NGO Committee on Sustainable Development: Leveraging Innovative Technologies for the SDGs & Inclusive Economic Growth

The panel discussion, organized by the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, explored the role of innovative technologies for achieving SDGs and inclusive economic growth from various perspectives. Mr. Sanchez, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN began by stating that technology is placed as the core priority of the Mexican government in order to advocate economic growth with leading standards. He emphasized that how advancement of technology could positively accelerate the progress of achieving SDGs in the 2030 agenda. Partnerships between different stakeholders, such as the government, private sector, particularly, micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as civil societies, are pivotal to address the opportunities posed by technological development.

Ms Moliner, representing the UN women, highlighted the current gender gap in terms of technology production and consumption. She exemplified the current situation by illustrating the under-representation of women as innovators and entrepreneurs, limited market awareness and gender-blind approach to innovation, and inadequate investment in innovations that meet needs of women. Being the founder of an NGO that enhances global technology business ecosystems, Ms Schlegel mentioned a number of examples which utilized technology to improve inclusiveness in start-up industry.

Afterwards, Mr Chuter underscored the importance of expressing gratitude to foster communication and conversation, as well as collaboration and cooperation by bringing charities together to initiate campaigns. The Chairman of Quantum Media Group, Mr. Zoldan, explained how technology, especially block chain, could realize SDGs. With the use of block chain, transactions could be verified and recorded without a local bank, thus eradicating possible fraud potentially. Ms. Zfat, a social media entrepreneur, shared her experience in forming partnerships, for instance, with Samsung and the Council for Economic Education, to amplify impact by minimal resources via social media platforms.

Meeting:  NGO Committee on Sustainable Development: Leveraging Innovative Technologies for the SDGs & Inclusive Economic Growth

Date/Location: 2nd Floor Conference Room, Church Center for the UN; 15:00-18:00; June 20th 2018

Speakers: Ms Margo LaZaro (NGOCSD-NY Executive Board)

Mr Bruno Rios Sanchez (First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN)

Ms Helene Moliner (Senior Policy Advisor on Innovation, Leading the Innovation and Technology Facility of UN Women)

Ms. Mahrinah von Schlegel (Founder of VIAE Global Executive Director of Embassy 2.0

Mr. Mike Chuter (Co-founder of Thankful & Thankful Organization)

Mr. Ari Zoldan (Chairman of Quantum Media Group, CMO of Optherium Labs)

Ms Natalie Zfat (Social Media Entrepreneur)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

Press Briefing on the launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2017

A press statement regarding the launch of the report World Economic Situation and Prospects was released by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) today. The latest report presents bad news on the world’s progress toward achieving some of the major Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the 2030 Agenda

Regarding the world’s GDP growth, Diana Alarcón and Dawn Holland of DESA presented it was forecasted to rise by 4.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent in 2017 and 2018 respectively, which is significantly below the SDG target of at least 7 percent. The report warns that under the current growth trajectory without a decline in income inequality, 35 percent of the population in Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) will remain in extreme poverty by 2030.

Concerning world trade, it has begun to rebound from the 2008 global financial crisis. However, it is mainly due to the rising import demand and contribution of East Asia and South Asia. On the contrary, the rise in commodity price driven by conflict and domestic pressure in Latin America and Africa is not yet resolved.
Apart from the income and trade targets, Alarcón and Holland said the report also identified some positive elements in the environmental area. For example, the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) has been reduced while the use of renewable energy has increased. However, they remarked that the trend could be easily reversed should the major CO2 emitting countries demonstrate faster growth, and the public and private sectors do not continue to support the use of renewable energy.
Addressing the overall lack of progress, Alarcón and Holland explained that political actors played a significant role. Among others, they particularly pointed toward the high level of uncertainties in international policies, such as the recent renegotiations of trade relations in the United States and Europe, financial market relations, and Brexit.

Meeting: Press briefing by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on the launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2017
Date/Location: Tuesday, May 16, 2017; 11:00-11:30; Press Briefing Room, S-237, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:
Diana Alarcón, Chief, Global Economic Monitoring Unit, Development Policy and Analysis Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations;
Dawn Holland, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Global Economic Monitoring Unit, Development Policy and Analysis Division, DESA, United Nations
Written By: WIT Representative Jadice Lau

Edited By: Fred Yonghabi

Impacts of Economic Globalization

 

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Ambassador Donoghue gave a brief summary of Ireland’s economic structure and history to begin the November 29 session. The Permanent Mission of Ireland organized the meeting, and Mr. Steve Landefeld provided attendants with an in-depth summary and outline of the associated data. Mr. Ataman Ozyidirim discussed the current trends, uncertainties, and relevant “disruptions” that will determine Ireland’s economic future. He discussed TCB data that supports global economic growth projections and explained advancements in productivity data new this year. He ended and stressed the importance of creating value through qualitative growth by implementing more reliable and effective ways of measuring GDP. Mr. Klaus Tilmes and Ms. Deborah Winkler discussed ways to make global value chains (GVCs) work for development. They lectured on development through GVC Participation, relevant policy questions, assessing GVC participation, and WGB country engagement. Mr. Klaus and Ms. Winkler provided examples of multifaceted approaches relevant in Bangladesh, the ICT sector in Vietnam, and the livestock sector in Mali.

Mr. Michael Connolly’s presentation focused on Irish national accounts and payment balance within them. He focused on MNE dominance, communication challenges, the impact of increasing stocks in capital assets, trends in net exports, the impact of relocation (GDP to GNI transition), contribution of domestic demand and net exports to annual GDP, and the trends in Irish and EU household savings.The final panelist examined how to more efficiently measure global value chains, the impacts of technology, productivity, comparative advantage, and trade on U.S. employment, the growth and benefits of GVCs and trade, and the need for a system of extended international accounts and business statistics. The panelists ended the with case studies of globalization, an emphasis on the need for consistent aggregate estimates, and a discussion of MNCs and trade, MNCs and domestic economy, and MNE rates of return.

Meeting: Seminar on “Measuring the Impact of Economic Globalization” (organized by the Permanent Mission of Ireland)

Date/Location: Tuesday, 29 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; UN Headquarters, Conference Room 12

Speakers: H.E. Ambassador Donoghue of the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations; Mr. Steve Landefeld of the UN Statistics Division; Mr. Ataman Ozyidirim (Director, Business Cycles and Growth Research of the Conference Board); Mr. Klaus Tilmes and Ms. Deborah Winkler of the World Bank; Mr. Michael Connolly (Director of the Central Statistics Office, Ireland); Mr. Timothy J. Sturgeon (Senior researcher MIT Industrial Performance Center)

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

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

Threats to Journalists and Freedom of Press

To help launch the World Trends Report on Freedom of Expression and Media Development, a panel was convened to discuss the importance of tackling new threats to media freedom. Ms. Bokova opened the dialogue by highlighting the dangers in this field, relaying that every 7 days a journalist loses their life for simply doing their job. When this happens, the power of truth is dimmed, and society as a whole is darkened. Ms. Bokovaalso expressed the need to increase the role of women in media, stating that society cannot get the full story with only half of the voices.

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H.E. Mr. Grunditz furthered this point by acknowledging that while more women are active in media than ever before, they are still significantly underrepresented in the industry as a whole. Women only make up one third of media employees worldwide. Even more startling, only a quarter of the people heard about or covered in the media are women. These pervasive inequalities prevent society from getting the full picture.

Professor Bollinger changed the tone of the panel, focusing on reasons for optimism conveyed by the report. Present-day advances in communication and technology now make it possible for billions of people to be aware of, and even participate in, ongoing discussions about the world’s news. Professor Bollinger proceeded to discuss the practical need for freedom of press that was never quite present before today’s day and age. As economies mature, it becomes necessary that society be more open. No economy can reach a high level unless people are free to create, think, and innovate. Furthermore, the world’s leaders need to recognize that we now have an integrated global economy, and only integrated global communications centers can support and expand it. Beyond economic incentives, the world has too many global issues and problems for us to solve without the use and worldwide implementation of free media.

 

Meeting Title: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization launch of the “World Trends Report on Freedom of Expression and Media Development” (co-organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Permanent Mission of Sweden)
Speakers: Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General; H.E. Mr. Mårten Grunditz, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN; Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University; Joel Simon, Executive Director of The Committee to Protect Journalists; Karin Karlekar, project Director of Freedom of the Press; Veni Markovski, Vice President Global Stakeholder Engagement, ICANN; Raza Rumi, Writer and public Policy Specialist
Date: 9 July 2014
Location: Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Zachary Halliday
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

International Day of Cooperatives

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Sharon Brennen Haylock began today’s event to celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives with brief biographies of the speakers and the introductory remarks. She discussed background information concerning cooperatives. Cooperatives’ goals for the post-2015 agenda are designed to help boost the economy and lead to implementation reforms. The UN international cooperative goal is to resolve global issues, and join actions of the cooperative movement. She concluded by expressing two important steps for 2015 and beyond: achieving a new climate agreement and adopting a long range agenda.

Daniela Bas took over as moderator for the duration of the event. She relayed a message from Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. The message talked about creating enabling environments for cooperatives. The message went on to elaborate how governments have the power to establish enabling environments, but for some time, mainly private agencies have raised awareness and strengthened cooperatives. She elucidated that the cooperatives’ goals have served 857 million people.

Och Od stated that the cooperatives are based on mutual interest between agencies trying to reach goals for sustainable development. One of his main goals was aiming to contribute to population growth by supplying nomadic civilizations with basic needs for development.

Wenyan Yang stated that the General Assembly recognizes that the vital role cooperatives play in sustainable development is essential for the post-2015 agenda. She expressed the importance of filling in the technological data gap. She stated filling in the data gap will help determine the amount of people who benefit from the cooperatives globally.

Sharon Brennen Haylock concluded the panel discussion by stating that poverty and job growth for youth, among other developmental factors, can all be attributed to the progression of cooperative goals. She spoke about the UN currently laying the groundwork and guidelines for the post-2015 agenda.

 

Meeting Title: Special event on the occasion of the International Day of Cooperatives (5 July) on the theme “Cooperative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all”
Speakers: Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); His Excellency, Ambassador OCH OD, Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations; Wenyan Yang, Chief, Social Perspective in Development Branch, Division for Social Policy and Development, DESA; Vinicius Pinheiro, Deputy Director, ILO New York Office; Sharon Brennen Haylock, Director, FAO Liaison Office in New York
Location: Conference Building Room 3, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 10 July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Leslie Anokye
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

MDG Progress Review – Qatar, UK, and Kuwait

Millennium-Development-Goals-for-2015Today, as part of the Annual Ministerial Review on development, Qatar, the UK, and Kuwait gave their respective countries’ development reports, and had these reports reviewed by their peers as part of the monitoring and evaluation process of the millennium development goals (MDGs). Beginning the meeting, the representative from Qatar presented Qatar’s National Development Strategy (NDS), which covers the period from 2011-2016. So far it’s found that Qatar has done exceedingly well in GNI per capita (ranking 1st globally), and in having high levels of citizen satisfaction with life. However, the NDS report pointed out population growth as a major challenge to development in Qatar. Qatar’s population has grown from 1.4 million in 2008 to 2.1 million in 2013, with almost a quarter of a million more people expected by 2014. Population growth places a burden on schools, hospitals, housing, and other aspects of social infrastructure. Traffic congestion and accidents were also highlighted as main challenges for Qatar. Concluding the presentation, proposed future actions for development include creating a high-level sustainable development committee, ensuring the integration of environmental and social concerns, and improving quantitative and qualitative measures of well-being.

Next, the UK’s development report was presented. The UK is the only G8 country to reach the UN set target of allocating .7% of its GNI for official development assistance (ODA). Furthermore, the UK identified its key priorities for development as gender equality, education and health, humanitarian work, multilateral aid effectiveness, reducing barriers to economic growth, supporting capital market development in Sub Saharan Africa, and international efforts to combat tax evasion and corruption. To promote development, the UK has given 40% of its bilateral aid to Sub Saharan Africa. Furthermore, in 2013, the UK gave 4.4 billion pounds to 40 different multilateral aid agencies. The presentation concluded with a quote from the UK’s International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, “Development is in all of our interests. Helping other countries to grow and develop means a better, more prosperous future for Britain too.”

Lastly, Kuwait gave its presentation on its development progress. So far, Kuwait has done relatively well in meeting the MDGs. By 2011, only .33% of its population lived on less than $1.25 per day, by 2012 97% of children were enrolled in primary schools, and Kuwait has seen a significant improvement in maternal health – 1.7 deaths for every 100,000 births as of 2012. However, increasing CO2 levels in Kuwait remain a challenge, and water desalination and power stations are main sources of pollution. Thus far, Kuwait has been successful in building a global partnership for development – allocating 1.23% of its GNI for ODA, hosting the first Arab summit on economic and social development, and creating the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The meeting concluded with reviews by peer countries of the development reports.

 

Meeting Title: Annual Ministerial Review National Voluntary Presentations: Qatar, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Kuwait
Speakers: H.E. Mr. Saleh bin Mohammad Al Nabit, Minister of Development Planning and Statistics, Qatar; Mr. Anthony Smith, Head, International Relations, Department for International Development, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; H.E. Mr. Mansour Ayyad SH A Alotaibi, Permanent Representative of Kuwait
Date: 9 July 2014
Location: Conference Room 2, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Implementing Rio+20 And The Future We Want

In order to ensure implementation and universality of the post-2015 development agenda, a ministerial dialogue was held to discuss the ingredients needed to develop coherent and integrated elements of the agenda. Ms. Clark moderated the panel. She mentioned the post-2015 development agenda must tackle the emerging challenges that are applicable to all countries. For instance, climate change has been affecting people’s lives in the past few years and its impacts were obvious. She emphasized the need to reflect the shared aspirations of people and countries so that no one is left behind.Unknown-8

Mr. Potočnik mentioned three important ingredients in the development agenda. First, maintain a good balance among all three dimensions of sustainable development, namely social, economic, and environmental. Next, it is important to maintain a transformative agenda. Hence, a global partnership is vital for every country. Each country should focus on having a coherent, enabling policy environment, and the full mobilization of all its available resources, including private finance and a strong accountability framework.

In addition, Ms. Nana highlighted an effective and efficient coordination mechanism from the global to the local level. She also stressed that gender must be a central pillar to address inequality and poverty. This would ensure all inclusive growth and an equal society. Also, she pointed out the inclusion of civil society, youth, women and the private sector in the planning process.

Mr. Yoon stressed the importance of tackling poverty eradication, ecosystem resilience building, and enhanced gender equality. He mentioned that accountable, transparent and effective governance are the key factors in building an integrated development agenda. Lastly, Ms. Velo outlined a universal and integrated approach, which is capable of capturing the three major dimensions of sustainable development. It is necessary to have an innovative culture of governance with inclusiveness and accountability. She ended by calling for new ways of understanding and measuring the progress of the sustainable development goals.

 

Meeting Title: HLPF Ministerial Dialogue “A universal integrated policy agenda to implement Rio+20 and realize the future we want”
Speakers: Ms. Clark Helen, Administrator of UNDP; H.E. Mr. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment; H.E. Ms. Lithur, Nana Oye, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana; H.E. Mr. Yoon Seong-kyu, Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea; H.E. Ms. Silvia Velo, Under Secretary for Environment, Land and Sea, Italy
Location: Trusteeship Council, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 7 July 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Consumer Information and Sustainable Consumption and Production

As part of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, a side event was held to discuss the availability of consumer information, and its impact on sustainable consumption and production (proposed goal 12 of the sustainable development goals). Beginning the meeting, the Vice-President of ECOSOC gave a statement on the launch of the Consumer Information Programme, which provides accurate information about the sustainability of various goods and services and helps to guide consumers towards more sustainable choices. By 2030, the global population of middle class consumers will increase by 2-3 billion people, putting more stress on the environment and natural resources, and making it vital for the world to consume more efficiently with less of an impact.

ImageFollowing, H.E. Mr. Thoms stated how sustainable consumption and production encompass all dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social, and environment), and that it’s important to inform consumers about sustainable consumption and production so they can direct their purchasing power towards more sustainable goods and services. Furthermore, Mr. Bastaman from Indonesia added that information about sustainable consumption and production is relatively new in developing countries, and that both the Indonesian government and business sectors are striving to provide more information to consumers.

Next, Dr. Jaeckel, Mr. Wardojo, and Mr. MacMullan gave presentations on the role of transparency and accountability for consumer information in achieving sustainable consumption and production. They highlighted that providing consumers with accurate and accountable information is a multi stakeholder task, which includes governments, NGOs, inter-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Consumers are mainly interested in a product’s cost, convenience, and if the product meets the consumer’s needs. However, ethical and moral questions of sustainability are becoming part of the equation. In order to raise sustainability on the consumer’s agenda, information about how the product is made must be provided in a clear and simple way, in order toencourage sustainable patterns of consumption.

 

Meeting Title: Consumer Information Programme Under the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns
Speakers: H.E. Mr. Vladimi Drobnjak, Vice President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Permanent Representative of Crotia; H.E. Mr. Heiko Thoms, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany; Mr. Henry Bastaman, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, Indonesia; Dr. Ulf D. Jaeckel, Head of Sustainable Consumer Production, Product-related Environmental Protection, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany; Mr. Noer Adi Wardojo, Ministry of Environment, Indonesia; Mr. Justin MacMullan, Head of Advocacy, Consumer International
Date: 1 July 2014
Location: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Civil Society Perspectives on the Post 2015 Development Agenda

Unknown-5Today, various civil society groups came together to discuss the post 2015 development agenda, and to give their input on what should be included in the sustainable development goals (SDGs). All of the NGOs present agreed the agenda must be universal, and prioritized addressing inequality as one of the biggest concerns the SDGs should tackle.

The first half of the meeting addressed policy coherence in the post 2015 development agenda, and called for coordinated efforts in the public and private sectors to build sustainable partnerships for development. The Rio +20 Conference was also referenced, and a focus was given to how at the conference an agreement was made to establish the SDGs and address resource mobilization for sustainability. In order to have effective goals, they must be universal, measurable, and integrate all aspects of sustainable development including economic, social, and environmental. The NGOs present called for a holistic approach to the SDGs, stressed sustainable consumption and production patterns, and agreed on the need for an accountability framework.

The second half of the meeting focused on equality, employment, and decent work for all. Eliminating extreme poverty has to start with eliminating inequalities, and a key way to do that is to provide employment and decent work for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, age, etc. There was a focus on eliminating gender inequality, and persistent inequality between rural and urban areas. In order for there to be fair employment and decent work for all, these inequalities must be addressed. The NGOs called for SDGs that focus on fair employment and addressing inequalities. They also called for the need to create an enabling environment for cooperatives and small businesses in order for the local economy to thrive. The meeting concluded with a question and answer session from the audience.

 

Meeting Title: Event entitled “Civil society perspectives on the Post-2015 agenda” (organized by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Delegation of the European Union)
Speakers: Timo Makela, Director of International Affairs, LIFE & Eco-Innovation, DG Environment, European Commission; Evelyne Pichenot, French Economic and Social and Environmental Council, EESC Member; Jonas Keding Lindholm, Save the Children; An Le Nouail Marliere, General Confederation of Labour, EESC Member; Constanza Martinez, Deputy Head of IUCN Global Policy Unit, Dominic White, WWF; Sascha Gabizon, Women International for a Common Future; Helen Dennis, Senior Advisor for Christian Aid on Poverty & Inequality
Date: 19 June 2014
Location: NLB Conference Room 5, United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan