Friday, May 22, 2015

Best Book of the Year: Nixon's Comrades: A Kremlin Note Taker Remembers


I have just finished one of the best books I have read this year and possibly this century - Nixon's Comrades. Nixon was clearly a complex figure and it is difficult to know how history might have portrayed him had Watergate not happened. As I have said in previous blogs he achieved a lot of positive actions the setting up of EPA, supporting the establishment of UNFPA and UNEP. America could have had universal health coverage in 1972 if they had accepted the proposal he put forward - similar to what Obama did in 2008 - 36 years later - bringing China into the family of nations as a UN member. This book also shows the role he played in making the world a little safer.

I grew up during the cold war and the real threat of a nuclear summer. MAD for us was not only a great marvel comic but  stood for Mutely Assured Destruction (MAD). 

I have always been an a avid reader of  political books such as Robert Kennedy's Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Memoirs of Richard Nixon. I had never read a book from the Russian side and I have to say I found it fascinating. To add to this that I knew the author Andrey Vavilov originally as a Russian negotiator as Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to UNEP and HABITAT in Nairobi from 1995 to 2000, 

I had never realized the role he had played in the 1960's and in particular the 1970's as an interpreter and author of the confidential memorandum of conversations at some of the most critical meetings between the US and Russia and in particular between Brezhnev and Nixon. He was sometimes the only other person in the room as Nixon did not trust the US note takers not to leak what they heard so he relied on Andrey and other Russians. The book gives an insight to the people themselves who took part in these critical meetings  and in particular what the Russian approach was to these meetings. This continued under Presidents Ford and Carter to try and move us away from a nuclear exchange, 

Some of these negotiations were continued as Nixon was dealing with Watergate and Brezhenev's poor health was becoming worse. It is worth reflecting that even thought both leaders were having problems they were able to focus and work together on possibly the most important issues on that time such as the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) treaties. SALT 1  led to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and an interim agreement between the two countries

The book also gives fascinating  insights of the supporting characters such as Kissinger(the Russians called him Terminator) and Gromyko and the role they also took.

For a short period the world did have two super powers and they negotiated as such. After Nixon the US returned to an arms race and that did under President Reagan cause the bankruptcy of the USSR trying to keep parity.  

The book is full of wonderful quotes I particularly like the one from Andrei Gromyko: "For a diplomat its better to remain silent on a hundred occasions than to say something silly once...Better ten years of negotiations than one day of war." it reminds of John F Kennedy's warning from the early 1960's: "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

In 2013 an opinion poll for the greatest Soviet leader saw Brezhnev top the list with 56%. There is a fond looking back at that era where in the USSR as a time of safe streets, affordable housing, job security and free healthcare and education. Why we can not all have this and democracy I don't know.....

Nixon described the three men facing him across the table in a fascinating way. He described Podgorny as "a Midwestern senator," Kosygin a Communist "aristocrat", and Brezhnev "a big Irish boss" or Chicago "Mayor Daley." It helped me in understanding the people I had little knowledge of. I could start to see these people and understand how they might be approaching the negotiations based on my understanding of US politicians - bizarre . 

Finally I strongly recommend this book for those who lived through the cold war but also for those that didn't. this generation should understand what has happened in the past as it often informs the way we should address issues in the future. Nixon's Comrades is only available as a kindle download I hope you have as much enjoyment reading it as I have. 

5* a must read book.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

An interlinked and coherent governance structure - Financing for Development

The follow on process for FfD also needs to be integrated into the follow up process for the SDGs in this paper I address how it might do this at the global level. Although not all of the issues addressed in the FfD agenda fall under the HLPF many do. I want suggest some areas governments might like to look at for both the HLPF and EcoSoc.

The HLPF

To address the follow on process for FfD It might be useful to look at the follow-on process for Agenda 21.

For example at the first UN Commission on Sustainable development (CSD) in 1993 governments adopted the following:

61. The Commission, recognizing its mandate to review the adequacy of the financial resources available for the implementation of Agenda 21, decides to establish an inter-sessional ad hoc, open-ended working group composed of Governments, which will nominate experts in order to assist the Commission in the following tasks:

  1. To monitor and review the requirements, availability and adequacy of financial resources for the implementation of different clusters of Agenda 21, taking into account the multi-year thematic programme of work, as well as projects, programmes, activities and sustainable development strategies prepared by Governments, in order to provide a suitable and common basis for action on the part of all Governments, bilateral funding agencies and States members of the governing bodies of the agencies and programmes of the United Nations system, as well as multilateral regional and subregional development banks and funds dealing with the issues of environment and development;
  2. To monitor and analyse various factors that influence the flow of financial and economic resources, such as debt relief, terms of trade, commodity prices, market access and private foreign investment, as well as to review mechanisms for innovative financing in the context of paragraph 33.16 of Agenda 21, taking into account activities at the national level;
  3. To develop, on the basis of the above, a policy framework for the mobilization of financial resources towards a balanced implementation of all aspects of Agenda 21 that would, inter alia, assist Governments, where appropriate, to implement their sustainable development strategies.


The CSD recognized that it had a role in monitoring the financing commitments for Agenda 21. To enable it to do this it added an additional week of preparation for the CSD focused on that agenda.

Suggestion for consideration: governments consider adopting similar text and have an additional ad hoc, open-ended working group composed of Governments meeting for a week to undertake a similar set of tasks as is reflected in the para 61 (a), (b) and (c) and open to stakeholders to participate in all of its discussions. A report would be sent to the HLPF which would include any policy recommendations.

ECOSOC and UNGA

Not everything can be covered by the HLPF and for this reason the ECOSCO High-level meeting with the Bretton Woods Institutions, WTO and UNCTAD could be expanded to address these issues. This would need amending the ECOSOC resolutions 2011/38, 2010/26 and 2009/30, the overall theme of the meeting will be “Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of Financing for Development”.  

The exact issues that could be discussed will depend on the outcome from the FfD process but it might include:
  •  Specific problems and constraints encountered, including those related to finance and technology, as well as to the adverse impact of economic and trade policies and measures, in particular on developing countries;
  • The adverse impact on sustainable development of trade restrictive and distortive policies and measures - specifically, trade policy measures for environmental purposes that constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustified discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade - as well as progress in making trade and environment policies mutually supportive in favour of sustainable development;
In addition the role of the General Assembly High-level dialogue on financing for development should be enhanced.

Suggestion for consideration: The ECOSOC High level Event could be expanded to address the issues that do not fall under financing the SDGs. UNGA High-level dialogue on financing for development should be enhanced. 

Interagency Coordination

The UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) comprises 29 Executive Heads of the United Nations and its Funds and Programmes, the Specialized Agencies, including the Bretton Woods Institutions (The World Bank and IMF), and Related Organizations - the WTO and the IAEA.


Suggestion for consideration: Under the UN Development Group it could be tasked with producing an annual report on the implementation of FfD and fed into both the HLPF adhoc open-ended working group and the ECOSOC High Level Event.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WE KNOW WHAT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SHOULD LOOK LIKE — NOW LET’S DO IT

Just published on ENISA.  Fifteen years ago, more than 190 countries, with input from many stakeholders, established a set of eightMillennium Development Goals, or MDGs, to guide global development work. Ranging from reducing by half the number of people living in extreme poverty to improving development governance, the goals represented an attempt by governments to set a limited number of priorities. In reality, they showed an inability to deliver on more ambitious action plans agreed in the 1990s at a number of United Nations conferences and summits. Some but not all of the MDGs have been achieved, in part due to the financial crisis in 2008. Continue reading here

Friday, May 8, 2015

UK Election - is this the end of the UK as a major power in the world?

For those that have not yet woken up to the implications of the UK election let me help you. We could see the UK losing its UN Security Council seat in the next 5 years.

Why do i say that? Lets look at the results for a moment. In Scotland the Scottish National Party (SNP) took 56 of the 59 seats. The Conservatives have been returned with a small majority. The Liberal Democrats have nearly been wiped out. Three party leaders have resigned the Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP. We are in a new uncharted world now.

We just had a referendum on if Scotland should stay in the UK and that was won by 10%. The SNP said there would not be a second referendum unless there was massive change in Scotland. Well now there has been so a second referendum is now on the cards and it must look very much as if that would go for independence from the UK. We are in this position because of many reasons: the Labour Party has imploded in Scotland because of a lack of delivery - the Conservatives played a England nationalist card warning against a Labour- SNP alliance which seemed to work in the English seats which Labour had hoped to win and as one Labour MP said of the tsunami in Scotland it was like cult following they were not interested in policies.

Some would say this is also a result from the disillusionment in the political parties in the UK after the expenses scandal.

The Conservatives have promised a referendum on the UK being in the EU by 2017. So we could find ourselves by the next election in 2020 as a union without Scotland and out of the EU.

How the position of the UK in the world will change because of this is now up for debate. Clearly such a reduction of influence in the world will bring the seat in the Security Council up for serious debate and I can not see the UK retaining that seat.We will be falling back in political influence to the levels of Spain, the Netherlands and Italy no longer one of the big players.Some of that has already started to happen in New York at the UN - the UK no longer has the influence it used to have and when it tries to use it it often does it so badly eg Rio+20, the SDGs.

So time to consider a new Security Council - countries like South Africa, Brazil, Germany and India should be at the top of that list. Should they have veto power? What should be done about the veto?

The UK election  and what could be the situation by 2020 reopens a real opportunity for a change in the UN and the UK to assume its new position as small island with not too many friends.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Proposed Revision of some SDG Targets by the Co-chairs

GOAL 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters

Proposed Revision
1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations, including through assistance to those affected by complex humanitarian  emergencies, and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters

Explanatory rationale:  A revision to this target is proposed to bring focus to the needs of people affected by complex humanitarian emergencies.

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age

Proposed Revision
3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births

Explanatory rationale for the proposed change
SPECIFICITY: "Ending preventable deaths" means achieving a very significant reduction in mortality rates. Numerical targets are proposed here to specify what "ending preventable deaths" by 

3.6 2030 would mean for the two age groups (newborns and children under five). The numerical targets proposed are contained in the WHO's "A Promise Renewed Initiative" and in UNICEF's "Every Newborn Action Plan". The revised approach now proposed involves all countries aiming to reduce mortality in these age groups at least to the levels specified in these two documents respectively. The new formulation leaves scope for countries  already at or below that  level to reduce mortality even  further.

Proposed Revision
3.6 By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents By 2030, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents and, in the interim, by 2020, stabilize and then reduce global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents

CONSISTENCY WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS:
In 2010 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 64/255, which declared a Decade of Action for Road Safety {2011-2020). OP2 of the resolution articulates the goal of the Decade as "stabilizing and then reducing the forecasted  level of  road  traffic fatalities  around  the world" by 2020. The proposed revision of the target incorporates this goal. In real terms the Decade seeks to reduce road deaths by 2020 by 25% of the 2010 level. So the OWG target of a 50% reduction goes well beyond the Decade of Action objective. Extending the timeframe to 2030 is proposed to address this anomaly. A reduction of 50% by 2030, while ambitious, is achievable and supported by recent data.

3.b Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all

3.b None.

CONSISTENCY WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS:
It had been proposed to revise this target as the 2001 Doha Declaration does not limit the use of available TRIPS Agreement flexibilities to essential medicines (a defined term under national laws). Applying this rationale more fully to OWG target 3.b, the language would need to be further amended to remove references to vaccines, developing countries, and the provision of access to medicines for all. Making such substantive revisions to the OWG target however risks undermining the balance agreed during the OWG process and it is therefore proposed to revert to the original text.

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

4.4 By 2030, increase by [x] per cent the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs  and entrepreneurship

Proposed Revision
By 2030, ensure that all youth and adults have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship
Explanatory rationale for the proposed change SPECIFICITY (Xs): To ensure the highest possible level of ambition, it is proposed to replace "increase by [x] per cent" with the provision "ensure that all youth and adults...". This formulation is more ambitious than target 4 of the Muscat Agreement.

4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and at least [x] per cent of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy

Proposed Revision
4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and adults, both men and women, reach a proficiency level in literacy and numeracy sufficient to fully participate  in society

SPECIFICITY (Xs):
To ensure the highest possible level of ambition, it is proposed to replace "ensure that all youth and at least [x] per cent of adults" with the provision "ensure that all youth and adults...". It should be noted that this revised target would be more ambitious than the existing EFA Goal 4 which aims at a 50% increase by 2015, or the Muscat Agreement, which refers to "all youth and at least x% of adults". Furthermore it is proposed to replace "achieve literacy and numeracy" with "reach a proficiency level in literacy and numeracy sufficient to fully  participate  in society"  to  provide some definition as to what constitutes literacy and numeracy in a national  context.

4.b By 2020, expand by [x] per cent globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries

Proposed Revision
4.b By 2030, substantially increase support for scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries

DATE/SPECIFICITY (Xs):
According to UNESCO, there is no baseline data on numbers of scholarships. In the absence of such figures, UNESCO suggests that reference should instead be made to the volume of financial flows supporting scholarships for education in groups of beneficiary countries. It is proposed accordingly that the target should read: "By 2030 substantially increase support for scholarships ..."

4.c By 2030, increase by [x] per cent the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States
Proposed Revision

4.c By 2030, all learners are taught by qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States

MEASURABILITY (Xs):
To ensure the highest level of ambition, it is proposed to replace "increase by [x] per cent" by a provision for "all learners" to be taught by qualified teachers. An additional consideration  is that the insertion of a percentage target would not take account of fluctuating teacher  needs and differing demographic trends  across countries.

GOAL 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management  of water and sanitation for  all

6.3 By 2030, improve water  quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and increasing recycling and safe reuse by [x] per cent globally

Proposed Revision
6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and at least doubling recycling and safe reuse globally

Explanatory rationale for the proposed change
SPECIFICITY (Xs):
It is proposed to set an ambitious level here - "at least doubling" - because current global levels for the recycling and reuse of waste water are low (estimated to be in the range of 4-12%). Doubling was recommended by a report by the International Council for Science
6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water­ related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
Proposed Revision
6.6 By 2030, water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes have been fully protected and restored
CONSISTENCY  WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS:
This target has been further revised to refer to ecosystems being "fully protected and restored" by 2030. This increase in the level of ambition makes the target stronger than Aichi Target 14 (which by 2020 calls for "ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water'' to be restored and safeguarded) and justifies the extended timeframe to 2030.

GOAL 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

8.7 Take immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, eradicate forced labour and, by 2025, end child labour in all its forms, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers

Proposed Revision
8.7 Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms
Explanatory rationale for the proposed change CONSISTENCY  WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS:
As per article 3(a) of the ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182), recruitment and use of child soldiers are considered as worst forms of child labour and should therefore be listed under these forms. The proposed revision clarifies that the action on eradication of forced labour refers to all ages, not only to children.

GOAL 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people by [x] per cent and public and private research and development  spending

Proposed Revision
9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries,including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers and public and private research and development spending
MEASURABILITY (Xs): Global data on R&D workers is very incomplete. The wide variation  in numbers from one country to another would   make it very difficult to set a global rate of increase which would be attainable by, and relevant to, all countries. It is proposed therefore to refer to "substantially  increasing" the number and on this basis to  delete  the  reference  to  "per  1million people".

GOAL 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient  and   sustainable

11.5        By 2030, significantly  reduce the  number  of deaths, and the number of people affected and decrease  by number  of affected  people and [x] per cent the economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including  water-related disasters, with a              focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations.

Proposed Revision
By 2030, substantially reduce the  number  of deaths, the number  of affected  people and the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water- related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including through humanitarian  assistance

SPECIFICITY  (Xs)/CONSISTENCY  WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS:
This is aligned with the recently agreed Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), with an added reference to humanitarian assistance in recognition of its importance to disaster response.

11.b   By 2020, increase by [x] per cent the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, develop and implement, in line with the forthcoming Hyogo Framework, holistic disaster risk management at all levels

Proposed Revision
11.B By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction  2015-2030,  holistic disaster risk management at all levels

SPECIFICITY (Xs): ·
This is aligned with the recently agreed Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030). The outdated reference to the "forthcoming Hyogo Framework" has been deleted.

GOAL 12  Ensure sustainable consumption  and production  patterns

12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

Proposed Revision
By 2020, achieve the environmentally  sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks and agreements, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

Explanatory rationale for the proposed change CONSISTENCY  WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS: It is proposed to add the words "agreements" in order to encompass commitments made both under Voluntary frameworks and under legally binding agreements.

GOAL 14  Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable    development

14.c Ensure the full implementation of international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for States parties thereto, including, where applicable, existing regional and international regimes for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by their  parties

Proposed Revision
14.C Ensure the full implementation of international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including, where applicable, existing regional and international regimes for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their  resources  by their parties

Explanatory rationale for the proposed change CONSISTENCY  WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS:
The language in this target has been revised to align with existing international agreements  including Rio+20 (Para 158)  and the SAMOA Pathway (Para 55). In addition the revised formulation is aligned with annual GA omnibus resolutions on oceans and the law ofthe sea (e.g. A/RES/69/245, pp7). These existing agreements and resolutions recognise or reaffirm that "international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and their  resources".

GOAL 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

15.1      By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use  of terrestrial  and  inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements

Proposed Revision
15.1 Ensure the conservation restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services by 2020, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements, and take further action as needed by 2030

Explanatory rationale for the proposed change CONSISTENCY  WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS:
This formulation aligns the language of the target to the Aichi Targets as well as other commitments - maintaining the Aichi timeline of 2020 for specific actions, but calling for further action as needed by 2030.

15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable sustainable management of all types of forests,           halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and increase afforestation and reforestation by x] per cent globally

Proposed Revision
By 2020, promote the implementation of management of all types of forests, and by 2030, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and afforestation and reforestation globally
SPECIFICITY  {Xs)/CONSISTENCY  WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS: This revised formulation is more closely aligned with Aichi Targets (5, 7 and 15).

15.3 By 2020, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world

Proposed Revision
15.3 By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world

SPECIFICITY:
The 2030 timeframe is consistent with the UNCCD's target of land degradation  neutrality  by 2030 and compatible with the Aichi  Targets

15.5  Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

Proposed Revision
15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species, and take further action as needed by 2030

CONSISTENCY  WITH  INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS:
The target has been amended to include a reference to fragmentation of natural habitats, aligning it to Aichi targets. The proposed changes maintain the Aichi timeline of 2020 for specific actions (Aichi Target  12), but call for further action as needed by   2030.

GOAL 17 Strengthen the means of implementation  and revitalize  the global partnership  for sustainable   development

17.2        Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including to provide 0.7 per cent of gross national income in official development assistance to developing countries, of which 0.15 to 0.20 per cent should be provided to least developed countries
Proposed Revision

17.2  Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including to provide 0.7 per cent of gross national income in official development assistance to developing countries, of which at least 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of GNI should be provided to least developed countries, in line with the Istanbul  Programme of Action.


Explanatory rationale for the proposed change CONSISTENCY WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS: It is proposed to add in the last phrase words: "of which at least 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of GNI should be provided to least developed countries". The Istanbul Programme of Action on LDCs [para 116-2(a)(i)] calls for donors which are already providing more than 0.20% of their GNP as ODA to LDCs to continue to do so and maximize their efforts to further increase ODA to LDCs. A reference to the Istanbul Programme of Action has also been included to provide further clarity.

Why those attending the Gates Foundation are addressing the SDGs and how the media is not helpful

It is getting a little tiring to have to keep defending what has been the most participatory and open global conversation and development of policy priorities that we have ever had.

Some of the criticisms have come from those who didn't get what they wanted in the Sustainable Development Goals and targets others because they haven't participated in the process and now realize it is too late and others because they don't seem to recognize the huge challenges that we fact in the world in the coming years.

Of course it would be easier if we didn't have to cover so many issues but we had that chance that was the 1990's. The lack of delivery of previous commitments means that of course the world now has to face so many more urgent issues.

I read the story in Humanosphere and of course I wasn't at the meeting so I can only comment on what was reported as being said. It was a report on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations Global Partners Forum.

"It’s like ‘No targets left behind,’ ” Mark Suzman, the Gates Foundation’s chief of policy and advocacy. When following this up with Mark Suzman he said the comment had been taken out of context and went on to say:

What I actually said was that all 169 targets and 17 goals were important and legitimate derived from a globally inclusive process that we supported, but that as advocates clearly it is impossible to push equally for all targets and that at the Gates Foundation we would follow our mandate and mission and focus on what nearly every member state has said is a shared priority: The unfinished agenda of the MDGS.”

This is perhaps yet another example of bad journalism. I don’t expect this to be the last time I write this between now and the September Summit. I wonder if we need a ‘war room’ from stakeholders to deal with the misinformation that the media may be making.

It is worth listens to Ambassador Macharia Kamau's introduction to the last session of the SDGs.

To share the key points that he said which I think would put the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets into perspective. The G20 as was reported by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said Turkey - G20 chair for 2015 the Brisbane Action Plan, entails about 1,000 commitments,

"The OECD assesses the draft growth strategies to include close to 1000 individual structural policy commitments, of which more than 800 are new. This represents a large increase from earlier G-20 action plans. The clarity and concreteness of measures has increased, although some measures remain that are insufficiently precise to allow for robust quantification of their impact." (OECD Quantifying the Impact of G-20 Members’ Growth Strategies)

There was also a statement by the Heads of the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank,
the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund:

"2015 marks a critical year for development, as the international community works towards agreeing on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to meet the dual challenges of overcoming poverty and protecting the planet. With their welcome emphasis on issues such as the environment, employment, infrastructure, and inequality, the SDGs send a clear message to policy-makers and development practitioners. As leading sources of policy advice and financing for developing countries, international financial institutions (IFIs) fully support this comprehensive approach. However, the resources needed to implement such an ambitious agenda far surpass current development financial flows.

Achieving the SDGs will require moving from billions to trillions in resource flows. Such a paradigm shift calls for a wide-ranging financing framework capable of channeling resources and investments of all kinds—public and private, national and global."

Attending the Gates Foundation meeting Amina Mohamed quite rightly said: "The MDGs addressed symptoms, not root causes.

The SDGs are complex and politically unpalatable to many, she added, precisely because they seek to fix some of the more difficult, politically charged causes of poverty and inequity."

The Gates Foundation is also supporting the Global Citizens Campaign around the SDGs which will be running a large campaign in favor of the SDGs as

Finally I will again list the reasons that I have a problem with the ECONOMISTS lazy journalism:
  1. It is not about developing countries it is about EVERY country
  2. Unlike the MDGs which were dropped in at the last moment this process has gone through a 4 year global consultations starting in July 2011 which has included Rio+20, 120 National Consultations, 11 thematic consultations, a SG Panel chaired by three sitting PMs or Presidents including the UK and 13 SDG Open Working Group Meetings
  3. The reason it is covering so many issues is in part due to the lack of implementation of previous agreements over the last twenty years
  4. The agreement has a delicate balance in it for key issues on governance and SRHRs which would be lost if it was reopened
  5. The push for wanting less was rejected by the UK parliament Environment Audit Committee in December after taking evidence from a wide range of stakeholders and government Ministries – who ever wrote the article should read that report.
  6. The very few countries that are pushing for less goals are ones that do not want the sustainable buit of the SDGs because they don’t want to be held accountable for sustainable consumption and production issues and inequality issues and I could go on – this is the UK Canada, Australia and USA – so be careful what you are asking for.
Lets focus on starting to put the partnerships together that can deliver the SDGs. This will require consider support from all of us and the leadership that the Gates Foundation has played in health is something that will be needed for the SDGs as well. 

We would all wish for those easier times but let us be reminded of the words of Martin Luther King:
"Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words - too late." 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Proposed themes for the UN General Assembly Session on the Post 2015 Development Goals

The co-chairs have released a revised version of what should be the six themes for the the post-2015 Summit interactive dialogue in the UN GA September 25-27th.  

As per Decision 69/555 on the modalities for the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, the overarching theme for the dialogues will be "Transforming the world: realizing the post-2015 development  agenda".

It is envisaged that each interactive dialogue would address the three dimensions of sustainable development. There will also be scope to address in each dialogue issues such as gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and prioritising the needs of all vulnerable groups.

Proposed themes for the interactive dialogues:
  • Ending poverty and hunger, and addressing humanitarian emergencies

Tackling poverty in all its dimensions; addressing malnutrition and achieving food security; completing the unfinished business of the M DGs; addressing humanitarian emergencies  and  their root causes.
  • Tackling inequalities and leaving no one behind

Tackling inequalities within and between countries and supporting countries in special situations; supporting vulnerable groups; achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; ensuring access for all to education, water and sanitation,  health care, and social protection.
  • Fostering economic transformation and sustainable consumption and production

Building resilient and dynamic economies; investing in sustainable agriculture, energy and infrastructure; supporting  youth  employment  and decent work for  all.
  • Protecting our planet and tackling climate change

Promoting resilience and disaster preparedness; protecting oceans, seas, biodiversity and  ecosystems; addressing  land  degradation  and desertification.
  • Strengthening governance for sustainable development

Supporting strong and accountable institutions at all levels; promoting peaceful and inclusive societies; securing access to justice for all; and respecting all human rights, including  the right  to development.
  • Delivering on a revitalised Global Partnership


Meeting commitments on the means of implementation; engaging people worldwide, especially children and young people, in the realisation of the SDGs; shaping  effective  multi-stakeholder partnerships.