From Toowoomba to New York – last week was one of those weeks which spanned the globe. I’ve included below some snapshots.
Building youth inclusion in Toowoomba
“Youth inclusion means people aged 25 and under have the resources, opportunities and capabilities to learn, work, engage and have a voice. It means being included and connecting with people and community and influencing decisions that affect them. Young people are key agents for social change, economic growth and technological innovation. Young people’s security and prosperity relies on them having the skills and knowledge to lead our communities and drive our economy. Education, health, employment and stable housing are key building blocks to inclusion. There is already a lot of great work happening in this space in Toowoomba, including 'Emerge' that provides work experience, mentorship programs and support for disengaged & at-risk youth, ‘Eraced’ – erasing racism in schools one story at a time, and the Red Cross run Youth Homelessness and Reintegration Service (YHARS) program which helps to reduce homelessness through the provision of support, brokerage and accommodation for young people.” – Julia Donaldson, Acting QLD State Services Lead, Queensland.
This was part of the introduction to a session in Toowoomba last week led by Julia and Charlene Keller from Red Cross. The roundtable brought together people from many organisations in Toowoomba ranging from the University of Southern Queensland to business. It was a great forum aimed at leveraging what is already underway to build youth inclusion in Toowoomba.
ICRC’s six calls at the United Nations General Assembly
In New York, the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is happening at the moment. The UNGA opened on 18 September. The theme this year is on ‘Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.’
Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross, made six ‘calls’ of the United Nations:
1. Ensure battles are not waged as collective punishment. Cease indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on urban areas and targeting of civilians.
2. Help citizens recover by taking decisive steps to ensure economic opportunity. Aid should put choice and power in the hands of people affected. They will be the ones to rebuild their communities and restart businesses.
3. Assist people to return home: but only if the security situation is stable and they choose to do so.
4. End the agonizing wait for grieving families waiting for news of missing loved ones. Prioritize the reunification of separated families; and open information channels.
5. Treat detainees humanely. It is the law. Ill-treatment only adds to more hatred, revenge and cycles of violence.
6. States supporting parties to conflicts must influence to prevent violations of international humanitarian law. There can be no support without compliance - especially on arms transfers.
I’ve been following Peter Maurer, As Sy (Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [IFRC]) and Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Under Secretary General for Partnerships, IFRC on Twitter to get the latest updates from the ground. You might also find them useful.
Also in New York – UN Global People’s Summit
The Global People’s Summit also took place on Saturday along the sidelines of the UNGA. It was an excellent space aimed at engaging and shaping a truly global conversation where people and organisations around the world can collaborate, share best practices, foster innovation, build community, celebrate success, influence global agendas, and find new ways to translate their vision into action – together online.
The Summit is organised by The Humanity Lab Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Partnerships. Among the speakers at the summit was Dr Jemilah Mahmood who spoke about ‘Reimagine Aid: Disrupting the Status Quo of Humanitarian Response’. You can watch videos of speakers from the summit here. There are some really interesting thoughts on the future of humanitarian action.
Australian Business Roundtable
“It's impossible to stop natural disasters from happening. But it is possible to do more to make our communities safer.”
- Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities
A few years ago we joined with Westpac, Optus, Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Investa and Munich Re to set up the Roundtable, working together to make Australian communities more prepared for disasters. The group has done good work so far. Through high quality research we have highlighted the growing cost of natural disasters and forecast that it will grow to $39 billion a year in the future.
We have shifted the focus on preparation to be about community and individual readiness and resilience as well as ‘bricks and mortar’ and infrastructure. We have together brought awareness to the fact that the social costs are at least 50% of the billions spent on recovery. Together we contributed significantly to related work such as the Productivity Commission's estimates of the nation’s investment needed to get the country prepared. And, through our closer relationship with IAG, developed the Get Prepared app which we launched last year.
Last week Noel and I attended a workshop on ‘where next’ for the Roundtable. The members agreed 100% on its importance and the opportunities we can work on together. This is great news. We can now work together on which of the opportunities we will focus on.
Neville Jetta wins the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award
A big congratulations to Neville Jetta, this year’s winner of the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award. Neville was selected for his work with Indigenous youth through school-based programs. A Melbourne Demons defender, Neville is also a Red Cross ambassador and an impressive role model for all young people.
The Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award is named in honour of the late Melbourne champion and president. The Award is presented annually to an AFL or AFLW player who has made a genuine commitment to community causes.