The Steering Team, an expert group of 18 eminent members comprising of ambassadors and diplomats from permanent missions, regional organizations and NGOs, met for the first time on 2 September 2015 in Vienna, putting wind in the sails of United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs’(UNODA) Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (DNP) Education Partnership.
The DNP Education Partnership, as regards its strategic vision, weaves together 4 of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Post 2015 UN Development Agenda, thus finding and filling the missing link between disarmament and development. These include participation and empowerment of women and bridging the gender gap in the international work fora of disarmament and non-proliferation (Goal 5: Gender Equality), through the means of creating a suitable online clearing house dashboard of training courses (Goal 4: Quality Education), where curricula on DNP education will be tailored and assembled contributing to peace and justice (Goal 16: Peace and Justice), thus providing new opportunities for employment in the disarmament and non-proliferation field such as the Partnership’s Vienna Forum Job Fair.
The Partnership seeks to facilitate access to and promote interaction with service providers of DNP activities, thereby establishing concerted networks between global and regional organizations, NGOs, research, educational centres and other key players in Vienna and abroad (Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals).
In order to realize this vision, the Team aims to steer the Partnership by providing advice and strategic guidance to UNODA Vienna on ways and means to develop this initiative, brainstorming for overarching strategies, galvanizing best practices and mobilising resources in a comprehensive and coherent vision. While DNP education might be the only non-contentious issue related to disarmament and non-proliferation in general, this Partnership was accorded by the Team members as a timely initiative and as a positive beginning for engaging more women, and getting into place DNP education in national education systems.
While summarizing the mission and mandate of the Vienna Office, Mr. Péricles Gasparini, Chief of UNODA in Vienna, said that “Identifying a specific ODA Vienna DNP education niche, and providing added value with a multiplier effect is essential to our work and initiatives, especially through a varied partnership of 21 entities in the diplomatic community, academia and the NGO sphere.” He further added that “[all these activities which also include 170 scholarships for women are made possible by financial contributions from Austria and Germany.”
The Steering Team recommended that the Partnership in the coming months should seek to actively cooperate with and increase participation of youth and academia in Vienna, involve civil society in an inclusive fashion, ensuring and encouraging participation of African State(s) and organizations like UNESCO and others. Another noteworthy advice also was to establish a bank of DNP education material on a single e-platform.
UNODA will work closely with the members of the Steering Team in the next months to implement the set of strategic advices made during this meeting, reporting their impact at the next Steering Team meeting in mid-2016.
Rear Back Row (from left to right):
Mr. Pericles Gasparini, Chief Vienna Office (UNODA); H.E. Mr. Marcel Pesko, Director, Office of the Secretary General (OSCE); Mr. John Ennis, Chief, Information and Outreach Branch (UNODA); Mr. Sven Krauspe, Counsellor (Germany); H.E. Mr. Alexander Kmentt, Director, Department for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation (Austria); H.E. Mr. Edgard Arturo Perez Alvan, Minister Counsellor and Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC); Ms. Mariez Enid Madurika Joseph Weninger, Minister (Sri Lanka), H.E. Mr. Luis Alfonso De Alba (Mexico); Mr. Jaehwan Kwon, First Secretary, Republic of Korea (Asia-Pacific Group); H.E. Mr Wael Nasser Eddin Al-Assad, Permanent Observer (League of Arab States); H.E. Mr Mitsuru Kitano, Permanent Representative (Japan); Dr. Klaus Renoldner, Chairman (NGO Committee for Peace)
Front Back Row (from left to right):
Ms. Juliette Kohler, Research Coordinator (UNODA); Mr. Pieter-Henk Schroor, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Netherlands (Western Europe and Others Group); Ms. Ophelia Zenz, Research Assistant (UNODA); H.E. Ms Mirta Mandic, Chargé d’Affaires, Permanent Mission of Croatia (Eastern Europe Group); Mr Nikolay Grozev, First Secretary (Bulgaria)
Front Row Sitting (from left to right):
H.E. Ms. María Victoria González Román (Spain); Ms. Ana Maricela Ávila Becerril, Counsellor (Costa Rica); H.E. Ms. Deborah Geels (New Zealand); H.E. Ms. Merav Zafary-Odiz (Israel)