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What is the Brahma Kumaris' relationship with the United Nations?

The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU), with its spiritual headquarters in Mt. Abu, India, comprises a worldwide network of centres in 110 countries and is an international non-governmental organisation of the United Nations accredited with General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); Associate Status with the Department of Public Information (DPI); Consultative Status with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); Observer Status to the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP; Observer Organization to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Flagship Member of Education for Rural People (ERP), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

How old is the Brahma Kumaris' relationship with the UN? 

The Brahma Kumaris became affiliated to the DPI in 1980; to ECOSOC in 1983; to UNICEF in 1987; to UNFCCC IN 2009; and to UNEP in 2014

What are the aims and purposes of the Brahma Kumaris and its course of action? 

To clarify spiritual and moral perspectives on issues of personal, community and global concerns; to facilitate a greater awareness of corresponding rights and responsibilities; to foster sustainable human-centred development, the support of economic, social, environmental and human well-being; and the promotion of gender equality.

How does the Brahma Kumaris contribute to the work of the UN? 

In promoting the purpose and principles of the United Nations Charter, the trajectory of awareness, attitude, vision, and action is used in the areas of the Millennium Development Goals, Climate Change, Food Crisis, Gender Equality, Global Public Health, Humanitarian Emergencies, Human Rights, Women, Children, Youth, International Decades, Days.

Attending UN conferences, preparatory committee meetings, commissions: presenting oral and written statements; hosting parallel events; working with NGO committees and caucuses. 

What UN conferences has the Brahma Kumaris participated in over the years? 

80's – the Brahma Kumaris initiated various outreach projects, including The Million Minutes of 

Peace Appeal and Global Cooperation for a Better World.

90's – the Brahma Kumaris participated in most UN world conferences, which included 

conferences and summits on Ageing, Sustainable Development, The Earth Summit, Information 

Society, Women, Civil Society, Decent Work, Human Rights, Social Development, Conference 

Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Human 

Settlements, Religious and Spiritual Leaders, Health and Youth.

2000 – the Brahma Kumaris focused on the Millennium Development Goals 

From 2009 - the Brahma Kumaris focused on the Environment and participated in conferences on: 

Climate Change

  • United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP)
  • Where the Brahma Kumaris attended sessions, wrote statements, held side events, exhibitions, press conferences as well as participated in and held parallel events in the local communities, universities, and buisness arenas.
  • COP 15  December 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark 
  • COP 16 November/ December 2010 Cancun, Mexico
  • COP 17, November/December 2011 Durban, South Africa
  • COP18, November/December 2012, Doha, Qatar.
  • COP 19, November 2013, Warsaw, Poland. 
  • COP 20, December 2014, Lima, Peru
  • COP 21, December 2015, Paris, France
  • Bonn Climate Change Conference annually since 2010
  • Climate Change Summit,  September 2014, UN HQ, New York.  And paralel to that – the Interfaith Climate Change Summit. The Brahma Kumaris were co-signatories of the Inerfaith Statement. 

COY Conference of Youth

  • COY is THE gathering of young people occurring every year before COP.  The organization of the COY is coordinate by several youth associations with strong environmental engagement including YOUNGO, which is the youth constituency of UNFCCC.  Our BKUN Youth representative has played a significant role in the organization of the conference for past two years and has attended COY 7, 8, 9,10, & 11 (2010-2015).

Sustainable Development

 

UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20)

  • Attended regional preparations for Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific Region, Africa Region and partners and Europe 
  • Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, 20-22 June 2012, Rio, Brazil –written statement, parallel events, exhibits.
  • Rio+20 People's Summit, 15-23 June 2012, Rio, Brazil - workshops, exhibitions.

Biodiversity

Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • COP 11, October 2012, Hyderabad, India 
  • COP12, October 2014, Pyeongchang, South Korea

To what specific projects have the Brahma Kumaris contributed to bring UN programmes to the masses worldwide?

The Brahma Kumaris have initiated and implemented global projects to help raise awareness on the significance of the UN programmes of action on people's lives and realities:

  • The Million Minutes of Peace Appeal, held in observance of the International Year of Peace, in 1986. Brahma Kumaris in seven countries received Peace Messenger Awards for their significant contribution. 
  • Global Co-operation for a Better World, a peace messenger initiative, was a follow-up to the work done during 1986 and reached out to people in 129 countries, asking them for their vision of a better world. This was compiled into a book entitled, Visions of a Better World. (Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, 1993) 
  • Sharing Our Values for a Better World a programme to honour the UN 50th Anniversary, in which people were asked to identify values that gave meaning to the lives of people in their country. A book entitled Living Values: A Guidebook was dedicated to the UN 50 (BKIS, 1995).
  • The Living Values: A Guidebook and the Convention on the Rights of the Child were the context used as the core competencies of the Living Values Educational Initiative developed by the Brahma Kumaris and UNICEF.
  • International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence. The University signed a partnership agreement with UNESCO and was designated as a 'Messenger for Manifesto 2000'. It actively promoted Manifesto 2000, collecting over 37 million signed pledges by individuals to implement it. The University also organised ‘flagship' and other events in 51 countries and held numerous seminars and workshops regarding and promoting the principles and values underlying a culture of peace. 

What are some of the on-going activities in support of UN programmes?

Annual observance of UN-dedicated days such as:

  • International Women's Day (8 March)
  • International Day of Happiness (20 March)
  • World Health Day (7 April)
  • World Environment Day (5 June)
  • International Day of Peace, (21 Sept)
  • International Youth Day (12 Aug)
  • International Day of Older Persons (1 Oct)
  • International Day of Non-violence (2 Oct)
  • United Nations Day (24 Oct)
  • International Day of Tolerance. (16 November)
  • International Day of Remembrance dedicated to Road Traffic Victims (3rd Sunday of November)
  • Human Rights Day (10 December)

Weeks such as:

  • World Interfaith Harmony week (1-7 February)
  • UN Global Road Safety Week (23-29 April). 

Decades such as:

  • International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010)
  • United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024)
  • United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety (2011-2020)
  • United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020)

Other Activities include:

  • Promoting gender equality and the empowerment of young women through the Commission on the Status of Women.
  • A world-wide initiative on the Spiritual Dimension of Decent Work, in support of the International Labour Organization's Decent Work Agenda.
  • Research and development of renewable energy to ensure environmental sustainability.
  • Brahma Kumaris Environment Initiative awakening greater environmental awareness within our own organisation, as well as collaborating and learning from others through dialogue, partnerships, UN conferences and local initiatives.
  • Awareness Cum Training Center on Concentrating Solar Technologies by World Renewal Spiritual Trust (WRST) in Abu Road Rajasthan is an initiative under the UNDP-GEF assisted and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India Project on Concentrated Solar Heat.  http://www.cshindia.in  http://www.india-one.net/CSTCenter.html
  • Reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health through the Global Hospital and Research Centre.
  • Values in Healthcare: A Spiritual Approach, a personal and team development programme for healthcare practitioners, in partnership with the Janki Foundation for Global Health Care.
  • The Call-of-the-Time Dialogue Series: is convened annually in Oxford, UK, bringing together seasoned and young leaders representing diverse issues and different disciplines. The common thread being an understanding of the double helix of the spiritual and secular.
  • The Future of Power - a series of exclusive conversations exploring the forthcoming ‘shifts in power' and their impact on leadership in the 21st Century.

Focus for 2015-2030

The new Development Agenda of the United Nations with its emphasis on universality and transformation – The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Adopted in September of 2015 by the UN General Assembly they signal a collective journey to end poeverty, transform lives and protect the planet. 

 

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