MMS & the UN news letter – July 2016

Dear Readers,

July was hectic with numerous meetings and events  at the UN and following are some of the highlights:

HLPF 2016 , 11 – 20 July. The first High-level Political Forum after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, including the three-day ministerial meeting was convened from 11 to 20 July. The preparatory meetings were from 7 July including a Sunday. Delegates, ministers and other stakeholders categorized in to 12 Major groups were the participants besides the UN agencies. One aim of the 10-day event was to bring different parties together to discuss implementation as well as trying to determine how to monitor progress of the 2030 Agenda.

Among the 193 countries, 22 countries volunteered to give their report (NVR) while others were inspired to learn from one another. Some countries included the Civil Society in their team while others did not even consult National NGOs. At the end of the forum came out the first Sustainable Development Goals Report.In its release, Thomas Gass, the U.N.’s assistant secretary-general offered the first baseline on how the global body will monitor progress for the 15-year effort, which was formally initiated in 2015. Calling it a “review where the world stands at the start of this collective journey,” Gass said despite progress in many areas over the last few decades, the world faces massive issues:

  • About 800 million people still live in “extreme poverty” and experience hunger;
  • Nearly six million children die annually before reaching the age of 5;
  • 59 million children of primary school-age do not attend school;
  • Nearly 2.5 billion people still do not have access to adequate sanitation.

Given such numbers, the global community needs to accelerate the pace of the development agenda, said U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. “Achieving the SDGs is a monumental task. There is no country in the world where all people have equal opportunities to fulfill their aspirations. Every country has poverty and inequalities to address. Every country has environmental problems to remedy,” Eliasson said.  Link for SD report:

On the opening day 11 July, MMS represented the NGOs to give the oral intervention for 2 minutes following the Panel discussion on “envisioning an inclusive world in2030”. ( see attached.) The days were filled with official and parallel events simultaneously from 8 am to 8 pm. A worrying trend of human rights violations of human rights defenders were particularly of grave concern to the civil society who were even silenced in certain parts of the world. The issue was highlighted by the Women’s Major group (WMG) repeatedly in their statements. WMG caught the attention of the delegates during the HLPF by a silent display of pictures of women human right defenders either killed or imprisoned in recent years.

UN Resolution on Gender mainstreaming:The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a resolution on ‘Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective into All Policies and Programmes in the UN System’ (E/RES/2016/2), which calls upon its agencies, funds and programmes, to accelerate the full and effective mainstreaming of a gender perspective, commensurate with the gender-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.This step indeed is welcoming as we campaign for a Woman Secretory General at the UN.

UNCTAD 14The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) suggest that countries achieve sustainable development in all three dimensions, that is, economic, social and environmental, simultaneously. In this context, international trade is expected to play its role as a means of implementation for the achievement of the SDGs.

Trade is considered as an engine for inclusive growth and poverty reduction while contributing to  the achievement of Sustainable Development. But in reality in the past several decades, however, many developing countries witnessed that trade growth contributed to aggregate economic growth, and also increased the income inequality within-country.  UNCTAD 14 Called for a revision in the trade policy that reflects the country’s economic interests often override the importance of conservation of natural resources and ecosystems. Ambassador Kamau from Kenya commented on China’s growth due to their participation in the World Trade Organization and said  “Africa also should be given this opportunity to develop”.

In the light of the 2030 Agenda there is a need to rethink policymaking in order to link trade growth to sustainable development, including its social and the environmental dimensions. The recent UNCTAD 14 report, ‘Trading into Sustainable Development: Trade, Market Access and Sustainable Development Goals,’ looks into this issue, focusing on the interactions between market access conditions – such as customs duties (tariffs) and non-tariff measures (NTMs) – and achieving the SDGs.   Civil Society response:

Call to a Sustainable planet by changing unsustainable lifestyle: Increasing consumption intensified by a growing middle class has tripled primary materials extraction over the last 40 years, with the richest countries consuming around ten times as much as the poorest countries, according to a report published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-hosted International  Resource Panel (IRP)

Good news for Africa: The UN General Assembly proclaimed that the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa will be from 2016-2025, and called for the advancement of “sustainable industrialization” to reduce poverty and help implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.                                                                       

Signs of Hope:  4 reasons why the fight against #Climate Change is still going strong:   ( from UN Wire)

                   Upcoming Events                   

2016 International Youth Day 12 August: The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption” emphasizes a cross-sectorial approach to sustainability and the social, political, economic and environmental inter-linkages needed to achieve it. For more:                                                                                                                                         UNGA High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants: on 19 September 2016will convene a high-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, prior to the general debate of the 71st session. read more:                                                                                                                                           Best,    Celine Paramunda MMS