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VOL 20, NO. 10 - OCTOBER 2016


Happy Birthday, SDGs!

In September of 2015, leaders of the world gathered in New York to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the most ambitious plan ever to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, and create a better world. One year later, we are celebrating the first birthday of this agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), looking back at some of the key moments over this past year, including the announcement of the SDG Advocates, the agreement on global indicators to measure progress, national presentations and much more.

Advocates help raise SDGs awareness

As the new goals entered into force at the turn of the new year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of a group of seventeen SDG Advocates to help promote the goals and encourage everyone to work towards them.

The Advocates come from various parts of the world and are united in the common task of raising awareness and foster engagement of governments, businesses, civil society and others in working towards achieving the goals.

“As we face unprecedented humanitarian crises, our collective commitment to these seventeen goals will help transform our world, as we search together for peaceful and sustainable solutions”, said one of the Advocates, actor and a humanitarian activist, Forest Whitaker. He said that the word about the SDGs is spreading and that people everywhere want to ensure we achieve their vision.

Mr.WuNations present efforts to implement goals

A milestone was achieved in March when the Statistical Commission agreed on a set of indicators that will help track progress in implementing each of the goals’ 169 targets. 230 global indicators were proposed as a starting framework, allowing further development as new tools and data sources become available.

During the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development this past July, the international community heard for the first time, 22 countries share what steps they are taking to implement the goals.

“The lessons you have offered, the actions you have showcased, and the gaps you have identified they are what this Forum is about”, said Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. He reiterated UN DESA’s continued support for the work of the Forum, providing analytical and research expertise.

Young leaders for SDGs announced

As the UN high-level week kicked off in New York on 19 September, the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, announced seventeen Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals to promote the SDGs among the world’s two billion young people.

media_zone“Young people are committed, they have offered fresh ideas, and the exchange of ideas that happened today between the ministers and the young people will be very useful”, said Alhendawi. He urged Member States to make sure the voices of young people is heard during their deliberations in the General Assembly.

Celebrating anniversary with SDG Moment

The one year anniversary was celebrated with a special SDG Moment in the General Assembly Hall on 20 September. SDG Advocates Alaa Murabit and Forest Whitaker gave a short presentation, showcasing many efforts undertaken around the world towards achieving the goals. Following their presentation, the two Advocates talked about their experiences in the SDG Media Zone, answering questions from digital media reporters.

“We can’t act on anything unless we know about it”, said Alaa Murabit, activist, medical doctor and a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment &  Economic Growth. “Our first job is to make sure that societies, from regional, national, local governments, to civil society, to people, students and teachers, doctors and nurses, all know about the Sustainable Development Goals”, she added.

There are fourteen years left to make sure that nations across the globe achieve all 169 targets of the seventeen SDGs. Governments are already working on developing programmes, identifying gaps and tracking progress. With the active engagement of all parts of society, the world is slowly building a better future for all.

Happy Birthday, SDGs!

For more information:

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

SDGs Advocates

Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

SDG indicators

Putting a spotlight on globalization

Globalization or protectionism? Multilateralism or nationalism? Questions that would have been resoundingly responded to in favor of openness and international cooperation until recently, have increasingly been answered with isolationist and nationalistic solutions. While globalization has long been hailed as an engine for growth and global prosperity, it is increasingly being seen as a driver of unequal and unsustainable outcomes across the globe.

As a broad phenomenon that spans across the economic, social, environmental and political fields, globalization has impacted all of these areas. While the expansion of global trade and investment has spurred economic growth, the downsides of globalization have been felt mostly in the environmental and social fields, with global warming and a lack of labor and human rights in manufacturing the most notable challenges.

Following the economic, social and political upheavals created by the financial crisis of 2008/09, people have increasingly questioned the narrative of globalization as a force for good.

“When you study history and look at every civilization that has grown up and died off, they all leave one remnant: a major sports colosseum at the heart of their capital. Our fate can be different; but only if we start doing things differently.”

Thomas L. Friedman, “The world is flat”

The effects of these discussions have not only impacted national political processes, but also set forces in motion that threaten the very existence of the global economic and political system. Both in developing and more and more in developed countries, discontent with globalization and the distribution of its costs and benefits have taken center stage in the political discourse.

A joint meeting of the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly’s Second Committee, to be held on Friday, 7 October,  will seek to discuss how the actual and perceived ills of globalization can be addressed and how global solutions can be advanced for the global challenges that underlie the current backlash against globalization and the international system.

The theme of the meeting will be “The changing political economy of globalization: Multilateral institutions and the 2030 Agenda”.

Author and New York Times Columnist, Mr. Thomas L. Friedman, will deliver a keynote address that will draw on his expertise and past work on globalization, including his best-selling books, “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” and “The World Is Flat”.

Leading experts in the field of globalization and international cooperation, Prof. Alberto Alesina (Harvard), Prof. Michael Plummer (Johns Hopkins), Ms. Anu Mandavkar (McKinsey) and Ms. Mariama Williams (South Center), will discuss, among other aspects, the root-causes of the popular backlash against globalization and multilateralism as well as highlight the ways in which the 2030 Agenda could contribute to addressing the challenges associated with globalization.

For more information:

Joint meeting of the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly’s Second Committee