DESA News Vol. 13, No. 05 May 2009

Global dialogue on development

Spotlight on Africa, agriculture

17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development gets underway in New York from 4-15 May with a focus on land and rural development

This year, as the policy session of the third implementation cycle, the Commission will continue on thematic issues of Africa, agriculture, drought & desertification, land and rural development and consider policy options and practical measures to expedite their implementation.

This session will also review progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, as well as providing policy guidance to follow up the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation at all levels.

Prior to CSD-17, an Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting took place from 23-27 February, resulting in a Chairman’s draft negotiating document for transmittal to CSD-17, containing policy responses to some of the main issues underpinning this crisis, including agricultural productivity, land management, rural development, desertification and drought. The session will aim to adopt the Chairman’s negotiating document.

Two parallel plenary sessions will be held during both weeks, with one working group focusing on agriculture, rural development, inter-linkages, cross-cutting issues and means of implementation, and the other one on land, drought, desertification and Africa. The sessions will also include expert panels, regional and thematic discussions.

The high-level segment from 13-15 May will hold an informal tripartite dialogue with the heads of UN agencies and heads of executive boards / governing councils of UN organizations and will also promote ministerial interactive dialogues with Major Groups.

In addition, the popular partnerships fair and learning centre will return for another year. The partnership fair with 9 events and 13 information desks will include interactive discussions as well as presentations and information desks. The learning centre will continue to offer a wide selection of courses related to the current Commission themes. 14 courses have been scheduled covering such issues as climate ethics, Africa’s ecological footprint, the role of biofuels in sustainable rural development and donor cooperation in support of Africa enterprises.

More than 1,000 representatives from over 100 major group organizations have registered for the session, and the high-level segment is expected to be attended by a large number of ministers. There are 72 requests for side events sponsored by governments, United Nations agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

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Resumed organizational session of ECOSOC

The Economic and Social Council will hold its resumed 2009 organizational session from 18-19 May to fill vacancies in the membership of its subsidiary bodies, including the Statistical Commission, the Commission on Population and Development, Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Sustainable Development. The agenda for the elections is available in document E/2009/2/Add.1 and corr.1.

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Moving indigenous issues forward

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will convene its eighth session from 18-29 May to discuss women’s issues, human rights and indigenous peoples of the Arctic

This year’s session will start off with a follow-up to the recommendations of the Forum. The first item on the agenda will be the economic and social development of indigenous people and will include a discussion of the report on extractive industries, indigenous peoples’ rights and corporate responsibility. It will also focus on a special rapporteurs’ report on indigenous peoples and corporations.

The session will continue with a review of recommendations and their implementation regarding indigenous women, including the situation of indigenous women living in urban areas. It will continue with a review of the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.

The forum will also address the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular article 42 of the Declaration which was discussed at an International Expert Group Meeting earlier this year. The report of that EGM will be presented and followed by a dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people.

A half-day discussion on the Arctic will be followed by a comprehensive dialogue with six UN agencies and funds: Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and DESA.

The second week continues with the comprehensive dialogue with UN agencies and funds, followed by a discussion on the future work of the Permanent Forum, including items of the Economic and Social Council and emerging issues as well as special rapporteur’s reports on climate change and land tenure.

During the two weeks of the eighth session, over 60 side events are organized by governments, United Nations agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, directly related to the goals of the Permanent Forum and the special themes of this year’s session.

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High demand for consultative status

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), a standing committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), will hold its 2009 resumed session in New York from 18-27 May. The 19-member committee, mandated with the responsibility to monitor the evolving relationship between NGOs and the United Nations, will examine 61 new applications from NGOs seeking consultative status with ECOSOC and 109 submissions of quadrennial reports. To prepare for the session, the Committee will hold informal consultations from 4-5 May. For more information:

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