Partnerships for Sustainable Action

 

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In the December 20th session Professor Jan W. Dash discussed climate action as a matter of justice, ethics, and human survival. He emphasized that all SDGs are tied to climate change and that humanity has the power to reduce dangerous effects that climate change had on our planet’s health and biodiversity. H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer spoke on behalf of Small Island Developing States. He discussed the 300 partnership listings and the Samoa pathway. He reinforced the Maldives’ commitment to these partnerships and the necessity of the participation of all stakeholders. H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi reiterated the need for more efficient work to ensure that the SDGs are implemented and stay relevant. He also expressed the need to ensure oceans’ health and that countries enforce nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Dr. Christine K. Durbak shared the relevant work that she and World Information Transfer have provided over the last few decades. The Conference of NGOs began the committee on SDGs in the late 1980s, when WIT was invited to join. WIT focused on connecting the global community’s resources on human health and the environment.

Dr. Judy Buster-Otto discussed mental health and quality of life resolutions in the 2030 Agenda. She explained the work of the WHO and shared how the NGO-SDG forum can work through shared input and ideas, linkages to stakeholders, and advocacy with missions. Ms. Hawa Diallo noted the 66th DPI/NGO conference held in 2016 in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea. She shared the goals of the conference and the action plan for a youth program/agenda. She briefly explained the next conference and the TOGETHER initiative. Ms. Emilie McGlone briefly introduced Peace Boat organization and a few related upcoming youth initiatives and summer programs. Mr. Marc Jourdan expressed his aim to promote SDGs in Dominican Republic. He shared projects in schools and towns based in recycling and sustainable agriculture. Mr. Daniel Perell explained the importance of engagement with the larger NGO body and creating platforms for NGOs to target relevant goals. The election of the of the NGOCSD-NY Executive Board for 2017 ended the session.

Meeting: “Partnerships for Sustainable Actions in 2017 & Beyond”

Date/Location: Tuesday, 20 December 2016; 13:00 to 15:00; Boss Room, Church Center for the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza

Speakers: Professor Jan W. Dash (NGOCSD-NY Lead Adviser on Climate Change; Managing Editor of the Climate Portal website); H.E. Dr. Caleb Otto Ambassador of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi Ambassador and of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations; Dr. Judy Buster-Otto (Adviser to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations); Dr. Christine K. Durbak (Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations; Founder and Chair of World Information Transfer; President of the K. Kovshevych Foundation); Ms. Hawa Diallo (Public Information Officer; NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section Department of Public Information); Ms. Emilie McGlone (Director of Peace Boat US, New York Office); Mr. Marc Jourdan (UN Programs & Outreach Manager; Global Foundation for Democracy and Development); Mr. Daniel Perell (Global Organizing Partner of the NGO Major Group; Representative for Bahá’í International Community to the UN, New York; Chair of the NGO Committee for Social Development)

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

 

Technology and the Sustainable Development Goals

Todays morning meeting revolved around realizing the potential science, technology and innovation has to help us achieve our SDGs. Mr. Kamen began by emphasizing the importance of creating scientists and engineers from our youth equally throughout the world. He showed two videos of his technology program, FIRST, a foundation that makes science just as enjoyable and entertaining to our youth as sports. He advised member countries to figure out a way to include their own FIRST programs in their respective states. Professor Co from Northwestern University continued the general assembly by promoting member states to work towards a future that can take advantage of our recourses and youth, such that one-day gasoline can be generated when needed and done so through renewable energy that will not contribute to climate change. He explained that partnerships of nations and a classification system of modern knowledge can make government funded research more accessible and help align target research with SDGs.

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Both Ambassador Joon and Secretary General Ki-Moon gave statements regarding the power of science and innovation. Mr. Ki-Moon stated that tech and innovation must not be limited to SDG17 or confined to the use of new technologies and software, rather innovation is a mindset and attitude we must utilize. He also noted that the Multi-Stakeholder forum will take place each year until 2030 to allow all sectors of society to work together and look outwards to include greater cooperation through parliaments. Mr. Nakicenovic represented the Group of 10 and spoke about their belief in the importance the forum holds in terms of STI and how central it is to human development and is the primary mechanism for achieving SDG. His plan is to increase the sustainable development plan of agenda 2030 and create a 2050 plan.

Meeting: Multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Time/Location: Monday, June 6, 2016; 10:45-13:00; Conference Room 1

Speakers:  Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of United Nations; Ambassador Oh Joon, President of ECOSOC; Mr. Dean Kamen, American entrepreneur and founder of FIRST; Professor Dick T. Co, Research Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University; Komal Ahmad, Founder and CEO of COPIA; Mr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Deputy Director General/ Deputy CEO of the International Institute for Applied System.

Written by: WIT representative Amirali Agha-Khan

Edited by: WIT Administrator Modou Cham

Photo: www.ssr.titech.ac.j

“No Waste Water, Only Wasted Water”

   A new report, “The UNSGAB Journey”, on water and sanitation was launched by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) at today’s press conference. The advisory board was founded in 2004 by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan “to bring together eminent people to advise on how to solve the planet’s foremost water and sanitation troubles, suggest a handful of attainable recommendations and a concise plan of action, and then provide the high-level leadership needed to galvanize the international community into action on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for drinking water and sanitation.” The group’s 11-year mandate has come to an end and this is the final work to be put out by the group.

   The report shines light on 7 tipping points to transform the water world:

  1. Build attention to water and sanitation: create the will to act now
  2. Drinking Water: More. Managed. Monitored. Made safe.
  3. Bring sanitation into the mainstream
  4. Push for increased and improved financial flows
  5. Catalyze better water resources management. IWRM and Nexus: within and between countries, across sectors
  6. Demand UN attention to pollution prevention, wastewater treatment and safe reuse
  7. Promote protection and prevent death and damage from water-related disasters

   The report also includes words of wisdom for future advisory groups and discusses unfinished business and tasks for the future.

   The advisory group worked by identifying personalities and institutions that had high leverage and would be able to bring political attention to sanitation and UNSGAB was successful in putting wastewater management on the UN agenda. The speakers left the audience with the mantra “there is no waste water, but only wasted water.”

Meeting: Launch of a New Report by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB)

Speakers: Ms. Uschi Eid, United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB); and UNSGAB Members: Ms. Maggie Catley-Carlson; Ms. Maria Mutagamba; and Mr. Gerard Payen.

Written By: WIT Representative Tania Makker

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo credit: https://sourceable.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/water-recycling.jpg

Sustainable Air Capabilities in the United Nations Field Operations: The National Response

++ MedevacMr. Nebrat opened the meeting with a video demonstrating the effectiveness and durability in challenging environments of the Sky Transformer, an advanced Ukrainian rescue helicopter. One Sky Transformer can substitute for up to four regular helicopters, making it an environmentally conscious form of air support. Due to the long-range surveillance capabilities of the helicopter, reaction can be more immediate, and threats can be identified and assessed more quickly. Night vision capabilities allow search and rescue teams to continue missions that squads aboard other helicopters without this technology would have to suspend. More lives that are presumably lost due to such suspension could be saved once this critical time window is opened. Also, on-board operators on the Sky Transformer are be responsible for analyzing data, allowing for more precise action. While explaining the technological advancements the helicopter showcases, Mr. Nebrat stressed capability-building and versatility as the most key operational tenets in providing sustainable air support to field operations.

Following this, Mr. Vasiliyev highlighted the main strengths of satellite communications. Satellite communications deliver real-time video more accurately and effectively with a Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) component, which adds images to the transmitted audio and data. This also allows medical teleconferences, which permit direct, real-time contact between on-board medics and specialists at headquarters. Lastly, Ms. Popovska explained the medical perspective of these missions. One of the ultimate tasks of peacekeeping missions is saving lives, so immediate medical action is necessary to avoid casualties. Transportation issues can be solved by including a fully equipped medical complex within the helicopters. The configurations of the proposed medical complex allow for 24/7 intensive care, emergency medical evacuation, and diagnosis and treatment of the injured.

Meeting: Sustainable Air Capabilities in the United Nations Field Operations: The National Response
Date & Location: 16 April 2015, Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Andriy Nebrat, Commerical Director, Ukrainian Helicopters; Mr. Yuriy Vasiliyev. Deputy Head, Satellite Communications; Ms.Kateryna Popovska, Business Development Manager, Ukrainian Helicopters
Written By WIT Representative: Elise Freeman
Edited By WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport

Action_on_the_Ground_Peace_through_sport_540This meeting focused on incorporating sports into the work to achieve sustainable development goals. Mr. Ban Ki-moon addressed how sports can, “keep kids in school, promote leadership, encourage healthy lifestyles, and empower marginalized communities.” Mr. Kutesa emphasized that sports can teach young children about teamwork, leadership, fair-play, and resilience, stating that “sports have the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” Dr. Bach discussed how the IOC has made a positive impact on the world by donating more than 90% of all its revenue to different sport organizations and players.

Sir Craven stated that sport is the antithesis of war, as it unites all types of people, improves self-discipline, and teaches fair-play. Mr. Donoghue discussed how sport will be harnessed over the next 15 years, with hopes that it will be possible to recognize the power of sport in sustainable development and peace in the post-2015 agenda. Ireland is a strong example of a country in which athletics, such as soccer and rugby, act as essential parts of society, economics, and culture.

Mr. Kim discussed the inclusive nature of sports to foster peace and dignity. He hopes that Gwangju Universiade 2015 will have positive impacts worldwide. Ms. Ruggiero explained how sports can impact women and minority groups–they can help women confidently take control of their own well being, and can also help integrate different socially excluded groups back into their communities.

Dr. Blauwet mentioned that sports can be used as a tool to empower the disabled population as well as to positively stimulate economies, as seen in Beijing and Sochi. Ms. King delivered a powerful discussing the idea that access to sport equates to empowerment, which in turn can bring about powerful change. Ms. Farrell, an advocate for sport development and peace, closed by reiterating that leaders developed today are the footsteps to the the future of tomorrow.

Meeting: United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport
Date & Location: 15 April 2015, Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary- General; H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly; Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee; Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee; H.E. Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the UN, Co-Chair of the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace; H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, CO-facilitator of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post 2015 development agenda; Mr. Angela Ruggiero, Olympic gold medalist, Member of the International Olympic Committee; Dr. Cheri Blauwet, Paralympic gold medalist, CHairperson of the Medical Committee of the International Paralympic Committee; Ms. Billie Jean King, Former no. 1 tennis player and advocate for gender equality; Ms. Asha Farrell, youth coach, A Ganar, Barbados
Written By WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Brian Lee
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Achieving Sustainable Development Through Employment Creation and Decent Work for All

SustainableDevelopment112614This meeting focused on the idea that education systems, both in developing countries as well as developed ones, are not equipping their youth with the skills needed for all of the jobs in today’s work. As such, many speakers addressed the need to provide professional opportunities through entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, and skills development.

Mr. Prado stressed the need to invest in women as a form of economic growth, and Ms. Vazquez discussed her company, WEConnect International, which works to help educate women and businesses about market demands. When women have equal capacity to compete, they are able grow businesses and create jobs.

The U.S. Representative asked the panel how to address people with low entrepreneurial spirit, and whether technology does not benefit some people. To this, Vasquez answered that beyond some social safety nets, an individual must educate themselves in order to be valued in today’s labor force. Furthermore, she stated that poor, uneducated people do contribute to innovation through technology, as seen with self-taught solar technology engineers in rural India. An EU representative then asked how governments could promote apprenticeships and dual learning systems. Sims answered that the problem with apprenticeship programs lies in incentivizing employers.

On the topic of integration, a Representative of Trinidad and Tobago called for the creation of industries that would allow women to work at home with flexible hours and green enterprise policies. The Russian Federation’s Representative discussed how government assistance to graduates, in the form of apprenticeships and employment search aid, helped integrate them into the workforce.

Meeting: Economic and Social Council, 2015 Integration Segment, 19th meeting “Achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all”
Date & Location: April 1st, 2015, Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Antonio Prado, Deputy Executive Secretary, ECLAC (moderator); H.E. Ms. Omobola Johnson, Minister, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Nigeria and Chairperson of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD); Zachary Sims, Co-Founder and CEO of Codecademy; Elizabeth Vazquez, President, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International; Ron Bruder, Founder of Education for Employment;
Written by WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Alis Yoo

Making the World of Books Accessible to People who are Print Disabled

 

innovtech-pwdsMs. Bas began by presenting the Treaty of Marrakesh, which addresses the current relative lack of availability of print material to print disabled individuals, as the next step in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’s efforts of leaving no one behind. All of the efforts thus far tell us that mainstreaming disabilities is a successful but slow process. It is thus imperative that we encourage promotion and awareness of this new treaty.

