On 2-4 April 2014, the Jordanian capital Amman hosted the “Arab High Level Forum on Sustainable Development” organized by ESCWA in cooperation with Ministries of Planning and International Cooperation and of Environment in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the League of Arab States (LAS) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The Forum, which was inaugurated by HRH Prince Hassan Bin Talal, gathered a crowd of government officials, officials from the United Nations and its specialized agencies, LAS specialized agencies, funding institutions and the civil society.
Topics of discussion among conferees included the ESCWA proposal underway on a set of sustainable development goals for the Arab Region. The proposal reflects the outcomes of consultations led by ESCWA on the subject, in addition to the key conclusions emanating from the various regional and national consultations on the post-2015 development agenda; the proposed Arab Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development that ESCWA and its partners are developing as an update of the Sustainable Development Initiative in the Arab Region, which provides a regional framework for coordinated action on sustainable development; the
Arab Regional Roadmap for Green Economy Investment; and progress made in the Arab region towards the millennium development goals and means of accelerating their achievement and sustaining gains in the future, as part of Arab regional preparations for the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) in 2014.
On the sidelines of the Forum, ESCWA signed with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on green growth cooperation. Participants in the meeting defined the role of the Forum and how it relates to the regional institutional development framework, especially the biennial ESCWA Ministerial Session, and LAS. They stressed that continued occupation is an impediment to sustainable development, noting the need for international cooperation to achieve sustainable development, the need for reforms within the international framework that would enable developing countries to fulfill their ambitions, the need for reforms on the regional level, and the necessity of integrating all social groups in the development process and in policy formulation.
Participants made noteworthy contributions on governance, peace and security, the occupation obstacle, technology transfer and implementation, and disaster risks. They agreed on the necessity of not transforming the youth agenda into a tool for political pressure developing countries. They underlined the role of youth as an influencing agent both on and by sustainable development, and showed existing gaps in implementation methods, especially in the fields of technology and research and development.
The World Water Day 2014 (WWD2014) is celebrated around the world. This year 2014 WWD will be commemorated on, Friday, 21 March 2014 with the theme of Water and Energy. Globally the WWD2014 is being facilitated jointly by UNU (United Nations University) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization). In Thailand, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) together with host country, the Thai Government, will commemorate the WWD2014 Celebration on the Friday, 21 March 2014 at the UN Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok. This year’s WWD will be commemorated back to back with the ESCAP/UNHABITAT “Regional Policy Workshop of Stakeholders on Decentralized Waste Water Treatment Systems (DEWATS) in Southeast Asia. The IUCN/IWA/ESCAP Dialogue on “Water Infrastructure Solutions for the Water-Energy-Food Nexus” will be organized earlier in the week, 17-19 March 2014.
The fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York, tentatively scheduled for 9-20 March 2015. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session.
The Commission will undertake a review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The review (Beijing+20) will also include the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly, the first five-year assessment conducted after the adoption of the Platform for Action, which highlighted further actions and initiatives.
The session will also address current challenges that affect the implementation of the Platform for Action, as well as opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.
The regional commissions of the United Nations, in collaboration with UN Women, have conducted regional reviews to identify remaining gaps and priority areas for action to accelerate the implementation of the Platform for Action in their respective regions.
Links to the relevant web pages of the Regional Commissions:
The Post 2015 Europe and Central Asia Regional Consultations concluded today in İstanbul with a call to end the increasing inequalities in the region.
During the last three days more than 350 governments, civil society, private sector, academia and the United Nations representatives from over 40 countries discussed ways to tackle the most urgent global challenges of the 21st century: lifting people out of poverty in ways that respect the planet’s ecological boundaries and advance social inclusion.
With the target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) rapidly approaching, the event provided regional reflections on priorities for inclusion as a new global development agenda is being formulated.
The most urgent development challenge of the world today is to make sustainability a reality. With Millennium Development Goals poverty has been cut in half. Now the international community must maintain the momentum, craft an equally inspiring post-2015 development agenda and reach an agreement on climate change.
One of the main outcomes of the panel discussions was that inclusion and equality must be at the centre of sustainable development, because inequalities and exclusion persist or have risen in a number of interlinked areas including accountability, employment, health, education, gender equality and environment.
Among the topics discussed was the environment and participants agreed that the sustainable management and use of natural resources and ecosystems are central to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The need to accelerate the shift from brown to green economy was emphasized, as well the essential role governments play in this process.
During the two day event participants also exchanged views on why cities are a significant part and driver of global environmental change. Participants underscored the need to make choices to create sustainable cities full of opportunities and services for all. Urban planning, governance, technology and citizen participation will be crucial factors to move towards smart, resilient and green cities.
Health and social inclusion were also on the agenda of the conference and it was once again reiterated that health is a human right and governments should take necessary steps to make health services accessible to all.
On 7 November, the official opening of the event, entitled “Perspectives from Europe and Central Asia on the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, took place under the auspices of Mr. Cevdet Yılmaz, Minister of Development of Republic of Turkey and with the participation of Mr. Sven Alkalaj, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe; Ms. Cihan Sultanoğlu, Chair of the UN Development Group for Europe and Central Asia, and Regional Director UNDP; Mr. Michael Gerber, Special Representative of Switzerland for Global Sustainable Development, and Mr. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of İstanbul and Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Minister Yılmaz stressed that it is the responsibility of the governments and international development organizations to secure the social and economic development of people, increase social welfare and protect the environment. Mr. Yılmaz reiterated Turkey’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and said that Turkey has already reached the internationally set targets. Minister Yılmaz also said that Turkey’s official development assistance was over two billion US Dollars in 2012.
Minister Yılmaz asserted that the international community has to work more to harmonize economic and social development and protecting the environment- the three main elements of sustainable development. He further argued that justice should constitute the fourth element of sustainable development because without justice a peaceful world cannot be established.
UNECE Executive Secretary Mr. Sven Alkalaj stated: “In order to address inequalities, it is necessary to create decent jobs, invest in quality health and education services, strengthen social protection, and tackle gender-based discrimination. Enhancing the voice and participation of the society as a whole is also crucial. The active role of civil society at this meeting is one example of the significant contribution it can make”. Moreover, he added: “international cooperation at all levels will be vital in moving towards more inclusive and sustainable societies. UNECE is working to further develop regional cooperation on sustainable development issues, through the exchange of policy experiences, implementation of legal instruments, and capacity-building”.
”This event is an important milestone on the road to the creation of a new development agenda”, said Cihan Sultanoğlu, UN Development Group Chair for Europe and Central Asia adding that the road we are on is unfolding in an unprecedented way and so far, over 1 million people have engaged in the global conversation.
‘The global conversation thus far contains two important messages: First, people around the world are asking us to finish the job and secondly, they want us to be more ambitious”, Ms. Sultanoğlu said.
Mr. Michael Gerber, Special Representative of Switzerland for Global Sustainable Development, underlined that the Sustainable Development Goals should be measurable and concrete and encompass both financial support and accountability.
Mr. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of İstanbul and Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda declared that local governments want to take an active role in shaping the Post 2015 Development Agenda and be part of the solutions to the challenges the world faces today.
Regional consultations started on 6 November with civil society consultations in which 80 civil society representatives took part. Participants agreed that in order to achieve development targets, universal goals and commitments are needed and that the new agenda should be developed in a participatory manner. Emphasizing the importance of participation of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in national delegations for international meetings on the Post 2015 Agenda, participants urged governments to take steps to end inequalities by promoting human rights, environment and sustainable and inclusive wellbeing.
The area of Europe and Central Asia is a highly diverse region which includes high, middle and low income countries and energy exporting countries as well as land-locked economies. Because of its heterogeneity, the region is exemplary for the various challenges and opportunities facing the global community in building inclusive societies, ensuring environmental sustainability, achieving equitable growth and creating development partnerships and models of international cooperation. As such, the region has a significant contribution to make to the global debate in all of three areas.
Another emphasis was youth participation in determining the Post 2015 development agenda, and youth representatives made their voices heard by actively participating in debates and reaching out to the government officials attending the event.
The Regional Consultation is a cooperative effort organized and supported by the Turkish government and about a dozen UN entities active in the region, with the core team consisting of UNECE, UNEP, UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, UNFPA and IOM. The aim was to bring stakeholders from across the Europe and Central Asia together to provide a regional perspective on priorities that should be contained in the post-2015 agenda.
More information is available at: www.worldwewant2015.org/EuropeCentralAsia.
Dialogue with the Executive Secretaries and ECOSOC , Thursday, 3 July at 10 am 2014
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Issues brief on the Regional Dimension in the Post-2015 Agenda
Dialogue with Executive Secretaries 2013
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held its dialogue with the Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions this year on Friday, July 5 at the beginning of the substantive session of ECOSOC. The theme was: Regional Perspectives on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
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In October 2013, the United Nations General Assembly will hold its second High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, which will focus on the theme of “Identifying concrete measures to strengthen coherence and cooperation at all levels, with a view to enhancing the benefits of international migration for migrants and countries alike and its important links to development, while reducing its negative implications”. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the League of Arab States (LAS), recognizing the importance and specific contribution of international migration for development in the Arab region, the potential benefits that Arab experiences can bring to the High-Level Dialogue’s deliberations and the consequent importance of ensuring Arab countries are able to make their voices heard at this important event, have decided to seize this opportunity to organize a two-day Regional Consultative Meeting (RCM) on International Migration and Development from 4-5 June 2013.
The RCM will be a two day-long participatory, consultative process, engaging Government officials from Arab countries to come to common understandings on current and future migration and development challenges and opportunities, and the actions required at the national, regional and global levels to maximize the benefits and minimize the potential negative impacts of migratory trends. Civil society actors, academics, and international organizations will provide expert support and help guide the discussions. An outcome statement will be agreed by participants at the RCM to be presented during the plenary session of the High-Level Dialogue in New York.
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Under the theme of “International Migration in Asia-Pacific: Development beyond borders”, more than 100 senior officials and civil society representatives from 23 Asia-Pacific countries, assembled for the Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development 2013, held in Bangkok from 29 to 31 May 2013. The Meeting was convened by the United Nations Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on International Migration, including Human Trafficking, in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 67/219 that called for regional commissions, in cooperation with IOM and UN system to organize discussions “to examine regional aspects of international migration and development and to provide inputs to the preparatory process of the high-level dialogue”.
The outcome of the Meeting, “Asia-Pacific Input to the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development”, identifies priority migration and development issues for the region. More specifically, the Asia-Pacific Input considers actions for enhancing the development impact of international migration for migrants and societies, protecting the rights of migrants and strengthening data systems and research on international migration. The outcome recognizes the need to consider including the issue of international migration in the United Nations post-2015 development agenda. The Meeting requested the Executive Secretary of ESCAP to transmit the Asia-Pacific Input to the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, to be held in New York on 3 and 4 October 2013, through the President of the General Assembly.