The Oceans We Need for the Future We Want

Mr. Miliband explained that the Global Ocean Commission bridges ocean experts with business communities to explore environmental and political interests. Experts are concerned with the loss of ocean biodiversity due to increases in technology, demand for resources, and subsidies. The Global Ocean Commission proposed an SDG and addressed the Implementing Agreement to deal with the lack of governance in parts of the high seas, provide monetary benefits, and build partnerships. The Implementing Agreement solves the need for clearer routes in unprotected areas of the ocean and addresses the use of genetic marine resources. The decline of the ocean is evident, bringing a new matter to the debate: urgency.

The Global Ocean Commission promotes transparency among stakeholders and aligns interests (political) with UN leadership, national leadership, and economic incentives. Ms. Richards discussed the importance of the Implementing Agreement for marine biodiversity, climate change, ocean acidification, and SIDS. Strategies must be developed to sustain the ocean and stabilize SIDS’ economies. Governments need to promote swift and decisive action to protect, conserve, and share marine resources. Existing measures to conserve biodiversity are negligent. Saving the ocean is a joint effort. Mr. Deaner mentioned there are a couple of “ocean problems” piling up. He stated that countries are at a crucial point for tackling problems and offering solutions. The deepest dilemma agencies are facing is governance of the ocean. Part of the solution is creating a global, complementary framework to align current ideas for ocean sustainability. Ms. Svensson emphasized the need to have global and regional work linking climate change to ocean issues and the land to the sea. Human actions on land lead to waste in the ocean from higher plastic content to acidification. She concluded that the ocean is an economic, social, and cultural problem and not just an environmental issue.

Meeting: The Oceans We Need for the Future We Want: High time for the BBNJ to make the call to action

Date/Location: Wednesday, January 21st, 2015; 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm; Conference Room 5

Speakers: David Miliband, Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission; Max Diener, Legal Consultant of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico; Lisa Emelia Svensson, Sweden’s Ambassador for Oceans, Seas, and Freshwater Support; Shorna-Kay Richards, Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica

Written by: Paige Stokols and Ellie Guner

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

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