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.
Fifth session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
The fifth session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on sustainable development goals took place from 25 to 27 November 2013, at UN Headquarters in New York. The session focused on sustained and inclusive economic growth, macroeconomic policy questions (including international trade, international financial system and external debt sustainability), infrastructure development and industrialization, and energy.
In their concluding remarks, OWG Co-Chairs Ambassadors Körösi and Kamau noted that "the right to development was stressed in the past three days, and it was clearly understood that our efforts to
put the global economy on a sustainable path must not be on the backs of the poor. Poverty eradication remains our overriding objective and number one goal." They also said that
"sustainable development goals will need to address the economic and environmental pillars more squarely than the MDGs, because inclusive and sustained economic growth and a resilient
economy are necessary conditions for permanent poverty eradication."
Furthermore, they highlighted that failure to tackle climate change and resource degradation, combined with persistent poverty, is already imposing heavy costs through slow-onset disasters as well as disasters caused by extreme weather events like typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: “Those costs will escalate with inaction.” The concluding remarks and a summary of the session can be found on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (SDKP)
The Division for Sustainable Development live-tweeted from the session (from @SustDev and @UN_DSD), with over 100 tweets sent out during the three days.
The sixth session of the OWG will take place from 9 to 13 December 2013. It will focus on means of implementation (science and technology, knowledge-sharing and capacity building);
global partnership for achieving sustainable development; needs of countries in special situations, African countries, LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS as well as specific challenges facing the middle-income countries;
human rights, the right to development, global governance.
The Co-chairs will meet with Major Groups and other Stakeholders from 9 am to 10 am each of the five mornings of the session. Input can be provided via the Thematic Clusters on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform at http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=1565
From 25 to 27 November 2013, a technical workshop brought together around thirty senior-level water managers, economic planners and statistical experts from fifteen countries to identify priority actions to strengthen institutional capacity for implementing a more holistic water agenda in the post-2015 development framework. The Workshop was organized by the Division for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the Statistics Division supported by UNICEF, the World Bank, UNEP-DHI and UN-Habitat.
The participants highlighted the importance of water as a resource and a human right, and reinforced why a more holistic water agenda for the post-2015 development framework needs to go beyond water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) - the focus of the MDGs - to one that includes water resource management and water quality/wastewater management. The discussions placed emphasis on national context and realities. The participants shared experiences and lessons and identified key challenges for linking integrated water resource management (IWRM) to national planning, budgeting and priority setting. They highlighted as a high priority the importance of strengthening institutional capacity in integrated monitoring frameworks and systems in which all stakeholders across all sectors need to be actively involved.
The participants discussed the opportunities of implementing programmes that build on existing initiatives progressing measures to complement GDP - as called for in paragraph 38 of The Future We Want. This especially relates to the area of natural capital accounting, using the internationally adopted methodologies for the System for Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA). A very important lesson from countries like Brazil, which implemented SEEA-Water, a sub-system of the SEEA central framework, is that the process itself and putting in place the necessary institutional arrangements for implementing SEEA-Water have already contributed significantly in strengthening integrated approaches to water management and development through better coordination and institutional cooperation. For more information please visit http://bit.ly/1b4ChE5, where a report will be made available when ready.
Launch of the Report "Catalyzing Water for Sustainable Development and Growth”
A special event was held in the margins of the fifth session of the OWG to launch the report
"Catalyzing Water for Sustainable Development and Growth: Framing Water within the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Options and Considerations".
The report examines what is needed to deal comprehensively with water post-2015, what this means from an investment perspective, and what some of the implementation challenges and opportunities might be.
The report is available at http://inweh.unu.edu/water-sustainability/
The November edition of Small Island Matters, the newsletter of DSD’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Unit, was published on 1 November 2013.
It covers the following issues: A special side event on SIDS hosted by the United Nations General Assembly Second Committee, which highlighted the need to strengthen SIDS resilience to achieve sustainable development; the challenges and opportunities for Samoa’s tourism sector, as discussed at an Expert Group Meeting on sustainable tourism; the Joint Masters Programme of a University Consortium for Small Island States; and a new Partnership Platform for SIDS.
Committee of Experts to discuss Sustainable Development Financing
The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing will hold its second session from 2-6 December 2013 at UN Headquarters in New York. As per its modalities of work, the sessions of the Committee are closed to all but Committee experts, their advisors and experts nominated as replacements. However, an interactive multi-stakeholder dialogue will be organized on Thursday 5 December, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will be open to all.
The interactive dialogue will be divided into two parts. From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. the Co-chairs will brief on the work of the Committee, followed by questions and answers from the floor. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. a panel composed of four representatives from NGOs, business and industry sectors and other Major Groups engaged in the Rio+20 Conference and the Financing for Development process will give presentations, followed by an open discussion with the audience. For more information on the interactive multi-stakeholder dialogue and on how Major Groups and other Stakeholders can provide input, please see the SDKP.
The United Nations officially observed World Toilet Day for the first time on 19 November 2013. On this occasion, the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, which is hosted by the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), brought two sanitation practitioners to the World Toilet Day event in New York. Organised by the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN, the event underlined the urgency of making progress on the MDG sanitation target and the importance of addressing sanitation adequately in the Post-2015 agenda.
World Toilet Day aims to break taboos and start an open discussion on the importance of sanitation and hygiene. Every year, poor sanitation accounts for the death of around 750,000 children under the age of five from preventable diarrhoeal diseases. At the same time, lack of private toilets results in women being more exposed to sexual violence and girls dropping out of school by puberty age. Economically, poor water and sanitation cost developing countries around $260 billion a year - 1.5 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP), while every dollar invested could bring a five-fold return by keeping people healthy and productive.
DSD continuously contributes to the efforts in global action for sanitation. It hosts both the UN-Water secretary and the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) secretariat. UNSGAB supported both the International Year of Sanitation and the Sanitation Drive to 2015 launched by the Secretary-General in June 2011.