HLPF 2018 Side Event: Off-grid Renewable Energy Solutions For Universal Modern Energy Access

Off-grid renewable energy solutions are key pillars to enable access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The HLPF 2018 Side Event invited private energy sectors to detail how evolving renewables technologies could better realise SDG#7.

First, the panellists provoked the latest global and regional insights on developing off-grid renewable energy solutions. They underscored the importance of promoting growth in off-grid renewable energy deployment equally around the world.

Second, the panellists highlighted the challenges of developing off-grid renewable energy solutions. On the education side, Ms. Jane Oyugi emphasised the imminent need to provide professional training to technical expertise in energy renewables. On the finance side, Ms. Sarah Alexander focused on the provision of long-term financing capital for customers to use off-grid renewable energy in less developed countries. On the policy side, Mr. Eco Matser stressed the implementation of leadership programmes in policymaking in off-grid renewable energy industries.

Third, the panellists referred to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and outlined the benefits of providing access to affordable off-grid renewable energy. They focused on how access to affordable off-grid renewables could better realise SDG#2, SDG#11 and SDG#16. At last, they reached the consensus that off-grid renewables are innovative solutions to alleviate the shortage of fossil fuels around the world at present.

HLPF 2018 Side Event: Off-grid renewable energy solutions for universal modern energy access

Thursday 12th July 2018; 13:15 to 14:30; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Dr. Rabia Ferroukhi, Deputy-Director of Knowledge, Policy and Finance, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Mr. Divyam Nagpal, Associate Programme Officer, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Dr. Minoru Takada, Team Leader (Sustainable Energy), UN DESA
Ms. Sarah Alexander, Senior Advisor, SELCO
Mr. Ram Prasad Dhital, Executive Director, Alternative Energy Promotion Centre, Nepal
Mr. Eli Michell-Larsen, Board of Director, SunFarmer
Mr. Eco Matser, Global Lead on Energy Access and Climate, Hivos
Ms. Jane Oyugi, Co-founder and CEO, Sustenersol

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki


HLPF 2018: Review of SDG#11- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Cities are the cradles of human civilisations. Currently more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas, consuming 75% of natural resources and emitting 60% of global greenhouse gases. Thus, the socio-economic well-being of human settlements remain the key pillars of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The forum reviewed the implementation of SDG#11 and provided key policy recommendations to improve the socio-economic well-being of human settlements. It began with addressing the alarming urban sprawl and dwelling slums in East and Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Member states were thus called upon to prioritise housing to eliminate the homeless, not left to the realms of unregulated property markets and lucrative private developers.

The forum then followed up briefings on reliable and sustainable public transport. Regarding road safety, it was emphasised that road safety considerations must be integrated with sustainable transport and mobility in the urban settings. Member states were highly encouraged to design public transport in line with the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals and cater the needs of vulnerable groups around the world.

The forum continued with briefings on urban environmental problems. Panellists attributed to these problems to urban decay and uncontrolled urban sprawl. These problems include pollution mainly from air, water and land. International communities were asked to leverage technologies to alleviate urban environmental problems and combat climate change. They were also called upon to design parks, sidewalks and streets to improve quality green infrastructure.

HLPF 2018: Review of SDGs implementation: SDG#11- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Wednesday 11th July 2018; 15:00 to 18:00; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

H.E. Mr. Marc Pecsteen, Vice-President of ECOSOC Presentations
Mr. Benjamin Rae, Sustainable Development Goal Monitoring Section, Statistics Division of UN DESA
Ms. Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing Moderator
Mr. Rohit T. Aggarwala, Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public
Affairs at Columbia University Panellists
Ms. Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner in Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, New York City, US
Mr. Jean Todt, Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Annotated Programme
Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT
Ms. Meera AlShaikh, Project Manager and member of the SDG 11 Global Council, Smart Dubai, UAE Lead discussants
Mr. Wim Dries, Mayor of the city of Genk and President of the Flemish Association of Local Councils, Belgium
Ms. Shaila Shahid, International Centre for Climate Change and Development as Coordinator Gender and Climate Change (ICCCAD) (Women’s Major Group)

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki

Fifteenth Annual International Human Rights Summit


(Source: author)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights marks its seventieth anniversary this year. In recognition of international efforts to advocate human rights, the Human Rights Summit aimed to improve the state of human rights in respective nations and communities.

First, panellists underscored the importance of defending human rights in bringing about peace and social cohesion. The international community has been called upon to embrace the values of human rights, social justice and the rule of law. Unless concerted efforts are made to safeguard human rights, the international community shall have failed in its collective responsibility to promote peacebuilding, social cohesion and community resilience.

Second, the summit addressed local issues on human rights to eradicate injustice and inequality. From the perspective of police forces, Mr. Ricky S. Veerappan from Canada and Mr. Charalambos Philippides from Cyprus outlined how their police forces have established education centres to implement age-appropriate human rights measures. From the perspective of non-governmental organisations, they have introduced outreach programmes focusing on fair education, sanitary care for females, empowerment for youths and democratic citizenship. They have drawn international attention to marginalised, vulnerable social groups around the world, including children, youths, women and the elderly. Representatives from war-affiliated countries, such as Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan, further advocated that human rights are the cornerstone of achieving long-term conflict resolution.

Fifteenth Annual International Human Rights Summit (co-organised by the Permanent Missions of Australia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Morocco and Romania)

Friday 6th July 2018; 10:00 to 13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Ms. Mary Shuttleworth, President, Youth for Human Rights International
H.E. Luis Almagro, Secretary General, Organisation of American States
Ms. Mihaela Mecea, Third Secretary, Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations
Mr. Ricky S. Veerappan, Police Superintendent, York Regional Police, Canada
Mr. Charalambos Philippides, Deputy Director of European Union and International Police Cooperation Directorate, Cyprus Police
Ms. Anne Nolan, Manager, Integration and Support Unit, Ireland
Ms. Isabele Miranda Wallace, President, Asociación Alto al Secuestro (Stop the Killings), Mexico
Mr. Luis Hernando Redondo Melo, President, Association of Training, Guidance, Refugee Aid and Emigrant (FOARE), Spain
Ms. Mary Consolata Namagambe, Founder, She for She, Uganda
Ms. Frida Farrell, Co-Producer, Selling Isobel
Ms. Kerri Kasem, Founder, Kasem Cares, United States

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki

International Narcotics Control Board Side Event: Drug Control Treaty Compliance, Human Rights and the SDGs


In preparation for this week’s ECOSOC Coordination and Management Meeting, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) launched the event to outline the progress of the drug control treaty compliance. Mr. Viroj Sumvai quoted the Special Session of the General Assembly (UNGASS) 2016 on world drug problem, reaffirming the control conventions as the cornerstone of the international drug control problem. He further indicated that INCB’s drug conventions now enjoy nearly universal adherence. However, he emphasised the need for achieving consensus by all member states to bring complete realisation of SDG#3.

Apart from drug control treaty compliance, the event also discussed the relationship between drug control and protection of human rights. In view of escalating humanitarian crises around the world, Mr. Viroj Sumvai urged the need for the international community to provide essential medicines, which include all psychotropic medication. He justified that successful and sustainable drug control action depended on consistencies with international human right standards.

Last but not least, the event glimpsed how drug control policies and programmes could achieve SDGs. Ms. Marie Chatardová echoed the findings of High Level Political Forum 2018 (HLPF 2018) that the progress of SDG#3 has been closely measured across countries. Measurement indicators under SDG#3 include drug access, drug treatment and drug rehabilitation. In addition to SDG#3, H.E. Alicia Buenrostro Massieu stated that more than half of the SDGs are achieved in line with drug control. For example, drug control could promote resilient cities from drug trafficking and thus achieve SDG#11. Monitoring illicit drug trafficking across borders could foster global partnership for sustainable development and thus achieve SDG#17.

International Narcotics Control Board Side Event: Drug Control Treaty Compliance, Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Monday 2nd July 2018; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 7, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Ms. Marie Chatardová, President, Economic and Social Council
Mr. Viroj Sumyai, President, International Narcotics Control Board
Ms. Marie Chatardová, Permanent Representative of Czech Republic to the United Nations
Mr. Stefano Berterame, Chief of the INCB Secretariat’s Narcotic Control and Estimates Section
H.E. Alicia Buenrostro Massieu, Chairperson, Bureau of The Commission on Narcotic

Drugs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki


Leveraging innovative partnerships with higher education institutions towards sustainable and resilient societies

Partnerships are increasingly being valued when it comes to realizing SDGs across the globe. By leveraging partnerships networks, not only can it capture the benefits resulted from synergy effects, but it can also provide more opportunities for different parties to interact with each other. Thus, this meeting focused on case studies on partnerships, especially programs with higher education institutions.

Ms Carpentier first introduced the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) as a recent program jointly launched by various UN agencies to synergize with higher education institutions for advocating SDGs from an educational perspective with students as key players. The representative of Harvard University shared the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure that offers indicators and tools for sustainable infrastructure. An envision rating system, including measurement for leadership, resource allocation and quality of life, is incorporated to reflect the effectiveness of infrastructures as enablers to achieve SDGs.

Ms Thoresen presented an overview on projects of the organization, Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living. She highlighted the importance of addressing pedagogical learning process, government education policies as well as interdisciplinary research when it comes to connecting teaching and learning with SDGs. Mr Howard, representing the University of Oxford, illustrated a lifelong learning programme offered by the University, the Sustainable Urban Development Programme, as an example of partnerships with NGOs, professionals and the academia to empower more individuals on understanding SDGs.

The meeting was concluded by a discussion on the current extent of students’ engagement in formal education setting, such as schools, regarding SDGs implementation at local level. Ms Thoresen pointed out that a revamp of school curriculum is possibly needed to better equip students to face upcoming challenges as future generations. Professor Iglecias suggested that a bottom-up approach should be promoted to facilitate students to initiate ideas for realizing SDGs more effectively.

Meeting: HLPF 2018 – Leveraging innovative partnerships with higher education institutions towards sustainable and resilient societies

Date/Location: Conference Room 5, UNHQ NYC; 10:00-11:45; July 11th 2018

Speakers: Ms. Chantal line Carpentier (Chief of UNCTAD New York Office), Ms. Cristina Contreras, (Representative of Harvard University), Ms. Victoria W. Thoresen (Representative of Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living [PERL]), Mr. Jakob Grandin (Representative of University of Bergen, Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation), Mr. David Howard (Representative of University of Oxford), Professor Patrícia Iglecias (Head of Environmental Affairs, University of Sao Paulo)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

The Situation in South Sudan

Lieutenant Commander Ashraf Siddiqui of Bangladesh, a UN peacekeeper, was killed on Tuesday, June 26th when a U.N. convoy was attacked. This situation happening in South Sudan is among the most serious in the world.

The Representative to Cote d’Ivoire stated how alarmed they were with the persistent inter-ethnic violence. It is important that we encourage the government to ensure the security and well-being of the people. It is the Security Council’s duty to condemn attacks against humanitarian workers. This can be achieved through an establishment of a joint tribunal. Above all, the Security Council must be eager to be a part of the process, not just cast blame. Protection of civilian and human rights is key in all efforts of peace. It is up to the South Sudanese leaders to see to it that those who have committed this horrific war crime be brought to justice.

The Representative of South Sudan addressed the council by saying that last month there was light at the end of the peace tunnel. Today, he reported that the light is much brighter. On today, June 28th, 2018, South Sudan is pleased to report that positive news from Khartoum has come from this senseless tragedy. Last night, awarding parties in South Sudan have signed a declaration of peace in which they have pledged to bring peace to people of South Sudan. This document is a framework of peace and proof that through dialogue and diplomacy, any conflict can be resolved.

Meeting: The Situation in South Sudan

Date/Location: Thursday 28th June 2018; 10:00 to 13:00; Security Council Chamber; UN Headquarters, New York, NY.


Ms. Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations

Representative of Cote d’Ivoire

Representative of South Sudan

Written By: WIT Representative Esmeralda Abdourazak



“Small Business, Big Impact: The Youth Dimension”

On the International Day for Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, the UN, International Trade Center, Permanent Mission of the Argentine Republic and the International Council for Small Business put together a panel presentation on bringing youth and businesses together.

His Excellency Mr. Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. brought up the need to “deglamorize” big (regarding big business). We must start building up the reputation of being “small” and being good at it. Small enterprises employ the most people and account for most of the economy in the Philippines. For the most part, a lot of small enterprises belong to the underground economy- where it is difficult to regulate and easy to evade. Although that sounds bad, it is how they are able to grow. The problem today is that young people cannot afford to learn from their mistakes, that’s why this initiative will help them prevent costly mistakes.

Mr. Paul Maseli informed us that today’s youth face an unprecedented level of challenges when it comes to starting a business. Many face barriers when trying to start up a business. Documented challenges include lack of skill/access to the market and funds, being deemed as high risk by banks because of their age and no experience in navigating regulatory framework.

Income and employment opportunities are key to rebuilding infrastructure. We can achieve that by supporting local business so we can stimulate local and national development.

Meeting: Panel Discussion entitled “Small business, big impact: The Youth Dimension”, on the occasion of the International Day for Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (A/RES/71/279).

Date/Location: Wednesday 27th June 2018; 10:00 to 12:00, Conference Room 9, UN Headquarters, New York, NY.


H.E. Martin Garcia Moritán, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations

Moderator Riefqah Jappie, Representative to the UN, International Trade Centre

Mr. David Hanif, Financing For Sustainable Development Office, UNDESA

Mr. John Denton, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Stephan Spazier, Deputy Trade Commissioner of Austria

Ms. Ashia Sheikh Dearwester, Nest.org

Mr. Farid Hegazy, Senior Technical Cooperation Officer, ILO

Mr. Raymond Landveld, UNCTAD office, New York

Mr. Paul Maseli, UNIDO Representative to the UN

Written By: WIT Representative Esmeralda Abdourazak

Countering the FTF Phenomenon: Combined Efforts of Police and Justice

Terrorism poses a threat to peace and security. Iraq has successfully defended itself from the threat of its global spread. They are committed to respecting and upholding the council’s resolution. In this meeting, they affirmed their commitment to countering terrorism and continue to seek international support for their efforts.

Ambassador Sanchez had a few reflections in his speech to the council. First, that terrorism is a global threat and that no state is immune to it or should have to fight it alone. To combat this global threat, we must avail ourselves of sufficient tools and work together. Second, if we all implement our current obligations, the results would no doubt be superior. He stated that we are not doing bad (in regards the global fight against terrorism) but we could be doing a lot better. We need to keep in mind that holding those accountable for war crimes and prosecuting the offenders is crucial in this process.

Neutrality is a key principle in pursuing threats and joint efforts must meet joint operational solutions.

Another issue is information not being shared enough regarding threats. The Representative of INTERPOL encourages the continued sharing of terroristic information through the I24-7 system. Information conveyed through the INTERPOL channels only matters if it reaches the right hands.

By expanding international cooperation particularly between agencies and institutions, we can achieve better results in the fight against global terrorism.

Meeting: Countering the FTF Phenomenon: Combined Efforts of Police and Justice

Date/Location: Thursday 28th June 2018; 13:15 to 14:30; Trusteeship Council Chamber; UN Headquarters, New York, NY.


H.E. D. Jorge Moragas Sanchez, Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN

H.E. Mohammed Hussein Bahr al-Uloom, Permanent Represent of Iraq to the UN

Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive-Director UNODC

Mr. Jürgen Stock, Secretary-General of INTERPOL

Mr. Julian King, Commissioner (Security Union), European Union

Major General Maher Najem Abdulhussein, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Iraq for Intelligence and Criminal Investigations

Ms. Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate

Colonel Manuel Navarrete Paniagua, Head of the European Counter-Terrorism Centre (ECTC)- EUROPOL

Written By: WIT Representative Esmeralda Abdourazak

Review of SDGs implementation: SDG 7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the meeting took place in the form of an interactive workshop on capacity building of realizing SDG 7, “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. Representatives from the IAEA shared their experiences and product when it comes to energy planning and capacity building across sectors.

Mrs Escobar first illustrated the key elements of formulating capacity building frameworks, which mainly depend on country development priorities since the focus of national policies between developing and developed countries could vary to a large extent. Universal access to energy services and renewable energy technologies are considered critical when it comes to building capacity of energy planning. At the same time, development of human resources along value chains and institutional capacities are imperative to an effective framework.

The meeting then turned to discuss details of energy planning process to achieve SDG 7. Mr Shrosphire explained how to establish a clear yet adaptable energy policy by using systemic energy planning process with clear stakeholder roles. It is vital to acknowledge technological advancements, such as electric cars and smart appliances, to facilitate long-term energy planning. For countries who consider nuclear power as an alternative energy source, a hundred-year plan is advised to be mapped in light of its complexity and plausible impact. Mrs Escobar added that principal objectives of energy planning should include information, decision-making as well as implementation. Effective communication is also needed among relevant parties. Data analysis, in addition, is crucial in energy planning to show possible consequences of decisions making and assisting policymakers to make well-informed decisions.

Meeting: High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development  – Review of SDGs implementation: SDG 7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Date/Location: Conference Room 5, UNHQ NYC; 15:00-18:00; July 10th 2018

Speakers: Mr. David Shrosphire (Section Head of Planning and Economic Studies Section, Division of Planning, Information and Knowledge Management, Department of Nuclear Energy, International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]), Mrs Ilse Berdellans Escobar (Energy Systems Analyst, Planning and Economic Studies Section, Division of Planning, Information and Knowledge Management, Department of Nuclear Energy, IAEA)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

Effective tools employed by Major Groups and other Stakeholders in the 2030 Agenda implementation, follow-up and review

The meeting focused on discussing and reviewing various tools employed by organisations to implement the 2030 agenda. An array of strategies was exemplified by panellists when it comes to awareness-raising and capacity building across sectors in society.

Ms Luthra, representative of the Women’s Health and Education Center, introduced an online platform, named WHEC Global Health Line. It is an E-Platform aiming to serve health providers across the globe by providing health resources, especially for women. Mr Luthra emphasized the importance of securing inclusive societies and ensuring health well-being of individuals. She highlighted a number of features of the platform, including subject-specific gateway, internet-search-strategy and impact factor analysis.

Ms Weber, leading a few organizations from the State of Parana in Brazil, shared experiences from different aspects to implement SDG at a local level. The Institute of Social and Economic Development, for example, evaluates public policies of the state and offers feedbacks in terms of SDG alignment. However, it is challenging to obtain comprehensive datasets due to unavailability of disaggregated data by location. The Bureau of Information technology of the State of Parana showed a mobile application on SDG as a tool to make the concept of 2030 agenda available to all localities. The Parana State Urban Development mentioned the need of strengthening partnerships while the department has been financing cities through providing loans on investments of social infrastructures.

Dr. Harrington, representing CISDL, presented innovations particularly on SDG 6 and SDG 15. On achieving clean water and sanitation for all people, trans-boundary environmental impact assessments were introduced by the “Espoo Convention”. Regarding SDG 15, “Life on Land”, it is observed that there is an increase of state effort to restrict or ban poaching and related products, especially in United Kingdom and China where new laws were enacted.

Meeting: High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2018 – Effective tools employed by Major Groups and other Stakeholders in the 2030 Agenda implementation, follow-up and review

Date/Location: Conference Room 5, UNHQ NYC; 10:00-13:00; July 10th 2018

Speakers: Ms. Rosemary Olive Mbone (Abibimman Foundation), Ms. Rita Luthra (Women’s Health and Education Center), Ms. Deisi Noeli Weber (World Family Organization and UNAPMIF), Mr. William E. Kelly (World Federation of Engineering Organizations), Dr. Alexandra Harrington (Centre for International Sustainable Development Law [CISDL))

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung