Highlights Vol 22, No. 05 - May 2018

Pursuing resilience and sustainability with innovation

Natural disasters, climate change hazards, food insecurities, water crises and public health risks – the threats facing our societies today are multiple and complex. How can new technologies and innovation play a role and increase our abilities to prevent and efficiently respond to different hazards? This topic will be in focus as Heads of State, ministers, parliamentarians, resilience specialists and inventors gather for the 2018 ECOSOC Integration Segment at UN Headquarters on 1-3 May 2018.

Under the overarching theme “Innovative communities: leveraging technology and innovation to build sustainable and resilient societies,” the annual ECOSOC event will hone in on a number of topics that have the potential of making our societies stronger, more sustainable and better prepared when disaster strikes.

ECOSOC Vice President Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov will open the event on 1 May together with UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin and Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan Kamoliddinzoda Ilyos Jamoliddin. Discussions will then kick off revolving around our quest for resilience and sustainability, moderated by New York Times journalist and the author of “The Price of Everything”, Eduardo Porter.

Empowering the furthest behind first

Following these initial discussions, the first session will aim at decoding resilience, while taking a closer look at the building blocks of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. What are some of the main risks communities currently face at the local, national and regional levels? How can the needs of countries in special situations be best addressed to reach the furthest behind first and ensure that no one is left behind?

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development […] has the potential to address all these challenges,” said ECOSOC President Marie Chatardová in a recent blog post on the transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies. “But to do so its implementation needs to progress timely and effectively. Leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first is critical, including by empowering the most marginalized groups and their families so that they can lead decent and productive lives.”

Empowering the most vulnerable groups is also critical from a resilience perspective. “Disaster fatalities are more influenced by socio-economic vulnerability, and exposure or lack of protection from the elements, than by the hazard itself,” said Robert Glasser, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction. “The good news though is that we have an opportunity like never before to avoid the creation of new disaster risk and apply the brakes to economic losses,” he said.

Role of new technologies to reduce risks and build resilience

Exchanging experiences and lessons learned in terms of the latest technology and innovations to reduce disaster risks, will be in focus for the segment’s second session. It will also explore the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Technology Facilitation Mechanism’s online platform, adopted in the 2030 Agenda, which is one of the instruments that can serve as a comprehensive mapping of and a gateway for information on existing science, technology and innovation initiatives.

One session will take a closer look at approaches that cities and countries have taken to design resilient and sustainable infrastructure, while another will zoom in on the specific challenges that Africa faces. The event will also invite Member States to take the stage during general debates.

Wrapping up, the 2018 ECOSOC Integration Segment will look ahead and explore the contribution of frontier technologies to design a resilient and sustainable future, including multi-hazard early warning systems, climate risk early warning initiatives, foresighting techniques, capacity building, partnerships, resilience investments and insurance schemes.

Photo: Zipline uses drone technology to save lives – Sarah Farhat/World Bank

For more information: 2018 ECOSOC Integration Segment

How well is development cooperation adjusting to the new demands the 2030 Agenda?

Development cooperation done right holds tremendous promise to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Effective development cooperation can help to initiate the profound policy and programme integration required by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It can facilitate inclusive partnerships across sectors and support coherence of policies affecting sustainable development.

Capacity building in areas such as domestic resource mobilization and national data infrastructure puts developing countries in the driver’s seat. It empowers them to better identify and articulate their needs in national strategies and development cooperation policies. This enables partners to better target and tailor their support.

Will this promise of development cooperation be fulfilled? The answer to this question hinges on development actors learning more, and more swiftly, on how to operate and achieve results in an increasingly complex and diverse development cooperation system. The Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) supports this action-oriented learning at global level.

The Forum’s 2018 High-level Meeting will take place on 21 and 22 May at UN Headquarters in New York. The special event will focus on “The strategic role of development cooperation in achieving the 2030 Agenda: Building sustainable and resilient societies”.

Participants will examine different ways of closing the large SDGs financing gap and keeping the commitment to leave no one behind. They will look at the role of Official Development Assistance (ODA), especially for countries with limited capacities and high vulnerability. They will also explore how ODA can serve as a powerful catalyst to engage other actors, such as the private sector and foundations, in development efforts.

Attendees will also discuss how to embrace diversity, for instance by building more broad-based and structured South-South and triangular cooperation; and strengthening engagement of various stakeholders, including civil society, parliamentarians, mayors and local authorities. They will explore how to facilitate more systematic knowledge exchange and how to manage diversity and build synergies, while avoiding fragmentation and duplication of efforts.

The 2018 DCF will draw upon expert meetings and events, such as the 2017 DCF High Level Symposium in Argentina on “South-South and triangular cooperation for achieving the 2030 Agenda: Building innovative and inclusive partnerships”. It will also build on analytical work, including the 2018 report of the Secretary General on Trends in Development Cooperation and the 2018 Mutual Accountability Survey.

The Forum provides concrete guidance on development cooperation for policy makers and practitioners at all levels. It is open to all Member States of the United Nations and observers, members of parliament, local governments, UN entities, international organizations, civil society organizations, foundations, academia and the private sector.

For more information:

6th Biennial High-level Meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF)

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