GFMD Perspective on Migration for Sustainable and Resilient Societies

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The meeting was a side-event to the annual high-level political forum on sustainable development at the United Nations headquarters. It focused on the inter-linkages between migration and sustainable development goals (SDGs). In the opening remarks, Mr. El Habib Nadir from Morocco highlighted the relevance of resolving the problem of migration for achieving SDGs. Ms. Eva Åkerman Börje from UN Special Representative for International Migration emphasized the need to put more attention on the implementation of SDGs and its relation to migration.

During the panel discussion, speakers identified several SDGs where migration plays a key role. For example, Ms. Charu Bist from UNDP underlined that the varying development level of countries drives the flow of migration. Mr. Dilip Ratha from the World Bank demonstrated the increasing number of forcibly displaced people due to climate change. Ms. Colleen Thouez from Open Society Foundations underscored the importance for cities and inter-city networks to build capacity with urban planning in order to make themselves resilient in the face of an influx of migrants.

At the end of the meeting, speakers concurred that all relevant actors are significant in the dialogue of migration and sustainable development. Particularly, Ms. Karin Goebel, Minister of German Economic Department, called for involvement of stakeholders, including national governments, UN bodies and civil society.

Meeting: GFMD Perspective on Migration for Sustainable and Resilient Societies (organized by Germany and Morocco, GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairs)

Date/Location: Friday 13th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; German House, 871 United Nations Plaza, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. El Habib Nadir, Secretary General, Ministry Delegate to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs;

Ms. Eva Åkerman Börje, Senior Policy Advisor Office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration;

Ms. Charu Bist, Senior Jobs and Livelihoods Advisor, United Nations Development Programme;

Mr. Dilip Ratha, Head – KNOMAD, Lead Economist – Migration and Remittances, Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, The World Bank;

Ms. Colleen Thouez, Director, Welcoming and Integrated Societies Division, Open Society Foundations;

Mr. Julian Pfäfflin, Senior Policy Officer International Migration, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development;

Ms. Marta Foresti, Managing Director, Overseas Development institute;

Ms. Karin Goebel, Minister, Head of Economic Department, Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the UN.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

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Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for SDGs

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https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/ssc/Pages/default.aspx

The meeting is about building smart and sustainable cities in line with SDGs. In the opening remarks, Dr. Chaesub Lee pointed out that ICT infrastructure drives innovation in all economic sectors. Also, new technology contributes to make cities safe, resilient and sustainable. For example, big data helps government improve in public services. To reach the goal of building sustainable cities, he concluded by emphasizing that diverse partnership is essential.

The introduction was followed by a panel discussion. Speakers expressed their views on technology and shared experiences from their countries in building smart cities. Dr. Chaesub Lee underscored that the aim for smart cities is not to make all cities identical. Instead, smart cities should be tailor-made with local data and city priorities based on their history, culture and physical location. Agreeing with it, Mrs. Sophia Papathanasopoulou shared the Greek government’s involvement in shaping smart cities in this regard. However, she indicated the challenge to engage all stakeholders at the first stage.

Seeing this, Ms. Kari Eik from Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER) recommended to bring in financing in the beginning. To make SDG comprehensible and attractive to private sector, she stressed the need to establish a framework for the industry. Also, Mr. Eng Bruno Peters from IBI Group emphasized the need to share data in a more meaningful way to maximize investment. Lastly, Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, reiterated the significance of private-public partnership.

Meeting: Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: striving for SDGs (organized by Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media of Greece with ITU, UNECE and UNESCO)

Date/Location: Thursday 12th July 2018; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.

Speakers:

H.E. Mrs Maria Theofili, Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN;

Dr. Chaesub Lee, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU;

Mr. Guilherme Canela, Counsellor of Information and Communication for MERCOSUR, UNESCO;

Mrs. Sophia Papathanasopoulou, Head of National Broadband Planning Department, General Secretariat of Telecommunications and Post, Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, Greece;

Ms. Kari Eik, Secretary General, Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER);

Mr. Alexandre Barbosa, Head of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society;

Mr. Eng Bruno Peters, Director, Smart Cities, Deputy Regional Director, IBI Group;

Ms. Meera Alshaikh, Project Manager, Smart Dubai;

Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Projections and visions on the advancement of sustainable development

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http://www.eco-business.com/opinion/fighting-for-the-future-sustainable-development-and-the-battle-for-ideas-in-2017/

This meeting is about the future trend of sustainable development. Speakers shared their visions based on current statistics. Mr. Moussa Oumarou, Deputy Director General for Field Operations and Partnerships of International Labour Organization, names four changes, including technology, globalization, climate change, and population growth. He pointed out the inextricable link between environmental issues and employment. Seeing this, he suggested an in-depth analysis of the challenge in production models and the structural changes in economies in order to address both environmental and employment issues.

Mr. Juha Siikamaki, Chief Economist of International Union for Conservation of Nature, focused on the threat to nature posed by rapid economic growth. He argued that the main drivers of extinction are linked to agricultural expansion, over-exploitation of species and pollution. To alleviate the problem, he contended that the solution lies in the nature. He explained that using nature to conserve itself is cost-effective because, for example, it is much cheaper to mitigate greenhouse gas emission by nature. Overall, he concluded that growth in GDP has to include the added value delivered by the conservation of biodiversity.

The last speaker, Ms. Catarina Tully, Co-Founder of School of International Futures, called for a look into alternative scenarios in order to create a complex and interdependent future-thinking framework in the SDGs. She argued that policymakers need to be a lot more critical in thinking about regulation of how technologies is distributed. Also, anticipatory governance, skills and institution are required. At the end, speakers agree that policymakers have to ensure inclusive growth to deliver sustainable development.

Meeting: 2018 ECOSOC High-level Policy Dialogue “Where are we heading? Visions and projections for the future of the SDGs” – Projections and visions on the advancement of sustainable development

Date/Location: Thursday 19th July 2018; 11:45-13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Vice-President of ECOSOC;

Mr. Michael Shank, Communications Director, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and Urban Sustainability Directors Network;

Mr. Moussa Oumarou, Deputy Director General for Field Operations and Partnerships, International Labour Organization;

Mr. Juha Siikamaki, Chief Economist, International Union for Conservation of Nature;

Ms. Catarina Tully, Co-Founder, School of International Futures.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

“Where are we heading? Visions and projections for the future of the SDGs” – Trends in the global economy and international trade and finance

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This meeting is about the current trend of international trade and its influence on the future of the SDGs. In the opening remarks, Mr. Liu Zhengmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, alerted the world leaders of the future scenario. He named a few topics of concerned, including the rapid population growth in the least developed countries, the acceleration of urbanization, the limited use of renewable energy in comparison with fossil fuel and pollution in air, water and soil. He warned that acceleration of economic growth comes with environmental costs.

During the panel discussion, panelists gave their analysis of how SDG could be better implemented given current trend in global economy. Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, argued that countries need to create a framework for business to incentivize them to invest in sustainable development. Mr. Liu Zhengmin contended that UN bodies and national governments should work with academia to develop a new concept of trade. Ms. Alicia Bárcena, current Coordinator of United Nations Regional Commissions, focused on the cases in Latin American. Seeing tax evasion, she demanded to convene the private sector at the national level as a basis for sustainable development. Mr. Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary-General of OECD, pointed out the widening income gap and called for inclusive growth. Lastly, speakers from the World Bank, IMF and WTO acknowledged the impact of technology on economy. They argued that job creation is key to the achievement of SDGs.

Meeting: 2018 ECOSOC High-level Policy Dialogue “Where are we heading? Visions and projections for the future of the SDGs” – Trends in the global economy and international trade and finance

Date/Location: Thursday 19th July 2018; 10:00-11:45; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. Radek Vondráček, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic;

Mr. Liu Zhengmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs;

Mr. Michael Shank, Communications Director, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and Urban Sustainability Directors Network;

Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UNCTAD;

Ms. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, and current Coordinator of United Nations Regional Commissions;

Mr. Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD;

Mr. Bjorn Gillsater, Special Representative of the World Bank Group to the UN;

Mr. David Robinson, Deputy Director, African Department, International Monetary Fund;

Mr. Robert The, Chief of Section, Economic Research and Statistics, World Trade Organization.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

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

Youth Integration for Sustainable Development

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In partnership with the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the UN and the International Federation for Family Development, the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the UN held a conference to discuss the importance of youth integration of sustainable development. The youth today are far more dependent on parents and grandparents than past generations, leading to idleness that serves as a precedent to corruption among the young population.

Ms. Bogyay discussed the importance of how children are educated at home, highlighting the importance of the parents’ role. Education and employment are two notions that go hand in hand, and education on sustainability must begin at an early age. Emotional intelligence is also critical in how the youth build trust and communicate, especially in the digital age of the modern world.

Mr. Riederer reported a tremendous increase of youth unemployment in European countries. However, jobs are not enough as they must be both decent and sufficient to sustain the well-being of the population. He discussed the four different dimensions of vulnerability: economic, social, psychological, and physical; one dimension can lead to another. Vulnerability reproduction is also prevalent today, which constitutes its intergenerational transmission. Parental education is a critical component of this reproduction, as the level of education obtained by the parents mirrors the risk of youth poverty. Education is important for children, parents, employers, and society. Mr. Riederer concluded with three main points:

  1. Vulnerability is multidimensional.
  2. Vulnerability reproduction within families must be stopped.
  3. Education is key.
    1. Quality, school-to-work transition, decent jobs

Mr. Pomperada highlighted investment in youth and authentic development of future leaders. Young people must be taught that they have inherent value, as the youth are not just future leaders, but the leaders of today.

Meeting: International Federation for Family Development (IFFD) Briefing 2018: Youth Integration for Sustainable Development

Date/Location: Thursday, 2 February 2018, 1:15 pm – 2:30 pm; Conference Room 7, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Speakers:

Ms. Renata Kaczmarska, Social Affairs Officer, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Moderator

Mr. Mario Armella, World President of the International Federation for Family Development

H.E. Ambassador Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations

H.E. Ambassador Katalin Annamaria Bogyay, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations

Mr. Bernhard Riederer, Wiggenstein Centre, Vienna Institute of Demography

Mr. Obadias Ndaba, Founder and CEO of Jimbere Fund (United States)

Mr. Fabio Lup, Vice President of Associação do Abrigo Nossa Senhora Rainha da Paz (Brazil)

Ms. Katalyn Kardosné Gyurkó, President of Nagycsaládosok Országos Egyesülete (Hungary)

Ms. Noor Al Malki Al Jehani, Executive Director of Doha International Family Institute (Qatar)

Mr. Lord Leomer Pomperada, President of the World Youth Alliance

Written By: WIT Representative Kristin Kweon

United Nations Development Programme–Executive Board Meeting

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The United Nations Population Fund held a conference to reaffirm the mission of the organization and officially recognize Dr. Natalia Kanem as the new Executive Director of UNFPA. UNFPA is the leading reproductive health and rights agency of the UN for delivering a world where every pregnancy is unwanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. This meeting underlined the critical importance of instating universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Dr. Kanem aims to ensure that human and finance resources of the organization are optimally employed. A strong humanitarian presence must be maintained not only to colocate rapid response but to optimize common back office options.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda highlighted the importance of UNFPA in responding to real time crisis in relation to the passage of recent hurricanes Irma and Maria. He also stated that the resources behind UNFPA should not be redirected from the program budget, but rather through cross-cutting and cross-saving exercises.

The representative of Cuba stressed the importance of maintaining attention and support for middle income countries, as they continue to face poverty eradication and commitment to not leave anyone behind. The representative of Norway asserted the protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health as crucial for sustainable development. UNFPA must be a stronger humanitarian actor to support the women and men who do not know how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, and disease, as lead them towards a better life. Enhancing better sexuality education is the equivalent of delivering the SDG’s.

The representative of the United States honored the concept of families as building blocks of societies and will continue to work with agencies that share this commitment. However, the U.S. stands against any program of abortion and coercion, as domestic laws of coercive abortion do not protect the sanctity of life, the most important human right of all.

Universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare will also promote the advancement of gender equality, empowerment of women, and focus on eradicating poverty.

Meeting: Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme / United Nations Population Fund / United Nations Office for Project Services

Date/Location: Thursday, 25 January 2018, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Speakers:

H.E. Mr. Jagdish D. Koonjul, President of the United Nations Population Fund

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the UNFPA

H.E. Mr. Chull-joo Park, Vice-President of the UNFPA, Deputy Permanent Representative of Republic of Korea to the United Nations

Mr. Tumasie Blair, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations

H.E. Mrs. Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. Ib Peterson, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations

Mr. Tore Hattrem, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

Representative of the United States

Written by: WIT Representative Kristin Kweon

Vulnerability and the Future of Families with Children in Europe

Family.jpgIn recognition of the 56th Commission for Social Development, the International Federation for Family Development and UNDESA/Division for Social Policy & Development (DSPD) organized a side event on the vulnerability of large families in Europe. Mr. Armella mentioned that there was a need for research on this topic so the European Union financed this research. The research had a multidisciplinary approach with the goal of enhancing the civil societies connection to policy making through data. Mr. Socias mentioned how the focus of the study was Europe but the information is relevant all over the world. He said that experiments are necessary for progress and the only way to take advantage of them is finding outcomes, analyzing them, and then acting accordingly. He said that a less supportive and weaker family leads to a cycle of less freedom.

Mr.Márki said his research was focused on understanding the motivations, living conditions, and general features of larger European families to see what policies meet their needs. He said that France and Italy had older parents therefore larger families. He compared countries with long and paid maternity leave like Hungary to Portugal where 70% of mothers have a full time job. Mr.Riederer talked about his research and the types of vulnerability including economic, psychological, and social. He stressed how important it is to provide help not only temporarily but to improve the situation in a sustainable manner. He concluded by talking about how family vulnerability is multidimensional and that policy could drastically improve the situation.  

Meeting: Side Event entitled “Vulnerability and the Future of Families with Children in Europe”

Date/Location: Thursday, February 1, 2017; 10:00- 11:30; Conference Room D, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers: Mr.Mario Armella, World President, International Federation for Family Development (IFFD); Mr. Ignacio Socias, Director of International Relations, International Federation for Family Development (IFFD), Partner, Families And Societies Consortium; Mr.László Márki, President,  European Large Families Confederation (ELFAC), Partner, Families And Societies Consortium; Mr. Bernhard Riederer, Wittgenstein Centre, Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Co-leader, Families And Societies Work Package 10

Written By: WIT Representative Nicole Matsanov

 

Overview of the 2017 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development

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Theme: “Eradication Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing World”

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development during the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25th September 2015, the first HLPF on Sustainable development was held in 2016 with theme “Ensuring no one is left behind”. This theme was featured in almost all the meetings held at the United Nations throughout the year 2016 and helped some member state and organizations to push for the implementation of the SDGs.
This year, the HLPF on sustainable development convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from July 10th to July 19th of 2017 brought together not only Ministers from member states, but also NGOs, Civil Society and Stakeholders, with the theme “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”. The 2017 HLPF included a three-day ministerial meeting where member states presented their reviews. More countries were seen to be committed to the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and volunteered to present their national voluntary reviews during the 8 days HLPF session. In total, 44 countries volunteered to present their voluntary national reviews (VNRs) during the 2017 HLPF compared to only 22 countries that volunteered to present their VNRs in 2016.

The following set of goals were reviewed in detail during the session, including Goal 17

SDG TAble-1

The voluntary national reviews (VNRs) enable countries to share their experiences on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including their successes, challenges, and lessons learned during the HLPF. The VNRs also facilitates partnerships including the participation of major groups and other stakeholders during the HLPF.
In brief, the HLPF is a central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. During the HLPF, Ministers adopts a ministerial declaration, which is expected to provide political leadership, guidance, and recommendations on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It also addresses new and emerging issues with respect to the implementation of the SDGs and highlights country experiences.
Written by WIT Representative: Fred Yonghabi

 

How scientific knowledge on oceans contributes to the implementation of national action plans on climate and human-induced changes

Oceans Conference

The Ocean Conference held at the United Nations from 5-8 June, 2017 brought together many experts on oceans, civil societies and governments to organize different side events. Some of these events were co-organized and facilitated by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) with Governments and relevant organizations  by sharing on-the-ground experiences, lessons learned, and insights into transformative actions and partnerships, including partnerships through the Sustainable Ocean Initiative.

One of the first side events on June 5th, organized to bring in marine scientists and discuss the contribution of scientific knowledge on oceans to the implementation of national action plans on climate and human-induced changes. The moderator Jessica Faieta from UNDP opened the meeting by reminding the audience that the deadlines for achieving the SDG 14 (Oceans) were 2020 and 2025. Considering how pressing the issue was, she said, this side event was crucial to identify knowledge gaps and contribute towards ocean national action plans. Echoing Faieta’s view, representatives of the Dominican Republic, Argentina, and UNDP shared the challenges their countries and organization were facing, and their work in this area.

Marine experts also shared their knowledge about the ocean, including its importance, the impact of its change on the ecosystem, and the way the ocean works. In addition, Dr. Alberto Piola and Dr. Jose Muelbert highlighted that the warmer the ocean is, the lower would be the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Also, because the speed of ocean warming differs in different countries, some countries’ oceans are warming much faster as a result. Due to the fact that 40 percent of the global population live near the ocean, and 11 percent of the largest cities are very close to the ocean, the implications of warming causes a considerable impact on the human population, and the ecosystems. “Life started in the ocean,” Muelbert cautioned, “if we are not careful, life will end because of changes in the ocean.”

Meeting: How scientific knowledge on oceans can contribute to the implementation of national action plans on climate and human-induced changes

Date/Location: Monday, June 5, 2017; 09:00-10:30; Conference Room 6, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

Ms. Jessica Faieta, Assistant Secretary-General and Director, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); H.E Francisco Domínguez Brito, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of Dominican Republic; H.E. Diego Moreno, Vice Minister, National Secretary of Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Government of Argentina; Dr. Alberto Piola, Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM), and Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI);  Dr. Jose Muelbert, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande and IAI;  Dr. Rebecca Klaus, Senior advisor and expert in Marine Spatial Planning and Marine Protected Areas, Cousteau Society;  Mr. Nik Sekhran, Director for Sustainable Development, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP.

Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau