The highlight of July is the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). It was convened from July 9-18 with prior preparatory processes under the theme ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.’ Four years after the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) started, the 2019 meeting of the HLPF opened to take stock of progress, gaps, and obstacles. 47 countries (7 for the second time) have volunteered to present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) to the HLPF. Speakers highlighted the need for more empowerment, courage, inclusivity, and equality. A presentation on the progress made on SDG 4 (quality education) revealed a “global learning crisis”, despite steady growth in school enrolment rates, more than half of all children of primary and lower secondary school age lacked minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics in 2015 globally. Read the #SDG report 2019: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2019 Solutions proposed by speakers included not only reforms of the education sector, but a transformation of mindsets to make educational systems more inclusive; integration of the vision of SDGs, including global citizenship and sustainability, in curricula; and “dramatically” improving working conditions for teachers.
Ms. Yolanda Joab Mori, One Young World Ambassador, Micronesia who commented ” we don’t need more power, we need more courage and actions” was received with a prolonged applause. 2000 Registered participants included our intern Eleanor Wade and Runa Ray a fashion designer from India, whom I met at the Green fair in UNICEF NY (picture ,see attached sharings) later only I realized she is the founder of MOJO design company in Singapore with retails in many countries !
“The 2030 Agenda is not a Utopia. It is within our reach if we want to grasp it. We know what we have done. We need to do more, to do it faster and make it more transformative. We can use these days to help each other and to create new partnerships” said the president of General Assembly H.E. María Fernanda Espinosa at the opening of the ministerial session.
A governor from Japan said “let us work together with vision, mission and passion”. For more pictures and news : http://enb.iisd.org/hlpf/2019/15jul.html,
There were 156 side events, 36 Exhibits and 17 VNR Labs besides special events and High-Level parallel meetings were held all through10 days including week ends. One event caught my special attention was the #Zacchaeus Tax, a Campaign organized by the Ecumenical groups calling for Tax justice at Global and National levels to curb the growing concentration of the wealth in the hands of an increasingly powerful few, hand in hand with increased public spending to stamp out poverty. They encourage churches to organize their finances in line with Zacchaeus principles of just taxation, sharing resources and Reparation for historical injustices. https://wcrc.ch/news/zacchaeus-campaign-calls-for-tax-justice
July 18: 101 Birth day of Nelson Mandela. “It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.” – Nelson Mandela. https://bit.ly/1zIOZox”
Resources for reflection:
The latest UN report on “Climate change and Poverty,” by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston describes the risk of a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where “the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.” http://bit.ly/2XrBNVf
Watch a 5-minute video “UNHCR’s global trends in forced displacement, 2018 figures,” produced by the UN Refugee Agency. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax5f9KsGfv8&feature=youtu.be
‘It is not just about migrants. It’s about not excluding anyone.’ Pope Francis. https://youtu.be/LCt7Rq0xBTs
Signs of hope:
- 316 Dutch Bus stops are getting Green Roofs covered in Plants as a gift for Honeybees.
- India planted 66 Million trees in 12 hours
- Punjab one of the Indian States announced free education for Girls from LKG to PhD.
- For every mile a jet flies, it generates 53 pounds of carbon dioxide, Air New Zealand, is slashing their use of plastic on flights—cutting out 55 million items.
- To ensure the homeless people get to eat a good meal, India’s first garbage cafe has been launched in Chhattisgarh. The Municipal Corporation will provide food to the poor and homeless in lieu of plastic waste.
- New way to say “God Loves You” by cancelling the medical bills of 6500 families. Stetson Baptist Church in Florida USA used the money collected during the service donated for this. Several other churches are also doing likewise in the United States.
Celine Paramunda MMS