Action Update: January 2010

Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative - A world connected by trade and technology must be bound by common values
Mary Robinson, President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative

Realizing Rights: Action Update
January 2010

As the first weeks of 2010 go by, I'm thinking about new beginnings.

When I completed my term as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in late 2002, I was committed to continuing my efforts to promote greater respect for fundamental rights around the world. I was eager - after having served for seven years as President of Ireland and then for five years within the UN system - to join civil society in addressing global challenges I felt deeply about - and to doing so with human rights principles to the fore.

That's why I founded Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative - to engage in partnerships and strategic alliances with a range of individuals, organizations and other actors to tackle the world???s vast inequities through strategies that draw on international human rights principles and standards. I wanted Realizing Rights to be a bridge between local, national and global leadership and to work across institutional and geographic divides to solve real problems. I wanted to ensure that the voices of those who too often are marginalized in globalization debates were heard. And I wanted to demonstrate that by keeping a focus on human rights principles, we could make a difference in addressing global challenges and catalyze others to do the same.

I'm extremely proud of what Realizing Rights has achieved over the past seven years. We've worked with our partners to show what it takes to realize the right to health in practice. We've supported efforts to demonstrate how expanding opportunities for decent work are important for business, workers and governments. We've engaged with powerful women at all levels to support and value women's leadership in promoting peace and security. We've helped shape an emerging movement around the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. And we've highlighted the need for a climate justice approach in addressing the mounting threat of climate change to the rights of current and future generations.

My colleagues and I have always envisioned Realizing Rights as a fixed-term initiative, and indeed this has often been useful in helping us focus on the quality of our partnerships and the need to root our activities in ongoing institutional processes. At the end of December 2010, we will reach our planned end as Realizing Rights. But we don???t see it as the end of our efforts. We have worked to create new beginnings.

That means new programs will be in place to carry specific aspects of the work we???ve developed forward. It means we will be empowering others to take the lessons of our shared efforts into new contexts. And with the September UN Development Summit as a key target, it means we will be there with our partners to make the case again that rights-based approaches to challenges from health to migration to trade can make a positive difference to more effective development strategies over the coming decade. Essentially, we???ll be stepping back in December 2010 knowing that many more will be stepping forward.

We'll be back in touch soon with more information on this, our final year at Realizing Rights. For now, I hope you'll take a few minutes to read about our recent activities in this edition of our Action Update. Here???s to new beginnings???

- Mary Robinson
President, Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative

Fostering Equitable Trade and Decent Work
Colloquium on Human Rights in the Global Economy
Colloquium on Human Rights in the Global Economy
Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative and The International Council on Human Rights Policy convened a Colloquium on Human Rights in the Global Economy in Geneva from 11 to 13 January 2010. The goal was to analyse and address more effectively human rights challenges facing countries around the world in respect of global macroeconomic policy.
Realizing the Right to Health
Global Health and Development
Global Health and Development
'Global Health & Development' (GHD) was established in October 2009 to highlight innovative approaches to addressing global health and poverty alleviation. GHD will take forward three Realizing Rights health initiatives and address the under-lying causes of poor health outcomes in developing and low income countries. GHD is the newest program of the Aspen Institute and will draw on its convening power to engage key international policy makers. GHD kicked off 2010 with an inaugural roundtable discussion examining U.S. and U.K. experiences in major health care reform and new visions for global health in the 21st century. The event featured Lord Nigel Crisp (former head of the NHS) and former US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
Strengthening Women's Leadership
Women Leaders Intercultural Forum
Mary Robinson to co-chair UN Civil Society Panel
2010 marks the Tenth Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the role of women in peace and security. Global Civil Society has an opportunity to hold the United Nations accountable for the full and effective implementation of this ground-breaking resolution. Mary Robinson and Bineta Diop, Executive Director, Femmes Africa Solidarit?, have been invited to co-chair a Civil Society Advisory Panel which will make recommendations on strengthening on-the-ground actions to protect women in the context of armed conflict and empowering their full participation in peace processes, post-conflict governance and reconstruction. Support for the panel will be provided by the Women Leaders Intercultural Forum of Realizing Rights and the Institute for Inclusive Security.
Influencing the direction of Corporate Responsibility
Realizing Rights and UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights convene gender experts
Human Rights Day 2009: New call for companies from key markets to adopt human rights policies
As the world marked International Human Rights Day on 10 December, major companies were urged to make public commitments to respect human rights. Over 240 companies worldwide now have a policy statement on their commitment to human rights, among them Anglo American, Cerrej?n, Codelco, GE, HSBC, Mitsubishi, Nokia and Statoil.
Working for Climate Justice
International Climate Hearing
Verdict Delivered at World's First International Climate Hearing
In Copenhagen, Mary Robinson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivered a global verdict on the human cost of climate change. The judgment was passed at the world???s first international climate hearing during Humanitarian Day at the Climate Change Summit.