SDGs and the Science-Policy Interface

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This session, organized to strengthen the Science-Policy Interface, brought together experts from within the scientific community to contribute new ideas and solutions to achieve the SDGs. H.E. Mr. Hector, opened the session by remarking that while Science, Technology and Innovation has reshaped our world and has solved grave humanitarian problems, it is nonetheless marred by many challenges.

Mr. Wu Hongbo presented the 2016 pilot Global Sustainable Development Report with the recurring theme “leaving no one behind”. He also added that other chapters in the report provide highlights of the various impacts the delivery of nexus infrastructure and cross cutting dimensions of technology. He concluded that the report underscore the importance of preserving a window in science and policy which needed to inform the implementation of the 2030 agenda.

Ms. Lucilla Spini took a different approach to channel the discussion on power, focusing on how the SDGs and conscience policy can help us make informed decisions. She reiterated that power is what enables decision makers to ensure that no one is left behind.

The panelists during the discussion provided some important new ideas, scientific insights and technological solutions proposed for policy considerations and the gaps that need to be filled to achieve SDGs. The panelists also discussed the role of the GSDR in further strengthening the science-policy interface.

Mr. Gueladio elucidated the benefits of collaborating with the scientific community from a cultural perspective while Mr. Patrick and Mr. Aurelien highlighted the role higher education can play in influencing the science policy interface.

Mr. Donovan and Mr. Peter highlighted the need for young scientist to be included in the SDG discussion while pointing out that eminent scientist may not be the best at inducing change as they are often focused on a narrower niche.

Meeting: Science-policy interface: New ideas, insights, and solutions

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, 12 July 2016/ 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM/ Conference Room 4

Speakers:

  • E. Mr. Hector Alejandro Palma Cerna, Deputy-Permanent Representative of Honduras to the UN and Vice President of ECOSOC (CHAIR)
  • Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
  • Lucilla Spini, Head of Science Programmes of the International Council for Science (ICSU) (MODERATOR)
  • Gueladio Cisse, Head of the Ecosystem Health Sciences Unit at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
  • E. William Colglazier, Senior Scholar at the Center for Science Diplomacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Aurélien Decamps, Assistant Professor at Kedge Business School, Sustainability Literacy Test and the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI)
  • Donovan Guttieres, Focal Point for the Youth Science-Policy Interface Platform of UN Major Group for Children and Youth and Policy Focal Point for the Youth Gateway, the Global Youth Partnership for the SDG
  • Peter Messerli, Director of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern
  • Mr. Patrick Paul Walsh, Professor and Chair of International Development Studies of the School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin

Written by: Fred Yonghabi
Photo by: UNESCO

Agenda 2030 and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

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Identifying the synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway, this session called special attention to the unique vulnerabilities faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their sustainable development. Challenges including their small geographic size, remoteness, narrow resource and export base, and their frontline exposure to global environmental challenges such as climate change and ocean degradation. SIDS are urging resource mobilization so as to help businesses access and apply investment capabilities so as to cope with these physical, social and economic impacts, as well as allow for further sustainable, economic development. Of primary concern are both SDG13 and 14 – climate action and life below water – as the negative consequences of inaction have the potential to destroy most island populations’ livelihoods. Indeed, the devastating climate change impacts on oceans, such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, and ecosystem destruction make SIDs more vulnerable and call for a robust mechanism of coordination and strengthened means of implementation to ensure that no one is left behind, including SIDS.

Meeting: Discussion on ‘Making the 2030 Agenda deliver for SIDS, building on the SAMOA Pathway’

Date/Time/Location: 14 July, 2016; 11:30 – 13:00; Trusteeship Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN and Vice President of ECOSOC; Ms. H. Elizabeth Thompson, Former UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Coordinator for Rio+20 and former Minister for Energy and Environment of Barbados; Mr. Anote Tong, Former President of the Republic of Kiribati; Mr. David Smith, Coordinator at the University of Consortium for Small Island States, and the Institute for Sustainable Development, the University of the West Indies; Ms. Jusitna Langidrik, Chief Secretary of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; Ms. Kate Brown, Executive Director of the Global Island Partnership

Written By: Lena Courcol
Photo by: UN Development Programme (UNDP)

Skill Development and Youth Employment

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Young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and are continuously subject to underemployment, holding lower quality jobs that do not fully capitalize on their skills and talents. In addition, youth, and particularly young women, face greater labor market inequalities as they are often underpaid, and have to undertake multiple part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts. For this reason, entrepreneurship, leadership, innovative thinking and creativity must be better integrated into existing education systems that currently fail to address the practical needs of many young people. In the upcoming future, job creation will take place under sectors requiring STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – skills, thus education curriculum must be shifted to better boost youth employability and empower them for the future.

Meeting: Skills Development to Improve Youth Empowerment

Date/Time/Location: 15 July, 2016; 10:00 – 13:00; Conference Room 1

Speakers: Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth; Mr. Ronald Bruder, Founder of Education for Employment; Mr. William S. Reese, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Youth Foundation; Mr. Wellington Chibebe, Deputy Secretary General, International Trade Union Confederation; Ms. Kelli Wells, Executive Director of Education, GE Foundation; Santiago Iniguez de Onzo, Dean of IE Business School; Ms. Daniela Bas, Director at the United Nations DSPD/DESA; Ms. Melissa Garcia Velez, Youth Representative and Immigrant Organizer with the New York State Leadership Council

Written By: Lena Courcol
Photo by: UN Media Centre

UN@70 – Human Rights at the centre of the global agenda

UN_General_Assembly_hallMr. Roth commenced the debate by highlighting the indispensable relations between the effective implementation of the rule of law, access to justice and its vitality for human rights protection.

As the first who took the floor, Ms. Gurmendi stressed that whilst rule of law is the only access to human rights, corruption of judiciaries worldwide – in developing countries in particular has jeopardized institutions’ credibility. Hence, she called on member states to carry out reforms in strengthening the independency of judiciaries on the one hand, empowering civil society and citizens on the other in order to hold the justice system accountable.

Whilst agreeing with other panelists, Ms. Harkrisnowo argued that the importance of individuals compared to institutional reforms must not be understated, in which having country leaders that are human-rights-oriented is essential for countries to formulate polices that protect human rights. And the only way to do so, in her opinion, would be to ensure all human rights principles are properly induced at all governmental institutions, as a sin qua non of establishing a human rights-friendly governance.

As a round-up, Mr. McDuhall emphasized that rule of law and rule by law are two entirely different concepts, and for human rights to be upheld, aligning to the ideal of the former system is indispensable.

Meeting: General Assembly – High-level thematic debate entitled “UN@70 – Human rights at the centre of the global agenda”: Interactive segment 2 on Building the foundations for human rights – Governance, the rule of law and access to justice

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, 12 July, 2016; 15:00– 16:25; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Mr. Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Ms. Silvia Fernandez de Guremendi, President of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Indonesia, Mr. Ian McDouhall, Executive Vice-president &General Counsel at Lexis Nexis

Written by: Raphael LEUNG
Photo by: United Nations Media Centre

HLPF 2016 – Food Security

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Food security and nutrition are seen as essential to sustainable development. Indeed, without adequate nutrition and food provision, populations are made susceptible to greater costs in health, both physical and financial, as well as face greater challenges in gaining education and employment. For this reason, the 2030 Agenda’s SDG 2, ‘Zero Hunger’, seeks to achieve food security for all, including the 795 million people who currently suffer from hunger worldwide, as well as future generations who are anticipated to experience immense agricultural pressure due to expected population growth. In addressing food security it is important to recognize and understand the nexus between sustainable agriculture and its different threats – primarily human activities causing degradation and destruction of ocean and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as impacts of climate change. An integrated approach is hereby crucial to resolving and strengthening sustainable agriculture for a food secure future.

Meeting: Ensuring that no one is left behind – Food security and sustainable agriculture, climate action, sustainable oceans and terrestrial ecosystems – adopting a nexus approach

Date/Time/Location: 12 July, 2016; 10:00 – 11:30; Conference Room 4

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN and Vice President of ECOSOC; H.E. Mr. Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues, Seychelles; Ms. Deborah Fulton, Secretary at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS); Ms. Evelyn Nguleka, President, World Farmer’s Organization; Ms. Omoyemen Lucia Odigie-Emmanuel, President of the Centre for Human Rights and Climate Change; Mr. Jake, Rice, Chief Scientist, Emiritus at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

Written By: Lena Courcol

High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

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H.E Mr. Oh Joon declared opened the 2016 High-Level Political forum on sustainable development, convened under the auspices of the ECOSOC. He invited the forum to turn to the provisional agenda which was adopted with no objections. He further stated that we are all in this together to ensure a sustainable future for all, wishing good and productive meetings in the next two weeks

Mr. Wu also delivered his opening remarks reiterated the theme of the HLPF “leaving no one behind” stating during his presentation of the Secretary-General SDG Report Progress, stating that we must tackle all challenges and build an inclusive society and that political leadership drive implementation.

The first panel discussion, chaired by H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, and moderated by Ms. Paula addressed the question “where we stand at year one” Ms. Paula stated that there is need to focus on SDG implementation, asked the speakers (Ms. Debapriya, and Ms. Christina), and discussants (Mr. Martin, and Mr. Jose), about their thoughts and comments on where we stand, and their comment on the effective measures that countries are taking to ensure that no one is left behind.

The second-panel discussion, chaired by H.E. Mr. Hector, and moderated by Ms. Lisa Foster was focused on “Envisioning an Inclusive World in 2030”. Ms. Lisa asked the panelist (H.E. Mr. Ion Jinga, and Ms. Onalenna) and the lead discussants (Mr. Ibrahim and Mr. Alvaro), questions about inclusion, and the challenges of inclusion that countries face in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

H.E. Mr. Ion stated that inclusion is the core of 2030 agenda, adding that SDG 10 is necessary when talking about inclusion. Other panelists talk about inclusion of peoples with disabilities and indigenous peoples.

Meeting:  2016 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Date/Time/Location: 11th July 2016/10:00 – 1:00pm/Trusteeship Chamber

Speakers:

  • E. Mr. Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN and President of ECOSOC (CHAIR)
  • Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
  • Paula Caballero Gomez, Senior Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank (MODERATOR)
  • Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue and Chair of Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals
  • Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue and Chair of Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals
  • Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Written by: Fred Yonghabi.

HLPF 2016 – Poverty Reduction

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Progress in poverty and hunger reduction are ideal and we should learn from the success stories in handful of countries.

The Moderator began with addressing significant gains in eradicating poverty and hunger, along with services access to basic human needs. In line with “Leaving no one behind”, universal provision of basic social services could be achieved by ambitious measures, full participation of local society and empowered humans.

Mr. Park asserted the value of community health in providing basic life-saving service, reaching the rural and indigenous population and vulnerable groups, say, women and children. Despite the challenges in service delivery and hostility a few countries, he confidently asserted cross-sector approaches would be the future, in scaling up community health protect for wider reaching out service.

Speaking of the strategies in poverty eradication, Ms. Diez reiterated the urgency on refining the mindset of poverty, where she believed multi-dimensional poverty required comprehensive indicators in determination, rather than rely on household earnings. In addition, Ms Pandya-Lorch stressed that rapid urbanization, climate change and regional conflict and displacement threatens the food security, contributed much to the existing problem, where lessons from Brazil, China and Thailand should be learnt on, followed by Representative of China who shared their approaches in achieving common prosperity and eliminating poverty.

Meeting: High-level political forum on sustainable development, “Lifting people out of poverty and addressing basic needs” convened under the auspices of the Council

Date/Time/Location: Monday, July 11, 2016; 15:00-18:00; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN and Vice President of ECOSOC; Mr. Michael Park, Director of Strategy and Operations of the Aspen Management Partnership for Health at the Aspen Institute; Ms. Sarina Prabasi, CEO of WaterAid America; Ms. Cristina Diez, Director of International Relations Training at the International Movement ATD Fourth World; Ms. Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Chief of Staff and Head of the 2020 Vision Initiative at the International Food Policy Research Institute; Representative of China

Written By: Kelvin HO

HLFP 2016 -Economic Growth, Prosperity & Sustainability

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Sustainable economic growth is critical of poverty eradication to ensure no one is left behind. The meeting commenced by addressing issue related to SDG 1 – Zero Poverty – which was a multidisciplinary topic, where sustainability and strength of economic growth were kept vital.

Prof. Jackson began with illustrating the correlation between prosperity and the GDP per capita, where relentless economic emphasis would foster better health, education and empower humans in developing countries, but had limited effect on developed nations. Both Prof. Verspagen and Prof. Pinheiro pointed out the influence of policy and institutions remained paramount in making an inclusive economic growth, by specializing in innovation, labor market and social protection policies, prompting to enjoy an advanced living standard.

Whilst identifying the challenges in maintaining economic growth, Mr. Chibonga shared the successful stories of accelerating productivity. Resonated with Prof. Pinheiro on depicting climate change as the main hindrance, he proposed on investing farmers with entrepreneurial skills training, ensuring an efficient market and implementing effective farming, hence to empower local people by intrinsic and monetary support. In terms of soft skills improving, Mr. Chibebe suggested a protection of rights and liberties were fundamental, which gave rise to achieving a local prosperity through sustainable economic growth, comprehensive social dialogue and protection.

Meeting: High-level political forum on sustainable development, “Fostering economic growth, prosperity, and sustainability” convened under the auspices of the Council

Date/Time/Location: Monday, July 11, 2016; 16:30-18:00; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN and Vice President of ECOSOC; Mr. Vinicius Pinheiro, Director of the NY Office of the International Labour Organization (ILO); Mr. Tim Jackson, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) and Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey; Mr. Bart Verspagen, Director-Dean of the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG) at Maastricht University and Director of United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT); Mr. Dyborn Chibonga, Chief Executive Officer at the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM)

Written By: Kelvin HO

Review of the 2030 Agenda

wpid-wp-1443272229550The UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is acting as a global, central platform for the follow-up of the local and national level implementation of the 2030 Agenda. By maximizing and tracking progress in implementing the SDGs, member states will ensure that no one is left behind. Conducting thematic reviews can allow for a crosscutting review of the 17 goals and 169 targets, enabling a cohesive, effective and integrated approach that considers the interlinkages and synergies between the goals rather than looking at each individually.

This kind of thematic review will require the cooperation and coordination of all stakeholders, particularly highlighting local civil society perspectives so as to produce a holistic assessment that goes beyond purely quantitative and scientific data. Nonetheless, gathering data is critical to targeting areas requiring development most and ensuring that no one is left behind – a slogan that should not simply be spoken, but also practiced.

Meeting: Thematic Reviews for an Integrated, Inclusive and Participatory Follow-Up and Review of the 2030 Agenda

Date/Time/Location: 11 June, 2016; 13:15 – 14:30; Conference Room 8

Speakers: Mr. Alexander Müller, Study Lead TEEBAgriFood-UNEP; Ms. Marianne Beisheim, German Institute for International and Security Affairs; Ms. Layla Saad, Deputy Director and Policy Advisor of the World Centre for Sustainable Development; Mr. Reinhard Krapp, Minister and Head of the Economic Department of the German Mission to the UN; Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier, UNCTAD

Written By: Lena Courcol

The next UN Secretary-General Candidate Debate

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An equal concoction of diplomat and advocate, civil servant and Chief Executive Officer, the UN Secretary-General’s job description is to enshrine the ideals of the UN charter among the foreign relations of 193 member states and to prevent, from the outset, “succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. Yesterday, 12 candidates — 7 women and 5 men — debated on issues ranging from peace and security to gender equality in a first of its kind,  live broadcast event to compete for the organisation’s top position.

Procedurally divided into two panels of six candidates, the debate was moderated by Al Jazeera corespondents James Bay and Folly Thibault and also featured an opportunity for UN ambassadors to ask direct questions to the candidates on controversial issues, such as allegations of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers. While all candidates depicted a clear logic of intolerance on the issue, Ms. Christiana Figueres strongly condemned such actions by remarking that under her leadership,“immunity would not translate into impunity”.

Though issues such as climate change, gender equality and security council reform attracted comprehensive attention from all candidates, those pertaining to peace and security, remained confined to the usual diplomatic rhetoric on the Syrian war; leaving questions and solutions on illegal occupation and annexation, such as those concerning Russian invasion of Crimea, sanitised from the debate. Mr. Vuk Jeremic and Ms. Susana Malcorra outlined the UN’s stagnation and failure in times of crises and vowed to “deliver results”, while Mr. Antonio Guterres and Ms. Helen Clark primarily focused on reducing human suffering and creating “better opportunities”. Dr. Danilo Turk and Ms. Irina Bokova posited a more multilateral cultural approach toward renovating the UN remarking that, “gender parity and youth inclusion” were top organisational priorities.

The debate in itself holds probative value as all previous Secretary-Generals were chosen behind closed doors by the permanent five. The three hour debate offered a rare peak into the personalities of the candidates on not only their chosen fields of endeavour, but also on the many other grave issues that afflict our world today. However, this seemingly transparent process too contains bureaucratic limitations. While the 193 members can nominate candidates, the five key nation states — US, China, Russia, Britain and France — still make the big decision of inviting a candidate to serve as the new Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Meeting: The UN Debate: Public debate of UN Secretary-General Candidates 2017

Date/Time/Location: 12 July, 2016; 18:00 – 21:00; General Assembly Hall

Candidates:

  1. Srgjan Kerim, former Foreign Minister of Macedonia;
  2. Vesna Pusic, former Deputy Prime Minister, Croatia;
  3. Igor Luksic, former Prime Minister, Montenegro;
  4. Danilo Turk, former President of Slovenia;
  5. Irina Bokova, Director, UNESCO;
  6. Natalia Gherman, former Deputy Prime Minister, Moldova;
  7. Antonio Gutteres, former Prime Minister, Portugal;
  8. Helen Clark, Head, UNDP;
  9. Vuk Jeremic, former Foreign Minister, Serbia;
  10. Susana Malcorra, Foreign Minister, Argentina;
  11. Miroslav Lajcak, Foreign Minister, Slovak Republic;
  12. Christiana Figueres, former Chief, UNFCCC

 

Written By: Apurv Gupta

Photo By: Al Jazeera