October Digital News Recap

Another month has passed and the work towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) continued. October brought a number of issues under scrutiny and highlighted positive developments, particularly around female empowerment.

Phumzile Mlambo, Executive Director of UN Women, congratulated Tanzanian Supreme Court of Appeal which has directed the country’s Government to raise the legal age of marriage to 18, a very welcome step indeed. The raise in age can help to reduce the frequency of forced marriages in Tanzania. With two out of five girls being married off before their 18th birthday, Tanzania has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.

As the UN’s Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J Mohammed, pointed out, empowering women enables them to take action, have their views heard, and lead the fight against issues from inequality to climate change. In this tweet, the Deputy Secretary-General spoke about climate change and the role for rural women – some of the most marginalised people on the planet – to be given the capacity to respond.

An example of which was this farm in Eritrea led by local women. These women have shown their resilience and expertise to successfully lead the farm to greater products now exported all over. Acts like this can help to remove the gender imbalance that remains a block to development.

A shocking reminder came from Kent Page, the UNICEF Strategic Communication Advisor, Emergencies. That is, as the war in Afghanistan turned 18, it means that all children today have never known the country not to be at war. No child should live in conflict. For children to grow up under these conditions for so many years is truly shocking. Peace must be guaranteed for all.

There is hope however. While the war has cost millions of boys and girls an education, parts of the country have regrouped and those lucky enough to move have been able to find education and rediscover dreams of being teachers and everything else – as 12 year old Wasilla does. Every child deserves that a minimum.

A positive anniversary this time. The UN celebrated its 74th anniversary on UN Day. The Secretary General, António Guterres, outlined the UN’s continued commitment to tackling problems of injustice and working towards prosperity for all.

The work of the United Nations is more easily achieved with widespread support and action. The use of social platforms, such as Twitter, by UN staffers to share their experiences, work and promote awareness is thus valuable to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ultimately greater prosperity for all.