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

HLPF

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

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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

 

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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

Corruption-free Institutions for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

 

 

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United Nations SDGs

The meeting was jointly organized by the Permanent Missions of Georgia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Qatar, Sierra Leone and Singapore to the United Nations together with the UNDP and the UNODC. These countries came together to share their experience fighting corruption.

The meeting was opened by the participants’ recognition that corruption-free institutions are critical to improving governance and the attainment of the entire 2030 Agenda. All the countries brought attention to the SDG 16, which underpins peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. They place further emphasis on the targets 16.5 and 16.6: substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms, and develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.

Images from http://www.en.wikipedia.org and http://www.masenoteamblogspot.com

The six countries shared how they localized the implementation of the targets. Juan Carlos Mendoza illustrated Costa Rica’s anti-corruption efforts such as its national strategy and public accessible information. Nikolaj Hejberg Peterson from Denmark, the cleanest country according to Transparency International, discussed his country, and that it would host the International Anti-Corruption Conference in 2018. Zurab Sanikidze from Georgia focused on the country’s institutional framework, key anti-corruption reforms, and open government partnership strategies. Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi from Qatar talked about the importance of achieving peaceful, just and inclusive societies to his country, even before the adoption of the SDGs. Felix Alie Koroma from Sierra Leone reported steady progress made in his country. The last panelist Joseph Teo from Singapore highlighted its strict anti-corruption approach. He added that society and culture in Singapore eschew corruption. This cultural aspect was surprisingly not mentioned by other country representatives.

As an important benchmark of anti-corruption efforts, representatives from Georgia, Qatar, Sierra Leone discussed how their countries had already established independent anti-corruption bodies to fight against corruption. Witness protection, intelligence sharing and training for judges are also common.

Meeting: Corruption-free Institutions for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Date/Location: Thursday, April 27, 2017; 11:00-13:00; Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Juan Carlos Mendoza, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations;
Nikolaj Hejberg Petersen, Director of the Department of Quality Assurance and Financial Management of Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark;
Zurab Sanikidze, Director of the Analytical Department, Ministry of Justice and Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Council of Georgia;
Abdulrahman Al-Hamadi, Deputy Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations;
Felix Alie Koroma, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations;
Joseph Teo, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Singapore to the United Nations

Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi.

1 + 4 = 16: Targeting Poverty and Education for Peace

 

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The DPI/NGO Youth-Led Briefing, “1 + 4 = 16” was conducted to promote Sustainability Development Goals 1 (eradicate poverty) and 4 (provide quality education), and their relationship to Goal 16 (attain peace and justice for inclusive societies and institutions), outlined in Agenda 2030.

Panelists shared their stories of activism in relation to each goal to convey that activism can start at a young age. Ms. Frances Simpson Allen and Mr. Sering Falu Njie emphasized that in order to for the SDGs to be successful, young people must be active and central in the SDG progress.

Ms. Pilar Harris, a NYU student and Urban Practice Fellow and Ms. Umazi Mvurya, Development Fellow of the African Leadership Foundation, both stressed that Goal 4 has influenced and motivated them in their personal activism. Ms. Harris worked on the “Lyrics on Lockdown,” an educational program that works with incarcerated women in Rikers Island Women’s Prison, located at New York City’s largest jail complex. Ms. Mvurya emphasized the need to focus on the quality of education, as students are not provided with adequate resources for success in her home area of Kenya. Mr. Austin Schiano, Partnership Director of the Give Me 5 Campaign, expressed that his campaign is integral to Goal 1. The Give Me 5 Campaign focuses on the fact that only 5% of global military funds are needed to help alleviate, and eventually eradicate, global poverty.

Each panelist highlighted the importance of their work in relation to achieving Goal 16, which is to promote peaceful and inclusive communities centered on sustainable development. By granting every child access to quality education and in working to eradicate poverty, Sustainability Goal 16 can move societies away from exclusive practices and towards a reality where all can prosper.

Meeting: DPI/NGO Youth-Led Briefing, “1 + 4 = 16, Targeting Poverty and Education for Peace.”

Date/Time/ Location: Thursday, 3 November, 2016; 11:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Maxine Davila, Youth Representative, WAFUNIF; Jadayah Spencer, Youth Representative, New York Metropolitan Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence; Jeff Brez, Chief, NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events, Department of Public Information; Mitchell Toomey, Director, SDG Action Campaign, UNDP; Pilar Harris, NYU Student, Urban Practice Fellow; Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director, Policy, UN Millennium Campaign; Austin Schiano, Partnerships Director, Give Me 5 Campaign and Member of Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs New Leaders Program; Umazi Mvurya, Development Fellow, African Leadership Foundation; Frances Simpson Allen Programme Management Officer, Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth at United Nations

Written By: Leticia Murillo and Donna Sunny, WIT Representatives

50 Years of Human Rights Covenants

 

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Wednesday, October 19th,  the General Assembly celebrated and discussed the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). His Excellency Peter Thomson began by summarizing the success that the Human Rights Covenants have had over the past fifty years. He stressed that the covenants have transformed lives by changing constitutions and laws and legally obligating states to recognize and protect individual human rights. He iterated the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and argued the need for the Agenda and the covenants to proceed jointly. Additionally, he pointed out that the adherence to the covenants is necessary in achieving SDG 16 (promoting peace and inclusive societies for sustainable development), upon which all the other SDGs are reliant. Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also expressed the idea that promoting human rights pushes states toward greater stability. Furthermore, he argued that the Paris climate change agreements found their roots in the ICCPR and ICESCR, and they promote the right to highest attainable standard of health. The Representative of Chile on Behalf of the Latin American states added that the ICCPR and ICESCR are both closely linked to sustainable development, an integral part of human rights.

Mr. Waleed Sadi expanded on the importance of the coordination and cooperation between both of the covenants. He pointed out that the United States had both signed and ratified ICCPR, but had only signed ICESCR. The Representative of the United States expressed the importance of promoting human rights in the United Nations and emphasized a strong commitment to doing so. Additionally, she argued that the ICCPR guarantees steady progress towards the goals outlined in ICESCR.

Meeting: “Implementation of Human Rights Instruments: Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, October 19th, 2016; 10:00; General Assembly Hall

Speakers: His Excellency Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly; His Excellency Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations; Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mr. Waleed Sadi, Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Representative of the Asia-Pacific group; Representative of Georgia on behalf of Eastern European states; Representative of Chile on behalf of Latin American states; Representative of the United Kingdom and Ireland on behalf of the Western European states; Representative of the United States

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

International Drug Control

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A call for greater cooperation and a more holistic approach to promoting sustainable development was in general consensus at today’s session. The discussion highlighted the ways in which vast implementation and distribution of narcotics worldwide has degraded the biodiversity, population, and safety of nations. Extremist ideologies that have indulged terrorism, crime, and the mass influx of refugees in Syria were considered as parts of today’s humanitarian crisis.

It was discussed that the drug trade has damaged the ecosystems of various nations, including Bolivia and Kenya. Mr. Koki Muli Grignon compared the supply and demand of the drug trade to the destruction of an ecosystem by poaching elephants. The youth, who fall prey into affiliating with larger terrorist organizations, are often recruited while still in school. In response, preventative, youth based anti-drug programs have been established. Healthcare and rehabilitation services for recovering addicts are being established with greater significance. The reintegration and socialization of those who are recuperating has not only been receiving more funding, but also has been promoted through various programs, including group family therapy, courses, and residential hostels.

Mr. Nimrod Barkan discussed a unique, gender-based perspective on drug addiction, which Israel has deemed crucial to recovery. Since the majority of addicts are men, women living with addictions are an antagonized minority. As a result, women are less likely to receive needed treatment. Additionally, Mr. Barkan disclosed how often women experienced other forms of violence. Different treatments were developed to best fit the needs of men and women.

Meeting: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; International Drug Control

Date/ Location: Thursday, October 6th, 2016; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 1

Speakers: Ana Silvia Rodríguez Abascal, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba; Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Juana Sandoval, Deputy Representative of Nicaragua; Kathrin Nescher, Advisor of Liechtenstein; Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Permanent Representative of Peru; Andrei Dapkiunas, Permanent Representative of Belarus; Mr. Al Muhairi, Delegate of United Arab Emirates; Bouchaib Eloumni, Permanent Mission of Morocco; Carlos Duarte, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil; Koki Muli Grignon, Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya; Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz, Permanent Representative of Bolivia; Amjad Qassem Agha, Delegate of Syria; Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy Sea; Nimrod Barkan, Delegate of Israel; Mariyam Midhfa Naeem, Deputy Permanent Representative of Maldives; Zhiqiang Li, Delegate of China

Written By: WIT Representative Donna Sunny

 

‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace’

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Sustainable peace and development positively reinforce each other. The joint meeting provided an opportunity to explore links between the 2030 Agenda and sustaining peace, particularly with regard to global targets of creating peaceful and inclusive societies, providing just and accountable institutions, as well as the drivers of conflict.

Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is predicted to be most difficult in conflict-affected countries where the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were lagging further behind. Extreme poverty is increasingly concentrated in conflict-affected areas and leaving no one behind will require concerted efforts across the United Nations to deliver as one.

African countries richest in natural resources tend to be characterized by great inequality, which drives conflicts that consequently inhibit social development. Uneducated and unemployed youth is a common characteristic across countries experiencing conflict. Resolving conflicts through peacebuilding as well as reconciling social contracts between governments and civil society can lead to resilient and secure states in which development occurs.

Meeting: Economic and Social Council and Peacebuilding Commission Meeting on the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace’

Date/Time/Location: June 24, 2016; 10:00 – 13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, President of the Economic and Social Council; H.E. Mr. Mancharia Kamau, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission; H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa; H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations; H.E. Ms. Annika Söder, State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden; H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations; H.E. Ms. Gillian Bird, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Written By: Lena Courcol

First Cracks in the Syrian Impunity Wall

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This afternoon’s meeting sought to underline the importance of ensuring fair and impartial criminal accountability for the serious and ongoing crimes committed against civilian population throughout the course of the Syrian Conflict. Many United Nations member states have supported this issue, however in May 2014, UN Security Council resolution to give International Criminal Court (ICC) a mandate in Syria was blocked by both China and Russia. This has resulted in an ‘accountability vacuum’ that has often been overlooked, and has consequently fueled further grave abuses by all parties to the conflict. Now, for the first time in the five years of the conflict, the ‘shield of impunity is beginning to crack’: several European countries including Sweden, Germany, France and Finland are implementing universal jurisdiction, making it possible to undergo processes of investigation and prosecution for individuals linked to crimes in Syria. Deputy representatives of these European countries brought attention to these judicial developments and the ongoing efforts taking place. They highlighted the significance of bringing justice to the victims of these crimes to ensure stability and peace in Syria and emphasized the need for all member states to commit to answering the question of accountability.

Meeting: First Cracks in the Syrian Impunity Wall: National Prosecutions Underway in the Courts of Third Party States for Serious Crimes committed in Syria (co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Liechtenstein and Qatar)

Date/Time/Location: June 21, 2016; 13:15 – 14:30; Conference Room 7

Speakers: H.E. Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Deputy Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Christian Wenaweser, Deputy Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Olof Skoog, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Heiko Thoms, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations; Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations; Mr. Fadel AbdulGhani, Chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights

Written By: Lena Courcol

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

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