Resolution 1: Circular Economy is the future
Submitted by: Young liberals of Norway
- The EU, after the Paris-agreement, put forward a plan of action to change the use of resources from a linear to a circular economy
- The world struggle with an imminent climate crisis and an increasing number of countries struggle with unemployment
- Today’s mentality of use-and-discard is not sustainable, and our resources are limited
- The use of plastics and other disposable materials that are not biodegradable is a danger to our nature
- Too much edible food is unnecessarily thrown away each day
- Circular economy is based on repair, reuse, improvements and recycling, where the goal is the lowest possible loss of resources
- The change from a linear to a circular economy can be an important contribution for both unemployment and the climate
- We need more economic incentives to encourage increased recycling and better use of resources
- Circular economy will ensure sustainable economic growth and generate, by estimates, at least 450,000 new jobs in the EU alone
- We are already running out of several different metals and materials
- Even in a circular economy the use of disposable materials like plastic will be necessary, and so the plastic we do use has to be made of biological materials, so-called bioplastics.
IFLRY calls for:
- An assessment of different economic incentives to increase recycling and resource utilization
- Each country to develop a long-term plan on achieving their NDC, including a detailed strategy on promoting circular economy
- Greater international measures to reduce the disposal of edible food
- Countries to use more biological materials in plastic; bioplastics, to protect the nature from unnecessary damages
Resolution 2: Imminent Risk of Prosecution and Closure of the Civil Society in Egypt
- The Egyptian revolution of 2011 and the contributions of the civil society to promote freedom, democracy and human rights.
- Egypt since then has regressed back to becoming an authoritarian dictatorship under General El-Sisi.
- The Egyptian civil society in general, and organizations with activities related to human rights, legal, political and civic education reform, is under attack by the Egyptian state and its security forces since 2011.
- The systematic repression carried out by the Egyptian state and its security forces against civil society and its activists.
- Most of the Egyptian organizations are banned to establish activities, or to obtain national or international funding for their activities.
- The investigation and re-investigation with a number of Egyptian organizations, and freezing the assets of some of them or the persons in charge of them, as well as banning a large number of activists from traveling without legal justification.
- The new NGO law presented to the parliament does not meet Egypt’s international obligations, and violates the freedoms given by the Egyptian constitution, and puts the Egyptian organizations under the control of the government and its security agencies and intelligence in every decision, and it supports a huge financial penalties, sanctions and deprivation of liberty.
The International Federation of Liberal Youth calls on the government of Egypt to:
- Ensure the freedom of association, and allowing the authorized Egyptian and foreign civil society organizations to work in Egypt
- Ensure the safety of the people working within civil society, and protect their fundamental human rights, as the freedom of travel and movement, the freedom of association, and their right to a fair trial in the case of a legal dispute, consistent with Egypt’s obligations under international conventions and agreements.
- Remove all legal and security obstacles that blockade the civil work in Egypt.
- Stop the propaganda campaigns waged by the state media against the freedom of association and civil work.
Resolution 3: Fair Trade through Free Trade – Removal of Agricultural Protectionism
Submitted by: JuLis
- Free trade is one of the most essential elements of liberalism. Free trade encourages people all over the world to bring forward new ideas. They become entrepreneurs and create jobs. Free Trade promotes networking and results in peaceful collaboration between people in different countries. Interconnectedness of countries through free trade leads to innovation and development.
- Unfortunately, many developed countries promote protectionism in their agriculture. This does not only inflict enormous financial losses to the developed countries, it also causes much more harm to the developing countries than the development aid of the developed countries helps them.
- First, agricultural subsidies often lead to overproduction and distort world market prices. Consequently, farmers in developing countries have to sell their products for prices lower than those that would form via free and fair trade. Second, exports into developing country increase due to the subsidies. This results in destruction of local markets and jobs. Third, the European Union and developed countries promote one-directional free trade. They force developing countries to open their markets while keeping their heavily subsidized agricultural policies. A fair and free world market without agricultural protectionism could act as the most efficient development aid.
- The developed countries, particularly the US and the EU, to initiate the Doha Development Round for the second time. In doing so, they have to demonstrate their honest will to end their agricultural protectionism. Free trade agreements can serve only as a time-limited solution to the problem, therefore it is a necessary step. On this basis it is possible to re-establish the WTO as the most important institution to foster free trade and multilateral negotiations on free trade.
- The WTO to investigate the influence of transnational companies and NGOs (like the International Chamber of Commerce) and ensure the independence of its decision makers, if needed by reforms.
- WTO to use the sustainable Development Goals of the UN as the fundament for all decisions to be made.
Calls upon IFLRY and its MOs to:
- Promote free trade in their respective countries, also in the agricultural sector.
- Stimulate governments to stop their agricultural subsidies, including those set out by the CAP in the countries of the European Union. Prevent the use of non-qualitative standards as pseudo-protectionism, especially by European states.
- Promote transparency by pushing for publication of all documents from the WTO instead of small selection as is done now.
- To push for changes to be made to the rules of the Uruguay Round in the WTO which allow agricultural subsidies and protectionism, including:
- The decoupled payments have to be classified as amber-box subsidies, since there are good arguments to assume that they have a very distorting impact on prices.
- The WTO must control subsidies for sustainability and renewable energy in agriculture and intervene when there are hints of masked protectionism and distorting impacts on international trade.
- Define consequences for countries which reinstall export subsidies
- Until the developed countries do not end their agricultural protectionism developing countries should be allowed to keep their tariffs in defined amounts.
Submitted by LUF
- Non- democratic states and totalitarian regimes uphold their power and are able to suppress their people partly because of their easy access of weapons that they obtain from international export.
- Limiting non-democratic states access to weapons could aid the work for human rights around the world.
- Limiting non-democratic states access to weapons could aid the process of democratisation across the world.
Calls upon IFLRY and its member organisations to:
- Condemn weapon export to non-democratic states that does not respect human rights.
- Advocate for the control of exports of military equipment to be improved by working to develop and maintain UN arms trade agreement.
- Advocate for the arm embargo to include nations with failing Human Rights Record
Resolution 5: More money for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Submited by: Svensk Ungdom
While the world faces the largest refugee crisis since World War II, we need to both increase the funding for refugee aid, and renew the working process of UNHCR. UNHCR should be directly funded by the UN and their resources should not be marked for specific operations or projects, but rather be distributed to the crises areas that are in the biggest need of help at the moment.
- Today, the world faces the largest refugee crisis since World War II. Over 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes because of insecure situations such as armed conflicts, persecution and sexual violence.
- Today a significant amount of financial funds are paid to governments and companies not respecting human rights in order to limit the flow of refugees.
- Of these 19.5 million are refugees, 38.2 million have been relocated within their country and 1.8 million are asylum seekers. 14.4 million of the 19.5 million refugees are under UNHCR’s mandate while about 5.1 million are under the mandate of UNRWA* (2014).
- Over half of all refugees are from only three countries; Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.
- The aid for refugees is currently not funded directly by the UN. UNHCR calls out for grants from to the Member States and private actors to raise funds for different UNHCR operations.
- Member states are currently funding over 83% of the total amount , but it is not enough; Food rations in refugee camps are cut in half, health care is inadequate and children are left without education. The financial structure is not flexible and it takes too long to get additional resources if needed.
- Financial funds targeting refugees should be paid to organizations respecting Human Rights.
- Finland with the other Nordic countries have for a long time been a contributor to the UNHCR, which the organization can count on.
- All countries should become part of this crowd. We want to see all countries than could increase their share do so.
IFLRY calls for:
- UNHCR to be funded directly by the United Nations, so that the funding would be more predictable and the member countries would all take evenly part of the funding.
- Stop the earmarking of funds for specific operations or projects to allow the UNHCR judge where the money is needed the most.
- Urge Member Organizations and Individual Members to lobby on national level for the European countries to increase their aid to UNHCR.
- Condemning any agreement on refugees which violates Human Rights and current international law.
*The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
Resolution 6: The issue of freedom of speech and political prisoners in Russia
Submitted by Youth democratic movement – Vesna (Russia)
International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY),
Today in Russia, under the pretext of fighting extremism and protecting the feelings of believers continues the struggle with dissent, both online and on the streets. New federal laws, infringing not only the freedom of assembly, but also freedom of speech. According to the human rights organization, “Memorial” the number of political prisoners in the Russian Federation for the 2016 year has doubled compared to the previous year. Today in Russia, there are 102 people serving sentences in prisons or under house arrest for the public expression of their opinions or participating in people’s assemblies. Thus, the Russian Constitution that guarantee the rights to freedom of opinion, freedom of association in the organization and freedom of assembly is undermined by the adoption and application of tighter laws.
Moreover, the political prisoner Ildar Dadin, convicted for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of opinion, publicly declared about torture and abuse in prison, where he is being held. According to the testimony of other prisoners, such cases are common in many prisons and usually go unpunished.
Taking into account the fact that the situation with freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Russia is extremely unfavorable, but the authorities deny the existence of political prisoners in Russia, IFLRY:
– strongly urges the Russian authorities immediately and unconditionally release prisoner of conscience Ildar Dadin;
– urges to release all who have been detained in Russia for expressing their opinions or participating in people’s assemblies;
– recommends the IFLRY members to invite the political parties, which they are members, to speak out on the topic of political prisoners in Russia;
– recommends to the European liberal parties in any official contacts with the Russian authorities concern the topic of political prisoners in Russia.
IFLRY Position Paper on Gender Equality
Defining Gender Equality
Regardless of the political position of IFLRY, Gender Equality as a concept should be defined before any considerations and opinions can be formed. The multifaceted dynamics of gendered power around the world imply a need for continuous change in the goals and the strategies.
As we attempt to position IFLRY within the political system, it should hence be clear that a political goal towards abolishing gender inequality is inherently hard to be fixed, and concepts of transformation such as putting new standards for both men and women are insufficient. Strategies toward this goals should be flexible, adapting their approach toward gender inequality as a moving target (Verloo, 2005).
Awareness of this changing nature of both the definition of gender equality as well as its strategies and goals is therefore a crucial first step.
Although in many conservative approaches to gender equality there is only a focus on the relation and power balance between men and women, and the genderedness of systems and processes in general, IFLRY wants to address the equality of any possible gender identity one may have. The simple distinction between men and women is does not fully represent today’s world. IFLRY supports individuals in identifying their own gender, which people may define themselves, or in the same sense the un-necessity of having these labels in the first place. IFLRY wants to take a leading role in the road towards a world “beyond” gender.
This will also mean the collapse of the contemporary system of sexual orientations (including the bisexual-polysexual-pansexual, queer, asexual and also heterosexual spectra), as these reflect one’s gender and the gender of those one loves, but should never define opportunities or choices.
IFLRY’s view on gender equality should be central to the liberal ideology, as it is indispensable in order for all individuals to enjoy the right to equal possibilities and a prosperous future. This Position Paper is only “snapshot” of how we view the concept now, and this paper requires revisiting every few years. In this changing world gender equality as seen as both a strategy and a goal, should be intertwined in any other policy and process in order to be successful.
Liberal strategies to fight gender inequality
Gender mainstreaming is therefore an essential tool to integrate gender awareness into any process of policy. Gender mainstreaming as conceptualized by the Council of Europe (1998) includes “the (re)organization, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies at all levels and at all stages, by the actors normally involved in policy making.” This forms a central role in IFLRY’s approach to gender equality. The strategies IFLRY uses in the fight against gender inequality are therefore:
Integrate gender mainstreaming in all policies at all levels
Gender approaches can not be seen as an isolated issue, but instead is relevant to any type of policy (from transport, to housing, to climate change) and should therefore be integrated in all these policies. Gender equality does not begin or end at a country’s border or a city’s outskirts, and policy should therefore be “genderproof” on all geographical scales, from local to international.
Weakening of gender systems in all societies around the world
Gender systems as a term is used in conjunction with concepts such as gender order and gender power order to describe the structures and processes that generate and uphold gender inequality in society. Gender systems are based on two principles: the separation of the genders and male superiority. These assumptions are viewed as inherently wrong, and systems that uphold this should be weakened or in the future dismantled, in order for individuals to be equal. The gender equality work aims to break this pattern, and when this has been accomplished, we will have a gender equal society.
Protect Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights for all gender identities and ensure national embeddedness of these rights
SRHR include sexual rights, sexual health rights, reproductive rights and reproductive health rights. These rights therefore protect one’s sexual freedom, thus freedom of choice in sexuality and reproduction (and thus including gender transition, abortion, surrogacy and adoption), and protects individuals against harm in any form including sexual harassment and rape, domestic violence, genital mutilation and forced marriages. Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights should be protected for anyone under any circumstances, meaning to any individual regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation. Family policies should also be adapted to this, as these policies often do not reflect the changing family structures in today’s world, opening up possibilities for all. Problems with SRHR are still existing as many countries have not embedded these rights in their national policies. This lack of national embeddedness should diminish over the coming years.
Ensure equality of economic opportunity for all gender identities
Economic equality does not only include the gender pay gap, which is one of the more visible problems in many countries. Gender inequality is however problematic in many other fields such as parents’ allowance, distribution of shared parental leave, pensions and right to daycare (or nursery). All these aspects should be universally even for all in the future in order to accomplish gender equality in the workplace.
Provide gender stereotype free education for all, on every level of education.
Give all the children access to everything possible without stereotypes. The education and training of teachers should provide them with the skills to teach children with different backgrounds equally and free from gender stereotypes. This means that all education, from kindergarten and primary school to the highest education in university, should be free from heteronormative stereotypes. Education should reflect the society and thus teach about equality of all gender identities and all sexual preferences, and include all possible forms a family may have.
View prostitution as a livelihood-strategy and protect freedom of choice
Prostitution should be legalized in order to regulate and protect those who work in this sector. Too often human trafficking and forced prostitution go undetected as governments are unaware of what happens in this informal sector. Anyone who wants to sell sex should have the freedom to do so, but should also have the same protection to work in a safe environment as any other profession. Criminalization of prostitution does not solve the issues, nor does it abolish the profession, it only hides the problems from society’s sight.
Only use affirmative action policies until they become irrelevant and unnecessary
Affirmative action is the policy of favoring members of a disadvantaged or vulnerable group who suffer from discrimination within a society or culture. This method is criticized for being illiberal, however has also proven to, in some cases, be a way to increase gender equality. These policies should however only be used as long as it is necessary.
Adopting these 7 principles on a global scale would effectively cause change towards a gender equal world. IFLRY actively encourages its member organizations to adopt these strategies and principles. As a global youth platform, IFLRY has the opportunity to impact policy on an international level, and therefore takes a leading role in working towards a world beyond gender for future generations.