The meeting opened with spoken word by Ms. Imani Woomera, whose poem “Cultural Choice” celebrated diversity. She then performed the poem “Mosquito” with her son, Zion, about environmental sustainability. The title refers to how something so small can impact people, much akin to how one person with one action can have a profound effect on the world around them. Following this, Ms. Morris, a survivor of 9/11 in the 88th floor in one of the twin towers, gave a heartfelt recollection of the attack. She described descending numerous flights of stairs before receiving a car ride from a stranger to see her four-year-old daughter at her school in Midtown.
Next, Mr. Abouelnaga, with his organization Practice Makes Perfect, supplies over 500 low-income children with education tools. Despite the modest living conditions of his neighborhood, he desired to help the children in his community rather than focus on his own need. He was resourceful in attempting to fund Practice Makes Perfect, sharing his cause on social media and writing to wealthy donors. He emphasized that change comes from within, in that the solutions for environmental sustainability and positive world change stem from the will to act and make connections with their fellow communities.
Title: Inspiring Voices: Transforming the World, Lives and Communities
Date/Location: Thursday, 22 January 2014; 11:00-12:30; Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium
Speakers: Imani Woomera, Lyricist and Poet; Zion Miyonga, high school student; Roszel A. Morris, Counter-Terrorism Committee, Executive Directorate United Nations; Karim Abouelnaga, Founder and CEO Practice Makes Perfect;
Written By: Elise Freeman
Edited By: Modou Cham
The current High Level Political Forum (HLPF) addresses the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. Volunteerism is a key component; it is an effective way to engage people in addressing development challenges in the post-2015 development agenda. Ms. Dennis started off by highlighting how volunteering bridges communication and understanding among people. She mentioned volunteering is a unique opportunity to increase networking, and learn advocacy skills, participation at regional and international conferences and knowledge development in the field of volunteering, which are also the four pillars of volunteerism. She quoted Martin Luther King – “The right time is always right to do what is right” and stressed that everyone has something to give, receive and contribute.
Ms. Sen introduced her own organization, VSO International in the United Kingdom, which aims at promoting volunteering as a powerful way to tackle poverty and inequality. She described volunteerism is a bridge between the development outcomes. “We see volunteers as complementing but not substituting the work force”, she said. Accountability and effectiveness are the catalysts of citizenship and participation in decision making. She then explained how volunteering helps increasing social capital within a community that brings about social inclusion.
Mr. David stressed that sustainable development is about people. He related to his own personal experience as the MDG coordinator in Haiti. He explained that peoples engagement is the key to trigger long-term changes of mind-sets and life choices in all countries. He encourages partnership with civil society in order to integrate civic engagement at local level in the SDG framework. This would also be able to strengthen the overall accountability through multi-stakeholder partnership at national level. Ms. Quintero concluded by outlining the magic recipe of volunteering. She briefly discussed the critical role of volunteers and how volunteering fosters concrete actions to address the social, environmental and economic challenges ahead.
Meeting Title: Volunteer Action Counts for sustainable development: How to strengthen accountability of the post-2015 framework through citizen engagement
Speakers: Ms. Simona Costanzo Sow, Manager, Post-2015 project UN Volunteers; Ms. Kathi Dennis, Executive Director, International Association for Volunteer Efforts (IAVE); Ms. Anjali Sen, International Board Member, VSO International (UK); Mr. Jonasson David, National UN Volunteer (Haiti); Ms. Maria Francisca Cepeda Quintero, Officer Colombia Presidential Programme (Colombia)
Location: Conference Room 7, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 3 July 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited by WIT Representatives: Aslesha Dhillon
Prior to the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in 2015, Climate Summit 2014 will be held on 23rd of September to galvanize climatic actions. A briefing on this Summit was held to address the planning of the Summit’ programme. The Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team will be available for Member States to make inquires for preparation of the Summit.
A representative from EOSG stated that Head of States and Governments will deliver their national climate policies after the Secretary-General’s opening speech.The National Action and Ambition Announcements should provide new or scaled-up ambitions and actions, for instance, demonstrating the investment in resilience, pricing of pollution, the involvement and mobilisation of private actors on climate action. Also the national announcements must convey the message of placing the world on a less than 2 degree pathway that aligns politics and economics.
Heads of State and leaders from finance, business and civil society will announce multilateral and multi-stakeholders action initiatives with respects to energy efficiency and renewable; climate finance; adaptation, resilience and disaster risk reduction; transport, cities, forest and agriculture as well as climate pollutants. The action initiatives need to express the urgency of capitalizing the Green Climate Fund and mobilizing the $100 billion. Thematic discussion on climate science, co-benefits of climatic action, economic case for action and voices of climate frontlines will showcase innovative policies and practices.
While Climate Summit 2014 will not cater any side events, a Climate Week in New York City will take place from the 22nd to 28th of September to provide an alternative platform for governments, businesses and civil society’s public engagement. Finally, the representative highlighted there will be no negotiated outcome from this Summit. The results of the summit will be captured to catalyze ambitious action on the ground and mobilise political will for a global legal climate agreement by 2015.
Meeting: Briefing on The Secretary-General’s Climate Summit
Speakers: Representative from Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG)
Location: Conference Room 1, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 27 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark