Informal Meetings of the Plenary on Stocktaking in the Process of Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

mww_thumb_post-2015This meeting started with several countries relating their sentiments regarding the post-2015 development agenda. China, Chad, the Russian Federation, and Ecuador all gave similar statements about desiring more transparency, stronger follow-up, and resolutions to implementation issues. Following this, the floor was opened up to major groups and stakeholders. The representative of Freshwater Action Mexico said that though the MDG indicator for clean water had been achieved, “the water did not reach the people.” A representative of indigenous people called for segregated data, land resources, special measures, access to justice, participation, and representation to end marginalization.

The representative of “Regional CSO Engage Mechanism: Asia” called for better integration of SDGs in technology facilitation and capacity building. The representative of the Voice Beyond 2015 stated that no MDG has been achieved until it has been met for all socioeconomic groups, especially the marginalized. The UCLG called for rural and local inclusion and involvement, as outlined at the Rio+20 Conference and by the Secretary-General recently. Helpage International wanted to see data desegregation by age, gender, income, and disability status. Education International wanted to clarify the confusion between decent jobs versus decent work through job creation, workers rights, social protection, and dialogue. The VSO representative discussed that providing grassroots community leaders with access to info, meaningful participation in decision-making, education, training, grassroots infrastructure, healthcare, and other social services would greatly aid in their development. The Arab Network for Environment and Development called for an understanding of extremist ideologies that plague the Middle East as calls to end all forms of occupation. Finally, the Pacific Youth Council mentioned both the unique challenges facing SIDS as well as the idea that Caribbean youth want to become involved in the eradication of gender-based violence, want a spiritual approach when promoting a cultural identity, and desire social inclusion through sports.

Meeting: Informal meetings of the plenary on stocktaking in the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, pursuant to resolution 69/244 and decision 69/550
Date & Location: Wednesday, January 21, 2015. Conference Room 2, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Representatives of Chad, the Russian Federation, China, Ecuador, the Philippines, Austria, and the following major groups and stakeholders: Global Campaign for Education (GCE), Human Rights Caucus, MexFam, World Farmers Organization, International Disability Alliance, Youth Beyond Disasters, International Council of Science, ATD Fourth World, Regional CSO Engagement, Freshwater Act Mexico, Regional CSO Engage Mechanism: Asia, Voice Beyond 2015 Campaign, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Helpage International, Education International (Workers and Trade Unions Major Group), VSO, Arab Network for Environment and Development, and the Pacific Youth Council
Written By WIT Representatives: Alis Yoo and Brian Lee
Edited By WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Panel Discussion: Independent Oversight Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda

A.post-2015_12This meeting was held to discuss the importance of supreme auditing institutions (SAI) in the post-2015 development agenda. The representative of UNDESA stated that SAIs are necessary if we want to go towards an inclusive and peaceful society with a focus on sustainable development. SAIs promote accountability in different critical sectors including education, healthcare, and water sanitation. He said that, looking forward, SAIs will play an even more significant role regarding implementing and promoting SDGs. He also stated that international communities should help developing countries foster transparency and efficiency.

Dr. Josef Moser outlined specific benefits of SAI, and what international cooperation with INTOSAI, encouraged by the UN for all levels, entails. He first asserted that MDGs can only be attained with cost-effective accountability, as there will be more impact per dollar invested. For shortcomings in government capacity or a lack of transparency, accountability, and/or ownership that could prevent the attainment of MDGs, INTOSAI can provide technical know-how and assessment through financial, compliance, and performance audits. However, SAIs face domestic obstacles, such as a lacking mandate to audit government performance or a lack rules regarding accounting, reporting, and monitoring. To foster national independence after capacity building through SAIs, Moser encouraged governments to intensify communication with INTOSAI.

Responding to a question on the extent of SAI’s presence in cooperating countries, Dr. Moser stated that SAI’s functions are grading standards and capacity building, as conducted by experts of the International Development Initiative within INTOSAI. He and Ambassador Oh emphasized that, as an international standard of practice is lacking in both developed and developing countries, SAIs are a platform of implementing MDGs that nations and organizations must make good use of.

Meeting: Panel discussion on “Independent Oversight Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda”
Date & Location: Wednesday, January 21, 2015. Conference Room 8, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Speakers: H.E. Ambassador Martin Sajdik, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN and President of ECOSOC; H.E. Ambassador Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN; Dr. Josef Moser, Secretary-General of INTOSAI and President of the Austrian Court of Audit, Representative of UNDESA
Written By WIT Representatives: Alis Yoo, Brian Lee, and James Victory
Edited By WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

The Sustainable Year

Ms. Thompson opened the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) meeting by highlighting that we need to develop sustainable energy and overcome financial challenges. Energy is critical to global development, but the future cannot depend on fossil fuels. In addition Energy efficiency and technology can provide universal energy access for all. The international community must replace fossil fuels by addressing the financial constraints of renewable energy. A committee, designed to investigate sustainable energy investments through public and private sectors, has proposed a draft report to catalyze investments by 2020. The report identifies significant financial gaps. Mr. Gulati illustrates that traditional and non-traditional investments are needed to accomplish three objectives: access, renewables, and efficiency. Also, Policy reforms need to attract capital, and address aggregation mechanisms and the lack of capacity.

Main issues focus on dealing with capital flow, de-risking environments, creating a predictable framework, and blending. Public and corporate governments must become financially viable, attract capital, and keep consumer costs fair. Mr. MacGeorge introduces the problem of channeling funding into countries below investment grade level. Sustainable Energy for All has a challenge of filling a $45 billion dollar gap. Not many renewable energy projects are attractive to financiers because of un-developed technology. Governments in low-income countries cannot take on the challenges of renewable energy, placing the burden on uninterested private developers. Another challenge lies in creating an attractive risk and return balance. Risk is only lessened when preparation of the project and policy mechanisms are improved. Larger projects generate more interest, leaving many middle-sized projects in an ignored category. Aggregation initiatives are being used to make assets appear more attractive to investors. Ambassador Pedersen related sustainable energy back to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

 

Meeting: Event on “Financing Sustainable Energy for All” (organized by the Special Representative of the Secretary – General for Sustainable Energy for All)

Date/Location: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015; 1:15 pm to 2:45 pm; Conference Room 12

Speakers: Abyd Karmali, Managing Director, Climate Finance, Bank of America Merril Lynch; Elizabeth Thompson; Richard MacGeorge, Lead Infrastructure Finance Specialist, World Bank; Mohinder Gulati, Chief Operating Officer of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative; Ambassador Geir O. Pederson, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations

Written by: Ellie Guner

Edited by: Modou Cham

 

 

 

 

United We Stand

Image From: www.un.org

Image From: http://www.un.org

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

Women and Climate Change

This meeting discussed climate change and its relationship with women. Ms.Nusseibeh explained that women comprise up to 60% of the agricultural work force in some countries and farms can be devastated by drought and desertification. Women are also more vulnerable to violence when they are required to travel farther to gather essential supplies and during periods of forced migration. Mr. Sachs discussed areas where funding needed to be “scaled-up”. Examples included education, which he claimed was essential to women empowerment and sustainable development goals and clean energy, to mitigate the effects of climate change. Ms. Puri stated that empowering

women was essential to finding solutions to both gender equality and climate change. Climate change and extreme weather also has an effect on society, as conflict, often derived from gender inequality, is worsened by these environmental changes. For examples, in small island states, rising sea levels have caused forced migration, exacerbating social tensions in these regions. She also stated that the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka killed approximately 1 in 5 displaced women, nearly twice the amount of displaced men. Ms. Markham emphasized the need for women to be active in policymaking because it is necessary to mitigate climate change. To do this, the insecure land and tenure rights, obstructed access to national resources, the burden of domestic duty, and other social restrictions placed upon women need to be lifted in order to increase decision making within women and girls. Ms. Blomstrom continued upon this point, as she stressed the necessity of adequate legal framework to allow women to become empowered activists and leaders.

 

Title: Women, Peace, Security in the Context of Climate Change

Date/Location: Thursday, 15 January 2015; 13:15-14:45; Conference Room 4
Speakers: Lana Nusseibeh Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations; Susan Markham, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; Eleanor Blomstrom, Program Director for Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO); Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women; Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
Written By: Elise Freeman
Edited By: Modou Cham

Event on: “Globalization and Sustainable Development: The Role of Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Private Sector”

sdg2All representatives at the event on “Globalization and sustainable development: The role of governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector”emphasized that each individual is a part of one humanity. NGOs should increase their participation in globalization with the UN and the private sector.

President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser started the meeting by highlighting the importance of technology in our daily lives. Technology not only impacts economic growth, but also benefits the globalization of public policy and social structure. Moreover, the demand for globalization and sustainable development increases the need for international cooperation and government support. He and other representatives agreed that a stable government is required and governments thus need to work with NGOs and the private sector to make globalization more efficient.

Dr. B. K. Modi stated that the UN and NGOs cannot be separated and should work together with each other. Ambassador Michele Klein-Solomon said that globalization is a great benefit for the world because it gives positive aspects to all current and subsequent generations. However, he stated that there are unbalanced opportunities between individuals. Therefore, governments should fairly handle human capital to have more opportunities in peoples’ lives. Multi-cultural areas have become a norm in society rather than an exception and migration should be supplemented with education to promote cultural development.

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury and Mr. Gary C. K. Huang claimed that globalization cannot create more division or disparity. There are three objectives of globalization: education, sustainability, and transformation. More students should be in schools to get quality education to create global citizenship. Dr. Tageldin Hamad insisted that women should be always included in communities like NGOs in globalization. NGOs have an obligation to not ally with any particular government and to not be controlled by government bodies.

Ms. Isha Judd stated that sustainable development  should be based on children, as they always focus on unity and love. Since children never think about fear or lack, they teach us how to meditate and nurture. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati compared today to a global boat. We are on the same boat and have an equal responsibility for globalization. Dr. Manohar Shinde stated that globalization needs to have global perspectives on economic and non-economic issues. Ms. Sharon Vosmek argued that very few numbers of women are working in the society. She emphasized that we live in a global community and women should be treated equally as men.

Meeting: Event on “Globalization and sustainable development: The role of governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector” (co-organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and the Global Citizen Forum)
Date: 31 October 2014
Location: Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium, UN HQ, New York
Speakers: Ambassador Tariq Al-Ansari, H.E. President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Dr. B.K. Modi, Dr. Thomas Walsh, Ambassador Michele Klein-Solomon, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Ambassador Noel Sinclair, Dr. Tageldin Hamad, Ms. Isha Judd, Mr. Kelly Wright, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Dr. Manohar Shinde, Ms. Sharon Vosmek, and Mr. Gary C.K. Huang.
Written by WIT Representative: Minji Han

Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey and Aslesha Dhillon

Second Commitee Discusses Globalization and Interdependence

Mr. Willem van der Geest, Chief of the Development Strategy and Policy Branch of the Development Policy and Analysis Division in DESA introduced the report that provides an overview of the economic, social and environmental challenges we are facing. The report noted, with respect to economic challenges, that the need for more effective international policy coordination has become an imperative against the backdrop of a fragile recovery of the global economy and various downside risks. In regard to the social challenges the report noted that reducing inequality is at the core of a new ‘International Economic Order’. Lastly, the report noted in environmental challenges that an integrated vision that includes the social, economic, environmental and governance components of urbanization is required.

Next, Mr John Wilmoth, Director Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) noted three critical points. First, it is important to maintain the momentum and widespread support for including migrants, migration and mobility in the post-2015 development agenda. Second, it is imperative to promote peaceful societies and facilitate safe and orderly migration. Third, greater efforts are required to ensure that data on migration and its impact on development are collected, analysed and used for effective policy-making.

The representative of Bolivia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China commenced the general discussion by noting that the nexus between migration and development must be addressed comprehensibly and include a cultural and human perspective. They also suggested that the international community should explore a legally binding convention on migration and development to improve the governance of international migration and to protect human rights of migrants. The Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stated the importance of globalization being inclusive and equitable. They also highlighted that their cultural sectors are significant contributors to job creation, economic development and their national pride and identities. The Representative of Philippines on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) stated that they envisage the free flow of services and the free flow of skilled labour, both of which have a deep impact on international migration and development in the region. Finally, the representative of Malawi on behalf of the African Group noted that the current process of globalization is generating unbalanced outcomes, both among and within countries. Malawi called on the international community to assist in enhancing regional and international cooperation for research and technological development.

 

Meeting Title: 22nd and 23rd meeting of the Second Commitee: ‘Globalization and Interdependence [item 21]’
Date: 27 October 2014
Location: Conference Room 2, UN Headquarters, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Second Committee: Operational Activities for Development

6365386329_f24a5e7976_zMs. Zina Mounla stated that in response to ECOSOC resolution 2013/5, the full analysis of funding of United Nations operational activities for development has, for the first time, been merged into the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Quadrennial comprehensive policy review. The funding analysis consolidates financial data on contributions and expenditures of the UN entities that reported funding for operational activities for development in 2012. Together, the UN operational activities for development account for approximately 60 per cent of the funding for all UN system-wide activities. Peacekeeping operations accounted for about 20 per cent, while the global norm and standard setting, policy and advocacy functions of the United Nations system accounted for the remaining 20 per cent. The funding environment remains challenging as almost all of this growth was in the form of non-core resources.

She further noted that while an increase in core funding remains a priority, contributions from countries towards their own country programmes and private sector partnerships are key elements to these strategies. Mr. Gopinathan Achamkulangare introduced JIU’s report on the ‘Selection and appointment process for United Nations Resident Coordinators, including preparation, training and support provided for their work.’ The report provides an assessment of the operation of the existing selection and appointment process for the UN Resident Coordinators, and the effectiveness and efficiency of the related institutional support mechanism, including the preparation, training and support provided. The report identifies and analyses the existing challenges faced in the selection and appointment process of Resident Coordinators and makes recommendations aimed at improving it.

Mr. Yiping Zhou introduced the report of the Secretary-General on “The State of South-South cooperation”. This report reviews the main trends and progress made by the UN development system to bolster support to South-South and triangular cooperation for development over the past year. Mr Zhou highlighted that there are enormous opportunities for South-South cooperation in achieving the internationally-agreed development goals, including the MDGs, while anticipating the post-2015 development agenda. Furthermore, the report recommended the establishment of an interagency coordination mechanism under the UNDG to enhance and support the south-south cooperation. It also recommended focusing UN support on those areas where it has previously proved more effective.

Meeting: 26th and 27th Meetings of the Second Committee: Operational activities for development (A/69/215) [item 24]
Date: 29 October 2014
Speakers: Ms. Zina Mounla (DESA on behalf of Assistant Secretary General, Thomas Gass); Mr.Gopinathan Achamkulangare (Inspector, JIU); Mr. Yiping Zhou (Envoy of the Secretary General on South-South Cooperation).
Location: Conference Room 2, UN Headquarters, New York.
Written by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Second Committee discusses: Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly

2-new2The second agenda of the Second Committee was ‘Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly’. The representative of the European Union and Member States, stated all countries and partners need to work together to ensure that the work of the Second Committee that runs parallel to intergovernmental processes is not duplicated or that the negotiations are not pre-empted. They believe that the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be included in the agenda of the Second Committee. Therefore it should guide the Second Committee to rationalize and streamline their agenda. Next the representative of the United States of America supported the efforts to streamline the number of resolutions by combining related topics in specific clusters. The representative of Canada stated that in cases where broader discussions on biennialization or triennialization of resolutions or restricting of existing agenda items is required, it should be held off until the conclusion of the post-2015 discussion.

Meeting Title: Second Committee: Sixth Meeting
Date: 9 October 2014
Location:  Conference room 2, United Nations HQ, New York.
Written by WIT Representative– Aslesha Kaur Dhillon

The Development, Transfer, and Dissemination of Clean and Environmentally Sound Technologies

EST

Today, a meeting was convened to discuss the development, transfer, and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies in order to inform the General Assembly on options for technology facilitation mechanisms. The moderator, H.E. Mr. Patriota, began the panel discussion by giving a statement on the progress made in environmentally sound technology inclusion in the Open Working Group of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The outcome document recognizes the importance of technology in the SDGs, with 19 targets in 11 different goals dedicated to promoting the development and transfer of sustainable technologies.

Following, H.E. Mr. Seger of Switzerland gave a statement on how the president of the General Assembly suggested that a procedural resolution would be welcomed to provide the basis for the continuation ofthese discussions on sustainable technology implementation.

Next, ASG Mr. Gass from DESA spoke about how the UN can support existing technology mechanisms, build on existing legal frameworks, and facilitate additional access to information about technologies. He recommended three options: improve information and mapping of existing technology facilitation activities, increase synergies and coherenceamong existing facilities, and conduct an analysis of technology needs and gaps in order to address them.

Furthermore, Mr. Christensen, the Senior Partnerships Advisor for the Executive Office of the SG, stated how multi stakeholder coalitions, including private sector and non-state actors, are necessary for effective technology dissemination. “When we bring multiple stakeholders together, thesum is bigger than each of its parts; each of these partnerships have technology transfer components,” he said.

Concluding the panel discussion, Professor Naboth van den Broek from Georgetown spoke about the private sector view on technology development and transfer, and the elements which are important from a private sector perspective when thinking about international technology dissemination. The key factors he highlighted include how technology solutions tend to be local, the challenge of the lack of technology infrastructure in the developing world, the need for a stable and predictable legal and regulatory environment, the need for education and capacity building on the ground, and the barriers to markets and trade like existing tariffs on clean technology products in certain developing countries. These factors affect the extent to which a private company can engage in local partnerships for sustainable technology solutions.

 

Meeting Title: Fourth Structured Dialogue of the General Assembly to Consider Possible Arrangements for the Facilitation Mechanism to Promote the Development, Transfer, and Dissemination of Clean and Environmentally Sound Technologies
Speakers: H.E. Mr. Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil; H.E. Mr. Paul Seger, Permanent Representative of Switzerland; Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary General (ASG), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); Mr. Thomas Christensen, Senior Partnerships Advisor, Executive Office of the Secretary General; Professor Naboth van den Broek, Georgetown University
Date: 23 July 2014
Location: Trusteeship Council, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan