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December 2009


The “Development and Climate Days at COP 15” event took place at The Concert House in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 11-14 December 2009. The event was held in parallel with the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and fifth Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 5). Approximately 800 participants attended the four-day event, including representatives of governments, international organizations, academia, research institutes, business and non-governmental organizations. The event was organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Stockholm Environment Institute, the RING alliance of policy research organizations, and the Capacity Strengthening of Least Developed Countries for Adaptation to Climate Change (CLACC). The event was sponsored by the UK Department for International Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. The event featured more than 70 speakers and numerous extended discussions and question-and-answer sessions on: land, water and forests; justice, ethics and humanitarian issues; planning adaptation; and mitigation, finance and the private sector. The event also included a film festival on climate and development issues, featuring short films from around the world. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

From 1-3 December 2009, delegates gathered at the High-Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation to deliberate the challenges faced by developing countries in furthering socio-economic development – including economic recovery, food security and climate change issues – and to review 30 years of progress since the 1978 UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries held in Buenos Aires. The conference featured round table discussions on “Strengthening the role of the United Nations system in supporting South-South and triangular cooperation” and “South-South and triangular cooperation for development: complementarities, specificities, challenges and opportunities.” On the final day, delegates adopted the Nairobi Outcome Document, which recognizes the increasing relevance of South-South cooperation, as developing countries increase human development and become major players in the global economic system. The document emphasizes economic growth through regional common markets, custom unions, and the relevance of capacity building projects among developing countries, including low income and middle income countries, as well as developed countries in triangular cooperation. The document also emphasizes that South-South cooperation is not a replacement for North-South cooperation, and encourages the assessment of existing experiences to enhance national coordination mechanisms and sharing of lessons learned. It stresses that the principles guiding South-South cooperation differ from those of official development assistance (ODA), since the former should be free of conditionality. The document reaffirmed the importance of multilateral and regional organizations as catalysts for cooperation and highlighted the role of the Special Unit for South South Cooperation, hosted by UNDP, calling countries to support it. UNDP Administrator Helen Clark welcomed the outcome document and emphasized that by identifying complementarities and performing needs-capacity of countries, it would be possible to build innovative and inclusive partnerships. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also hosted a meeting with experts from more than 20 countries in Geneva, from 14-16 December 2009, to discuss South-South, ‘triangular' cooperation to help agricultural development and food security. Links to further information UN press release, 2 December 2009 UN press release, 3 December 2009 UN News Centre, 14 December 2009

On 1 December 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while delivering his open remarks to the Women's International Forum held in New York, highlighted that beyond being the most affected by climate change and other social problems, women must be recognized as principal agents in curbing global warming and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. He noted that, on average, women are expected to bear 70-80 percent of the impact of climate on environment and livelihoods. Nevertheless, he also noted that women are often the custodians of local knowledge of food rationing, water harvesting, and forest conservation, which are key for promoting climate adaptation, sustainable natural resources management and the family's well-being. He recalled the case of Bangladesh which is making significant strides against poverty by empowering rural women economically through microcredit and committed to make the empowerment of women and girls a priority. With only a few days left prior to the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, he stressed the need to ensure that women play an active role as decision-makers to arrive at a fair and effective agreement. Links to further information UN News Centre, 1 December 2009 UN Secretary-General's remarks to the Women's International ...

October 2009


The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with the Forum of African and Arab Parliamentarians on Population and Development (FAAPPD) and along with European, Asian, and Inter-American parliamentarian groups, organized the fourth Global Parliamentarians' Conference on Population and Development from 27-28 October 2009, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting gathered over 400 legislators and ministers to reaffirm their support to the principles and goals of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and its Programme of Action in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including access to reproductive health and reduction of maternal mortality by 2015. The meeting adopted the Addis Ababa Statement of Commitment, which includes the pledge to increase budget allocations to at least 10 percent of national budget and development assistance to support family planning and access to sexual and reproductive health. Links to further information UNFPA press release, 28 October 2009 Addis Ababa statement of commitment

On 23 October 2009, in a message addressing the 57th Congress of the Worldwide Network of Women Entrepreneurs (Femmes Chefs D'Enterprises Mondiales – FCEM) in Yaounde, Cameroon, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that women business executives have a major role to play in promoting a green economy, safeguarding the environment and improving the living conditions of their communities. He recognized the link between empowering women and achieving development. Finally, he called upon women executives to join the UN Global Compact, an initiative to promote corporate social responsibility for business, and to further commit and lead their business responsibly, aligned to principles connected to human rights, labour rights, anti-corruption and environmental principles. Links to further information UN News Centre, 23 October 2009 Congress of the Worldwide Network of Women Entrepreneurs web...

Delegates to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Committee on World Food Security (CFS) have adopted reforms designed to focus the Committee's vision and role on the global coordination of efforts to eliminate hunger and ensure food security for all. As a result of the reforms, a wider range of organizations working with food security and nutrition will participate in the Committee, including: UN bodies including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis; civil society and non-governmental organizations; international agricultural research institutions, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, regional development banks and the World Trade Organization. The reformed Committee will receive advice from a high level panel of experts on the subject of food security and nutrition. It will provide a platform for discussion and coordination, and seek to promote greater policy convergence including through the development of international strategies and voluntary guidelines on food security and nutrition. Link to further information FAO press release, 20 October 2009

The 18th session of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly convened in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 5-8 October 2009, and brought together some 360 delegates from 112 countries and called on governments to place travel and tourism at the core of stimulus packages and the long-term transformation towards a green economy. Participants adopted an “Astana Declaration” that stresses: the relevance of the tourism sector for job creation, trade, infrastructure and development; the critical role of travel and tourism in the post-crisis recovery from the global economic crisis; and the need to support developing countries with capacity building, technology transfer and financing. The Assembly also elected UNWTO Secretary-General ad interim Taleb Rifai as Secretary-General for 2010-2013. And Vanuatu became a full member of the UNWTO, which has now 161 member States. Links to further information UN News Centre, 9 October 2009 UNWTO website

Addressing the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, on 5 October 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) as part of the solution to the threats imposed by climate change. Secretary-General Ban underscored the advances made at the UN Climate Change Summit on 22 September 2009, in New York, and highlighted the use of technology not only to cut emissions and help countries adapt to the effects of climate change, but also to raise awareness about climate change. Secretary-General Ban mentioned the specific example of text messages as a tool to aid farmers to be better informed about weather conditions and monitor the impact of climate change. He noted that the UN has partnered with mobile phone companies to install 5,000 weather stations across Africa. He also advocated for better access to technologies to developing countries to enable them to reduce emissions and waste, create jobs, protect against disasters and promote better standards of living while attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Links to further information UN News Centre, 5 October 2009 UN press release, 5 October 2009

September 2009


The seventieth session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Housing and Land Management (CHLM) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 23-25 September 2009. The meeting was opened by a one-day seminar on climate neutral cities, which discussed: approaches to sustainable land management and the mitigation of climate change in cities; and green building and reduction of emissions in buildings. During the remaining two days, the CHLM discussed: matters arising from the sixty-third UNECE session; the work of the CHLM Bureau; the report of the Housing and Urban Management Advisory Network (HUMAN); outcomes of the seminar on climate neutral cities; implementation of the programme of work for 2008-2009 and the draft programme of work for 2010-2011; building and construction safety; and cross-sectoral activities. Delegates elected a new Chair and Bureau, and agreed that the next session of the CHLM, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2010, will include a high-level ministerial segment to address emerging issues such as climate change and the financial crisis. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

On 14 September 2009, the member states of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on system-wide coherence (document A/63/L.103) that includes measures to strengthen the United Nations' work in the area of gender equality and empowerment of women. The resolution specifically calls for merging the existing four women-specific entities, including the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW), to create a new single agency to promote the rights of women and gender equality. The new agency will be led by an Under-Secretary-General who will report directly to the UN Secretary-General. The UN Secretary-General issued a statement noting that the resolution is an important step to promote gender equality and empowerment of women and emphasized his commitment to present a proposal to the General Assembly on the mission statement, organization arrangements, funding and oversight of the new agency. UNIFEM welcomed the unanimous support towards the resolution by member states, which follows three years of extensive consultations. Links to further information UN News Centre, 15 September 2009 UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service report

July 2009


On 20 July 2009, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka delivered a keynote address to the XVIII Assembly of Ministers and lead authorities of housing and urban development in Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI), which convened in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and emphasized three key messages: decent housing and universal access to basic urban services are critical elements to the well-being of urban populations and poverty reduction; cities play a role as engines of economic growth; and sustainable development depends on sustainable urban development. Tibaijuka noted that urban areas accommodate about half the world's population and consume 65% of the world's energy, contributing to about 75% of waste and 65% of greenhouse gas emissions. She stressed that the Habitat Agenda, normally recognized as the brown agenda, should no longer be delinked from the green agenda, especially as it relates to the challenges of climate change and the need to integrate cities as part of the solution. She highlighted that UN-HABITAT is launching two new initiatives. The first initiative, the World Urban Campaign, aims to elevate the discussion of sustainable urbanization in different decision-making fora to revive national Habitat Platforms to stimulate dialogue and action. The second initiative, the City and Climate Change Initiative, advocates for an integrated approach to land use and urban infrastructure that promotes resilient urban services and greener building technologies. Links to further information UN-HABITAT press release Keynote address by UN-HABITAT Director Anna Tibaijuka

On 6 July 2009, at the opening of the High-Level Segment of the 2009 UN Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) substantive session in Geneva, Switzerland, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Millennium Development Goals Report 2009. The report assesses the progress towards the MDGs and warns that, despite the successes of some developing countries, overall progress has been too slow in order to meet the goals by 2015. The UN Secretary-General stressed that the food security crisis in 2008 has reversed a two-decade trend toward eliminating hunger. He noted that, with the right policies, backed by adequate funding and strong political commitment, countries are achieving significant results. Yet, he underscored that delays in delivering aid, combined with the impacts of the financial crisis and climate change, are slowing progress. He highlighted that the United Nations system is establishing a Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System (GIVAS), which aims to fill the information gap that currently exists between the point when a global crisis impacts vulnerable populations and when solid quantitative information and analysis reaches decision makers. The GIVAS will focus on tracking vulnerabilities that are caused or exacerbated by external shocks. Partners supporting this initiative will include national governments, UN agencies, academic institutions and civil society organizations. Links to further information UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks to ECOSOC UN News Centre, 6 July 2009 Report

June 2009


The UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development, organized under the coordination of the UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, took place from 24-26 June 2009, in New York, NY, at UN Headquarters. The Summit aimed to identify emergency and long-term responses to mitigate the impact of the crisis, especially on vulnerable populations, and to initiate a dialogue on the transformation of the international financial architecture. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a multi-pronged approach that incorporates investment in access to education and green growth, and support to subsistence farmers. Twenty-one UN agencies, including the UN Environment Programme, the UN Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and the World Bank, backed a common statement on the need for a world-wide transition to a low carbon, green economy that can stimulate job creation and reduces the threats from current crises related to food, water and climate change. The statement highlighted the need for fiscal reforms that can facilitate green investments, and phasing out subsidies that finance excessive use of fossil fuels in agriculture and fisheries, as well as the need to support affordable energy alternatives for the poor. The Conference adopted a draft outcome document that emphasizes the opportunity presented by the crisis to promote green economy initiatives, and states that the crisis should not delay the necessary global response to climate change and environmental degradation, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The outcome document also emphasizes the need to reform the international financial and economic system and architecture, and to further strengthen the UN development system's comprehensive crisis response in support of national development strategies. Links to further information Draft outcome document of the conference UN Interagency statement on the green economy, 25 June 2009 UN News Centre, 26 June 2009 UN News Centre, 25 June 2009 UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis and its...

The UN Population Fund and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), in collaboration with the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), held a workshop from 24-25 June 2009, in London, UK, in the context of the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The expert group meeting focused at how age structure, household size and spatial distribution affect per capita emissions, and how it should be integrated into climate change modeling particularly in the context of adaptation and mitigation. The meeting concluded with a panel discussion on how to integrate population issues in the UN's “Delivering as One” approach at the country level. UNFPA's agenda on climate change includes the provision of evidence-based arguments to shed light on population dynamics and climate change. The 2009 edition of UNFPA's flagship publication, State of the World Population , which is expected be released on 18 November 2009, focuses on gender, population and climate change. Links to further information Expert Group Meeting on Population Dynamics and Climate Chan... Agenda, Expert Group Meeting on Population Dynamics and Clim... UNFPA Population and Climate Change working concept note

On 5-6 June 2009, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) held a consultation with 25 representatives of civil society organizations and foundations in New York, US, as a first step in mobilizing “Platform HD2010,” a partnership that will include civil society in addressing the current global crises in the poorest countries. The partnership's recommendations also will contribute to the 20-year review of UNDP's Human Development Report, and the ten-year review of the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2010. The key message emerging from this first consultation emphasized the opportunity generated by climate change and the economic crisis to transform current global governance and to prioritize human development and citizen engagement. Link to further information UNDP Newsroom, 9 June 2009

Representatives from the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) participated in a retreat that sought to build common ground and a framework for partnership to combat desertification, land degradation and to mitigate effects of drought. The retreat, which convened from 4-5 June 2009, in Bonn, Germany, was attended by 14 participants from the UNCCD Secretariat, two from the Global Mechanism, and six from the UNDP Environment and Energy Group and Drylands Development Center. The event was co-chaired by UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja and Director of UNDP Environment and Energy Group Veerle Vandeweerd. Based on their discussions, the UNCCD and UNDP agreed to establish a strategic working partnership, on a pilot basis, to raise awareness of and catalyze international cooperation to address the needs of the world's poorest living in the drylands, in particular under scenarios of climate change. This partnership will build on the complementarities and respective comparative advantages of the two institutions, and will cover a range of programmatic actions with the overall aim of reducing poverty by enhancing ecosystem functions and services in the drylands. Link to further information UNCCD website

May 2009


About 2,000 indigenous representatives, as well as representatives of member States, civil society, academia, some 35 UN entities and other intergovernmental organizations, participated in the eighth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which convened from 18-29 May 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The Forum considered a concept note, prepared by the special rapporteurs, on the preparation of the report on whether climate change policies and projects adhere to the standards set forth in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Forum also considered the Special Rapporteurs' reports on climate change and land tenure and hosted a panel discussion with UN experts on the impacts of the financial and economic crisis on indigenous peoples. Forum Chair Victoria Tauli-Corpuz called for a human rights-based approach to development that integrates indigenous peoples' needs and solutions to redress the impacts of climate change. Tauli-Corpuz indicated that the economic crisis has led to an increase of infrastructure development expenditures, and cautioned against construction projects on traditional lands without indigenous peoples' free, prior and informed consent, which may lead to their displacement. Tauli-Corpuz noted linkages between the climate change and global economic crises and underlined that the policies and solutions to address them may: deepen the poverty of indigenous communities and their economic and food insecurity; threaten their traditional livelihoods; and decrease their access to social services. The recommendations agreed by the UNPFII include a call on States and corporations to involve indigenous people in all negotiations relating to mining, infrastructure projects and other development schemes taking place on indigenous lands. Various side events were held in parallel to the main session of the UNPFII, including an event on the UN-REDD Programme, Operational Guidance and Engagement of Indigenous Peoples, organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The event presented the programme and operational guidance and discussed the challenges facing indigenous peoples in many countries. Forum delegates gave testimonies about their lives and how the UN-REDD Programme could affect them. Links to further information Eighth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issue... UN-REDD Programme, Operational Guidance: Engagement of Indig...

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in cooperation with the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) and other partner organizations, organized a Public Symposium on the Global Economic Crisis and Development in Geneva, from 18-19 May 2009. The symposium aimed to provide a platform for participants to discuss the causes and effects of the current global financial crisis and to provide recommendations for policy changes needed to avoid such crisis in the future. Specifically, the debate focused on the effects on developing countries in the area of trade, investment, food security and jobs. UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi stressed the need to give voice to the voiceless. Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), advocated for a global jobs pact to address unemployment and provide an economic stimulus package, in line with the Green Jobs agenda. A report prepared by ILO and the International Institute for Labour Studies, which was used as a background document to the symposium, focuses on the benefits of the green economy, which is likely to be more job-rich than carbon intensive economies. The report notes that, for some countries, a job-creation strategy includes green jobs but not plans to save existing jobs. Recommendations included building on the rapid growth in South-South trade and related economic cooperation in recent years. The recommendations will be forwarded to the UN General Assembly and to the UN Conference on the World Financial Crisis and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, to be held later in June in New York. Links to further information UNCTAD Public Symposium Public Symposium Programme ILO report: The Financial and Economic Crisis: A Decent Work...

April 2009


The Indigenous People's Global Summit on Climate Change, which convened from 20-24 April 2009, in Anchorage, Alaska, US, gathered nearly 500 indigenous representatives from 5,000 distinct indigenous groups across 80 nations, to discuss how to integrate indigenous views, policies and traditional values and visions into the global response to the challenges of climate change. The Summit was organized by the Inuit Circumpolar Council and supported by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the United Nations University, the Northern Forum and other international organizations. The summit ended with the adoption of a Declaration and an action plan and a call to governments around the world to include indigenous people in any new regime on climate change. The Declaration indicates that indigenous people are “deeply alarmed by the accelerating climate devastation brought about by unsustainable development.” Debate centered on whether to call for a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling and a phase-out of fossil fuels. The final document contains two options. One calls for the moratorium where supported by indigenous people. The other says indigenous people look to an eventual phase-out in the use of fossil fuels while at the same time respecting the rights of indigenous people to develop their resources. The recommendations will be presented to the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009. Links to further information Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change meeting ... UNU webcast UN News Centre, 23 April 2009

From 20-24 April 2009, the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change was held in Anchorage, Alaska, US. The Summit was organized by the Inuit Circumpolar Council, with support from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the United Nations University, the Northern Forum and other international organizations. The event attracted nearly 500 indigenous representatives from 5000 distinct indigenous groups across 80 nations. The aimed of the Summit was to discuss how to integrate indigenous views, policies and traditional values and visions into the global response to the challenges of climate change. Participants adopted the Anchorage Declaration. This document calls for the fundamental human rights and status of indigenous peoples contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to be recognized in all decision-making processes and activities related to climate change. This includes the right of self determination and the right to free, prior and informed consent. The declaration contains fourteen major recommendations or “calls for action,” These include a proposal that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopt binding-emissions reductions targets for developed (Annex I) countries of at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 95% by 2050. These targets should be agreed at the next Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark in December. The declaration also calls for phasing out fossil fuel development and a moratorium on new fossil fuel developments on or near indigenous lands and territories; and for a process that works towards the eventual phase out of fossil fuels, without infringing on the right to development of indigenous nations. As well, the declaration calls on UNFCCC parties to recognize the importance of traditional knowledge and practices to mitigate adapt to climate change and to establish formal mechanisms to facilitate indigenous peoples' participation in the climate debates. It urges that all initiatives relating to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) take into consideration the implementation of the human rights of indigenous peoples; and calls on states to abandon solutions to climate change that negatively impact indigenous peoples' rights, lands, air, oceans, forests, territories and waters. The declaration also calls on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and other relevant organizations to carry out indigenous peoples' climate change assessments. Links to further information Anchorage declaration UNU webcast UN News Centre, 23 April 2009

The International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction, organized by the UN International Strategy for Risk Reduction (UN/ISDR), was held from 20-22 April 2009, in Beijing, China. Over 200 participants, including ministers and parliamentarians from 50 countries, gathered to discuss how women and men can participate equally in driving early warning systems, risk assessments, preparedness exercises and national and local plans to implement disaster risk reduction policies. UN Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström noted that progress in mainstreaming gender perspectives into disaster risk reduction remains inadequate and that women should not be regarded as victims, but they should play an active role in preventing and managing disasters. The recommendations on actions needed to mainstream gender into disaster risk reduction processes will inform the Beijing Declaration for Action and the Hyogo Framework for Action to be implemented by 2015. Links to further information UN News Centre, 17 April 2009 International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reducti...

On 6 April 2009, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) hosted an Interactive Thematic Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on the Global Food Crisis and the Right to Food at UN Headquarters in New York, US. UNGA President Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, and the senior adviser to the UNGA President on food policy and sustainable development, David Andrews, called for concerted efforts to refocus the world's attention on the food crisis. The Dialogue gathered economists, agro-ecologists, human rights specialists and government delegates to discuss how a rights-based approach to food could shift the world's agricultural production. Oliver de Schutter noted that the recent reduction of food prices, coupled with the financial crisis, has contributed to the belief that the food crisis is no longer an issue. He further noted that the structural problems of agricultural production have not been addressed, including the dependency of agriculture on oil prices, the climate change impacts, which increase the volatility of food prices, and the unfair trading system, which makes developing countries less competitive. David Andrews underlined that the majority of the world's labour is concentrated in agriculture, with the largest share represented by women. He noted that many small farmers and producers are suffering from hunger themselves, and that international organizations and governments should consult with the hungry and the farmers when proposing solutions to the food crisis. In his closing remarks, d'Escoto stressed the need to ensure that the right to food, a rights-based approach, is taken into consideration in the deliberations of the upcoming UN meetings and processes. He indicated that a Summit on the Food Crisis is likely to be held by the end of the year. Links to further information UNGA website Keynote address of the Special Rapporteur Olivier de Schutte..., 6 April 2009 Concept Note prepared by the Special Rapporteur on the Right... UN News Centre, 6 April 2009 Press conference, 6 April 2009 UNGA press release, 6 April 2009

The 22nd session of the Governing Council of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 30 March-3 April 2009, and brought together close to 800 delegates from 104 countries, representing national governments, NGOs, and local governments and their associations. The Governing Council adopted a resolution on cities and climate change and requested the UN General Assembly to convene a third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. The Council also adopted a resolution on affordable housing finance, which Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, cited as a major milestone. She stressed the importance of affordable housing and accessible urban infrastructure and basic services in tackling persistent urban poverty, noting that they are “key ingredients to ensuring that our cities and communities can better withstand the effects of climate change.” At the concluding session, Clifford Everald Warmington, Jamaican Minister of State for water and housing and President of the Governing Council, noted the relevance of the HABITAT Agenda in these times of financial turmoil and climate change. Links to further information UN-HABITAT press release UN-HABITAT Executive Director's speech 22nd Governing Council's website

The forty-second session of the UN Commission on Population and Development convened from 30 March-3 April 2009 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The session, chaired by Elena Zúñiga Herrera, Mexico, focused on the contribution of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) to the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The session adopted a revised figure of US$64.7 billion for 2010 to cover the needs of population programmes to combat poverty, promote development and family planning, and reduce maternal mortality rates. The previous figure of $20.5 billion was adopted at the 1994 ICPD in Cairo. UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid noted that the updated figure – the first revision in 15 years – reflects the current costs and investment needs for achieving the MDGs. One-third of this sum is expected to come from the commitments of international donors. Among its resolutions, the Commission called on Governments to take into account the linkages of population dynamics, including population growth, changing age structures and spatial distribution with economic growth and sustainable development in formulating and implementing national development policies and strategies, including those addressing climate change and the current food and financial crises. Links to further information UN News Centre, 6 April 2009 42nd session of the UN Commission on Population and Developm... Draft resolutions of the 42nd session of the UN Commission o...

March 2009


The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) convened, on 31 March 2009, a global preparatory meeting for its Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), to be held during its July 2009 substantive session. The 2009 AMR will focus on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health.” ECOSOC President Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) opened the one-day March event at UN Headquarters in New York, US, and highlighted that “one of the key messages of the preparatory process so far is that the health community alone will not be able to solve key challenges on the global public health agenda…Multisectoral approaches developed across ministries are needed. The key contribution which ECOSOC can make in July is to bring the different communities together.” She also highlighted additional preparatory events that have taken place, including an e-discussion and national and regional meetings. These deliberations also will serve as an input to the Report of the Secretary-General on the achievements in the area of health, as well as the Ministerial Declaration. In other ECOSOC news, the Council selected the theme for the humanitarian affairs segment of its 2009 substantive session on 26 March 2009. This segment will consider “Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian assistance: present challenges and their impact on the future,” and will convene two panels on “Respecting and implementing guiding principles of humanitarian assistance at the operational level – assisting the affected populations” and “Addressing the impact of current global challenges and trends on the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.” The Council also decided that the regional segment will consider “Regional perspectives on the global economic and financial crisis, including the impact on global public health,” and an informal event will be organized on 17 July to discuss the transition from relief to development. Links to further information AMR Global Preparatory Meeting website ECOSOC press release, 26 March 2006

The second meeting of the informal consultations of the UNGA plenary on System-wide Coherence convened on 30 March 2009, at UN headquarters in New York, US. Discussions focused on the Secretary-General's paper “Further Details on Institutional Options for Strengthening the Institutional Arrangements for Support of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.” The paper focuses on the composite entity option, but also: lays out other options for gender architecture, including maintaining the status quo, establishing a separately administered Fund/Programme, and consolidating UN gender bodies in a Department of the Secretariat; and highlights the composite entity and Fund/Programme options as having the greatest potential to create a stronger and more coordinated UN system to support countries to advance gender equality and be an effective driver for the UN system. Links to further information President's Options Paper, 5 March 2009 President's letter, 13 March 2009

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded its 53rd session on 13 March 2009, with the adoption of recommendations regarding the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS – its priority theme – and several resolutions on women's empowerment. Included in the agreed conclusions is language regarding the need to take appropriate measures to integrate women, on an equal basis, in decision-making regarding sustainable resource management, the development of policies and programmes for sustainable management, and the need to redress the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, including through displacement from income-generating activities, negative health impacts, and compromised well-being and quality of life. On the margins of the 53rd session, delegates discussed issues related to equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including a side event sponsored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on an action agenda for the climate change negotiations from the point of view of climate experts, women leaders, government representatives and UN agencies. During this side event, Rebecca Pearl, Coordinator, Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA), provided an update on the status of the climate change negotiations and the progress on gender. Anamah Tan, President of the International Council of Women and former CEDAW expert, stressed the human rights perspective on climate change. Ambassador Carsten Staur, Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations, highlighted the road to Copenhagen 2009 and the relevant issues in the agenda. And Jung-Sook Kim, President, Center for Asia-Pacific Women in Politics, spoke on the Manila Declaration on Gender and Climate Change and its implications for the climate change negotiations. Links to further information UN Press Release, 13 March 2009 53rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Agree... CSW Panel on Climate change negotiations

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organized an international experts' meeting in Monaco from 3-6 March 2009, on “Climate Change and Arctic Sustainable Development: scientific, social, cultural and educational challenges.” The meeting focused on climate-induced environmental changes in the Arctic, including the expansion of mineral exploitation and industrial activities in the North, which affect the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and threaten the survival of animals. All Arctic States – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US – were represented at the meeting, and were joined by representatives from the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON), the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), the Saami Parliament, the Arctic Council, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Participants noted that the rapidly changing climate in the Arctic is putting pressure on hundreds of thousands of indigenous people, while science, development and conservation efforts are often driven by interests outside the Arctic. To confront climate change in the region, participants stressed the need to coordinate interdisciplinary and international efforts, draw on the knowledge of indigenous people, and acknowledge the value of maintaining their traditional cultures. Among the meeting's 66 recommendations were the establishment of a working group to lead the consultations and strategy to address climate change challenges for circumpolar indigenous peoples; building synergies between traditional and scientific knowledge; promoting employment opportunities through conservation; and improving researchers' access to restricted areas in the Arctic. Links to further information UN News Centre, 13 March 2009 UNESCO press release

February 2009


The second annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Meeting convened at the University of Texas, Austin, US, from 13-15 February 2009, and brought together over 3,000 participants, including university deans, students, activists and policy makers, to galvanize their commitments to address the world's development challenges. The meeting was opened by former President Bill Clinton and concentrated on five themes: education, energy and climate change, global health, peace and human rights, and poverty alleviation. Overall, participants focused on how young people could play an active role in solving the challenges of the 21st century. Prior to attending the meeting, each student submitted a commitment to action that captured specific initiatives to address a pressing development challenge, such as designing energy efficient tools, establishing water filtration kits, and designing medical backpacks for nomadic doctors in Africa. To date, more than 1,000 commitments have been recorded. On 14 February, a session focusing on energy and climate change was held, highlighting student-led projects and examining the potential to scale-up these efforts for greater impact. On the same day, a session on human development as urban development in city slums discussed how to forge a new path of growth that incorporates environmental standards and improves the quality of life in cities. UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka moderated the session, which aimed to identify solutions to improve the living and working conditions of the urban poor. Links to further information UN Habitat News, 24 February 2009 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Meeting 2009
UN Commission for Social Development Discusses Social Integration

February 2009: The 47th session of the Commission for Social Development met from 4-13 February 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Delegates incorporated issues surrounding the global financial crisis, compounded by the challenges of increasing poverty, the food crisis, armed conflict and climate change, into their debate of “Social Integration,” which is the priority theme for the 2009-2010 review and policy cycle. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) noted that the Commission for Social Development has the role of guiding international efforts to fight exclusion and promote socially inclusive policies to place people at the centre of development, which could prevent conflict, encourage dialogue and manage coexistence and natural-resource exploitation. The Commission endorsed four draft resolutions on the “Social Dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa's Development” (E/CN.5/2009/L.3); “Policies and Programmes involving Youth” (E/CN.5/2009/L.4); “Promoting full employment and decent work for all” (E/CN.5/2009/L.5); and the “First review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002” (E/CN.5/2009/L.6). The draft resolutions are expected to be considered by ECOSOC, in accordance with resolution 2006/18, to discuss the core themes of the World Summit for Social Development, at its next substantive session in Geneva, in July 2009. Link to further information 47th session of the CSD website

An alternative to the World Economic Forum, the World Social Forum is held annually in developing countries as a forum for debates and information-sharing among social movements and organizations. This year's World Social Forum was held in the Amazonian city of Belém, Brazil, from 27 January-1 February 2009, and was attended by five Latin American presidents, Presidents Lula of Brazil, Chavez of Venezuela, Morales of Bolivia, Lugo of Paraguay and Correa of Ecuador. During the event, several assemblies were held with wide participation of social actors, including one on alternatives for the protection of the Amazonian rainforest, and another on the theme “together for climate justice in Copenhagen.” Links to further information World Social Forum 2009 website Climate Justice Assembly Declaration Choike press release, 30 January 2009

January 2009


The High-level Meeting on Food Security for All, held from 26-27 January 2009, in Madrid, Spain, issued a statement that calls for a consultative process on options for a Global Partnership for Agriculture Food Security and Nutrition. Convened by the Government of Spain and the UN, the meeting reviewed progress in addressing the global food crisis since the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) High-level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, held in June 2008. In a statement that was issued at the close of the meeting, based on the Chair's summary of proceedings, participants emphasize, among other measures: identifying financing gaps and additional resources needed; addressing all aspects of food security, including social protection systems and the elimination of competition distorting subsidies; and making social and economic development of rural areas a primary policy objective. Link to further information Meeting website

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) hosted its “Multi-Year Expert Meeting on Enterprise Development Policies and Capacity-Building in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)” from 20-22 January 2009. Experts gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for the first year of the expert meeting, during which the emphasis was placed on STI capacity-building, including aspects such as STI policy and institutional development, STI regulatory framework and the encouragement of technology-based businesses, including through technology transfer. The meeting focused on three approaches to encourage entrepreneurship: support to entrepreneurship infrastructure; promote research-industry-government collaboration; and foster access to finance. The outcomes of the meeting will serve as input to develop best practices on how to set up and sequence the implementation of an entrepreneurship development policy and to promote the design and implementation of STI policies that can contribute to poverty reduction. Link to further information Meeting website