HLPF Informals

www.un.orgThe session was organized by the co-facilitators to get comments from member states and permanent observers of the United Nations, on the Ministerial Declaration for the 2016 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. Ambassador Gustavo, in his opening remarks, stated that this is the first to follow-up and implement the 2030Sustainable Development Agenda.

Ambassador Gustavo explained that the Ministerial Declaration, which was sent in a letter from the Co-facilitators to all permanent representatives and permanent observers on 13 June 2016 contain potential elements of the draft Ministerial Declaration.

Ambassador Gustavo further highlighted the importance of the “Global Sustainability Development Report” which was included in the Ministerial Declaration, stating that the scope of the report is one important component of the follow-up and review process for the 20130 Agenda on Sustainable Development and will inform the HLPF to make policy decisions to reduce poverty.

After the brief introductory statement, Ambassador Gustavo opened the floor to all permanent representatives and member states to comment on the HLPF Ministerial Declaration.

After comments from member states, Ambassador Gustavo opened the floor for other organizations or permanent observers to the United Nations to comment on the HLPF Ministerial Declaration.

The major call from the different organizations was the need for global partnerships at all levels to achieve the global sustainable development agenda.

Ambassador Gustavo ended the session by thanking all for the interventions and participation despite the short notice to prepare for this session. He handed over the floor to his Co-facilitator, Ambassador Gillian to give her final comments.

In her final words, Ambassador Gillian thanked everyone for their constructive work and that she looks forward to working with all on the HLPF.

Meeting: Informal consultations on the draft ministerial declaration of the high-level political forum on sustainable development for 2016, convened under the auspices of the Council, and the high-level segment of the 2016 session of the Council, convened by the co-facilitators (Australia and Peru).

Date/Time/Location: 16 June 2016/15:40 to 18:00/ Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Co-facilitators from Peru (Ambassador Gustavo) and Australia (Ambassador Gillian Bird), delegates member states, stakeholders and NGO representatives.

Reported by:   Fred Yonghabi

Technology and the Sustainable Development Goals

Todays morning meeting revolved around realizing the potential science, technology and innovation has to help us achieve our SDGs. Mr. Kamen began by emphasizing the importance of creating scientists and engineers from our youth equally throughout the world. He showed two videos of his technology program, FIRST, a foundation that makes science just as enjoyable and entertaining to our youth as sports. He advised member countries to figure out a way to include their own FIRST programs in their respective states. Professor Co from Northwestern University continued the general assembly by promoting member states to work towards a future that can take advantage of our recourses and youth, such that one-day gasoline can be generated when needed and done so through renewable energy that will not contribute to climate change. He explained that partnerships of nations and a classification system of modern knowledge can make government funded research more accessible and help align target research with SDGs.

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Both Ambassador Joon and Secretary General Ki-Moon gave statements regarding the power of science and innovation. Mr. Ki-Moon stated that tech and innovation must not be limited to SDG17 or confined to the use of new technologies and software, rather innovation is a mindset and attitude we must utilize. He also noted that the Multi-Stakeholder forum will take place each year until 2030 to allow all sectors of society to work together and look outwards to include greater cooperation through parliaments. Mr. Nakicenovic represented the Group of 10 and spoke about their belief in the importance the forum holds in terms of STI and how central it is to human development and is the primary mechanism for achieving SDG. His plan is to increase the sustainable development plan of agenda 2030 and create a 2050 plan.

Meeting: Multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Time/Location: Monday, June 6, 2016; 10:45-13:00; Conference Room 1

Speakers:  Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of United Nations; Ambassador Oh Joon, President of ECOSOC; Mr. Dean Kamen, American entrepreneur and founder of FIRST; Professor Dick T. Co, Research Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University; Komal Ahmad, Founder and CEO of COPIA; Mr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Deputy Director General/ Deputy CEO of the International Institute for Applied System.

Written by: WIT representative Amirali Agha-Khan

Edited by: WIT Administrator Modou Cham

Photo: www.ssr.titech.ac.j

The Oceans We Need for the Future We Want

Mr. Miliband explained that the Global Ocean Commission bridges ocean experts with business communities to explore environmental and political interests. Experts are concerned with the loss of ocean biodiversity due to increases in technology, demand for resources, and subsidies. The Global Ocean Commission proposed an SDG and addressed the Implementing Agreement to deal with the lack of governance in parts of the high seas, provide monetary benefits, and build partnerships. The Implementing Agreement solves the need for clearer routes in unprotected areas of the ocean and addresses the use of genetic marine resources. The decline of the ocean is evident, bringing a new matter to the debate: urgency.

The Global Ocean Commission promotes transparency among stakeholders and aligns interests (political) with UN leadership, national leadership, and economic incentives. Ms. Richards discussed the importance of the Implementing Agreement for marine biodiversity, climate change, ocean acidification, and SIDS. Strategies must be developed to sustain the ocean and stabilize SIDS’ economies. Governments need to promote swift and decisive action to protect, conserve, and share marine resources. Existing measures to conserve biodiversity are negligent. Saving the ocean is a joint effort. Mr. Deaner mentioned there are a couple of “ocean problems” piling up. He stated that countries are at a crucial point for tackling problems and offering solutions. The deepest dilemma agencies are facing is governance of the ocean. Part of the solution is creating a global, complementary framework to align current ideas for ocean sustainability. Ms. Svensson emphasized the need to have global and regional work linking climate change to ocean issues and the land to the sea. Human actions on land lead to waste in the ocean from higher plastic content to acidification. She concluded that the ocean is an economic, social, and cultural problem and not just an environmental issue.

Meeting: The Oceans We Need for the Future We Want: High time for the BBNJ to make the call to action

Date/Location: Wednesday, January 21st, 2015; 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm; Conference Room 5

Speakers: David Miliband, Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission; Max Diener, Legal Consultant of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico; Lisa Emelia Svensson, Sweden’s Ambassador for Oceans, Seas, and Freshwater Support; Shorna-Kay Richards, Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica

Written by: Paige Stokols and Ellie Guner

“The Holocaust, Homosexuals and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Today”

The United Nations DPI/NGO Relations organized and led an expert panel to discuss the International Holocaust Remembrance Day that the United Nations honored on January 27th. In particular, this meeting was created to talk about the treatment of homosexuals and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender during this period of time. The Chief of NGO Relations, Mr. Brez stated that we can achieve the United Nation’s goal and mission of leaving no person behind in 2015. 220px-Pink_triangle_up.svgThus, learning from the plights of subcultures within society will help us engender a more positive, accepting outlook on the rest of humankind. The next speaker, Mr. Jensen, talked about the history of the treatment of homosexuals in Nazi Germany: “Carl Vaernet conducted experiments on those convicted of homosexuality at Buchenwald.” He emphasized the idea that understanding history is crucial in understanding the atrocity of the crimes committed against human kind. The next speaker, Mr. Bustamante stressed how learning about the history of the Rights of Discriminated people aligns with the UN’s goal of advocacy and education. He stated, “equality is for all, and no one should be discriminated against.” Mr. Radcliffe spoke of the human right abuses in Nazi Germany and the progress humanity has made to have a more inclusive society, accepting of same-sex relationships as well as other definitions of “family.” However, he qualified those statements by reminding the audience that some countries today are still behind the curve, and there are still people and groups of people that are discriminated against. In closing, Mr. Radcliffe suggested that there remains work to be done to make sure groups are not marginalized, and one important step would be advocating policy and legislative change by working with civil societies, victims, and human rights monitors.

Meeting: The Holocaust, Homosexuals and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Today

Thursday, January 29, 2015; 11:00-12:30; Conference Room 2

Speakers: Jeffrey Brez, Chief of NGO Relations and Advocacy at UN Department of Public Information; Erik Jensen, Associate Professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; Charles Radcliffe, Chief of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Rafael de Bustamante, Counselor – Human Rights and Social Affairs – EU Delegation to the UN

Written By: Daniel Cho

Edited By: Modou Cham

Special Event: Responsibility of States: State of Play and the Way Forward

6365386329_f24a5e7976_zThe Permanent Missions of the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Portugal, and South Africa co-organized a special event on the legally binding status of the “Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts.” Opening statements were made by Mr. Divel Tladi and Mr. Pavel Šturma, members of the International Law Commission (ILC). Professor Šturma stated that the draft articles are not yet “legally binding documents but enjoy a high level of authority” i.e. they are often referred to by international courts and tribunals.

Mr. Tladi asserted that the current trend of treating the ILC’s products without further deliberation and the input of states was dangerous for the international community. Assessment of the Commission’s approach should be addressed through a convention in which developing states could contribute. The Director of the Czech Republic’s International Law Department echoed a concern of Daniel Bethlehem, that codification would enable broad responsibility for states. Thus even those who provided military aid to other states have committed a wrongdoing in certain cases.

Dr. James Crawford, one of the contributors to the “Responsibility of States Act”, emphasized that though a convention may be progressive, countermeasures and varying views on multinational criminal responsibility would make consensus “virtually inconceivable”. The legal advisor to the Polish Foreign Minister also did not support the provocation of a conference, to which Portugal firmly disagreed. Earlier, a Portuguese legal advisor called conventions “the natural output of ILC work” that enables more stability.

Meeting: Special event on “Responsibility of States: State of Play and the Way Forward”
Location:
Conference Room 7, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date:
29 October 2014
Written By WIT Representatives:
Alis Yoo and Brian Lee

Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey and Aslesha Dhillon

The Economic and Social Council Sets the Stage for its 2015 Session

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Today the opening of the 2015 Session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was held at the United Nations Headquarters, where the ECOSOC adopted a provisional agenda and took action on two draft decisions.

Mr. Sajdik congratulated the 2014 Session for being successful. In its 2014 session, the ECOSOC integrated the Segment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the First High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The HLPF met under the Council Auspices, further consolidating sustainable development within the framework of the UN system and solidifying the implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda.

Mr. Sajdik added that the council aims to build on the 2014 achievements for the 2015 session. The new session will be significant as it coincides with the negotiations toward the development of the post-2015 agenda. The session will include in-depth reviews of internationally agreed goals, a developmental operational forum and an examination of the constantly evolving trends in development cooperation. All of these objectives will be supported by the functional organs, regional bodies and committees. Mr Sajdik emphasized that engagement should be deepened among members states and civil society members in order to achieve successful outcomes.

The Council successfully adopted it’s provisional agenda and the draft decisions based on two themes: “Managing the Transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals:  What Will it Take?” and  “Achieving Sustainable Development Through Employment Creation and Decent Work for All.”

Meeting Title: Opening of the 2015 Session of the Economic and Social Council

Speakers: H. E Mr. Martin Sajdik (Austria), Council President.

Location: Economic and Social Council, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Date: 21 July 2014

Summary Written by WIT Representative: Nusrat Laskar

Edited by: Suzy Hallak

Bringing Young People To The Forefront Of SDG Monitoring

download (1)Plan International convened a panel to seek best practices on consultation method involving young people, so that the future monitoring process of the sustainable development goals can include effective participation of young people.

The Chair opened by asking young advocates if they know of any institutions of consultation in which young people’s view can be collected. One institution discussed is the UN Young Delegate programme, in which member states nominate young people of their country to speak in the Third Committee of the General Assembly. While there is enthusiasm surrounding this proposal, there are concerns as to whether the programme can reach out to the most marginalized children in a country. Further, there are also questions as to whether the Youth Delegates can reach out to their constituencies during their tenure in New York, which is core to their task of representing young people in their country.

Further consultation mechanisms, such as universal periodic review mechanism used by the UN Human Rights Council are advocated as possible means to involve young people in monitoring the progress of the SDGs. The mechanism’s provision for civil society to write shadow reports in response to member states’ submission allow young people to pinpoint lapses in the country’s progress and areas for improvement. The role of national Youth Advisory Board, a mechanism mentioned and strengthened in the Colombo Declaration of Youth, is also highlighted as a possible means of monitoring and consultation.

Attention is also paid as to whether the outcome of the monitoring process can be fed back to the decision-makers, as there are worries as to consultation of youth being reduced to a mere public relations exercise. Concerns about the decision-makers’ capacity to engage with young people were also raised, as some young delegates mentioned their experience of being patronized when making suggestions.

Meeting Title: Youth participation in monitoring to ensure accountability for the post-2015 development framework
Speakers: Representative from Plan International, Representative from Overseas Development Institute, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and Youth Delegates
Location: Conference Room 7, North Lawn Building, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 2 July 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Breaking the Silo Approach in implementing the SDGs

downloadOne overarching characteristic of sustainable development is its three-pillared nature, which encompasses economic, environmental and social sustainability. To ensure that the sustainable development goals (SDGs) truly integrate the three pillars, Ambassador Sajdik convened an interactive dialogue on breaking the “silos mentality” to sustainable development .

Mr. Netshitenzhe spoke on the administrative reforms required to break the silo-approach to development, which included bringing together all government actors in the planning process, aligning the planning cycle of different government agencies, and maintain a hierarchical discipline to ensure that subsidiary agencies see to it the developmental plan initiated by the centre of government. He also highlighted the role of involving the science and private sector in implementing sustainable development. Ambassador Drobnjak echoed this point, stressing that the bottom-up consultation process will provide synergy to the solutions.

Ms. Hickey introduced the forum to the concept of Natural Capital Accounting, which is an exercise of quantifying the natural resources and analyzing ways to maximize the sustainability of the resources. She is followed by Ms. Ramma, who provided a case study of using Natural Capital Accounting to find out how to achieve optimal use of Mauritius’s water resources. Instead of continuing its sugar-cane planting economy, which uses 48% of Mauritius’s water resources but generate only 1.1% of its GDP, finding suggests that transition to production of ethanol from the sugar cane can lead to increase in GDP and improve import-reliant energy sector of the country.

In closing, Ms. Invanova added that science educators need to adapt to a interdisciplinary approach to educating future scientist, and move away from the sectorial, differentiated studies of individual topics. She believed interdisciplinary programmes involving education of science, international relations and financial literacy can equip our future generations with the skillsets to solve problems of their time.

Meeting Title: Moderated Dialogue “From silos to integrated policy making”
Speakers: His Excellency Martin Sajdik (Austria), President of the Economic and Social Council; Mr. David Nabarro, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Food Security and Nutrition, and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement; Mr. Joel Khathutshelo Netshitenzhe, Executive Director, Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, and member of the National Planning Commission, South Africa; His Excellency Vladimir Drobnjak, Permanent Representative of Croatia to the United Nations, and Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Indoomatee Ramma, Chief, Resource Management Division, Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, Mauritius; His Excellency Ferit Hoxha, Permanent Representative of Albania to the United Nations; Mr. Ousainou Ngum, Executive Director, Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development (ACORD) International, Nairobi; Ms. Maria Ivanova, Co-Director, Center for Governance and Sustainability, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston, on behalf of the major group of scientific and technological community; Ms. Valerie Hickey, Sector Manager, Agriculture and Environment Services, World Bank
Location: Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 2 July 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by Wit Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Best Practices and Challenges in Implementing a Moratorium on the Death Penalty

abolitionThe Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Mission of Italy convened a meeting to discuss the best practices and challenges in abolishing the death penalty. Twenty-five years ago, only ¼ of UN member states did not practice the death penalty; today more than 4/5 UN member states have abolished it. However, there are many countries that still regularly use the death penalty, including the United States. H.E. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon began the meeting with a stringent call for all member states to abolish the death penalty. He stated that the death penalty disproportionately has an impact on people who are poor/disadvantaged because they often do not have access to appropriate legal counseling, and further stated that 14 countries permit the death penalty on children.

The Secretary General called on member states to ratify the 2nd optional protocol in the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (abolition of the death penalty), and called on member states to support a resolution in the General Assembly to place a moratorium on the death penalty. “The death penalty has no place in the 21st century, together we can finally end this cruel and inhumane practice around the world”, he concluded. Next, the Permanent Representative of Italy, H.E. Mr. Cardi, affirmed his country’s dedication to the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. He stated that capital punishment is degrading, and denies a person’s fundamental right to life. Following, Dr. Karman pointed out how some countries still use the death penalty as punishment when people speak out against their government, express their opinions, beliefs, thoughts, etc. She called on states to begin by eliminating the death penalty for these “crimes”, and to eventually abolish the death penalty as a whole.

Next, Mr. Garcetti, California’s former D.A., gave a statement on California’s challenges, and eventual success in instituting a de-facto moratorium on capital punishment. He also stated that there is no proof that capital punishment deters crime in the U.S. Furthermore, a study was done in the U.S. which found that it costs more to put a person to death than it does to imprison him/her for life, showing that the death penalty is not only a human rights violation, but an economic burden as well. Concluding the meeting, Dr. Paul Bhatti of Pakistan, and Mr. Maja of Zimbabwe, spoke about their countries’ experiences with the death penalty. Currently, Pakistan has the largest population (8,000) on death row; however, executions have been suspended since 2008. In Zimbabwe, no one has been executed since 2004, and the number of crimes punishable by death has significantly decreased in recent years.

Meeting Title: “Best Practices and challenges in implementing a moratorium on the death penalty”
Speakers: H.E. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; H.E. Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy; Dr. Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner; Dr. Paul Bhatti, Former Minister of National Harmony and Minority Affairs, Pakistan; Mr. Gil Garcetti, Former District Attorney for the state of California, United States of America; Mr. Innocent Maja, Attorney, Zimbabwe
Date: 2 July 2014
Location: Conference Room 1, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan
Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Private Sector’s Current State of Play in the SDG Process

masthead_resourcesDr Louise Kantrow opened the discussion by noting the paradigm transition from the MDGs to the SDGs, wherein the role of the private sector has grown. ICC coordinated the Global Business Alliance 2015, which brought together global and regional business organisations aimed at constructively engaging with the post 2015 process and the UN agencies. The key points from the private sector perspective are the following: effective governance, rule of law, and security are critical enablers to achieve the SDGs; poverty eradication involves economic growth and jobs creations; and therefore it is crucial to address the informal employment and low governance challenges arisen in many developing countries.

H.E. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou recognised that the global environmental and social challenges should be addressed through mobilising private finance for SDGs, innovative and technologically advanced business models. There is a move in the approach of the private sector from maximising profits for shareholders to stakeholders and the planet should be considered a stakeholder. Ms Esin Mete, then addressed the importance of agriculture and rural development as primary drivers to address poverty reduction and food security.

Mr Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro stated that 75 million young people are currently unemployed. It is imperative to not just address the quantity but the quality of jobs available. As economic growth does not automatically create jobs, the private sector is the core driver of jobs. He then addressed the critical need to create a safe environment for workers as every 15 seconds one worker is killed due to working accidents: making it a world epidemic.

Finally Ms Katharine Maloney underlined the fundamental beliefs of KPMG to explain their active participation in the consultations of the post 2015 agenda. First, they recognise the paradigm shift explained previously by Dr Louise Kantrow. Second profitability and developmental agenda are not mutually exclusive. Third, business and social values are inextricably linked. Fourth, the private sector can provide a lot more than money, for instance real ideas, innovation, technical know how and a lot more resources.

Meeting Title: Private Sector Briefing: Current State of Play in the SDG process
Speakers: Dr Louise Kantrow, ‎Permanent Representative to the United Nations at International Chamber of Commerce; H.E. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Republic of Benin to the UN; Ms Esin Mete, Director General, IFA (International Fertilizer Industry Association); Mr Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro, Deputy Director of the ILO Office for the United Nations; Ms Katharine Maloney, Director, Development and Exempt Organizations (DEO) Practice at KPMG LLP.
Date: 3 July 2014
Location: Conference Room 5, NLB, United Nations, New York.
Written by WIT Representative: Aslesha Kaur Dhillon