“Getting to Know the Economic and Social Council System in the Sustainable Development Goals Era”

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The meeting convened by the President of ECOSOC H.E. Ms. Inga Rhondo King as part of the Orientation Course on the Economic and Social Council for members of the Council. The session was the first part of a series of discussions with members of the council on ‘Getting to Know ECOSOC in the SDG Era’. In her remarks, H.E. Ms. Inga said that the MDGs Era was a period of experimentation where we faced global challenges. She added that to strengthen the work of ECOSOC, three events will be held this year: The Annual youth forum, the High-Level Political Forum (HLFP) on Sustainable Development and the SDGs Fair.

Delegates from different member states in attendance discussed and asked questions on how to strengthen the ECOSOC system and its governance. The secretary of ECOSOC, Ms. Emer Herity highlighted the role of ECOSOC, and explained the structures and related platforms, its mandates and outcomes, and the working methods and procedures of ECOSOC system in the context of work program and agenda for the 2019 ECOSOC cycle. In another statement, Ms. Emer added that the council offers an inclusive space to exchange experiences, knowledge and ideas for a better result on how ECOSOC contributes in advancing the integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and related agendas. She ended her remarks by stating that the specific global functions of ECOSOC will bring value to, and effectively support, national level implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

In another remark, Ms. Leslie Wade Chief of International Indigenous Speaker Bureau/ Office of Intergovernmental support (IISB/OISC) discussed the implementation of the work of ECOSOC’s segments and Forums such as Financing for Development Forum (FFDF), Youth forum, Partnership forum, Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) and the Multi-stakeholder Forum on science, Technology and Innovation (STI forum)

Meeting: Informal meeting on “Getting to Know the Economic and Social Council System in the Sustainable Development Goals Era”

Date/Location: Wednesday 23th January 2019; Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York

Speakers:

-The president of ECOSOC H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King

-Ms. Marion Barthelemy, Director, Office of intergovernmental support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (OISC/DESA)

-H.E. Marco A. Suazo, Head-of-office, UNITAR New York

-Ms, Emer Herity, Secretary of ECOSOC and the Second Committee

-Ms, Leslie Wade, Chief, IISB/OISC

-Mr. Huanyu Liu Policy Integration Unit, Financing for Sustainable Development Office (FSDO)

-Representative from the Division for the Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG)(TBC)

Written By: WIT Representative Kim Juyeon

Private Sector’s Current State of Play in the SDG Process

masthead_resourcesDr Louise Kantrow opened the discussion by noting the paradigm transition from the MDGs to the SDGs, wherein the role of the private sector has grown. ICC coordinated the Global Business Alliance 2015, which brought together global and regional business organisations aimed at constructively engaging with the post 2015 process and the UN agencies. The key points from the private sector perspective are the following: effective governance, rule of law, and security are critical enablers to achieve the SDGs; poverty eradication involves economic growth and jobs creations; and therefore it is crucial to address the informal employment and low governance challenges arisen in many developing countries.

H.E. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou recognised that the global environmental and social challenges should be addressed through mobilising private finance for SDGs, innovative and technologically advanced business models. There is a move in the approach of the private sector from maximising profits for shareholders to stakeholders and the planet should be considered a stakeholder. Ms Esin Mete, then addressed the importance of agriculture and rural development as primary drivers to address poverty reduction and food security.

Mr Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro stated that 75 million young people are currently unemployed. It is imperative to not just address the quantity but the quality of jobs available. As economic growth does not automatically create jobs, the private sector is the core driver of jobs. He then addressed the critical need to create a safe environment for workers as every 15 seconds one worker is killed due to working accidents: making it a world epidemic.

Finally Ms Katharine Maloney underlined the fundamental beliefs of KPMG to explain their active participation in the consultations of the post 2015 agenda. First, they recognise the paradigm shift explained previously by Dr Louise Kantrow. Second profitability and developmental agenda are not mutually exclusive. Third, business and social values are inextricably linked. Fourth, the private sector can provide a lot more than money, for instance real ideas, innovation, technical know how and a lot more resources.

Meeting Title: Private Sector Briefing: Current State of Play in the SDG process
Speakers: Dr Louise Kantrow, ‎Permanent Representative to the United Nations at International Chamber of Commerce; H.E. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Republic of Benin to the UN; Ms Esin Mete, Director General, IFA (International Fertilizer Industry Association); Mr Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro, Deputy Director of the ILO Office for the United Nations; Ms Katharine Maloney, Director, Development and Exempt Organizations (DEO) Practice at KPMG LLP.
Date: 3 July 2014
Location: Conference Room 5, NLB, United Nations, New York.
Written by WIT Representative: Aslesha Kaur Dhillon

Post-2015 Global Governance in International Development

downloadThe first item of the 24th meeting of the incumbent session of the ECOSOC centered on the future of governance of international development, and also touched on the future categorization of least developed countries. Mr. O’Connor briefed the council on the current progress in the mainstreaming of the three aspects of sustainable development, namely environmental, economic and social sustainability, into the medium or long-term agenda of international entities such as the Bretton Wood institutions and UN agencies. He suggested that the way forward is to accelerate the effort of mainstreaming and to ensure coherence in policies of different institutions, and these goals are best achieved if a social and environmental statistics and assessment repository is to be established in the UN Data platform.

Mr. Ocampo added on the need of reform of member states’ participation in governing international development, particularly in form of giving developing countries a voice. With reference to the lack of international fiscal cooperation involving developing countries, he stated that governments’ resources to implement poverty reduction are significantly curtailed because of the asymmetry in participation of global governance on international development.

Mr. Ocampo also drew the council’s attention to methodology behind categorizing countries as least developed countries. He pointed out that the benchmarks for graduating from the category must be prudently set, for standards too easily met may mean losing preferential treatment on trade for those countries. Without a smooth national transition strategy, countries graduating from the category may be victims of their own successes. To this end, he stated that the Committee on Development Policy reviewed the methodology behind the human asset index and economic vulnerability index, both of which are indicators of a country’s development. Mr. Lee spoke on Korean support on the Committee‘s report, and tabled a draft resolution for the council’s consideration.

Meeting Title: 24th Meeting of 2014 Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC): Agenda 1 – Presentation on the sixteenth session of the Committee for Development Policy and dialogue with the Chair of the Committee
Speakers: Mr. Oh Joon, Vice-President of the UN ECOSOC Session 2014; Mr. David O’Connor, Division of Sustainable Development of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, Chairman of the Committee on Development Policy; Mr. Lee Tung, Representative from the Permanent Mission of Korea.
Location: Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 13th June, 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung

Countering Violent Extremism in West Africa and the Sahel

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Violent extremism is fueled by factors including transnational drug trade, arms trade and human trafficking. H.E. Dr. Jerome Bougouma insisted that communities and civil society as a whole are indispensable to preventative measures against violent extremism. H.E. Dr. Bougouma recommended societies engage with religious leaders and traditional chiefs, who have local influence, to reach larger groups of people with messages of resilience and human rights. Rather than reacting to violent extremism the international community must approach terrorism with preventative initiatives to ensure the safety and security of every citizen. H.E. Ambassador Peterson agreed that the struggle against terrorism cannot be met simply through military means; it also requires understanding and dialogue between peoples, state actors and stakeholders.

Mr. Khan encouraged a focus on those socially and politically excluded within a community, particularly the youth, as inclusive governance transforms societies and unites them. Reaching out to the marginalized promotes dialogue amongst differing cultures and this communication eliminates the fog of hate and misunderstanding that leads to violence. Mr. Bombande expressed the dire need to close the generational gap surrounding misconceptions of extremist ideology amongst the youth. Mr. Bombande discussed the European role as aid providers to engage the attention of the youth in West Africa and the Sahel through activities such as the sports and arts. Mr. Millar criticized the international community for waiting as situations completely deteriorate before intervention and action; evidenced through the terrorist abduction of hundreds of girls in Nigeria. The lack of effective response demonstrated in Nigeria makes the region vulnerable to emerging criminal groups who have witnessed this weak governance in West Africa. Dr. Loada suggested that divisions amongst societies are due to powerful leaders surpassing their constitutional term limits. Leaders were encouraged to resist the power temptation for constitutional term amendments, which create volatile political disputes and divides citizens.

Meeting Title: Countering violent extremism and promoting community engagement in West Africa and the Sahel: Strengthening multilateral engagement
Speakers: H.E. Dr. Jerome Bougouma, H.E. Ambassador of Denmark Ib Petersen, Mr. Jehangir Khan, Mr. Alistair Millar, Mr. Emmanuel Bombande, Dr. Augustin Loada, Mr. Jesper Steen Pedersen
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 5 NLB, New York
Date: 12 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark

ESCWA: Briefing on the Strategy and Programme of work

escwa            The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) hosted an event to outline the strategic framework for the biennium 2016-2017.  Dr. Khouri outlined the plan, focusing on objectives in inclusive development, regional integration, and good governance and resilience. Inclusive development will be tackled through a uniform level of rights, resources, and services that seek to accomplish goals in social justice, employment, and sustainable natural resources.

Social justice will be implemented through programs such as First Arab Poverty Report, which will give accurate measurements that allow for economic plans to hopefully eradicate poverty in the region. Programs such as the Second Arab Development Outlook will look to provide data necessary in creating better employment opportunities. To further regional integration, Dr. Khouri spoke about the importance of policy coherence and cooperation, both of which can be achieved through an increased dialogue between regionally located member states. With agreements and strategies that partner the different governments of the regions, challenges in regional development will be made much easier.

In the last priority area, good governance and resilience, Dr. Khouri discussed the need for development of economic, public, and governing institutions. Furthermore, he mentioned indicators such as the Second Social Development Report that will help them better gauge participation and citizenship, particularly in the female population. Lastly, Dr. Khouri expressed a need lessen the effects of regional conflict and disasters, specifically through support to the Palestinian people and an increased number of Arab-Palestinian partnerships in both government and the private sector. To close the event, Mr. Alvarez-Rivero commented on the increased level of requested assistance from member states. To help handle these new levels, ESCWA has narrowed down there program from 12 goals in the previous biennium to 8 for the current framework, which they hope will allow them to provide focus and support to all members.

Meeting Title: Briefing on the Programme of Work of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
Speakers: Dr. Nadim Khouri, Deputy Executive Secretary ESCWA; Mr. Tarcisio Alvarez-Rivero Chief of Strategic Planning and Coordination ESCWA
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room B, NY
Date: 11 June 2014
Written By: Zachary Halliday

 

Human Rights as a road to eradicating poverty and ensuring sustainability

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A high level meeting on the contributions that human rights and the rule of law can make in supporting national and international efforts towards poverty eradication and sustainable development was held at the trusteeship council in UN Headquarters, New York. Ms. Kahn, the Director General of the International Development Organization, began the meeting by stating that we cannot eradicate poverty, promote sustainable development, or create inclusive economies without human rights and the rule of law. Next, H.E. Mr. Eliasson, the Deputy Secretary General, stated that the main human rights principles that need to be focused on are non-discrimination and equality. Furthermore, he spoke about the interdependence of civil, political, economic, and social rights, and how a stronger emphasis on the rule of law is needed to strengthen the Sustainable Development Goals.

The new post 2015 development agenda must reflect these rights, as well as reflect the ideal of “freedom from want and freedom from fear.” Following, Dr. Migiro addressed the challenge of closing the poverty gap between rural and urban settings. He also called for reforms in the security council and UN institutions to make them more accountable, as well the necessity of good governance for strengthening the rule of law. Mr. Strasser then spoke about how a human rights based approach represents a necessary paradigm shift in the way we approach development. He highlighted the importance of designing and implementing measures in the post 2015 development agenda in accordance with human rights law, and emphasized the importance of stakeholder participation.

Next, Mr. Kreutner spoke about the link between corruption, lack of human rights, and lack of development. He called for governments and political institutions to improve their reliability, accountability, and legitimacy, and called for a renewed global commitment to anti-corruption policies. Mr. Kreutner also said that checks and balances, separation of powers, anti-corruption mechanisms, and greater compliance networks are essential for good governance, and in turn poverty eradication and sustainable development. In conclusion, Mr. Lusiani gave a statement about how human rights norms and standards can be embedded into the existing framework of goals, targets, and indicators in the post 2015 development agenda. He called for an effective financing strategy, as well as an effective monitoring and accountability framework for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Meeting Title: Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Panel Discussion 1: “Exploring the contributions of human rights and the rule of law in supporting national and international efforts towards poverty eradication and sustainable development”
Speakers: Ms. Zarin Kahn, Director General of the International Development Organization; H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General; Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of Tanzania; Mr. Christoph Strasser, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid; Mr. Martin Kreutner, Dean of the International Anti-Corruption Academy; Mr. Nicholas Lusiani, Director of Human Rights Policy Program at the Center for Economic and Social Rights;
Date: 10 June 2014
Location: United Nations HQ, Trusteeship Council, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Forum on Youth 2014

In accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 68/1, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) should further promote the integration of youth into its deliberations, building on the past positive experiences of informal youth forums.

From the 2-3, June 2014 the United Nations was home to youth delegates, representatives from the Children and Youth Major Groups, youth representatives from Member States, including those from National Youth Councils, representatives of regional youth organisations as well as youth-led and youth focused organisations and networks, including those in consultative status with ECOSOC.

The aim of the Youth Forum was to bring the voice of young people into discussion on addressing the challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and shaping the post-2015 development agenda. During the opening ceremony, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon remarked, “There is a world of need out there, but also a world of opportunity. So I urge you to keep doing your part. Keep showing your leadership as global citizens” while urging attendees to “keep making a difference”. The Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi spotlighted five thematic areas; education, employment and entrepreneurship, health, peace and security, and governance  as the greatest concern that threaten youth development in nation states. These areas were condensed after engaging more than 1.2 million young people through the My World 2015 survey and a crowdsourcing platform convened by UN agencies and partners. World Information Transfer’s DPI Representative, Apurv Gupta, was ranked 5 in the overall community, sharing recommendations on all thematic issues.

It was observed at the forums conclusion that employment was the key area young people wanted world leaders to focus on during the construction of the post-2015 development agenda. Currently, 75 million youth are unemployed, and more than 600 million jobs need to be generated globally in the life span of the new development agenda to absorb current unemployment levels and provide jobs to new labour market entrants.

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Meeting Title: ECOSOC Youth Forum 2014
Speakers: H.E. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, H.E. Martin Sajdik (Austria), President of the Economic and Social Council, H.E. Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations and Co-Chair, Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goal, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy for Youth, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Youth Representatives.
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 1 (CB)
Date: 3 June 2014
Written by WIT representatives:  Apurv Gupta and Aslesha Dhillon