Volume 15, No.12 - December 2011

Global dialogue on development

Preparing for Rio+20

Regional Preparatory Meeting for the United Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, Rio+20) for the UNECE region will take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 1-2 December

About 300 delegates representing Governments, intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, and civil society organizations will gather to identify the specific challenges and priorities of the region represented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) with regard to the Rio+20 Conference.

The results of the meeting, including policy recommendations and good practices, will be transmitted to the global preparatory process and presented at the Second Intersessional Meeting for UNCSD to be held in New York on 15–16 December.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) from 20 to 22 June 2012. The official discussions will focus on two main themes:

  • how to build a green economy to achieve sustainable development and lift people out of poverty, including support for developing countries that will allow them to find a green path for development;
  • how to improve coordination for sustainable development at international, regional and national levels.

The Regional Preparatory Meeting for the UNECE region was mandated by the UN General Assembly as part of the preparatory activities for Rio+20. It will be co-chaired by deputy-ministers from Poland and Kazakhstan. The Secretary-General of the Rio+20 Conference, DESA’s Under-Secretary General Sha Zukang, will participate in the meeting delivering opening and closing remarks.

The meeting will tackle the same issues as the Rio+20 Conference itself, however, with a focus on measures required and existing good practices in the UNECE region.

At the Seventh Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” that took place in Astana/Kazakhstan in September 2011 the Ministers of the  Environment from the UNECE region declared “We agree to take the lead in the transition to a green economy and to make a substantive contribution to the discussions on green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty alleviation at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development….”.

The Regional Preparatory Meeting will build on the Astana outcomes on green economy. It will furthermore assess how developed countries from the UNECE region can assist poorer countries in and beyond the region in their transition to a green economy.

A series of 12 side events will be organized to discuss specific topics:

For more information:

Towards inclusive development for all

Official commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities will be held in New York on 2 December under the theme “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development”

Persons with disabilities make up an estimated 15 per cent of the world’s population. Almost one-fifth of them, or between 110-190 million, encounter significant difficulties. Furthermore, a quarter of the global population is directly affected by disability, as care-givers or family members.

Persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in their societies and are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. They remain largely marginalized, disproportionately poorer, frequently unemployed and have higher rates of mortality. Furthermore, they are largely excluded from civil and political processes and are overwhelmingly voiceless in matters that affect them and their society.

Experience shows that when persons with disabilities are empowered to participate and lead the process of development, their entire community benefits, as their involvement creates opportunities for everyone – with or without a disability. Including persons with disabilities and their communities in developmental efforts is important to advance the development agenda.

Thus it is imperative that development efforts around the world include disability issues when determining policies, programmes, as well as allocating funds for developmental programmes and projects. Mainstreaming disability in development is a strategy for achieving equality for persons with disabilities.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is both a human rights treaty and a development tool, provides an opportunity to strengthen developmental policies related to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), thereby contributing to the realization of a “society for all” in the twenty-first century.

The General Assembly in its most recent resolution 65/186, seeks to convene a High-Level meeting on disability in 2012, with a view to strengthening efforts to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of development efforts.

Themes and events for commemorating the international day

This year, DESA requested the input of its partners and the general public for suggestions on a theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2011. Many responses were received from both the UN system and civil society.

Now, for the first time, the Day will be commemorated under a general theme with supporting sub-themes to draw attention to key areas that would work in synergy to mainstream disability in all development processes.

Although the international day is on 3 December, it will be officially commemorated in New York on 2 December, where events will include an opening ceremony with Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro and a performance by students from the New York Institute for Special Education.

Panel discussions will follow on the themes Towards inclusive development: improving data and statistics on disability and Mainstreaming disability in the global development agenda: experience in other development issues. The UN Enable Film Festival will also present a series of short films.

For more information:

Exploring how greening efforts can be scaled up

Second Intersessional Meeting of Rio+20 will be held on 15-16 December in New York

The second round of informal discussions will focus on the objective and themes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, which has been charged by the General Assembly to see how efforts to achieve sustainable development can be scaled up, as well as to explore how countries can green their economies and to determine how to strengthen the institutional framework for sustainable development.

At Rio in June 2012, governments, businesses and civil society leaders will gather  to assess progress, gaps and challenges and renew political commitment for achieving sustainable development.

The third intersessional meeting will also take place in New York on 26–27 March 2012.

For more information:

Getting the most out of aid

Symposium was arranged in Luxembourg on 18-19 October on “Maximizing the development impact of aid”, in preparation for the 2012 Development Cooperation Forum (DCF)

The symposium focused on a critical question of how to deploy limited aid resources as a catalyst for mobilizing other financial flows such as investment, microfinance and domestic resources from taxation. This theme was also relevant to the forthcoming Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in late November.

The meeting was opened by the Minister of Development Cooperation of Luxembourg, the Deputy Secretary-General and ECOSOC President. It was attended by some 160 participants from developing and developed countries, including a few Ministers, Directors-General of Development Cooperation, parliamentarians, international organizations (OESC/DESA and FFDO/DESA, IMF, OECD/DAC), NGOs and the private sector.  The DSG’s message that commitments made must be met by all was echoed in the discussions that ensued.

A number of key messages came out of the symposium. First, the “current political economy” and rising public anger in many countries were threatening aid flows. It was imperative that these limited resources should be used in more effective manner. Second, aid should aim to mobilize the kind of financial flows that have the greatest impact on the achievement of MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals. Third, representatives of LDCs underscored that aid to their countries must, as a priority, help mobilize FDI and other resources to bolster the productive sector. However, some of the NGOs were of the view that aid had maximum impact when it is used to support social programmes such as health and education. Finally, it was reiterated that recipient countries are the ones who should decide about where to deploy aid resources.

Successor arrangements to the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF IV) were also the subject of exchanges. At this stage, it is expected that the HLF IV will be replaced by a “country heavy” and “global light” architecture for effective development cooperation. The draft Busan outcome document proposes a “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation” which would oversee follow-up through a Steering Committee. H.E. Mr. Tae-yul Cho, Ambassador of Korea for Development Cooperation, and Mr. Talaat Abdel Malek (Egypt), who chairs preparations for Busan, both participated in the symposium. Ambassador Cho suggested  a greater role for the UN at the country level. This was seen as constructive proposal that needed further carful consideration.

Overall, the debates were both substantive and lively. Many participants came from the capitals of developing countries, and were personally engaged in aid management. The participation of several Permanent Representatives to the UN in New York will enable to make the link between the symposium and NY processes.  Participation of NGOs and parliamentarians also brought important ideas and candor to the discussions.

The report of the Symposium will be presented to the DCF in June/July 2012.

For more information: