Equality or Bust for Post- 2015 Global Development Goals

A group United Nations human rights experts today called* for the post-2015 development agenda to be urgently refocused on equality, social protection and accountability. The statement came as UN Member States will discuss this week in New York how to shape a new set of global development goals.

“As we enter this crucial phase we must not forget the failures that have left nearly one billion hungry and poverty still rife. The rise of inequality has severely undermined the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals,” the independent experts said.

“Future goals must be sensitive to who benefits and at whose expense, and must go beyond blunt, aggregate targets that allow us to pick the ‘low-hanging fruit’ and ignore the most vulnerable groups, while leaving systemic injustices untouched,” they stressed.

The UN Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals will meet from 22 to 24 May to discuss the contours of a set of post-2015 targets to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.

Read more at Scoop World

Reproductive health should be a major part of Post- 2015 Development Agenda

Reproductive health is an essential right for all females and should be a major component in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, local and international experts told The Jordan Times.

“The Post-2015 Development Agenda gives us in Jordan and the world a great chance to renew commitments to women and children,” said Muna Idris, the UNFPA assistant representative in Jordan.

“Many of our indicators related to women’s health and reproductive health have stagnated over the past few years, and we need to exert additional efforts to reach a tipping point upwards again,” Idris told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

In order to prepare a Post-2015 Development Agenda, the UN is carrying out global and national consultations to understand what priorities and recommendations are to be included in this future agenda, which will follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

She explained that with youths representing 70 per cent of Jordan’s population, “we need to focus more attention on reproductive health and the empowerment of young women”.

Read more at The Jordan Times

World needs 31M jobs per year from 2015- 2030- LI senior economist

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that a total of 470 million new jobs, or about 32 million jobs per year, will be needed to provide employment to the world’s working age population in the 15 years from 2015 to 2030.
ILO senior economist, Aurelio Parisotto, cited the first results of the United Nations (UN)’s ‘My World’ global survey, which asked people in 190 countries for their priorities for a post-2015 development agenda, and which showed that “jobs are a high priority everywhere.”

Parisotto said that the current employment scenario is already bleak.

“One in every three workers in the world is living with their families below the US$2 poverty line,” he said. “They work as paid employees, own-account workers or unpaid family labour, but remain trapped in poverty.”

The world’s youth are particularly affected by unemployment. Parisotto said that of the over 200 million unemployed people worldwide, almost 73 million of whom are young people.

Read more at Asian Journal

Experts urge water’s inclusion in development goals

As the world faces growing water securitychallenges, experts are calling for better monitoring of the availability, quality and use of water, and its inclusion in the UN's Sustainable Development Goals as a key issue in the post-2015 development agenda.

Human activities, such as building dams andagricultural irrigation, they say, have fundamentally altered the global water system, threatening ecosystems and a steady supply of fresh water. But a lack of scientific data and monitoring mean there is still no effective global governance of this key resource.

TheMillennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015, focus narrowly on drinking water and sanitation forhuman health, but ignore global water quantity and quality standards for personal use, agriculture and healthy ecosystems, argue scientists from the Global Water System Project (GWSP).

Read more at Thomas Reuters Foundation

United Nations independent experts today called on countries to ensure the post-2015 development agenda focuses on equality, social protection and accountability, noting that one billion people around the world are still living in poverty.

“The rise of inequality has severely undermined the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs,” the independent experts said in their message to Member States which will meet this week in New York to discuss how to a shape a new set of global development goals for the period after the 2015 deadline of the MDGs.
“Development targets that pay no attention to which groups are being left behind are just like economic growth targets – they can be met without having any real impact on ensuring a more equal and just world,” they added.

The experts stressed that as the 2015 deadline approaches, countries must not forget that one billion are still hungry and that poverty is still rife across the world.

Read more at UN News Centre

Rwanda: African Governments Advised to Place Children at the Centre of Post- 2015 Development

African leaders and experts have called for children to be at the centre of the post-2015 development agenda. The call comes as the African Union (AU) prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

According to a statement issued yesterday by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), a panel of distinguished African leaders and thinkers agreed on a number of critical priorities to ensure children's specific and holistic needs are reflected in a strong post-2015 development agenda and a common set of accountable and comprehensive goals for governments and the international community.

ACPF is a leading pan-African centre for policy research and dialogue on the African child.

Joaquim Chissano of former president of Mozambique and Chairman of the International Board of Trustees of ACPF, said; "The MDGs have achieved much for children, galvanising development efforts and guiding global and national priorities, and as a continent Africa has witnessed much progress including impressive reductions in child mortality and greatly improved primary school enrolment."

Read more at allAfrica

A global goal on gender equality, women’s rights and empowerment

In a new post-2015 development agenda, we must build on the achievements of the MDGs while avoiding their shortcomings. Everyone agrees that the goals have galvanised progress to reduce poverty and discrimination, and promote education, gender equality, health and safe drinking water and sanitation.

The goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment tracked progress on school enrolment, women’s share of paid work, and women’s participation in parliament. It triggered global attention and action. It served to hold governments accountable, mobilize much-needed resources, and stimulate new laws, policies, programmes and data.

But there are glaring omissions. Noticeably absent is any reference to ending violence against women and girls. Also missing are other fundamental issues, such as women’s right to own property and the unequal division of household and care responsibilities.

Read more at Thomas Reuters Foundation

Millennium Development Goals: World Bank President Jin Yong Kim says Our Leaders Must Fight Poverty

As part of the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings that took place in Washington, D.C., last week, World Bank President Jin Yong Kim, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and a handful of influential leaders and opinion-makers hosted Global Voices on Poverty to discuss what it takes to end poverty.

With less than a thousand days to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals, President Kim talked of looking ahead towards a new set of “Sustainable Development Goals” post-2015. The low-hanging fruit of the development goals has been achieved, claimed President Kim — thanks in great part to the rapid rise of China and, to a lesser extent, India — and the world must now look towards the “higher-hanging fruit” that still remains.

Secretary-General Moon stressed that while all leaders may decry the ills of poverty and tout the need to work together to fight such ills, real political will is needed back home to enact change.

Read more at policymic

Let’s tackle inequality head on for development after the MDGs

In UN corridors you'll often hear frustrated diplomats whispering that the amount of process around an issue is inversely correlated to the likelihood of achieving anything on it.

The process of replacing the UN's millennium development goals (MDGs) will certainly be a long one: it doesn't end until September 2015. But despite the huge bureaucracy surrounding it, we don't have to accept an outcome based on the lowest common denominator.

The high-level panel set up by the UN secretary general – co-chaired by Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, the Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – which is intended to steer the process, meets on Wednesday. The challenge for the panel is to set a new agenda, ignite passions and stimulate the drive that is so desperately needed, rather than delivering a report bogged down by political bargaining.

Read more at The Guardian

UN, African experts seek review of continent’s growth agenda

AGAINST the backdrop of the alleged inadequacies of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), experts drawn from the United Nations (UN) and Africa, among others, have urged a review of the targets for the continent’s development.

The call was part of the positions of participants yesterday at the beginning of a two-day policy research seminar entitled “Achieving the Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa” in Cape Town, South Africa.

The remarks by Executive Director of Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Dr. Adekeye Adebajo, and Chief Executive Officer, Congolese Institute for Development Research, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Prof. Mbaya Justin Kankwenda, including scholarly presentations by experts on key targets of the MDGs, stressed the need for the review.

According to Kankwenda in his address entitled “Achieving the Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa: Progress, problems and prospects,” the eight targets of MDGs, which include  the elimination of poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating Human Immuno-deficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), malaria and other diseases, achieving environmental sustainability, and global partnership for development, are very commendable for Africa in their drive for social progress.

Read more at The Guardian

Finland is strongly committed to formulating the Post- 2015 development agenda

In the opening address of the event, Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala declared that Finland is strongly committed to formulating the Post-2015 development agenda and is closely involved in contributing to its progress. “One of the key starting points in the Finnish policy is to pay attention to fragile states, where achievement of the Millenniums Development Goals has posed the biggest challenges,” the Minister stated.

Read more at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland

The Future Women Want The Paradigm Shift towards Sustainable Development

UN Women have presented a report to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development that was convened on June 2012 in Brazil; this is a review of that report.

The paradigm shift towards sustainable development must be based on the premise of human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. This shift requires a renewed focus on people-centred development that prioritizes the expansion of capabilities, the eradication of poverty and the reduction of all types of inequalities, and that promotes the rights and agency of women. It is a shift to a world where women and men, girls and boys—not profit—are placed at the centre of action and decision-making, and all people take responsibility for sustainable production and consumption and respect the earth’s resource limits.

The new development agenda should value women’s unique, adaptive and innovative potential, and their concrete contributions, paid and unpaid, to their families, societies and economies. Stronger measures are needed to reduce the unpaid care work women do, and to share this work among women, men and institutions more equitably.

Read more at Sudan Vision

Put health high on agenda: WHO

The World Health Organization’s Director General has asked the member states to ‘do everything’ they can to ensure that health occupies ‘a high place’ on the post-2015 development agenda.

“Investing in the health of people is a smart strategy for poverty alleviation,” Margaret Chan said in her opening remarks of the 66th World Health Assembly that kicked off in Geneva on Monday.

At least 3000 delegates of 194 member states are attending the nine-day long annual gathering at this Swiss lakeside city in a time when globally the preparations are on to set the after 2015 development goals when the current MDGs end.

The WHO chief, however, also urged member states to increase their efforts to achieve MDG-set targets within the remaining days.

Read more at bdnews24.com

My World Survey- first results- half a million citizens tell the United Nations their priorities

Over 560,000 citizens from 194 countries have already voted for the issues that would make the most difference to their lives, providing, for the first time ever, real-time and real-world intelligence on what people think about the biggest challenges facing them and their families.

•    “A good education”, “better health care” and “an honest and responsive government” are the top trending issues to date.
•    MY World is the United Nations global survey to hear people´s priorities for the future development agenda after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.

MY World, the United Nations global survey for a better world (www.myworld2015.org) is a groundbreaking initiative inviting citizens to virtually take their seat at the UN and participate in the global conversation on the next development agenda by voting in an option-based survey.

From Rwanda to Philippines and Mexico City to Amman and Madrid; across schools, mosques, offices and refugee camps, citizens have been turning out in their hundreds of thousands to vote and help define a better world for all.

Read more at Sierra Express Media

Tackling the causes of poverty key to post- 2015 development: UK Prime Minister

Ending extreme poverty can be achieved in this generation, United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron told journalists in New York on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister co-chairs a UN panel which seeks to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
While the eight MDGs galvanized global action on behalf of the poor, Cameron said the panel believes they overlooked the importance of strong institutions and the rule of law, and the effects of conflict and violence.
He said the panel's report, to be delivered later this month, will emphasize the need to tackle the causes of poverty, not just the symptoms.

"Above all, we need to focus on economic growth driven by a strong private sector as the most powerful engine there is to lift people out of poverty. We need a recognition that development has to be sustainable for the planet for the long term, but there's this new commitment to strong institutions and governance because these are essential to end conflict, to protect the rule of law, to stamp out corruption and insecurity, and to hold governments accountable. This, I believe, is a totally new addition to the Millennium Development Goals—the importance of good governance, the lack of corruption; what I call the 'golden thread' of development."

Read more at United Nations Radio

Will the G8, G20 tackle reproductive health?

The G8 club – France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Russia – will hold its annual summit on June 17-18 in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
The group has in the past described progress toward achieving Millennium Development Goals No. 4 and 5 as moving at an “unacceptably slow rate,” and observers within the aid community told Devex that flagging momentum for accelerating progress in maternal and child health was evident in recent G8 meetings.
Recognizing family planning and sexual and reproductive health as fundamental human rights would have an immediate impact on the political mindset of G8 and G20 donor countries, said EPF Secretary Neil Datta.
“This could mean that the prioritization of family planning would increase – taking it beyond the restrictive, prescriptive and highly politicized box of only being relevant for MDG No. 5B,” he explained.

Read more at devex

Culture vital for development progress, Deputy Secretary- General tells meeting

"Culture has to feature prominently in global thinking about the world we want," Deputy Secretary-General Petko Draganov told the Hangzhou International Congress on 15 May. The theme being explored by the Congress is Culture: Key to Sustainable Development.

Speaking at a high-level discussion on culture in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, Mr. Draganov emphasized the role of culture and the creative industries in promoting inclusive development growth and poverty reduction.

He highlighted recent UNCTAD statistics on markets for creative goods and services that are based on local culture, which indicate that the sector has grown dramatically in recent years, at a rate of more than 10 per cent annually. "Creative industry exports reached $624 billion in 2011," Mr. Draganov said.

Read more at UNCTAD

Expert: China should play bigger role in Post- 2015 Global Development Goals

A senior researcher is calling for China to play a more positive role in the agenda setting for the era of post-2015 UN Millennium Development Goals.

At the International Symposium on Post-2015 Global Development Agenda and Child Development which was held in Beijing on Monday, Deputy Secretary General of China Development Research Foundation, Fang Jin, says the world's second largest economy should take more responsibilities in setting the agenda for the post 2015 global development goals.

Fang points out that China understands the problems and challenges facing other developing countries. In order to help them better cope with those problems, China must change its mindset, devote sufficient resources for participating in global governance, do more research and have more communications with those countries, and provide its own solution to the world's pressing issues.

Read more at CRI English.com

Liberia: UN High- Level Panel on Post- 2015 Development Agenda Reaching Agreement on Challenging and Contentious Issues, Reports President Sirleaf as Co- Chair

The High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons working on the post-2015 development agenda concluded a two-day meeting at United Nations Headquarters, New York, on May 14 - the final opportunity for the 27-member Panel to discuss pending issues before the report can be finalized and submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on May 30, 2013.

According to a dispatch from New York, the meeting, under the guidance of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, and the envoy of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia - the three Co-Chairs - reached agreement on the most challenging and contentious outstanding issues.
Summing up the session, President Sirleaf called it a very productive meeting, saying, "We managed to agree on some difficult issues, like how to tackle peace and conflict, to foster good governance and to ensure that this is a truly universal agenda - one with responsibilities for all countries."

The Panel will finalize its report and present it to the Secretary-General in two weeks. Secretary-General Ban visited the Panel on Wednesday, in the midst of the negotiations. He witnessed firsthand the deliberations, and heard the thinking behind some of the Panel's most difficult decisions.

Read more at AllAfrica

Consensus forming on golden thread of development, says co- chair of UN panel on post- 2015 agenda

A United Nations high-level panel on a post-2015 global development agenda wrapped up today with consensus emerging on how to make a more equitable world, said British Prime Minister David Cameron in his role as co-chair of the body.

Addressing journalists at the UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Cameron said that members of the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which includes President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, “nailed our colours to the mast with one clear overarching aim – end extreme poverty in our world.”

Building a framework to succeed the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the panel, appointed last year by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, aims to create a development agenda that will also focus on protection of the rule of law, good governance and holding Governments to account, which comprise what Mr. Cameron called “the golden thread of development.”

Read more at UN News Centre

Stakeholder’s Consultations Continue on Second Day of IBSA Women’s Forum 2013

The Stakeholder’s Consultations of the IBSA Women’s Forum entered its second and final day with parallel sessions on ‘Gender Responsive Budgeting’ and ‘Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality: Post 2015 Development Agenda’.

Panelists discussed the processes that could further strengthen the ongoing efforts of gender budgeting at all levels of governance. The participants engaged in intensive dialogues centering on the challenges of developing convergence action plans and mechanisms for translating gender commitments into budgetary allocations amongst the partner countries.

The panel discussions for the Forum concluded with the session on the role of women in the Post 2015 Development Agenda which addressed structural inequalities which persist for women and explored the many ways to make available the necessary resources to create sustainable and effective action on gender equality and empowerment. Participants from member countries stressed the need for greater engagement of women as equal partners in the global developmental processes, where they are regularly consulted on what they see as priorities for the development of their communities.

Read more at Education Diary.com

Disaster risk reduction in the Post- 2015 Development Agenda

Several governments and the HFA2 Advisory Group identified the need to take advantage of the momentum for the Fourth Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to further advance the consideration of disaster risk reduction and its link to the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The session will discuss a number of issues that the Post-2015 development agenda may want to consider regarding disaster risk reduction.

The objectives of the session are to discuss…

Read more at Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

Iraq’s Future: Post- 2015 Development Agenda

Iraqis came together on Sunday to agree on their country’s most pressing needs, and send a message to the international community on what issues should be prioritised after 2015.

With only two years remaining before the deadline of the Millennium Declaration Goals (MDGs), the UN is consulting with a wide range of Iraqi civil society, persons living with disabilities, academia, women and youth groups to add their voices to the global conversation on what issues the international community should prioritise beyond 2015.

“The importance of making this a civil society-led process cannot be understated,” explained Jacqueline Badcock, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Iraq. “The concerns of the most vulnerable, persons living with disabilities, women and youth are often drowned out. This series of consultations has ensured the voiceless are given a voice.”

Read more at Iraq- Business News

UK Prime Minister Aims “To Save Post- 2015 Development Goals Document” Guardian Reports

“As he prepares to co-chair a session of the U.N. High-Level Panel on aid in New York on Tuesday,” U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron “is to launch an 11th-hour bid to save a major U.N. report on the future of international development amid fears among aid groups that it … [may] lose sight of its original goals,” The Guardian reports. “Speaking ahead of the meeting, Cameron said: ‘It is coming to the end of its work. I hope it is going to be a good piece of work. But I need to be there in order to nail down some simple clear commitments that everyone can get behind as we look to the successors to the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs],’” the newspaper writes, noting Cameron co-chairs the panel with the presidents of Liberia and Indonesia.

Read more at the Kaiser Family Foundation

WSIS Forum focuses on post- 2015 development agenda

This year's forum of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), has been described as a unique opportunity to develop multi-stakeholder consensus on what is needed for the WSIS process in the future to ensure that the bottom-up approach of the process is preserved.  Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure of the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, also noted that the decisions concerning modalities also respect the real requirements of the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for socio-economic development, while ensuring growth in the ICT ecosystem itself."

In the coming week, the WSIS Forum will focus on the future of information and communication technologies (ICT), particularly as an engine of growth in a post-2015 development environment.

Read more at United Nations Radio

Gender and the post- 2015 framework

As we move toward the end date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), work towards a new post-2015 global architecture to frame development outcomes and track progress is already underway. Recognising the 57th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York as a strategic moment to feed into these processes, a multi-stakeholder roundtable was organised, co-hosted by the BRIDGE research and information team at IDS.

Read more at Institute of Development Studies

Gender equality must be a development priority in its own right

In the consultations about what will replace the millennium development goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015, there is pressure on politicians and political commentators to come up with the next "new" idea.

The lack of focus on inequality was a key limitation of the MDGs and, rightly, this has become a major priority for the post-2015 agenda. But the discussion about inequality is evolving in a way that may undermine, and even reverse, the international commitment to gender balance. There are welcome efforts to define new ways of measuring income inequality, but gender and other social inequalities are invisible within these measures (pdf). And, while greater attention is finally being paid to social inequalities, there is a worrying tendency to treat gender as just one of many inequalities that generate poverty and exclusion. There is even a proposal to replace the current gender equality goal with a general and so far undefined "inequalities" goal.

The fundamental premise behind the demand for a standalone goal is that gender is not just one of many inequalities but the most pervasive.

Read more at The Guardian

CFS Briefing Highlights Food Security, Nutrition in Post- 2015 Agenda

A briefing to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) addressed the position of food security and nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda, and the work of the newly-reformed Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
The briefing, held on 6 May 2013, in New York, US, was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the NGO Working Group on Food and Hunger.

Nestor Osorio, ECOSOC President, addressed the results of the High-Level Consultation on Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition that took place in Madrid, Spain, in April 2013, noting that these topics and the eradication of hunger should be central to the post-2015 agenda, and this requires action at all levels. He also emphasized the need for a strengthened relationship between the CFS and ECOSOC, specifically in the context of the global development agenda.

Read more at the International Institute for Sustainable Development

Resources on the Post- 2015 development agenda

A large number of reports and papers have been published as part of the discussions on the post-2015 development framework. In this table we present an overview of the most significant publications, with links to the full texts. They were written by various research institutions, NGOs, political organizations, UN bodies, multilateral organizations, etc.

For further resources on the post-2015 development agenda, you can also consult the Overseas Development Institute’s Tracker Initiative.

Read more at The Broker: Connecting Worlds of Knowledge

UN Process Inches Forward

Efforts to develop a global development framework beyond 2015 - the completion date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - have continued to advance in recent weeks, with the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda holding its final formal meeting in Bali, Indonesia on 25-27 March.

This 27-member group was formed last July by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and is co-chaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

The panel agreed in Bali “on the need for a renewed Global Partnership that enables a transformative, people-centred and planet-sensitive development agenda which is realised through the equal partnership of all stakeholders.”

The post-2015 process, which seeks to be highly participatory, is simultaneously taking place along a number of different strands, with an emphasis on internet consultations as well as actual face-to-face meetings. Areas covered comprise conflict and fragility, education, energy, environmental sustainability, food security, governance, growth and employment, health, inequality, population dynamics, and water.

More information from these consultations, held by “The World We Want” - a joint initiative between the UN and civil society - can be found online.

Read more at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

Roles of technology, innovation for sustainable development

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

Urgent call to Bahraini authorities to disclose whereabouts of Nabeel Rajab

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.


Read more on Nabeel Rajab

The situation is becoming dire for civil society in Uzbekistan | An interview with Sukhrobjon Ismoilov

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.

UN says slum eradication must revitalize sustainable development

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

UN Development Goals Must Include Education Quality

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.

Read more at Huffington Post

Sierra Leone Minister calls for New Deal to end African conflict

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

UN Reports Subdued Asia- Pacific Growth in 2013 as Region Faces Developed World Uncertainty

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

Sustainable Agriculture Intensification: A Practical Solution for the Global Development Agenda

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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Arab Forum for Development- redefining pan- Arabism

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

G77 Envoys in New York Meet on Sustainable Development

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 urges focus on poverty eradication, energy needs in new global development

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

Planning Ministry works on post- 2015 agenda elaboration

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

Briefing on Final Report of High Level Panel

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

Regional post- 2015 consultation organized for Latin America and the Caribbean

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

New Global Challenges Require New Goals in Post- 2015 Development Agenda, CIGI Paper says

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

1000 days to MDGs deadline options for PH

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

Too many cooks in the kitchen warns MDG co- architect

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

NOGAID urges richer nations to support poor nations

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



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