2017 HIGH LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: “ERADICATING POVERTY AND PROMOTING PROSPERITY IN A CHANGING WORLD”

1The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development serves as the major platform for the follow-up and review of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by Member States of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. The central theme for the 2017 HLPF, which took place from July 10-19, was “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.” The following goals, including goal 17 (Means of Implementation), were reviewed during the forum:

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

As part of the follow-up and review mechanism, Member States of the UN are encouraged to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels. These reviews are done on voluntary basis, and will be country-driven. Among the 43 countries that conducted their national voluntary view of the SDGs during the 2017 forum were Nigeria, Kenya, Belgium, Brazil, Peru, Japan, and Zimbabwe. Members of civil society organizations, UN agencies, the private sector, academia, and other stakeholders actively participated in the forum.

Read more:

High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: http://bit.ly/1dNceHwSecretary General Antonio Guterres address and Professor Jeffrey Sachs’ analysis on “the state of the world” at the HLPF:  http://bit.ly/2ux9NFf

 

THE UNITED NATIONS OCEAN CONFERENCE: “SAVE OUR OCEAN”

#1The impact of human activities on the health of oceans and seas, and the urgent need for action to protect this part of our planet, were the focus of discussion during the first ever United Nations Ocean Conference, which took place in New York from June 6 to 9. In his opening remarks at the conference, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, appealed to governments and other stakeholders for increased collaboration to protect the oceans. According to Mr. Guterres, “improving the health of our oceans is a test for multilateralism, and we cannot afford to fail.” He urged governments to allocate funds towards pledges for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Mr. Guterres also called for improved data collection and the sharing of best experiences.

The President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Peter Thomson, also lent his voice to the #2call to protect the oceans. He appealed to participants at the conference in these imparting words, stating; “We are here on behalf of humanity; to restore sustainability, balance, and respect to our relationship with our primal mother, the source of life, the ocean.” Mr. Thomson described as “inexcusable” actions such as dumping the equivalent of one large garbage truck of plastic into the oceans every minute of every day, which is said to be driving fish stocks to the points of collapse, and destroying marine life through acidification and deoxygenation.

The ocean plays an integral role in the health and wellbeing of humans and other species because it generates oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, human activities such as dumping of waste products into the oceans and seas threaten the health of global water sources (and as a result, our health too). The need to protect the ocean has never been more urgent, as we face the unprecedented challenges of climate change.

Below are some basic facts you need to know about the ocean and sea. Courtesy of Sea Change Project (www.seachangeproject.eu)

*The Ocean is Planet Earth’s Life Support System: The Ocean plays a fundamental role in supporting life on Earth by regulating our climate. It does this by storing and transporting huge amounts of heat, water and greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide). By absorbing heat as well as large amounts of carbon dioxide, the ocean lessens the effects of climate change experienced on land. However, this comes at a cost to ocean health and therefore human health. We can reduce the stress we put on the ocean and limit further climate change by decreasing our carbon footprint (a measure of environmental impact in units of carbon dioxide).

 *Seafood and Human Health: From ancient times, fisheries and aquaculture (the farming of fish, shellfish and aquatic plants) have been an important source of food. These activities also provide economic benefits to millions of people engaged in harvesting, culturing, processing and trading along the world’s seashores and waterways. Today, we are facing the challenge of growing demand for seafood together with declining catches from the world’s marine fisheries. Therefore, well-managed fisheries are essential to continue providing food into the future.

 *Marine Pollution and Human Health: Many of our waste products end up in the sea. This includes visible as well as invisible waste such as chemicals from personal care product and pharmaceuticals that we flush down our toilets and drains. Once in the sea, these pollutants can move through the ocean, endangering marine life through entanglement, ingestion and intoxication.

 * The Ocean – A Treasure Trove for Human Medicine: The Ocean is home to a vast variety of organisms, diverse in their adaptations to the marine environment. Marine organisms produce an abundance of natural products to defend themselves against predators, to locate mates, to communicate and to compete for space and food. Many of these compounds have no terrestrial equivalents and are unique in terms of chemical structure and biological activity. There are 7 marine-derived medicines in clinical use; Trabectedin, Eribulin Mesylate, Cytarabine, Brentuximab, Ziconotide Vidarabine, Omeg-3- acid ethyl esters.                                                                                                                                                                                                  *The Sea and our Physical and Mental Wellbeing: Spending time by the sea has long been associated with health benefits and a sense of wellbeing. Acknowledging the importance of the sea’s influence on our mental and physical health, the Blue Gym concept refers to using the coastal environment specifically to promote health and wellbeing by increasing physical activity, reducing stress and building stronger communities.

 Read more: UN Ocean Conference; http://bit.ly/2lGShXP

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE: SDGS ARE BUILDING BLOCKS FOR PEACE

International Day of Peace is observed on September 21 every year. poster- Peace Day 2016 SDGs Eng.jpgPeace is not just the absence of war. Positive peace is only possible when the rights of individuals in any given society to access their basic needs and their well being are guaranteed. Poverty breeds violence. As 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus poignantly points out,

      Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility           and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building             stable peace, we must find ways to provide opportunity for people to live decent lives.

Almost one year into the life cycle of the 2030 Global Agenda, the UN Secretary General has chosen “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace” as the theme for this year’s International Day of Peace. What better way to build a just and peaceful world than for governments to honor the commitment they made to their citizens this time last year; to end poverty, hunger, provide quality healthcare, education, … by 2030.

Learn more about the first year of the SDGs. Click on any goal for more details; click on report to see what countries have done this first year: http://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2016

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: HOW ARE WE DOING SO FAR?

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: HOW ARE WE DOING SO FAR?

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People are talking about the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). You may wonder exactly what “sustainable development” is. It’s generally understood as development that improves living conditions in the present without compromising the resources of future generations. This is the challenge the UN has given itself for the next 15 years: to work together to improve life for humans and the planet without damaging either. Learn more and get involved:

 fin_dev_blog_main SDG word cloud en.gif

 

DPI/NGO Conference: Education for Global Citizenship

The sixty-sixth Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference will take place in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea, from 30 May to 1 June 2016. Organised by the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, NGO community, Government of the Republic of Korea, and National Organizing Committee of Korea, this year’s Conference will focus on Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together.

Participants will consider three pillars of education:
1. Formal Education
2. Informal Education and Training
3. Advocacy and Public Information

According to Conference organizers, “The Conference aims at harnessing expertise across a wide spectrum of civil society organizations to unleash a range of education initiatives that ensure equitable quality education as well as lifelong learning opportunities for all.”   

For more information: outreach.un.org/ngorelations/conference-2016/

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Unleashing women’s full potential in the workplace

SDG 5


Goal 5:  Achieve gender equality and empower all women and
girls 

Learn more about unleashing women’s full potential in the workplace: http://weprinciples.org/files/attachments/EN_WEPs_2.pdf

UNDERSTANDING INEQUALITIES: LINK TO POVERTY

UNDERSTANDING INEQUALITIES: LINK TO POVERTY

Carolina Azevedo of the UN Development Program states: “Surprisingly, when I asked theE_SDG_Icons-01 group of New York City girls and boys from different cultural backgrounds what they thought poverty meant, they answered, in this order:

“Not having a proper house.”

“Not having a proper school.”

“Not having enough to eat.”

“In some places girls can’t go to school.” [A boy actually said that.]

“An earthquake hit my country and people lost everything.” [Child’s parents are from Nepal]

“Not having enough money.”

Note that only the last child mentioned money or income.”   http://on.undp.org/2BH      

 

E_SDG_Icons-10“Feeding the hungry is among our society’s most fundamental obligations, but we should also question why our neighbors are without nutritious food to eat. Housing the homeless is an imperative, but we should also question why our housing markets are so distorted. As a nation, we need more investment in education, but not without questioning educational disparities based on race, class and geography.”  Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation

 

United Nations leads joint action on disaster risk reduction and water

AliyaBy Aliya Yagudina, Intern in SNDatUN Office


“2015 is not just another year, it is a chance
to change the course of history.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The Second UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters took place on 18 November 2015 at the 70th session of the General Assembly, held at the beginning of the UN High-level Water and Sanitation Days and a day before the World Toilet Day. The opening remarks were addressed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mogens Lykketoft, President of 70th session of the General Assembly, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, and Dr. Han Seung-soo, UN Special Envoy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water.

Water Aliya 1The meeting was set to highlight the issue of “Water and Disasters” and discuss the concrete initiatives for the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris (30 November-11 December 2015), World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul (May 2016), and Habitat III in Quito (October 2016), based on the universal framework for sustainable development in the form of the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The main objective of the event was to promote an international cooperation to take a joint action on disaster risk reduction and water along with other key global issues aimed to achieve sustainable development.

Children collect contaminated water in Haiti

Children collect contaminated water in Haiti

As the Secretary-General pointed out, SDG 6 on water and sanitation is at the core of the 2030 Agenda and is fully integrated across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which is directly linked to climate change, health, food security, access to energy, resilient infrastructure, ecosystem, and urbanization.

“Water is the source of life, health and livelihoods across the world. The provision of safe drinking water is one of the basic responsibilities of national and local government”.

The Secretary-General emphasized that water-related disasters, such as floods, droughts, tsunamis, and storm surges, account for 90% of all disasters that affected people since 1990. The catastrophes caused by water have influenced societies in both developed and developing countries. However, poor are the most vulnerable people have suffered “first and the worst”.

Water Aliya 2

A child plays at a dried-up pond in India.

Therefore, it is crucial for the international community to work unitedly and in partnership to tackle the challenges that threaten our planet and the entire humanity. The world governments along with the civil society, businesses and science must strengthen coherence and cooperation. It is necessary to prioritize common goals and targets, adopt effective mechanisms to address water and disaster issues, and to build a resilient society, able to analyze the risk to be better prepared for disasters.

As H. E. Ban Ki-moon concluded: “Solutions exist.  We have the tools. Our challenge is to connect the dots and work  in an integrated manner towards the goals we share.”

Sustainable Development Goal 13: Protect Our Home

 

UN Releases ShareTheMeal App to Help Feed Syrian Refugee Children

KatieBlawie-167-WebBy Katie Blawie, Intern in SNDatUN Office

Smartphone users outnumber hungry children by 20 to 1, while 1 in 7 children do not have enough food to live a healthy, active life. To leverage these statistics, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has recently released an iOS/Android app called ShareTheMeal.

share-the-meal-1ShareTheMeal makes it possible to virtually “share” a meal with just the tap of a button. For just 50 cents, anyone around the world can provide a full day’s worth of food to a hungry child. The app also gives the option of donating larger amounts – $3.50 to feed one child for one week, $15 for one month, $45 for three months, $90 for six months, or $182.50 for one year. Currently all donations are benefiting Syrian refugee children in Jordan, with the goal of providing school meals to 20,000 Syrian children for an entire year. This will help with both reducing hunger and improving access to education. Once this goal has been met, the WFP plans to expand this program to other areas in need.

This app has enormous potential to help reach Goal 2 (“Zero Hunger”) of the Sustainable Development Goals. It also serves as a great example of incorporating technology to make donating seamless and social (by connecting it to your Facebook account), while attracting the millennial crowd in particular. So next time you’re sitting down for a meal or waiting in line for your coffee, give the app a try!

share-the-meal-2For More Information:
sharethemeal.org/en/
sharethemeal.org/es/
sharethemeal.org/fr/

www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2ilsK-GUFE