Review of SDGs implementation: SDG 7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the meeting took place in the form of an interactive workshop on capacity building of realizing SDG 7, “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. Representatives from the IAEA shared their experiences and product when it comes to energy planning and capacity building across sectors.

Mrs Escobar first illustrated the key elements of formulating capacity building frameworks, which mainly depend on country development priorities since the focus of national policies between developing and developed countries could vary to a large extent. Universal access to energy services and renewable energy technologies are considered critical when it comes to building capacity of energy planning. At the same time, development of human resources along value chains and institutional capacities are imperative to an effective framework.

The meeting then turned to discuss details of energy planning process to achieve SDG 7. Mr Shrosphire explained how to establish a clear yet adaptable energy policy by using systemic energy planning process with clear stakeholder roles. It is vital to acknowledge technological advancements, such as electric cars and smart appliances, to facilitate long-term energy planning. For countries who consider nuclear power as an alternative energy source, a hundred-year plan is advised to be mapped in light of its complexity and plausible impact. Mrs Escobar added that principal objectives of energy planning should include information, decision-making as well as implementation. Effective communication is also needed among relevant parties. Data analysis, in addition, is crucial in energy planning to show possible consequences of decisions making and assisting policymakers to make well-informed decisions.

Meeting: High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development  – Review of SDGs implementation: SDG 7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Date/Location: Conference Room 5, UNHQ NYC; 15:00-18:00; July 10th 2018

Speakers: Mr. David Shrosphire (Section Head of Planning and Economic Studies Section, Division of Planning, Information and Knowledge Management, Department of Nuclear Energy, International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]), Mrs Ilse Berdellans Escobar (Energy Systems Analyst, Planning and Economic Studies Section, Division of Planning, Information and Knowledge Management, Department of Nuclear Energy, IAEA)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

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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

Monitoring peace, evaluating institutions, building capacity: A data-driven conversation on SDG 16 and its upcoming 2019 review

The meeting aimed to explore current capacity building progress in achieving SDG 16, “Peace, justice and strong institutions”, from a data-driven perspective. It is commenced by an opening remark delivered by Mr Seth who highlighted that not only it is pivotal to preserve the essence of SDG, but it is also critical to leverage on partnerships to analyse integration between various issues so as to foster people’s engagement towards SDGs.

The representative from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Mr Tommasoli, described SDG 16 as the “enabler, or accelerator” to realize all other SDGs. The use of data is indispensable in an evidence-based analysis as well as complementing national databases. Ms Knuden-Latta then shared her experience on tracking progress towards SDG 16 through global comparable data in order to map a holistic view of the goal. She believed that it is important to identify gaps among official key performance indicators in countries. Moreover, she stated that the understanding of justice and inclusive societies are insufficient in general for nations to conduct appropriate analysis.

Followed by Ms Knuden-Latta’s presentation, Mr Murgatroyd explained the role of trust, partnerships and linkages in capturing progress by data analysis. He mentioned that data should be utilized to a larger extent when it comes to formulating policy or legal frameworks. The senior advisor of the Asia Development Alliance pointed out that little attention has been given to SDG 16 and this goal should be linked with other SDGs at a local, national and global level. Ms Lamarre illustrated a few projects underpinned by the principle of SDG 16 and financed by the UN Development Fund to empower civil societies, promote human rights, and encourage all groups to participate in democratic progress.

Meeting: High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2018 – Monitoring peace, evaluating institutions, building capacity: A data-driven conversation on SDG 16 and its upcoming 2019 review

Date/Location: Conference Room 5, UNHQ NYC; 0930-11:30; July 9th 2018

Speakers: Mr. Nikhil Seth (United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director, UNITAR), Mr. Massimo Tommasoli (Permanent Observer to the UN, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance), Ms. Ursala Knuden-Latta (Research and Policy Officer, Saferworld), Mr. Chris Murgatroyd (Policy Advisor, BPPS/ UNDP), Mr. Anselmo Lee (Senior Advisor, Asia Development Alliance), Ms Christian Lamarre (Senior Programme Officer, United Nations Democracy Fund)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

The Role of Technology: Implementing the New Urban Agenda to Achieve Sustainable Development

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With the advancement of technology nowadays, the role of science and innovation is increasingly valued when it comes to realizing sustainable development goals. The meeting focused specifically on SDG 11(Sustainable Cities and Communities) on implementing new urban agenda with the aid of technology.

The meeting began with a series of opening speeches delivered by distinguished guests. Mr Elefante first illustrated the significance of digital design making tools, such as information modelling, to foster innovation on building and designing cities. Dr Abu-Ghazaleh mentioned that technology acts as driver for everyday life in modern age and brings people and issues to a single community. Mr Guier provided certain examples that highlighted the importance of connecting technology to data on sustainability, including automated waste collection programs and driverless car schemes. Ms Sherif, the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Habitat, added that climate change also posed challenges in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth of cities. Dr. Lubin described the linkage between corporates, cities and sustainability by the business sustainability maturity curve.

The conference followed by two dialogue sessions conducted by different representatives. The first focuses on the emergence of technology where speakers presented various types of information technologies that are incorporated in daily lives. For example, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence. In order to achieve a unified vision on the use of technology to develop sustainable cities, panellists agreed that accountability, public will and team environment are critical elements to be facilitated. The second session concerns the Network 11 Initiative in the Arab region that outlined the challenges of operating in (post-) conflict urban context as well as difficulties in addressing the gap between humanitarian aid and development.

Meeting: United Nations Human Settlements Programme: The Role of Technology: Implementing the New Urban Agenda to Achieve Sustainable Development

Date/Location: Conference Room 2, UNHQ NYC; 10:00-13:00; June 20th 2018

Speakers: Ms Maimunah Mohd Sherif (UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Habitat)

Mr. Carl Elefante (FAIA, President, American Institute of Architects)

Mr Guy Gier (FAIA, President, American Institute of Architects of New York)

Dr. David A. Lubin (Co-Chairman and Managing Director, Constellation Research and Technology, Inc.)

Mr Michal Mlynar (Permanent Representative of Slovak Republic to the United Nations)

Professor Urs Gauchat (CSU, Dean Emeritus of the College of Architecture and Design)

Mr. John Paul Farner (Director of Technology and Civic Innovation, Microsoft)

Mr Jason Whittet (Associate Director in Innovation in Urban Data and Technology, Rockefeller Foundation)

Professor Sarah Williams (Director, Civic Data Design Lab, MIT School of Architecture and Planning)

Professor Mahesh Daas (Ed.D, DPACSA, ACSA Distinguished Professor, Dean, School of Architecture and Design, University of Kansas)

Mr. Phillip G. Bernstein (FAIA RIBA LEED APM Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer Yale School of Architecture)

Dr Talal Abu-Ghazaleh (PhD, CEO, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, Senator)

Professor Lance Jay Brown (FAIA, CSU, ACSA Distinguished Professor, CCNY Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture)

Ms Zena Ali-Ahed (Director, Regional Office for Arab States, UN-Habitat)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects

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This high level meeting aimed to explore the current progress on combating, preventing and eradicating illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.  Representatives focused on three aspects, including implementation of Programme of Action (PoA) at national level, impact of illegal weapon trade on sustainable development, as well as the importance of international collaboration.

Representatives presented national policies and strategies adopted to eliminate illegal circulation of firearms. The United States, for example, established control systems on destructions of weapons while providing assistance to other countries in terms of export control of weapons. The representative of Philippines stated that a nation-wide firearms control program was executed and assured that such program is of top priority of the government.

At the same time, Liberia described the socio-economic consequences brought by illicit trafficking of weapons, such as the emergence of civil wars around the region.  Sierra Leone further added that it is pivotal to ensure the compliance of PoA in order to achieve SDG 16, in particular the forth item, “by 2030 significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organized crime.” South Africa and Netherlands emphasized the importance of maintaining gender equality by empowering more women to engage in addressing illicit trading of firearms.

The Republic of Korea highlighted that it is indispensable for nations to contribute to the Peacekeeping Fund with the purpose for building capacity to facilitate synergies among countries. Cuba and Ukraine echoed that international assistance should be strengthened to enhance global tracing of illegal weapon trading. Argentina suggested providing more training to personnel involved in the PoA according to different needs of nations.

Meeting: United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects: General Exchange of Views

Date/Location: Conference Room 4, UNHQ NYC; 15:00-18:00; June 18th 2018

Speakers: Ambassador Jean-Claude Brunet (President of Conference)

Representative of United States

Representative of Philippines

Representative of Nepal

Representative of Democratic Republic of Congo

Representative of Russia

Representative of Thailand

Representative of Namibia

Representative of Sierra Leone

Representative of Republic of Korea

Representative of Cuba

Representative of South Africa

Representative of Ukraine

Representative of Argentina

Representative of Netherlands

Representative of Mexico

Representative of Egypt

Representative of Brazil

Representative of Colombia

Representative of Peru

Representative of Chile

Representative of Uruguay

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

NGO Committee on Sustainable Development: Leveraging Innovative Technologies for the SDGs & Inclusive Economic Growth

The panel discussion, organized by the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, explored the role of innovative technologies for achieving SDGs and inclusive economic growth from various perspectives. Mr. Sanchez, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN began by stating that technology is placed as the core priority of the Mexican government in order to advocate economic growth with leading standards. He emphasized that how advancement of technology could positively accelerate the progress of achieving SDGs in the 2030 agenda. Partnerships between different stakeholders, such as the government, private sector, particularly, micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as civil societies, are pivotal to address the opportunities posed by technological development.

Ms Moliner, representing the UN women, highlighted the current gender gap in terms of technology production and consumption. She exemplified the current situation by illustrating the under-representation of women as innovators and entrepreneurs, limited market awareness and gender-blind approach to innovation, and inadequate investment in innovations that meet needs of women. Being the founder of an NGO that enhances global technology business ecosystems, Ms Schlegel mentioned a number of examples which utilized technology to improve inclusiveness in start-up industry.

Afterwards, Mr Chuter underscored the importance of expressing gratitude to foster communication and conversation, as well as collaboration and cooperation by bringing charities together to initiate campaigns. The Chairman of Quantum Media Group, Mr. Zoldan, explained how technology, especially block chain, could realize SDGs. With the use of block chain, transactions could be verified and recorded without a local bank, thus eradicating possible fraud potentially. Ms. Zfat, a social media entrepreneur, shared her experience in forming partnerships, for instance, with Samsung and the Council for Economic Education, to amplify impact by minimal resources via social media platforms.

Meeting:  NGO Committee on Sustainable Development: Leveraging Innovative Technologies for the SDGs & Inclusive Economic Growth

Date/Location: 2nd Floor Conference Room, Church Center for the UN; 15:00-18:00; June 20th 2018

Speakers: Ms Margo LaZaro (NGOCSD-NY Executive Board)

Mr Bruno Rios Sanchez (First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN)

Ms Helene Moliner (Senior Policy Advisor on Innovation, Leading the Innovation and Technology Facility of UN Women)

Ms. Mahrinah von Schlegel (Founder of VIAE Global Executive Director of Embassy 2.0

Mr. Mike Chuter (Co-founder of Thankful & Thankful Organization)

Mr. Ari Zoldan (Chairman of Quantum Media Group, CMO of Optherium Labs)

Ms Natalie Zfat (Social Media Entrepreneur)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

Fighting Illicit Trafficking of Firearms : From Data Collection to Effective Action

This meeting was hosted by the Italian Mission to the United Nations and included speakers that lead in Italy’s prevention of trade of SALW as well as speakers from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The UNODC speakers mentioned the goal should be to quantify, characterize, and monitor the illicit arms flow. A huge drawback to this is that proper data collection and management in not part of the culture of developing states. This discrepancy needs to be addressed.

The UNODC specialists stressed three parts to battle the trade of small arms and light weapons: data collection, technical assistance, and champion country initiative. Data collection includes gathering data on arms trafficking and related crimes and technical assistance means that all states to have the needed tools to trace arms. Thirdly, champion country initiative means to continue to conduct national studies on possible links. The Italian Representatives agreed explaining possible connectors to arms trade such as real estate assets associated with organized crime and fiscal fraud.

The meeting then moved to the Italian Representatives, who work with the Italian government, sharing advice on how to tackle this issue. Mr.Pasquali recommended studying past criminal cases which would strengthen detection practices. Also, there needs to be collaboration with national and international agencies such as the national Revenue and Customs agency. Furthermore, the experience of the Italian Mission and UNODC allowed for concrete strategies on the implementation of prevents trade of small arms and light weapons.

Date/Location​: Friday  22th June 2018; 13:15 to 14:30; Conference Room 9, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​:

Mr.Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations

Mr.Matteo Pasquali, Deputy Representative of UNODC

Ms.Simonette Grassi,Consultant at UN Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC)

Mr.Valerio Cendali Pignatelli, Representative of Italy

Mr.Frank Meeussen, Representative of the European Union

Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker

Global Symposium on the role of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

The meeting explores the role of innovation and technology when it comes to facilitating MSMEs’ growth, exemplified by different national case practices.

Mr, Agnaldo De Almeida Dantas shared the Brazilian project, SEBRAE, which aims to simplify the sophisticated process and relationship for MSMEs to access to technologies. He also illustrated the critical factor of establishing partnership with other organizations in order to attain the expected outcomes. Ms Riefqah then focused on how does science, technology and innovation enable inclusive growth of MSMEs from a people-centric approach. Using projects like Trade Facilitation in Kenya as example, Ms Jappie described how does the International Trade Centre foster transparency and comparability of nations’ foreign trade.

The representative from China, Professor Zeng, pointed out the importance of greening MSMEs in the supply chain towards SDGs. He added that scientific innovation could be adopted for e-waste regulation. Dr. Iris introduced an array of projects and partnership initiated by the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada relevant to MSMEs. International collaboration and innovative holistic approach in engaging women are particularly highlighted.

Ms. Memedovic first explained the drivers of the 4th industrial revolution, such as artificial intelligence and block chains, which facilitate the emergence of smart tools nowadays. Opportunities, challenges and critical issues for SMEs are then presented. Ms. Anna addressed the worsening inequality faced by women, especially with the prevalence of digital divide.

Meeting: Global Symposium on the role of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Location: Friday; 8th June 2018; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.

Speakers:

Mr Shantanu Mukherjee (Chief, Policy and Analysis Branch, Division for Sustainable Development Goals, Department of Economic and Social Affairs)

Mr Agnaldo De Almeida Dantas (Analyst, Access to Innovation, Technology and Sustainability Unit, SEBRAW-Brazillian Micro and Small Business Support Service)

Ms Riefqah Jappie (ITC Representative to the UN)

Prof. Zeng Xianlai (Tsinghua University, China)

Dr. Iris Jin (Senior Programme Manager, Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada

Ms Olga Memedovic (Deputy Director, Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation, UNIDO)

Ms Anna Falth (Programme Manager, UN Women)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

High Level Political Forum 2017: Impact Investment and Innovation for SDGs

UNDP is on a journey to connect development assistance with impact investment. Impact investing is an investment that aims to generate specific benefits of social or environmental effects along with financial gains. Impact investing includes venture capital, private equity, debt and range of philanthropic investment tools. UNDP has agreed with the Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia to create a national SDGs Innovation Lab and the work is going on towards achieving SDG’s through impact investment which involves promotion of new financial mechanisms as a vehicle of change for the public sector.

