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Showing posts from July, 2014

New book out - The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda

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On Monday 28th of July 2014, Felix Dodds[1]Jorge Laguna-Celis[2] and Liz Thompson’s [3]  book “From Rio+20 to a New Development Agenda” will have a much-awaited companion “The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda”  released in E-book form; thus constituting the definitive and most authoritative appraisal of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, otherwise known as Rio+20. Since before the Rio+20 conference, through Rio+20, and continuing today, many organizations have dedicated their input, thoughts, and work to improving the world we live in today.


This book is designed to help people from all backgrounds understand what was agreed at Rio+20 and the relevant UN Commissions, Conferences and Summit that laid the foundation for Rio+20 and the new sustainable development goals which are expected to be agreed upon in September 2015.

The book itself is divided into three core parts:
Part one entitled “A Resource Guide to the Future We Wa…

A few final comments before the last meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development

The last meeting is on the 4th to the 8th of August and I haven't yet seen a copy of the draft going to that but look forward to getting a copy from governments.As a number of them also find the idea of a secret committee goes against the grain. I guess we could have asked NSA for a copy of the proceedings. :-)

How different it could have been a real opportunity to link the discussion in the SDG OWG MOI to what was being suggested in the finance committee. Knowing some of the key negotiators who set the committee up they are appalled by how it has been run.  

It is clear that developing countries were unimpressed with the content and conduct of the ICESD to date and they expressed that in the SDG OWG. Original the text before the SDG OWG has a footnote that read:
“To be aligned with the outcomes of the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and the third International Conference on Financing for Development in July 2015.”

This was tak…

UN PGA EVENT changes its dates in September

The UN PGA has just changed the date for the Stocktaking Event to the 11th and 12th of September.
The concept note and agenda can be found here:
http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/68/pdf/stocktaking/7172014%20stocktaking%20approved%20concept%20note_1.pdf

Objective 

Participants will have the opportunity to: 

Reflect on the key messages from all the high-level events/ thematic debates, and interactive dialogue/briefing, convened by the President of the General Assembly Discuss the outcomes of the various Rio+20 processes including the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG), the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF), the Structured Dialogues on a Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the updates on the High-Level Political Forum  Highlight critical internal processes and events that have an impact on the design of the post-2015 development agenda, such as the 2014 substantive session of ECOSOC, including the Annual Ministerial …

The final SDG OWG Finishes with Consensus

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SDG OWG process Ends on Saturday morning
There is, I think, complete consensus among governments and stakeholders that the two co-chairs of the SDG OWG have been amazing. Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya and Ambassador Csaba Korosiof Hungary have steered the Sustainable Development Goals Open Working Group to a final consensus document in the late morning of Saturday the 19th of July 2014.
(photo IISD-ENB) I was reflecting on how in over the twenty years that I have been involved in sustainable development the only time that an Ambassadors had managed such a feat was when Malaysian Ambassador Razali Ismail, who played a key role in Rio in 1992, chaired the first Commission on Sustainable Development which established stakeholders as a partner of the post Rio process. In 1997, he was President of UNGA and oversaw Rio+5 or the UN General Assembly Special Session. 

Like Ambassadors Kamau and Korosiof he ensured that stakeholders not only attended the preparatory meetings but spoke in th…

Interview on National Public Radio on Climate Change and SDGs

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I had the pleasure of being interviewed on National Public Radio by Sara Nics for the show Eco Optimism on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals.


It is part of the Series 'To the Best of Our Knowledge'. 

It will go out this weekend nation wide but you can listen to my  interview: http://www.ttbook.org/book/climate-international
and to the entire show:  http://www.ttbook.org/book/eco-optimism
Please tweet it .


Reprinted from GRIST my question to Liz Cheney

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This is republished from GRIST
Darth Vader and his Sith apprentice — a.k.a. Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz — are totally in synch about climate change. Here’s how they responded to a question on the topic during a conversation with Politico’s Mike Allen on Monday: Mike Allen: Here’s a question from Felix Dodds. What should the Republican Party do about climate change? Dick Cheney: Liz? Liz Cheney: Nothing. [Scornful guffaw.] I mean … [Shrug.] Look, I think that what’s happening now with respect to this president and this EPA and using something like climate change as an excuse to kill the coal industry nationwide — and that’s exactly what they’re doing. They’ve been open about it. They even admit that the emissions from coal aren’t actually causing any kind of a heating of the planet. But this is an opportunity to go in, and they’re killing coal. You know, Wyoming is the leading coal-producing state in the nation. But you don’t have to be from Wyoming to understand that your electricit…

BRICS Development Bank announced with $100 billion

It probably isn't surprising that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should fulfill their promise or threat to create their own development bank. They have been arging for many years for the World Bank and IMF to change their voting rules to increase the number of votes for developing countries without much advancement.

This new development bank will be based in Shanghai in China it was also announced that the first president for the bank will come from India.

the Bank will initially have a fund of $50 billion and will focus on supporting infrastructure projects in developing countries. As the Fortaleza Declaration from the 6th BRICS Summit says:

"We, the leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, met in Fortaleza, Brazil, on 15 July 2014 at the Sixth BRICS Summit. To inaugurate the second cycle of BRICS Summits, the theme chosen for our discu…

Chairs of the SDG OWG explanation of the way forward over the next few days

Today the co-chairs explained how they intend to go forward. They underlined that this is a package and needs to be seen considered that way.

On Wednesday they will start with just the 17 goals and will try and agree the language for the goals. After that they will go through each target giving around 5-6 minutes per target if there is no agreement then they will move on and may return to that in plenary or set up a contact group to try and resolve the problem with a particular target.

What is unclear if there is still disagreement with a particular target what will be done. Comments on the suggested way forward will be taken on Wednesday morning. This includes how to deal with MOI.

Problems at the SDG OWG

Missing the morning session of the SDG OWG because i was on my way back from 'The Band Perry' concert in Cary North Carolina I have only just caught up with today's developments.

The co-chairs want to finish the SDG OWG by Wednesday to move to a UN General Assembly session so it seems that the problems that were evident 3 months back are now coming into focus.

Means of Implementation

Those that have been reading this blog will have seen me blog on this a couple of times. I argued a long while ago that to make the goals effective you need MOI under each goal. This was done with Agenda 21. The G77 have supported this approach but it has happened late in the process. At this point it seems that developed countries do not want MOI under each of the goals. This is a mistake - I have explained my views on this in the past but a really good reason is to ensure that there is some accountability in the area of MOI and that makes it more likely if it is under each goal.

Co-chairs text…

High Level Political Forum

The second meeting of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) has finished and finished with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration. I say this because there was some doubt that one would be agreed to.

A little history on the HLPF and sustainable development governance might be useful for some readers.

The HLPF is the successor to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). The CSD has set up out of the 1992 Earth Summit as a functioning commission of the UN Economic Council to review the implementation of Agenda 21 and the financial support to help implementation of Agenda 21.

In 1992 countries were recovering from a financial crisis - sound familiar - but there was a clear commitment from developed countries that there would be increased funding to help developing countries to jump technologies and to help their industrialization to be greener. Financial flows fell in the 1990s rather than increasing and of course we are reaping the rewards of that now The second ten years …

first Future Technologies for Water Competition

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Who:The Water Institute at UNC has teamed up with the Takata Corporation to host the first Future Technologies for Water Competition to identify breakthrough technologies for safe water with a sustainable business plan.  
What:  A first-place prize of $15,000 and a second-place prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the two top finalists.
Applications will be accepted in the following three categories: Shortening the water cycle by looking at grey water and/or wastewater reuseRapid testing of water samples with an emphasis on in situ and online testingProtecting vulnerable and sensitive populations
When:Only three weeks left to enter! The Water Institute at UNC is accepting applications until July 31, 2014.
How: Interested applicants can apply by filling out an online application at ftw.waterinstitute.unc.edu. Applications will be narrowed down to 15 semifinalists.  A panel of distinguished judges will choose three finalists on September 9, 2014.
Where:  Three finalists will atte…