Volume 18, No.04 - April 2014

Global dialogue on development

Raising awareness of autism

autismdayWorld Autism Awareness Day will be commemorated at UN Headquarters on 2 April under the theme of “Opening Doors to Inclusive Education”.

The Day raises awareness of autism on all levels of society and encourages participation of Member States, civil society, private and public organizations and the UN system. A message of the Secretary-General has been delivered each year on that occasion.

A “Meet the Author”  (sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information) of Drawing Autism (Jill Mullin) will start the Day at the North Lobby of the Secretariat Building (12-1pm). After that, a film screening (sponsored by the UN Permanent Missions of Italy and Argentina) of the documentary Ocho pasos adelante (e. Eight Steps Forward) will commence (1-3pm) at the ECOSOC Chamber, which will be followed by a Q&A session.

The film’s director (Selene Colombo), the Permanent Representatives of Italy (H.E. Mr. Sebastiano Cardi) and Argentina (H.E. Ms. María Cristina Perceval) as well as the Under Secretary-General of DPI (Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal) and the Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development, DESA (Ms. Daniela Bas) will be present. A keynote address by Mr. Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and senior fellow at Harvard University on his book “Living Animated,” will proceed two panel discussions on “Legal Instruments” and “Inclusion in Practice” that are scheduled for 3-6 in the ECOSOC Chamber.

For more information: World Autism Awareness Day


Open Working Group starts consolidation phase

OWG10The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals starts consolidation phase at the 9th Session and prepares for its 10th session taking place from 31 March to 4 April.

The Open Working Group on sustainable development goals (SDGs) started the consolidation phase at its ninth session from 3 to 5 March when, after eight stocktaking sessions, the Group began deliberations with a view to agreeing on a proposal for SDGs.

At the opening of the session, Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya and Co-Chair of the Group, described the issues being dealt with by the Group as challenging the very existence of our ecosystem, environmental system, and food chains. “The challenges we are facing are real and existential,” he said.

In the run-up to the session, the Co-Chairs had sent to the Member States a document identifying 19 focus areas for consideration. The document consolidates the essence of deliberations during the Group’s stocktaking phase and lays out some possible areas for action under each focus area, but is not intended as a zero draft for negotiations on goals and targets. The Co-Chairs have also released an annex outlining interlinkages between the focus areas, and a proposal of how to cluster the focus areas during the Group’s tenth session.

For a more sustainable global political framework

Ambassador Kamau said that if these 19 focus areas are addressed in synergy, they can promise us “a more sustainable earth, a more sustainable society, more sustainable economies, and ultimately a more sustainable global political framework”. The exchange of views and initial reactions revealed that the document was very well received, with delegations accepting it as the basis for further discussion.  Nevertheless, delegations and civil society noted a number of issues that they thought could be more fully reflected, including: migration; disaster risk reduction; land degradation, desertification and drought; youth and culture; and sustainable agriculture.

The discussions showed strong and continued support for gender equality and women’s empowerment as a stand-alone focus area, as well as a cross-cutting issue of relevance to other focus areas. A strong consensus that poverty eradication must be the overriding objective of a post-2015 development agenda, and that it must feature prominently in the SDGs, was also underscored.

Joint meeting with Committee on Sustainable Development Financing

In the course of the ninth session, the Open Working Group held a joint meeting with the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, which provided an opportunity to share progress and priorities in their respective areas of work. At the joint meeting, the Financing Committee Co-Chairs emphasized that they would be examining all relevant sources of financing for sustainable development post-2015, public and private, and that the role of ODA would be given due weight in their deliberations.

The Open Working Group continued its strong engagement with civil society. Major Groups and other stakeholders were given the opportunity to share their views on the focus areas document, including during a dedicated session.

10th sessions to take place from 31 March to 4 April

The tenth session of the Open Working Group will take place from 31 March to 4 April. On 19 March the Co-Chairs submitted to the Member States a slightly revised version of the focus areas document, reflecting the main comments received during the groups ninth session, but not introducing major changes. It is expected that during this session, the focus will turn to more detailed discussions of possible goals and targets.

For more information: Tenth session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals


ECOSOC convenes annual spring meeting

unhqOn 14-15 April, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will hold its annual Special high-level meeting with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development at UN Headquarters in New York.

The overall theme of the meeting will be “Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of financing for sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda”.

Chaired by the ECOSOC President, Ambassador Martin Sajdik (Austria), the Special high-level meeting will bring together Ministers of Finance / Development Cooperation / Foreign Affairs and Central Bank Governors, as well as high-level representatives and senior officials of major institutional stakeholders, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector.

This year’s high-level meeting has special significance. It is taking place against the background of global economic recovery trends and in the context of the preparations for the post-2015 development agenda. The meeting should serve to strengthen the growing momentum on post-2015, which needs to be underpinned by a strong financing framework. It will promote synergies between various processes and events, including the work of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and the preparations for the third international conference on financing for development to be convened in 2015 or 2016.

Thematic debates will be held on the following topics:

  1. World economic situation and prospects
  2. Mobilization of financial resources and their effective use for sustainable development
  3. Global partnership for sustainable development in the context of the post-2015 development agenda

A full summary of the meeting by the President of ECOSOC will be issued subsequently as an official document of the Council and the General Assembly. It will provide an input to the summer session of the Council, deliberations of the Second Committee of the General Assembly on the Financing for Development agenda item, as well as the follow-up process to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and the discussions within both ECOSOC and the GA on the post-2015 development agenda.

For more information about the meeting, please visit the Financing for Development website

Sustainable development financing

sustdev_financingThird session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing took place in New York on 3-7 March.

The mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing is to develop “options on an effective sustainable development financing strategy to facilitate the mobilization of resources and their effective use in achieving sustainable development objectives.” The work of the Committee is organized in three clusters of issues.

The central focus of the March meeting was Cluster 2, “Mobilisation of resources and their effective use”. The cluster co-facilitators presented their report and a summary of their inter-sessional work. The report identified guiding principles for an effective sustainable development financing framework. The session also briefly addressed Cluster 3, “Institutional arrangements, policy coherence, synergies and governance.” The co-facilitators of this cluster presented framing questions and received further guidance for their inter-sessional work. The Committee will return to discussing Cluster 3 in its next session, from 12 to 16 May. The Committee also referred to Cluster 1,“Assessing financing needs, mapping of current flows and emerging trends, and the impact of domestic and international environments,” which had been discussed in December.

In order to ensure effective coordination between the Committee and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, a joint meeting was held on Wednesday, 5 March. Members of both groups agreed that close coordination was critical in order to ensure the coherence, synergy, consistency and complementarity of the two processes.

The Committee’s deliberations were also enriched by informal briefings by outside experts on inequality and finance and on aligning private finance with sustainable development. In addition, a multi-stakeholder forum was convened on Monday, 3 March with the active participation of representatives from NGOs, the private sector and other major groups and relevant stakeholders. A number of rich points emanated from these presentations and discussions, which informed the work in the session.

The main outcome of the session was an agreement on the modalities for the drafting process of the final report, which will be submitted to the General Assembly in September. The next sessions of the Committee will be held in May and August.

For more information, please visit the website of the Committee