GFMD Perspective on Migration for Sustainable and Resilient Societies

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The meeting was a side-event to the annual high-level political forum on sustainable development at the United Nations headquarters. It focused on the inter-linkages between migration and sustainable development goals (SDGs). In the opening remarks, Mr. El Habib Nadir from Morocco highlighted the relevance of resolving the problem of migration for achieving SDGs. Ms. Eva Åkerman Börje from UN Special Representative for International Migration emphasized the need to put more attention on the implementation of SDGs and its relation to migration.

During the panel discussion, speakers identified several SDGs where migration plays a key role. For example, Ms. Charu Bist from UNDP underlined that the varying development level of countries drives the flow of migration. Mr. Dilip Ratha from the World Bank demonstrated the increasing number of forcibly displaced people due to climate change. Ms. Colleen Thouez from Open Society Foundations underscored the importance for cities and inter-city networks to build capacity with urban planning in order to make themselves resilient in the face of an influx of migrants.

At the end of the meeting, speakers concurred that all relevant actors are significant in the dialogue of migration and sustainable development. Particularly, Ms. Karin Goebel, Minister of German Economic Department, called for involvement of stakeholders, including national governments, UN bodies and civil society.

Meeting: GFMD Perspective on Migration for Sustainable and Resilient Societies (organized by Germany and Morocco, GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairs)

Date/Location: Friday 13th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; German House, 871 United Nations Plaza, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. El Habib Nadir, Secretary General, Ministry Delegate to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs;

Ms. Eva Åkerman Börje, Senior Policy Advisor Office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration;

Ms. Charu Bist, Senior Jobs and Livelihoods Advisor, United Nations Development Programme;

Mr. Dilip Ratha, Head – KNOMAD, Lead Economist – Migration and Remittances, Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, The World Bank;

Ms. Colleen Thouez, Director, Welcoming and Integrated Societies Division, Open Society Foundations;

Mr. Julian Pfäfflin, Senior Policy Officer International Migration, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development;

Ms. Marta Foresti, Managing Director, Overseas Development institute;

Ms. Karin Goebel, Minister, Head of Economic Department, Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the UN.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for SDGs

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The meeting is about building smart and sustainable cities in line with SDGs. In the opening remarks, Dr. Chaesub Lee pointed out that ICT infrastructure drives innovation in all economic sectors. Also, new technology contributes to make cities safe, resilient and sustainable. For example, big data helps government improve in public services. To reach the goal of building sustainable cities, he concluded by emphasizing that diverse partnership is essential.

The introduction was followed by a panel discussion. Speakers expressed their views on technology and shared experiences from their countries in building smart cities. Dr. Chaesub Lee underscored that the aim for smart cities is not to make all cities identical. Instead, smart cities should be tailor-made with local data and city priorities based on their history, culture and physical location. Agreeing with it, Mrs. Sophia Papathanasopoulou shared the Greek government’s involvement in shaping smart cities in this regard. However, she indicated the challenge to engage all stakeholders at the first stage.

Seeing this, Ms. Kari Eik from Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER) recommended to bring in financing in the beginning. To make SDG comprehensible and attractive to private sector, she stressed the need to establish a framework for the industry. Also, Mr. Eng Bruno Peters from IBI Group emphasized the need to share data in a more meaningful way to maximize investment. Lastly, Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, reiterated the significance of private-public partnership.

Meeting: Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for SDGs (organized by Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media of Greece with ITU, UNECE and UNESCO)

Date/Location: Thursday 12th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.

Speakers:

H.E. Mrs Maria Theofili, Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN;

Dr. Chaesub Lee, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU;

Mr. Guilherme Canela, Counsellor of Information and Communication for MERCOSUR, UNESCO;

Mrs. Sophia Papathanasopoulou, Head of National Broadband Planning Department, General Secretariat of Telecommunications and Post, Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, Greece;

Ms. Kari Eik, Secretary General, Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER);

Mr. Alexandre Barbosa, Head of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society;

Mr. Eng Bruno Peters, Director, Smart Cities, Deputy Regional Director, IBI Group;

Ms. Meera Alshaikh, Project Manager, Smart Dubai;

Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

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.

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

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

Speaker(s):
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