I am delighted to inform you that we have a Molloy student who will be one of Partnership's two possible Youth Representatives. You will be hearing more about and from her in the near future. We hope to have a second Youth Representative very soon. The naming of these students is only one of the many exciting happenings at PGJ due to the relationship with Molloy College.
A special briefing on the Post-2015 Development Agenda issues before the General Assembly.
Thursday, 03 October 2013
10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
ECOSOC Chamber, E. 46th Street & 1st Avenue
United Nations Headquarters, New York
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In September 2000, Member States joined together at United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and to promote basic human rights. This universal pledge, with a global deadline of 2015, delineates a combination of timesensitive targets, as well as tangible investments, political volition, and countries and people working together towards the eradication of extreme poverty in its many dimensions. The promises made by Member States at the Millennium Declaration, put into action, are known today as the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The world has made substantial progress towards achieving these goals, with three of the eight targets – poverty, slums, and water – having been achieved prior to the 2015 deadline. Nonetheless, huge disparities still exist across the MDGs, and within countries and regions. Thus, greater efforts along with a stronger global partnership for development are needed to accelerate progress and reach the goals by 2015 (www.un.org/en/ecosoc/about/mdg.shtml). This awareness of the existence of gaps and imbalance, move towards inclusiveness, and of the urgent need to both expedite momentum and start planning past the 2015 deadline, serve as the foundation of the Post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda.
The Victories and Shortcomings of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) As noted, the world has made tremendous headway towards achieving the MDGs, and with reaching specific targets globally and in individual nations. Since their inception in 2000, the world has seen the most rapid reduction in poverty in human history. There are now half a billion fewer people living below an international poverty line of $1.25 a day; Child mortality rates have decreased by more than 30%, with about three million children’s lives saved each year; and, deaths from malaria have fallen by one quarter. This extraordinary progress has been guided by a mixture of economic growth, better policies, and a global commitment to the MDGs (report.post2015hlp.org/digital-report-executivesummary. html).
However, the liklihood of meeting all of the Goals differ pointedly as the MDGs have not adequantly addressed some of the world’s poorest and most excluded individuals. Todate, more than than a billion people still live in extreme poverty, with the greatest occurances in rural areas, and vast growth ensuing in urban regions. Many still endure severe deprivation in health and education, with any hope of advancement impeded by significant inequality related to income, gender, ethnicity, disability, age and location. (www.unmillenniumproject.org/goals/) (report.post2015hlp.org/digital-report-executive-summary.html) (www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/A%20Life%20of%20Dignity%20for%20All.pdf). Furthermore, the MDGs had little impact on the debilitating effects that conflict and violence have on development. The prolonged global economic deterioration, and conflict and violence in recent years have exacerbated poverty, inequality, and exclusion. The manner in which good governance guarantees freedom, the rule of law, and transparent and accountable governments were also not addressed, nor was the need for inclusive growth to provide jobs. Pertaining to the environment, and to climate change and extinction, biodiversity loss, and the degradation of water, dry lands, and forests, threaten to undo progress and sabotage chances of future advancement. Towards that end, the MDGs fell short by not integrating the economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainable development as envisaged in the Millennium Declaration, and did not sufficiently focus on promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production. As a result, environment and development were never properly brought together. And most seriously, one of the largest issues with the MDGs was the lack of inclusion and collaboration: People were working hard – but often separately – on interlinked problems (report.post2015hlp.org/digital-report-executivesummary. html).
The Origin and Formation of the Post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda
The Resolution of the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly assessed progress on the MDGs, and subsequently requested the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to initiate thinking on a Post-2015 Development Agenda (http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/about/mdg.shtml). To support this effort, the UN Secretary-General has taken several initiatives. He has established the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda, launched a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons, and appointed his own Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning. These processes are complemented by a set of eleven global thematic consultations and national consultations in over 60 countries, facilitated by the United Nations Development Group (UNDP) (www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/untaskteam_undf/index.shtml).
The Post-2015 Development Agenda and the MDGs: What Will Change?
The discussion on the new development agenda – currently underway – is forward-thinking and optimistic. Talks surrounding the creation of the new Agenda aim to celebrate and to embrace the best parts of the MDGs, while recognising the aforementioned shortcomings, and consequently, to implement changes. Thus, the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda will carry forth the spirit of the Millennium Declaration, and the most successful portions of the MDGs. As stated in the “Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda,” the new timetable will continue in its pragmatic approach, thereby targeting poverty, hunger, water, sanitation, education, and healthcare. With respect to promoting sustainable development, however, the agenda moves forward with the realisation that further action, exceeding the scope of the MDGs, is required. Ultimately, the findings of this report concluded that the Post-2015 Agenda remains a universal one, and must be driven by five transformative shifts. These “shifts”, entitled the “5-Point Plan”, outline the following approach to the Post-2015 Development Agenda: (1) Leave no one behind –We must end hunger and provide a fair chance in life for everyone; (2) Put sustainable development at the core – We must find ways for ours and future generations to thrive on this planet; (3) Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth – We must create stable growth that improves all people’s livelihoods; (4) Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all –We must ensure honest governments that respond to all people’s needs; and, (5) Forge a new global partnership – We must embrace a spirit of cooperation and mutual accountability (report.post2015hlp.org/digital-report-executive-summary.html).
The UN System Task Team was established by the UN Secretary-General to support system-wide preparations for the Post-2015 UN development agenda, in consultation with all stakeholders, including Member States, civil society, academia and the private sector. It brings together over 60 UN entities and agencies and international organizations. The Task Team supports the multi-stakeholder consultations being led by Member States on a Post-2015 Development Agenda by providing analytical inputs, expertise, and outreach.(www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/untaskteam_undf/index.shtml)
The UN-SG’s High Level Panel – In July 2012, the UN Secretary-General brought forth a High Level Panel to advise on the global development framework beyond 2015. The Panel was part of the Secretary-General’s Post-2015 initiative mandated by the 2010 MDG Summit. The panel consulted thousands of people from around the world and in various sectors of society: 5,000 civil society organizations in 120 countries and in every region; 250 companies in 30 countries, with annual revenues exceeding $8 trillion; thematic, regional, and country consultations all over the world; survey results from over half a million individuals on priorities for the future (report.post2015hlp.org).
Global Thematic and National Consultations – One of the biggest changes moving forward with the Post- 2015 Agenda is the call for an increasingly open, inclusive consultation with stakeholders, towards achieving the amended MDGs. This includes truly listening to, and working alongside, civil society, the private sector, academia and research institutions from all regions, in addition to Member States and the UN system to advance and develop the framework beyond 2015 (www.post2015hlp.org/about). The World We Want, a platform created by the UN and civil society, has initiated a “Global Conversation” surrounding the eleven global thematic and national consultations towards this end. Moving forward, the Post-2015 agenda will better incorporate the priorities of people from every corner of the world and assist with building a shared vision that will be used directly by the United Nations and World Leader to plan a new Post-2015 Agenda.
USUN PRESS RELEASE #148 September 5, 2013
Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the Security Council Stakeout on Syria, September 5, 2013
Good afternoon. It's great to be here.
As part of the United States’ ongoing consultations with international partners, allies, and the broader international community, today the U.S. Mission hosted a series of briefings for Member States regarding the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime on August 21st. Today’s briefings presented our assessment regarding the events of August 21 in the suburbs of Damascus, which overwhelmingly point to one stark conclusion: the Assad regime perpetrated a large-scale and indiscriminate attack against its own people using chemical weapons.
The actions of the Assad regime are morally reprehensible and they violate clearly established international norms. The use of chemical weapons is not America’s redline. As President Obama said yesterday, “This is the world’s red line.” 189 countries, representing 98% of the world’s population, and all 15 members of the UN Security Council, agree that the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and we have all collectively approved a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war.
Let me address now an issue on many on your minds. We in the United States agree with the view that – at times like this -- the Security Council should live up to its obligations and should act. That is why for two and a half years we have brought press statements, presidential statements, resolutions, and a whole host of Syria-related concerns to the UN Security Council, each time hoping that our common security and our common humanity might prevail, each time making the case that countries on the Council should be motivated by our shared interest in international peace and security, in protecting civilians, but also in preventing extremism, regional spillover, and chemical weapons use.
Unfortunately, for the past two and a half years, the system devised in 1945 precisely to deal with threats of this nature did not work as it was supposed to. It has not protected peace and security for the hundreds of Syrian children who were gassed to death on August 21. It is not protecting the stability of the region. It is not standing behind now an internationally accepted ban on the use of chemical weapons. Instead, the system has protected the prerogatives of Russia, the patron of a regime that would brazenly stage the world’s largest chemical weapons attack in a quarter century -- while chemical weapons inspectors sent by the United Nations were just across town. And even in the wake of the flagrant shattering of the international norm against chemical weapons use, Russia continues to hold the Council hostage and shirk its international responsibilities, including as a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
What we have learned – what the Syrian people have learned – is that the Security Council the world needs to deal with this crisis is not the Security Council we have. Nonetheless, as the Secretary General himself has stressed, chemical weapons must “not become a tool of war or terror in the twenty-first century.” It is in our interest – and the interest of all member states of the UN – to respond decisively to this horrific attack.
I am happy now to take your questions.
Reporter: Ambassador Power, what is your response to Russian President Putin's comment that he would consider, did not exclude, returning to the Security Council if he had definitive proof? And is there any way the Security Council can be relevant, in this, on this issue?
Ambassador Power: Thank you, I have seen Putin's comments. I think we have to step back a little bit from those comments and again look at this pattern, not only over two and a half years, but even in the last couple months on chemical weapons. In July, in the wake of the G8, when Putin and the rest of the world's leaders at the G8 had issued a statement condemning chemical weapons use, we and our colleagues sought here at the UN Security Council to enshrine the words in that statement in a Security Council resolution condemning chemical weapons use. Russia rejected this. I believe that Ambassador Churkin appeared here and said that the Security Council was not the appropriate venue for discussing chemical weapons or condemning chemical weapons. On August 21, when all of us were watching those videos and seeing those children, we tried again in the Security Council to issue just a press statement condemning chemical weapons use, and again Russia blocked the issuance of a mere press statement. Not even identifying responsibility, but just condemning chemical weapons use. There is nothing in the pattern of our interactions with our colleagues in the Security Council, with our Russian colleagues, that would give us any reason to be optimistic, and indeed we have seen nothing in President Putin's comments that suggest that there is an available path forward at the Security Council.
Reporter: Thank you very much. Madame Ambassador, now that you have decided that the regime in Syria, the government in Syria is responsible for one of the most heinous crimes of the use of chemical weapons and there are efforts to bomb Syria, how can we envisage a Geneva Conference II to be held? Are you going to sit with these same people who you are accusing of the worst crimes of the 21st century, and most importantly would the opposition sit with them? Is there any chance of Geneva II being realized? And would this government that you are accusing of these crimes honor any agreement, do you have faith that they would honor any agreement? And second question quickly, since you don't see the 1945 council rules -- enough to carry a world consensus, are you going to double your efforts as the United States to reform the Security Council? Thank you.
Ambassador Power: Thank you so much. On your first question, there is no long term solution for Syria that does not entail a political solution. You are right of course to suggest that it would be extremely challenging in the wake of a monstrous gas attack of this nature for the parties to sit down, particularly as you say for the opposition to sit down with the regime. And that is what we found, and that is why the opposition pulled out of preexisting planned talks. And as you know, President Obama has formulated with some of our allies, through consultations with some of our allies, a planned response with regard, again, to this mass causality chemical weapons attack. But again, responding to this flagrant violation of the norm in a military way does not suggest that there is a military solution for this conflict. And that is why consistently the United States with many of our partners have pushed the parties to the table. We've used the leverage that we have with some of the opposition groups. We have urged our colleague on Security Council to use the leverage that they have with the regime. And that is what we will continue to do going forward. To suggest that there is a military solution overall, for the conflict in Syria, I think is to invite state failure. And the kind of breakdown and human suffering and regional spillover and set of pernicious consequences that we most fear. Let me just address the issue of the Security Council more generally. And you picked up on my reference to the spirit in which the Security Council was created back in 1945. And there have been occasions, and this is something President Obama made reference to yesterday, in the life of the Security Council, in the history of the Security Council, where paralysis has prevented the council from fulfilling its role. In this case, with regard to this mass casualty chemical weapons use and the risk of further use, the risk as the Secretary General said of this becoming a weapon of war, to stand back would be to endanger not only international peace and security, not only US national security, but we also believe the very international system that we have been working these decades to build. And, on occasions, as we had with Kosovo, as we would have had perhaps in the case of Rwanda, had different proposals been presented, and in this case, we cannot allow the patron of a party to the conflict, the patron of the actor that itself violated this international norm, to act with impunity simply because it has that patronage on the Security Council. That in no way reflects the spirit of the UN charter or the intentions of the founders or the intentions of any of us who come to work every day with the hope of promoting and enforcing international peace and security.
Reporter: The British delegation had submitted a resolution to the P5 calling for some kind of response to the chemical attack. They have not withdrawn that resolution, but they are no longer acting on it. Do you think that anyone else is going to pick up the baton on that or are you going to let it simply die because of the deadlock that you are speaking of?
Ambassador Power: I was present in the meeting where the UK laid down the resolution and everything in that meeting, in word and in body language, suggests that that resolution has no prospect of being adopted by Russia in particular. And our view, again our considered view, after months of efforts on chemical weapons and after two and a half years on Geneva, on the humanitarian situation, is that there is no viable path forward in this Security Council. Thank you.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Polaris Project Statement on State Department’s
2013 Trafficking in Persons Report
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2013) – Following the release of the 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report today by the U.S. Department of State, Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris Project, released the following statement:
“Polaris Project applauds the State Department’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report for again spotlighting the appallingly high rate of human trafficking around the globe, including here in the United States. The report rightly condemns those governments who have failed to take effective measures to curb this human rights abuse, while celebrating the progress made in many countries.
“We strongly support the recommendations offered for the U.S., and agree that increasing funding for services for all victims of human trafficking -- including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, men, women and children -- should be a top priority. The U.S. government’s first-ever federal strategic action plan to strengthen services for trafficking victims is an important milestone, and we strongly support an increase in funding to accelerate the government’s ability to implement this plan.
“Significant progress has also been made at the state level. As of February, all 50 states have now outlawed human trafficking, and we are witnessing a promising trend towards laws that increase protections for survivors of human trafficking. Nonetheless, it is still possible for child victims of sex trafficking to be arrested and prosecuted for prostitution in dozens of states, and we urge more states to pass ‘Safe Harbor’ laws that instead provide support for these young victims of exploitation and abuse.”
“Finally, we are pleased to see a mention of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, operated by Polaris Project and partially funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The hotline responded to nearly 21,000 calls in 2012, connected more than 2,300 survivors to services and support, and received credible tips of human trafficking in every state and the District of Columbia. In 2013, we are already seeing a 45% increase in call volume compared to 2012, along with increases in emails, web forms, and now text messages. This growth reinforces to us that the hotline is a highly effective way to identify and reach victims of human trafficking in the U.S. and connect them to the services they need to free themselves and rebuild their lives.”
“The TIP report reminds us that every government around the world has an essential role to play to firmly eradicate this form of modern slavery. No one should sit idly by while millions of abused and exploited women, men and children have lost their freedom.”
A copy of the 2013 TIP report can be viewed here.
To get help, report a tip, or request information or training, call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 or send a text message to BeFree (233733).
About Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star "Polaris" that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.
Fast Facts – The World We Want
Global Threats: The World Economic Forum ranks water supply crises as the highest global risk for 2013, after the major financial failure.
Socio-Economic Context: 884 million people (12.5% of global population) live without safe drinking water and about 2.5 billion people (40%) lack adequate sanitation. By current trends, 1.8 billion people will, by 2025, be living with absolute water scarcity and two-thirds of the world’s population could be under water stress conditions.
Water and Disasters: Over 7,000 major disasters since 1970 have caused $2 trillion in damages and killed 2.5 million people.
Water related hazards account for 90% of all natural hazards. In 2011 alone, natural disasters killed more than 296,800 people, affected nearly 208 million others and cost some $110 billion dollars.
Climate Change: Climate change impacts are delivered primarily via changes in water resources. Adaptation is mainly about better water management.
Water is pivotal to sustainable development. It underpins most economic activity and also food, energy, industry and human health. Access to drinking water and sanitation are already enshrined in the MDGs. But both the supply and quality of water are becoming increasingly insecure for all uses.
Ecosystems function as a “natural water infrastructure”. Forest protect water supplies, wetlands regulate floods, healthy soils increase water and nutrient availability for crops and help reduce off-farm impacts, and natural man-made wetlands and buffer strips can be effective in managing nutrient run-off and pollution.
The Rio+20 document (The Future We Want) highlighted the importance of water to the sustainable developmental agenda. It also made an important leap in understanding “the key role that ecosystems in maintaining water quality and supports actions within respective national boundaries to protect and sustain ably manage these ecosystems”.
This represents the required paradigm shift from considering the impacts of water on ecosystems to viewing ecosystems as an asset, or tool, to help us achieve sustainable water-related outcomes for all people.
Statement Signed by the Partnership for Global Justice on Sustainable Development and the Integrity of the Earth
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HARMONY WITH NATURE TO COMMEMORATE INTERNATIONAL MOTHER EARTH DAY
Discuss different economic approaches to further a more ethical basis for the relationship between humanity and Earth
UN HQ, New York, 22 April 2013
Written Statement by Member Organizations of the Working Group on Sustainable Development and the Integrity of Earth
Thank you Mr. Secretary General and Mr. President for the opportunity to make a brief written statement on the occasion of the Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony With Nature to commemorate International Mother Earth Day.
We write to you on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Sustainable Development and the Integrity of Earth. Our constituencies are found in all continents, and many are experiencing first-hand the devastating impact of human interference in the natural rhythms and cycles of Nature. The conclusions from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, RIO + 20, reiterated that global sustainability is now critical for human development in our world. The urgency of recognizing global sustainability as an integral part of individual, societal and world development rests on scientific evidence that humanity has indeed exceeded a number of planetary boundaries – namely, climate change, biodiversity loss and nitrogen emissions. It is abundantly clear that we need to recognize that human and natural systems are interdependent and intimately linked with social, ecological and economic systems. In this regard, the Secretary General’s 2012 Report, “Harmony With Nature,” (A/67/317), reminds us that “…humanity needs to recognize that it is time to serve the Planet, rather than using the Planet to serve our economic goals. Humankind and its economic goals must be seen as part of the earth system, as part of an integrated whole, rather than as a separate entity, divided from the Planet and its changing environment. When science is taken into account, it is clear that damaging the environment to serve the needs of the human economy only serves to damage ourselves…Properly grounded, a more ecologically informed economic system would provide clear rules for sustainability.”
In “Realizing the Future We Want For All,” the report t5o the Secretary General from the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda, it is noted that the “continuous striving for improvements in material welfare is threatening to surpass the limits of the natural resource base unless there is a radical shift towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production and resource use…Business as usual thus cannot be an option and transformative change is needed.”
In this spirit, then, we strongly urge Member States to :
v Responsibly and urgently realize the ten-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns to ensure global sustainability and to enable just, fair, and equitable sustainable development within planetary boundaries.
v Shift from an ethic of exploitation to an ethic of right relationship; an ethic based on the rights of the human and of Earth, as essential for individuals, society and the Planet to flourish.
v Acknowledge that the GDP cannot be the strategic marker of development to the exclusion of all other indicators. We recommend the use of alternative indicators that not only measure economic growth, but also measure social development and environmental sustainability.
In conclusion, we turn once again to the Secretary General’s Report, and his reference to the late author Thomas Berry : “In the twentieth century, the glory of the human has become the desolation of the Earth. And now, the desolation of the Earth is becoming the destiny of the human. Henceforth, the measure of all human institutions, professions, programmes and activities will be the extent to which they inhibit, ignore or foster a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship.”
Check out our UN update for April 2013 by clicking here.
Under the leadership of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, inter-governmental negotiations began in 2009 to agree on principles of Harmony with Nature. Adopting by consensus the Bolivian-led Resolution, on 22 April 2009 the General Assembly proclaimed 22 April as International Mother Earth Day. In so doing, Governments acknowledged that the Earth and its ecosystems are our home, and expressed its conviction that it is necessary to promote harmony with nature in order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.
To mark International Mother Earth Day, the UN General Assembly held an interactive dialogue on harmony with nature on 18 April at UN Headquarters to examine how human activity has affected the regenerative capacity of the planet. ?As we get closer to Rio+20, we must keep the Earth in full view when making decisions and taking actions shifting from a self-centered to an Earth-centered approach,? Mr. Sha told participants. ?Our success and wealth must be measured by the balance we create between ourselves and the world around us; that is, by our ability to live in harmony with nature.?
The dialogue was intended to promote an exchange of ideas and experiences from multiple perspectives, with particular attention to the contribution of science and economics. The dialogue yielded a diagnosis of the negative impacts of human activity on the Earth System, in particular its regenerative capacity and explored institutional responses to catalyze science for sustainable development. The dialogue consisted of one moderated panel discussion with experts in science and economics.
The world that we live in today is far different from the world of the 1992 when the original Earth Summit convened in Rio. From invention of the personal computer and the internet to the development of nano-technology and smart-phones, advances in technology have undoubtedly improved our lives for the better over the past two decades. This boom in technological innovation has led to a world that is more connected than ever before. Yet, despite this, some of the same issues and challenges of sustainable development still remain from the original Earth Summit, making Rio+20 as important and timely as ever.
Huge advances in the information technology industry have been particularly telling. These innovations have spurred double-digit growth in global GDP, faster than any other industry in the world during the same time period. In particular, emerging economies have become leaders not just in the manufacturing and development of new technologies, but also increasingly in research and innovation as well.
While advances in technology have improved the efficiency of numerous human processes and reduced the amount of resources consumed and pollution produced per unit of output over the long run, overall consumption and pollution has continued to increase at unsustainable rates.
The scientific community has also been presented with its own set of challenges in recent years, with significant push-back from special interest groups from all around the world. In addition, investment in science and technology research and development has remained steady in developed countries and has only increased marginally in developing countries in recent years.
However, despite these challenges, science and technology represents yet another cross-cutting issue that will be addressed at Rio+20. In contrast to other issues, science and technology can also be viewed and used as a means of implementation in achieving a successful outcome at Rio+20 and beyond. Simply put, the science and technology can and must serve as a crucial mechanism for change as we chart our course towards ?The Future We Want? at Rio+20.
The Partnership for Global Justice
Educating, Advocating, and Participating for a Just World