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Major report released in advance of the G20 and World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings

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NEW YORK, 13 April 2018 – The prospects of around 800 million of the world’s poorest people remain dire. The global economy is experiencing a moderate upturn, and momentum around sustainable investing is growing, the UN said today. But the vast majority of investment is still short-term oriented and commitments by the international community to create sustainable economies are not being met. There is an increasing interest in socially responsible investing, but that is no substitute for a broader transformation in the financial system. The report states that the current system rewards investors, financiers and project managers that prioritize short-term profits. Similarly, policy makers are excessively focused on short-term considerations. But there is a price to pay. Infrastructure projects are shelved in favour of short term priorities. Small businesses and women remain excluded from the financial system. “The good economic news in some regions masks the very real risk that the poo…

World Happiness Report 2018

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The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The World Happiness Report 2018, ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants.

The main focus of this year’s report, in addition to its usual ranking of the levels and changes in happiness around the world, is on migration within and between countries.

The overall rankings of country happiness are based on the pooled results from Gallup World Poll surveys from 2015-2017, and show both change and stability. There is a new top ranking country, Finland, but the top ten positions are held by the same countries as in the last two years, although with some swapping of places. Four different countries have held top spot in the four most recent reports- Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and now Finland.

All the top countries tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, so…

Implementing a Nexus Approach to Sustainable Development in Urban Areas

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This article will appear on Urbanet in April. On April 16-18, the second Nexus Conference will convene governments, intergovernmental organizations, and stakeholders at the University of North Carolina. The conference will focus on the links and trade-offs between water, energy, and food—often called the nexus—as viewed through an urban lens. Cities are at the forefront of the climate challenge and the heart of the global economy, so they are critical to implementing an integrated approach to meeting the SDGs and building resilience to climate change.
Cities Are Key to Meeting the SDGs The SDGs recognize that the world is a single complex system in which all the parts and subsystems constantly interact. Solutions to global problems like poverty should consider the leverages, synergies, and trade-offs within the system. These solutions are often best implemented at the local or sub-national level, including within cities and other urban areas.
Cities are critical to achieving the SDGs; mos…

Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech August 28 1963

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I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an shameful condition. In a sense we…

John Bolton Is Wrong About the UN: And Bret Stephens Is Wrong About John Bolton

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By Felix Dodds and Michael Strauss Monday the 9th of April John Bolton will take up his post as National Security Advisor.
As this carnival roller coaster ride that is the Trump Administration has veered further and further off the rails, those few ‘moderate’ Republican backers who haven’t completely abandoned him have felt more and more hard pressed to figure out strategies with which to defend his chaotic actions. Columnist Bret Stephens – whose own recent hiring by the New York Times was met with stunned acrimony by many loyal Times readers – pulled out a reliable right-wing trope to defend, or perhaps to distract from, Trump’s latest disaster in the making, the announcement that his third National Security Advisor would be John Bolton. He attacked the United Nations. [“JohnBolton Is Right About the UN”; March 23, 2018]. In doing so, he presented a laundry list of accusations about the U.N.'s actions and responsibilities. Much of it – like most effective propaganda – is based on a …

Guest Blog: Australia’s failing to meet the SDGs—here’s how it can change that

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Guest Blog by Vaidehi Shah, Monday 19 March 2018
This post was originally published by Eco-Business.com here
As Australia prepares to unveil a progress report on how it is faring on delivering the SDGs, experts at a recent event in Sydney said that policymakers are failing to address critical shortcomings in its progress against the goals.


Speakers at the 'Sustainable Development Goals: Words to Action' event, organised by the United Nations Association of Australia in Sydney. Image: UNAA NSW Facebook Australia has slipped lower on the global ranking of how countries are progressing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the country’s government needs to accelerate action to meet the goals, said non-government and private sector experts at a recent event in Sydney. 
Speaking at a seminar titled Sustainable Development Goals: From Words to Actions and organised by the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) on February 27, leaders from civil society and academia sai…

New UNEP Publication Perspectives Paper 30: Now Out People and Pollution’ Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue at the United Nations Environment Assembly 3

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I served as the moderator for the dialogue, which represents part of UN Environment’s commitment to deliver on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development outcome document: ‘The Future We Want’. This document calls for “the active participation of all relevant stakeholders, drawing on best practices and models from relevant multilateral institutions and exploring new mechanisms, to promote transparency and the effective engagement of civil society” within the framework of its decision to strengthen the role of the United Nations Environment Programme as the
leading global environmental authority.
Stakeholder engagement has been an important component of the development of UN Environment since its inception at the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment. The concept of ‘Major Groups’ was pioneered by the first UN Environment Executive Director, Maurice Strong, when he was Secretary-General of the Earth Summit in 1992. He recognized that categorizing all  nongovernment…