Sustainable Development in Action:
Highlights May-August 2013
It has been a busy summer at the UN with the establishment of the High-level Political Forum and the continuation of sessions of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. To stay up to date on the latest goings on, we provide you with a snapshot of recent highlights from this summer, including: the 2013 MDGs report, the Sanitation for All resolution, and recent stories of sustainable development initiatives making a difference in communities worldwide.
Recent reports on sustainable development
The Sanitation and Water for All partnership released a report tracking progress on sanitation and water commitments made at a high level meeting in 2012. Developing countries reported completion or good progress on almost 60 per cent of those commitments and donors on 80 per cent, according to the report released today. Meanwhile, only 44 per cent of country commitments and 42 per cent of donor commitments are on track to be achieved by the third high-level meeting of the SWA set for April 2014.
The new Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report 2013 shows that the combined actions of national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector are making the achievement of the MDGs a reality.
The targets that have already been met include: halving the number of people living in extreme poverty; providing more than two billion people with access to clean drinking water and the hunger eradication target is now within reach.
According to a new report by the World Metrological Organization, the world experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes during the 2001-2010 decade. The report offers compelling evidence on the need to develop resilience to climate change.
The UN World Economic and Social Survey 2013 focuses this year on sustainable development and the challenges facing its economic, social and environmental dimensions.
According to the Survey, “Rising inequalities, the food, fuel and financial crises, and the breaching of planetary boundaries have made clear that a mere continuation of current strategies will not suffice to achieve sustainable development after 2015.”
Building on recommendations from the Rio+20 Conference, the General Assembly has recently established the High-level Political Forum to replace the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). The new Forum will engage world leaders every four years to promote the implementation of sustainable development and address new challenges. “Establishing the Forum marks a major step forward in implementing 'The Future We Want',” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The first meeting will take place 24 September.
Member States work to establish Sustainable Development Goals
At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Member States agreed to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). To facilitate this process, a 30-member Open Working Group (OWG) of the General Assembly is tasked with preparing a proposal on the SDGs. The OWG is holding numerous consultations with stakeholders from the business sector, academia and civil society. Member States have held four thematic sessions on topics related to employment and decent work for all, poverty eradication, food security and nutrition and other key topics.
Concluding remarks from last session of the Open Working Group are available online. For the latest updates on the OWG meetings, follow @UN_DSD on Twitter.
If you did not have access to a toilet or proper sanitation, what would you go and how would this impact your daily routine? Billions of people face this challenge everyday and this harsh reality carries negative consequences for a person’s health and their ability lift themselves out of poverty. To bring the sanitation issue to the world’s attention, the UN adopted a resolution marking 19 November as World Toilet Day. Toilets can help save lives!
Quick links to sustainable development in action
- West Africa has become the latest region to drive efforts to promote energy efficiency by lighting up a low carbon future.
- With UNDP’s support, Colombia converted its entire domestic refrigeration industry to ozone-friendly technology. Learn more.
- Bangladesh has stepped up its efforts to bring down neonatal and child mortality to 20 per 1,000 live births by 2035 along with 23 other countries of the world, UNICEF reports.
- NYSE and Euronext join the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative. The goal is to encourage responsible long-term approaches to investment.