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ISS was invited to participate at the ninth annual High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges last week in Geneva. This year's theme, Children on the Move, recognized the growing plight of young people who are fleeing violence and war, and struggling to reach safety. 50 million children are on the move! Against this worrying backdrop, this year's Dialogue brought together refugee youth representatives, States, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and other humanitarian and academic partners to consider the distinct protection risks children face while on the move.
ISS will continue to collaborate and focus on defining quality durable solutions and underlying the need of individual psycho-social and legal support as well as capacity building of social workers and other professionals.
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The International NGO Day on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) was attended by more than 250 civil society, NGOs and UN worldwide representatives. Vito Bumbaca from the ISS General Secretariat focused his intervention on the added value of cross border social services for individuals in need. In addition, training of concerned professionals is paramount to strengthen "the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels." (SDG 16).
This meeting was also an opportunity to give an overview on ISS current initiatives, partnerships and support to child protection competent authorities through its global network.
ISS is proud to announce that Mr CP HO is awarded the BBS by the HKSAR Government for his long and meritorious community service, particularly his remarkable contributions to the development and provision of dedicated services for the disadvantaged groups. CP Ho is the Chair of ISS Hong Kong and the Chair of the ISS Governing Board.
The General Secretariat, represented ISS in the Annual Meeting of The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action in Geneva.
The Alliance is a global interagency group focused on child protection in humanitarian settings and is is mandated to ensure the timeliness, quality and coverage of coordinated child protection responses in humanitarian settings. They set standards and provide technical support to ensure that efforts to protect children from violence and exploitation are of high quality and effective. The Annual Meeting was a platform to discuss the challenges and constraints faced by the child protections workers.
General Secretariat’s colleagues Paola Suarez and Jacqueline Guillot reported that the conference was also key to meet child protection practitioners, humanitarian actors from other sectors, academics and policy makers and initiate new partnership opportunities for ISS network.
ISS has successfully carried out its follow-up mission of 'A better future is possible' project aiming to promote the right of children living in residential care to grow up in a family setting. ISS team has accompanied the Mauritian team of trainers (trained in May 2015) in their activities and worked with them to fine-tune and reinforce the training delivered to residential care staff.
The Ministry in charge of Child Welfare ( Ministry Of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare) requested an official meeting with ISS to learn about promising practices in order to improve alternative care opportunities in Mauritius with a focus on Foster Care.
ISS looks forward to continue accompanying the Mauritian Ministry of Gender and Equality in its efforts to enhance the rights and well-being of children without parental care.
People in New Zealand were awoken by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake at midnight on Sunday. The full force of the quake was felt in a place called Kaikoura - on the eastern side of the South Island - just north of Christchurch (where the catastrophic quakes occurred a few years ago) and south of Wellington (our Capital city). Whilst thankfully the loss of life from this event has been limited to two people, the extent of damage to infrastructure is enormous with roads in and out of Kaikoura cut off by numerous slips, houses ruined, water and power cut off etc. We are very fortunate to have a Government that is well organised when it comes to responding to events like this and the response has been immediate.
Down town Wellington (the Capital city) was also significantly impacted. Many government departments remain closed today while buildings are checked.
To add to things for people, we are on the receiving end of dreadful weather today - torrential rain and gale force winds. This is adding to the issues people are dealing with as there's flooding to contend with on top of the rattled nerves as a result of ongoing and significant aftershocks.
Despite all this I'm pleased to say that ISS New Zealand is back on deck today.
Message from Jean Ayoub, ISS Secretary General
As we mark today the 26th anniversary on the 1989 Convention on the right of the Child, we thought opportune that we remember together couple of salient articles from this convention that guide, alongside all other articles evidently, ISS work every day and worldwide. We wish to mention those specific articles produced below as It does seem unfortunately that in today's battered world there is a general amnesia at all levels of society be it public or private, civil or military to what the convention – that has achieved since a quasi-full list of signatories among states worldwide – stands for and or trying to achieve!
We can be proud that at ISS level and fortunately among many other NGOs, IOs and other form of organizations, CRC is alive in our activities, actions and advocacy plans. Today more than ever, with our daily work, in our plans for the future, in our exchanges with partners, in our representation activities and in our thoughts, we need to double our efforts to uphold CRC objectives, intended effects and outreach.
Keep up the good work!
ISS General Secretariat was invited to the 2016 RELAF Seminar on Deinstitutionalization and Prevention of Separation in Panama City. Jeannette Wöllenstein, Children's Rights Officer, presented the forthcoming Massive Open Online Course on Alternative Care as an inter-agency effort to train professionals, thinking out of the box and ensuring a global impact. More than 90 professionals representing government authorities, NGOs and other international organisations came together to discuss the current situation of children in alternative care in the Latin-American region, the state of play of the implementation of the UN Guidelines and to share regional and national experiences on deinstitutionalization, prevention processes as well as foster care programs. Moreover, this seminar gave ISS the opportunity to meet with potential partners to strengthen the network in the region.
As part of the activities of the Geneva Working Group on Children without Parental Care, ISS with co-sponsors Permanent Missions of Kenya, Portugal, Uruguay and Viet Nam as well as ATD 4th World, Better Care Network, CELCIS, Family for Every Child, For Our Children Foundation, Hope and Homes for Children, International Federation of Social Workers, IFCO, RELAF, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International and UNICEF held an important side event. Professor Benyam Dawit Mezmur, CRC Committee Chairperson led the discussions providing an international overview, followed by panelists each representing a specific region showcasing promising practices on different family vulnerable environments. The side event was well attended by over 40 participants from different Missions including USA, Canada, Sweden, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Ireland, Portugal and Panama as well as others. In addition, many people have commented about the high quality of interventions from the floor, personal and heartwarming from the Vietnamese Ambassador, excellent for reminding the audience about the existing HRC resolution on investing in children from Uruguay and very practical in terms of what is occurring in Portugal. Whilst our time was short in terms of discussions, we believe that the main message was disseminated as reflected by Professor Mezmur’s concluding remark, it is "not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do."
For more information: see mini publication of main presentations in English, French and Spanish
ISS Marie Jenny is on the stand presenting ISS flagship global project "A better future is possible", a life project for children with disabilities living in an institution, promoting the right of those children to leave the institution and grow up in a family environment.
On September 17th, ISS-USA celebrated 90 years of providing cross border social work on Capitol Hill. Mary Mentaberry, Chair of the Board and Bob Miles, board member, kicked off the event by premiering ISS-USA's new video. More than 100 guests were in attendance, including El Salvador, and Honduras Ambassadors acting as honorary chairs.
ISS-USA presented Senator Barbara A. Mikulski with the Ruth Larned Award for her outstanding leadership in support of children and families; Congressman Elijah E. Cummings with the Fred Warburg Award for his commitment to community engagement and partnership; and Ambassador Susan A. Jacobs with the Lifetime Advocate Award for her ongoing support of ISS-USA and dedication to the field of child and family protection.