Get involved Vol 23, No. 12 - December 2019

UN turns 75 in 2020: Get ready to join the biggest-ever global conversation!

What are three things that can save the world? Why does global cooperation matter? As the UN will commemorate a milestone birthday next year, this soon-to-be 75-year-old wants to hear from YOU! What are your views on how to tackle the big challenges of our time? Start making plans to join next year’s conversation and be part of shaping our future together!

As 2019 is nearing its end, preparations are in full swing for 2020, when the United Nations turns 75. To mark this landmark occasion, the organization will kick off the biggest-ever global dialogue on the role of global cooperation in building the future we want.

“We need your opinions, your strategies, your ideas for us to be able to deliver better for the people of the world that we must serve,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said as the UN75 initiative pre-launched earlier in the fall.

Starting in January 2020, the United Nations will hold dialogues around the world and across borders, sectors and generations. The aim is to is reach the global public with a special focus on youth and those whose voices are too often marginalized or not heard in global affairs; to listen to their hopes and fears; and to learn from their experiences.

Not only does the initiative strive to spark dialogue and action on how we can build a better world despite the many challenges we face, but it also seeks to create a global vision for the year 2045, when the United Nations will celebrate its centenary.

The views and ideas captured from around the globe will be shared online and they will moreover be presented to world leaders and senior UN officials at a high-profile event during the 75th Session of the General Assembly in September 2020.

Be sure not to miss this opportunity to add your voice to this global dialogue! Find information on how to join the conversation on the UN75 website. To follow the conversation via social media, follow @JoinUN75 and the hashtag #UN75.

Know of an innovative public service institution? Nominate it now to the 2020 United Nations Public Service Awards!

We often take public services for granted. These services in public transportation, health care, education, social and emergency services are critical for a well-functioning society and they are primarily provided by public institutions. Most of the time, we are not aware of these important services, especially if they are effective, efficient and responsive. 

Although these services are essential, many public institutions are operating at their full capacity with limited resources while meeting growing public needs and expectations. The United Nations Pubic Service Awards (UNPSA) recognizes the importance of public service delivery and highlights resilience and out-of-the-box thinking in the public sector.

Since its launch in 2003, the programme has showcased innovative practices at local, regional and national levels around the world which improved the lives of people through enhanced service delivery, fostering participation and promoting accountable institutions.

The time has come to nominate potential honorees for 2020. This time, the awards will focus on the achievements and contributions of public service in five categories:

  • Delivering inclusive and equitable services for all;
  • Promoting integrated mechanisms for sustainable development;
  • Developing transparent and accountable public institutions;
  • Promoting digital transformation in public-sector institutions; and
  • Promoting gender responsive public services to achieve the SDGs.

Do you know of any innovative public service institution that works within these areas? Then don’t miss the opportunity to nominate them! The 2020 Awards is now open for nominations [here] until 27 November 2019. The submission rules and guidelines are available here in all six official languages.

The winners will be recognized and awarded during the week of 23 June 2020, in connection with the celebration of the United Nations Public Service Day.

Curious to know which institutions have been awarded this prestigious prize in the past? Look no further! All UNPSA initiatives are featured on the Innovation Hub. The Hub allows users to explore innovations trends in specific SDGs and in relations to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Poverty is the denial of children’s rights

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As we celebrate three decades of this landmark human rights treaty, our attention turns to the millions of children worldwide who are still denied their right to a standard of living adequate for their physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

Poverty hurts children’s development, leading to lower income and health levels in adulthood. We should recognize child poverty for what it is – a denial of children’s human rights and a violation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The specific discriminations experienced by the girl child should be top priority in remedying this situation.

To show solidarity with children and young people living in poverty, the United Nations will hold the 2019 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at UN Headquarters in New York on 17 October. The 2019 theme is “Acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty.”

 

Join the #EndPoverty global campaign

If you believe that every child has a right to grow up free from extreme poverty – join us! You can add your voice to the growing global cry to end extreme poverty once and for all.

Get social: Follow @UNDESA and @UNDESASocial and use #EndPoverty to join the conversation and to help us promote the global call to action to overcome poverty.

Organize an event: The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is happening worldwide. Join an event near you or organize one in your community.

For more information:

2019 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

10 everyday actions you can take to ActNow on climate change!

Did you know that a chatbot is spurring individual action on climate change around the world?

As part of the United Nation’s global call to individual action on climate change, the ActNow climate action chatbot recommends everyday actions to help you make more sustainable choices – like traveling more sustainably, saving energy or eating less meat.

Choose your actions and the bot highlights the environmental impact of each industry using official facts and figures along with photos and videos. Did you know that producing a single beef burger requires an average of 1,695 liters of water, almost twice what a person drinks in a whole year? Each time you take one of the ten suggested actions, log it in the bot!

By logging your actions, you can join the global movement for change – and send a powerful message to leaders in government and business! In the lead up to the Climate Action Summit on 23 September, the ActNow bot adds up all the actions completed worldwide – 170,000 actions have been registered on the bot so far.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you log your actions:

  • Visit www.un.org/actnow. On mobile, the chatbot will open in full screen. On desktop, the chatbot will open in the bottom right corner of your screen.
  • The chatbot first introduces the campaign. Once you are done reading, choose an action you would like to commit to and click ‘Act Now’. Next, the bot gives you some statistics related to the action you’ve chosen.
  • Click ‘log completed actions’, then click the icon for the action you have taken and watch the counter go up.
  • Increase your impact by committing to more actions. To keep track of your progress, sign up by clicking the menu icon in the bottom left corner of the chatbot.

Calling all international actors to register an SDG Acceleration Action!

In addition to the ActNow bot, international actors can also raise their ambition for the global goals by submitting an SDG Acceleration Action. The call goes out to anyone who can back up their words with action on the ground. UN DESA is collecting these actions in a new registry ahead of September’s SDG Summit, which aims to boost international commitments towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

For more information:

ActNow

SDG Acceleration Actions

Raise your ambition, register your SDG Acceleration Action

Is your government planning new initiatives that will impact implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals? Can your business commit to going carbon-neutral by 2025? Will your organization pledge to achieve gender parity in the workplace? Can future generations count on your city to invest more money in sustainable infrastructure?

The world needs every stakeholder to raise their hands to raise their ambition for the SDGs. UN DESA is collecting these actions in a new SDG Acceleration Action registry ahead of September’s SDG Summit, which aims to ramp up international commitments to the 2030 Agenda.

Anyone can submit an SDG Acceleration Action—a national, regional or local government, business, civil society organization, a philanthropic foundation, a university, school or community group—as long as you back up your words with action on the ground.

The inclusive, searchable platform provides a space for all stakeholders to register commitments that, among other things, can reflect a new policy or programme, new investments or an increase in support for specific SDGs and/or groups. They could build on existing efforts, for instance, scaling up a successful initiative or pushing it into a new growth phase, and include the means of implementation such as finance, technology or capacity-building.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Come up with a way to accelerate one or several SDGs and make a plan to implement it.
  2. Visit the SDG Acceleration Action website.
  3. Fill out the online form with as much detail as possible.
  4. Submit your entry.
  5. Keep monitoring the SDG Summit website for updates on the SDG Acceleration Actions. UN DESA will be reviewing all submissions and publishing them in the lead up to the Summit.
  6. Change the world!

Overall, SDG Acceleration Actions should facilitate and accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, reflecting the interlinkages between goals.

For more information, or to register your SDG Acceleration Action, visit: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgsummit#acceleration-actions

Can’t come to the HLPF? Join it through the SDG Media Zone!

Every July, a very special event takes place at the UN Headquarters in New York. The annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is where hundreds of policymakers, youth activists, NGO representatives and scientists come together to review our common progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thanks to modern technology, you do not need to be here in person to join in on the action.

From 9 to 10 July, you will be able to tune in and join the conversation at the SDG Media Zone, which will host government, civil society and private sector leaders as well as experts, celebrities and other change-makers committed to the global good. It will feature live programming, interactive exhibits and interview opportunities.

The space will showcase major UN initiatives that inspire people to do their part to care for the planet such as the award-winning UN Act Now climate action campaign that recommends everyday actions to reduce our carbon footprints – like traveling more sustainably, saving energy or eating less meat. Others include the World Health Organization’s Walk the Talk movement which encourages people to make healthy life choices and celebrate the importance of moving for health.

It will host experts and initiatives from partners such as Sony Picture Entertainment, National Geographic, the New York City Mayor’s Office and the Global Compact’s community of responsible businesses, as well as performances by choir singers, spoken word poets and storytellers.

Where to watch it?

It’s all right here: https://www.un.org/sdgmediazone/

You can also catch it on webtv.un.org

When to tune in?

Live programming, including panel discussions, interviews, Ted-style Talks and presentations will take place between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. EDT

How to get involved?

Join the conversation and help us spread the word by posting your comments, questions, feedback and contributions using the hashtag #SDGLive!

It’s time to #SaveOurOcean – take #OceanAction now!

Never before has it been so easy to follow the world’s progress toward protecting our ocean and sustainably managing its vital resources. Ahead of World Oceans Day on 8 June, UN DESA has re-launched its oceanconference.un.org website for all news and information related to Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. On this site, you can also register your commitment or join the communities of ocean action. The time is now to #SaveOurOcean! 

The dynamic new website, launched at the UN DESA-led meeting of the Communities of Ocean Action (COAs) in Incheon, Republic of Korea, in May, will highlight the work of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean and the global partnerships and initiatives actively working to restore the health of our seas. Special attention will be paid to the COAs, which are the multi-stakeholder working groups aligned with the targets of SDG 14 launched to follow up on the 1,400 voluntary commitments to save our ocean registered during the 2017 UN Ocean Conference.

Furthermore, the site will host all of the information for the next UN Ocean Conference, which the UN General Assembly will hold in Lisbon, Portugal, from 2 to 6 June 2020, co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal, under the theme “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stock-taking, partnerships and solutions.”

Ensuring that our marine and coastal ecosystems are healthy and continue to provide the food, jobs, natural disaster protection and climate mitigation on which we depend requires efforts from governments, international organizations, businesses, civil society—and individuals. Join the UN and other groups in protecting our ocean in these ways:

  • Reduce the amount of single-serve plastics you use. Find 10 easy tips from Global Citizen on how to do this.
  • Beautify your local waterways by collecting trash along your coastline or river, or at a park.
  • Join an ocean-related event or register your own on the UN’s World Oceans Day portal – unworldoceansday.org.
  • Take the pledge and join the #CleanSeas movement here.
  • Bookmark UN DESA’s new ocean action website and stay tuned for details on the 2020 UN Ocean Conference.

Want to amplify the voices of civil society at the UN? Apply for ECOSOC consultative status!

The world is facing a number of pressing global challenges that need our urgent attention and action – from poverty, hunger, rising inequalities to the serious threat of climate change. No country nor organization can take on these immense tasks alone – we need all hands on deck. Is your NGO interested in getting involved in addressing the many demands of our time and to have a stake in UN deliberations? Then apply for ECOSOC consultative status! Deadline is 1 June 2019.

Ever since its inception in 1945, the United Nations has been actively engaged with NGOs and has recognized the importance of partnering with them to advance the organization’s ideals and help support its work. In 1946, only 41 NGOs were granted consultative status by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). But this number has grown and today, 5161 NGOs enjoy this status with the Council. These organizations are represented all over the world and work in many different areas including with education, health, poverty eradication, human rights, gender equality and indigenous issues.

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, NGOs also play an important role as partners on the ground, helping the international community deliver this ground-breaking agenda. This fact was also recognized by UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin at a recent Civil Society Forum when he reiterated UN DESA’s “commitment to a genuine partnership with civil society in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”.

“No one has all the answers, but one thing we do know is the importance of partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders. Governments, civil society, academia, and the private sector need to work together to promote sustainable development,” Mr. Liu said.

Consultative Status is a formal relationship between non-governmental organizations and the United Nations to allow NGOs to participate in the work of the UN. ECOSOC is the only main entry point into the UN system for NGOs with a formal framework for NGO participation.

So, what are the benefits for NGOs having this status? NGOs that are accredited with ECOSOC can participate in many events, including, but not limited to, regular sessions of ECOSOC, its functional commissions and its other subsidiary bodies. They may:

  • Attend official meetings;
  • Submit written statements prior to sessions;
  • Make oral statements;
  • Meet official government delegations, UN officers and other NGO representatives;
  • Organize and attend parallel events that take place during the session;
  • Participate in debates, interactive dialogues and panel discussions.

The NGO Branch of UN DESA is inviting all interested NGOs that are willing to work in close collaboration with ECOSOC, to apply for consultative status. 1 June 2019 is the deadline to submit applications that will be reviewed during the following year. Read more about how to apply here .

The NGO Branch is also inviting interested NGOs to join an online webinar meeting about the application process on 3 May 2019 from 11 am to 12:30 pm EDT. Register here for this session.

For more information:

Apply for ECOSOC consultative status now in order to be considered by the 2020 NGO Committee
How to apply for ECOSOC consultative status
Webinar and information session on application process on 3 May 2019 (in English)

Be part of something greater than the sum of its parts

Partnership is more than simple cooperation towards a common goal. Partnership is about building shared values and capitalizing on comparative strengths and sharing risks to achieve goals that would be impossible to accomplish alone. Every year, the ECOSOC Partnership Forum provides an opportunity to interact with the world’s most influential thinkers and actors. The Forum engages high-profile representatives from governments and non-state actors for dynamic discussions on how to define and promote effective partnerships and how partnerships can best advance the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2019 ECOSOC Partnership Forum, to be held at United Nation Headquarters in New York on 11 April, will focus on the theme “Partnerships driving the inclusive implementation of the SDGs.” It will explore how inclusive national partnership platforms can effectively drive the implementation of the SDGs and address existing gaps.

The Forum will also feature innovative examples of partnerships for the SDGs and discuss how to raise the ambition for UN-associated partnerships to make them more effective, accountable and based on results.

Additionally, UN DESA is coordinating a half-day Expert Group Meeting on 12 April to consider the gaps, challenges and good practices learned specifically in regard to implementing SDG 17, which is specifically about partnerships. The output of this multi-stakeholder meeting will inform discussions at the High-level Political Forum in July.

You too can join the global community of action for the SDGs! If you are already working in partnership for the Goals, register it now on UN DESA’s online platform of multi-stakeholder partnerships and start sharing your experiences and progress with the world. Some examples of partnerships from the platform will be highlighted during the Partnership Forum.

If you are still searching for partners, browse the platform’s more than 4,000 partnerships and voluntary commitments to find a cause that you and your organization can get behind. Register now to connect with a community of over 14,000 users and join a vast, vibrant ecosystem of SDG action. Acting together, we can make the future we want a reality.

Step it up for planet 50/50

Despite progress, inequalities still prevail between women and men. Women are often paid less salary for the same job performed, hold fewer high-ranking positions in the workforce, and are less represented in parliaments around the world. And as girls grow up, they might face the grim reality of becoming child brides, and later, victims of domestic violence. If we want to achieve the global goals, we need to achieve gender equality. A planet 50/50, where boys and girls enjoy equal rights and opportunities in life. And there are many ways to make a difference!

UN Women offer many such ways to step it up for gender equality and women’s empowerment around the globe. To make a difference, join one of their current campaigns or professional networks.

Join a campaign! There are several campaigns that you can lend your support or voice to:

HeForShe – Running since 2014 with support from hundreds of thousands of men from around the world, this global and action-oriented movement invites men and women alike to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality. So far, 1.7 million people have committed to gender equality through this movement. Make your commitment here.

UNiTE to End Violence against Women – Around the globe today, 1 in 5 women and girls aged 15-49, have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. Yet, 49 countries in the world lack laws to protect them from domestic violence. Take a stand and UNiTE to make sure we prevent and end all forms of violence against women and girls in all corners of the world.

Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality – This campaign strives towards a world where women and girls enjoy equal rights and opportunities. It asks governments to make national commitments to address the challenges that are holding women and girls back from reaching their full potential. So far, 93 countries have stepped it up for gender equality. Is your country among them? Find out here. If not, advocate for your country to step it up and make a commitment!

Join a professional network! Whether you would like to boost women’s economic empowerment, or help advance their representation in politics, there are networks you can join to make this happen:

Empower Women – Is a global movement for women’s economic empowerment. It engages gender equality advocates and empowers women to achieve their full economic potential in more than 190 countries. This network equips both women and men with resources, opportunities and a global platform to become change-makers and leaders in their communities.

iKNOW Politics – This is an online workspace to help elected officials, candidates, political party leaders and members, researchers, students and other practitioners interested in advancing women in politics. Its goal is to increase the participation and effectiveness of women in political life.

Follow events at UN Headquarters in New York this month: International Women’s Day (8 March) and the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (11-22 March). Both events will be streamed live via UN Web TV. To engage via social media, use the hashtags #WomensDay and #CSW63.

Photo: UN Women

Take action for a more equal world!

From UN DESA’s World Economic Situation and Prospects report to the World Economic Forum in Davos, growing inequalities have been the focus of numerous high-level events and discussions. But as renowned economists and Heads of States battle it out on debate podiums, is there anything that you can do to reduce the inequalities between people?

International fora are attaching increasing attention to inequality, as governments and leaders increasingly realize that inequality is a significant barrier to eradicating poverty, maintaining global economic growth and achieving sustainable development for all. That is why reducing inequalities is a central concept in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, expressed in Sustainable Development Goal 10, but also in the principle of leaving no one behind.

This February, UN Member states and agencies, civil society organization, private sector representatives and experts from all over the world will gather in New York for the UN Commission for Social Development. The Commission will discuss ways of addressing inequalities and improving social inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies.

The Commission will examine social protection policies that have proved to be effective at the national level, in a coherent and integrated way.

You too can get involved and have your say to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected and not left behind. On 15 February 2019, the Commission will hold a Civil Society Forum at the UN Headquarters in New York. Non-governmental organizations have long been a powerful voice in the debate on inequalities and this will be their chance to advocate for social protection for all. See how your organization can participate here: https://ngosocdev.org/

Stand up for inclusion! Join the Civil Society Forum, follow the Commission through the live webcast (webtv.un.org) and join the discussion on social media, using #CSocD57.

For more information: 57th Session of the Commission for Social Development 

Are you an SDG changemaker? Share your good practices!

Three years into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, governments, UN entities, civil society organizations and companies around the world are taking unprecedented steps to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build a better world for all. To achieve the 17 global goals by 2030, we need even more action, faster.

To help stakeholders working toward the SDGs, UN DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) has launched a call for submissions of good practices, success stories and lessons learned in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Submissions to the SDG Good Practices platform will be analyzed by a dedicated inter-agency team coordinated by UN DESA, and the results will be made available online for easy access and broad dissemination. Where applicable, the submissions can serve as inputs to thematic preparations for the 2019 sessions of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The SDG Good Practices platform seeks to answer the questions:

  • Where do we stand?
  • Are we on track?
  • What are the inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that are showing results and impacts?
  • What are the good practices that can be replicated and scaled up?
  • What are the gaps and constraints and how should we address them?
  • Looking ahead, what steps should we take to accelerate progress?

An event will be organized in the lead-up to the SDG Summit in September 2019 to showcase a selection of the success stories and to present the main findings of the evidence-based stock-taking. We hope that the submission, collection, analysis and dissemination of good practices, success stories and lessons learned will help galvanize the momentum for implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Now, though, we need your input to make this analysis meaningful! Submissions can be made now through 28 February 2019 through DSDG’s web-based portal. All are encouraged to follow the template to the extent possible. Please find more information in all of the six UN languages here. Have a question? Please email DSDG@un.org.

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