Conclusion of Second Committee’s General Debate

image18_866The Second Committee continued and concluded the general debate. The representative of Bulgaria focused on the lack of participation of young people in the decision-making process. Bulgaria called for an inclusive post-2015 development agenda based on human rights. Next the representative of Fiji stated that a robust implementation of the post 2015 development agenda would only be as meaningful for SIDS, if a cohesive financing development structure focusing on the special needs of SIDS is implemented.

The representative of Jordan stated that eradication of poverty should be the core of the post-2015 development agenda. The representative of Liberia stated that the Ebola pandemic in the Mano River Union Basin have tested the fragility of their post conflict economies and disrupted their agriculture and other revenue generation activities.

Next the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlighted that the ‘State of Food Insecurity’ (SOFI) report showed that approximately 805 million people were estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14, down by 100 million over the decade: demonstrating that the hunger target of the Millennium Development Goal is within reach. FAO also stressed on the need to invest in adequate social protection mechanisms, including nutrition-sensitive safety net programmes, to promote sustainable and inclusive development.

Finally the representative of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stressed the critical connection between reducing disaster risk and ensuring poverty eradication and humanitarian and development interventions.

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

Second International Conference on Nutrition

health_captionThe joint FAO/WHO Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) will be held at the FAO headquarteron 19th-21st November, 2014. A briefing was convened today to inform distinguished guests on the key objectives and expected outcomes.

Ms. Nishida mentioned the 1992 ICN as the first intergovernmental conferencedevoted solely to addressing the burden of malnutrition among countries. She acknowledged the first conference had brought hope in combating the global nutrition challenge, yet it is high time for ICN2 to review the past progress since reductions in hunger and malnutrition have been unacceptably slow in many countries. She summarized three key messages that will be echoed repetitively in ICN2: i) the necessity to increase nutrition levels, ii) good nutrition requires equitable and resilient food systems and iii) global action to end all forms of malnutrition is a good investment.

The expected outcomes of the ICN2 will guide the UN political declaration and technical framework of action. It will also reinvigorate international and intergovernmental cooperation on nutrition, incorporate nutrition-enhancing food systems into national policies and create a higher degree of policy coherence and global partnership, including the call to take up the “Zero Hunger Challenge”.

She mentionedthat the joint working group is currently developing a draft political outcome document as well as a draft framework for action, which guides the implementation of the commitment made to create better food systems.

Ms. Lartey stated that the conference will be convened at the ministerial level with high-level representatives, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and policy-makers, as well as with private sector and civil society members participating in this conference. She noted ICN2 will not be an end in itself, but rather a continued process in the pursuit of having sustainable and wholesome nutrition in the global economy and global food system. At the end, she stressed the importance of addressing nutrition throughout the entire life cycle.

 

Meeting Title: Joint briefing on “The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2)”
Speakers: Ms. Sharon Brennen-Haylock, Director, FAO Liaison Office in New York; Ms. Chizuru Nishida, Coordinator, WHO Department of Nutrition for Health; Ms. Anna Lartey, Director, FAO Nutrition Division
Date: 11 July 2014
Location: Conference Room 8, North Lawn Building, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Tracy Lau
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems in the Post-2015 Agenda

unnamedAs part of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), a side event was convened to discuss how small food producers and family farms can support the achievement of sustainable development through sustainable agriculture and food systems. H.E. Mr. Grigsby opened the dialogue by highlighting how crucial a world free from poverty, hunger, and malnutrition is in the ambitious post 2015 development agenda. But this goal cannot be achieved without a shift to more productive and resilient food systems that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. If we can economically empower small farmers through access to knowledge, social production, and viable markets, they can serve as these sustainable food systems.

H.E. Mr. Aguiar Patriota continued the discussion by focusing on the impact of large scale farming in Brazil. While these commercialized farms provide Brazil with the wherewithal to become a powerful actor in the international community, they have a less desirable social and environmental impact. These farms lead to a decrease in jobs, resulting in sizable migration flows internally that compound the pre-existing problems of big cities in Brazil.

Ms. Brennen-Haylock commented on how investing in these small food producers can empower them to become critical agents of change for a future of food and nutrition security for all. Investments directed towards family farmers enhance their capacity to invest in their own productivity, as well as helping them address new market demands and environmental pressures. To close, Ms. Brennen-Haylock stressed the concerns of women in agriculture. If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%. This would raise the total agricultural output in development countries by 2.5-4%, and thus reduce the number of hungry people in the world by a staggering 12-17% – a number that would go a long way in decreasing world hunger.

Meeting Title: Small food producers and family farmers as agents for change for sustainable agriculture and food systems in the post-2015 agenda
Speakers: Dr. Jes Weigelt, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies; Dr. Molly Anderson, College of the Atlantic’s Sustainable Food Systems Program; H.E. Mr. Sylvester M. Grigsby, Deputy Foreign Minister of Liberia; Ms. Sharon Brennen-Haylock, FAO; H.E. Ambassador Irene Susan Natividad, Ambassador from Philippines; H.E. Mr. Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Ambassador from Brazil; Mr. Jesse Laflamme, Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs; Ms. Adrienne Gardez, UN Global Compact
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 6
Date: 1 July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Zachary Halliday
Edited By WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon 

A new generation of Analytical Tools for Preparedness and Resilience

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This morning, a panel discussion on analytical tools for humanitarian decision-making was held at the United Nations. Ms. Hooijer opened the discussion by stressing the fundamental need of analytical tools to assist policy makers in visualising multi-layer crises and making informed evidence-based decisions.

Mr. Williams took the floor and introduced InfoRM (The Index for Risk Management), the first global, objective and transparent tool for understanding the risk of humanitarian crises. He pointed out the birth of InfoRM provided the capacity to build people’s resilience through prioritisation, risk profiling and trend analysis that allowed different actors to be well prepared and make better responses. Mr. Williams commented InfoRM was an adaptive tool due to its global coverage, transparent data and flexible methodology and had been widely adopted by FAO, OCHA, ECOSOC, UNICEF, World Food Programme etc. Mr. Williams hoped for a broader adoption of this tool so that resources can be aligned.

Ms. Scott presented a roadmap that can help build resilience after risk assessment. Ms. Scott stressed that resilience can only be brought about when it is integrated in all parts of the system. Ms. Scott pointed out current humanitarian focus was simply on adaptive capacity, as systems become less exposed to shock. She saw the urgency for transformation mainly in the individual/household level and also national level to make a total system change where the shock will no longer be an impact. Ms. Scott emphasised that social capital and role of host family were most critical in resilience building.

Ms. Ribeiro, on behalf of Brazil, was in favour of analytic tools in helping the country to get informed, prepared and making sure money was well spent in a sustainable and preventive manner. Ms. Ribeiro highlighted the success story of the adoption of cash transfer programme and local purchases of food as resilience-building instruments to alleviate extreme poverty, reduce risk and promote resilience.

Meeting: A new generation of analytical tools for preparedness and resilience
Speakers: Ms. Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director for Strategy, Policy and International Cooperation, ECHO; Mr. Craig Williams, Chief of the Field Information Services Section (FISS), OCHA; Ms. Rachel Scott, Senior Humanitarian Advisor, OECD; Ms. Adriana Telles Ribeiro, Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations
Location: Conference Room 5 NLB, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 24 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

Nutrition as an Input and an Outcome of Resilience

The concept of resilience and its practical application in food security and nutrition, both in policy formation and implementation, has recently become a topical issue among humanitarian development communities.

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Today at the United Nations, a panel discussion on nutrition aimed to propose approaches and develop a concrete action plan that can be taken to strengthen resilience towards the root causes of malnutrition. Building upon the discussion and conclusions from the IFPRI 2020 conference held in Addis Ababa, the event aimed to provide insights for the preparation of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) and the post-2015 developmental agenda. 

Chairperson, Sandra Aviles opened the discussion by highlighting the importance of understanding the term resilience not as jargon, but as a term that is practically defined as a tangible indicator that can help communities bridge the gap between short term goals and long term developmental agendas.

Mrs. Florika focused her address on locating target communities that are most vulnerable to malnutrition. She stated that, “children below the age of five and pregnant and lactating women were among those that are the most severe targets of hunger needs”. In response, ECHO and OCHA are developing a system to index risk factors, develop key indicators, and resilience markers and identify best practices to provide humanitarian assistance to these communities with maximum output. Mrs. Dolores highlighted natural disasters as another factor that threaten food security. Crises prone regions of developing countries are often ill equipped with coping up with natural disasters, and at times such disasters occur with little time gap which further threatens food security and enhances health risks.

In conclusion, Mrs. Charlotte Dufour, drawing upon a programme conducted with ECHO that addressed the challenge of access to land as an underlying causes of malnutrition, highlighted some of the practical problems that schemes faced when tested on ground. She posited that institutional silos existed across and within institutions that hinder the establishment of a common language of indicators. Furthermore, while institutions possess technical skills they lack the organizational and planning skills that are required to initiate programmes in countries with fragile governments, weak leadership and high levels of corruption.

 

Meeting Title: “Nutrition as an input and an outcome of resilience”
Speakers: Sandra Aviles; Senior Liason Officer, Programme Development & Humanitarian Affairs, FAO; Mrs. Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director for Strategy, Policy and International Cooperation, ECHO; Mrs. Dolores Rio, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF; Mrs. Charlotte Dufour, Nutrition Officer, FAO; Mrs. Muriel Calo, Senior Food Security & Livelihood Advisor, Action Against Hunger
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 7 (NLB), New York 
Date: 23 June 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Apurv Gupta
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

Water-Energy-Food Nexus

At the ‘Sustainable Energy for All Forums’ there was a panel discussion on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, which highlighted interlinkages in the energy and water sector. Tania Rodiger-Vorwerk (Deputy Director General-Directorate 31, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) began the discussion, by stating that this was the very first public discussion on the HIO nexus. The demand for natural resources is consistently increasing and it is anticipated that the there will be severe shortages of natural resources if we don’t control and manage our resources effectively. Thus the aim of the nexus is to find intersectoral solutions designed to increase efficiency.
NEXUS News image 1.0.ashxRodiger also highlighted that Germany has been involved in the nexus through supporting regional dialogues through the high level African dialogue on Water-Food-Energy nexus in Nairobi in 2012 and supporting educational management. The main objectives of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development for the nexus are: collect and develop resources for nexus challenges; exchange information concerning practical experiences; integrate nexus perspective on policy level; promote nexus in other related sectors such as agriculture, irrigation etc.; and ensure HIO policy coherence.

Olivier Dubois (the Senior Natural Resources Officer and Coordinator, Energy Programme, FAO) added that nexus contributes phenomenally to sustainability, through three dimensions: resource efficiency; tradeoffs; and linking tradeoffs to opportunities. He highlighted that we are at the initial stages of building the nexus and thus need to develop nexus assessment and cost effective tools approach.Martin Hiller (Director General, REEEP) shared REEP’s contribution and initiatives, for instance a very simple technology of solar water pumps was converted into a private business in Kenya.

Anna Delgado (Water Unit, World Bank) noted that it is important to integrate energy-water planning at local and international level. The Thirsty Energy Initiative works to ensure governments integrate across the food, water and energy sectors. REEEP is in dialogue with China, as their water resources required energy expansion plans. She concluded by saying that the nexus requires a methodological approach, driven by demand and we should quantify tradeoffs.

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Meeting Title: Water-Energy-Food Nexus HIO, Sustainable Energy for All Forums
Speakers: Tania Rodiger-Vorwerk, Deputy Director General-Directorate 31, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; Olivier Dubois, Senior Natural Resources Officer and Coordinator, Energy Programme, FAO; Anna Delgado, Water Unit, World Bank; Martin Hiller, Director General, REEEP; Klaus Rudischhauser, Deputy Director General, EuropeAid, European Commission.
Location: United Nations HQ; Conference Room B, New York
Written By WIT representative: Aslesha Kaur Dhillon

UN organizations address the 13th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The seventh meeting for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues facilitated a comprehensive dialogue from United Nations organisations on their progress in promoting the rights of indigenous persons with responses from Permanent members of the forum. Interventions from many UN bodies revolved around three major issue areas; the full participation of indigenous persons in their right to self-determination, ‘free, prior and informed consent’ in regards to Indigenous land rights, and the sufficient funding of organisations for long term protection of indigenous rights.

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Denmark, Bolivia, UNDP, IFAD, and the IFC all directly addressed concerns that governments are favoring the demands of the private mining industry and the sustainable development of our natural resources requires the collaborative consultation of indigenous persons. The African Caucus recognized that natural resources are usually extracted from heritage sites with unique and spiritual ties to indigenous traditions and ancestry. Therefore it is of paramount importance that indigenous persons be involved in the decisions directly affecting their sacred land.

UNECSO and FAO demonstrated that indigenous people have a unique understanding of the sustainability and protection of their environments through systems such as pastoral farming, which could enable a more resilient response to climate change for our fragile ecosystems. The IFAD, ILO and permanent member of the forum Joseph Goko Mutangah insisted that the United Nations should be capturing the wealth of agricultural, medicinal and ecological innovations that indigenous traditions encompass.

Representative of the American Indian Alliance and chairperson of the forum Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, expressed concerns that the United Nations organisations are only authorised to serve indigenous persons from developing countries. Statistics demonstrate that indigenous persons are equally marginalised in both developing and developed nations. They called for a revision of the policy to allow indigenous persons in all countries access to the United Nations’ agencies and funds.

Meeting Title: 7th meeting – Comprehensive dialogue with United Nations agencies and funds
Speakers: Chairperson Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, Permanent members of the forum Gervais Nzoa, Joan Garling, Kara-Kys Arakchaa, Miriam Wallet Aboubakrine, Miriam Wallet Aboubakrine, Maria Eugenia Choque Quispe, Joseph Goko Mutangah, Raja Devasish Roy
Representatives on behalf of organizations; UNICEF, FAO, ILO, IFAD, UNDP, IFC, UNESCO, World Bank, Ministry of foreign affairs Denmark, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, the African Caucus, Indigenous Parliamentarians, Alliance of Indigenous women of Central America and Mexico, WIPO (New York), Central & Eastern Europe, Russian federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia, Bolivia, and the American Indian Law alliance
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 15 May 2014
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark