Volume 17, No.07 - July 2013

Global dialogue on development

Persons with disabilities need adequate standard of living

disabilitiesThe sixth session of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will take place in New York from 17- 19 July and will focus on standard of living.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the General Assembly on 13 December 2006 and came into force on 3 May 2008. Since then, States Parties to the Convention have met in five sessions at UN Headquarters in New York, to address issues regarding the implementation of the Convention, as well as share experiences and best practices.

This year, the sixth session will be held from 17-19 July and will focus on the ways to ensure adequate standard of living and the empowerment of persons with disabilities. Thematic discussions will include economic empowerment through inclusive social protection and poverty reduction strategies; disability-inclusive development in national, regional and international processes, and community-based rehabilitation and habilitation for inclusive society.

A day prior to the Conference, a Civil Society Forum will be organized by non-governmental organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities, with the support of DESA, to network and share experiences in implementing the Convention.

This annual Conference is fast developing into the largest international disability meeting that includes high-level representation from Government ministries, UN system organizations, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector and other stakeholders. In conjunction with the Conferences held at UN Headquarters in 2011 and 2012, over 35 side-events, covering a range of disability issues, were conducted by the stakeholders, during each of the two and a half-day sessions.

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Poverty eradication remains central to reach SDGs

povertyThe fourth session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) took place form 17–19 June at UN Headquarters in New York.

Chaired by the Permanent Representatives of Kenya and Hungary, Macharia Kamau and Csaba Körösi, this session focused on employment and decent work for all, social protection, youth, education and culture, as well as health and population dynamics.  The report of the SG’s High-level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda was presented by its lead author, Homi Karhas, and the Co-chairs met with the representatives of Major Groups and other stakeholders every morning of the session.

In their concluding remarks, the co-chairs underlined the progress that the OWG was making: “We think we are making amazing progress”, said Ambassador Kamau, adding that “the commonality of views and perspectives is something that is giving us great encouragement for the way forward”.

The co-chairs also noted how the issue of poverty eradication kept on coming back as a central overriding theme, and stressed its link with the issues discussed, such as decent and productive work, social protection, education and health care. “There is no poverty eradication without us taking care of these issues, we have to be clear about that”, said Ambassador Kamau.

The concluding remarks by the Co-chairs, statements and presentations made during the OWG, as well as recordings from the session are available on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

Safeguarding financing for sustainable development

financeDESA and the Permanent Mission of Austria jointly organized on 28 May 2013 in New York a high-level panel on Safeguarding Financing for Sustainable Development.

The objective of the panel was to raise awareness of the challenges and potential safeguards to ensure economic, efficient and effective use of, and preventing corruption in, financing for sustainable development, particularly in view of anticipated new and innovative sources of funding.  

H.E. Mr. Martin Sajdik, the Permanent Representative of Austria, chaired the event that was attended by over 110 participants, representing nearly 60 permanent missions.

In his keynote address, Mr Moser, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) spoke about the role of INTOSAI and Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI’s). The lack of transparency and accountability of public finances and their use causes tremendous damage to states, endangers peace and security and undermines the efficiency of development aid. The scope of SAI’s work is to increase transparency for the benefit of citizens through contributing to safeguarding of finances.

Mr. Wu Hongbo, USG of DESA, highlighted the necessity of building trust among new and emerging public and private donors in order to mobilize the high levels of funding necessary to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). He also mentioned that the inter-governmental process for considering a sustainable development financing strategy can benefit from the expertise and experience of finance and audit specialists to ensure an appropriate accountability framework.

Safeguarding funds requires good governance and independent oversight

The first discussant, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Lupan, illustrated the progress of the Moldovan government in increasing transparency and accountability which corresponds with reduced waste and decreased loss of funds. The second discussant, Mr. Amitabh Mukhopadhyay, stated that accountability must be foregrounded in the process of good governance, and not simply accompany good governance as an appendage. Looking at the prevailing deficits in fighting corruption as they exist in several countries, he added that SAI’s need to step into a much more proactive role.

The discussion from the floor included the relationship between the MDG’s and SDG’s and how the MDG’s should be addressed before turning to a new set of goals, the need to honour Official Development Aid (ODA) commitments and targets, and the uncertainty that accompanies new sources of funding, putting in question the stability and sufficiency of  flows of funding.

The closing remarks stressed the need for sufficient funding to realize sustainable development initiatives and the importance of attracting new sources of funding, especially from the private sector. The successful mobilization of the large amounts of funds necessary to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) will depend on establishing public trust that the funds will end up in good hands. The enabling environment for safeguarding financing is part of good governance and establishing that trust. The important oversight role of audit in good governance and in implementation must be part of the inter-governmental deliberations on financing for sustainable development.

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600 billion dollars commitments for Sustainable Development

UN PhotoJust over a year after the Rio+20 took place in Brazil, the first progress report on Voluntary Commitments and Partnerships for Sustainable Development is being published.

The report, featured in a special edition of the “Sustainable Development in Action Newsletter”, summarizes information on the 1,382 voluntary commitments, partnerships and initiatives for sustainable development – worth close to US$ 600 billion – that have been registered to date with the Rio+20 Secretariat.

Rio+20, as well as earlier sustainable development conferences, emphasized the importance of voluntary commitments, partnerships and initiatives to complement government-led action in realizing sustainable development. These multi-stakeholder initiatives by Governments, intergovernmental organizations, major groups and others aim to contribute to the implementation of intergovernmentally agreed sustainable development goals and commitments in Rio+20, Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The report makes clear that voluntary commitments and partnerships are not a substitute for Government responsibilities and actions, and that the latter remain the cornerstone of national, regional and global efforts to pursue sustainable development. But they are intended to strengthen implementation by involving those relevant stakeholders that can make a contribution to sustainable development.

The initiatives are compiled and available through the SD in Action registry on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, where the report will also be published.

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Google+Hangout on the Rio+20 Anniversary: