Highlights Vol 22, No. 12 - December 2018

UN DESA shows commitment to climate action at COP24

From blistering heatwaves and high-intensity natural disasters to melting sea ice and biodiversity loss, the impacts of global warming are more visible than ever. The recent “Global Warming of 1.5°C” report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms the need to strongly commit to the Paris Agreement’s aims of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and, even better, limiting warming to 1.5°C. It is clear: All stakeholders must raise their ambition, take urgent action and make unprecedented transitions now to achieve a carbon-neutral world by mid-century.

To this end, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs is stepping up its presence at the annual UN Climate Change Conference, to be held from 2 to 14 December in Katowice, Poland. The event, officially the 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), will bring together more than 20,000 experts over the two weeks.

UN DESA will co-host the SDG Pavilion in the exposition hall with the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), a non-governmental organization based in China. The SDG Pavilion will bring together stakeholders from governments, the UN system, the private sector, civil society and academia around the world for substantive discussions on the interlinkages between climate change and all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“We must promote synergies between the SDGs and climate change to advance win-win solutions,” said UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin.

Such solutions to the climate challenge will be highlighted at the SDG Pavilion, where the department’s Division for Sustainable Development Goals is coordinating with GEIDCO a robust 11-day programme of interactive dialogues, presentations and special events.

The Pavilion will offer opportunities for experts gathered in Poland to share experiences and ideas on how best to leverage policies, programmes, implementation mechanisms, multistakeholder action and partnerships to advance both the SDGs and climate action in ways that benefit all. A diversity of implementation experiences and perspectives will be explored on a wide range of issues including energy, water, ocean, forest, food, gender, jobs, health, technology and innovation.

Climate change is a major priority for Secretary-General António Guterres and UN DESA Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, both of whom will attend COP24 during the high-level period that kicks off the conference.

Peter Thomson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, will also be at COP24 to promote the ways that ocean conservation can be a solution to climate change, since the ocean produces half the world’s oxygen and absorbs 30 percent of carbon dioxide produced by humans each year.

Additionally, UN DESA’s UN Forum on Forests Secretariat will look to promote the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2030, a global effort towards halting deforestation, forest degradation and expanding the world’s forests, which serve as an important carbon sequestration mechanism. Poland, which holds the presidency of COP24, considers forests a priority issue and an integral part of implementing the Paris Agreement and achieving climate neutrality. A Ministerial Declaration on Forests for Climate is expected to be one of three such declarations to be adopted in Katowice.

For more information:

UN Climate Change Conference (COP24)


First report on persons with disabilities and the SDGs

“Societies will never achieve the SDGs without the full participation of everyone, including people with disabilities. We cannot afford to ignore or marginalize the contributions of 1.5 billion people,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres earlier this year. Yet, in many countries, essential services for persons with disabilities are unavailable, or of poor quality. Data also show that poverty rates are on average 15 percentage points higher for persons with disabilities. These new numbers – connecting persons with disabilities with the 17 sustainable development goals – will be released by UN DESA in the first report of its kind, “Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities,” to be launched on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2018. 

One billion people, or 15 per cent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. Many of them are still facing exclusions in today’s society: lack of accessibility in physical and virtual environments, negative attitudes, stigma and discrimination, lack of access to energy, access to assistive technology and rehabilitation and lack of measures to promote independent living.

This situation is also corroborated by the findings of the new publication, which demonstrates that persons with disabilities are at a disadvantage regarding most SDGs. For instance, in addition to poverty rates being higher, persons with disabilities face drawbacks in many aspects of their daily lives – when it comes to job opportunities, wages, accessibility to the workplace, to businesses and public spaces and institutions, as well as access to sanitation facilities and new technologies.

If the international community wants to keep its promise of leaving no one behind in its pursuit of realizing the SDGs, these goals have to be realized for everyone – with or without disabilities – also in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which was adopted in 2007 and which has so far been ratified by 177 States. Concrete actions are also needed to make the situation of persons with disabilities visible in policymaking.

Moreover, we need to recognize the potential of persons with disabilities as contributors to society and to enhance current efforts to mainstream their needs, rights and perspectives into the process of achieving the goals at all levels.

Highlighting many good practices and policy trends, the publication provides an overview of the progress towards the SDGs and the implementation of the CRPD. It also provides specific recommendations to advance inclusive development for all. The new publication will be launched during the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December at UN Headquarters in New York.

For more information:

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December) 


Follow Us