People and Nature – Solutions to Accelerating Progress Towards the 2030 Agenda and Averting Planetary Catastrophe

Co-organised by Costa-Rica, the Delegation of the European Union with YouNGO, UNEP, WWF and UNDP, delegations and civil organizations convened to discuss solutions that can accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030. The meeting specifically called for collaborative climate action, where the balance between nature and humans can then be restored and sustained.

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HLPF: A Review of SDG 13

The meeting entitled “Review of SDG implementation and interrelations among goals: Discussion on SDG 13 – Climate action including the link to the Climate Action Summit and six action portfolios,” was convened this morning under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council’s High Level Political Forum. The purpose of the gathering was to review progress towards SDG 13, and to demonstrate the inter-linkages between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The structure of the meeting consisted of remarks by four resource persons, and five lead discussants, with intermittent comments from member states and other stakeholders.  

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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

Partnerships for Sustainable Action

 

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In the December 20th session Professor Jan W. Dash discussed climate action as a matter of justice, ethics, and human survival. He emphasized that all SDGs are tied to climate change and that humanity has the power to reduce dangerous effects that climate change had on our planet’s health and biodiversity. H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer spoke on behalf of Small Island Developing States. He discussed the 300 partnership listings and the Samoa pathway. He reinforced the Maldives’ commitment to these partnerships and the necessity of the participation of all stakeholders. H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi reiterated the need for more efficient work to ensure that the SDGs are implemented and stay relevant. He also expressed the need to ensure oceans’ health and that countries enforce nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Dr. Christine K. Durbak shared the relevant work that she and World Information Transfer have provided over the last few decades. The Conference of NGOs began the committee on SDGs in the late 1980s, when WIT was invited to join. WIT focused on connecting the global community’s resources on human health and the environment.

Dr. Judy Buster-Otto discussed mental health and quality of life resolutions in the 2030 Agenda. She explained the work of the WHO and shared how the NGO-SDG forum can work through shared input and ideas, linkages to stakeholders, and advocacy with missions. Ms. Hawa Diallo noted the 66th DPI/NGO conference held in 2016 in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea. She shared the goals of the conference and the action plan for a youth program/agenda. She briefly explained the next conference and the TOGETHER initiative. Ms. Emilie McGlone briefly introduced Peace Boat organization and a few related upcoming youth initiatives and summer programs. Mr. Marc Jourdan expressed his aim to promote SDGs in Dominican Republic. He shared projects in schools and towns based in recycling and sustainable agriculture. Mr. Daniel Perell explained the importance of engagement with the larger NGO body and creating platforms for NGOs to target relevant goals. The election of the of the NGOCSD-NY Executive Board for 2017 ended the session.

Meeting: “Partnerships for Sustainable Actions in 2017 & Beyond”

Date/Location: Tuesday, 20 December 2016; 13:00 to 15:00; Boss Room, Church Center for the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza

Speakers: Professor Jan W. Dash (NGOCSD-NY Lead Adviser on Climate Change; Managing Editor of the Climate Portal website); H.E. Dr. Caleb Otto Ambassador of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi Ambassador and of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations; Dr. Judy Buster-Otto (Adviser to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations); Dr. Christine K. Durbak (Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations; Founder and Chair of World Information Transfer; President of the K. Kovshevych Foundation); Ms. Hawa Diallo (Public Information Officer; NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section Department of Public Information); Ms. Emilie McGlone (Director of Peace Boat US, New York Office); Mr. Marc Jourdan (UN Programs & Outreach Manager; Global Foundation for Democracy and Development); Mr. Daniel Perell (Global Organizing Partner of the NGO Major Group; Representative for Bahá’í International Community to the UN, New York; Chair of the NGO Committee for Social Development)

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

 

SDG 14: Call to Action

 

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In this informal briefing on the ongoing preparations for the United Nations Ocean Conference, the President of the General Assembly, the Under Secretary-General, a special advisor to the conference co-presidents, and the Permanent Representatives of Sweden and Fiji discussed the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. They expressed that without clean and healthy oceans our, and all life’s, place on the planet would be in grave jeopardy. Since 1970, there has been a 49% decline in marine species. By 2050, the ocean is expected to contain more plastic than fish. Representatives discussed specific and necessary targets within SDG 14. They reviewed relevant dates for the upcoming global conference and other plenary meetings and stressed the need to strengthen and replicate current efforts. Moreover, representatives expressed the need to form new partnerships that involve all relevant stakeholders (including governments, the UN system, NGOs, the private sector, etc.) in the spirit of widespread, global, and inclusive participation.

The United Nations Ocean Conference will be held from June 5-9, 2017. It will follow a two-day preparatory meeting, February 15-16, 2017, chaired by the Permanent Representative of Portugal and the Permanent Representative of Singapore. The meeting will discuss partnership dialogues themes and elements for the “Call for Action.” The June conference will assess challenges, identify opportunities for action, strengthen current partnerships and forge new ones. It will be comprised of 8 plenary meetings, 7 partnership dialogues, and an additional special event commemorating World Oceans Day. The conference will also adopt an intergovernmental consensus declaration and a report with co-chairs’ summaries of partnership dialogues. Finally, a list of voluntary commitments for the implementation of SDG14 will be announced at the conference in June.

Meeting: “Briefing on the UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14”

Date/Location: Tuesday, 13 December 2016; 15:00 to 18:00; UN Headquarters, Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: President of the General Assembly; H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog of the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN; H.E. Ambassador Luke Daunivalu of the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the UN; Mr. Wu Hongbo (USG DESA); Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares (USG OLA): Ms. Catherine Pollard (USG DGACM)

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

 

Autism in Africa: Life Saving Awareness

 

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The December 6th session focused on improving the lives of people with autism, advocating policies to prevent social exclusion, and raising awareness. The panelists broadly discussed the importance of improving data, transparency, and accessible resources for community development regarding autism. H.E.s, The Ambassadors of Zambia, Uganda, and Malawi acknowledged the realities of children with autism, whose warning signs often go unnoticed. Parents of speech-disabled children, including H.E.Dr. Mwaba Kasese-Bota, the Ambassador of Zambia, are often unable to find support in the form of specialized schooling in their communities. H.E. Dr. Kasese-Bota stressed the need to connect the realities of autism with the objectives in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 4. In Uganda, people with autism are not recognized as living with a disability. Their families cannot often afford expensive support resources when they are available. Uganda has several modest facilities for children with autism, cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome. In Malawi, treatments can be unhelpful and even detrimental. However, Malawi’s First Lady, Gertrude Maseko, is a dedicated advocate of autism awareness and access to helpful and non-harmful care.

H.E. David Roet, the Ambassador of Israel confirmed the country’s commitment to African nations and called upon the global community to unite to prevent discrimination, to make effective policies, and to help create a social and economic environment of inclusion. He stressed the need for more specialized medical staff, screening facilities, and schools specialized in care for students with autism. The Missions of Kenya, Poland, Angola and Nigeria focused on enhancing awareness in professional realms including research, collaboration, and efficient and cost-effective delivery of early diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Alan Kadish explained autism and potential contributing factors. He defined the condition as a disability in social awareness and interaction, not intelligence. He discussed United States’ treatment and schooling opportunities for children with autism. One mother described the special Israeli military roles offered to citizens with autism. Dr. Joel Wallach discussed studies of autism in children and the association of environmental change with worsening conditions for the child.

Meeting: “Autism in Africa: Life Saving Awareness Implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Angola, Israel, Japan, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia)

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, 6 December 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; UN Headquarters, Conference Room 4

Speakers: H.E. Ambassador Dr. Mwaba Kasese-Bota of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Dr. Richard Nduhurra of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Necton Mhura of the Permanent Mission of Malawi to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador David Roet of the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations; Counselor Fidel Casimiro on behalf of H.E. Ambassador Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins of the Permanent Mission of Angola to the United Nations; Margareta Kassangana-Jakubowska Minister-Counsellor Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Poland to the United Nations; Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Kenya to the United Nations; Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations; Dr. Alan Kadish of Touro College; Dr. Joel Wallach, Marylice Fegeley of Parent to Parent of New York State

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

El Niño, A Continuing Global Threat

 

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In this session, the General Assembly discussed the environmental and socioeconomic effects of El Niño, a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with extreme and dangerous impacts on global weather patterns. H.E Mr. Peter Thomson began and stated that El Niño has directly affected over 60 million people globally. The negative effects on communities worldwide have been profound, including malnutrition, waterborne diseases, and limitations to healthcare and educational resources. Additionally, he highlighted El Niño’s detriment to the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals. In many cases, El Niño’s weather patterns have already undermined progress made since the SDGs were implemented in 2015. H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez brought attention to Peru’s exceptional vulnerability to natural disasters given its geography. As a result, Peru has instituted preventative measures and increased focus on risk management. He noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set clear global targets for disaster risk management.

The Representative of Ecuador added that the peak period of El Niño ended in May, however the economic impacts remain difficult to measure. He explained that El Niño has decreased harvest crop volumes, destroyed rural infrastructure, and increased food insecurity in the region. He emphasized the importance of the government prioritizing water accessibility. H.E. explained that water can be used for energy and agricultural irrigation as well as for drinking and sanitation. In addition to the federal government taking action, he acknowledged the importance of coordinating solutions with local governments to ensure the safety to all people in Ecuador. He urged other countries to adopt a proactive, rather than reactionary, approach to natural disaster, and stated that Ecuador’s early actions can save thousands of lives.

Meeting: Plenary Meeting, “Action-Oriented Recommendations to Address the Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño Phenomenon,” (Item 13).

Date/Location: Wednesday, 2 November, 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, General Assembly Hall

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez, Permanent Representative of Peru; Distinguished Representative of Ecuador

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

Partnering for Impact to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

#17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

The meeting consisted of a panel discussion on the importance of partnerships in relation to the goal of achieving the SDGs. The panel discussion opened with Mr. Ibrahim Mayaki, and his organization NEPAD is the lead organization in Africa to implement programs across sectors. He explained that the organization is looking at the lens through wealth creation rather than poverty alleviation.  He stated that the emerging trends on which we can reflect are significant improvements in public finance management, prioritizing domestic resource mobilization, and engagement with the private sector. He concluded with the remark that a high participation of the civil society and private sector has a director effect on partnerships, and that the UN development system has to play a leading role to ensure partnerships are genuine and balanced.

The second speaker in the panel was Mr. Sayed Aga, and he said that partnership is an unquestionable and important part of the 2030 Agenda, as the SDGs require massive resources. He stated that the Islamic Development Bank is blending grand resources with banks, and that loan power will be the way forward to address challenges that the SDGs have identified. He also stated that significant investment in the youth is necessary to achieve sustainability. The future workforce will not look for employment alone, but also entrepreneurial opportunities.

Another notable speaker was Ms. Lise Kingo, who announced that over 8,000 companies participate in UN Global Compact, and that working with businesses can provide input into achieving the partnership’s goals. For example, she stated that the CEOs at last month’s meeting suggested that to scale partnerships, the UN should assume greater risks and speak the language of business. After the panelists spoke, the floor was open for delegates to comment and ask questions.

Meeting: Operational activities of the United Nations for international development cooperation: Follow-up to policy recommendations of the General Assembly and the Council. Panel discussion on “Partnership approaches: How to ensure accountability, coherence and evaluation of impact?”

Date/Location: Wednesday February 24, 2016, 10:00 – 13:00; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Moderator Mr. Amir Dossal, Founder and Chairman, Global Partnerships Forum Panellists; Mr. Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, New Partnership for Africa’s Development, African Union; Mr. Sayed Aqa, Vice-President for Cooperation and Capacity Development, Islamic Development Bank; Ms. Lise Kingo, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact; Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and InterAgency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: United Nations