her time in Central America with Peace Boat through watching her footage from the trip, some of which can be viewed here.

This post was created and published by Tara Richards (Intern from Peace Boat US).