The Research Institute for the Integration of World Thought is committed to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Based on its partnerships with United Nations organizations and the specific competencies of the organization itself, the Research Institute has a special commitment to contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; to support Sustainable Development Goal 5 to achieve Gender Equality and to Sustainable Development Goal 16 to Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. These are three events that took place in 2017 to support those SDGs.

March 2017 New Yorker Hotel, Training Conference for the Women’s Federation for World Peace International with Dr. Thomas J. Ward, Co-Chair of the Research Institute for World Peace. Women’s Federation for World Peace International, a Civil Society Organization with General Consultative Status at the United Nations, hosted Thomas J. Ward who spoke on Strategic planning. Dr. Ward shared the historical development of the women’s suffrage movement and traced the careful process and planning involved in bringing the movement’s objectives to success. He noted that it had been born as an outgrowth of the Abolition movement in the United States. When abolitionists did not permit women to express their positions at their conventions, Ward noted that women had begun to organize themselves. They had a clear goal which was to secure the right to vote. They built alliances with African-American abolitionist leaders and with Frederick Douglas in particular. They drafted a proposed amendment for women’s suffrage. They built strong alliances often through the support of their husbands. They developed educational programs to explore why women should be granted the right to vote. They conducted demonstrations when appropriate and also even faced jail time but used such occasions of oppression to gain the attention of the press. They also built both state and federal initiatives so that women had to tracks and finally this led to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Ward showed the important role that strategic planning played in the achievement of women’s suffrage. He then proceeded to propose a model of strategic planning for WFWP and he has been involved with the WFWP leadership’s strategic planning process throughout the past year.

The growth and success of organizations such as WFWP serve to support SDG  5 to achieve gender equality.

Later that month, in his role as Co-Chair of the Research Institute, Ward was invited to lecture and oversee a simulation on Conflict Transformation in conjunction with the United Nations NGO Women’s Federation for World Peace International at a leadership training program targeting WFWP emerging young women leaders. The enhancement of our understanding of peace studies is essential to our efforts to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. In his presentation, Ward outlined the social science of peace studies. This was followed by a simulation that was designed to show how communication and collaboration among ostensible competitors can lead to far better results in negotiations and commerce than reticence and exclusion.

In October, the Research Institute conducted a conference with the Professors World Peace Academy at the University of Bridgeport which holds United Nations Department of Public Information NGO status at the United Nations. The Conference reflected on the impact of the Cold War and its antecedents and looked towards future challenges. The Conference included several academics at the University of Bridgeport including University President Neil Albert Salonen, President Emeritus Richard L. Rubenstein, and PWPA Secretary-General Dr. Gordon Anderson. The Conference was open to academic and other community and religious leaders. It represented a continuation of the annual conferences that have been conducted by the Research Institute to encourage ongoing research on topics related to peace studies and to provide continuing education opportunities. In the evening Research Institute Secretary-General Claude Perrottet shared his experiences teaching a course on Unification Philosophy which is available on the Research Institute website and is self-paced and an excellent introduction both to philosophy and to Unification philosophy in particular.  Selected papers are available on the Research Institute website.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg4

PROGRESS OF GOAL 4 IN 2017

Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all will require increasing efforts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and for vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas.

  • In 2014, about 2 in 3 children worldwide participated in pre-primary or primary education in the year prior to official entry age for primary school. However, in the least developed countries, the ratio was only 4 in 10.
  • Despite considerable gains in education enrolment over the past 15 years, worldwide, the adjusted net enrolment rates were 91 percent for primary education, 84 percent for lower secondary education and 63 percent for upper secondary education in 2014. About 263 million children and youth were out of school, including 61 million children of primary school age. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia account for over 70 percent of the global out-of-school population in primary and secondary education.
  • Even though more children than ever are going to school, many do not acquire basic skills in reading and mathematics. Recent learning assessment studies show that in 9 of 24 sub-Saharan African countries and 6 of 15 Latin American countries with data, fewer than half of the students at the end of primary education had attained minimum proficiency levels in mathematics. In 6 of 24 sub-Saharan African countries with data, fewer than half of the students who finished their primary schooling had attained minimum proficiency levels in reading.
  • Equity issues constitute a major challenge in education according to a recent assessment. In all countries with data, children from the richest 20 percent of households achieved greater proficiency in reading at the end of their primary and lower secondary education than children from the poorest 20 percent of households. In most countries with data, urban children scored higher in reading than rural children.
  • The lack of trained teachers and the poor condition of schools in many parts of the world are jeopardizing prospects for quality education for all. Sub -Saharan Africa has a relatively low percentage of trained teachers in pre-primary, primary and secondary education (44 percent, 74 percent, and 55 percent, respectively). Moreover, the majority of schools in the region do not have access to electricity or potable water.
  • On the basis of data from 65 developing countries, the average percentage of schools with access to computers and the Internet for teaching purposes is above 60 percent in both primary and secondary education. However, the share is less than 40 percent in more than half of sub-Saharan countries with data.
  • Official development assistance (ODA) for scholarships amounted to $1 billion in 2015, a decrease from $1.2 billion in 2014. Australia, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were the largest contributors.

Source: Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2017/66

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg4

 

SUSTAINABLE GOAL 5 – Achieve Gender Equality

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5

PROGRESS OF GOAL 4 IN 2017

Achieving inclusive and equitable quality education for all will require increasing efforts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and for vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas.

  • In 2014, about 2 in 3 children worldwide participated in pre-primary or primary education in the year prior to official entry age for primary school. However, in the least developed countries, the ratio was only 4 in 10.
  • Despite considerable gains in education enrolment over the past 15 years, worldwide, the adjusted net enrolment rates were 91 per cent for primary education, 84 per cent for lower secondary education and 63 per cent for upper secondary education in 2014. About 263 million children and youth were out of school, including 61 million children of primary school age. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia account for over 70 per cent of the global out-ofschool population in primary and secondary education.
  • Even though more children than ever are going to school, many do not acquire basic skills in reading and mathematics. Recent learning assessment studies show that in 9 of 24 sub-Saharan African countries and 6 of 15 Latin American countries with data, fewer than half of the students at the end of primary education had attained minimum proficiency levels in mathematics. In 6 of 24 sub-Saharan African countries with data, fewer than half of the students who finished their primary schooling had attained minimum proficiency levels in reading.
  • Equity issues constitute a major challenge in education according to a recent assessment. In all countries with data, children from the richest 20 per cent of households achieved greater proficiency in reading at the end of their primary and lower secondary education than children from the poorest 20 per cent of households. In most countries with data, urban children scored higher in reading than rural children.
  • The lack of trained teachers and the poor condition of schools in many parts of the world are jeopardizing prospects for quality education for all. Sub -Saharan Africa has a relatively low percentage of trained teachers in pre -primary, primary and secondary education (44 per cent, 74 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively). Moreover, the majority of schools in the region do not have access to electricity or potable water.
  • On the basis of data from 65 developing countries, the average percentage of schools with access to computers and the Internet for teaching purposes is above 60 per cent in both primary and secondary education. However, the share is less than 40 per cent in more than half of sub-Saharan countries with data.
  • Official development assistance (ODA) for scholarships amounted to $1 billion in 2015, a decrease from $1.2 billion in 2014. Australia, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were the largest contributors.

Source: Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2017/66

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg16

PROGRESS OF GOAL 16 IN 2017

Violent conflicts have increased in recent years, while homicides have declined slowly and more citizens around the world have better access to justice. A few high-intensity armed conflicts are causing large numbers of civilian casualties. Progress promoting peace and justice, together with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, remains uneven across and within regions.

  • In 2015, between 5.2 persons and 6.7 persons per 100,000 persons worldwide were victims of intentional homicide. While the homicide rate has declined over the past decade, people in some countries located in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia face increased risk of intentional murder.
  • Various forms of violence against children persist, including discipline that relies on physical punishment and psychological aggression. In 76 countries (most are developing countries) with available data from 2005 to 2016, about 8 in 10 children from 1 to 14 years of age were subjected to some form of psychological aggression and/or physical punishment on a regular basis.
  • Countries have made solid progress in terms of detecting victims of trafficking in persons, as reflected by the increasing number of detected victims over the last decade. Globally, more women and girls than men and boys were identified as victims of trafficking in 2014. However, the share of women and girls has slowly retreated, from 84 per cent in 2004 to 71 per cent in 2014. While the share of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation has declined, the proportion of those trafficked for forced labour has increased. About 28 per cent of all trafficking victims detected in 2014 were children, with girls outnumbering boys (20 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, of total victims). 
  • Sexual violence is perhaps the most disturbing of children’s rights violations. Underreporting and a lack of comparable data limit understanding of the full extent of the problem. In 35 low- and middle-income countries with data, the proportions of women between 18 and 29 years of age who experienced sexual violence for the first time before 18 years of age ranged from 0 per cent to 16 per cent.
  • Rates of pretrial detention suggest that progress with respect to the rule of law and access to justice has been slow. Globally, the proportion of people held in detention without being sentenced for a crime has remained almost unchanged — from 32 per cent of total prisoners in 2003-2005 to 31 per cent in 2013-2015 — which indicates that substantive progress has not been achieved in the ability of judicial systems to process and try the accused in a fair and transparent manner.
  • Opaque, burdensome and inefficient regulations and procedures nurture opportunities for corrupt officials to extract bribes or unofficial payments. In 2015, over 18 per cent of firms worldwide reported receiving at least one bribery payment request. The share of firms in low- and lower-middle-income countries totalled 25 per cent, compared to 4 per cent in high-income countries.
  • To provide a sound basis for development, government budgets should be comprehensive, transparent and realistic. While expenditure in nearly 2 in 3 countries was within 10 per cent of their original national budgets, more than 1 in 7 countries deviated by at least 15 per cent. Nevertheless, budget reliability has improved over time, with about 8 in 10 countries in Southern Asia and Eastern Asia and the Pacific showing improvement.
  • Birth registration is a first step towards safeguarding individual rights and providing every person with access to justice and social services. While many regions have reached universal or near universal birth registration, globally the average is just 71 per cent, on the basis of available country data reported from 2010 to 2016. Fewer than half (46 per cent) of all children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa have had their births registered.
  • Legislation that calls for freedom of information has increased steadily, but slow or inefficient implementation of such laws remains a concern. More than 110 countries have adopted freedom of information legislation and policies. However, expert assessments suggest that 47 of those countries fall short of having clear legal provisions for exceptions to that right, while another 47 countries lack sufficient provisions for public education.
  • Independent national human rights institutions play an important role in ensuring that States deliver on their human rights obligations and that no one is left behind. By the end of 2016, 37 per cent of countries had a national human rights institution that was compliant with internationally agreed standards (the Paris Principles), while 57 per cent of countries had been reviewed for compliance by their peers.

Source: Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2017/66

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg16