MMS and the UN news letter -May


Tackling Inequality, the greatest challenge in UN discussions: Tackling inequality is the greatest growing development challenge for the UN panel discussions on Development agenda. We cannot eradicate poverty by 2030 without tackling inequality. If we simply rely on optimistic growth patterns, 400 million people will still be living in extreme poverty by that deadline. Civil society is  pushing the topic to be in the priority list among many other challenges. The people of Bhutan see that money and hyper-consumption aren’t what contribute to happiness and well-being; they are a model for the rest of the world. Read more on  “Tiny Bhutan redefines progress”  at

Role of NGOs commended at the UN: A recent UN report says that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a crucial role in reaching the MDGs( Millennium Development Goals) and in designing Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs) as well as a post-2015 development agenda. They advise on relevant issues and pursue country-level action. Last year for example, more than 10,000 NGOs made recommendations for the outcome document “The Future We Want” at the Rio+20 Conference. “The concerns of everyone, not least the world’s poor and marginalized, must be heard loud and clear,” Navid Hanif, Director of the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination in the DESA said. “Civil society is well placed to achieve this,” he added. The numbers of Ngo applications are higher than ever, this year there were 600, double the number from 2012.

46th session of the Commission on Population and Development fails to reach consensus: The forty-sixth session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) was held from 22 to 26 April 2013. The Commission’s meeting focused on the theme “New Trends in Migration: Demographic Aspects.”The Commission adopted by a weak consensus a resolution on human rights protections for migrants, but failed to reach agreed conclusions on addressing the needs of women and young migrants, at the closing of the session.

High level meeting to combat human trafficking: May 13-14 held the high level meeting to examine the progress made by countries on the Global Action Plan adopted in 2010, to combat human trafficking. Human trafficking is now a global criminal enterprise that ensnares millions of people into forced labour and domestic servitude, sexual work and child soldiering. According to 2005 estimates released by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO), profits generated in the sex industry alone are as high as $32 billion a year. The discussions focused on its four pillars – preventing trafficking, prosecuting offenders, protecting victims and forming partnerships to fight human trafficking.   “Human trafficking is a vicious chain that binds victims to criminals. We must break this chain with the force of human solidarity,” says S.G. Ban ki-Moon.  

With many victims of trafficking forced into prostitution Pope Francis says  “ Exploiters and clients at every level must make a serious examination of conscience before themselves and before God”.                                        

12th PFII: The twelfth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was held from May 20-31st with an opening ceremony of  traditional flute song, and then a welcome by Todadaho Sid Hill, traditional Chief of the Onondaga Nation, part of the Six Nations which originally inhabited parts of New York.   The theme was Culture, Education and Health.  “They are at the core of indigenous peoples’ right to life, our right to dignity and well-being said Paul Kanyinke Sena, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum, he is  the first African to chair the forum. This year’s Forum will also look forward to the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in September 2014 .

 Open Working Group: The third session of the United Nations General Assembly Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals, took place on 22-24 May in New York. The thematic clusters were food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, desertification, land degradation and drought, as well as water and sanitation; and the fourth session is scheduled for June 17-19th.

The HLP report  released: The High-Level Panel of 27 Eminent persons appointed by the Secretary General offered in its report  recommendations for what to include in the post-2015 Development Agenda. As world leaders agreed at Rio+20 the new goals are to be grounded on human rights and central to it is eradicating extreme poverty. Though the report is not a finalized list of goals, the 12 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are  a guideline to the policy makers to consider  while they continue their discussions for a universal agenda by the expiration of MDGs in 2015. The Panel contacted more than 5000 civil society organizations and 250 major corporations for ideas and views for the last 9 months. On 31st May, after the release of the report the lively interactive briefing with the panel members, civil society, business sector and UN agencies was heart warming.

June 5th World Environment Day Theme :- Think .Eat. Save.

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations in 1972 to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and encourage political attention and action. It is celebrated annually on 5 June. The theme for World Environment Day is Think.Eat.Save, focusing on sustainable food production and consumption. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. Given this enormous imbalance in lifestyles and the resultant devastating effects on the environment, this year’s theme – Think.Eat.Save – encourages us to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices we make and empowers us to make informed decisions. A number of activities are planned all over the world to mark the day. Let each one of us do our part too.


    Celine Paramundayil MMS