UN discussing role of technology, innovation for sustainable development - Senior UN officials, policymakers, civil society representatives and other stakeholders gathered on Tuesday in New York for a special UN Economic and Social Council forum on mobilizing science, technology and innovation for sustainable development.

Speaking at the opening session, UN Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Wu Hongbo, said that science, technology and innovation hold great potential as tools and pave the way to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development.

He stated: “They can be used to promote health, increase productivity, improve the efficiency of resource use, and reduce negative human impacts on the environment and they will be critical to tackling some of the major sustainable development challenges of this century.


Read more at Afrique Jet

Nabeel RajabCIVICUS calls on the government of Bahrain to urgently disclose the whereabouts of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. Nabeel called his wife on 14 May from prison informing her he had witnessed a heinous crime committed by the authorities in Bahrain and as a result the government is intent on silencing him.  The two calls made to his wife lasted a few seconds and were abruptly interrupted indicating that the Bahraini authorities stopped their conversation.  His family now fears for his life as he has been moved from his prison cell and his whereabouts are uknown. His wife believes he has been moved to solitary confinement to break all forms of communication with his family and may be tortured to silence him.  Nabeel, who was sentenced to three years in prison in August 2012 (sentenced reduced to 2 years in December 2012), has been reportedly subjected to different forms of harassment at the hands of the Bahraini authorities.

 

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Sukhrobjon Ismoilov, the founder and director of the Expert Working Group (EWG), speaks to CIVICUS about ongoing restrictions on civil society in Uzbekistan and the need for greater international support following Uzbekistan's recent examination under the UN Universal Period Review (UPR).

Uzbekistan just underwent its examination under the UN Universal Period Review. Can you tell us about the recent threats to civil society activists in the country?

The latest instances of judicial harassment and attacks against national civil society activists in Uzbekistan demonstrate the government's readiness to silence the country's only remaining critical voices. In an attempt to suppress independent dissent, the government has resorted to a number of strong arms tactics. Human rights defenders, including independent journalists, lawyers and CSO staff continue to be prosecuted on trumped-up criminal charges. In addition, the government continues to force activists to leave the country under the threat of criminal charges and imprisonment.

Senior UN and government officials on Monday called on countries to prioritize establishment of innovative policy and legal instruments alongside new funding kitties to eradicate slums and enable urban population have access to low cost and environmental friendly homes.


The officials attending 24th Session of the UN-HABITAT Governing Council which kicked off in Nairobi, said that mushrooming slums in world’s cities place immense hurdles to sustainable development, threatens social and political order alongside human and ecological health.


“Though we have met the quantitative target of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers, the gains have been eroded by increased number of new arrivals. To be precise, the growth of slums has been faster than their eradication,” UN-HABITAT Executive Director Joan Clos told the participants.


He said growth of slums present new challenges to sustainable development, adding that Kenya’s devolved system of government to the two tier national and county governments was good for the country as it ensures more resources to the grassroots and participation in decision making.


Clos clarified that the world has made incremental progress in attainment of millennium development targets on improving conditions of slum dwellers through provision of basic amenities like water, sanitation, health, education and availability of energy sources.


“I therefore urge all governments and the Habitat Agenda partners to ensure that the MDG targets on slums and in water and sanitation are firmly kept in mind during the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda,” said Clos.


Read more at Coastweek.com

Since the Millennium Summit in 2000, the United Nations' development goals have succeeded in driving and focusing the world debate on human development. The UN Millennium Declaration, adopted by all 193 UN members, sought to define a common global approach to addressing poverty, health, and education challenges.


Access to education is a major plank of this effort, listed at number two out of the eight Millennium Goals, adopted in 2005 at the follow up World Summit meeting in New York. While other goals include eliminating extreme poverty, empowering women, and combating disease, in the realm of education, the focus of the effort is to deliver universal primary education. Specifically, world leaders committed a deadline of 2015 to achieve both the enrollment in and completion of a full course of primary schooling for any child, girl or boy.


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Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, Kaifala Marah, has called for the implementation of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States in the post-2015 development agenda to help Africa fulfil its potential.


‘It’s time to stand up to our continent’s least endearing trait: conflict. This reoccurring phenomenon is perpetuating poverty and hampering the fulfilment of Africa’s potential as a whole,’ warned Minister Marah.


Africa is the location for the majority of the 1.5 billion people living in fragile and conflict-affected states. Thirteen of the eighteen members of the g7+, a grouping of fragile states, are in Africa. No African member of the g7+ has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal (MDG).


Read more at Sierra Express Media

Growth in Asia-Pacific remains subdued due to the impact of persistent weaknesses and uncertainties in the developed economies, the United Nations reported today, urging Governments to implement macroeconomic policies that focus more on inclusivity and sustainable development.


The report, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2013: Forward-looking macroeconomic policies for inclusive and sustainable development, argues that macroeconomic policies can play a vital role in reorienting the region towards a more inclusive and sustainable growth path – a high priority of its post-2015 development agenda.


Read more at eNews Park Forest

Hunger, malnutrition, poverty, climate change, environmental degradation - addressing these injustices is at the forefront of political meetings the world over. Yet these problems persist as global leaders strive to find efficient and synergistic ways of tackling them sustainably.

In Africa alone over 200 million people are chronically hungry and 40% of children under the age of 5 are stunted. At the same time, the African population is still rapidly growing and experiencing serious declines in its agricultural resource base with present food production systems only expected to be able to meet 13% of the continent's food needs by 2050.


Meeting the challenge of this "post-2015" development agenda - so-called because it will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) once they expire in 2015 -requires new solutions to addressing food insecurity, resource scarcity and at-risk rural livelihoods.


One such solution is Sustainable Intensification.

The phrase "Sustainable Intensification" was originally coined as a technical term, but it has become highly politicised more recently by various groups and is often incorrectly associated only with high-input, industrial agriculture.


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Opened by Her Majesty Queen Rania al-Abdullah of Jordan on April 10th, 2013, the Arab Development Forum kicked off in Jordan, as part of the worldwide UN led consultations on the global development agenda beyond 2015, when the Millennium Developments Goals will expire.


The forum, which spanned over two days (April 10-11) aimed to identify regional priorities, such as:
Ø Poverty reduction, inclusive growth and employment generation
Ø Conflict prevention and social cohesion
Ø Voice, participation, citizen engagement and political inclusion
Ø Access to and quality of basic services: health and education
Ø Environmental sustainability Post Rio

The Forum was attended by Helen Clark, Chair of UN Development Group; the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhindawi, Sima Bahous, Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNSG’s Envoy on Youth; Costanza Farina, UN Resident Coordinator in Jordan; Corinne Woods, Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign; Regional Directors of UN Agencies working on development; Yemen 2011 Nobel Peace prize winner, Tawakkul Karman and representatives from civil society, academia and the private sector from all over the Arab region.


Read more at Yemen Post

Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr Peter Thomson convened the meeting in his capacity as the Chair of G77 and China.


In his opening remarks, Ambassador Thomson welcomed the Permanent Representatives of South Africa, Guyana, Kenya and the Charge d’Affaires of Brazil, in their respective capacity as co-chair or co-facilitators of the silo process on the Special Event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); the review of the implementation of resolution 61/16 of the General Assembly on the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) respectively. The co-facilitators and co-chair briefed the G77 ambassadors on the progress of their work, followed by an interactive discussion.


In his briefing, Ambassador Mamabolo of South Africa reminded the meeting that the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the MDGs called for a High-level Special Event on the MDGs to be held in 2013 and requested the Secretary-General to make recommendations in his annual reports, for further steps to advance the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015.  Ambassador Mamabolo acknowledged the current impasse between the G77 members and some developed countries on the status of the outcome document of this Special Event. He said the G77 has been insisting on an ‘intergovernmentally agreed’ document which is implementable within the UN system while some developed countries stood firm on their preference for a ‘President’s Summary’, an outcome that is not binding.  He urged the Group to move beyond the insistence of terminology but focus on the actual outcome document instead.


Read more at The Jet

Pakistan’s State Bank Governor Yaseen Anwar said Monday that poverty alleviation and enhancing energy access to people should be at the heart of the post-2015 global development agenda and goals that the U.N. was in the process of preparing.  “Distinct circumstances of countries should guide the implementation of global frameworks and agendas,” he told a special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods Institutions (World Bank and IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).  The Bank governor said Pakistan would constructively engage with the global economic discourse at the U.N. and in other foras for a development agenda that is grounded in the needs and requirements of all countries.  Noting that the world economy was seeing some signs of recovery, Yaseen Anwar said it was still mired in an economic and financial crisis.

Developing countries had faced the worst consequences of the crisis, he said, adding deeper reform would be necessary to maintain stability.
“Global economic stability is a common good,” he told delegates from around the world.  


As such, it required shared understanding, not simply shared responsibility for its preservation.  

While many countries could withstand the intensity of the crisis, he said shock absorbers in the developing world either were not available or were insufficient, as had been seen in the enhanced risk premium on lending and investments, which, in turn, had resulted in a surge in external financing costs.


Read more at Associated Press of Pakistan

The Ministry of Planning and Territory Development has been working together with the UNDP meant to prepare the post-2015 Agenda, the new global development plan, Angop has learnt.
 
This was disclosed on Tuesday by the State Secretary for planning and territory development, Pedro Luís da Fonseca, during the opening of a seminar on the Global agenda of 2015 post development-Angola contribution.
 
He said that the UNPD is the entity in charge of preparing the 2015-post development agenda, adding that the elaboration of the agenda is a complex task, but absolutely reasoned.
 
The official also said that Angola was named to integrate the group of countries that will be consulted under the framework of the identification of priorities that will be part of the focus of the international institutions and may be national ones until 2030.


Read more at ANGOP Society

A briefing on the report from the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) will be given by the President of Indonesia and Panel Co-chair, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This briefing was announced on 22 April 2013, by UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Vuk Jeremic during the HLP's briefing on its fourth meeting (HLP 4). The briefing will address the UNGA. The final report of the Panel is expected to be submitted to the Secretary-General at the end of May 2013, per the Panel's terms of reference.  


Read more at Post- 2015 Policy and Practice

Around 400 representatives from civil society, academia, indigenous peoples and the private sector from 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean gathered at the conference “Realizing the Future We Want in Latin America and the Caribbean: Towards a post-2015 development agenda,” held in Guadalajara, Mexico on 17-19 April 2013. The conference, organized by the government of Mexico, provided a forum to discuss and enhance regional perspectives in the post-2015 process, adding to the national and thematic consultations organized by the United Nations and to the meetings held by the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP).


The Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs José Antonio Meade Kuribreña and the Governor of the State of Jalisco [1] Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval Diaz welcomed the participants to one of the biggest face-to-face consultations organized so far in the post-2015 context. During the meeting, participants had the opportunity to interact – both formally and informally – with Ambassador and High-level Panel member Patricia Espinosa. She emphasized the importance of having continued multi-stakeholder dialogues in the lead up to 2015 and committed to sharing the outcomes of the regional consultation with the other members of the HLP.


The discussions in Mexico were also informed by high-level representatives of the United Nations, such as United Nations Development Programme’s Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan and Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; representatives of the HLP Secretariat; and representatives of the Mexican government. Prior to the official start of the conference, Ms. Grynspan and Ms. Espinosa also talked with Mexican journalists about the role of media in covering the MDG and the post-2015 process.


Read more at NGLS

The post-2015 development agenda should be reframed around “one-world” goals, according to a new paper issued by The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Researchers propose 10 new comprehensive goals that will advance human development in the developed and developing world, alike.


In "The Millennium Development Goals and Post-2015: Squaring the Circle," authors Barry Carin and Nicole Bates-Eamer address what should follow the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) beyond their target date of 2015. Carin and Bates-Eamer’s findings are based on a two-year project, sponsored by CIGI and the Korea Development Institute (KDI), which involved consultations in Bellagio, Beijing, Geneva, Mumbai, New York, Pretoria, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Washington and at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris.


“To respond to emerging global and national challenges, the post-2015 development agenda should be based on a comprehensive and holistic notion of development,” the authors write. Moreover, they argue, “there is a persuasive rationale for why new challenges should be addressed, given the dramatic changes in the international development landscape over the past two decades.”


The authors recommend the following 10 goals…


Read more at PR Web

The countdown to the last 1,000 days to the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has begun. On April 5, the world marked the beginning of the critical last mile of the MDGs.


Launched in 2000 with the signing of the Millennium Declaration by 189 UN member-countries, the MDGs became the global agenda for development at the start of the new century. Being time-bound and measurable, the MDGs have made a difference and changed the way of achieving development objectives.


The 8 MDGs are: the halving of extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, gender equality, reduction of child mortality, improved women's health, stoppage and reversal of the spread of TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability, and global partnerships for aid, trade and debt relief. The MDGs are measured against 18 targets and 60 indicators.


Twelve years hence, the MDGs have shown successes in mobilizing the global community into achieving its targets. As of the 2012 Global MDGs Progress Report, 4 targets have been achieved. First, the global target of halving extreme poverty from its 1990 level has been reached, equivalent to 600 million people.


Read more at Rappler Beta

The post-MDG framework runs the risk of underachieving because “there are too many cooks in the kitchen this time around,” according to Jan Vandemoortele, one of the co-architects of the Millennium Development Goals.


While confident that the implementation of a framework “can and will be done,” Vandemoortele told Devex that he feared it would look like a “badly decorated Christmas tree” that no one wants to get too close to.


With over 30 years of experience at various United Nations bodies and as director of the Poverty Group at the U.N. Development Program between 2001 and 2005, Vandemoortele cautioned that the “clock is ticking” to achieve the MDGs currently on the table.


Looking ahead, the advisor to the U.N. Secretary-General and the Dutch secretary for development cooperation stressed the need for the international community to “keep its promises” while “listening more” and avoiding a “donor-centric approach.”


“Strong leadership” in the months ahead is essential, Vandemoortele asserted, if global development is to take steps towards its “Man on the Moon” moment by the end of the decade.


Read more at devex

Mustapha Sanah, Executive Chairman of Northern Ghana Aid (NOGAID), a development-oriented organisation, has appealed to developed nations to support poor countries to reduce poverty and disease to facilitate sustainable development and world peace.

He said it is imperative for developed countries to increase assistance to smaller and weaker countries to make them strong to reduce the urge to engage in violent conflicts normally associated with poverty.

The advanced countries have a moral obligation to do just that in making the world a happier place, “he said in an interview with Ghana News Agency, in Washington, after a dialogue session with Mr Joachim Von Amsberg, Vice President of the World Bank with civil society organisations (CSOs).

Mr Amsberg is in-charge of concessional Finance at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Mr Sanah said, despite the difficult fiscal conditions the developed nations faced in 2010, they manage to extend $49 billion funding for the world poorest countries under the International Development Association (IDA) 16 Replenishment.

IDA is the World Bank’s assistance for the poorest of countries and key actor in progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Read more at GhanaWeb

First, rather than treating countries as finance-recipients, they need to be viewed as finance-generators. It is a common criticism of the MDG era that too much emphasis has been placed on aid. Instead, taxation and curbing illicit flows, present but largely forgotten in every major development financing document of the past 20 years, must finally be given precedence over foreign inflows of money.


Second, and even more profoundly, the whole "financing gap" calculating model, whereby a particular outcome is costed and possible contributions totted up, is past its sell-by date. It has been the basis of much of the quantitative analysis behind the MDG era, and is also the thinking behind the simplified NGO stats that x billion dollars will result in y lives saved. But it depoliticises finance, which is – and should be – very political.


Both themes emerged at a recent meeting in Johannesburg organised by the UN Millennium Campaign, where a group of African intellectuals and guests discussed how new development goals would be financed in Africa. The buzzwords were "structural transformation". Rather than seeking cash from others to achieve development results, a profound economic restructuring is required to finance change that is both sustainable and equitable.


Read more at Poverty Matters

The Federal Government has announced the release of ‘conditional grants’ to 148 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in order to improve investment at the grassroots level.


The senior special assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Precious Gbeneol, who announced this in Abuja at a pre-implementation workshop for local government officials said the conditional grants scheme has availed the nation the opportunity of leveraging resources from all tiers of government in order to achieve socio-economic development of the rural areas.


She explained that the scheme is aimed at reducing poverty and providing even development of local government areas.


Ms Gbeneol warned the participants not to misuse the grants allocated to their local government areas.
Development partners from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pledged their support for the programme.


Read more at Channels

Orange Botswana has come up with an initiative concerning the second batch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Biztech reported. Orange has partnered with Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including a Dutch one for the 'Voice Africa's Future' campaign. Orange Botswana said the campaign asks young people to share their vision for Africa's future using their mobile phones. Orange Botswana will send text messages to its customers aged between 15 and 35 and ask them to join in, free of charge.


Orange Botswana said it makes perfect sense to use the short messaging system (SMS) on mobile phones to give young people a voice. Botswana is ranked second in Africa for mobile technology penetration. The network provider is the only one in Botswana involved in the initiative so far. Orange said that with the deadline for the goals approaching, it was clear that not all of them will be achieved, and pointed out that in Botswana, HIV continues to be a heavy burden on the healthcare system, and causing child mortality and complications in maternal health.


Read more at telecompaper

Sudan confirmed its willingness to work with the international community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), calling for the importance of partnership and cooperation in the development agenda beyond the year 2015. State Minister at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Abdul Rahman Dirar said that in the statement he presented on behalf of Sudan in the high-level meeting organized by the UN Economic and Social Council in New York, in collaboration with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO) and UN Trade and Development Organization, in order to discuss the global economic crisis. He pointed to the importance of addressing issues of debt for countries emerging from conflict. The minister called on international financial institutions to encourage the success achieved on the course of the relationship with South Sudan and in Darfur by dropping the debt and open trade and economic cooperation with Sudan.


The minister called for the need to inspire lessons from the financial and economic crisis, which showed the importance of partnership and economic to achieve common development. He pointed to Sudan's willingness to work with the international community to enforce the MDGs, according to the Secretary-General's initiative. The minister tackled the need for reform within the new economic system to finance and support the development in poor countries.


Read more at Sudan Vision

National leadership and action are crucial and governments have the primary responsibility for assuring the food security of their citizens, Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said.


The Organisation's Director-General José Graziano da Silva told a high-level meeting on the United Nation's vision for a post-2015 strategy against world hunger in a statement signed by Peter Lowrey of the FAO Media Relations Department in Rome and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday.


He said the Millennium Development Goals had pushed us forward; however with 870 million people still suffering from hunger, the war against food insecurity was far from over.


The Director General said the only effective answer to food insecurity was political commitment at the national level, and reinforcement at the regional and global levels by the international community of donors and international organizations; adding that the world's attitude toward hunger had changed profoundly.


He stated that the right to food in the context of national food security was now the agreed foundation for policy discussion worldwide.


Read more at Modern Ghana

Millennium Development Goals now drawing near, the international community is looking at the path to follow to support the efforts of developing countries after 2015.  The 2013 European Report on Development (ERD), entitled “Post 2015: Global Action for an Inclusive and Sustainable Future”, is part of this global reflection. It comes just after the Commission’s proposal for a new development framework (“A Decent Life for All: Ending Poverty and Giving the World a Sustainable Future”).    


The ERD 2013 argues that the lessons should be learned from the MDG experiences to go further and calls for a new framework that goes “Beyond MDGs” and “Beyond aid”. Poverty eradication remains a central objective that requires strategies that tackle the roots of it in an inclusive and sustainable manner, by means of a genuine transformative programme. The report looks at the “drivers”: flows of money (development finance), goods (trade and investment) and people (migration) and enriches the analysis by examining, with local researchers, the experiences of four countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, Peru and Rwanda.


In Africa, the capacity of the Côte d’Ivoire, a middle income country, to benefit from trade and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has played a key role, even if the country remains vulnerable due to its overdependence on a limited range of products. The recent political instability has compromised achievement of the MDGs but they remain a priority. The study notes that, despite the present crisis, the Côte d’Ivoire is succeeding in maintain high levels of tax revenue.  


Rwanda has experienced difficulties in attracting FDI and Official Development Assistance has played a bigger role there. The government implemented an ambitious development programme in which the MDGs played a central role but this dependence on aid also creates vulnerability. Today Rwanda is seeking to attract more FDI and is making progress in mobilising domestic resources.  


The report illustrates the importance of national choices and of taking ownership but also of the external environment and the need to avoid ready-made solutions. European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed its contribution: “I am pleased to see that the new ERD, which is particularly timely and relevant, in many ways complements and supports the work of the Commission; This year’s report, with its in-depth analysis and ambitious messages, will help stimulate the debate on the post-2015 development agenda, both at the EU and global levels.”


Read more at Africa and Europe in Partnership

Ahead of the high-level summit on energy in the post 2015 development framework taking place in Oslo on 9-10th April 2013, The World Coal Association (WCA) has called for clear action to improve energy access and address the challenge of energy poverty affecting 1.3bn people worldwide.


Participants in the Oslo event will discuss key energy recommendations and potential global energy objectives, with the aim of informing and shaping the post 2015 development agenda on energy issues. As the world’s leading source of electricity, the WCA wants coal to be recognised as having a major role to play in meeting global energy access and climate change objectives.


Milton Catelin, Chief Executive of the WCA, commented “One of the biggest criticisms of the Rio+20 conference was the lack of ambition to improve energy access and no real statement on how the international community can work together to deliver energy for all. In the current global discourse on energy poverty there is too much focus on patchwork solutions for energy access.


Read more at World Coal Association

For the first time in history, the United Nations (UN) are engaging people all around the world in shaping a global agenda: the next development goals.

We are breaking new ground using digital media, mobile phone technology and door-to-door interviewers to include as many individuals as possible in the debate on the future anti-poverty targets that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

To date, close to half a million people have taken part in the ongoing “Global Conversation.”

The discussion takes place on several platforms: close to 100 UN Member States are organizing local workshops with the participation of young people, vulnerable women, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups;  eleven global thematic consultations are taking place online through the World We Want 2015 website, where people can contribute their ideas on issues such as inequalities, food security, and access to water; and the MY World survey, available in 10 languages, invites people to vote for six out of 16 priorities for the future development agenda.


Read more at UNDP

For Garry Conille, the United Nations high-level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 development agenda will “go down in history as one of the most consultative processes ever.”
 
The former prime minister of Haiti is currently a special advisor to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who co-chairs the panel.
 
While civil society and aid groups greeted the outcome of the panel’s last meeting — held in Bali, Indonesia, on March 27 — with mixed reactions, Conille believes it has been “an incredible process” so far. Conille is optimistic, he told Devex, that the panel will be both “ambitious and bold” in its final recommendations, which are due to be released in May.
 
Looking forward, he said that any post-2015 development agenda would need to include practical and measurable goals — and ideally, global ones.
 
He also stressed the importance of the emerging economies and the private sector in achieving broad consensus beyond aid, asserting that “countries want to graduate from aid and part of achieving that is better trade.”
 
Here are some excerpts from our conversation with Conille, captured last week in Brussels.


Read more at devex

The EU’s latest proposal for the post-2015 development framework is on the right track. But, as Member States reflect on this document to adopt Council Conclusions in May, more effort is needed to spell out how a future framework can support and measure progress towards sustainable peace.


On 27 February, the European Commission (EC) released a Communication entitled ‘A decent life for all: ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future’, setting out a proposal for a common EU approach to the post-MDG framework. The EU’s vision revolves around five priorities that are seen as the building blocks of a decent life for all. These are: basic living standards; inclusive and sustainable growth; sustainable management of natural resources; equality, equity and justice; and peace and security. The inclusion of peace and security as one of the building blocks of the framework highlights recognition by the EC that “Where there is physical insecurity, high levels of inequality, governance challenges and little or no institutional capacity, it is extremely difficult to make sustainable progress on the key MDG benchmarks” (EuropeanCommission: A Decent Life for all: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future).


Read more at TransConflict

At the March 2013 Conference of African ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that was held in Abidjan, African Ministers requested the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the African Union Commission to set up a Working Group that would come up with indicators aimed at following up on progress made in reaching the post 2015 development agenda in line with the Africa Common Position.

In this regard, the three institutions are jointly organizing a meeting, themed: Statistical Challenges of Monitoring Development beyond 2015 in Pretoria, South Africa on 2-3 May 2013. The objective of the meeting is to provide an opportunity to officials from the national statistical systems and other statistical organizations in the region to learn about the on-going policy work on the post-2015 development agenda at international and regional levels; initiate development of indicators and prepare a clear roadmap for meeting the statistical challenges through a balanced understanding of the likely data demand beyond 2015.

Regardless of the nature of post-2015 development framework that is finally adopted, the issues and challenges of monitoring progress against regional and national goals and targets through robustly measurable indicators still need to be seriously addressed. Further, while the policy work is in progress, it is hoped that the statistical community in Africa can start engaging in discussions on development of indicators; setting of goals and targets; as well as measurement issues for monitoring purposes. The discussion should also include the various statistical challenges currently being faced by the countries with regard to obtaining regular data for monitoring of development indicators, including those in the MDGs. Clearly, statisticians should prepare themselves to meet greater data demands in future.

Read more at 4- traders

The United Nations General Assembly is focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and fostering a successor development agenda, the President of the UN body said today, highlighting upcoming events to increase momentum as the 2015 deadline for both efforts approaches.


Vuk Jeremic, President of the General Assembly, told journalists in New York that he is putting a lot of my time and energy into working with the different UN actors and uniting their efforts on the MDGs “so that the way is paved for the General Assembly in the next 1,000 days to come to a single holistic and comprehensive sustainable development agenda.”


“That is in my opinion possibly the most important piece of work for the General Assembly for the next 1,000 days,” Mr. Jeremic added.


Among the high-level events related to the MDGs, Mr. Jeremic noted plans are underway for a “landmark” conference on 25 September to coincide with the high-level opening of the General Assembly in New York.
The event, Mr. Jeremic said, would be the last big conference aimed at marking the transition from the MDGs to a sustainable post-2015 development agenda.


Read more at UN News Centre

High-level aid officials and close to 100 people from local communities across Africa and Asia will be participating today in a conference in Dublin that aims to drive post-2015 development agenda discussions on the interlinkages among hunger, nutrition and climate change.
 
The Dublin Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, Climate Justice — hosted by the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice and the Irish government, which currently holds the EU presidency — will act as a platform for the aid community to exchange ideas on tackling hunger and malnutrition.
 
About 870 million people — 563 million of them from Asia-Pacific — continue to suffer from hunger, according to the the FAO’s 2012 State of Food Insecurity in the World. Climate change is expected to add 10 to 20 percent more to this number by 2050. It adds to the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, affects crop production and water access.
 
A paper released ahead of the conference highlights these scenario and the need to address the nexus between hunger and climate change. With an expected world population of 9 billion come 2050, the need to produce food enough for everyone becomes more critical.


 Read more at devex

The United Nations General Assembly today is holding a thematic debate with the Group of 20 major economies, or G20, to strengthen interaction between the two bodies and to improve global economic governance.


“Since the outbreak of the world economic, financial and debt crisis, the ongoing discussions about how to improve global economic governance have grown in significance, drawing increased public attention across the planet,” General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic said in his opening address to the thematic debate, ‘UN and Global Economic Governance.’


Mr. Jeremic noted that the UN General Assembly is the only global forum with universal membership and the only one to give equal voice to all members.


“The General Assembly should become a venue for enhanced interaction between international financial and trade institutions, the G20 and non-G20 Member States, by providing a platform to reflect on common concerns, as well as exchange views and share information,” he stressed.


In his speech, Mr. Jeremic outlined some ways to better formalize ad hoc practices to boost relations between the General Assembly and the G20, whose presidency is held this year by the Russian Federation.


Read more at UN News Centre

Kenya will continue to support sustainable urbanization as key part of the post-2015 global development agenda. “We believe that a post-2015 development agenda should be transformative to address the main challengers and opportunities that cities and towns in the 21st Century face, we should find better ways to manage our rural environments in order to stem disruptive migratory flows to big cities,” the country's President Uhuru Kenyatta said when he opened the United Nations Habitat 24th Session of the Governing Council.


“We want an agenda that focuses on small villages as much as it does on mega-cities and balances the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development,” Added Kenyatta.


According to Kenyatta, the theme of the session ‘Sustainable Development: The role of cities in creating improved economic opportunities for all’ speaks to the highest priorities of the Jubilee government. “Over the next five years, my government in keeping with the pledges made by the Jubilee coalition will deliver on a manifesto that tackles the challenges we are discussing here” Remarked Kenyatta.


“Our manifesto rests on three pillars with elements that are congruent with the theme of Sustainable Urban Development and the generation of economic opportunities through cities especially for young men and women,” he said.


Read more at African Science News

Southern Voice, a network of 48 Think Tanks based Africa, Latin America and South Asia has recently launched its ‘Occasional Paper Series’. The aim is to provide “quality data, evidence and analyses that derive from research in the countries of the global South”  as “these think tanks seek to inform the discussion on the post‐2015 framework, goals and targets, and to help give shape to the debate itself”, while strengthening their outreach capacity in a policy context dominated by Northern institutions.


The two papers below are amongst the first in the Occasional Paper Series, and take a critical view on the post-2015 development agenda.


Read more at Post2015.org- what comes after the MDGs?

In collaboration with the Berlin Civil Society Center, CIVICUS, DAWN, IBON and Social Watch, GCAP helped organize a civil society forum in Bonn, March 22 – 23, 2013 that was attended by 260 representatives from over 200 CSOs including EA SusWatch represented by UCSD, to advance the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda (a successor to the Millennium Development Goals framework to end in 2015).


In a video message at the start of the Conference, Dirk Niebel – Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development underscored the importance of civil society in the Post 2015 development process with a task to point out challenges and how to address them. ‘An inclusive process through the UN will give the necessary legitimacy to the process,’ the Germany Minister emphasized.


In addition, he called for the Post 2015 outcome to apply to all countries (not only developing countries), and the need to link the Post 2015 development process to the intergovernmental Open Working Group process on sustainable development goals (SDGs) called for in the Rio+20 Outcome Document, June 2012 that is also underway.


Read more at In2EastAfrica

Following the final meeting of the U.N. secretary general’s High-Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Bali, Indonesia from March 25-27, panel members are now engaged in drafting a report that will recommend the vision and shape of a post-2015 development agenda that responds to the global challenges of the 21st century.


Last week, in an effort to inform the writing of this report, HLP members received a consensus brief, Equitable Learning for All elaborating on a vision and goal for education within the post-2015 development process. This brief was developed in response to members of the HLP’s request for consensus from the education community around a specific theme and vision for the post-2015 agenda. It was developed from an analysis of the many voices that have provided input for the post-2015 education consultation process, and it has been endorsed by 93 civil society organizations (CSOs) and other partners around the world, the vast majority of which are from the global south.


Read more at Brookings

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It is with great pleasure that we announce the recipients of the 2013 Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Awards.

This year, the Innovation Awards are providing seed funding of US$3,000 to local dialogues between civil society and other sectors usually not connected. The dialogues follow the theme of the 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly, “a new social contract”, and the programmatic track “Building partnerships for social innovation”. In 2013, only CIVICUS members who participated at the 2012 World Assembly were invited to submit proposals.

An international panel of civil society experts selected five winning dialogues:

  • “Stakeholders forum on building citizen engagement and participation in the Niger Delta”, by the Niger Delta Women's movement for Peace and Development, in Nigeria;
  • “No more time out from Poverty”, by Living In a Shanty Town (L.I.S.T) in Kenya;
  • A new social contract session during the Post-2015 Development Agenda on Population and Youth Employment Conference, organised by Cape Verde Youth Federation, Organization of African Youth, Network of Former United Nations Volunteers in Africa, in Cape Verde;
  • "Enhancing religious pluralism and tolerance in humanitarian organisations”, organised by Action For Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD), in Uganda; and
  • “Responsabilidad social: una apuesta por el aprendizaje cruzado”, organised by Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental, in Ecuador.

« Ce qui se passe aujourd’hui dans le monde arabe peut être considéré comme un laboratoire ouvert au service non seulement des sociétés arabes mais de l’ensemble des pays en développement. L’éveil démocratique qu’a connu la région  en aspirant à passer d’une phase de violation systématique des droits, d’injustice sociale et d’inégalité vers des projets de démocratisation est digne d’une attention particulière. Dans cette ébullition, les OSC sont pratiquement présentes partout et ne se contentent pas uniquement du rôle de revendication… ». Anas Elhasnaoui, du réseau ANND, membre du Partenariat international des OSC pour l’Efficacité du Développement (POED) nous parle dans cet entretien du dialogue conflictuel entre les OSC et les autorités publiques dans le monde arabe. Il évoque les résultats d’enquêtes d’opinion sur les OSC et les questions de transparence et de redevabilité des OSC.  Il témoigne de la participation et la contribution du réseau ANND aux processus internationaux en matière de développement et conclut enfin sur les principes essentiels d’une nouvelle génération d‘objectifs de développement.


1.    Existe-t-il des résultats d’enquêtes d’opinion sur les OSC dans le monde arabe ? Comment sont-elles perçues par le public ?

A ma connaissance, des enquêtes d’opinion spécialement dédiées à mesurer la perception publique des OSC n’existent pas,  au moins durant la dernière décennie. Toutefois, en se référant aux quelques enquêtes pays menées dans le cadre de l’indice CIVICUS, notamment sur l’évaluation de l’impact des OSC, on peut relever que la perception de l’impact n’est pas très forte et que la confiance dont jouissent les OSC par rapport à d’autres types d’institutions est plutôt faible tout en étant en revanche, plus importante que celle accordée aux institutions gouvernementales et parlementaires. Il est notoire de constater aussi l’appréciation faible de cet impact par les OSC elles-mêmes comparativement à la perception externe qui est davantage positive. Enfin, il faut noter que les institutions religieuses bénéficient d’un crédit de confiance deux fois supérieur que celui accordé aux OSC.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, in collaboration with the UNDP, on Thursday officially launched the post-MDGs 2015 agenda at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.


Speaking at the launching, acting-UN resident coordinator Dr Babagana Ahmadu said Africa specifically has realised steady economic growth and improvement in poverty reduction and has sustained progress in several MDGs.


According to him, African is on track to achieve the targets of universal primary education, gender parity at all levels of education, lower HIV-aids prevalence among 15-24 year olds, increased proportion of the population with access to antiretroviral drugs, and increased proportion of seats held by women in national parliament by 2015 years old among others.


The Gambia as an African nation has also remarkablyprogressed towards achieving these targets in addition to ensuring environmental sustainability, he said.


Read more at The Point

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy, as consortium members of the Civic Space Initiative,  welcome the opportunity to make a submission on ‘Enabling Environment for Civil Society Organizations’ for inclusion in the post 2015 development agenda. CSOs – whether they are non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions, faith based groups, think tanks, social movements or community based groups – have a central role to play in development, and it is crucial to explicitly recognize this in the Post 2015 goals framework.

Submission on CSO Enabling Environment to the UN High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda

dannyI write this introduction at the end of my third month at CIVICUS. In this time, my conversations with colleagues, members and partners all around the world reveal a serious inconsistency. Just as we are seeing a consensus about the importance of civil society, we are seeing developments that undermine the ability of citizens to come together and shape the world around them. This inconsistency is explored in this report.

Governments, international agencies and businesses increasingly recognise that a free and vibrant civil society is a fundamental building block of democratic societies and a means to promoting economic development. Recent international agreements, such as those on development effectiveness or on protecting human rights defenders, reaffirm this consensus, while every politician I have encountered in recent months seems deeply committed to unlocking citizen potential.

jay naidooCitizens always know better than the government or the market what works for them. The question is whether our political and economic elites are prepared to listen. And all of us in civil society should understand that as well, too.

My most important lessons after a life of activism were learnt from marginalised communities and migrant workers living in the most brutal of conditions in mines and factory hostels. Many were illiterate but from them I learnt to listen, to listen carefully and digest their wisdom, which helped me co-create a vision and strategy that eventually became a mighty movement and the pillar of our fight for freedom in South Africa.

I learnt that those in power only respected us when we had power. And we only had power when we painstakingly organised our communities, workers, women, students and faith-based organisations around their bread-and-butter issues. None of those truths is different today: our role as activists is only catalytic. Success is only possible and sustainable when local leadership arises and people own and lead their own struggles. And every experience, victory or failure, must be seen as a lesson, too. Our role is to hear the voices and struggles of the grassroots we claim to represent, and make them heard on a global platform.

Cathy AshtonA vibrant and independent civil society is an essential ingredient of effective and stable democracy. The EU has for many years sought to incorporate the input and views of civil society in its foreign policy.
 
During my mandate, I have ensured that civil society remains a central pillar of our external relations. Civil society organisations are our partners when advocating human rights around the globe or designing programmes for women’s empowerment. Today, we fund a wide array of NGOs and seek the views of civil society organisations both at headquarters and in the field. On my trips overseas, I meet NGO representatives to hear from them how they see political as well as economic developments on the ground.
 
In Brussels, I have sought to ensure that the EU engages civil society in a more systematic way; in 2012, European foreign ministers adopted conclusions on Europe's engagement with civil society in external relations, thus renewing EU policy in support of civil society.

Johannesburg. 23 April 2013. Archibishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu joins CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation in expressing deep distress at the disappearance of Laotian human rights activist Sombath Samphone. More than four months have passed since closed-circuit television footage obtained by Mr Samphone’s family showed him being taken away in a car from a police post in Vientiane, Cambodia on 15 December 2012. It is critical that a complete and impartial investigation is carried out into the circumstances behind Sombath Somphone’s disappearance to ensure justice for him and his family.

Following are some additional areas of concern regarding Sombath Somphone’s disappearance and restrictions on civil society activities in Laos.

  • Mr Samphone is the Executive Director of the Participatory Development Training Center (PADETC). A public campaign is underway to demand information about his whereabouts.  Although government officials have denied knowledge about Mr Samphone’s disappearance, serious concerns persist about the lack of a proper investigation into the case and the resulting failure to apprehend the culprits.

English | Portuguese | Spanish    

Conectas Human Rights, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, CIVICUS: Worldwide Alliance for Citizen Participation and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development invite scholars and practitioners to submit articles for Sur Journal’s Issue No. 19, to be published in December 2013, with a focus on Foreign Policy and Human Rights.

Sur - International Journal on Human Rights is published twice a year by Conectas, in partnership with and with the support of Fundação Carlos Chagas. It is edited in three languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish), distributed free of charge to approximately 2,400 readers in more than a hundred countries, and can be fully accessed online at www.surjournal.org.

Sri Lanka currently faces widespread criticism for shocking human rights abuses, past and ongoing. These abuses have been well documented and have twice been the cause of Sri Lanka’s censure at the world’s premiere human rights body, the UN Human Rights Council. The latest instance was the Council’s resolution passed in March 2013 when the body decided to place Sri Lanka under its review for a year. The Government of Sri Lanka nevertheless has been defiant and has shown no significant signs of cooperating with the international community or moving towards accountability domestically.

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