People and Nature – Solutions to Accelerating Progress Towards the 2030 Agenda and Averting Planetary Catastrophe

Co-organised by Costa-Rica, the Delegation of the European Union with YouNGO, UNEP, WWF and UNDP, delegations and civil organizations convened to discuss solutions that can accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030. The meeting specifically called for collaborative climate action, where the balance between nature and humans can then be restored and sustained.

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Connecting A Sustainable World

Today there was a meeting organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) about the enablement of a trusted, connected world. The ITU is a United Nations committee created to connect the world through information and communication technologies. They develop methods of quality access to ICTs for countries in which they are less available, and distribute satellite orbits and radio networks to ensure all people’s rights to communicate. The agency is committed to ending poverty, aiding people, helping the planet environmentally, foster peace, and create partnerships between countries with their Sustainable Development Goals and the necessity of the promotion of ICTs in maintaining such an agenda.

The meeting was opened by Mr. Johnson, who made an open invitation for an upcoming ITU forum at Geneva on May 2nd-6th. Ms. Ahmad spoke of how the implementation of ICTs in Pakistan was originally 2.3-2.8%. In less than a year, it is now at 15%+, jumping five times in 11 months. She said it is essential to proliferate broadband and taking data from the government, not from nonpublic sources. The other panelists discussed the developing standards, which they regard as important to identify, such as making open source communities, representatives to supervise implementation, and having workshops and disciplines. Because the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges that global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, the Information and Communication Infrastructure is indispensable, especially for developing countries and countries with economies in transition. As global Internet penetration grew from 6.3% to 43% in the recent 15 years, ITU presented how they want to further increase this number, as this number is leaving 4 billion people from developing countries offline. This session was an opportunity to learn more about how the ITU plays a key role in the WSIS Process outcome.

Meeting: Enabling a Trusted Connected World

Date/Location: Wednesday, December 16th, 2015; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 7

Speakers: Mr. Jaroslaw Ponder, Strategy and Policy Advisor, and Coordinator for Europe Region, ITU, Moderator; Malcome Johnson, Deputy Secretary General, ITU; H.E. Ms Anusha Rahman Ahmad Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology, Pakistan; H.E. Mr Noomane Fehri, Minister of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy, Tunisia; H.E. Ms Magdalena Gaj, President of the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), Poland; Ms Anne Sofie Vandevelde, Legal Affairs Advisor, Cabinet of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services, Belgium; Mr Cyril Ritchie, President, Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations; Mr Giacomo Mazzone, Head of Institutional and Members Relations, European Broadcasting Union

Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo   

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick   

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Monitoring Care of Older Persons – A Human Rights Perspective

The world is aging fast; more than 20% of the population will be aged over 65 by 2050. The demand for care is increasing, and older people need to receive care that respects their human rights. Mr. Hallergard introduced the newly funded project by the European Union, called ‘’Human rights of older persons in long-term care”, which will be carried out by the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI). Ms. Jurczak highlighted the major role of the European Union in coordinating social protection and enhancing the rights of citizens. So far, the EU has worked on the quality of care, and prevention of elder abuse and neglect. They have funded some “pilot projects” on raising awareness, and have published a report with OECD called “A good life in old age?”

a-good-life-in-old-age_9789264194564-enLong-term care is vital. As of now, the costs of care are 1.6% of GDP of OECD countries. The goal is to double this figure by 2050. Furthermore, governments have the responsibility to protect vulnerable older people from potential abuse. Ms. Mahler introduced the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), which are state funded institutions. Many NHRIs in Europe work to promote and protect older persons’ human rights. The project with the EU aims at embedding human rights standards and approaches in the care of older persons by increasing human rights protection for older persons, raising awareness, development of practical tools, and spreading best practices for supporting and monitoring older person care. Several areas will be taken into account, including relationship with home care, rights of care staff, impact of the economic crisis, diversity of older persons, and the Convention on the rights of older persons. Furthermore, human rights impact assessments will be carried out to monitor and evaluate the project. A human rights approach requires empowerment and accountability.


Meeting Title: “Monitoring care of older persons from a human rights perspective”
Speakers: Carl Hallergard, Minister Counsellor , Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations; Kasia Jurczak, Policy Analyst, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission; Claudia Mahler, German Institute for Human Rights/European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI); Commissioner Kazi Hoque, National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh, Asia Pacific Forum
Location: Conference Room A, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date: 31 July 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By: Marli Kasdan

Opening of the Open-Ended Working Group on Aging

In order to strengthen the protection of the rights of older people, the fifth session of the Open- Ended Working Group on Aging (OEWGA) commenced today. Issues on the care of older people, violence and abuse against older people, and planning for end of life care were discussed.

Aging is one of the greatest social and economic challenges in the 21st century that we are currently facing worldwide. Representatives of the European Union stated that more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 years old or older by 2050. The EU has adopted a report last month, which underlines the importance of social investment in long-term care. It is necessary to provide adequate social protection connected to long-term care.

Furthermore, the representative of the United States highlighted that it is necessary to focus on developing practical measures to address the rights of older persons. In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Elder Justice Act, which is dedicated to the prevention, detection, treatment, intervention, and prosecution of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

images-13Furthermore, the issue of human rights of older persons has been on the agenda in Japan for a long time. Japan has the most rapidly aging population in the world. 25.1% of the population is aged 65 years old or older, and this percentage will reach 40% by 2060. The reasons for rapid aging are due to the improvement of living conditions and food quality, as well as the advancement in medical treatment, and the decline in the birth rate. Japan is currently promoting cooperation with ASEAN for Active Aging to exchange views with various countries and civil society in tackling this global issue. According to the World Health Organization, active aging is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation, and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.

Meeting Title: Fifth Session of Open Ended Working Group on Ageing
Speakers: Mr. Mateo Estrémé, Chair of OEWGA; Representative of the European Union, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Costa Rica
Location: Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date: 30 July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By: Marli Kasdan

UN Annual Ministerial Review on MDGs

The United Nations held its annual ministerial review, and Mr.Wu presented the 2014 ARM report of the Secretary General. Mr. Wu elucidated that the MDGs have been important in prioritizing development and creating momentum for their implementation. He then acknowledged that although there has been significant progress in meeting many of the goals and targets, achievements have not been equal among goals, countries and regions.

Further, Ms. Fukuda-Parr gave a report on the sixteenth session of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), (E/2014/33, and Supplement No. 13). The CDP gave policy analysis and substantial recommendations on global governance and global rule. She explained that there are five principles crucial to guiding the reforms on global rules, namely, (i) Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities, (ii) Subsidiarity, (iii) Inclusiveness, transparency and accountability, (iv) Coherence and (v) Responsible sovereignty. Ms. Fukuda-Parr concluded her statements by recommending that the council’s role to coordinate and guide initiatives of global socio-economic development should include an effective mechanism to monitor all development partners, including developed and developing countries, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and multilateral organizations.images-8

Further, the representatives of Norway and Costa Rica concurred with Ms. Fukuda-Parr’s conclusion. Next, the representative of Costa Rica added that her delegation is interested in establishing a truly global development partnership that builds upon the Monterrey Consensus, the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development and the Rio+20 outcome. The three dimensions of Sustainable Development: Economic, Social and Environment, were at the top of the agenda for many delegates, such as the delegates of South Africa, European Union, Serbia, G77 and China, San Marino and Zambia. With conviction, these ministers and diplomats agreed that a balanced integration and implementation of the injunctions given at Rio+20 asserts the function of the council in achieving a balanced integration of the three dimensions.


Meeting: The afternoon session of the high-level segment of the 2014 session of the Economic and Social Council and the three-day ministerial meeting of the high-level political forum on Sustainable Development. The Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) “Addressing on-going and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining development gains in the future”
Speakers: Introduction of the report of the Secretary-General: Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Introduction of the report of the Committee for Development Policy: Ms. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Vice-Chair, And Committee for Development Policy. General debate (rolling list), His Excellency Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz, Permanent Representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China); Her Excellency Olga Marta Sánchez Oviedo, Minister of Planning and Economic Policy  of Costa Rica (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States); His Excellency Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment (on behalf of the European Union); His Excellency Ivica Dacic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia; His Excellency Pasquale Valentini, Minister of Foreign Affairs of San Marino; Representative of Zambia, Representative of South Africa, and Representative of European Union.
Date: 8 July 2014
Location: United Nations Headquarters, NY, ECOSOC Chamber
Written by WIT Representative: Modou Cham



UN Working Group Meets to Discuss the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity

With a view to provide recommendations to the UN General Assembly, the eighth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group was convened today to discuss issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (ABNJ). This meeting was the second of the three meetings to discuss the scope, parameters and feasibility of a possible new international instrument.

During the opening session this morning, Co-Chair Ms. Lijnzaad delivered an opening remark to encourage the Working Group to move forward together in achieving an effective legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ, and reassured the necessity of a new international instrument. She mentioned the need to address legal, regulatory and implementation gaps such as addressing fragmentation in governance, and to develop a benefit-sharing regime for marine genetic resources.

ImageMember states and parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) were invited to consider the organization of the work of the meeting. Norway remained open to negotiate a new implementing agreement that can add value to the existing international legal framework, and recommended a needs-based approach to identify legal gaps in the present regime. Norway also emphasized clarity, predictability and confidence among the Working Group, and pointed out practical needs were of great concern in which feasibility is a product of scope and parameters.

The European Union supported a new agreement and called for other parties to have strong political will to achieve the goals of marine conservation. The new agreement should also specify duties of parties in terms of identifying a practical solution and implementation in order to strengthen interaction and coordination across regions and sectors. Mexico and Austria pointed out it is not necessary to establish a new structure, rather the new agreement should be fully integrated into the established Law of the Sea architecture and in full compliance with the existing regimes, while avoiding redundancy. Mexico also pointed out that the legal framework should be functionally well defined to ensure greater coordination and capacity building. Lastly, Trinidad and Tobago stressed the need to take into account a precautionary principle, and Austria stressed the need for ecosystem-based management in the new agreement.


Meeting Title: Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction
Speakers: Ms. Liesbeth Lijnzaad, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 1, New York
Date: 16 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan