VNR Lab “Strengthening the Use of Data for Evidence-based VNR”

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As one of the two major review mechanisms for the implementation of Agenda 2030, Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) is prepared by member states to describe and evaluate their progress on achieving the 17 SDGs. VNR lab today brought Ghana, the United Kingdom, and Denmark to the table to share their experiences on engaging policymakers in utilizing SDG-related data, systematically cooperating with the civil society especially to create mutual benefits and integrating data sources to identify specific community needs. While countries have improved in generating data to measure SDGs, challenges remain as decision-makers are slow in response.

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Towards a more accountable, inclusive, and participatory SDG implementation that leaves no one behind

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The HLPF side event was held by the International Civil Society Centre (ICSC), featuring speakers who are working towards the goal of “leaving no one behind” in Agenda 2030. Such an ambition demands higher engagement and better connection among all actors, platforms, as well as citizens for the participatory progress towards implementing SDGs. Mr. Robert Skinner said, “We wish to leave no one behind, but we’re falling behind on that.” Since its creation, the United Nations Office for Partnerships has aimed to create partnerships that reach across the UN system, agencies, private and public sectors to scale up the level of implementation while making an impact on the local level. It is thus crucial for all participants, especially the experts and NGO partners present at the meeting, to reach out to the UN and local authorities.

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Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Mali

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The last Security Council meeting in June convened today to discuss the exacerbated situation in Mali and rally support from the member states on the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), set to expire on June 30th, for another 12 months. The chair began with the Secretary-General’s report on the status of Mali and the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in the concerned region, which identified unresolved dangers to peace and proved the cruciality of MINUSMA’s work. By passing resolution 2480 without any objections, the mission was given a modified framework with clearer benchmarks on the definition of success and more specific and centralized work in the most dangerous area of Mali.

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IPEN Global Policy Briefing: The 2019 Basel Convention Outcomes on Plastics (webinar)

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In May 2019, 187 countries—excluding the United States—agreed on further action based on the Norwegian-initiated Basel Convention, aiming to bring plastic waste under scrutiny and control. Despite supported worldwide, the convention might still be subject to certain limits since the single largest plastic waste producer, the US, refused to be a part of it and the grand but vague wordings in the convention did not specify concrete actions. IPEN, an NGO aspiring to eliminate all persistent organic pollutants, co-organized the webinar with BAN to review the policies outlined in the convention and point out potential impact opportunities for NGOs across the world.

The Basel Convention includes both soft and hard laws, the former indicating non-binding obligations and the latter implying strict restrictions. The hard law prohibited the export or import of hazardous waste among non-party countries, with a huge exception of OECD members. This would allow the US to export its toxic waste to weaker economies such as Mexico and Turkey. Speakers further drew a comparison between the Stockholm Convention and the Basel Convention, which highlighted a lack of amendments to the categorization of plastic waste.

For NGOs to take actions to better curtail plastic waste, suggestions were made as to where efforts could be more influential. On the export end, firstly, endeavors should center on reviewing “clean” plastic, tracking sources, and pushing through national policies on banning such waste. On the action side, NGOs should raise public awareness among producers, consumers, and decision makers while promoting the monitoring of toxic production and recycling. Lastly, the cruciality of collective actions call for NGOs to forge strong partnerships with the business sector for better cooperation.

Meeting: IPEN Global Policy Briefing: The 2019 Basel Convention Outcomes on Plastics (webinar)

Date/Location: Wednesday, June 26th, 2019; 1:00-2:00

Speakers:

Mr. Joe DiGangi, senior adviser, International POPs Elimination Framework (IPEN)

Mr. Jim Puckett, founder and director, Basel Action Network (BAN)

Written By: WIT Representative Yung-Hsuan Wu

Addressing ISIS’ threat to international peace and security

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United Nations Security Council

The 7962nd Security Council meeting was held to discuss the threat that ISIS (Da’esh) poses to international peace and security, and to report the efforts that the United Nations has made to support Member States against this threat.

Reports made by various members of the Security Council all confirmed that ISIL is indeed succumbing to military pressures across Iraq and Syria. However, in spite of this pressure, all members of the Security Council acknowledge the need for persistent vigilance, as ISIL is constantly evolving its tactics to gain both funds and supporters.

Japan, in particular, raised concerns over ISIL’s increasing interest in South East Asia. As such, Japan has urged other Member States to join in with funding South East Asian countries’ implementation of resolutions that will buttress them against the threat of ISIL. Thus far, Japan has provided 30 million USD to countries in South East Asia to facilitate the development of resources including advanced passenger information and counter-propaganda plans.

In his closing remarks, the representative from Egypt called for a reconsideration of anti-terrorism vocabulary, in particular the phrase “Islamic extremism”. He asserts that Islam is a religion that does not know extremism; rather, individuals use Islam as a pretext to create violence.

MEETING: Security Council 7962nd Meeting
DATE/LOCATION: Thursday, 8th June, 2017; 10:00 – 12:00; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
SPEAKERS: Members of Security Council
WRITTEN BY: WIT Representative Sophie Pu

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

Educating Hearts and Minds: Parents’ Role in Helping Their Children Thrive

 

Celebrating the International Day of Families on 15 May, the Permanent Mission of Samoa and the NGO Committee on the Family co-organized an event entitled “Educating Hearts and Minds: Parents’ Role in Helping Their Children Thrive” on 18 May 2017. It served to remind stakeholders of how they could contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development at the individual level.

To open the event, His Excellency Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia discussed the role of families from the international agreements’ framework. He specifically brought attention to the Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UHDR) on rights to marriage and family. Although parenting is perhaps the most challenging task, he said, it has the biggest impact on society as “charity starts at home.”

Despite the consent about the significance of parents, the panelist Prof. Mesurado’s research study on the relationship between family interaction and well-being raised questions during the meeting. Participants particularly asked whether the fact that 90 percent of her respondents were highly educated would generate biased results. A representative from a university in Africa also expressed strong disappointment over her conclusion about Africa’s unhappiness solely based on little data collected from Kenya.  Families are considered important in creating social impacts, but have seldom been addressed in the United Nations, said Elisaia. He hoped that more UN meetings would be held to address families in the future.

Meeting: Educating Hearts and Minds: Parents’ Role in Helping Their Children Thrive
Date/Location: Thursday, May 18, 2017; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers: Ryan Koch, LDS Charities; H.E. Mr. Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Permanent Representative of Samoa; Lynn Walsh, Universal Peace Federation; Prof. Maria Mesurado, National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Austral University, Argentina; Eve Sullivan, Parents Forum; Renata Kaczmarska, UN Focal Point on the Family
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

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UN SDG 4

Women and Children’s Rights: Draft Resolutions in the Third Committee

 

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The November 22nd meeting began with a report of UN spending and proposed draft resolutions on preventing and combating corrupt practices and facilitating asset recovery. The Committee Secretary and the representative of Colombia stressed the importance of crime prevention and criminal justice. The Third Committee further discussed social development in the context of regional culture regarding youth, aging, disabled persons, and family life. Representatives focused on implementing outcomes of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly. The Committee deferred draft resolutions regarding women’s socioeconomic advancement, trafficking of women and girls, as well as “assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions” until a later time.

The committee discussed the promotion and protection of the children’s rights. Representatives proposed draft resolutions relating to “Child, early and forced marriage,” “Protecting children from bullying,” and “Rights of the child” (including, but not limited to migrant children). After some debate about language and content of the proposed revision, Sudan’s oral amendment to “Rights of the child” (A/C.3/71/L.20/Rev.1) was rejected by vote. The Committee adopted the revisions as earlier proposed, and several delegations followed with relevant personal statements. The committee agreed to adopt draft resolution to A/C.3/71/L.17/Rev.1 regarding the rights of indigenous peoples.

Meeting: Third Committee, 55th Meeting

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, 22 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; UN Headquarters, Conference Room 1

Speakers: Chairperson of the Third Committee, Secretary of the Third Committee, Representative of Colombia, Representative of Nigeria, Representative of the Philippines, Representative of Mexico, Representative of Iceland, Representative of Sudan

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

“We Will Stand Against Discrimination”

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In its 53rd and 54th meetings on November 21st, the Third Committee discussed actions on six draft resolutions: advancement of women; report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees, and displaced persons and humanitarian questions; report of the Human Rights Council; right of peoples to self-determination; promotion and protection of human rights, human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and crime prevention and criminal justice. The Committee passed all draft resolutions, with some needing revisions.

Holy See, Slovakia, the United States, and South Africa were among countries that approved the draft resolutions discussed. It was agreed that stigmas affecting pregnant women and children must end and that education is the best form of HIV/AIDS prevention. Additionally, the United Nations needs to use human rights based approaches regarding people with HIV/AIDS and their individuals struggles. Throughout the meeting, representatives emphasized discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in the form of gender identity and sexual orientation based violence that afflict non-cisgendered and non-heterosexual individuals globally. Several delegates claimed global campaigns and empowerment practices were only a few of the necessary approaches for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community to exercise and enjoy their full human rights.

Countries opposing some resolutions included the Russian Federation, Mexico, and Singapore. The Representative of  the Russian Federation argued that as a unique United Nations body with universal representation, the Third Committee must respect the disparate views of various countries. The Representative of Singapore agreed and added that delegations have the right to express the needs of their countries in the context of their cultures. H.E. Ambassador of Mexico stated that it is impossible to find a universal definition regarding this issue within the Committee.

Meeting: Third Committee, 53rd/54th Meetings (AM/PM), 71th General Assembly

Date/Time/Location: Monday, 21 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00, 15:00; United Nations Headquarters

Speakers: Committee Secretary; Representative of the Holy See; Representative of Slovakia; Representative of Norway; Representative of Jamaica; Representative of Iceland; Representative of Senegal; Representative of Malaysia; Representative of Chile; Representative of Israel; Representative of Liechtenstein; Representative of the United Kingdom; Representative of Nauru; Representative of Uganda; Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania; Representative of South Africa; Representative of Spain; Representative of Argentina; Representative of Papua New Guinea; Representative of India; H.E. Ambassador of Botswana; Representative of South Africa; Representative of Yemen; Representative Russian Federation; Representative of Thailand; Representative of Congo; Representative of Singapore; Representative of Japan; Permanent Representative of Egypt; Representative of Brazil; Representative of the United States; H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Korea; H.E. Ambassador of Mexico

Written By: Janet Lee, WIT Representative

 

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