DESA News Vol. 13, No. 06 June 2009

Global dialogue on development

Climate change talks to continue in Bonn

Sessions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) subsidiary bodies and ad hoc working groups will take place from 1-12 June in Bonn

At its 13th session, the Conference of the Parties (COP), by the Bali Action Plan , launched a comprehensive process to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action, up to and beyond 2012.

The COP decided that the process shall be conducted under a subsidiary body of the Convention, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) that shall complete its work in 2009 and present the outcome to the COP for adoption at Cop 15 in Copenhagen in December 2009.

The Chair of the AWG-LCA has prepared a negotiating text to facilitate the negotiations among Parties on 19 May. The text builds upon ideas and proposals submitted by Parties, and covers the issues of a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, along with enhanced action on adaptation, mitigation and finance, technology and capacity building.

The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) was established in December 2005 by the COP to discuss future commitments for industrialized countries under the Protocol. The AWG-KP is set to complete its work by the end of 2009.

For the 8th session of the AWG-KP, the Chair of the AWG-KP has prepared two key documents to intensify negotiations on further emission reduction commitments. One document focuses on amendments to the Kyoto Protocol relating to emission reduction commitments of industrialized countries for the second phase of the Protocol (post-2012), while a second document covers other related issues, including emissions trading and the project-based mechanisms, land use, land-use change and forestry.

3,000 participants are expected at the gathering, including government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions. In addition to the negotiations, more than one hundred side events will be held.

The UNFCCC will give an opening press conference on Monday, 1 June and a closing press conference at the conclusion of the meeting on Friday, 12 April. Parties and non-governmental organizations will also give press briefings throughout the meeting.

For more information: http://unfccc.int/meetings/sb30/items/4842.php


World leaders reaching for solutions to the global financial crisis

Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development from 24-26 June in New York to identify emergency and long-term responses

In 2009, for the first time in history, global economic growth has entered negative territory. Credit flows have dried up and major investment firms and lending institutions have been wiped off the map. Jobs are disappearing by more than a million a month, according to the International Labour Organization, and trade has dropped at the steepest rate since the Great Depression, the World Trade Organization observed.

Recent assessments of the impact of the ongoing economic crisis increasingly highlight the deteriorating social and political fallout in the least developed countries and middle-income countries as well. Prospects for an early recovery have faded, forcing countries to prepare for a prolonged downturn in trade, investment and employment.

The United Nations is convening a three-day summit of world leaders from 24-26 June 2009 at its New York Headquarters to assess the worst global financial and economic crisis, with the aim to identify emergency and long-term responses to mitigate the impact of the crisis, especially on vulnerable populations, and initiate a needed dialogue on the transformation of the international financial architecture, taking into account the needs and concerns of all Member States. The UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development was mandated at the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development (December 2008, Doha, Qatar), and will certainly provide a uniquely inclusive forum to address issues of urgent concern to all nations.

The conference will consist of plenary sessions and four interactive roundtable exchanges with world leaders and representatives of the United Nations system, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as civil society organizations and the private sector. The summit will produce an outcome document, a draft of which is expected to be available in the first weeks of June.

The four roundtables on examining and overcoming the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development will address the impact on the crisis on employment, trade, investment and development, including the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals and the Millennium Development Goals. It will also discuss actions and appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis on development and consider the role of the United Nations and its Member States in the ongoing international discussions on reforming and strengthening the international financial and economic system and architecture. The roundtable will also include contributions of the United Nations development system in response to the crisis.

For more information on the conference on the crisis: http://www.un.org/ga/econcrisissummit/

For more information on DESA’s Financial and Economic Crisis Website: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/financialcrisis/


Innovative CSD session ends with success

17th CSD Session from 4-15 May concluded with a shared vision as the way forward where a green economy, a green revolution, and a green stimulus could help the world out of current crises

With the number of hungry people approaching 1 billion world-wide and the impacts of climate change at hand, the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has adopted an agenda to accelerate the implementation of the policy actions it negotiated on the issues of agriculture, drought, desertification, land use, rural development and sustainable development in Africa.

Over 1000 participants attended the 17th CSD Session held from 4 – 15 May, which featured high-level dialogues with the Major Groups as well as with a group of representatives from the Policy Research Community. The Commission also held three round-tables to foster interactive ministerial-level dialogue on the global food crisis, integrated land and water management and an African green revolution.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Ms. Gerda Verburg, Netherlands’ Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and CSD 17 Chairperson, presented the outcome of the three round-tables, entitled the Shared Vision, in which Governments, Major Groups, and UN bodies shared their vision of agriculture and rural development’s central contribution to sustainable development, including through the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty and the protection of rural ecosystems.

The Vision provided a way forward where a green economy, a green revolution, and a green stimulus, with significant investments in agriculture, could help the world out of the current food, financial and climate crises. “Sustainable farms, food, feed, fuel, funds – all are needed to put us on a sustainable path to the future. But the most important ingredients in the recipe are farmers, especially women farmers, and rural communities whose empowerment is the key to poverty eradication and to sustainable development,” it reads.

The Commission also adopted a series of Policy Options and Practical Measures to guide agricultural development along with measures addressing drought, desertification, land use, rural development and sustainable development in Africa.

At the opening of the High-Level Session, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon emphasized that sustainable development was a way to escape the cycle of poverty, degradation and despair. “This idea of an integrated and comprehensive approach to development remains as valid today as ever. It shows how to address the climate crisis, the food crisis and the energy crisis. It contains durable solutions to the financial crisis and the global recession”, he said.

Policy debates on such topics as agricultural trade reform, GMOs and biofuels ran concurrently not only with the negotiations being undertaken by Member States, but also with a Partnerships Fair, a Learning Centre offering short-courses on a range of practical topics, and numerous Side Events showcasing sustainable development initiatives from around the world.

The events, open to UN staff and CSD participants, brought together diverse stakeholders in the sustainable development process.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/csd/csd_csd17.shtml


Forum on Forests calls for more cooperation

The 8th session of the UN Forum on Forest from 20 April-1 May in New York, focused on financing for forests, emerging issues, biodiversity, desertification and climate change

At the biennial meeting of the UN Forum on Forests, all 192 Member States of the UN met to consider ways to improve global management of forests at a time when climate change and numerous environmental and economic crises continue to pose severe risks to healthy forests. In total, over 650 participants from Member States, IGOs and civil society participated in the session.

While development of climate change-related financing mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) have captured considerable attention and resources, Ms. Jan McAlpine, Director, United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, pointed out that these mechanisms are unlikely to address the full scope of sustainable forest management. For this reason, she said, improving coordination and cooperation is essential to advance a mutually supportive agenda for climate change and sustainable forest management.

The UNFF8 resolution called for strengthened unprecedented levels of coordination and enhanced cooperation, to ensure that sustainable forest management strategies are brought into relevant programmes and processes such as those on climate change, biodiversity and water resources management.

Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, emphasized that sustainable management of the world’s forests is a critical factor in developing integrated solutions to the numerous global crises currently being faced - financial, economic, environmental and social. “Forests need resources now,” Mr. Sha said, “and investing in forests will generate dividends of sustainable, inclusive and green growth for decades to come.”

Countries also engaged in lengthy negotiations on how to address financing for sustainable forest management, but agreement could not be reached, and the draft text was forwarded for consideration by the next session of the Forum in January 2011.

The ninth session of the Forum (24 January – 4 February 2011) will focus on “Forests for people, livelihoods and poverty eradication”, which includes issues of community based forest management, social development and indigenous and other local and forest-dependent communities.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/session.html