Ambassador Webson approved the treaty because the world is now in a position in which it can address the problem of the “book famine”–just 1.7% of print material is available to people that are blind or otherwise print disabled. Thanks to Marrakesh, however, barriers to information are being removed and a new world is being opened up to the print disabled. This is especially significant when considering that access to information is key to getting an education, and education in turn is an proven path out poverty.

Mr. LaBarre discussed the Accessible Book Consortium (ABC), saying that it achieved three objectives:  (1) getting permission from rights holders so entities can exchange book copies across borders; (2) capacity building to enable countries to put books into accessible formats; and (3) accessible publishing, meaning all books are initially created digitally. Mr. Power added that the technology is in place to secure the achievement of such goals, but we must now enable this technology to be available internationally. Cost is also an issue for braille and audio reader technologies, but lower cost solutions are on the way.

Mr. Mitra asserted that addressing the print disabled is a central mission for UNICEF. The education system fails millions of children around the world, yet the technology exists to create book in formats that are accessible to all people. Of course, costs and resources are issues, but to create accessible books requires a one-time production cost at the beginning of the process. If we wish to meet goal number 4, he concluded, there is no other way than to ensure that all textbooks are available to all children.

 

Meeting: Innovative Technologies: Making the world of books accessible to people who are print disabled
Date & Location: 25 March 2015, Conference Room 9, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social policy and Development, united Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).   H.E. Dr. W. Aubrey Webson, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, New York.   Mr. Scott LaBarre, Board Member, Accessible Books Consortium and Representative, World Blind Union. Mr. Dave Power, President and Chief Executive Officer, Perkins, Watertown. Mr. Gopal Mitra, Programme Specialist, Children with Disabilities, Gender Rights and Civic Engagement, UNICEF, New York. Moderator: Ms. Lucinda Longcroft, Head, WIPO New York Office.
Written By WIT Representative: James Victory
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Contribution of Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport to Sustainable Development Goals

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

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

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

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

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

Power of Collaboration – Women, Technology, and Social Innovation

Women-working-international-resizeThe purpose of this meeting was to talk about women’s equality in the private and business sectors and in collaboration with civil society. Mr. Molinari focused on moving capital around businesses run by women, stating that “women are not looking for handouts; they are looking for access to capital.” Gate Global Impact has partnered with organizations like Microsoft and OPEC to invest in technologies and ways to disrupt the means by which capital is formed. Ms. Scott discussed the various “thermostats of inequality,” using data from 2013 in European countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary. The female-to-male ratio for tertiary education and professional jobs in these countries was favorable from a gender equality standpoint, but that same ratio for labor participation, similar pay for similar work, and roles and wages was not equal.  Ms. Scott also discussed the Russian Doll Effect, which is the idea that if girls are not nourished as children, poor states of health will remain in the family for generations. Professor Ritschelova continued by discussing reasons why women do not represent a larger percentage of the labor force. She cited a lack in education–499 million women worldwide have no education–and access to information as the two most significant reasons.  Ms. Macdougall talked about providing incentives so that banks will invest more capital into women. Ms. Chowdry also spoke about the importance of financial inclusion of women and integrating them into the economy more fully.

Meeting: Event on “Power of Collaboration: Women, Technology, and Social Innovation- Creating the Future of Inclusive, Sustainable Economies” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic and the Impact Leadership 21)
Date & Location: 25 March 2015, Conference Room 2, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Ambassador Edita Hrda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations; Ms. Janet C. Salazar, CEO and Founder of IMPACT Leadership 21; Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary General and High Representative of the United Nations; Mr. Constance J. Peak, CFO, Chief Strategist, and Co-Founder of Impact Leadership 21; Mr. Amir Dossal, Global Partnership Forum Chairman; Mr. Vincent Molinari, CEO of Gate Global Impact; Professor Linda Scott, DP World Chair for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Professor at the University of Oxford, Founder of Double X Economy;  Professor Iva Ritschelova, President of the Czech Statistical Office; Ms. Lisa Macdougal, Representative of Goldman Sachs; Ms. Nalia Chowdhury, TeleConsult Group Chairman, formerly Grameen lead on Village Phone Project; Ms. Elizabeth Isele, Founder and President of Senior Entrepreneurship Works
Written by WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Brian Lee
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey