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UN announces roadmap to Climate Summit in 2019, a ‘critical year’ for climate action

2019 is a critical year, the “last chance” for the international community to take effective action on climate change, General Assembly President Maria Espinosa said on Thursday, during a briefing to announce the UN’s roadmap to the Climate Summit in September.

Ms. Espinosa was speaking alongside the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on the Climate Summit, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, at UN Headquarters in New York.

Ms. Espinosa said that, with the deadline for achieving the first targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development fast approaching, described by Secretary-General António Guterres as “the UN’s blueprint for peace, justice and prosperity on a healthy planet”, the world stood at a crossroads.

Two-thirds of these targets, she said, depend on climate and environment goals, and a five-fold increase in commitments from their current levels is needed in order to meet the targets set at the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance, due to come into force in 2020.

The General Assembly President walked the representatives of Member States through some of the key events of 2019, leading up to, and following, the Climate Summit. All of the events, she said, share two goals: a doubling of commitments and ambition at a national level, and ensuring the inclusion of diverse groups in the process of climate action. 

March will see the General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Climate and Sustainable Development for All, which is intended to build on the success of COP24, the 2018 climate conference in Katowice, Poland, which led to the establishment of a “rulebook” for the reporting of emissions and the progress made in cutting them, every year from 2024.

The March meeting will welcome representatives of the private sector, civil society and young people, and look to harness the enthusiasm of the latter group, who, said Ms. Espinosa, will be most affected by a warming world.

On the 30th of June, in the build up to the Climate Summit, a “stocktaking” event will take place in Abu Dhabi, followed by a High Level Political Forum under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council in July, which will see a review of the progress made in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 13 (“urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”).

The Climate Summit will be followed by the first-ever High Level Political Forum on Climate Action, sponsored by the General Assembly on September 24. The year will be rounded off by the 2019 Climate Conference COP25, which will take place in Chile.

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Noon briefing

Deputy Secretary-General at World Government Summit

Over the weekend, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, spoke at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
She said that in this fourth year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world must accelerate its work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. While there has been progress in many countries, it has not happened fast enough, and the world remains on a trajectory of increasing inequality.
“It is up to us to bring back the trust and demonstrate that global institutions can meet global challenges and meet people’s expectations,” she said adding that “we must all keep pushing the boundaries of transformation.”
While in Dubai, Ms. Mohammed also spoke at an SDGs in Action event, and met with senior government officials on climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals and the forthcoming World Expo 2020.

Security Council

Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, briefed the Security Council today on the threats posed by Da’esh. He said that the group remains a threat as a global organization with centralized leadership, despite a fall in international attacks and plots in 2018. This threat, he said, is increased by returning, relocating or released foreign terrorist fighters.
Mr. Voronkov said that Da’esh is reported to control between 14,000 and 18,000 militants, including up to 3,000 foreign terrorist fighters, in Iraq and Syria.  He added that the group has continued to evolve into a covert network operating at the local level and organizing itself at the provincial level, with a reported intent to undermine any form of stabilization on the ground.
Michele Coninsx, the Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), told the Council that Da’esh has retained its global intent and global networks. It remains one of the international terrorist groups most likely to carry out a large-scale, complex attack in the future.

Haiti

On Haiti, the Core Group has called on the Haitian society actors, and primarily the country's leaders, to engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue in order to identify and implement realistic and lasting solutions to the political and economic crisis currently occurring in the country.
This follows a day of protest in Haiti last Thursday. The Core Group has taken note of the demands expressed by the demonstrators. It also deplores the loss of life and property damage caused by the acts of violence that took place on the margins of the rallies, while acknowledging the professionalism demonstrated by the Haitian National Police as a whole.

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More urgency needed to help increasing numbers ‘locked out’, before 2030, says UN Rights Chief

Many countries are failing to protect and promote the interests of all their people – despite pledging to do so in 2016 – the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Wednesday.

In a special meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva to review progress on achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, Michelle Bachelet insisted that “overall, we are not on track” to meet its ambitious aims:

“The 2030 Agenda is a commitment to achieve greater international cooperation for a more equitable international order,” she said. “But above all, it is a promise extended to people previously locked out of development: the marginalized, disempowered and excluded communities; the millions of women, racial, religious and caste minorities, indigenous peoples, migrants, persons with disabilities, Roma and the poor.”

Acknowledging “tremendous progress in some countries” on tackling extreme poverty; mortality rates for the under-fives; and promoting education, particularly in Asia; Ms. Bachelet listed numerous obstacles that continue to prevent fair development for all.

Women’s inequality is a major impediment, she insisted, along with hunger, war and climate change.

44,000 each day forced to flee

“Conflicts are destroying people's lives, hopes and ability to earn a decent livelihood in the places they were born,” she said. “44,400 people are forced to flee their homes every day because of conflict or persecution. Climate change is generating overwhelming environmental disasters, which devastate basic infrastructure and exacerbate tensions and conflicts.”

Questioning whether the world’s nations were meeting the “great goal” of leaving no-one behind by 2030, the UN rights chief cited International Labour Organization (ILO) data, which indicated a growing gap between the rich and poor, despite workers’ higher productivity.

“With just 12 years left to 2030, we need a greater sense of urgency about achieving the Agenda's promise to the world's people,” she said, before explaining that the outcomes of the Human Rights Council meeting would contribute to the work of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the UN in New York in July - the organization’s central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 

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Statement on the outcome of the G20 Summit in Argentina

Today’s G20 Declaration underscored three key messages. 

First, it reaffirmed support to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, our global blueprint for a fair globalization that leaves no one behind; and pledged to use all policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

Second, G20 leaders, stressed the need to raise ambition in the fight against climate change and expressed their very strong support of countries that are signatories to implement their commitments set out in their nationally determined contributions. Agreement on the Paris Work Programme at COP 24 in Katowice – essentially the rule book for implementation – will significantly advance implementation. 

Third, G20 leaders recognized the importance of a multilateral approach to trade and of the reform of the World Trade Organization and renewed their commitment to a rules-based international order.

These agreements by the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies, which also contribute the largest share of global green-house gas emissions, can help rally the international community to make sure that climate change is a race we can win. Indeed, it is a race we must win.

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Progress has been made, but 'not at a sufficient speed to realize the SDGs': UN ECOSOC President

One week after zeroing-in on how to build sustainable, resilient societies, key players from around the world debated on Monday at United Nations Headquarters in New York, how to keep up the momentum to turn the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into a reality.

 Speaking at the opening of the major ministerial meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) as well as the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC President, Marie Chatardová, cited progress that, at first glimpse, looked positive.

She pointed to extreme poverty, saying that even at one-third of the 1990 value, it was still imprisoning 10.9 per cent of world’s population. Moreover, while 71 per cent have access to electricity - a 10 per cent jump - a billion people still remain in the dark.

“There is progress, but generally not at a sufficient speed to realize the SDGs by 2030,” Ms. Chatardová said.

Despite that backdrop, Ms. Chatardová argued that the 2030 Agenda was being translated into concrete policies and measures: “It seems new ways of making policies are taking root, with many examples of more inclusive and evidence-based approaches,” she said.

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UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

 Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental human right at the opening of the seventy-first session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The World Health Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the World Health Organization, WHO. It determines the agency’s polices, supervises financial policies, and reviews and approves the proposed programme budget.

“We need strong resilient systems that place people at the centre,” said Mr. Guterres.

“Universal health coverage provides the foundation to help us overcome the inequities that continue to leave so many behind.”

Ensuring that everyone, everywhere has access to quality health care and services, is also vital for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), stressed the UN chief.

In particular, Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3), which has specific targets to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being at all stages in life. In addition, health improvements feature prominently in many of the other ambitious Goals.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General, also addressed the Assembly, emphasizing the importance of universal health coverage, as illustrated by the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The WHO chief outlined a number of initiatives at the UN health agency to advance universal coverage and urged greater political commitment: “It’s clear that the twin messages of health security and universal health coverage resonate loudly with world leaders,” he said.

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Message from the Secretary-General on the opening of

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Mental health ‘neglected issue’ but key to achieving Global Goals, say UN chiefs

“One in four people experience a mental health episode in their lifetime, but the issue remains largely neglected,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his opening remarks to a roundtable discussion on mental health, co-organized by his office,  the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation that supports scientists and researchers.

“The UN is committed to working with partners to promote full mental health and wellbeing for all,” Mr. Guterres added.

The roundtable discussion, held Wednesday evening, included Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore, and some 20 others from academia, government and civil society.

A main message coming out of the discussion was growing support for the notion that there can be “no health without mental health” and there is a need to look beyond the health sector, for creative solutions to tackle the root causes of deteriorating mental health.

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Feature Video: WHO talks about Health and the SDGs

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Historic participation of Caribbean countries at the UN General Assembly

Caribbean countries made one of their most memorable participations in history during the latest General Debate of the UN General Assembly last week.

Emotional pleas to mitigate climate change and to support the costly measures necessary to adapt to its effects, as well as to “build back better” after the devastating effects of extreme weather were expressed by the region’s delegates. On the top of everyone’s mind were the catastrophic effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria as the latter was still making its destructive way across the Caribbean.

Even on the wake of the catastrophic hurricanes, preparedness, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction were not the only issues raised by the region.  Delegates also made compelling statements about the importance of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, and highlighted many of the vulnerabilities shared by Small Island Developing States. These included social and economic challenges, that range from debt to single sector economic dependency, human trafficking, migration and others.

Click on the links below to watch videos on demand of the Caribbean participation, or to read summaries and transcripts of the statements at the General Assembly.

 

H.E. Mr. Gaston Alphonso Browne,
Prime Minister
Antigua and Barbuda


Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/ag_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/antigua-and-barbuda

 

H.E. Mr. Darren Allen Henfield,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Bahamas

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bs_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/bahamas

 

H.E. Ms. Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Barbados


Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript   https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bb_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/barbados

 

H.E. Mr. Wilfred Elrington, 
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Belize

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bz_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/belize

 


H.E. Mr. Roosevelt Skerrit,
Prime Minister
Dominica

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/dm_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/dominica

 


H.E. Mr. Elvin Nimrod,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Grenada

Video of speech  http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/gd_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/grenada

 


H.E. Mr.  David Arthur Granger,
President
Guyana

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/gy_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/guyana

 


H.E. Mrs. Kamina Johnson Smith,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Jamaica

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/jm_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/jamaica

 

H.E. Mr. Mark Anthony Brantley,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Saint Kitts and Nevis

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/kn_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-kitts-and-nevis

 


H.E. Mr. Allen Michael Chastanet,
Prime Minister
Saint Lucia

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/lc_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-lucia

 


H.E. Mr. Louis Straker,
Deputy Prime Minister
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/vc_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-vincent-and-grenadines

 

H.E. Mrs. Yldiz Pollack-Beighle,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Suriname

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/sr_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/suriname

 

H.E. Mr. Dennis Moses,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Trinidad and Tobago

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/tt_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/trinidad-and-tobago

 

 

 

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Agriculture officials gather to discuss sustainable agriculture for the region

Seventy agriculture officials from across Latin America and the Caribbean will gather for two days from 14 – 15 September 2017, to discuss how the region can strengthen sustainable agriculture and rural development through innovation, at the 11th Regional Planners Forum on Agriculture. This meeting will be hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat at the Hilton Hotel, Barbados under the theme:  Innovation Systems for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.


A key expected outcome of the meeting is an action plan framework that countries can use to develop and implement leading edge policies and institutional mechanisms at the national level to advance their agricultural sectors and reduce poverty in rural areas.

The forum will focus on:

  • Financial Instruments,Investments and Institutional Strengthening;
  • Climate Smart Agriculture; and
  • Value Chains and Access to Inclusive Markets

Recommendations from the meeting will be presented at the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) Ministerial meeting, to be held next month in Guyana.

Innovations in agri-food systems have allowed the agricultural sector in developing and developed countries to make leaps in the quantity and quality of food production.  The process is designed for farmers, marketers and agro-processors along the value chain to improve their production practices, with the involvement of the private and public sectors, civil society and developmental partners.

Higher levels of adoption of innovations in agriculture lead to improvements in productivity, competitiveness, trade, income generated by the sector, sustainability and reduction of the region’s food import bill. The forum is therefore a key activity to map the growth and expansion of the agricultural sector of CARICOM and the realization of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The forum dialogue will also focus on how policies and mechanisms can support the reduction of rural poverty as well as levels of food and nutritional insecurity in countries around the region. This complex problem requires a systematic and innovative approach especially in the context of a strong growth in food demand and climate change, with increasing pressure on natural resources. 

This year’s Forum on Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development is a follow-up to the 2016 FAO Second Regional Forum on "Innovation Systems for Sustainable Rural Development", where stakeholders discussed, reflected on and analyzed innovation based on its impact in rural areas, with an emphasis on family farming and the democratization of innovation systems.

This year’s event was developed through a collaboration between the FAO and the CARICOM Secretariat with support of the members of the Agriculture Food and Nutrition Cluster (AFNC). It supports the FAO’s commitment to the implementation of the 2017 Action Plan of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Working Group on Family Farming and Territorial Rural Development and contributes to CELAC’s Food and Nutritional Security Plan for the eradication of hunger by 2025. 

To view and download the event agenda and concept note, please visit:  http://www.fao.org/americas/eventos/ver/es/c/1032286/.


 

Agriculture and food security is connected to SDGs :

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Tourism key to foster trade for least developed countries – UN-backed report

A United Nations-backed report released today stressed the need for greater recognition of tourism as a key service export in order to attract technical assistance to the sector in least developed countries (LDCs).

Although tourism represents seven per cent of all international trade and 30 per cent of the world's services trade, it is often difficult to direct trade-related technical assistance towards the sector because tourism and trade tend to fall under different line ministries, the report points out.

Produced by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), the report, titled Tourism for Sustainable Development in Least Developed Countries, was launched on the occasion of the Aid for Trade Review held in Geneva.

In LDCs, tourism accounts for seven per cent of total exports of goods and services – a figure that stands at 10 per cent for non-oil LDC exporters.

The report says that tourism can make a strong contribution to the economies of LDCs, but successful interventions in tourism require strong collaboration across government agencies as well as across different actors at the regional or local level.

The report also aims to increase the commitment and investment in coordination and raise tourism's prominence in trade-related technical assistance as to ensure the sector delivers on its powerful capacity to create jobs and incomes where they are most needed and for those who are most vulnerable – including youth and women.

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International Year for Sustainable Tourism - link

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