Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Yet again Save the Children Fund on the wrong side of an issue

As many of us know Save the Children Fund were less than positive about the move from an MDG agenda to a Sustainable Development Goal agenda. 
Now they find themselves on the wrong side of another issue Tony Blair. Last week they gave an award for his humanitarian work - The Global Legacy Award at the Save the Children Illumination Gala 2014.
I did chair a meeting with Tony Blair just after he was elected Prime Minister in 1997. I was positively surprised by him and very impressed by his knowledge of many issues - though not very good on gender when the Executive Director of WEDO Susan Davis asked him about the different opportunities for his daughter and son he did not think there were any.
The mistakes of Iraq are too great for someone to be rehabilitated. So many people died and continue to die because of either lies, nativity or arrogance by our politicians at the front of that was Tony Blair.
He has since leaving office worked for a number of governments that are repressive and for a number of companies that go against the environmental agenda his government followed.
There are good things he has done with trying to bring peace in Palestine and his Africa Governance work and i hope he continues to do that.
There is an online petition with over 107,000 signatures calling for:

"Save the Children', please revoke the award given to Tony Blair in supposed recognition of his vanguard leadership on the world’s international development stage.
As an international children's charity the choice of Tony Blair is not only controversial to say the least, as many see him as the cause of the deaths of countless children in the Middle East with damning allegations relating to his role as Middle East envoy and businesses dealings with autocratic rulers and others in the region.

The response of nearly 200 Save the Children staff to the announcement of the award should say it all and should be commended and tell management they have made a huge mistake:
“We consider this award inappropriate and a betrayal to Save the Children’s founding principles and values. Management staff in the region were not communicated with nor consulted about the award and were caught by surprise with this decision.”
The management of Save the Children Fund should apologies to the people in that region in particular who have had to and continue to deal with the consequences of the Tony Blair government's policies on Iraqi. 
If you are giving this Christmas I hope its to UNICEF, Oxfam, Cafod, Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth.

Monday, November 24, 2014

IWMI Excellent Nexus Publication

Targets that promote efficient, nationally and locally appropriate water use will be key to achieving the SDGs

 The proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—a set of goals drafted by 70 nations and presently being discussed in the UN General Assembly to end poverty and hunger and sustain the environment—will guide social policy and investments for decades to come. Their approach to water management will be key to success, according to a new report issued today.

The report from scientists at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) cautions against an overly rigid approach to implementing SDGs, which could limit development options for poor countries, particularly in how they are able to manage critical water resources.

According to the United Nations, water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are chronically short of water. At the same time, water is a crucial resource for meeting the development aspirations of poor countries, especially in Asia and Africa.

“Of all our natural resources, water underpins sustainable development perhaps more than any other,” said IWMI Director-General Jeremy Bird.

“To deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have to be smart and inclusive. Water cuts across many of the goals—from poverty, to health, energy and the environment so we must reflect on the interactions and identify locally appropriate solutions to managing water.”

According to a new publication by IWMI, key challenges include setting realistic targets, carefully considering the local context to address the needs of the poor, and promoting sustainable water resources development in a way that values healthy ecosystems. The scientific research organization launched the report, On Target for People and Planet: Setting and Achieving Water-Related Sustainable Development Goals in conjunction with the Water for Food Global Conference in Seattle on October 20th.

Water concerns permeate the SDGs. Goal 6 calls for ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Proposed SDGs on food and energy security also include targets on increasing water efficiency. But the three sectors can’t be viewed in isolation, IWMI researchers said – rather they are interconnected and must be managed in an integrated way, often across borders.

Providing everyone with access to water – whether male, female, wealthy or poor – also is vital to achieving the SDGs on health, livelihood improvement and economic growth, IWMI researchers said. “This is especially important in rural and urban fringe areas,” said Julie van der Bliek, the publication’s lead editor.

People need access to water for domestic use and to generate income from growing crops. Julie van der Bliek

“To guide meaningful action, SDG targets will need to support the aspirations of poor nations for development,” said Bird. “This means encouragement to use natural resources in smart, efficient and productive ways, while protecting ecosystems. Efficient use of water is at the heart of this balancing act.”

The SDGs follow the U.N.-led Millennium Development Goals, which focused on reducing extreme poverty. The SDGs focus on sustainable development, taking into account such factors as water scarcity, food insecurity, ecosystem loss, and climate change. At stake is a healthy planet and people.
The 56-page IWMI book, illustrated with case studies and examples, provides critical analyses of how national SDG targets can be defined and met through the most current evidence-based water policies. IWMI, which recently adopted a new strategy to deliver a “water-secure world,” plans to produce a series of annual reports that synthesize thinking on major water issues.

IWMI scientists have developed cutting-edge tools to help policy makers, investors and water professionals assess and monitor ecosystem health and investment options – analytical tools that fit in with the theme of this year’s Water for Food Global Conference – “Big Data.”

For example, one tool uses near real-time satellite data to identify agricultural areas prone to waterlogging, and to map the progression and severity of floods. In Sudan’s Gash Basin, IWMI is testing a flood forecasting tool—the first of its kind in the region—that delivers flood information directly to farmers via cell phone text messaging.

The book offers other examples of IWMI’s work in tackling complex issues:
  • IWMI conducted pilot tests in Uzbekistan’s Ferghana Valley to “bank” winter water flows released for hydropower into underground aquifers and later extract the stored water for dry-season irrigation. Such strategies may prove to be a pragmatic way to reverse damage caused by groundwater overpumping, and to deal with competing demands for water, energy and food.
  • Despite today’s focus on participatory water-use management, IWMI’s research shows that women, minorities and the poor often are left out of local decision-making. In such situations, women revert to “stealing” the water they need for domestic use and crops.
  • Humans generate millions of tons of solid and liquid waste every day. IWMI and its partners are testing innovative, low-cost human waste-to-fertilizer models in 10 cities across the globe. Implementing such solutions is a key to achieving SDG health and environment goals in low-income countries.
On Target for People and Planet: Setting and Achieving Water-Related Sustainable Development Goals is published today. You can download a copy here: www.iwmi.org/sdg-book

Saturday, November 22, 2014

2015 Global Sustainable Development Report

The 2015 Global Sustainable Development Report is expected to be launched in June 2015 and contribute to the 2015 session of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.

Following the approach piloted for the preparation of the Prototype and the mandate given at Rio+20, the general approach to the 2015 edition of the GSDR report will be that of an assessment of assessments, documenting and describing the landscape of information on specific issues. The report will be global in coverage while taking into account the perspectives of the five UN regions. Extensive inputs will be sought from the UN system, government officials and stakeholders at all levels, including representatives of academies of sciences, of key international assessments, and relevant UN expert groups.

A unique opportunity

With the establishment of the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in 2012, Governments have created – for the first time - an entry point for scientists across the world to be heard at the highest levels of the United Nations – the General Assembly. This is your unique opportunity to bring scientific issues to the attention of policy makers! Do not miss it!

Draft outline
Chapter 7: Science issues and solutions for the attention of decision-makers See above contributions and how to contribute to this chapter

UN High-level Political Forum and the Global Sustainable Development Report

Governments established the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) with the mandate to provide political guidance on sustainable development. They decided that the forum should strengthen the science-policy interface by examining documentation, bringing together diverse information and assessments, including in the form of a Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), building on existing assessments, and enhancing evidence-based decision-making at all levels. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs prepared a Prototype Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) in 2014 which drew upon inputs from a range of stakeholders, including the UN system and members of scientific communities across the world. The preparations for the next Global Sustainable Development Report, to be submitted to the third session of the HLPF in June 2015, are now underway. The present call aims to provide individual scientists and research institutions a unique opportunity to highlight issues, research findings or solutions – in the form of briefs - that they would like to bring to the attention of policy makers. One chapter of the Report will be dedicated to these contributions.

Scope of the call for contributions

By way of general guidance, the briefs should address an issue, finding, or research with a bearing on sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social, and environmental – or the inter-linkages between them. Thus the focus could be on the review of up-to-date findings relating to a particular issue, address the single issue of importance, or present solutions to a problem or challenge. It could also present the “story” of a research finding that has great policy relevance but is not typically considered in the policy debate. The briefs are to be factual and based on peer-reviewed literature. Contributions from both the natural and social science communities from all disciplines are highly valued and welcomed.

Requirements

The aim of the briefs is to summarize or highlight the most salient findings or arguments; supporting material can be a separate technical Annex or reference to a supporting research paper. The briefs should be less than 1,500 words. It should be factual and based on peer-reviewed literature. It is recommended to highlight a number of key messages from the current scientific debate for the attention of policy-makers.

As a general guideline, the brief should follow the format of the sample brief on the website (two columns). Tables or figures should all be captioned with source indicated. Text references should be in Harvard Style, i.e. (Author, year) inserted where quoted in the text. Please use footnotes instead of endnotes, for necessary explanations and asides. All references should be listed alphabetically at the end of the brief.

Submission process
The brief (including supporting documents) should be submitted to gsdr2015@gmail.com in .doc or .docx format, using email subject GSDR 2015 Science Briefs – [title of the brief]. The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2014

More information can be found here.

However, interested contributors are invited to submit their briefs as soon as possible.

All briefs that meet basic formatting and quality standards will be posted on the website of the GSDR for an open comment period. Based on the online review process, a sub-set of briefs will be identified from which ideas and material will be drawn for inclusion in the GSDR chapter on newly-arising science issues and solutions for policy-makers.

Monday, November 17, 2014

modalities, Dates and structure of 2015 Process announced

From a letter to ALL Permanent Representatives and Permanent Observers to the United Nations New York from the co-chairs the Ambassadors of Kenya and Ireland

 Food for thought  paper

Modalities for the intergovernmental  negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda

The Co-Facilitators have been appointed to lead open, inclusive and transparent consultations on the post-2015 development agenda in order to agree an outcome which is to be adopted at a Summit at Heads of State and Government level in September 2015.  Building on major United Nations conferences and summits held in recent years, the objective is to agree an ambitious and transformative agenda with a view to ensuring the eradication of poverty and the achievement of sustainable development by 2030.

Initial informal intergovernmental meetings were convened on 4 and 10 November to establish the views of Member States on the issues covered by this mandate.

On the basis of the consultations to date, the Co-Facilitators propose the following modalities for the forthcoming process.

Working methods

It is clear that there is broad support for an intergovernmental process which is open, inclusive and transparent and which builds on the working methods used very successfully by the Open Working Group on SDGs.  These methods included provision for all Member States to express their views, whether individually, as part of informal combinations of states or through traditional group structures.  Flexible working arrangements of various kinds were also a feature of the Open Working Group as was the provision for regular structured engagement with major groups and other stakeholders.

Scope

 The meetings on 4 and 10 November also helped to clarify what Member States regard as the scope for the substantive consultations.    It is envisaged that the outcome document to be prepared for adoption at the Summit in September 2015 would contain the following main components:
  • An introductory declaration;
  • Sustainable Development Goals, targets and indicators;
  • Means of Implementation and a new Global Partnership;
  • Framework for monitoring and review of implementation.

A further element proposed by some Member States - though this will require further discussion - is the possible implications of the post-2015 agenda for the UN system and its institutions ("UN Fit for Purpose").

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 68/309, the proposal of the Open Working Group shall be the main basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda, while recognizing that other inputs, including the Secretary General's Synthesis Report, will also be considered.

It is envisaged that some technical proofing of the proposed targets will be required. Indicators to measure progress against the targets will also have to be developed and the UN Statistical Commission could assist in this regard; Member States will have to confirm their agreement to this.
As regards the Means of lmplemehtation, much of this agenda will of course be addressed in the separate consultations on Financing for Development. There are, however, certain aspects which require attention within the post-2015 consultations. These could include issues such as technology facilitation and the shaping of an overall Global Partnership.

Arrangements will be made to ensure close interaction between the post-2015 development agenda consultations and those on Financing for Development.

Similar arrangements will also be made in respect of the climate change negotiations in the UNFCCC context.

Consideration of a monitoring and review framework will also require that attention be paid to the role of the High Level Political Forum. It is proposed to make arrangements for liaison in this regard with the High Level Political Forum, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council.

Dates


To enable the work of the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations to be completed within the relatively short time available, a pattern of at least one session per month from January onwards is envisaged. These sessions will normally last for four and a half days each.

The dates envisaged are set out in the following timetable, which takes into account the schedule of meetings in the Financing for Development process and other relevant processes:

19-21 January'
3-6 February (tbc}
17-20 February (tbc) 9-13 March (!be)
23-27 March (tbc)
20-24 April (tbc)
18-22 May
22-25 June
20-24 July
27-31 July


(Note that the dates of the drafting sessions on Financing for Development during this period are 27-29 January, 13-17 April and 15-19 June; the High Level Political Forum meets from 26 June to 8 July; and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development meets from 13-16 July).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas books for UN Groupies

Dear Friends,

Its the time of year to be thinking of Christmas presents and I have some suggestions
:-)

Intergovernmental negotiations can be very confusing and so I have tried to produce over the years some books to help the next generation of 'bracketiers'.

From Rio+20 to the New Development Agenda

This year working with Jorge Laguna Celis and Liz Thompson we have tried to tell the story of how Rio+20 happened and produce resources that would help anyone engaged in the SDG process or implementation of Rio+20.

From Rio+20 to the New Development Agenda (2014)  takes you from the dark days in the mid 2000s when sustainable development was dead at the intergovernmental level. It explores how with the leadership of Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala,  Indonesia, Mexico, Germany and Denmark sustainable development came back and now is the central thesis of the new development goals...sustainable development goals.

"This is the ultimate ‘insider’s guide’ to the Rio+20 process, taking the reader from the preliminary discussions back in 2007 all the way through the conference itself and into the future. In tabloid terminology, Felix Dodds, Jorge Laguna Celis and Liz Thompson give us ‘the thrills, the spills, the personalities and power-plays’ that shaped the summit and its diverse outcome. Whether you regard the outcome as primarily a missed opportunity due to its fundamental incompatibility with respect for planetary boundaries and its failure to match President Lula’s pre-conference vision of an event that would lead to ‘a new and more balanced distribution of wealth’ in the world, as I continue to do, or whether you share the authors’ optimism regarding the re-moulding of international institutions and the voluntary commitments secured in Rio, this book will give you a deeper and broader understanding of why Rio reached the outcomes it did. And as it makes clear, there is still much to play for, particularly in regard of the sustainable development goals, which could yet provide impetus for a global move towards the future we both want and need."
Richard Black, former BBC Environment Correspondent

The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20

Its sister publication is The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda. (2014)
The Plain Language Guide takes you through many of the areas that are likely to be the new sustainable development goals and gives you the resources that you need to engage in the most vital debate of the last twenty years. Every campaigner, UN official and government official should have a copy.

"After reading The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda, however, I can no longer say that the attributes of Agenda 21 and the evolution of policy guidance from within the UN system are too complex to grasp. This book is a great service to those within the systems and anyone that is adjacent to but not within the system itself. It is clear, concise and a great service to historians of sustainability and those who must operationalize an agenda to optimize conditions for human development through time."
Gary Lawrence Chief Sustainability Officer AECOM

Only One Earth

The first environment conference the UN organized was the Stockholm UN Conference on Human Environment in 1972 and the one which had the largest impact in setting new hard law agreements was the Rio 1992 Earth Summit. Both of these conferences Secretary General was Maurice Strong, perhaps the father of sustainable development. Maurice Strong, Michael Strauss and I put together - Only One Earth: The Long Rio via Rio to Sustainable Development. . (2012)



This book gives you the insider view of what has happened in the intergovernmental discussion on first environment and then sustainable development over the last 40 years. Its a must for anyone who is or plans to work on sustainable development issues. It goes over the highs and the lows  and gives a vision for the future.

"Only One Earth is ... undoubtedly the best volume ever to trace the history of sustainable development within the UN." –
Crosslands Bulletin

How to Lobby at Intergovernmental Meetings

Finally I wanted to plug another book i did with Michael Strauss over a Christmas in 2002 but which is still relevant and useful to anyone who wants to learn how to lobby at the UN. Its called 'How to Lobby at Intergovernmental meetings - Mine is a Cafe Latte'.  (2004)


"Encapsulates the essence of action for the aspirant multi-lateralist...A roadmap for social justice warriors!" -- Tony Simpson, Lawyer in International Human Rights and Environmental Law

Finally

If you are interested in the emerging Environmental Security we will find three books I have edited on that agenda.




Friday, November 14, 2014

The Banks again Behaving Badly - still so few in jail for what they did Channel 4 Economics Editor says it for all of us

Paul Mason, Channel 4's Economics Editor, Is Sick And Tired Of Banks Behaving Badly

How is it that the Bank directors and financial institutions that caused so many people to lose their homes and jobs have managed to get away with it and still in virtually all cases still have great wages and are not in jail. Even now we are finding out how crooked they are with 5 banks now being fined 2.6 billion UK bounds by US and UK regulators (HSBC, RBM, UBS, JP Morgan, Chase, Citibank and Bank of America) for what is insider trading ripping off their own clients in foreign exchange trading.. But no criminal charges. Paul Mason  Channel 4 News' economics standing outside the Royal Bank of Scotland HQ in London tells it as we ALL think it

"I am actually just sick of that corner," he say. "That corner over there where RBS HQ is. I’m just sick of it, after six years, why do we keep having to come and do it?"

"Well I’m here again at RBS because yet again they’ve done something wrong, but they’re not the only ones. If the banks had the same scrutiny over the traders, and their own managers as they have over the camera crew standing outside it where you get a security guard asking you what you’re doing, we might not be in this situation.

The world is global, the economy is global, so we need complex financial institutions.

So if we are going to have a complex financial system, we’ll have to do something, a bit more radical, rather than all this cuff-link tweaking about, “we must do better. I have sat in the room with the bosses of this bank and all the other… [heated pause where Mason controls calling bankers xxxxx] banks over these six years now, since it nearly went bust."
      paul mason

I’ve sat in their rooms where they’re pleading in the most genteel tones, 'don’t over regulate us, please don’t make a criminal offence possible to commit in the boardroom, don’t make it possible for us to go to jail, otherwise nobody talented will come and run these banks.'

What about the managers who ran this place since 2008 to 2012-2013? They walk away with what? Reputation unscathed, We really deserve a better banking system because everybody on this street who doesn’t work in it is also reliant on it,"

All we ask, all we can ask, is that the regulators do their job proactively. That they actually get on the case, just like the security guards outside here, and the CCTV cameras there, and the City of London police, they get on the case and stop wrong doing – what’s so hard about it?"

He added later that the video had actually only been made "after I'd calmed down."

Its time for STRONG regulation which should include LONG jail turns for bankers and traders who do this. Only then will we be able to stop this.

Paul Mason @paulmasonnews   
The video can be found here do WATCH IT it - http://youtu.be/Wf7a53y9RRM