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Showing posts with label sustainable development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sustainable development. Show all posts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Irresistible SDGs to Change our World-View

What are the Sustainable Development Goals and why do they matter?

Barcelona, Spain - Sept 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In late September, world leaders will meet at the United Nations in New York to adopt a new global plan of action for ending poverty, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

President Barack Obama views Bear Glacier on a boat
tour of Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward, Alaska Sept. 1.
What are the SDGs? A set of 17 goals and 169 targets aimed at resolving the social, economic and environmental problems troubling the world. Covering the next 15 years, the SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire this year. Who decided the SDGs? Governments came up with the idea at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development in Brazil in 2012. A working group with representatives from 70 countries then drafted a proposed set of goals.

At the same time, the United Nations ran public consultations around the world and an online survey asking people about their priorities for the goals.

This summer governments negotiated a final version of the SDGs, due to be adopted by 193 countries at a Sept. 25-27 summit at the United Nations in New York. What did the MDGs achieve? The United Nations says the MDGs led to achievements including: - a drop in the number of people living in extreme poverty by more than half, to 836 million in 2015 - gender parity in primary schools in the majority of countries - a reduction in the rate of children dying before their fifth birthday by more than half since 1990 - a fall of 45 percent worldwide in maternal mortality - over 6.2 million malaria deaths averted and 37 million lives saved by tuberculosis prevention and treatment - access to improved drinking water sources for 2.6 billion people between 1990 and 2015 So why do we need the SDGs? - Around 800 million people still live in extreme poverty and suffer from hunger, with fragile and conflict-torn states experiencing the highest poverty rates - Between 2008 and 2012, 144 million people were displaced from their homes by natural disasters, a number predicted to rise as the planet warms, bringing more extreme weather and rising seas - Water scarcity affects 40 percent of the global population and is projected to increase - Some 946 million people still practice open defecation - Gender inequality persists in spite of more representation for women in parliaments and more girls going to school. If we meet the SDGs, how will the world improve? The 17 goals aim to achieve these wider aims by 2030: - end poverty and hunger everywhere - combat inequalities within and between countries - build peaceful, just and inclusive societies - protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls - ensure lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources - create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all. What's new and different about the SDGs? The United Nations says the SDGs go much further than the previous goals, because they address the root causes of poverty and pledge to leave no one behind, including vulnerable groups

They also emphasise the need to tackle climate change urgently and protect the environment through a shift to sustainable consumption and production.

The SDGs are intended to be universal, applying to all countries rather than just the developing world.

They recognise the key role of the private sector in pursuing and financing sustainable development, in partnership with governments and civil society. (Sources: United Nations Development Programme and other U.N. agencies. Further information: sustainabledevelopment.un.org )

(Reporting by Megan Rowling; editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit trust.org )

Take Action: Become Part of the Change!

Join us at Globcal International as a Global Citizen or Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations SDGs and the Post-2015 Agenda. Members will have special access to thousands of locations around the globe as well as gain special privileges, benefits, entitlements, and other perks through our pilot program which is available to all people willing to leave behind religious, monarchical, and state based populist political systems to adopt the new emerging global perspectives based on the ecosystem, the rule of law, and Internet governance.

Most involved participants will be asked to travel and use the social media to promote their work and adventures as global citizens and goodwill ambassadors. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Can the World Unite to Solve Global Issues?

U.N.’s Post-2015 Development Agenda Under Fire 

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 29 2015 (IPS) - The U.N.’s highly ambitious post-2015 development agenda, which is expected to be finalised shortly, has come fire even before it could get off the ground.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second from left) with Irish Minister and UNICEF
Goodwill Ambassador in Dublin. Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
A global network of civil society organisations (CSOs), under the banner United Nations Major Groups (UNMG), has warned that the agenda, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “lacks urgency, a clear implementation strategy and accountability.”

Savio Carvalho of Amnesty International (AI), which is part of the UNMG, told IPS the post-2015 agenda has become an aspirational text sans clear independent mechanisms for people to hold governments to account for implementation and follow-up.

“Under the garb of national ownership, realities and capacities, member states can get away doing absolutely nothing. We would like them to ensure national priorities are set in conformity with human rights principles and standards so that we are not in the same place in 2030,” he added.

The 17 SDGs, which are to be approved by over 150 political leaders at a U.N. summit meeting in September, cover a wide range of socio-economic issues, including poverty, hunger, gender equality, sustainable development, full employment, quality education, global governance, human rights, climate change and sustainable energy for all.

All 17 goals, particularly the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger worldwide, are expected to be met by the year 2030.

The proposed follow-up and review, as spelled out, lacks a strong accountability mechanism, “with several references to national sovereignty, circumstances and priorities which risk undermining the universal commitment to deliver on the SDGs,” says UNMG.

“We are wondering how committed member states will be able to ensure genuine public participation, in particular of the most marginalised in each society, in decisions that will have an impact on their lives.”

This applies also to questions related to financing (budget allocations) in the actual implementation of the agenda, says a statement titled “Don’t break Your Promise Before Making it”.

“We are keen to ensure that people are able to hold governments to account to these commitments so that these goals are delivered and work for everyone,” says UNMG, which includes a number of coalitions and networks who will be monitoring the post-2015 process.

These groups include CSOs representing women, children and youth, human rights, trade unions and workers, local authorities, volunteers and persons with disabilities.

Asked about the composition of the UNMG, Jaimie Grant, who represents the secretariat for Persons with Disabilities, told IPS that UNMG is the official channel for the public to engage with the United Nations on matters of sustainable development.

“Across all these groups, stakeholders and networks, we share some very broad positions, but there are many thousands of organisations feeding in to it, in various capacities, with various positions and priorities,” he explained.

Adding strength to the chorus of voices from the opposition, the Women’s Major Groups, representing over 600 women’s groups from more than 100 countries, have also faulted the development agenda, criticising its shortcomings.

Shannon Kowalski, director of Advocacy and Policy at the International Women’s Health Coalition, told IPS the SDGs could be a major milestone for women and girls.

They have much to gain: better economic opportunities, sexual and reproductive health care and information and protection of reproductive rights, access to education, and lives free from violence, she noted.

“But in order to make this vision a reality, we have to ensure gender equality is at the heart of our efforts, recognising that it is a prerequisite for sustainable development,” she added.

The coalition includes Women in Europe for a Common Future, Equidad de Genero (Mexico), Global Forest Coalition, Women Environmental Programme, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, WEDO (Women’s Environment and Development) and the Forum of Women’s NGOs (Kyrgyzstan).

Kowalski also expressed disappointment over the outcome of the recently concluded conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Addis Ababa.

“We hoped for a progressive and fair financing agreement that addressed the root causes of global economic inequality and its impact on women’s and girls’ lives. But that’s not what we got,” she said.

“We expected strong commitments on financing for gender equality and recognition of the value of women’s unpaid care work. We expected governments to address the systemic drivers of inequalities within and between countries, to establish fair tax policies, to stop illicit financial flows, and to address injustices in international trade structures that disadvantage the poorest countries.”

“We were disappointed that there were no new commitments to increase public financing in order to achieve the SDGs,” Kowalski declared.

Carvalho of Amnesty International said, “It will be impossible to achieve truly transformative sustainable development and to leave no one behind without conducting regular, transparent, holistic and participatory reviews of progress and setbacks at all levels.”

“The agenda acknowledges the need for international financial institutions (IFIs) to respect domestic policy, but does not go far enough to ensure that their activities to do contribute to any human rights violations.”

“I think we need to strengthen the argument for the agenda to be universal – when all countries have to deliver on their commitments and obligations.”

These, he said, include Official Development Assistance (ODA) and tax justice.

Meanwhile, in a statement released to IPS, Beyond 2015, described as a global civil society campaign pushing for a strong successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), said “for the SDGs to have a real impact on people’s lives everywhere, people themselves must participate in implementing the goals and reviewing progress, and be active agents in decisions affecting them.”

The Beyond 2015 Campaign said it welcomes the focus on inclusion and participation reflected in the current draft that is being negotiated at the United Nations, and “we count on governments to translate their commitments into action as soon as the SDGs are adopted.”

In implementing the SDGs, it is crucial that states honour their commitment to “leave no one behind”.

“This means tracking progress for all social and economic groups, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, drawing upon data from a wider range of sources, and regular scrutiny with the involvement of people themselves,” the statement added.

Additionally, an even higher level of participation and inclusion is needed, at all levels, when implementation starts.

“People must be aware of the new agenda and take ownership of the goals for real and sustainable changes to occur.”

The Beyond 2015 campaign also welcomed the commitment to an open and transparent follow-up framework for the SDGs, grounded in people’s participation at multiple levels.

“We believe the current draft could be improved by including specific time-bound commitments and endorsing civil society’s role in generating data to review commitments,” it said.

“We insist on the need for governments to translate the SDGs into national commitments as this is a crucial step for governments to be genuinely accountable to people everywhere.”

Edited by Kitty Stapp

The writer can be contacted at thalifdeen@aol.com