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The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, was an action-oriented conference focusing on implementation of sustainable development.

This newsletter aims to highlight the work carried out by Member States, United Nations system, Major Groups and other relevant stakeholders in implementing sustainable development and leading the way to the Future We Want.


The HLPF - A Home for the SDGs and the Post-2015 development agenda

“The high-level political forum on sustainable development will be the home for the SDGs and the Post-2015 development agenda. It is the place where the international community comes together to address and coordinate the entirety of sustainable development issues,” said Nikhil Seth, Director of UN DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development, ahead of the Forum’s second meeting from 30 June to 9 July 2014 which will be the first meeting under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The theme of the Forum’s second meeting will be ‘Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda including the Sustainable Development Goals’.

Social, economic and environmental dimensions under one roof

The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the main United Nations platform providing political leadership and guidance on sustainable development. An important role of the Forum will be to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development.

The Forum is also to follow up and review progress in implementing sustainable development commitments and address new and emerging sustainable development challenges. Earlier this year, ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik said that “a transformative agenda for development will only make a difference if effectively implemented. This will be the role and function of the high-level political forum.”

The preliminary programme of the HLPF envisions that during the second meeting of the Forum, 21 dialogues and a host of other events and presentations will take place along the following four tracks: From Rio+20 to post-2015; Regional dimension and countries in special situations; Shaping the forum beyond 2015; Science policy interface.

Doors wide open for Major Groups and other Stakeholders

The HLPF is the most inclusive and participatory process of its kind, bringing all States Members of the United Nations and States members of specialized agencies together. Through the major groups and other stakeholders format it provides participation opportunities for non-central state actors like no other UN process does. Major groups, civil society and other stakeholders will have various opportunities to contribute to the discussions at the HLPF, including morning sessions with the ECOSOC President and participation as panellists and lead discussants in a number of dialogues.

Sustainable development science as foundation

The Rio+20 Conference highlighted the importance of basing sustainable development policies on solid science including through a Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), which is to bring together existing assessments and to strengthen the science‐policy interface at the HLPF. In response to the Rio+20 mandate, a “prototype” report has been produced. It illustrates a range of potential content, alternative approaches and various ways of participation in respect to such a report. The prototype Global Sustainable Development Report will be presented by Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo at the Forum.


Share your questions with participants at the HLPF!

As part of the outreach activities for the second meeting of the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF), the Division for Sustainable Development is asking everyone with an interest in sustainable development to send in questions for the participants at the HLPF, or to send us an answer to one or several of the questions .

Share your questions and answers by tweeting using #HLPF2 or by posting on Facebook using #HLPF.

  • What question do you have for decision-makers at the HLPF?
  • What message, quote or image would you like to share with decision-makers at the HLPF?
  • What issues do you think the HLPF should focus on in future?
  • How do you promote sustainable consumption and production in your daily life? Share your favourite examples of sustainable consumption by tweeting or posting a message or image using #HLPF !


Focus area on ‘promoting equality’ to be added to OWG’s working document

In their closing remarks at the eleventh session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals on 9 May, the Group’s co-chairs, Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary, and Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, welcomed the outcome of the week’s deliberations, referring to the very many concrete suggestions on targets made by delegations.

Ambassador Kamau highlighted four areas in which the co-chairs see a particular need for more work, namely equality, climate change, means of implementation, and ‘peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law and capable institutions.’

He said that, responding to calls from many delegations, the new iteration of the working document would contain an additional goal on promoting equality, bringing the number of focus areas to 17. This new iteration will be issued by the co-chairs shortly. The Ambassador also said that the co-chairs are “very emphatic that it would not be a good idea to end up with too many focus areas,” and encouraged members of the Group to keep thinking of how to cluster some of them better.

The session ended on a high note, with delegations greeting the co-chairs’ proposal on the way forward with acclaim. At the next session, the co-chairs intend to proceed by obtaining agreement on targets one by one. Informal-informals will be held from 9 to 11 June, in the week before the 12th session of the Open Working Group, with the aim of removing potential stumbling blocks to progress. A draft chapeau has been produced and is available on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. As in previous sessions, the Open Working Group continued holding morning meetings with Major Groups and other stakeholders.

The Group’s twelfth session will take place from 16 to 20th June.


Report with options on sustainable development financing is taking shape

Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States which will take place in Samoa on 1-4 September. Leading this work is UN DESA’s Under-Secretary- General and the Conference Secretary-General Wu Hongbo. Mr. Wu has just launched a blog to share information and weekly updates ahead of this major event. In his first blog entry, Mr Wu explains why it is so important to have a third SIDS Conference, among other things.

The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF) held its fourth session from 12-16 May 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York. While this was a closed session, an interactive multi-stakeholder dialogue took place on Monday, 12 May. The Co-Chairs of the Committee, Ambassador Pertti Majanen from Finland and Mr. Mansur Muhtar from Nigeria, also gave an open briefing on the Committee’s work to date on Friday, 16 May.

“I am pleased to report that we have made significant progress over the last few days”, said Mr Muhtar at the open briefing. He mentioned that the Committee had finished discussing the zero draft of its report proposing options on an effective sustainable development financing strategy, as tasked by the Rio+20 Conference. “We are confident that we will continue our work in this very constructive atmosphere and expect to finalize the report at our last session in August,” he said.

The report will be structured around the mobilization and effective use of (1) domestic public resources for sustainable development; (2) domestic private financing for sustainable development; (3) international private finance for sustainable development; (4) International public financing for sustainable development; and (5) blended financing for sustainable development. The sixth section will deal with options for an institutional framework for sustainable development financing. This will be followed by a conclusion that will hone in on key actions and options for a sustainable development financing strategy.

Among the findings of the Committee was that there are both enormous financing needs, but also untapped financial flows. If only a portion of these were redirected, financing needs could be met. “So the challenge is how to incentivize these flows, how to ensure that they are channelled to support sustainable development,” said Mr. Muhtar.

Reporting from the multi-stakeholder dialogue, he said that a wide range of stakeholders had emphasized the importance of “a unified financing framework for the post-2015 development agenda, including the role of the private sector, as well as its limitations, and the importance of incorporating human rights.”


Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal

The May issue of Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal, is available online. Topics in this issue include: the water, energy and food security link in Myanmar; evaluating drinking water sources in China; development of food banks via forestry for food security; the role of myths in the disaster risk assessment of coastal communities in India; extending the EU Renewable Energy Directive sustainability criteria to solid bioenergy from forests; and NTFP for rural development in Mexico. Natural Resources Forum delivers cutting edge research on policy issues relevant to the sustainable development agenda. It considers papers on all topics relevant to sustainable development.


Final PrepCom for the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States

The final meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) will be held from 23 to 27 June 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York. UN Member States will conclude the preparatory work for the Conference, which will take place from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa. They will also aim to finalize the outcome document by the end of the PrepCom. UN Agencies and Major Groups and other Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide inputs.

A number of side events will take place during the PrepCom. On 23 June the Office of the Under-Secretary-General, UN DESA, and the Permanent Mission of Samoa will organize a joint outreach event for the SIDS Conference, and the International Organization of La Francophonie is hosting an event entitled Initiative de partenariat sur le Tourisme Durable adapté au contexte et aux besoins des PEID, which will look into Sustainable Tourism in SIDS. On the same day, an event on private sector partnerships in support of SIDS’ sustainable development will be organized by UN-OHRLLS. It will showcase the Private Sector Partnerships Forum that will be held at the SIDS Conference.

On 25 June, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Mauritius Ministry for Environment will hold an event on ‘SIDS for Sustainable Consumption and Production: re-thinking food and tourism’. UN Women will organize an event on promoting gender equality as a prerequisite for addressing climate change and sustainable development and IRENA will host an event entitled ‘SIDS- Lighthouses for a transition to a sustainable energy future’. On 26 June, an event looking at the three top recommendations for the post-2015 agenda from the SIDS perspective will be organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), on behalf of the UN Development Group (UNDG).

Plans are ongoing for a photo exhibition during the PrepCom, which will feature photos from the ‘Islands 2014 photo call’. A series of lunchtime lectures on topics related to the International Year of SIDS is also being planned.


Partnership of the month: Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility

The overarching theme of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States is "The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships". The Conference will serve as a forum to build on existing successful partnerships as well as to launch innovative and concrete new ones. The SD in Action newsletter will present a successful “Partnership of the Month” in each of its editions in the run-up to the Conference.

CCRIF

The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) is a risk pooling facility, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean for Caribbean governments. Established in 2007 with a specific design to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean governments, the CCRIF quickly provides short term insurance payouts when a policy is triggered. It is the world’s first and, to date, only regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving Caribbean governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and hurricane catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing.

The beauty of this partnership lies in the essence of its paradigm shift tactic in the way governments treat risk, particularly SIDS, with Caribbean governments leading the way in pre-disaster planning.

CCRIF was developed through the partnership of sixteen Caribbean governments and their generous development partners. Under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan, the Facility was born. It was capitalised through contributions to a multi-donor Trust Fund by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, and membership fees paid by participating governments.

The Facility has made eight payouts, sum of US$32,179,470 to seven member governments, since its inception. All payouts were transferred to the respective governments immediately after the stipulated 14-day waiting period (and in some cases advances were made within a week) after each event.


Submit your images for the #islands2014 photo call!

As part of the celebrations for the International Year of Small Island Developing States we are looking for images that showcase the beauty and richness of this group of countries. You can enter your photo under three categories: culture, environment and development.

The best pictures will become part of the UN library and will be used for media materials seen all over the world. They will also be exhibited at the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa.


United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform