Addressing Homelessness

During the long week of meetings at the Commission for Social Development (CSocD58) at the United Nations headquarters, several meetings were held on the theme of the affordable housing and the social protection systems for all to address homelessness. In one of the meetings held on February 12, 2020, Mr. Srinivas Tata, Director of the Social Development Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific asserted that universality is what we have to pursue now by social protection and that should include affordable health system, timely manner, accessibility and profound resolution for homelessness. 

Ms. Christina Behrendt, Head of Social Policy Unit, Social Protection Department, International Labour Organization (ILO) emphasized the importance of universal social protection system for relevant systems and inadequate housing in all different categories of population. For example, social pension, child benefit and maternal care should be implemented to all people that is excluded by 55% of people currently. She asserted that not so high percentage of GDP is needed for the achievement of adequate of housing for all and SDGs, so that we need strong consensus for the effective policy making and adaption. In addition, not only ensuring coverage is a problem but also stable policy and making people to believe in this system too, since those plans need tax and contribution of the society. To conclued, she mentioned 6 keys for the achievement, which are coverage, risk addressing, quality, monitoring, coordinating and adapting. 

Mr. Marco Toscano-Rivalta, Chief of the New York Liaison Office of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction made sure that housing is a different type of disastrous risk since there are unintended consequences. He mentioned that as there are also some differences even in the same family, diversity should be cared in the process of policy making and implementations. Also he pointed out that the strong collaboration in UN and other regional offices is necessary. And he emphasized that data would help the country to understand their risk and situation thoroughly so the UN Habitat and the other organizations should work on that.

Ms. Francesca De Ferrari the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) of the New York Office asserted that the affordable housing and accessible housing is a start of every other rights like employment and SDGs consequently. She claimed that housing is not a roof, it is a fundamental human right and people should be considered as the center of actions. Also she emphasized that the coverage of the policy should include women, children, people with disability, refugees and migrants in all socio-economic factors.

Date/Location: Tuesday, 12th, February, 2020 ;15 :00 to 18:00 ; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY


Mr. Srinivas Tata, Director of the Social Development Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

Ms. Christina Behrendt, Head, Social Policy Unit, Social Protection Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)

Mr. Marco Toscano-Rivalta, Chief of the New York Liaison Office of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Ms. Francesca De Ferrari, the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) of the New York Office

Written By: WIT Representative Jinhong Eom

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

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.


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