- Created on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 05:03
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 22:12
- Written by Olimar Maisonet-Guzmán and Joelle Gamble
UNGA 68: The Establishment of the High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development
This past September, Member States and civil society representations met in New York for the opening session of the 68th United Nations General Assembly. UNGA, as commonly known in the international community, is one of principal bodies of the United Nations in which all member states have representation. This year, UNGA discussed key issues related to sustainable development, the post-2015 development agenda, and progress on the Millennium Development Goals.
On Friday, September 20, Members States met for the final session of the Commission of Sustainable Development to discuss progress made since Rio+20 and the transition toward the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. At Rio+20, in the outcome document “The Future We Want,” Member States called for the creation of the HLPF to ensure that sustainable development tops the agenda of the highest levels of government and is embraced by all actors.
No Fireworks at the HLPF
The theme of the meeting was: “Building the Future We Want: From Rio+20 to the post-2015 development agenda.” During the initial session of the HLPF, Heads of States and Ministers presented remarks on the following themes: “From vision to action,” “Global partnerships for development to create jobs and improve sustainable lifestyles,” and “Mapping the way forward for eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development.” The United States was represented by Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. Starting in 2016, the Forum will also review implementation of sustainable development by all countries and the UN system, in order to bring about accountability.
Even though the HLPF was supposed to put sustainable development at the center of the UN agenda, many agree that Member States response to the forum was feeble. More worrisome, was the lack of participation from civil society in the forum, which was limited to three interventions. Before the event, civil society representatives from all Major Groups recognized the need to better coordinate their participation to avoid being left out of new forums like the HLPF.
Where do we go from here?
With more than 1400 voluntary commitments on top of the negotiated commitments from the Rio+20 negotiations, the role of civil society is becoming increasing important in the carrying out of internationally set goals. How can local stakeholders hold government actors responsible to the promises they have made? Moreover, how can official and unofficial spaces better coordinate toward achieving their shared goals? Is it possible to create transparency in a system that inherently leans toward complexity? To answer these questions and make genuine progress, one needs the idealism, vigor and devotion of all the major groups, but especially the youth.
One of the greatest challenges that stakeholder groups will face is the ability to build power and influence formal domestic government processes in their home states. In the United States, this will require significant time spent hearing input and creating investment amongst activist youth. Without a critical mass of young Americans invested in sustainable development, it will be difficult to inject the youth perspective into the international policy process.
- Created on Friday, 05 July 2013 20:51
- Last Updated on Saturday, 06 July 2013 00:03
- Written by Olimar Maisonet-Guzmán
Over the past months, SustainUS has been actively involved in the post-2015 discussions at the United Nations Headquarters. The Post-2015 Development Agenda is an UN process that is seeking to develop the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new set of goals that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. The process was a significant outcome for the Rio+20 Conference.
Even though the MDGs provided a set of development goals that rallied the international community behind a shared understanding of poverty eradication, development experts recognized the need for a more holistic development agenda. The MDGs overemphasized economic poverty and gave limited attention to the structural cases of poverty, population dynamics, or sustainable development. Moreover, the historical and economic context in which the MDGs were anchored has changed and it becomes vital to find a new set of development goals that reflect the challenges of today’s world.
- Created on Tuesday, 04 June 2013 03:01
- Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 03:33
- Written by AoC Blogger
Thanks to all of the SustainUS members who voted on the latest amendment to our bylaws! The amendment passed, increasing the leadership opportunities available to youth. To recap what this means, any youth 29 and under is now eligible to run for the Steering Committee and any youth 18 and older is now eligible to run for the Board of Directors. We are excited to be able to extend a wider range of engagement to all of our members. Please note that this change will not affect program participation age requirements for Agents of Change delegations, Citizen Science applicants, or Lead Now Fellows.