Showing posts from November, 2015

RIP Maurice Strong - father of Sustainable Development

(1929-2015) “When he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun.” ―  William Shakespeare A guardian article based on this can be found here. We  just heard of the passing of one of the greats of sustainable development our friend Maurice Strong . Maurice Strong – former entrepreneur, energy company CEO, NGO, Head of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA),the first Executive Director of UNEP, Secretary-General of the UN conferences at Stockholm (1972) and at Rio (1992), author, president of the council of the UN University for Peace, and professor at Peking University – who in some ways can be said to have s ingle-handedly invented the intergovernmental environmental and sustainable development governance process . He dies just before the Paris Climate Summit - climate change being one of his greatest success fro

Support Santa-Claus Taking on Climate Change

Santa Claus Takes on Climate Change will you join  him? Just as the Paris Climate Conference is about to start we are launching an I ndiegago campaign. The objective is to help the next generation understand climate change. We will create a free downloable comic as part of the Comics Uniting Nations initiative .  Comics Uniting Nations is a monumental partnership between a group of innovative nonprofits, working in close coordination with the United Nations Millennium Campaign and the United Nations Post-2015 Development Planning Team to make the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) accessible to the citizens of the world through comics. One of the SDGs is on climate change. This Indiegogo project is supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in particular this comic is focused on Santa Claus taking on Climate Change. It is based on a story that was written for the BBC in 2009  The first Comics Uniting Nations Comic ‘Chakra the Invincible’ was

Guest Blog by Mafruza Khan: Inequality, Taxes and Sustainable Development - What do Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Paul Tudor Jones and Regular Americans Support?

By Mafruza Khan In a statement this past summer, Amtrak executive S tephen Gardner told New Jersey legislators that frequent train problems stranding commuters may "become the norm" because of the age and condition of the rail infrastructure. "When you have assets of this age, under this level of service and stress it’s not feasible really to imagine that you’re going to get perfect performance." Studies have consistently shown countries with high inequality tend to invest less in public goods, such as infrastructure, technology, and education, which contribute to long-term economic prosperity and growth and that high income and wealth inequality are strongly related to lower social mobility and social cohesion. Economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz argues,  “Full equality is not the goal. Some economic inequalities may be conducive to economic growth. Other inequalities may not be worth addressing because doing so infringes on cherished l

We should review the Major Groups chapters of Agenda 21 and add new relevant stakeholders

What was very important about the nine chapters of Agenda 21 which established the Major Groups. These being  Women, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, NGOs, Trade Unions and Workers, Local Authorities, Science and Technology and Business and Industry is that they gave rights and responsibilities. These in 1992 represented the sections of society that woudl play a significant role in implementing Agenda 21.  In 1994 the Education community suggested they should be the 10th Major Group and developed an example of what their chapter might look like if governments wanted to add them as a Major Group.  I think the High Level Political Forum in collaboration with stakeholders  should establish equivalent chapters/text for what would be the relevant stakeholders for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Below I share with you what the Education Community developed in 1994 under the leadership of Trevor Harvey and John Smyth.  Proposed New Chapter for

Guest blog on the Role and Place of the High-Level Political Forum in Strengthening the Global Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development

The Role and Place of the High-Level Political Forum in Strengthening the Global Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development – An effort to analyse the challenges to the High Level Political Forum and offer a few options Guest blog by Jan Gustav Strandenaes The UNGA decision and resolution behind the HLPF On July 9, 2013, during the morning session of its 91 st  Plenary Meeting, the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, in resolution 67/290 formally adopted by consensus the format and the organizational aspects of the high level political forum (HLPF). The resolution also recommended to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to abolish the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), effective from the conclusion of its 20th and last session, to be held prior to the first meeting of the forum later that same year. With ten introductory and thirty operative paragraphs, the resolution on HLPF stakes out the direction of global sustainable development policies inc

New book out: Handbook of Water and Health

The Handbook of Water and Health is edited by my friend Jamie Bartram. It is a comprehensive handbook providing an authoritative source of information on global water and health. The book is suitable for interdisciplinary teaching for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students. It covers both developing and developed country concerns. It is organized into sections covering: hazards (including disease, chemicals and other contaminants); exposure; interventions; intervention implementation; distal influences; policies and their implementation; investigative tools; and historic cases. It offers 71 analytical and engaging chapters, each representing a session of teaching or graduate seminar. It is written by a team of expert authors from around the world, many of whom are actively teaching the subject, the book provides a thorough and balanced overview of current knowledge, issues and relevant debates, integrating information from the environmental, health and social sciences.
Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.” (Kennedy, 1966) Introduction Steering the course of global change to a just and sustainable future requires a concerted effort across all sectors. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by Heads of State on September 25, 2015 ­­– after 4 years of negotiations – offer a widely accepted compass to guide the actions of all players on the global stage. By providing a unifying force amidst enormous global diversity, the SDGs could provide the basis for potentially mounting a concerted movement for positive change. To achieve that outcome, the way in which major obstacles such as financing and accountability

Interesting issues infront of the 70th UN General Assembly

The UN and stakeholders are considering how they should change to take up the 2030 agenda. There has been an interesting discussion with a panel of stakeholders on how Committee 2 and 3 of the UN GA should be reformed. For those that are less geeky on UN GA Committees than me there are six main UNGA Committees: Disarmament and International Security Committee (First Committee) Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (Third Committee) Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) Administrative and Budgetary Committee (Fifth Committee) Legal Committee (Sixth Committee) If you want to see what is on each Committees agenda then go here . Most stakeholders do not follow these committees as they do not allow stakeholder engagement in them 'formally'. I have actually spoken in 1996 to Committee 2 but they went to an informal session to enable me to suggest the introduction of mult-stakeholder dialo

Guest blog by Mafruza Khan:Transforming Our World: OneNYC, Sustainable Development Goals and the New Economy

By Mafruza Khan    OneNYC , launched earlier this year, is New York City’s sustainability and equity plan that uses four lenses – growth, equity, sustainability and resiliency – and sets 25 goals to be met by 2030 that will be monitored and reported annually. OneNYC builds on PlaNYC, originally released in 2007, by embedding equity and was developed in a participatory process that included New Yorkers, civic and business leaders, elected officials and city agencies to address New York City’s long-term challenges: the forecast of 9 million residents by 2040, changing climate conditions, an evolving economy, and aging infrastructure.  On January 1, 2016, the world, i.e., the United States and all 190 member states of the United Nations will start implementing 17 universal  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets, which, like OneNYC address the related challenges of growth, inequality, sustainability and resiliency.  Another important factor tying OneNYC t

Indicators Update consultation with stakeholders open from 5-7th of November

The recent  meeting of the  Interagency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) in Bangkok saw members reach a general agreement on 159 of the more than 200 draft indicators for the SDGs. To make it easy to understand the IAEG-SDGs have color coded the indicators. The reached general agreement on those coded green and those that needed extra work are coded in grey. See the report here.  For a general look at the IAEG-SDGs web site go here . A three day consultation with stakeholders and non-IAEG member states and representatives of regional commissions and regional and international agencies has opened today the 5th of November and will end on the 7th of November at 9am EST . This is focused on only the green indicators. The online mechanism to input can be found here . As noted in the "Meeting Summary and Work Plan" (also available in the documents section on the IAEG-SDGs Bangkok meeting web page): The diary from now on is as fo

What is happening in financing the Global Goals on Sustainable Development

Over the last four years around the SDGs there have been many things that have concerned me most resolved themselves over time...often longer than i had hoped. One of the core concerns I had over the whole time was the issue of financing the implementation of the goals and targets. I have written of my disappointment - perhaps that is the nicest way to express my feeling on the lost opportunities of  Financing for Development. I did have a talk with DFID in 2013 suggesting that they and other funders needed to ensure that in their 2015 budgeting for 2016 they created flexibility to ensure funds would be available for immediate work on the SDGs. I was told not to worry about these kinds of things of course the donor community would be doing this. I will be I am sure returning to this issue next year as we see whether this is true. What I wanted to address in this blog is w hat is the UN doing to prepare to spend additional funding on the SDGs next year. Lets go back to the re