UNDP

INSEAD Business School is committed to “business as a force for good”, the issue of leveraging impact investment for development is particularly relevant for INSEAD and hence their partnership with Armenia and UNDP to bring about innovations in SDG’s. The panel altogether believed in three things – collaborate, understand and implement. Stanford Change Lab believes that, SDGs do not exist in isolation and cannot be solved in isolation. So the problems that haven’t been solved in the past, past solutions cannot be used. Therefore, creating new solutions become a design task. And that is exactly what Stanford Change Lab is providing platform for. Mr. Jones believes that, the SDG’s make sense to investors and they make sense to development, so it is all inter-connected. Therefore, innovation in SDG’s are important and should be looked at from the eye of impact investment which gives opportunities for many new business models and growth for upcoming entrepreneurs. Armenia believes in facilitating an enabling environment for letting innovation come through and ultimately achieving SDG’s through impact investment mechanism, which would also boost the economy of their country.

Meeting: High Level Political Forum 2017: Impact Investment and Innovation for SDGs

Date/Time/Location: July 13, 2017, 10:00 AM – 01:00 PM; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers: HE Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Permanent Representatives of Armenia to the UN; Ms. Cihan Sultanoglu, Assistant Secretary General and Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS; Mr. Bradley Busetto, UN Resident      Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia; Mr. Hans Wahl, Director of Social Entrepreneurship Programme at INSEAD; Alex Khachatryan, Director, Center for Strategic Initiatives of the Govt. of Armenia; Mr. Garo Armen, Founder and Chairman of Children of Armenia Fund; Mr. Souren Aloyan, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Dasaran Educational Program; Ms. Marie Lou Papazian, MD, Tumo Center for Creative Technologies; Mr. Banny Banerjee, Director, Stanford ChangeLabs; Mr. Kevin Jones, Co-founder and Convenor, Social Capital Markets, SOCAP; Mr. Mika Pyykko, Project Director, Impact Investing, Sitra

Written by: WIT Representative Harsh Agarwal

Understanding the Nexus and Implications for People on the Move

This meeting aimed to highlight the linkages between migration, climate, and declining ocean health, and to show the international, regional, national, and local impacts of marine overexploitation. At the nexus of climate change and detriment to ocean health discussed in this meeting also lies fights to eradicate poverty, improve food security and quality of life, the increasing severity of natural disasters, and climate change’s impact on migration.

Oceans Conference

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Mr. Ashraf El Nour opened this meeting by outlining how climate change-related ecological modifications to the ocean have direct consequences on the economy, environment, and quality of life for island and coastal populations, particularly in Small Island Developing States.

Data collected by the International Displacement Center suggests that since 2008, around 22.5 million people are displaced annually as a result of natural disasters of climate change ramifications; most of these individuals come from coastal areas and small island states. Millions of people are still at risk for future displacement, but contemporary initiatives have begun looking towards indigenous populations architectural and agriculture traditions for their flexibility and harmonious congruence with the environment.

The ocean is a transit platform for irregular migration and contributes to migrants missing at sea, border problems, humanitarian problems, and international insecurity. The panelists called for an innovative approach to migration and reconfiguring how we conceptualize refugees so that we might include those who are forced to relocate because of climate-related circumstances.

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esw.org/member/world-wildlife-fund


Meeting: Ocean Health, Climate Change and Migration: Understanding the Nexus and Implications for People on the Move

Date/Location: Monday, June 5, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room A, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers: Mr. Ashraf El Nour, Director, IOM Office to the United Nations; Mr. Jean Edmond Randrianantenaina, Director General of the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Center, Madagascar; Ms. Francoise Gail, Scientific Advisor, Ocean and Climate Platform; Mr. John Tanzer, Leader WWF Global Ocean Practice; Ms. Mariam Traore Chazalnoel, Thematic Specialist, Migration, Environment and Climate Change, IOM; Hosted by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Madagascar in New York; Lead Organizer: International Organization of Migration (IOM) with Partner: WWF

Written By: WIT Representative Mariel Brunman