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

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WORLD OCEAN’S DAY

Goal-14

In his opening remarks, H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, addressed the issue of environmental justice with regard to rising sea levels, ocean temperature rise, and fishery decline – all of which pose increasing threats to the wellbeing and livelihoods of Pacific island nations whose actions towards global climate change have remained minimal. Palau calls upon stronger global partnerships that allow for a united mobilization towards SDG 14: Life Below Water, as well as funding to help island nations face the challenges they will come across in the upcoming years.

During the keynote address, Mr. Nainoa Thompson shared his first-hand experiences whilst aboard the Mãlama Hanua Worldwide Voyage, Polynesian Voyaging Society, and their visitation to 27 countries. Bringing awareness on the environmental issues faced by island nations, as well as expressing their values and indigenous knowledge, the organization seeks to connect with diverse communities and scientific practices in order to strengthen innovation and capacity building. Inspiring the world to navigate toward sustainability, the Voyage reminds us of our ‘Island Earth’ and the responsibilities we have to protect it. By understanding and caring for our natural environment we can set it as a priority, and only then, develop an economy around it. The Voyage articulates an identity based on the ocean, and calls upon leaders to not simply read and sign declarations but to commit to solutions, foster innovation, and use entrepreneurship to support and achieve SDG14.

Meeting: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations: World Oceans Day – Voyaging to a Sustainable Planet

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, June 8, 2016; 15:30 – 18:00; Conference Room 1

Speakers: H.E Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau; Pomai Bertelmannn; Nainoa Thompson, Master Navigator and President, Polynesian Voyaging Society; U’ilani Hayes Halau Ku Mana; Dr. Caleb Otto, Permanent Representative of Palau to the UN

Written By: WIT Representative, Lena Courcol

Edited By: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

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

International Year of the Family

arton3606The meeting began by Ms. Yang’s introduction of the Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the objectives of the International Year of the Family and its follow-up processes. She explained the strong correlation between family policies and sustainable development, with an emphasis on the way in which poverty reduction can be facilitated as a result of formulating sustainable family policies.

In enlisting members’ support of the resolution concluded in the report outlining the outcome of the 54th Session of the Commission, Mr. Jinga introduced the deliberations result and thus the resolutions that contain states’ action on the recommendations presented. He also stressed that the political guidance provided by the Commission is crucial to eliminate poverty at 2030 by leaving no one behind. Further, he expressed his concern that in the midst of globalization, technological advancement and social development – drivers of inequalities that are continuingly growing, it is important for relevant stakeholders (civil society, academia, nation states and private sector) to clearly identify different inequalities and their drivers by including vulnerable and marginalized group in policy formulation, therefore translating commitment into result by 2030 under the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

To add-on the discussion on alleviating gender inequalities, the Representative of Mexico cited the amendment of it’s own constitution by avoiding discriminatory languages in classifying people with different gender and sexual orientation, therefore creating an equal society – a successful move that could be taken reference of.

The Commission concluded the meeting by approving three draft resolutions as outlined by the said report for the adoption by ECOSOC with one on the Commission’s future organization and working methodology, another on social dimensions of the new partnership for Africa’s development, followed by the last one on strengthening social development in the contemporary world. Whilst the first and the last resolutions were endorsed unanimously by consensus, a rare vote was required by member states on the second one, with a vote of 26 in favour, 16 against, with no abstentions. A point observed by the writer is that those in favour are predominantly developing countries whilst naysayers are mostly developed ones like Japan.

The meeting was then adjourned, and would be resumed on 3th June, 2016 at 10:00 with follow-ups that include but not limited to questions related to international cooperation on economic and environmental issues.

Meeting: The 28th Meeting of Commission for Social Development of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Social and human rights questions: Social development, Session 2016

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, 2 June, 2016; 15:30 – 18:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: His Excellency Mr. Ion Jinga, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations; Former Chair of the Commission for Social Development of the Economic and Social Council, Ms. Wenyan Yang, Chief of Social Perspective on Development Branch, United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development, President of the Meeting, Representative of Mexico

Written by:  WIT Representative, Raphael LEUNG

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

 

United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport

Action_on_the_Ground_Peace_through_sport_540This meeting focused on incorporating sports into the work to achieve sustainable development goals. Mr. Ban Ki-moon addressed how sports can, “keep kids in school, promote leadership, encourage healthy lifestyles, and empower marginalized communities.” Mr. Kutesa emphasized that sports can teach young children about teamwork, leadership, fair-play, and resilience, stating that “sports have the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” Dr. Bach discussed how the IOC has made a positive impact on the world by donating more than 90% of all its revenue to different sport organizations and players.

Sir Craven stated that sport is the antithesis of war, as it unites all types of people, improves self-discipline, and teaches fair-play. Mr. Donoghue discussed how sport will be harnessed over the next 15 years, with hopes that it will be possible to recognize the power of sport in sustainable development and peace in the post-2015 agenda. Ireland is a strong example of a country in which athletics, such as soccer and rugby, act as essential parts of society, economics, and culture.

Mr. Kim discussed the inclusive nature of sports to foster peace and dignity. He hopes that Gwangju Universiade 2015 will have positive impacts worldwide. Ms. Ruggiero explained how sports can impact women and minority groups–they can help women confidently take control of their own well being, and can also help integrate different socially excluded groups back into their communities.

Dr. Blauwet mentioned that sports can be used as a tool to empower the disabled population as well as to positively stimulate economies, as seen in Beijing and Sochi. Ms. King delivered a powerful discussing the idea that access to sport equates to empowerment, which in turn can bring about powerful change. Ms. Farrell, an advocate for sport development and peace, closed by reiterating that leaders developed today are the footsteps to the the future of tomorrow.

Meeting: United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport
Date & Location: 15 April 2015, Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary- General; H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly; Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee; Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee; H.E. Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the UN, Co-Chair of the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace; H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, CO-facilitator of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post 2015 development agenda; Mr. Angela Ruggiero, Olympic gold medalist, Member of the International Olympic Committee; Dr. Cheri Blauwet, Paralympic gold medalist, CHairperson of the Medical Committee of the International Paralympic Committee; Ms. Billie Jean King, Former no. 1 tennis player and advocate for gender equality; Ms. Asha Farrell, youth coach, A Ganar, Barbados
Written By WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Brian Lee
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Achieving Sustainable Development Through Employment Creation and Decent Work for All

SustainableDevelopment112614This meeting focused on the idea that education systems, both in developing countries as well as developed ones, are not equipping their youth with the skills needed for all of the jobs in today’s work. As such, many speakers addressed the need to provide professional opportunities through entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, and skills development.

Mr. Prado stressed the need to invest in women as a form of economic growth, and Ms. Vazquez discussed her company, WEConnect International, which works to help educate women and businesses about market demands. When women have equal capacity to compete, they are able grow businesses and create jobs.

The U.S. Representative asked the panel how to address people with low entrepreneurial spirit, and whether technology does not benefit some people. To this, Vasquez answered that beyond some social safety nets, an individual must educate themselves in order to be valued in today’s labor force. Furthermore, she stated that poor, uneducated people do contribute to innovation through technology, as seen with self-taught solar technology engineers in rural India. An EU representative then asked how governments could promote apprenticeships and dual learning systems. Sims answered that the problem with apprenticeship programs lies in incentivizing employers.

On the topic of integration, a Representative of Trinidad and Tobago called for the creation of industries that would allow women to work at home with flexible hours and green enterprise policies. The Russian Federation’s Representative discussed how government assistance to graduates, in the form of apprenticeships and employment search aid, helped integrate them into the workforce.

Meeting: Economic and Social Council, 2015 Integration Segment, 19th meeting “Achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all”
Date & Location: April 1st, 2015, Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Antonio Prado, Deputy Executive Secretary, ECLAC (moderator); H.E. Ms. Omobola Johnson, Minister, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Nigeria and Chairperson of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD); Zachary Sims, Co-Founder and CEO of Codecademy; Elizabeth Vazquez, President, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International; Ron Bruder, Founder of Education for Employment;
Written by WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Alis Yoo

Making the World of Books Accessible to People who are Print Disabled

 

innovtech-pwdsMs. Bas began by presenting the Treaty of Marrakesh, which addresses the current relative lack of availability of print material to print disabled individuals, as the next step in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’s efforts of leaving no one behind. All of the efforts thus far tell us that mainstreaming disabilities is a successful but slow process. It is thus imperative that we encourage promotion and awareness of this new treaty.

Ambassador Webson approved the treaty because the world is now in a position in which it can address the problem of the “book famine”–just 1.7% of print material is available to people that are blind or otherwise print disabled. Thanks to Marrakesh, however, barriers to information are being removed and a new world is being opened up to the print disabled. This is especially significant when considering that access to information is key to getting an education, and education in turn is an proven path out poverty.

Mr. LaBarre discussed the Accessible Book Consortium (ABC), saying that it achieved three objectives:  (1) getting permission from rights holders so entities can exchange book copies across borders; (2) capacity building to enable countries to put books into accessible formats; and (3) accessible publishing, meaning all books are initially created digitally. Mr. Power added that the technology is in place to secure the achievement of such goals, but we must now enable this technology to be available internationally. Cost is also an issue for braille and audio reader technologies, but lower cost solutions are on the way.

Mr. Mitra asserted that addressing the print disabled is a central mission for UNICEF. The education system fails millions of children around the world, yet the technology exists to create book in formats that are accessible to all people. Of course, costs and resources are issues, but to create accessible books requires a one-time production cost at the beginning of the process. If we wish to meet goal number 4, he concluded, there is no other way than to ensure that all textbooks are available to all children.

 

Meeting: Innovative Technologies: Making the world of books accessible to people who are print disabled
Date & Location: 25 March 2015, Conference Room 9, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social policy and Development, united Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).   H.E. Dr. W. Aubrey Webson, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, New York.   Mr. Scott LaBarre, Board Member, Accessible Books Consortium and Representative, World Blind Union. Mr. Dave Power, President and Chief Executive Officer, Perkins, Watertown. Mr. Gopal Mitra, Programme Specialist, Children with Disabilities, Gender Rights and Civic Engagement, UNICEF, New York. Moderator: Ms. Lucinda Longcroft, Head, WIPO New York Office.
Written By WIT Representative: James Victory
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Community and Policy Action to Empower Women

2415633098_37d02e886aMs. Colakovic discussed the status of women in Bosnia, where 25% of peacekeepers are required to be women. Currently, 10 safe houses for women exist and victims of domestic violence are now more encouraged to report violence to NGOs and agencies working on issues related to domestic violence and protection. Ms. Colakovic stated that the most common form of violence is psychological followed by physical and sexual abuse.

Ms. Sisic asserted that to feel safe and protected is a human right. Violence against women and girls is a global human rights issue fueled by a global power imbalance. She stated that political action–not just political will–must be increased. Ms. Swahn explained that gender based violence and the global burden of alcohol are both barriers for development. People who are intoxicated have increased risk of rape and sexual violence, and very little research exists in areas where high levels of alcohol use take place, such as in African countries. Mr. Cortez introduced an initiative that UNDP and WHO are working together on to reduce alcohol consumption.  The goal of this conference is to interfere with health policy specifically in Africa, where alcohol policies have gotten stuck in draft phases.

Ms. Rojhani discussed how non-communicable diseases affect women and how they undermine sustainable development. At least half of the 40 million people with HIV are women, and women who have experienced violence are up to three times more likely to be infected with HIV. Women in general are less responsive to health systems because of a lack of screening, a “one size fits all” approach, and lack of access.

Meeting: Three Major Epidemics Burdening Women: Community and Policy Action to Empower Women (organized by the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina and IOGT International)
Date & Location: 18 March 2015, Conference Room E, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Kristina Sperkova, IOGT International; Aldijana Sisic, UN Trust Fund to End Women Against Violence; Adis Arnautovic, CEM Bosnia and Herzegovina; John Mututho, NACADA Kenya; Clifton Cortez, UNDP HIV, Health & Development Group; Ariella Rojhani, NCD Alliance; Monica Swahn, Georgia State University; H.E. Mirsada Colakovic, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UN
Written by WIT Representative: Paige Stokols
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Leaving No One Behind: Tackling Inequalities In the Post-2015 Development Agenda

A.post-2015_12The meeting began with H.E. Anna Maembe’s remarks on Tanzania’s successes and challenges regarding sustainable development. As she pointed out, Tanzania has made significant achievements, like reducing its infant mortality rate and increasing primary education enrollment. It has, however, also faced difficulties in reducing poverty in rural areas as well as mitigating gender-based violence.

H.E. Juan Sandoval emphasized the need for reliable data in measuring social progress with a human rights perspective. He stated that the inclusion of youth, members of local and provincial communities, as well as the use of national indicators is necessary for sustainable development.

Mr. Roche stated that no target is achieved within a country unless all social groups meet the target, and that disadvantaged groups need to “catch up” in order to achieve national success. He addressed framework issues, disproving the belief that inclusion of marginalized groups inhibits progress. In fact, most of the countries that reduced inequality gaps and did not exclude disadvantaged groups achieved 6% faster progress.

Lastly, Mr. Bhattacharya addressed the issue of the meaning of “Leave No One Behind.” The definition, in the context of a universal agenda, applies to inequalities within countries as well as amongst them. He also stated that convergence is the common core issue in the goal of closing inequality gaps, and systemic concerns are the strongest interventions in achieving this.

Meeting: Leaving no one behind: Tackling inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda
Date & Location: 19 March, 2015, Conference Room 8, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers:
Elizabeth Stuart, Research Fellow, ODI; Jose Manuel Roche, Head of Research, Save the Children; Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Chair, Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals; Peter van der Vliet, Dutch Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN; H.E. Anna Maembe, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development Gender and Children, Tanzania
Written By WIT Representative: Elise Freeman
Edited by WIT Representative
: Philip Bracey

Child Labor & Slavery – DPI/NGO Special Briefing with 2014 Nobel Laureate

96300941Susan Bissell began this briefing by reminding the audience of the 168 million children toiling in child labor or slavery. These crimes deprive children of their right to a protected and healthy childhood and to an education. A great majority of countries have ratified legal frameworks for responsibilities and commitments to children and there is no lack of political commitment to tackle child labor and slavery. There is, however, still a need to challenge cultural norms at national and subnational levels that allow for its continued presence. There is demand by many actors to have stakeholders do more. Bissell recommends that greater data on child slavery be used in order to encourage more effective action.

Mr. Satyarthi added that for every statistic on child labor, there is a cry, and for every figure, a face. This cry is one for freedom; to simply be a child. He believes that we cannot achieve development goals without a strong commitment against child labor. We must dream that every child will achieve primary education instead of being forced into marriage or given guns instead of toys.

There is also a vicious cycle between poverty and child labor–children are preferred as workers because of their low cost. As a result, there must be clear language in the Sustainable Development Goals to combat child labor and slavery. In Mr. Satyarthi’s words, “The number of child laborers has been decreased and it is good news, but we have to work harder. The number of child slaves did not decrease at all. We did not make progress in the most heinous crime against humanity.” To combat child slavery, Satyarthi says we must (1) strengthen the UN system and build belief in multilateralism; (2) address the need for deeper and broader interagency cooperation; and (3) ensure that the UN be proactive rather than reactive.

 

Meeting: DPI/NGO Special Briefing with 2014 Nobel Laureate
Date & Location: 17 March 2015, ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Maher Nasser, Moderator, Director, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information; Susan Bissell, Chief of Child Protection, Programme Division, UNICEF; Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Chairperson, Global March Against Child Labor.
Written By WIT Representative: James Victory
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey