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.
Open Working Group publishes updated focus area document
The Open Working Group on sustainable development goals (SDGs) started the consolidation phase at its ninth session from 3 to 5 March when, after eight stocktaking sessions, the Group began deliberations with a view to agreeing on a proposal for SDGs.
In the run-up to the session, the Co-Chairs had sent to the Member States a document identifying 19 focus areas for consideration. The document consolidates the essence of deliberations during the Group’s stocktaking phase and lays out some possible areas for action under each focus area, but is not intended as a zero draft for negotiations on goals and targets. Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya and Co-Chair of the Group, said that if these 19 focus areas are addressed in synergy, they can promise us “a more sustainable earth, a more sustainable society, more sustainable economies, and ultimately a more sustainable global political framework”.
In the meantime, the Co-Chairs have also released an annex outlining interlinkages between the focus areas, and a proposal of how to cluster the focus areas during the Group’s tenth session. Furthermore, they have submitted to the Member States a slightly revised version of the focus areas document, reflecting the main comments received during the groups ninth session, but not introducing major changes.
Joint meeting with Committee on Sustainable Development Financing
In the course of the ninth session, the Open Working Group had a joint meeting with the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, which held its third session from 3 to 7 March. The meeting provided an opportunity to share progress and priorities in their respective areas of work. At the joint meeting, the Financing Committee Co-Chairs emphasized that they would be examining all relevant sources of financing for sustainable development post-2015, public and private, and that the role of ODA would be given due weight in their deliberations.
10th session to take place from 31 March to 4 April
The tenth session of the Open Working Group is taking place from 31 March to 4 April. It is expected that during this session, the focus will turn to more detailed discussions of possible goals and targets. The session can be followed via live stream at the UN webcast.
Theme of the High-level Political Forum’s second meeting is set
The second meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will have the theme "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, including the sustainable development goals".
It will be held from Monday, 30 June, through Wednesday, 9 July 2014 with evening meetings on 30 June and 1 July. The ministerial meeting of the Forum will be held from 7 to 9 July.
The eight- day meeting will be held under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is convened by the President of ECOSOC, who coordinates with the bureau of ECOSOC and of the Second and Third Committee of the General Assembly.
New tool to assess vulnerability and resilience of SIDS piloted successfully
Under a European Union funded project, an analytical framework for assessing progress in addressing the vulnerabilities and resilience of small island developing States (SIDS) has been introduced and piloted in a number of SIDS.
In the past 4 months, training workshops on the analytical framework, known as the Country Vulnerability Resilience Profile (VRP), have been held in Tonga, Mauritius, Seychelles and Jamaica. The result of this work will be a Vulnerability-Resilience Profile for these countries.
The VRP is an assessment based on both qualitative and quantitative indicators and indices that reflect a country’s vulnerabilities to threats in terms of the three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, economic and social. The resilience assessment evaluates the measures that strengthen the coping capacity of the country to prevent, adapt to, or mitigate these exogenous and endogenous risks and threats for each of the three dimensions of sustainable development. It does this in terms of actions at the national, regional and international level.
The VRP methodology is based on a five-step systematic and participatory process. These five steps are to be carried out by the country using an inclusive process based on multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary consultations. The VRP will enable each country to assess its vulnerabilities in each of the 19 thematic areas of the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation, and rate its performance in strengthening resilience for achieving sustainable development.
Zero draft for SIDS Conference released for comments
The Co-Chairs of the Preparatory Committee for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States released the zero draft for the Conference outcome on 14 March 2014.
In a letter to UN Member States the Co-Chairs, Karen Tan of Singapore and Phillip Taula of New Zealand, recalled UN General Assembly resolution 68/238, which calls for the Conference to result in a “concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented political document”.
Member States have been invited to submit written comments on the zero draft, which will be discussed at the inter-sessional meeting of the Preparatory Committee taking place from 21 to 25 April 2014 in New York. The Conference itself will take place in Apia, Samoa, from 1-4 September 2014.
SIDS 2014 registration for Major Groups and other Stakeholders now open
Organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC, including those accredited to previous SIDS conferences on sustainable development in Mauritius and Barbados, may now pre-register to the SIDS 2014 Conference and its preparatory meetings. The pre-registration deadline is 1 August, 2014.
Other NGOs and Major Groups organizations can participate in the SIDS 2014 Conference through an ad-hoc accreditation process. The application deadline for this is 12 May, 2014.
Decisions on accreditation will be made on 23 June, 2014.
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.
The UN-REDD Programme is the United Nations collaborative programme developed by FAO, UNDP and UNEP to work with developing countries on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). The Programme was launched in 2008 as a mitigation response for developing countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and Caribbean regions. UN REDD’s objective is to offer developing countries a financial incentive, equal to the value of their forest carbon stocks, to reduce emissions from forested lands. It initiates and supports the implementation of nationally-led REDD activities, which target the conservation and sustainable management of forests.
The initiative was formed in response to the decision adopted by the UNFCCC at the thirteenth meeting of its Conference of the Parties (COP13) in December 2007, which included the assessment that deforestation and forest degradation accounts for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Suriname are among the 50 countries implementing REDD+ activities. The REDD Plus activities in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have enabled the two countries to work with experts from the three implementing agencies, with added support from other development partners, to develop resilient strategies to address unsustainable use of their natural forests. Strong ownership of national forest monitoring programmes by all stakeholders, including rural communities, has been an important feature of these activities. Small island developing States have recognized the effective role of REDD activities to bridge the mitigation gap in their inter-regional meeting in Barbados 2013, and have requested additional support.
The Partnership Platform for announcing new and registering existing partnerships for the SIDS Conference in Samoa is open for all Stakeholders.