Showing posts from September, 2016

Guest blog by Aashish Khullar: Implementing and Monitoring the New Urban Agenda - Comprehensive Role for Major Groups and Other Stakeholders

Aashish Khullar  is one of the Organising Partners' of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY). It is the formal engagement mechanism for young people to engage in UN processes. He focuses on  the intersection of environmental and economic variables.

The New Urban Agenda (NUA) has been finalised and we are moving closer to the Habitat III Conference in Quito (17-20 October 2016), where it will be formally adopted by member states.


Thematic progress aside, the NUA galvanises an engaged and effective role for stakeholder participation in its means of implementation (MOI) and follow up and review provisions (FuR).  This is a progressive continuation of the General Assembly resolutions 70/210 and 67/290 that set forth the modalities for the Habitat III process.

The NUA, specifically, in paragraph 128 requires the UN system to closely collaborate with major groups and other stakeholders ‘to generate evidence-based and practical guidance’ to implement the NUA. In additio…

Bokova out? Georgieva in for next UN Secretary General

The rumors that have been circulating for the last month have now proven to be true. The Bulgarian government has withdrawn support from Irina Bokova as their candidate for UN Secretary General and replaced her with Kristalina Georgieva, the European commissioner for budget and human resources.
There is some evidence that the right of center parties in European capitals have been behind this with some articles appearing in the last few weeks against Bokova. The Guardian reported on the 26th: “one of her (Kristalina’s) staff members was hacked and emails purporting to be from one of her top aides were sent out to the rest of her office, instructing them to attack Bokova”There is no question that Kristalina has the cv and record to be a very good UN Secretary General. She is a strong supporter of sustainable development issues she will pick up the SDGs and climate agendas with ease. She is dynamic and very personable and was very active around last week’s UN General Assembly High Level se…

5th Straw poll for the next UN Secretary General

We are down to nine candidates with Christiana Figueres withdrawal. As you can see from the votes above Antonio Guterres remains the favorite for the new Secretary General. As you will have seen from my previous blogs on the subject though I think he has an excellent cv for the job he isn’t a woman nor one from the Eastern UN region -- whose turn it is. 

Although this rotation between regions has been an informal agreement it makes sense that the different regions of the world should have a turn to be UN Secretary General. It fits in with the universal nature of the organization and ensures different cultural interpretations of the job. If you have regional rotation, then the Western Europe and Other Group region have their turn next (Antonio Guterres is from a WEOG country) as the Secretary General after this.
The backdrop to this  fifth straw poll is there is another candidate being promoted by some of the western European countries and that is Kristalina Georgieva the European Commis…

Who should lead WHO?

It’s been a busy week in New York with the Heads of State meetings and so it was only at the airport that yesterday that I saw the latest news that six candidates have been nominated for the next Director General of the World Health Organization.

The five candidates are:
Dr. Sania Nishtar, Pakistan’s is former Federal Minister of Education & Training, Science and Technology, Information Technology  and Health. Sania is the Chair of the Health Committee of the Aman ki Asha initiative, a campaign for peace between India and Pakistan, for which she has convened several meetings and negotiated declarations.

She has served as temporary advisor to the World Health Organization,[89][90] on more than 20 occasions and is a board member of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research,[91] and is co-chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.[92] She is currently a Board member for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,[93] and previously served as chair of their Evaluation Advisory…

Launched by the UN PGA: New report identifies strategies to finance the SDGs and Climate Action

New report identifies strategies to finance the SDGs and Climate Action
UNITED NATIONS, New York, 21 September 2016 – Strategies to shift capital towards investments that generate climate action and sustainable development were discussed at the United Nations today at a high-level event to discuss a new report titled “Links in the Chain of Sustainable Finance: Accelerating Private Investments for the SDGs, including Climate Action.”
The high-level event was opened by the President of the UN General Assembly H.E. Peter Thomson and chaired by his predecessor H.E. Mogens Lykketoft.
Discussions were centred around the report, commissioned by President of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, Mr Lykketoft, and written by Brookings Institution scholars Homi Karas and John McArthur. Similar reports from UNEP and from the New Climate Economy were also discussed.
The Brookings Institution report identifies strategies designed to shift the global flow of capital away from unsustainable secto…

SDG Indicators comments on the possible proposals for refinements will take place from 19 to 28 September 2016

Dear Colleague,
On behalf of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), we would like to invite you to participate in an open consultation on possible refinements to the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals. In follow-up to the 47th Statistical Commission decision 47/101 (e), which “Requested the Inter‐Agency and Expert Group to take into account the specific proposals for refinements of the indicators made by Member States during the discussion”, the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) is conducting an open consultation on possible refinements for a limited set of indicators in the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals.
This consultation is open to all countries, regional and international agencies, civil society, academia and the private sector. The IAEG-SDGs is seeking inputs from all interested organizations and stakeholders on the possible proposed refine…

Are we about to have a new candidate for UN Secretary General?

The election process for UN Secretary General is getting very interesting. 
The UN is a wash with rumors of a late dark horse Kristalina Georgieva European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources. 
As she is also from Bulgaria it would mean that the either the Bulgarian Government would have to withdraw their support for Irina Bokova. Discussion was due to happen on Tuesday this week within the Bulgarian Cabinet to decide if they were going to switch horses. Or another rumor as reported in the Sofia Globe circulating is that according to a tweet by Talal Al-Haj, UN bureau chief of television station Al-Arabiya, Georgieva will be nominated by Hungary, Latvia and Croatia, with the support of Germany.
In previous blogs I had suggested that Bokova was a strong candidate for UN Secretary General she has done well in her tenure at UNESCO and of the candidates left in the race seemed to have a good chance. As I might say are António Guterres and Miroslav Lajčák
Kristalina Georgieva is no…

Introduction of a Oath of Office for the President of the UN General Assembly

The new President of the UN General Assembly Fiji Ambassador Peter Thompson has become the first PGA to administer the new Oath of Office. This Oath and resulting requirements are a direct result of the fall out from former PGA President John Ashe alleged activities. On the 13th of September the GA debated a resolution based an extensive report from the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly (document A/70/1003 ) The UN the General Assembly adopted be consensus the resolution outlining a number of “milestone” reforms to reinvigorate its work as it moved into its eighth decade, notably to improve the transparency and accountability of its President’s Office The Assembly decided that the president-elect would take an oath of office and observe a code of ethics — each detailed in annexes I and II of the text and to be attached to the Assembly’s own Rules of Procedure. As UN PGA Peter Thompson took office he said: "In your wisdom and your dedicat…

One of the best candidates for new Secretary General withdraws

One of the best candidates for new Secretary General withdraws  President of the General Assembly President of the Security Council United Nations New York, New York
Dear Sirs:
We are now less than four months away from the date on which the new Secretary­ General must take office. In consultation with the General Assembly, the Security Council has the responsibility to guide the selection process to its final resolution in an orderly and timely manner. Out of loyalty to the United Nations and in order to facilitate the advance of the selection process I hereby inform you that today I withdraw my candidacy to the position of Secretary ­General.  I do so with gratitude and with concern.
Deep gratitude to my government and my country, to all other Member States, to civil society and to private sector for the perseverance with which they continue to uphold the values and principles of the United Nations. Above all my gratitude to the staff of the United Nations headquarters and througho…

Guest Blog by Eela Dubey - Yoga

Guest blog by Eela Dubey. Eela is a former New Yorker who decided to leave a career in finance to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, an esteemed Indian yoga guru. She spends most of her time traveling around the world and assisting his pranayama workshops. On the side, she is an independent consultant at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute and is an avid blogger of traditional yoga and ayurveda.
"This year’s observance of the International Day of Yoga ( June 21st) highlights the important role healthy living plays in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted last year by all 193 United Nations Member States." BAN KI-MOON:  United Nations Secretary-General
I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life living in a society marred by fads. As a former New Yorker, especially, I would be a liar not to admit that our culture is driven by the latest, trendiest, and fleeting socio-economic norms. We are a part of this grand herding effect whereby we fall victim to…

Results from the fourth Straw Poll for new United Nations Secretary General

The fourth Straw poll results have come out today and as usual offer interesting reading. This was the first time that the P5 could use their veto and one did so for Moldova's Natalia Gherman discouraging her. She I understand will now drop out. Topping the poll again was Portugal’s António Guterres (12 encourage 2 discourage and 1 no view). He has been constantly top and this time one of the P5 has indicated that they support him – though I’m not sure which one.
Again second was Slovakia's Miroslav Lajčák (10, 4, 1) adding one encourage and losing one discourage. In third place this time by himself is  Serbia's Vuk Jeremić  I think this is as I said before a bargaining chip which Russia may use to persuade the Western Group not to support Antonio Guterres. In forth position is  Republic Macedonia’s Srgjan Kerim  (8, 7,0)  who has moved up gaining a couple of encourage from no view.

In fifth place with no change in the voting for her is Bulgaria's Irina Bokova (7, 5, …

Guest Blog Jacqueline Burton: Habitat III: Local governments are key to achieving international development goals

Jacqueline Burton, Program Associate, Equitable Development Ford Foundation republished from the Ford Foundation website here
World leaders will gather in Quito, Ecuador this October to agree on an international framework for sustainable development at the Habitat III conference. The conference outcome document – the New Urban Agenda (NUA) – is expected to be a complementary framework that will drill into what it will take to achieve a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but particularly the goal to: “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.”
 Although the SDGs and NUA are agreements negotiated and adopted by national governments, it is regional and local authorities – governors, mayors, and leading officials – who will bear much of the burden of what gets laid out in these types of intergovernmental agreements. That’s because they work most closely with communities, so they know the needs of their residents and understand loca…