Report of main proceedings for 8 July 2014
On Tuesday, the President of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) addressed the second High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF-2) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This presentation was followed by two ministerial dialogues on: “Long term measures to make poverty eradication irreversible and reduce inequalities”; and “International cooperation for sustainable development.” A multi-stakeholder dialogue on “Multi-stakeholder partnerships and voluntary commitments for sustainable development – ensuring accountability for all” took place in the evening, followed by a ministerial dialogue on “Preparing the high-level political forum for post-2015: Steering implementation of the development agenda and reviewing progress.”
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT ASSEMBLY
ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik (Austria) opened the session. Oyun Sangaasuren, Minister for Environment and Green Development, Mongolia, and UNEA President, reported on the first session of the UNEA, emphasizing high-level discussions on: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 agenda, including sustainable consumption and production (SCP); and illegal trade in wildlife. She highlighted the adoption of a Ministerial Outcome Document.
MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE: “LONG TERM MEASURES TO MAKE POVERTY ERADICATION IRREVERSIBLE AND REDUCE INEQUALITIES”
ECOSOC President Sajdik encouraged panelists to reflect on: long-term trends that have had the greatest impact on poverty and equality; successful strategies to reconcile the imperatives of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, strengthening resilience, and preserving natural resources; and policies that can ensure the sustainability of intergenerational gains.
María Ángela Holguín, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Colombia, identified poverty eradication, reducing inequality, and changing consumption and production patterns as challenges to sustainable development. On the post-2015 agenda, she prioritised strengthening capacities in countries in special situations, promoting quality education, and incorporating SCP.
Underlining that children need to be placed at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda, Sophie Karmasin, Federal Minister for Family and Youth, Austria, highlighted actions in her country, including strengthening children’s rights, mainstreaming these rights in planning processes, and policy dialogues on children.
Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Social Development, South Africa, said the right to development is critical for building more sustainable societies, and shared her country’s actions to address childhood poverty.
Aida Kurmangaliyeva, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population, Kazakhstan, called for a roadmap to eradicate poverty that includes: productive employment; a stable society sustained by a middle class; access to services including healthcare; and rural development.
Yong Li, Director-General, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), highlighted the role of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in eradicating poverty given its role in reducing inequality, and ensuring environmental sustainability.
Paola Bustamante, Minister for Social Inclusion, Peru, highlighted efforts to provide basic services such as health and education to women and youth, and progress on poverty reduction by increasing exports and engaging the private sector.
Lead discussant Jim Clarken, Executive Director, Oxfam, highlighted the twin challenges of rising inequality and climate change in reducing poverty.
During the discussion, ZAMBIA said his country has resolved to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The NGO Major Group said control and access over natural resources is critical for eradicating poverty and reducing inequality. CHINA supported UNIDO’s promotion of inclusive industrial development as well as inclusive social policies and complete health and social protection.
In conclusion, Holguín noted the importance of investing in infrastructure in rural areas to promote sustainable development while Dlamini highlighted a national economic infrastructure programme to improve quality of life. Karmasin stressed investing in children. Kurmangaliyeva proposed the creation of a poverty eradication roadmap.
MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE: “INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT”
Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi (Libya), ECOSOC Vice President, opened the session, noting that the Development Cooperation Forum can help identify features of an inclusive global architecture for monitoring and accountability arrangements and provide guidance on implementation in the post-2015 agenda.
Saber Chowdhury, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh, moderated this dialogue.
Fulbert Macaire Amoussouga Gero, Minister of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Policies and Sustainable Development, Benin, stressed that cooperation must be inclusive, based on a shared vision, mutually beneficial, and avoid a donor-recipient relationship.
Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway, lauded achievements in health and poverty eradication. He called for the SDGs to address climate change, biodiversity loss, water and sanitation, education, health, and renewable energy, and noted the need for finance to meet these goals.
Han Seung-soo, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water, recommended a dedicated water SDG with three priorities: universal access to sustainable sanitation and drinking water; strengthened wastewater management; and improved integrated water resources management.
Describing the next 18 months as the most crucial period of global negotiations for the planet’s future, Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General on the MDGs, highlighted five key building blocks: the SDGs; a comprehensive climate agreement; means of implementation; data, monitoring and updating; and governance and accountability.
Hiroshi Imanaga, Deputy Mayor of Kitakyushu, Japan, said local governments can contribute to sustainable cities through intercity cooperation and partnerships.
There were two lead discussants in this dialogue. Pekka Haavisto, Minister for International Development, Finland, highlighted taxation as a source of finance, including the role of matching funds. Emilia Pires, Minister of Finance, Timor-Leste, called for greater trust and more efficient use of resources.
CHILE questioned whether decarbonization could take place despite an increasing role of coal in the energy mix. Chowdhury summarized the discussions, noting the important role of partnerships in the new global agreement.
MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE “MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIPS AND VOLUNTARY COMMITMENTS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ALL”
Ambassador María Emma Mejía Vélez (Colombia), ECOSOC Vice President, chaired this session. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UN Population Fund, called for accountable, transparent partnerships and urged creating strategic partnerships, including with the private sector for resource mobilization.
Juan Carlos Lastiri Quirós, Ministry of Social Development, Mexico, highlighted contracts with the civil society aimed at achieving the MDGs.
Dagfinn Høybråten, Chair, Board of GAVI Alliance, shared lessons on leveraging the comparative advantage of partners; creating innovative partnerships and mechanisms to mobilise resources; and partnerships to ensure sustainable change.
Danny Sriskandarajah, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, urged the creation of a set of clear, fair, transparent norms and practices to govern stakeholder partnerships to enhance their credibility; and drew attention to civil society innovations that could promote accountability in the post-2015 agenda.
Petra Bayr, Member of Parliament, Austria, said a robust framework is needed for the private sector to play a defined role in achieving the post-2015 agenda beyond the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and recommended core standards, including regulations in the interest of people rather than transnational corporations and binding rules under international law.
There were three lead discussants in this dialogue. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iceland, said Iceland’s experience shows that partnerships must be inclusive, progressive, and dynamic to be successful. Ambassador Pio Wennubst (Switzerland) said partnerships should: draw upon knowledge from multiple actors; avoid silo effects that impede the full benefit of their potential; and be innovative and forward-looking. Myrna Cunningham, former Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, also for the INDIGENOUS PEOPLES Major Group, outlined preconditions for establishing trust in partnerships with indigenous peoples, including: ensuring indigenous peoples’ rights to land and natural resources; and measures based on a human-rights approach. She recommended a specific section on indigenous peoples in the MDG Report.
In the ensuing discussion, participants called for an inclusive and bottom-up approach to partnerships, a conscious and visible approach to include marginalized groups, an emphasis on personal liberties, and effective use of social media. CANADA, noting their commitment to civil society engagement, called for greater space for civil society to influence policy at the national level.
Closing the discussion, Moderator Osotimehin underlined the need for transparency, accountability, and building on strengths of stakeholders.
MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE: “PREPARING THE HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM FOR POST 2015: STEERING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA AND REVIEWING PROGRESS”
Opening the dialogue, ECOSOC President Sajdik emphasized the need to focus on action and implementation. Moderator Thomas Gass, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, asked participants to address ways for HLPF to: review implementation and progress towards future SDGs; and promote integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development.
Rémi Allah Kouadio, Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Cities and Sustainable Development, Côte d’Ivoire, described national efforts to implement sustainable development, and underlined the importance of technology, financial resources, partnerships, and regional approaches.
Calling on the HLPF to draw lessons from other organizations, Attila Korodi, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Romania, said the Forum could serve as a locus for accountability and provide policy direction to ensure consistency between various organizations.
Shinji Inoue, Senior Vice Minister of the Environment, Japan, noted the need to promote sustainable development at the individual and international levels to realize the post-2015 agenda, with stakeholders engaging outside the developing-developed country dichotomy.
Joseph Moser, Secretary-General, International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, described the role of audit institutions in creating accountability at international and national levels, including their potential role in SDG review mechanisms.
Lead discussant Erik Solheim, Chair, Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development, Development Assistance Committee, said the HLPF should be a forum that “digs into” the success stories of government, civil society and business, underlining the existence of hidden success stories. He also recommended establishing peer learning and focusing on coalitions for actions.
Noting the special situation of Least Developed Countries, BENIN called for the mobilization of expertise and resources to achieve post-2015 results. CHINA highlighted the HLPF’s roles in: monitoring and evaluating progress; generating coherence in the UN system; and communicating best practices. CANADA called for a strong accountability framework and a robust secretariat to support the HLPF. The WOMEN Major Group noted the need for transformational change and called for ending multiple forms of discrimination. SWITZERLAND supported a robust, inclusive review mechanism to encourage the replication of best practices. The NGO Major Group called for a secretariat and bureau for the HLPF to allow it to effectively fulfill its function.
In closing statements, Kouadio, supported by Solheim, urged stronger political will to ensure the HLPF leads to sustainable development. Inoue underscored the importance of monitoring mechanisms with contributions from a wide range of stakeholders. ECOSOC President Sajdik closed the session.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Can the HLPF adopt decisions? According to experienced delegates, this could be one of the questions holding up progress on the Ministerial Declaration that is being negotiated informally alongside the HLPF. Apparently, the G-77 and China would like a decision to be adopted on the Global Sustainable Development Report. In fact, their statement yesterday mentioned a draft decision they have submitted to the Forum, which includes deliberations on the report for the agenda of the next session. Other delegations did not support this idea, and the informal session dispersed for delegates to consult with their Missions. It is therefore possible that the Declaration, which is expected to be adopted by the HLPF at its closing session on Wednesday, could indicate whether the HLPF will be negotiating more than ministerial declarations in the future.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of the HLPF will be available online on Saturday, 12 July 2014, at:http://enb.iisd.org/hlpf/hlpf2/