Secure Scotland Seminar Report Available Now

The Secure Scotland Seminar was held between the 16th and 18th April 2019 at Allanton Peace Sanctuary in Dumfries. The purpose of the seminar was to conceptualise a vision of security with which Scotland could challenge the dominance of a state-centric and heavily militarised approach to security, prioritise human security and promote international relations based on peace, justice and respect. The Secure Scotland Seminar had three key aims: Identify cross-party legislation to increase security in Scotland Take practical actions to improve the wellbeing of the majority Reclaim, name and highlight real security needs of Scotland After three days of discussions, participants agreed that a gend

Why the UK (and Europe) should offer sanctuary to more refugees

Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages In light of calls from faith leaders for the UK’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to offer sanctuary to 10,000 refugees each year it is worth exploring why this is not only moral, but absolutely necessary. The rights of refugees are enshrined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocols (available here) of which the UK is a signatory. This Convention is considered the cornerstone of refugee protection. It sets out the definition of ‘refugee’ and outlines states’ obligations of protection (UNHCR). The 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees broadened the s

Greta Thunberg delivers speech to the French National Assembly

On 23 July, Greta Thunberg gave a passionate speech to the French National Assembly on climate change and the need for immediate action. Thunberg is the 16-year-old leader of Fridays for Future, a movement to encourage students to protest for more ambitious action on climate change. Here is the full text of her speech: We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis. And we need to call it what it is. An emergency. We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control and that we don’t have all the solutions yet. Unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things. We admit that we are losing this battle. We have to acknowledge that the old

Environmental Controversy Amid Spaceport 1 Plans in Scolpaig, North Uist

Last Summer, the UK Space Agency and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) were in negotiations to fund the UK’s very first vertical launch spaceport, and three locations in Northern Scotland were in the running. Unst, at the most northern point of Shetland, was considered a strong potential site due to its proximity to the North Pole and satellite orbitals. A’Mhoine Peninsula in Sutherland also seemed a likely contender to earn funding, as the local council had already entered negotiations with the UK Space Agency and private contractors in June of 2018. However, the Scolpaig site in North Uist won out this month when the local council of the Western Isles, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, agree

New WHO data suggests that mental health problems in conflict are far more widespread than previousl

New data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) reveals that one in five people in conflict-affected areas experience mental health problems, far higher than the 2016 estimate of one in 16. The WHO research, published in the medical journal The Lancet in June 2019, analysed 129 studies of mental health in conflict with data from 39 countries that experienced conflict between 1980 and 2017. This extensive study aimed to tackle the inconsistency of results from previous research. It revealed that 22% of people living in conflict zones experienced depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The rate of mental health conditions in conflict-affected p

How are gender populations imbalanced in STEM-related industries of developing and developed nations

Gender inequality (SDG5) is an issue that’s been raised more in the media now than ever before since it ultimately determines our civilised international society. As a civil servant, I feel the urge to highlight the different implications of this phenomena within the developed and developing worlds to propose resolutions accordingly. In this blog, I focus on occupations involving STEM because the gender disparity gravely persists and remains insoluble in both worlds. Developed Countries According to the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Gender Gap report, there are 3.5 times more men than women among AI professionals. This originates from the ongoing false perception that females can hardly

The 3 Groups to Target to Strengthen Protection against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Scotland

On 29 May 2019, the Scottish Government introduced a new bill to increase protection against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country. This bill echoes the already present Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act in 2005 but also adds the strong amendment of ensuring that it “applies to UK nationals and residents, not just UK nationals and permanent UK residents”. Although deemed unlawful since 1985, there are still reports of young residents experiencing FGM across the country. The actual number of people affected is unknown; however, it is estimated that 700 children per year are born into communities in Scotland potentially affected by FGM with 2750 girls born between 2001-2012

Are SDGs successfully implemented in Vietnam?

Vietnam, my home country, is hardly known to Western public other than its war with the US, despite the subordinate’s important geopolitical stance and its position as a major trade partner in Southeast Asia. This article will demonstrate my view on how SDGs are being exercised, with SDG 17 and 8 at a national level, and SDG 1,2,3 at a more local scope in addition to my personal experience. Partnerships (SDG 17) and Economic Development (SDG 8) Regarding partnerships, Vietnam has been focusing on strengthening diplomatic relations with its neighbours, primarily those of ASEAN and APEC. These trading blocs have long been Vietnam’s most reliable partners for multilateral relationship alongs

In green investments, there is a fine line between exuberance and tragedy in The Middle East

About an hour drive from Dubai gets you to what is envisaged to become one of the largest solar farms in the world. Where the 5 gigawatt (GW) Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, a combination of concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) technologies, will be completed by 2030 and hundreds of thousands of mirrors and PV panels fill the empty desert. The expected cost is 50 billion Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) (equivalent to 13.6 billion USD), which is a fraction of the 600 billion AED (163.4 billion USD) that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will invest in diversifying its energy mix by 2050 according to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). Such an impressive power plan

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The United Nations House Scotland is part of the United Nations Association Scotland, a charity registered in Scotland (SC048547).