Report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the global health architecture: implementation of the recommendations of the High-level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises

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Today’s morning meeting revolved around strengthening the global health architecture to respond more effectively to health emergencies. This began with Mr. Lykketoft’s opening remark on global health crises and the importance of preparedness in the future. This is followed by the Secretary-General’s speech on the progress on some of the key recommendation made by the Panel on the Global Response on Health Crises. Three developments are highlighted – firstly, WHO’s capacity are consolidated and strengthened through the creation of the WHO Emergencies Programme, which changed the fundamental nature of the organization. Secondly, the recommendation of strengthening the UN system coordination during health crises has been taken seriously and the Deputy Secretary-General has been working to ensure there’s a senior level forum for coordination. Thirdly, the World Bank has launched the pandemic emergency financing facility, an innovative mechanism to protect the world against pandemics.

Mr. Kikwete discusses the findings of the panel, and stressed that donor countries should give serious consideration in supporting building capacities ahead of crises and effective communication and engagement should be given high priority. He urged for a reform of global health architecture to prevent worse situations in the future and outlined two recommendations: the establishment of High-level Council on Global Public Health Crises within the General Assembly, and the organization of the High-level Summit on Global Public Health Crises in 2018.

Mr. Aylward mentioned that disease can exert huge environmental, societal and economic costs and expressed the importance of preparedness and response capacity in preventing catastrophic consequences. He revealed more than 60 partners were identified to work with WHO to implement the Strategy Response Framework, with the focus on putting women in the centre and protecting them and children from Zika virus infection.

This meeting concludes with Mr. Nabarro’s remark on how global health and the sustainable development agenda are interlinked. He stated that global health is a universal attribute and is indivisible to all SDGs as ill health will undermine society’s ability to develop sustainably.

Meeting: Informal meeting of the plenary to hear a briefing on the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the global health architecture: implementation of the recommendations of the High-level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises (A/70/824).

Date/Time/Location: 20 June 2016, 11:00am, Conference Room 3

Speakers: Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the United Nations General Assembly; Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Chair of the High-level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises/President of the United Republic of Tanzania; Bruce Aylward, Assistant Directors-General of the World Health Organization; David Nabarro, Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Written by: Susan Liu

Edited by: Modou Cham

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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

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

Delivering an AIDS-free Generation

Whoopi_Goldberg_UN_Ambassadorjpg

Today’s afternoon meeting held by the UNAIDS council presented a panel of well renowned HIV/AIDS activists, expressing their plea for the continued support of the UNAIDS program in order to one day have an AIDS-free society. The President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, began by praising UNAIDS’ commitment in acting swiftly and their intensified efforts to end HIV transmission. Five years since the UN has joined forces in the global fight to end child transmission of AIDS, significant progress has been made. Noted, was the fact that since inception, 33% of pregnant women now have access to treatment that allows them to stop AIDS from transferring to their newborns. Speakers addressed that an AIDS-free generation requires much more action that is aligned with Agenda 2030. Transmission rates must decrease significantly between mothers and their children by scaling up treatment for the mothers. Work on the ground, directly with the affected population and promotion of access to treatment and funding to countries that are overwhelmed by the epidemic need to be considered.

The Executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, then took the stand and thanked all the countries that are joining the UNAIDS mission to eliminate children born with AIDS. He mentioned that stigma is still one of the biggest challenges behind the fight against HIV/AIDS and that member states must all partner up to stop it. A video was shown of the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya thanking the 21 Sub-Saharan African countries for their unwavering support and partnership. It was mentioned that the only 100% effective way to stop the transmission of AIDS from mother to child is to target adolescent girls and ensure their prevention from getting infected. The meeting ended with the General Assembly President thanking all who participated and showed.

Meeting: Delivering an AIDS-free Generation

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, June 8, 2016; 13:15-14:45; Conference Room 3

Speakers: Ms. Whoopie Goldberg, Host of the View; Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of UN General Assembly and Ambassador of Denmark; Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive director of UNAIDS; Mr. Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health in South Africa, Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia; Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF; Annie Lenox, acclaimed singer and songwriter and founder of SING; Deborah Birx, Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to combat HIV/AIDS; Piyasakol Sakolsataydorn, Minister of Public Health of the Kingdom of Thailand

Written by: WIT representative, Amirali Agha-Khan

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

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

 

Meeting on the Jacob Blaustein Institute’s Manual on Human Rights and the Prevention of Genocide

13604167335_0958c8da2b_bThis meeting commemorated the creation of the Jacob Blaustein Institute’s Manual on Human Rights and the Prevention of Genocide. Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson opened the panel by focusing discussion on developing tools to mobilize action.

Permanent Representative Gasana (Rwanda) stated that we are still witnessing major human rights violations in the Central African Republic, Sudan, Iraq, and Kenya that warrant our resolve. Though it is impressive to see the international community’s commitment since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, Gasana believes that political will is lacking. Of course, in addition to political will, genocide prevention also requires civilian protection, warning systems, and swift, decisive action based on those warnings. Gasana believes that the current conflict-solving model, in which the Security Council manages genocide rather than preventing it, is problematic. He called upon the Security Council to collaborate more with the Special Office for the Prevention of Genocide.

Mr. Dieng stated that the statement “never again” is already a sign of failure: we must continue to take every effort to prevent what happened in 1994. Furthermore, he wanted everyone to refer to the “genocide in Rwanda” as the “genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda in which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were killed.” Dieng acknowledged that genocides are not committed in a vacuum; there are usually warning signs. He challenged the international community to pick up on these early warnings of impending violence and immediately begin taking preventative action.

In the Q&A session, someone asked if an overly cautious approach, in which every human rights violation was deemed a genocide, would undermine the significance of the term ‘genocide.’ Eliasson responded that, rather than trying to distinguish ‘genocide candidates,’ we need to analyze each country’s risks on a case-by-case basis.

Meeting: Meeting on the Jacob Blaustein Institute’s Manual on Human Rights and the Prevention of Genocide
Date & Location: 11 April 2015, Conference Room 11, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General; Eugène-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations; Adama Dieng, UNSG Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide; Felice D. Gaer, Director of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights; Roberta Cohen, non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institute
Written By WIT Representative: Alis Yoo

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

Contribution of Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport to Sustainable Development Goals

06-20-transportSustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) is a network that integrates sustainable transport into worldwide policies. Comprehensive sustainable transportation plans reduce negative environmental and security outcomes and advance progress towards fulfilling the SDGs. Aimée Gauthier asserted that, because SDGs are highly ambitious but non-binding, they could aim to set a higher standard for sustainability in transportation. However, tracking data poses a problem–to confront it, she recommended distinguishing between personal and public transport, measuring how many people live near transport, and encouraged people to consider walking and cycling.

Don Chen called transportation the “cornerstone” for development because encompasses more than simply mobility. Indeed, maximizing accessibility and location efficiency, along with mobility, would help people across all the socioeconomic spectrum. With regard to non-state actors’ involvement, Chen believed that the risk capital model allowed funded groups to make innovative progress in research and statistics. He predicted a growing role for non-state actors in infrastructure development.

Ms. Flax introduced 100 Resilient Cities, which partners with cities to develop strategies that prepare for shocks and stresses. This global network of cities share a broad, holistic view of resilience within which transportation plays a significant role. It is important to protect transportation infrastructure so that it may contribute to positive externalities.

Mr. Salamat addressed the role that the UN plays with regard to sustainable transport by dividing its functions into three categories: analytical, operational, and motive. Ms. Weisbrod believed there should be a focus on maritime transportation. Millions of people using ferries in the developmental world are being overlooked. Intra-urban ferry access should be a mode for transportation, and would help alleviate congestion in cities.

Meeting: Contribution of Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport to Sustainable Development Goals
Date & Location: 25 March 2015, Conference Room A, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Moderator Karl Peet, SLoCaT Sustainable Transport Research Coordinator; Aimée Gauthier, Chief Program Officer, Institute for Transport and Development Policy; Don Chen, Director, Metropolitan Opportunities Unit and Just Cities Initiative, Ford Foundation; Leah Flax, Project Manager, 100 Resilient Cities; Mohammad Reza Salamat, Senior Sustainable Development Officer, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Roberta Weisbrod, Executive Director, Worldwide Ferry Safety Association; James Goldstein, Research Director, Communitas Coalition
Written by WIT Representatives: Ellie Guner and Alis Yoo