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Justice News
Written by Joan Russow
Sunday, 20 July 2014 14:15

Submission to CSW  2005

by The Canadian Voice of Women and the Global Compliance research Project


Global Compliance Research Project

The challenge at Beijing +10 is compliance and implementation

The Global community has failed the South, and those most affected are women and children. It is not that  the UN has ignored the plight of the South it is that the member states of the UN have failed to comply and implement the years of obligations and commitments made to the south  through the UN system. 


Nitun Desai declared at the Habitat +5 Conference that the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was to be the culmination of the previous decade of conferences, and that the essence of  WSSD would be implementation of previous obligations and commitments. Again the member states failed.


The UN member states have yet another chance to fulfill the vision of compliance and implementation; the task has been left to women to meet the challenge of ending the cycle of error.


Nothing profiles the cycle of error more than the Tsunami disaster in  South Asia. A common response was “Why was there no warning system”.


It was not as though the global community did not recognize the urgency of having warning systems in place. In the statement from Rio + 5, every state acknowledged the following:


“Natural disasters have disproportionate consequences for

developing countries, in particular SIDS. Programmes for

sustainable development should give higher priority to

implementation of the commitments made at the World

Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction. There is a particular

need for the promotion and facilitation of the transfer of early-

warning technologies to those developing countries and countries

with economies in transition which are prone to natural



Also throughout the years member states have made commitments to re-allocate military expenses to global social justice particularly in the developing countries.


Unfortunately, institutional memory is either short or member states ignore legal precedents.


In 1976 at Habitat 1, member states of the United Nations affirmed the following in relation to the military budget:


"The waste and misuse of resources in war and armaments should be prevented. All countries should make a firm commitment to promote general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, in particular in the field of nuclear disarmament. Part of the resources thus released should be utilized so as to achieve a better quality of life for humanity and particularly the peoples of developing countries" (II, 12 Habitat 1).


In 1981, in the General Assembly resolution entitled Resolution on the reduction of the military budget, the member states


 (ii) recognised that "the military budget constitutes a heavy burden for the economies of all nations, and has extremely harmful consequences on international peace and security";

(iii) reiterated the appeal "to all States, in particular the most heavily armed States, pending the conclusion of agreements on the reduction of military expenditures, to exercise self-restraint in their military expenditures with a view to reallocating the funds thus saved to economic and social development, particularly for the benefit of developing countries" (Resolution on the Reduction of Military budgets, 1981).


These appeals were further reinforced in a 1983 General Assembly Resolution on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development, that curbing the arms build-up would make it possible to release additional resources for use in economic and social development, particularly for the benefit of the developing countries." 


In 1992, all member states recognized that "Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development" ( Rio Declarations. Principle 24, UNCED, 1992), and in Chapter 33, of Agenda 21, member states of the Untied Nations made a commitment to the "the reallocation of resources presently committed to military purposes" (33.18e)


In 1994, in adopting the statement from the International Conference on Population and Development, the member states of the United Nations concurred that the attainment of “quantitative and qualitative goals of the present Programme of Action clearly require additional resources, some of which could become available from a reordering of priorities at the individual, national and international levels. However, none of the actions required—nor all of them combined— is expensive in the context of either current global development or military expenditures." (Article 1.19)


In 1995, similarly, states in adopting the statement from the Social Development Summit endorsed the calling for “the reallocation of military spending to ensure a greater pocket of resources to expand public services. Again, in 1995, member states of the United Nations reconfirmed these commitments by adopting the Platform of Action at the UN conference on Women, Equality, Development and Peace, and made a commitment to “increase and hasten, ... the conversion of military resources and related industries to development and peaceful purposes" (145a).


In the  Habitat II Agenda, what was originally proposed as Article 140 m: "use a reduction of national military budgets to fund local programs for human settlements" was left out in the final Habitat II Agenda in the sections related to Domestic financial resources and economic instruments.


In the 1984 General Assembly Resolution entitled the Right of Peoples to Peace, there were "Appeals to all States and international organizations to do their utmost to assist in implementing the right of peoples to peace through the adoption of ...measures at both the national and the international level." (4. Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace approved by General Assembly resolution 39/11 of 12 November 1984)


It is time for the member states of the United Nations to give substance to the Habitat II Agenda, by recapturing the commitment from Habitat 1, in 1976, to substantially reduce the military budget.


Rather than act on the years of commitments to reallocate military expenses, member states of the United Nations have decided to embrace the “responsibility to protect", along with the notions of “collective security”, of "human  security" and of humanitarian intervention"  which are all being  been  used to justify military intervention and thus perpetuates the cycle of error.


The cycle of error of incessant poverty and debt, - induced structural adjustment plans, -

privatization of the commons and essential services, -  inequitable distribution resources, -  exploitation of natural resources, - perpetuation of overconsumption and the overconsumptive model of development,-  tolerated conflict, intolerance, religious extremism, - victimization of civilians especially women and children, - violation of civil and political rights, -  intolerance and discrimination - increased militarization and supply of arms, - increased state and individual terrorism, - genocide – tolerated enticement  of youths  to defend freedom though guarantees of economic or heavenly rewards

for those that sacrifice for freedom,  - excessive and irrational patriotism, -  conflict escalation of ethnic, religious, ideological, territorial conflict, -war,  -human induced natural disasters, human induced disasters refugees, long term health, social and environmental consequences- depletion of resources, scarcity of resources, conflict over resources and territory, de-humanization of opponents, war, increased intervention.

poverty and the cycle of error continues …..

must end.


Above all the justification of war through declaring war to be legal or just is ethically indefensible and more than any action contributes to the cycle of error.

The serious irreversible human, environmental, health, psychological economic and social consequences of war support the contention that under no conditions or circumstances is war legal or just


The global community has through the UN system of Conventions, Treaties, Covenants, Conference action plans and UN General Assembly resolutions have recognized not only the actions that contribute to global insecurity but also the action that contribute to true global security. 


True security is common  security [a concept introduced by Olof Palme - peace, environment human rights and social justice  embodies

the following objectives:


-  to promote and fully guarantee respect for human rights,

including the right to security, civil and political rights, and

tolerance of difference

-  to ensure the preservation and protection of  the environment,

respect the inherent worth of nature beyond human purpose reduce the

ecological  footprint and move away from the current model of

overconsumptive development.

- to achieve a state of peace, justice and security;

-  to reallocate the global military expenses

to enable social justice,

- to guarantee  labour rights,  civil and

political rights, social and cultural rights-

right to food, right to housing, right to health

care, right to education  and social justice;

- to create a global structure that respects the

rule of law; and rights of citizens



There must be the  force of compliance to eliminate global insecurity and to achieve true security common security


For years, through conventions, treaties and covenants, through Conference Action plans, and through UN General Assembly resolutions, member states of the United Nations have incurred obligations, made commitments and created expectations related to the furtherance of Common Security.


In 2005, on the 30 anniversary of the first UN Conference on Women, women must call for states of the United Nations to re-allocate the global military budget to further global common security and end the cycle of war and violence and destruction.

It is time to embrace the force of compliance and for states to implement and enforce the years of commitments and obligations to common security.

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 March 2015 05:27

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