Volume 15, No.10 - October 2011

Global dialogue on development

People-empowerment for peace, job creation and energy efficiency

A wide range of issues are to be addressed by the Economic and Financial Committee of the General Assembly, also known as the Second Committee, as it begins its work on 3 October under the Chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN

The agenda of the Second Committee is comprised of 15 different – and wide ranging – agenda items, including eradication of poverty, macroeconomic policy questions, sustainable development, financing for development and globalization and interdependence. The first meeting will feature opening statements by the Chair and DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang.

The Committee will also address groups of countries in special situations, agricultural development and food security, and the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. There is also one new agenda item during the 66th session, which is entitled “People’s empowerment and a peace-centric development model”.

In addition to the Committee’s agenda, the Chair and the Bureau have indicated that they would like to host six special events during the forthcoming 66th session of the General Assembly, which will be part of the official Second Committee programme. Most of these events would be in the nature of panel discussions during the session on the following six themes:

1. People-empowered development models for sustainable peace;

2. Financing for development;

3. Follow-up to the LDC IV Conference: Integrating its provisions into national plans and policies;

4. Alternative development strategies for job creation;

5. Food and energy security and energy efficiency; and

6. Means of implementation for sustainable development

The Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination within DESA is currently working with FAO, IFAD, UNIDO, OHRLLS and divisions within the department to coordinate the preparation of these events.

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“Green Economy and Inclusive Growth”

The Delhi Dialogue will take place on 3-4 October in New Delhi, India

The Government of India and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Secretariat are jointly organizing the Delhi Dialogue on “Green Economy and Inclusive Growth”, aiming to support the preparations for Rio+20 by providing a platform for international deliberations on opportunities for a green economy to reinforce countries’ poverty eradication and social development agendas, including through enhancing, food security and energy security of the poor. It is expected that a shared vision on these issues would be the main outcome of the meeting.

The meeting will provide an informal forum for an exchange among Ministers, high-level officials, and senior policy advisors, with expert inputs on green economy, social development, food security and energy security. The deliberations will build upon the discussions held in earlier meetings related to Rio+20.

The Dialogue seeks to advance understanding and promote the achievement of consensus on key issues related to green economy and inclusive growth, with a particular focus on how green economy strategies and policies can be integrated with food security and energy security objectives.

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Promoting forests’ role in green economies

A conference on the Contribution of Forests to a Green Economy will be held in Bonn, Germany on 4-7 October

The meeting is a country-led initiative in support of the UN Forum on Forests by the German Government in preparation for the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). It is being jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection in collaboration with the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The theme of the meeting builds on the notion that ecological stewardship and economic productivity are not mutually exclusive. Every day, forests contribute substantially to people’s well-being, through food, shelter, medicine and raw materials and support the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people around the world.

The conference will bring together government officials, members of the Collaborative Partnerships on Forests (CPF) and representatives from intergovernmental organizations and major groups. Presentations and panel discussions will focus on the essential role that sustainably managed forests play in ensuring that our planet can continue to meet human needs in the long term.

Discussions will also focus on challenges and opportunities in forest valuation and financing, effective strategies in strengthening commitment to halting deforestation, and forest-related green technologies that increase job creation while ensuring vital forest functions.

Though the principles and concepts for a green economy are still being developed, the meetings will highlight the many benefits of investing in environmentally sound economic activities.

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Celebrating older persons

The 21st commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons will be held at UN Headquarters on 6 October from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

The half-day event is being organized by the NGO Committee on Aging, in cooperation with DESA, Department of Public Information, UNFPA and UN University. The event is also sponsored by the Governments of Argentina and Qatar. The theme of the Day is Launch of Madrid Plus 10: The growing opportunities and challenges of global ageing.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Adriana Fassio, Ministry of Social Affairs, National Direction for Policies for Older Persons, Argentina. Other speakers confirmed so far include representatives of older persons’ organizations in Jamaica and the Philippines.

UNFPA will use this event to talk about their publication “State of the World’s Older Persons” which will be launched in 2012 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Madrid Plan of Action.

The NGO Briefing of the Department of Public Information will take place on the same day in the morning and cover the issue of the human rights of older persons.

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From poverty to sustainability

The 2011 Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) will be held on 17 October at UN Headquarters in New York, focusing on “From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development

With global attention focused on the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), it is critical to draw attention to the importance of poverty eradication for building sustainable futures for all. People living in poverty face increasingly difficult challenges as climate change, environmental degradation and rising food prices threaten their livelihoods and survival. The path to sustainable development must ensure that people living in poverty are included in decision-making processes, and that concrete action is taken to respond to their needs and demands.

The 2011 IDEP presents an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of people living in poverty and to have their voices heard. It is an occasion to recognize that poor people are at the forefront of the fight against poverty and are critical partners for achieving sustainable development. The objective is to illustrate the important and tangible ways in which people living in poverty can simultaneously protect the sustainability of their environment and break the cycle of poverty, and how these efforts can be supported and scaled up.

In addition to the event in New York, celebrations of the Day are being organized worldwide. Through a resolution adopted in 1992, the General Assembly invited all States to devote the Day to presenting and promoting concrete activities with regard to the eradication of poverty and destitution.

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Maximizing impacts of aid

A high-level meeting will be arranged in Luxembourg to address ways to increase development impact of aid on 18-19 October

Some 150 representatives from governments, international and regional organizations, UN system, civil society, academia and the private sector will gather for the high-level symposium of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) on “Working together to increase the development impact of aid”.

The symposium will reflect how best to effectively mobilize financial flows such as investment, trade and domestic revenues to maximize the development impact of aid. It will thus explore how aid can enable developing countries to mobilize investment and other types of development finance – with the goal to build their productive capacity and engage on a sustainable development path.

The two-day event is the second of several country-led meetings planned in the run up to the 2012 Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) biennial Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), to be held in New York, at the end of June. The DCF will promote development cooperation that makes tangible and concrete contributions towards improving the lives and rights of people, promoting sustainable development, and reducing inequality between and within countries – including between men and women.

The Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs Marie-Josée Jacobs will address the meeting on Tuesday, 18 October during the opening of the event where ECOSOC President Lazarous Kapambwe and Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro are expected to speak. Liberian Minister of Finance Augustine Ngafuan, and more than 10 ministers as well as Southern and Northern policy-makers will participate.

Amidst efforts to recover from the global financial crisis, the current economic uncertainty and volatility present serious concerns to development cooperation and the achievement of the MDGs. The DCF can help mobilize countries to scale up development cooperation, making it more effective and coherent.

The event will also provide a unique opportunity to further strengthen the voice of developing countries and to promote strong national ownership and leadership in development cooperation. It will be organized around four sessions with panel discussions and interactive dialogue, addressing the following topics:

  • How to maximize the development impact of aid: Mobilizing development finance to achieve the MDGs;
  • Aid to catalyze domestic and external resources: What have we learned?;
  • Key messages from the Luxembourg High-level Symposium from stakeholder consultations and discussions in preparation of the Busan High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, to be held in November 2011 in the Republic of Korea, and the preparation for the 2012 Development Cooperation Forum, to be held in July 2012 in New York

The Government of Luxembourg is hosting the meeting. A press conference will be organized at the Centre Culturel de Rencontre Abbaye de Neumünster in Luxembourg at 11:00 am on 18 October.

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Highlighting regional priorities when preparing for Rio+20

Three Rio+20 Regional Preparatory Meetings will take place in October, with the first one in Cairo on 16-17 October; the second in Seoul on 19-20 October; and third in Addis Ababa on 20-25 October

The General Assembly has decided that in preparation for Rio+20, there will be regional preparatory meetings, stressing the importance of having effective preparations at the local, national, regional and international levels by governments in collaboration with the UN system, to ensure high-quality inputs without placing undue strain on Member States.

Regional Preparatory Meeting in the Arab Region, ESCWA and partners

The Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting aims to support Arab preparations for Rio+20 by offering a forum for deliberation and consensus building on a consolidated set of issues and priorities that reflect the Arab vision on the objectives and themes to be addressed at Rio+20. The meeting is organized as a collaborative effort between ESCWA, the League of Arab States and UNEP/Regional Office for West Asia.

Government representatives from the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development are invited to participate in the meeting. Regional organizations engaged in Rio+20 preparations at the Arab regional level are also welcome to participate and share their experiences, including United Nations and League of Arab States specialized agencies, financial institutions, civil society, private sector, and academic institutions.

Regional Preparatory Meeting for Asia Pacific Region, ESCAP

The Asian and Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will take place at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul. It is being hosted by the Republic of Korea, and organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme and the Asian Development Bank.

The meeting will prepare an Asian and Pacific Statement to the UNCSD, and will also help to build the capacity of regional actors to participate in the global process. It will result in a greater awareness of the unique challenges that face the Asian and Pacific region, the progress made by countries of the region, and the potential contributions from the region to the global debate.

Delegates will review background documents that will cover the progress on implementation of commitments to sustainable development and Asian and Pacific perspectives on the theme of green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and on the theme of the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Ministerial Segment of the Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for Rio+20

The ministerial policy dialogue will comprise three plenary sessions, addressing the objective and themes of Rio+20. Each session will be guided by summary reports on the subjects to be considered. The discussions will be opened by brief presentations on key findings and conclusions, highlighting the main issues arising and recommendations of the expert segments to guide the Ministerial policy dialogue.

For each session, three Ministers will be invited to intervene, taking into account gender and language considerations and geographical representation. Responses will then be invited from one representative of civil society organizations and one representative of the private sector. Following this, the floor will be opened for general discussions.

The Ministerial policy dialogue will address the following issues:

  • Progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments, and new and emerging challenges;
  • Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development; and
  • Bridging the implementation gap

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Year to highlight roles of cooperatives

On 31 October, the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) will be launched

The UN General Assembly (GA) will launch the International Year of Cooperatives (2012) at the General Assembly Hall on 31 October in New York. DESA is working on preparing for the event together with the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC).

The year will be inaugurated by two days of activities in and around the United Nations headquarters in New York, beginning with a roundtable discussion on 31 October, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, on the theme “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World: Contributions to Sustainable Development“.

The official ceremony will then take place at 3:00 pm that same day in a General Assembly plenary session, with the UN Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly formally launching the International Year of Cooperatives.

The Launch aims to increase public awareness about cooperatives and their contributions to socio-economic development and the achievement of the MDGs, and to promote the formation and growth of cooperatives worldwide. Member States, observers, organizations of the United Nations system, Cooperatives and Non-Governmental Organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council are invited to participate in the IYC launch.

For more information:

International Year of Cooperatives (IYC):

IYC Global Launch:

Details on how Cooperatives and NGOs can attend:

Cause for persons with disabilities makes great strides

The Fourth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was held in New York on 7-9 September

The conference discussed the implementation of the Convention (CRPD), along with other governments, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities. Over 600 attendees participated in this session that was held under the theme: “Enabling Development, Realizing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities through Participation, Employment and International Cooperation.” The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006 and came into force in 2008. Currently, there are 104 ratifications of the CRPD and 153 signatories.

The conference was opened by high-level dignitaries and senior UN officials, including the Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migrio. At the opening, Ms. Migrio said, “You and I and millions of others know, that when we respect the inherent dignity of persons with disabilities, we enrich our human family,” a common theme that resounded throughout the conference, that enabling and including persons with disabilities in society and development benefits all of humanity.

The event included a high-level segment and a general debate, two roundtables entitled “Realizing the CRPD through international cooperation” and “Ensuring effective and full participation in political and public life”, an informal meeting entitled “Realizing the right to work”, as well as an “Interactive dialogue on the implementation of the Convention”. During the high level segment, there were more than 60 States inscribed for the speakers’ list, including 10 ministerial-level participants.

The first round table on “Realizing the CRPD through international cooperation”, discussed key issues concerning article 32 of the CRPD, reaffirming and underlining the important role of international development cooperation in promoting disability-inclusive development and advancing the rights of persons with disabilities. The panel noted that a new aid architecture was emerging at the global level, allowing developing countries to set their own development priorities. The discussion also covered the mainstreaming of disability through enhancing partnerships within private and public sectors and also between the UN and other stakeholders, including organizations of persons with disabilities.

During the second round table entitled “Ensuring effective and full participation in political and public life”, panelists discussed key issues, identified progress and barriers and made strategic recommendations to realize disability-inclusive and accessible political processes including elections. Among the key issues argued was the lack of physical accessibility that continued to remain a major barrier to the full and effective inclusion of persons with disabilities in political and public life. Participants noted that a full realization of the CRPD would ensure that persons with disabilities, including persons with psycho-social or intellectual disabilities would not be deprived of their access to the political process.

An informal meeting on “Realizing the right to work and employment” was also held. Panelists noted that persons with disabilities were twice as likely to be unemployed than their peers without disability. They discussed the need for comprehensive reforms to ensure accessible labour markets and noted that a major barrier against a fully inclusive labour market was the lack of firm policy framework against discrimination, without which accessibility would not be enforced; education would not be effectively provided; and job opportunities would not be made available for persons with disabilities.

UN system organizations presented their efforts during the “Interactive dialogue on the implementation of the Convention” and showed how their programmes had been used to implement the CRPD in countries and regions around the world. They highlighted the role played by their organizations in fostering collaboration among national Governments, UN entities and civil society to further the promotion and implementation of the CRPD. UN Regional Commissions also participated via videoconference from Santiago (ECLAC), Jordan (ESCWA) and Addis Ababa (ECA).

In closing, Chair Mårten Grunditz, UN Ambassador to Sweden and Chairman of the conference, stressed that the conference had made clear that universal ratification of the Convention and the Optional Protocol is within reach and indeed a necessity, given that over a billion persons live with a disability in the world. There could be no progress on internationally agreed development goals without integrating a disability perspective in all development efforts. International cooperation could and must be a catalytic force to make those efforts inclusive. The conference has equally shown that participation of persons with disability in the labour market and in public and political life are essential features of inclusive development. The CRPD will continue to be pivotal to ensure enabling development and enjoyment of human rights by all.

A day prior to the opening of the conference, a Civil Society Forum was organized by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) with the support of DESA, focusing on the planned high level meeting on disability and development to be held next year at the 67th session of the General Assembly.

More than 40 side-events were organized by governments, regional and sub-regional governmental organizations, UN system organizations, academic institutions, international and bi-lateral development agencies, and national human rights institutions, as well as NGOs and organizations of persons with disabilities.

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