More from UNDESA Vol 23, No. 02 - February 2019

Recognizing the role of migration in achieving the global goals

Today, 258 million people are international migrants, living outside their country of birth. They make important contributions to both their host and home countries. For example, in 2017 alone, they sent an estimated $466 billion in remittances to low- and middle-income countries. International migration makes a critical contribution to sustainable development by raising the productivity of migrant workers and thus increasing the global economic output. In many situations, it also helps to narrow inequalities, reduce vulnerabilities and alleviate the demographic impact of population ageing.

On the heels of the recent intergovernmental conference in Marrakech last December, the Population Division of UN DESA will convene researchers and other experts for a one-day symposium on 26 February 2019, to review evidence on interrelations between international migration and development.

Taking place at UN Headquarters in New York, the symposium is being organized in lieu of the annual coordination meeting on international migration, in close coordination with the Office of the President of the General Assembly, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Network on Migration.

The symposium will highlight opportunities for addressing issues related to migration and development during the high-level political forum on sustainable development taking place in July and September 2019, as well as ways and means of improving the collection and use of migration data in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. It will also promote the sharing of information on recent initiatives on international migration and development.

By bringing together experts on international migration from the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations, national governments, civil society, academia and the private sector, the expert symposium will offer an opportunity to advance the global discussion and to share practical information about ongoing and anticipated activities on migration and related topics. The event also aims at exploring ways to strengthen the evidence base on international migration, which is crucial for developing and implementing sound policies, dispelling myths and countering xenophobia.

The expert symposium will contribute to the High-Level Debate on International Migration and Development to be convened by the President of the General Assembly on Wednesday, 27 February 2019, which will focus on the role of migration in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be reviewed by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2019. On 28 February 2019, IOM will hold this year’s first session of the International Dialogue on Migration under the theme “Youth and migration: Engaging youth as key partners in migration governance”, bringing the voices of young migrants and agents of change into the global debate on migration.

Photo courtesy of IOM

For more information: Expert Symposium on International Migration and Development

Hooked on carbon – how can we break the habit?

UN DESA’s latest World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report could not be any clearer: the global transition to cleaner energy is not happening fast enough.

After three years of remaining flat, energy-related carbon emissions picked up again in 2017, reaching a new historic high, and preliminary evidence suggests that this worrisome record will be crushed again for 2018. This increase in emissions coincides with robust growth in global GDP – a sure sign that, despite progress on renewable energy sources, the world economy is still very much carbon-dependent.

This spells trouble not only for the climate and the environment, but for every aspect of our lives, including the global economy. The 2019 WESP report warns that climate change, which used to be a long-term economic risk, has now become a very real and direct threat to economic activity and to the livelihoods of millions of people.

According to Munich Re’s NatCatSERVICE, the number of weather-related loss events has more than tripled since the 1980s, and 2017 ranked among the top five years with most natural catastrophes. That same year, natural events caused losses estimated at a whopping $335 billion and, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, displaced 18 million people in 135 countries. Extreme weather continued in 2018, leaving more than 10,000 deaths in its wake.

Things are likely to get worse, warns the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, unless we reduce our carbon pollution by 45 per cent by 2030 and bring it down to ‘net zero’ by 2050. We can only achieve such dramatic reductions if we decouple our economic growth from carbon emissions or, in other words, if we end our economy’s addiction to fossil fuels.

One way to facilitate the required technological and economic transformation is to put a price on carbon pollution. This can be achieved through measures such as emissions taxes or emissions rights trading mechanisms. Fair and equitable carbon pricing would create an incentive for developing innovative low-carbon technologies and generate an additional source of revenue. Governments could redistribute that revenue as social transfers to ease the transition to the low-carbon economy.

Carbon pricing could also help to pay for low-emissions technology and infrastructure and incentivize natural climate solutions, such as reforestation, land-use change and other ecosystem-based approaches. These measures could accelerate efforts towards economic diversification in countries that remain highly reliant on fossil-fuel production.

To learn more about the effects of climate change and its policy challenges, read the February issue of UN DESA’s World Economic Situation and Prospects Monthly Briefing. Every month, the WESP Monthly Briefing brings you the latest and most relevant information on global economy. Stay tuned!

Follow our efforts for the SDGs in 2019!

As 2018 came full circle, we look back at yet another busy year, where pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been front and center of our efforts.

We’ve gathered young people, civil society, businesses as well as innovators from around the world to share ideas and solutions to help make the global goals a reality on the ground. At the 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the world honed in on goals 6, 7, 11, 12, 15 and 17 and 46 nations presented their efforts to realize the goals.

To tackle the global water crisis and make a difference for the 4.5 billion people who currently lack safely managed sanitation services, a decade for action was launched in connection with World Water Day.

Seeking innovative solutions to secure funding for the goals was also high on the agenda, and in addition to the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development, the Secretary-General convened the High-level Meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development during the UN High-level week.

The latest data on SDGs progress was also released during the year, showcasing where we’re making progress and where we need to step up efforts. The Second UN World Data Forum was also held, bringing together data experts to collaborate on tackling data gaps and challenges, launching new initiatives and identifying mechanisms to increase financing and support for better data for sustainable development.

Throughout the year, UN DESA has also kept a close eye on global economy trends, issuing its flagship report the World Economic Situation and Prospects, as well as monthly briefings with continuous updates. The department also took a stand for climate action at COP24.

The year concluded with the launch of the first-ever report on persons with disabilities and the SDGs, followed by the adoption of a milestone compact – the Marrakesh Compact – to ensure the safety and dignity for the 258 million international migrants in the world.

Continue following our efforts in 2019 via our website, via Twitter and Facebook. To get a snapshot of our upcoming efforts for the global goals in 2019, check out this highlight article.

Giving NGOs a voice at the UN

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) will hold its 2019 regular session from 21 to 30 January 2019. One of the Committee’s main tasks is to review applications for consultative status by NGOs and to recommend granting status to them. The final decision on the granting of status is taken by the Economic and Social Council, to which the Committee on NGOs reports.

Recognizing the crucial role of civil society in elaborating and implementing development policies, the consultative status allows non-governmental organizations to take part in a high number of UN meetings: those of the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies, such as the Commission on Social Policy and Development, the Commission on the Status of Women or the Population Commission, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the Human Rights Council and other UN processes and events opened to civil society.

At its coming session, the Committee will consider 288 new applications for consultative status and 233 applications deferred from previous sessions. It will also review the quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs, an obligation for those in status to inform on their activities and contribution to the UN’s work. The Committee meets for eight working days in January and seven additional days in May. Its increased workload over the recent years testifies to the strong interest by civil society actors to engage with the UN in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other major endeavors of the organization.

For more information: The Committee on NGOs

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