The world has made efforts to reduce poverty and raise shared prosperity to leave no one behind. However, the global poverty rate and inequalities have rapidly increased again at a historical level due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN warned that over 600 million, one in every 14 people, could live in extreme poverty by 2030. Furthermore, the combination of the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the issue of poverty and inequalities in more complex ways than previously. Poverty from income perspective does not reflect the depth of suffering of people, as it does not just mean a shortage of resources to live on. It is a ‘human condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights’. Inequalities in urban areas are rising in the use of urban infrastructure and services, which has led to the discrimination and exclusion of individuals from civil and political rights. Growing inequalities and discrimination are both causes and consequences of poverty. Poverty and inequalities are harming the sustainability of cities and jeopardizing the rights of people. The issue of poverty and inequalities is not the outcome of a natural phenomenon, but the result of problems caused by economic, social, cultural and political structures we live in. In addition, its negative impacts are exacerbated by perpetuating poverty and inequalities from one generation to the next. Accordingly, human rights cities, experts and activists have made it the top priority to analyze the problems of poverty and inequalities from the economic, social, cultural and political perspectives, and then to establish legal, policy and practical measures to address these challenges through a human rights-based approach.
The theme of ‘Human Rights Cities Responding to Poverty and Inequalities’ will help the participants of the 13th World Human Rights Cities Forum to focus on the recent human rights issues and major problems caused by poverty and inequalities through a human rights-based approach. The diverse experiences of participating cities will help our effort to find miscellaneous causes leading to poverty and inequalities. Our main interest lies in discussing and preparing the systems and policies that strengthen the foundation of human rights cities that aim for inclusion and coexistence against poverty and inequalities.
In the 13th World Human Rights Cities Forum, local governments, international organizations, human rights experts, and future generations will come together to discuss ‘Human Rights Cities Responding to Poverty and Inequalities’, focusing on the following four issues. First, how are poverty and inequalities connected with human rights? We will clarify the interdependent relationship between poverty and inequalities and then human rights after structuring the concepts of systemic poverty, new poverty, and inequalities. At the same time, we will recognize why human rights cities should use a human rights-based approach in addressing poverty and inequalities for the sake of fostering social justice and inclusion. Second, what are the current human rights agenda and issues arising from poverty and inequalities? We will find at the local level how poverty and inequalities impact human rights by analyzing the causes of the deprivation and exclusion of economic, social, cultural and political opportunities and the increasing challenges such as racism and discrimination. Third, what are the new strategies and measures of human rights cities to respond to poverty and inequalities? We will look at the policy implementation experiences of participating cities such as administrative and political strategies responding to complex human rights issues of various demographic groups, including youth and women, caused by the structuralization of poverty and inequalities. Fourth, how can we enhance the human rights solidarity among human rights cities to respond to poverty and inequalities? We will also explore the ways of collaboration in finding effective human rights-based approaches at the local level to reduce poverty and inequalities, while at the same time exploring common implementation strategies at the global level so that these can be reflected in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in the resolutions of the UN Governing Bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council and not least in the shaping of a New Social Contract.
Gwangju Metropolitan City
Gwangju Metropolitan City, the cradle of the ‘Gwangju Spirit’, is walking on a new path that no other city has ever taken before. Gwangju dreams of becoming a mentally just and materially prosperous city. With the uniqueness of the ‘Gwangju Spirit’, we dream of a special city and a new urban ecosystem solely existing in Gwangju. Nowadays, the changes and innovations in Gwangju are transforming Gwangju greatly into a global city. Moving beyond the Asian cultural hub, we are advancing as a global human rights city, where a city offering a decent human life coexists as a global city holding hands with the rest of the global village. That is the vision of 'Just and Prosperous Gwangju, Special Future City Gwangju'.
UN Human Rights
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a UN organization in human rights, has dedicated itself to protecting and enhancing all human rights and freedom stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Human Rights Laws. With its headquarters in Geneva and office in New York working with 90 nations, the OHCHR has put efforts to help international, regional, national and local partners implement their human rights obligation.
UNESCO contributes to peace and security by promoting international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information. UNESCO develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens free of hate and intolerance, and works so that every child and citizen has access to quality education. By promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, UNESCO strengthens bonds among nations. It also fosters scientific programmes and policies as platforms for development and cooperation.
National Human Rights Commission of Korea
National Human Rights Commission of Korea is a national agency to protect and enhance intrinsic human rights of individuals ultimately to realize dignity and values of humanity and contribute to establishing a basic order of democracy.
Gwangju Metropolitan Office of Education
Gwangju Metropolitan Office of Education is an educational administrative agency responsible for education in Gwangju. The office has also strived to implement educational philosophies of humanism, publicity, democracy, spontaneity, and community under the banner of 'nurturing just democratic citizens in harmony with others'. It has also sought for education values centering around happy lives based on respecting students' creativity and autonomy rather than education focusing on one-size-fits-all knowledge learning.
Gwangju International Center
The Gwangju International Center (GIC) is a non-profit organization for Korean and international resisdents, aiming to facilitate mutual understanding and communication between each other’s cultures, while providing personal and cultural exchange programs and services customized to meet international resisdents’ needs.
Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI)
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI), founded in 1984, is an academic institution that works to promote and advance human rights combining research, education, and direct engagement. It is named after Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews and other people at risk in Hungary at the end of World War II. RWI is also part of the organising committee for WHRCF since 2016. One of RWI’s thematic focus areas is the nexus between human rights and environment, wherein one issue addressed is human rights in disaster displacement, risk reduction and management.
UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights
The UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights (UCLG-CSIPDHR) is an international platform bringing together local and regional government representatives from across the world to debate, share and advance collective initiatives on social inclusion, participatory democracy and human rights.
As a thematic committee of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the CSIPDHR aspires to articulate the common voice of the world organization of local and regional governments on pressing human rights issues at the local level.
Gwangju Foundation for Women & Family
Gwangju Foundation for Women & Family, funded by Gwangju Metropolitan City, serves as a platform for women and family policies built on communication with local community in pursuit of realizing ‘gender equality Gwangju community’. It has conducted diverse projects to carry out researches on women and family policies, establish local network among women, provide education on gender equality, assess gender impacts, and operate cultural facilities for women.
Chonnam National University Center for Public Interests and Human Rights
Gwangju Jeonnam Women's Association United
Gwangju Jeonnam Women’s Association United is composed of 8 women’s organizations and started its activities with Special Committee of Women-related Issues in Gwangju Jeonnam in 1991. Since then, the Association has worked on to reinvigorate local movements related to women, promote solidarity and communication among women’s movement groups, and create a sustainable society in harmonization of gender equality, democracy, human rights, and peaceful unification. The group has recently focused on activities to enhance women’s human rights, strengthen solidarity based on gender equality and peaceful unification, organize International Women’s Day, develop and propose women-related policies and assignments, and conduct May Women’s Movement.
Gwangju Council for Sustainable Development
Established as a public-private cooperative organization, Gwangju Council for Sustainable Development has provided a venue for policy proposal and public discussion on internalizing the values of sustainable development for the purpose of implementing Gwangju SDGs 2030 and achieving the goal related to the 6th Gwangju Agenda(2022-2026). In so doing, the council has sought for ways to promote solidarity and cooperation in order to build a sustainable Gwangju community engaging citizens, businesses, and administration together. Furthermore, it helps to enable diverse types of governance movements to be implemented on the ground.
Korea Institute Center for Sustainable Development
Established as an NGO in September 2007, Korea Institute Center for Sustainable Development (KICSD) aims at practicing the visions and values of Sustainable Development proclaimed at the UN Earth Summit in 1992. Also, the center has focused on 'building an inclusive participant city' in conducting diverse policy researches and education and networking programs to facilitate 'public-private governance for a sustainable development'.
Korea Gender Equality Agenda Network
Korea Gender Equality Agenda Network pursues to incorporate and fulfill gender equality in organizational cultures and ongoing projects of Local Sustainability Alliance of Korea, with the goal of realizing gender equality, SDG 5. The organization has also conducted various programs such as developing indicators in monitoring SDGs in the view of gender recognition and conducting workshops to create gender equality based organizational culture in collaboration with 18 cities across the nation.
Korea Human Rights Policy Institute
Korea Human Rights Policy Institute has been committed to expanding an exemplary human rights governance by playing not only as a watcher on the state and market but also as a player. Also, the institute has put efforts to extend the territory of democracy and human rights within civil society and by the power of citizens. At the same time, the institute explores a new paradigm of value transition while conducting programs to educate citizens on human rights and nurture human rights experts. To that end, the organization hosts regular academic seminars and proposes human rights policies ultimately to contribute to enhancing human rights capabilities of our society.
Local Sustainability Alliance of Korea
Established on June 16, 2006, the Local Sustainability Alliance of Korea has been committed to implementing a sustainable development for humanity. Under the slogan of “No one left behind”, it urges international society, central and local governments, civil society, and businesses from every sector to participate and cooperate to drive global commitment. The alliance, as a nation-wide alliance of private-public cooperation led by the local government for SDGs implementation, has a special consultative status in UN SCOSOC.
Chonnam National University Center for Global Diaspora Studies
Launched in 2003, Chonnam National University Center for Global Diaspora Studies has conducted researches on the Diaspora of North East Asians including Ethnic Chinses and Japanese. It has recently established itself as an institute specialized in global Diaspora while carrying out study on adjustment and social integration of immigrants in the Korean society.
Chonnam National University BK21 Center for International Migration and Diaspora Innovative Talents
Chonnam National University BK21 Center for International Migration and Diaspora Innovative Talents was organized to conduct combined researches on global migration and multiculturalism from 2020 to 2027 in order to seek for coexistence and communication while addressing various social issues derived from influx of migrants.
Gwangju Workers Health Center
Gwangju Workers Health Center is committed to protecting physical and mental health of labors with the help of specialists in diverse sectors including occupational environment, safety and health at work, musculoskeletal system, work environment, and stress relief. In so doing, it provides various programs to offer customized health care consultation and prevent occupational disease.
Gwangju Migrant Health Center
Gwangju Migrant Health Center, a medical service group, has practiced humanism regardless of nationalities and races. It is providing free medical services and charity works for those left marginalized in the medical service. Most of them are migrant workers, marriage migrant women, foreign students not able to get access to or not eligible to the national healthcare system because of extended working hours, language barrier, and absence of national health insurance. So, specialists, students and youths in medicine, dentistry, Korean medicine, pharmacy, and mental health are engaged in helping them.
Gwangju Human Right Center for People with Disabilities
Gwangju Human Right Center for People with Disabilities was launched in April 2008 and registered as a non-profit corporation on December 18, 2020. Since then, it has carried out various projects including conducting education, examination and research, improving policies, and building solidarity with related organizations. In so doing, the organization intends to prevent discrimination and human rights infringement on the disabled and to get rid of physical, cultural, and institutional obstacles on people with disabilities. Also, the center has ultimately set its goal to contribute to enhancing welfare and human rights of the disabled.
Gwangju Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination
Gwangju Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination was established with the aim of eradicating discrimination against the disabled and fighting for the basic rights of the disabled. Also, it is a permanent association composed of statutory·non-statutory groups of disability·society·labor in Gwangju City.
Gwangju Social Innovators Network
Gwangju Social Innovators Network promotes communication among civic groups, social and economic organizations, and relevant institutes through various methods and seeks for innovative solutions to local and community issues. By doing so, it takes the lead in addressing those issues and builds a sustainable local community.
Gwangju Stand-Again General Support Center
Homelessness refers to ‘sleeping outdoors in the dew’. Also, the homeless means ‘people sleeping outdoors’ without being unhoused or unsheltered. Gwangju Stand-Again General Support Center is a social welfare institution helping the homeless stand on their own foot by providing protection, housing, medical services, consultation and services linked to employment.
Gwangju Youth Policy Network
Gwangju Youth Policy Network is an NGO seeking for solutions to youth issues with empathizing severity of them. In the process, it conducts various activities to make the youths opinions reflected in youth-related projects and policies and hold public discussions on the current issues and agendas. It also promotes to build networks of individuals and youth organizations in local communities, leads public discussions on the youth issues, and establishes social collaboration system to deal with the youth issues.
Gwangju Youth Money Habit Training Center
Gwangju Youth Money Habit Training Center is a social cooperative helping youths lead a smart economic life to create human-oriented culture of economy and life. While offering one-on-one customized consultations, the center is engaged in activities to understand and address financial issues that the youths have faced with.
University Students’ Association for Unification (USAU)
University Students’ Association for Unification (USAU) is one of the largest university student organizations in unification and the North human rights issues. It is composed of 12 universities, 14 clubs, and 1 US NGO bringing together around 350 university students from the two Koreas and citizens around the world. It has been very active to promote peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. It has also been committed to communicating with embassies to Korea, NGOs, and civic groups and making voices of university students to be heard on the Korean Peninsula’s issues going beyond politics and religions. In so doing, it ultimately takes the lead in strengthening democracy and addressing human rights issues of the North.
Center for Regional Development, Chonnam National University
The Center for Regional Development is a multidisciplinary research institute at Chonnam National University. Our mission is to develop and implement research agendas that promote the center as a leading research hub in regional studies. The center aims to develop practical models for sustainable development through comprehensive research in fields including economy, culture, education, environment, and urban planning.
Gwangju Human Rights Village Network
Gwangju Human Rights Village Network, an interactive and cooperative network, is composed of communities, organizations, and institutes, pursuing ‘human rights towns’ by enabling local residents to address issues in community with human rights-based approaches.
지역인권보장체제를 위한 인권활동가 네트워크
Korean Local Government Human Rights Commission
Local Governments Human Rights Commission Workshop is a networking group that explores ways for sharing information and facilitating cooperation among local governments in order to establish a system for a sustainable improvement of human rights.
Asian Legal Resource Centre Korea (ALRC Korea)
The Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC) in Gwangju was established in 2022 to raise and expand the capacity of ALRC in promoting the human rights movement in Asia. ALRC-Gwangju will further enhance the long-time Gwangju-ALRC collaboration, which produced Asian Human Rights Charter in 1998 under the auspices of AHRC.
Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) is a sister organization of the Asian Human Rights Commission and works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia so that the institutions transform into effective instruments of human rights protection and guarantors of democracy. ALRC’s headquarters is based in Hong Kong, with an extension office in Gwangju, South Korea.
International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels under the auspices of UNESCO
The International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels under the auspices of UNESCO in Graz – the first European human rights city - contributes to the implementation of human rights at the local and regional levels through research, capacity-building, international cooperation and networking.
UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human Security, University of Graz
The UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human Security at the Law Faculty of the University of Graz is active in research and in teaching human rights and advances academic cooperation.
International NGOs Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID)
INFID (International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development) is a non-government organization that has played a pivotal role in shaping Indonesia’s democratization process since 1985. There are three main programs run by the secretariat INFID, namely Inequality, Sustainable Development Goals, and Human Rights and Democracy. INFID aims to realize democracy, equality, social justice, and peace as well as ensure and fulfill human rights at national (Indonesian) and at global level by encouraging the creation of policies that guarantee the fulfillment of human rights for all through public education, advocacy based evidence, policy dialogue, and building relations with 81 members dispersed across Indonesia and other stakeholders.
The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM)
The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) was established in 1999 under Law No. 39 of 1999. Komnas HAM is an independent institution on the same level as other state institutions, with the functions of conducting research and study, education and public awareness, monitoring and investigation, and human rights mediation. In addition to the authority granted by Law No. 39 of 1999, Komnas HAM is authorized to conduct investigations into gross human rights violations under the provisions of Law No. 26 of 2000 and Law No. 40 of 2008 on the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination for the purpose of supervising any type of effort to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination. According to complaint data in 2022, Komnas HAM received 3190 human rights cases with various issues in Indonesia.
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
The World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments is the largest organization of local and regional governments in the world and is committed to representing, defending and amplifying the voices of local and regional governments to leave no one and no placed behind. Through collaboration, dialogue, cooperation and knowledge sharing, we work to advance the localization of the international development and human rights agenda through ground breaking commitments and agreements that brings communities together and empowers the local level.
Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict)
G3ict - the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 by the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the accessibility of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and assistive technologies.
Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education is a central administrative organization of Korea to be in charge of human resources development policy, public education and life-long education, and academic affairs.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a central administrative organization to oversee diplomacy, economic and global economic cooperation diplomacy, and international relations affairs, international treaty and agreement, overseas Koreans protection, and research and analysis on international affairs.
Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Justice is a central administrative organization to oversee prosecution, sentence, human rights advocation, immigration, and all legal relevant affairs.
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is a central administrative organization in charge of culture, arts, video, advertisement, publication, sports, tourism, government public relations, and government announcements.
Korea Tourism Organization
Koran Tourism Organization is a quasi-government agency established for the purpose of contributing to economic development of the nation, enhancement of the public welfare, and the development of the public economy. It has designated the year of 2023 and 2024 as a Year of Visiting Korea to revitalize tourism industry hit by the pandemic.
Gwangju Tourism Organization
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