July Updates 2018

Dear Readers,

 New Director General for IOM (International organization for Migration): António Vitorino of Portugal was elected as the organization’s new director general, the first time in 50 years that the head of the International Organization for Migration is not an American. The U.S. candidate Ken Isaacs, was controversial due to his comments on social media criticizing Islam and dismissing climate change. A week before the election, 50 organizations working on migration signed a letter to IOM member states said the new agency head should demonstrate “a record of and commitment to respecting diversity and condemning xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance.”

 9-19 July 2018:  High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development: Delegates and Ministers of the Nations came together at the HLPF to evaluate where we stand in this joint quest for a prosperous, equal and healthy future for people and planet. Some of the questions- Are we on track to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030? Where are we making progress, and where do we need to step up efforts? This year’s HLPF theme was “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.

The Goals under review included: Goal 6 Clean water and sanitation, Goal 7 Affordable and clean energy, Goal 11 Sustainable cities and communities, Goal 12 Responsible consumption and production, Goal 15 Life on land, Goal 17 Partnerships for the Goals.

46 countries presented their Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) lessons learned and experiences to meet the globally agreed goals. Some countries included Civil society and youth to present the report while others refused it. NGO major group could give the statements from the respective VNR countries.

 Civil Society not included adequately while growing participation of private sector: A recent study showed that there is a high level of awareness among civil society groups on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process, but this has not yet been translated into meaningful participation at the National level.

There were official events, parallel and side events from 8 Am to 9 Pm with very interesting presentations and learnings. Civil Society maximized the time to bring the concerns while 80% of the Parallel events were by private sector and member states, shows a growing influence of money at the UN.

MMS were part of the 50 NGOs together to organize a side event, part of a joint statement as well as shadow report prepared by the CSO group called the “Spotlight”- a reflection paper to bring the world in the right track of sustainable development. See the report at https://www.2030spotlight.org/en

Some glimpses of HLPF through action: Leaving No One Behind-Stop Caste based Discrimination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-lUP4I2DF4

Outcome document or Ministerial Declaration: Three years ago, all 193 countries unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda but this year the HLPF draft declaration was put on Vote by the request of United States and Israel. Many countries expressed their concern as this is a violation to the UN charter and the international law promoting consensus and multilaterism. The Contentious issues raised by USA are the mention of Foreign occupation, right to development and Trade in the report. Final vote within the ECOSOC members showed 46 for and 1 against.

Water Walk in New York: One child dies every two minutes from diarrhoea caused by dirty water, poor sanitation and bad hygiene – yet on current progress the world will fail to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 6 – To bring safe water and toilets to everyone, everywhere by 2030. To highlight the importance of water and bring to the attention of the policy makers, WaterAid organized a water walk (Central park to the UN) for 2 miles an average woman and girls daily walk for water. Water aid made a short film:


 Strong Voice: “have some shame sir”: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein has urged the UN Security Council to immediately refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) so that all allegations of crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims as well as the charges of war crimes against other ethnic groups can be investigated. He also urged the UN General Assembly to establish a new international, impartial and independent mechanism, complementary to the Fact-Finding Mission to assist the criminal investigation of individual perpetrators. He also responded to the Myanmar Government representative comments that it was a “committed to the defense of human rights”. In the four years that I have been High Commissioner I have heard many preposterous claims, he said. This claim, that I have just stated now, almost creates a new category of absurdity. Have some shame sir. Have some shame!”

Global Compact on Migration (GCM): After 6 rounds of negotiations in NY, Countries came to an agreement on safe, orderly and regular Migration which will be officially signed in Dec in Morocco. Civil Society played a vital role in persuading countries. The United States did not participate in this too while Hungary pulled out before the agreement. Australia is debating to agree or not.

Centenary Celebration of Nelson Mandela: 100 Birth day of late Nelson Mandela was celebrated at the UN with lots of good memories and recalling his legacy. He was remembered for bringing dialogue to the UN and the President of the General Assembly called him the “prophet of tolerance”.

UPCOMING EVENTS & Registrations:   1. UN DPI Annul Conference, August 22-23 – to register: https://reg.unog.ch/event/25239/registration/

2.  Student Conference on International day of Peace Sept 21 9.30 am to 12 Pm.

Signs of Hope:

  1. Donating gives him Joy: 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe, a French soccer team player

made roughly $22,500 for each of the seven games that France played in the World Cup. On top of that, he was given a $350,000 bonus for winning the tournament. But instead of relishing his half a million in earnings, he is donating 100% of the money to charity.

2     California (USA) Achieve their GHG emission goal early: The California Air Resources Board just announced that greenhouse gas pollution in California fell below 1990 levels for the first time -an achievement roughly equal to taking 12 million cars off the road or saving 6 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

3     The Netherlands is getting ready for the world’s most ambitious Climate Policy: The Dutch Climate Law would require the country to reach a 49% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, followed by a 95% reduction by 2050. Not only that, the policy would require 100% of electricity to be carbon neutral by 2050.

4     Appreciate to enhance wellbeing: A pair of researchers have published the results, what they found was that expressing and receiving appreciation increased well-being for both parties.

                              Warm wishes,            Celine Paramunda MMS