Wa, An angry mob lynched three suspects recently at Nator Banori, a village near Nadowli, in the Upper West Region.
The deceased, who are of Fulani extraction, are currently at the Upper West Regional Hospital Morgue in Wa.
Briefing the media in Wa, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Edward Oduro Kwarteng, the Deputy Upper West Regional Police Commander, said at about 13:00 hrs on the eventful day, one Dienuma Kwaku, 45, heard an unusual noise in his room.
He said the complainant then woke up and saw three suspected Fulani men, one of them he could only identify as Puuri and two others, who formerly resided in the same village, armed with two single barrel shot guns and cutlasses busily searching the complainant’s personal effects in the room.
ACP Kwarteng said the complainant upon seeing the suspects raised an alarm causing the culprits to escape from the room, later he claimed he had identified two of the suspects and led four other young men to the houses of the three Fulani men where they were arrested and brought to his house.
The complainant later invited his neighbours to his house and as they were cautioning the suspects, they were also beating them at the same time, the Deputy Upper West Regional Police Commander said.
He said when they saw that the suspects were weak they conveyed them on a tricycle to the Nadowli Police Station where the police quickly rushed them to the hospital and they were pronounced dead on arrival.
The complainant has since been arrested.
In another development, ACP Kwarteng said on 10th July, 2017 at about 20:00 hrs, police in Hain received information that some unidentified armed men had blocked the Ulo � Nobre road and were robbing the road users.
He said two police officers namely Sergeant Karim Matari and Constable Christopher Agbeko proceeded to the scene which was about 15kms from Hain.
As they were going, five young men appeared from the nearby bush flashing them to stop and when they obliged, one of the suspects ordered them to put off the engine while one was walking towards them with a dagger and the rest standing behind with cutlasses, he said.
ACP Kwarteng said when the Sergeant realized their lives were in danger he fired at the one who was advancing towards them killing him instantly and the rest run into the bush.
He said the deceased was identified as Desmond Danyi alias Naabu, a notorious criminal in Jirapa who was currently standing trial at the Wa Circuit Court for causing unlawful damage.
The four suspects who escaped into the bush namely Hassan Arieba, 28, Christopher Godwin, 26, Mahamud Jallo, 40, Wellendi Bari, 38, have since been arrested by the police and would soon be put before court.
The Deputy Commander said the police patrol team in Wa also shot and hit the left thigh of one suspect Abdul-Moomin Abubakar after he attempted shooting at the police with his single barrel gun.
He said this happened when the patrol team received information that some armed men had blocked the Jonga � Sombo road and were harassing road users.
Again, in another development, suspect Ibrahim Adams, 33, was arrested and arranged before the Wa Circuit Court presided over by Mr Forson Baah Agyapong and was remanded into police custody to assist with police investigations in to the butchering of Master Harry Amankwa.
Harry Amankwa, a Level 400 student of the Wa campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) who received deep cutlass wounds on his shoulder, head and right wrist on July 2, has since been transferred to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi for further treatment.
Source: Ghana News Agency
Building on the momentum of the recent United Nations Ocean Conference, speakers today warned that, with the well-being of the world’s oceans at risk, humankind must turn the tide on its relationship with water bodies across the planet, as the Economic and Social Council’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development continued.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s inclusion of an oceans Goal was indicative of the reality that their health was in jeopardy, said Peter Thomson (Fiji), President, United Nations General Assembly. Recalling that the General Assembly had mandated the conference to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on oceans, he said the summit � held in June � had proved to be a major success. Above all, the conference showed that we are all in this together, he stressed, expressing hope that it would prove to be an event that enhanced humanity’s relationship with the ocean.
Describing the Ocean Conference as a historic event drawing together a wide range of stakeholders, Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the Conference, said its Call for Action outcome document was rooted in 22 forward-looking actions. Pointing out that the meeting had raised global consciousness of the importance of the oceans and the challenges facing them � including plastic and other pollution, overfishing, ocean acidification and others � he added: It should be seen as the start of our mission to save the ocean.
For small island developing States such as his and across the Pacific, the conference had come at a critical time as the world’s oceans were deteriorating at an alarming rate, said Luke Daunivalu of Fiji and Co-President of the Conference. That challenge was compounded by the effects of climate change, leading to sea level rise, increases in ocean acidity and warmer waters affecting reefs, marine ecosystems and fish stocks. Noting that small island developing States and least developed countries were some of the most vulnerable nations, he said the conference had helped show the world that their very survival was linked to the health of the oceans.
The rate of ocean acidification was faster than at any time since the last ice age, having increased by about 26 per cent since the start of the industrial revolution, Yongi Min of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistical Division, told the Forum. Of 63 large marine ecosystems studied, 16 per cent were at high risk of coastal eutrophication, she said, adding that all those figures pointed to a need for accelerated action to address the challenges facing the oceans.
Recalling that the oceans had historically been seen by many as an unlimited source of raw materials, as well as a place to deposit waste with no repercussions, the representative of Italy emphasized. We could not have been more wrong. As the majority of marine litter in the Mediterranean was composed of plastic, the region’s countries were seriously committed to a ban on plastic bags, with Italy leading the way in that regard.
We will succeed or fail together when it comes to meeting the [Sustainable Development Goals], declared John Danilovich, Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce, during the Forum’s second panel discussion on the implementation of Goal 9 on infrastructure, industrialization and innovation. In that context, he told participants he had consistently advocated for the Sustainable Development Goals to be regarded as the business development goals, as they contained a clear economic imperative that could increase productivity and employment and lead to stronger economic growth which could pull the global economy out of its current malaise and stagnation, he emphasized. He went on to cite three key priorities going forward: trade facilitation reforms to ensure that businesses of all sizes could reach global markets; the promotion of trade policies that harnessed the potential of the Internet to unleash a new area of trade; and concerted efforts to ensure that small businesses could access the finance they needed to grow internationally.
Getting enough food for the increasing population would be a huge challenge as the world reached the outer limits of productivity through processes, such as gene manipulation, and as fertile, arable land became increasingly scarce, stressed Magnus Arildsson, Head of the Internet of Things Product Management at Ericsson in Sweden. Noting that communications technologies could help train farmers in agronomic practices, he pointed to the implantation of wireless devices in cows to detect changes in their health in a more scientific manner, which had helped prevent the overuse of hormones and antibiotics. Technology was ready for a major rollout in support of agriculture; it was simply a matter of moving forward in an inclusive way, he said, noting that many devices that could be used were very small, relatively inexpensive and become cheaper over time.
The Forum also held panels focused on investing in and financing for the Sustainable Development Goals and advancing science, technology and innovation for the Goals.
The High-Level Political Forum will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Friday, 14 June, to continue its work.
Moderated by Miguel Ruiz CabaAas, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Mexico, the first panel was titled review of implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 9 (build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. The keynote address was delivered by John Danilovich, Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce, and a statistical snapshot was provided by Yongyi Min, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Panellists included Maria Kiwanuka, Special Adviser to the President, Uganda and Magnus Arildsson, Head, Internet of Things Product Management, Ericsson, Sweden. The lead discussants were Patrick Ho, Deputy Chairman, China Energy Fund Committee and former Secretary for Home Affairs, Hong Kong, China, as well as Arnt Holte, former President, World Blind Union, Norway.
Mr. DANILOVICH said that he had consistently advocated for the Sustainable Development Goals to be regarded as the business development goals, since they contained a clear economic imperative that could increase productivity and employment and lead to stronger economic growth which could pull the global economy out of its current malaise and stagnation. That was particularly true with regard to Goal 9. Policy coherence between local, national and global policies was critically important, and meeting the objectives set forth in Goal 9 would require sound domestic policies combined with a steadfast commitment to international cooperation. The debate around trade was strained in many countries and it was clear that the benefits of trade did not always meet everyone’s needs. To achieve the development goals, entrepreneurship was essential, as it would allow businesses to create new jobs. The scale of the new jobs challenge was daunting. He cited three key priorities going forward: trade facilitation reforms to ensure that businesses of all sizes could reach global markets; the promotion of trade policies that harnessed the potential of the Internet to unleash a new area of trade; and concerted efforts to ensure that small businesses could access the finance they needed to grow internationally. We will succeed or fail together when it comes to meeting the [Sustainable Development Goals], he said.
Mr. CABAA�AS said the discussion was aimed at reviewing progress at the individual country level as the world sought to fulfil Goal 9. Leaders must address cross-cutting issues such as the demand for infrastructure, innovation and science and technology to understand how they could be harnessed for sustainable development needs. No goal stands alone, he said. It was essential to find ways to leverage infrastructure to bring high-quality education and health care to all, including the most vulnerable, to ensure their access to basic services. It was estimated that, by 2018, the demand for scientists specializing in data would increase by about half, demonstrating the clear need for skilled workers. Policy consistency must be ensured at all levels � state, municipal and national � while it was also important to gain a better understanding of the impact of technology across the board and in all areas of life.
Ms. KIWANUKA stressed that infrastructure was a support industry although, all too often, it was seen as a means to an end. Emphasizing the need for cross-benefit analyses for projects to ensure the benefits were fully understood and realized, she said more must be done to have optimal implementation of Government projects. Different ministries must pull together on the national level for projects, which brought to the forefront the need for greater investment in social sectors. There should be a balanced mix of capital-intensive projects with job demand. Innovation and science and technology helped increase productivity, but were not as strong regarding job creation. Cutting down middle men would allow for workers to receive more returns, particularly in the agricultural sector. There was a great need for Governments to implement projects in a timely fashion, as that would have ripple effects down to the individual level. Sustainability and inclusiveness depended on giving adequate attention to education and health sectors, which was, again, a task for Governments. The private sector needed to have more access to affordable financing for viable projects.
Mr. ARILDSSON said his organization monitored areas that ranged from utilities to water to agricultural production. Getting enough food for the increasing population would be a huge challenge as the world reached the outer limits of productivity through processes, such as gene manipulation, and as fertile, arable land became increasingly scarce. Communications technologies could help train farmers in agronomic practices. For example, wireless devices had been implanted in cows to detect changes in their health in a more scientific fashion rather than farmers making educated guesses about their animal’s health, which risked the overuse of hormones and antibiotics. Technology was ready for a major rollout in support of agriculture; it was simply a matter of moving forward in an inclusive fashion, he said, noting that many devices that could be used were very small and relatively inexpensive, and becoming increasingly cheaper over time.
Ms. MIN said that manufacturing was the principle driver of economic growth, which had increased in most of the regions of the world, with Central and South East Asia enjoying the most growth. Global investment in infrastructure and research and development continued to grow and official development assistance (ODA) for economic infrastructure had reached $57 billion in 2015, with transport and energy receiving the most funding. Mobile cellular service had spread much faster than anticipated.
Mr. HO emphasized that, to achieve Goal 9, infrastructure, technology and investment would all be required. Infrastructure should provide jobs and a foundation for growth, as well as equity and environmental sustainability. Industrialization should never lose sight of equity and the profits of such advancements should be shared by all. Innovation was important for future growth and profits should be redirected to further research and development. Energy for all underpinned all development and efforts should be made to ensure all people worldwide had electricity. Small-scale enterprises should have access to financing in the form of small loans to individuals, so they could lift themselves out of poverty. The most significant impacts of emerging technology on industrialization were automation technology and artificial intelligence.
Mr. HOLTE said that Goal 9 could serve as one of the best ways to avoid leaving people behind, although to do so, there must be a shift in thinking patterns. If vulnerable groups were included from the very beginning, there would be less risk of leaving anyone behind. On infrastructure, he emphasized that transportation systems must not only be functional, but they must also be accessible for all people. Stressing that new industry would be the key for the future, he expressed concern that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was unacceptably high. Technologies would give new opportunities and possibilities, while also giving disabled persons access to more information. Giving access to everyone, including those with disabilities, from the very beginning was not only socially and political correct, it was also smart.
In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Switzerland stressed the need for financing for infrastructure that was low-carbon, resilient, economically and climate smart, as well as socially acceptable. Underscoring the importance of the target contained within Goal 9 related to the access of small and medium-sized enterprises to financial markets, the representative of Argentina recalled that such businesses made up about 95 per cent of companies worldwide and were a huge provider of employment opportunities. The representative of Lebanon said that her country had already launched a national committee on the Sustainable Development Goals and had begun a gap analysis with the help of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The representative of the European Union recalled that the European Commission had made investment in green infrastructure a key priority and believed that addressing climate change would provide countless opportunities to invent better ways to produce, consume, invest and trade. The representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) highlighted that the commonly held belief was that poverty could not be reduced without achieving economic growth, adding that inclusive industrialization and structural transformation were some of the most effective ways to eradicate poverty.
Describing his country’s recently adopted development plan called The Future We Want, the representative of Chad said that strengthening international support, good governance, a stronger economy and improving the well-being of ordinary citizens were the primary objectives of that plan. The representative of Nigeria called on developed countries to support innovation-driven development and on the international community to support infrastructure development and the integration of developing countries into the global economy.
Also speaking were the representatives of Chile, China, Benin, Kenya, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico and Ethiopia.
The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also delivered a statement.
Statements were also made by representatives of the business and industry and the children and youth major groups.
The Forum then held a panel discussion on the theme review of implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development), which was moderated by Kate Brown, Executive Director, Global Island Partnership, New Zealand. It featured four keynote speakers: Peter Thomson (Fiji), President, United Nations General Assembly; Olof Skoog (Sweden), Co-President, United Nations Ocean Conference; Luke Daunivalu (Fiji), Co-President, United Nations Ocean Conference; Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General, United Nations Ocean Conference; and Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel. It also featured two panellists: Jake Rice, Chief Scientist-Emeritus, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada; and Marjo Vierros, Director, Coastal Policy and Humanities Research and Senior Associate, Global Ocean Forum, and two lead discussants: Ronald Jumeau, Permanent Representative of Seychelles to the United Nations; and Tui Shortland, Director, Pacific Indigenous and Local Knowledge Centre of Distinction at Te Kapehu Whetu, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Yongi Min of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistical Division presented a brief statistical snapshot related to Goal 14.
Mr. THOMSON, delivering the first keynote address, said the 2030 Agenda’s inclusion of an oceans Goal was recognition both of humanity’s existential relationship with the oceans and that their health was in trouble. That fact was reflected in declining fish stocks, coastal degradation, marine pollution and such phenomena was ocean acidification and ocean warming. Recalling that the General Assembly had mandated the United Nations Oceans Conference to support the implementation of Goal 14 on oceans, he said the summit � held in June � had proved to be a major success. Above all, the conference showed that we are all in this together, he stressed, expressing hope that it would prove to be an event that turned the tide on humanity’s relationship with the ocean. In practical terms, the meeting had produced a strong Call for Action outcome document, a comprehensive range of solutions and nearly 1,400 voluntary contributions from the public and private sectors. Urging participants not to forget the immense scale of the challenges facing the oceans, nor of the world’s collective responsibility to face them, he underlined the importance of holding of a second ocean conference in 2020.
Mr. SKOOG, also delivering a keynote address, spotlighted the forceful and tremendous energy generated by the Ocean Conference in the span of just one week. The Ocean Conference has sparked a movement, he said, noting that it had been the first time the oceans had been addressed in such a way at the United Nations. The resounded response of the thousands of conference participants had been overwhelming, he said, adding that it had provided a voice to small island developing States, least developed countries and others in special circumstances. The Call for Action outcome, adopted by consensus after three rounds of negotiations, had sent a clear message of commitment to addressing the challenges facing the oceans and represented a firm call for appropriate follow-up to the nearly 1,400 voluntary commitments made during and following the conference. Pointing out that the summit could serve as a model for how to galvanize action around other Sustainable Development Goals, he added that the Call for Action had emphasized the need for stronger oceans governance and called on the Secretary-General to increase inter-agency cooperation in that regard.
Mr. DAUNIVALU, in his keynote address, underlined Fiji’s commitment to take a multisectoral approach in its efforts to implement the 17 voluntary commitments it had undertaken during the recent conference. For small island developing States such as his and across the Pacific, the Ocean Conference had come at a critical time as the world’s oceans were deteriorating at an alarming rate. That challenge was compounded by the effects of climate change, leading to sea-level rise, increases in ocean acidity and warmer waters affecting reefs, marine ecosystems and fish stocks. Noting that small island developing States and least developed countries were some of the most vulnerable nations in that context, he said the conference had helped show the world that their very survival was linked to the health of the oceans. Citing awareness of the special circumstances of small island developing States as a main takeaway from the meeting, he said partnerships remained a vital tool to support their efforts to adequately address the threats they were facing.
Mr. WU, describing the Ocean Conference as a historic event drawing together a wide range of stakeholders, said its Call for Action outcome document was rooted in 22 forward-looking actions. Pointing out that the meeting had raised global consciousness of the importance of the oceans and the challenges facing them � including plastic and other pollution, overfishing, ocean acidification and others � he added: It should be seen as the start of our mission to save the ocean. Urging Member States to seize the momentum and implement their nearly 1,400 voluntary commitments, he said the United Nations had undertaken a preliminary analysis of those commitments, which was now available on the Conference website. It was also in the process of building a database of actors who had made commitments in order to facilitate the timely exchange of information on those actions. Through such partnerships, the Ocean Conference had broken new ground and proved to be a game changer in enhancing collaboration to ensure a healthy ocean for current and future generations.
Mr. SOARES, delivering his keynote address, said UN-OCEANS � the United Nations system inter-agency network to coordinate action on the oceans � could assist partners in implementing the voluntary commitments they had made during the Ocean Conference. An integrated and cross-sectoral approach was already reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which laid out the global legal framework for the world’s oceans, as well as in the General Assembly’s annual consideration of the issue. However, regional efforts had been largely sectoral to date, he said, noting that the Ocean Conference had sought to broaden those approaches. For its part, the UN-OCEANS network and its 24 members were working to identify further areas for collaboration and synergies, and had registered its own voluntary commitment related to awareness-raising. He also pointing out that the network was well-placed to take up an enhanced role in facilitating collaboration on oceans-related issues.
Ms. MIN said the ocean covered almost three quarters of the world’s surface while nearly 40 per cent of its population lived in coastal communities. However, only about 13 per cent of it was covered by marine protected areas, and in 2013, nearly 90 per cent of global fish stocks were overfished or fully depleted. The rate of ocean acidification was faster than at any time since the last ice age, having increased by about 26 per cent since the start of the industrial revolution. Of 63 large marine ecosystems studied, 16 per cent were at high risk of coastal eutrophication, she said, adding that all those figures pointed to a need for accelerated action to address the challenges facing the oceans.
Mr. RICE, noting that the dialogues at the Ocean Conference had brought diverse stakeholders closer together, said achieving sustainable development would require greater use of the ocean � which was already under great stress. That required using the ocean smarter, not harder, he said. Indeed, achieving the Goal on global food security would require getting more protein from the ocean, while increasing the earth’s use of renewable energy sources would require tapping into the largely untapped potential of energy from the ocean, he added. Despite much talk about marine protected areas, no rational person would think all the other Goals could be met while further limiting the areas of the ocean that could be used. In that context, efforts were required to protect critical ocean areas, fill knowledge gaps, enhance the necessary technologies and immediately take forward the voluntary commitments made at the Conference.
Ms. VIERROS, echoing the concerns voiced by the other speakers, said there was also cause for optimism. Many tools existed to address the challenges facing the oceans. Societal context was also critical, she said, drawing particular attention to participation, inclusion and benefit-sharing. The most innovative solutions were those found at the local level, especially those emerging from the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities and other peoples who relied on the oceans, she said, describing several elements of traditional marine management. Emphasizing that communities needed support in implementing those systems, she underscored the importance of respecting their ownership and their ability to manage their own resources, and introduced several examples of ridge-to-reef and ecosystem-based management systems. She called for true interdisciplinary collaboration in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals drawing together those who worked on ocean, poverty, health and other targets. Further, she called on Member States to undertake efforts to make oceans more sustainable at the national level.
Mr. JUMEAU, agreeing that humans needed to use the ocean more and use it better, also echoed the call for true respect for indigenous and other coastal communities. There cannot be sustainable development on islands without addressing climate change and its effect on the oceans, he stressed, underscoring the need to quantify the financial and technical requirements emanating from the Ocean Conference’s voluntary commitments, as well as to develop a strong follow-up mechanism to track progress in implementing the Call for Action. Turning to innovative ways to mobilize the means of implementation, he recalled that Seychelles had just completed a debt swap to turn 30 per cent of its exclusive economic zone into marine protected areas, and noted that plans for other similar activities were also under way.
Ms. SHORTLAND, emphasizing the close and historic connection of the Pacific peoples with the ocean, said traditional knowledge must contribute to the sustainable management of the world’s oceans and seas. Indigenous peoples must be empowered to be primary actors in that regard, she stressed, calling in particular for the institutionalization of their participation. Our relationship with the ocean is our anchor in time and would be their legacy for future generations, she said, calling for purposeful action going forward. Also critical was monitoring the well-being of small island developing States’ communities, ensuring their dignity and rights, and avoiding their exploitation.
In the ensuing discussion, many speakers welcomed the voluntary commitments registered at the Ocean Conference and underscored the need to maintain momentum towards their implementation. Representatives from several coastal States drew attention to particular challenges facing their countries � ranging from illegal fishing to sea-level rise to piracy � while others outlined national or regional strategies for sustainable oceans management.
The representative of Papua New Guinea, speaking on behalf of the Pacific small island developing States, recalled that the inclusion of a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal on oceans had not been a foregone conclusion. Noting that such an omission would have left small island developing States around the world behind in the 2030 Agenda’s implementation, he went on to agree with panellists that the achievement of the other 16 Goals would be impossible without ensuring the health of the world’s oceans. As serious and mounting threats related to human activity continued to harm the oceans, with a critical tipping point approaching, the Call to Action outcome document was extremely timely, he said.
The representative of the Philippines described her country’s national development plan which aimed, among other things, to improve the quality of environmental data. As the current Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines had also worked to elevate the issue of marine pollution � especially from plastics and microplastics � as a critical regional issue. Voicing support for such funding instruments as the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund, she called for sustained financing to support oceans-related sustainable development policies.
We need to act urgently to address the increasing challenges facing the world’s oceans, stressed the representative of Maldives, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States. Voicing support for Goal 14 as a road map for such action, she recalled that, while small island developing States had registered many commitments at the Ocean Conference, they required support from their partners, including in the areas of financing and the transfer of technology.
The representative of Viet Nam, noting that hers was a coastal State confronting the impacts of climate change, expressed concern that those challenges could hinder its efforts to reduce poverty. In that regard, she voiced support for the sustainable management of fisheries and enhanced capacity-building and technology transfer, as well as the establishment of rights under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Also voicing support for bolstered international cooperation and capacity-building, the representative of Togo described national efforts to manage the country’s coastal environments. Those had included the establishment a Council on the Seas and a specific programme aimed at protecting the shoreline, he said, adding that Togo had also updated its strategic national plan on biodiversity. Noting that acts of piracy, pollution, illegal fishing and the impacts of climate change were compromising the security of both oceans and coastal areas, he urged stakeholders to accelerate efforts to address those challenges.
The representative of Italy recalled that the oceans had historically been seen by many as an unlimited source of raw materials, as well as a place to deposit waste with no repercussions, emphasizing: We could not have been more wrong. As the majority of marine litter in the Mediterranean was composed of plastic, the region’s countries were seriously committed to a ban on plastic bags, with Italy leading the way in that regard.
The representative of Honduras, emphasizing that concrete scientific data must be the basis for the follow-up and review of the implementation of Goal 14, also underlined the importance of ensuring equality in benefit-sharing related to ocean resources.
The representative of the women’s major group, underlining the importance of ensuring women’s participation and leadership in the achievement of Goal 14, called on stakeholders to urgently address such activities as experimental sea bed mining and the overconsumption of fish in developed countries.
The representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said the agency’s Regional Seas Programme was best-placed to sustainably manage oceans at the sea basin level. He also drew attention to UNEP’s work in drafting a number of guidance documents for the follow-up and review of Goal 14 at the regional level.
Also speaking were the representatives of Madagascar, Croatia, Mexico, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia, Finland, Tonga and Kenya.
A representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization also participated.
Also speaking was a representative of the persons with disabilities major group.
This afternoon, the Forum held two panel discussions on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 17 on partnerships. The first, on the specific theme, investing in and financing for the Sustainable Development Goals, was moderated by Manuel F. Montes, Senior Adviser on Finance and Development, South Centre, and featured two keynote speakers: Jerry Matthews Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations; and Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations. It also featured three panellists: Gebeyehu Ganga, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations; Peter Adriaens, CEO, Equarius Risk Analytics, LLC, co-founder and CEO, KeyStone Compact Group Ltd., Director and Head Judge, Global CleanTech Cluster Association, USA; and Kajsa OlofsgArd, Ambassador for the Post 2015 Development Agenda, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden. Chee Yoke Ling, Director of Programmes, Third World Network, Malaysia, served as the lead discussant. Stefan Schweinfest, Director of Statistics, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, also delivered a statement.
Mr. DE BUYTSWERVE presented the outcome document of the second Economic and Social Council Financing for Development Forum, recently concluded in New York, which would feed into the overall follow-up and review process at the High-Level Political Forum. Experts and Government officials at the Financing for Development Forum had spotlighted the need to develop long-term visions and frameworks for financing for development, maintain a dialogue and continue to exchange national experiences. The meeting’s outcome document had put the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals front and centre, he said, pointing out that the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda had been designed to support and complement it. The report also contained new commitments to ensure the timely implementation of the Addis Agenda, he said, noting that it had recognized that the current global trajectory would not achieve poverty eradication by 2030. As such, the document had called for corrective action in all seven areas of the Addis Agenda, as well as in a range of cross-cutting areas including gender equality and social protection.
Mr. MATJILA, continuing that presentation, outlined several of the new commitments enshrined in the outcome of the second Financing for Development Follow-up Forum, including ambitious new language on gender equality. Countries had agreed that measures to build growth must be accompanied by programmes to help the poor and boost social protection systems. The document had also recognized links between expenditures, good governance and anti-corruption measures, and called on States to coordinate on tax matters, make the recovery of stolen assets a priority, and improve the quantity and quality of international cooperation. Among other things, the document had also noted with concern a decrease in ODA to least developed countries, and called on donor States to allocate at least 0.2 per cent of their gross national income (GNI) to those countries. In addition, it had made recommendations concerning the provision of duty-free, quota-free market access for least developed countries and the restructuring of sovereign debt.
Mr. SCHWEINFEST presented a statistical appetizer of the progress made to date in implementing Goal 17 � which was the broadest of the 17 Goals � noting that, while ODA had risen to a new peak in 2016, bilateral assistance to the least developed countries had fallen by 3.9 per cent in real terms. Debt service as a percentage of total exports of goods and service had fallen, but was now rising again, which was cause for concern. The statistics also revealed that about $429 billion of global remittances had gone to the least developed countries in 2016, which represented a decline of 2.4 per cent from 2015. Only $338 million � or just 0.18 per cent of total ODA � had been allocated to support national statistical systems.
Mr. MONTES, noting that those findings showed that capital flows into developing countries had fallen while the debt servicing burden had gone up, agreed that corrective action was required. In that context, he asked the panellists to what extent they felt the global community could face up to those challenges, what types of policies and institutional solutions were feasible to fund the Sustainable Development Goals and to outline the top three recommendations for action by the United Nations, Governments and other stakeholders.
Mr. GANGA said a global commitment and political determination were required in order to accelerate the timely and effective implementation of the Addis Agenda. Reports such as that of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Financing for Development had demonstrated that the 2030 Agenda could not be achieved through the current trajectory, he said, calling on the international community to take this message very seriously and act with a sense of urgency to create a more favourable environment for inclusive and sustainable development. Underscoring the importance of national ownership and leadership in that process, he outlined Ethiopia’s efforts to eradicate poverty � including by allocating more than 70 per cent of that budget to pro-poor programmes and projects � as well as work to mobilize domestic resources through such strategies as the Tax Transformation for Sustainable Development. Despite the country’s efforts to sustain its inclusive growth, Ethiopia still faced funding gaps, he said, urging developed countries to respect their commitments in ODA, climate financing and technology.
Mr. ADRIAENS described his decades of work with policy makers, investors and others to structure investment funds in ways that would help unlock private capital in sustainability. That included work with the P-80 Group Foundation � representing the world largest pension funds � which had committed to allocating 3 per cent of their assets to development financing. Noting that the latter had often been viewed as being below market rate, he said more efforts were needed to de-risk those investments, and made a number of related recommendations. Those included focusing on systemic economic development rather than piecemeal development projects and aligning financing mechanisms under clusters in order to attract market-rate financing. In that regard, he pointed to the Global LeanTech Cluster Associations � which connected some 10,000 technology companies under one asset class umbrella � as a positive example.
Ms. OLOFSGARD, noting that multilateralism was needed � and also threatened � today more than ever before, said that was evidenced by the interconnectedness of the world’s current environmental and economic challenges. While Sweden was one of the few countries that had managed to keep its growth rate up while also reducing its carbon footprint, that footprint nevertheless remained relatively high. Warning against the temptation to resort to protectionism to address many of today’s challenges, she instead underlined the need for inclusion and partnership, both of which were spotlighted in the 2030 Agenda. This is a very important change in perspective, she stressed, noting that the Agenda was about rights and efficiency and called for the active engagement of women, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community and many other actors. In addition, she pointed to a shift away from the traditional Corporate Social Responsibility model to one where funding sustainable development was seen as an investment.
Ms. CHEE, pointing to systemic issues as a particular source of concern to civil society groups, said trade and investment were both part of the global economic and governance framework that really needs attention. It’s about what we need to do together, she stressed in that regard, noting that despite a recent focus on innovative sources of financing, public finance must also play a critical role. In that regard, she cautioned that such innovative sources as public-private partnerships remained largely unregulated and had, in some cases, raised the risk to be borne by the public. The real work that needs to be done is already in many commitments and action plans, and we need to implement them, she stressed, voicing concern that many of today’s international free trade agreements did not allow policy space, and that some aspects of Mr. Adriaens’s presentation � especially the notion of bundling together of risk without public accountability � gave her dejA� vu of the 2008 global financial crisis.
In the ensuing discussion, speakers outlined a variety of efforts to boost investment in development financing and mobilize their domestic resources, including through the expansion of national tax bases. They also voiced a range of opinions on the most effective sources of that financing, with some spotlighting the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation and others emphasizing that such arrangements could never supplant traditional ODA.
The representative of the Philippines was among those speakers who described efforts to reform national tax systems, outlining policies aimed at making its system simpler, fairer and more progressive. Among other things, the country planned to group its expenditures under various key strategies, thereby reducing costs and improving prioritization.
The representative of Ghana joined a number of speakers in emphasizing that the Addis Agenda was not an end in itself, but a means to an end, and must be viewed as such.
Many delegates spotlighted the importance of international cooperation, with the representative of China calling on the international community to adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility while assisting all countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda.
We need to unleash the billions into trillions, said the representative of the business and industry major group. Pledging the business community’s support for the 2030 Agenda, he also warned against the unintended consequences of well meaning public policy.
The representative of workers and trade unions major group pointed to the paradox of the 2030 Agenda, whereby the strategy pushed for national implementation while the Financing for Development Financing process did not enable the necessary policy and fiscal space. In that regard, she called for important structural changes including reform of the corporate tax system and bringing an end to trade agreements that did not support local development, labour or environmental rights.
The representative of Sri Lanka, noting that Governments constantly sought to balance investments in current and future development, urged the Forum to recognize the need for a new global financial architecture courageous enough to enable a new and sincere transformation.
The representative of South Africa, meanwhile, pointed to a disconnect between what was said in meetings at the United Nations and what was being done on the ground, asking: Do we really have the political will and the conviction to address the [2030 Agenda’s] means of implementation?
Also speaking were the representatives of Denmark, Algeria, Argentina and the United Republic of Tanzania, as well as the European Union.
Representatives of the children and youth major group, the non-governmental organization major group and the women’s major group also participated.
Moderated by Susil Premajayantha, Minister for Science, Technology and Research, Sri Lanka, the final panel of the day was titled advancing science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals. It featured Macharia Kamau (Kenya), Co-Chair, Multistakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals; Vaughn Turekian, Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, United States and Co-Chair of the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals; and Heide Hackmann, Executive Director, International Council for Science and Co-Chair, 10-Member Group of high-level representatives in support of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism. Lead discussants were Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, and Donovan Guttieres, focal point for the Science-Policy Interface Platform of the major group for children and youth.
Mr. PREMAJAYANTHA said science, technology and innovation were among the biggest challenges and solutions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As developing countries were ready to benefit from technological advances, today’s session would focus on how to harness that potential to trigger results on the ground.
Mr. KAMAU provided a summary of the latest meeting of the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, which had included almost 400 scientists and a range of stakeholders, from youth to the private sector. Sharing some recommendations, he highlighted the need to support the creation of road maps to prioritize actions and cross-sectoral cooperation. Indeed, science could drive a transformative impact, he said, noting the equal importance of state-of-the-art low- and high-tech solutions. Efforts must also be scaled up to unlock the creative potential of young people and women. In addition, the Technology Facilitation Mechanism must also be operationalized. The Multi-stakeholder Forum would continue to consider those and related issues with a view to achieving further progress in the field. The High-Level Political Forum must, for its part, keep science and technology at the centre of its work in efforts to advance achievement of the Goals.
Mr. TUREKIAN said all the Goals could benefit from advances in science and technology. For instance, mobile-phone technology now allowed farmers to monitor weather and bring products to market. While 2030 seemed both distant and close, a cross-sectoral dialogue must continue to find effective solutions. At the latest Multi-stakeholder Forum, industry leaders and stakeholders shared best practices and experiences, with key themes emerging, including contextualizing technology for local communities. Such diverse inputs and their broad range of perspectives would help the Multi-stakeholder Forum to advance discussions on how technology could contribute to achieving the Goals.
Ms. HACKMANN said an environment must be created where science could flourish, as it was more important than ever before to society. Diverse voices from around the world must be included and the benefits of science must be equally shared. Solutions-oriented science could provide policy makers information on the synergies between the Goals. Significant changes in the practice of science must include bolstering integrated and interdisciplinary approaches. However, barriers existed that hampered collaboration. Science must also inform stakeholders, including in Governments and the private sector, and must reap the full benefits of big data.
Mr. NAKICENOVIC said science and technology were both renewable and cumulative. Even though science was on the edge of transformative change, recent budget cuts to research and development were a concern. Science, technology and innovation were both the key to development, but also to destruction. Science must be enhanced to effectively implement and achieve the Goals. The Goals could be the world’s new social contract, triggering the third revolution in human history. Today, everyone on the planet could have access to mobile phones, but there was a distribution problem. The direction was crucial, he said, emphasizing that the third revolution required investment for a sustainable future. A paradigm shift was needed alongside a science-based analysis of how the Goals could be met. He recommended several steps to do that, such as ensuring that all people were included.
Mr. GUTTIERES said a core challenge was the current economic paradigm of, for instance, developing technology for technology’s sake. Technology could, in fact, be an enabler to achieve the Goals, but approaches must change. He underlined the importance of recognizing diverse sources of knowledge, including informal or traditional sources. Further, the market-driven obsession for advancement was misguided. Instead, closing gender and digital divides must be addressed. To truly leave no one behind, efforts must be based on the notion that knowledge and technology, such as the Internet, were global goods. Technology justice should be acknowledged alongside development justice. The Technology Facilitation Mechanism must play its role to ensure progress in adopting environmentally sound developments.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates said advancing science and technology had a key role in helping States to bridge the development gap and achieve the Goals. The representative of Viet Nam said many Goals and targets had recognized that, but the current digital divide was wide. To help build bridge that divide, Viet Nam and several other States were hosting on 17 July at United Nations Headquarters a meeting to share experiences and best practices.
Several participants, including the representative of China, described recent approaches to sharing best practices with developing countries. The representative of Armenia said that among his country’s efforts was the launch of an innovation lab on 14 July that would focus on using technology to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Many speakers agreed on benefits of harnessing innovative solutions, with the representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) saying technology was indeed a significant development driver. Japan’s delegate said innovation could help solve development challenges, including in the field of data collection.
However, some participants cautioned about the downside of some technological developments. The representative of Mexico said science and technology advances could upset labour markets. Raising another issue, the representative of the United Nations Environment Programmesaid climate change challenges were largely the result of technological advances and future gains must reinforce the principles behind the Sustainable Development Goals.
Participants highlighted other concerns, with the speaker from the workers and trade unions major group saying that to be a truly effective development tool, technology must be placed in the hands of workers and communities and not kept only for the monetary benefit of corporations. The speaker from the indigenous peoples major group stressed that traditional knowledge must be acknowledged.
Young delegates shared their perspectives, with the speaker from the children and youth major group underlining the importance of digital literacy and ensuring open access to knowledge and technology. In that vein, a youth delegate from Finland said technology education funding was crucial in order to realize of young people’s rights worldwide. Targeted programmes for girls were also critical, she said, highlighting Finland’s introduction of technology courses for all students.
Also participating in the discussion were representatives of the Netherlands, South Africa and Iran, as well as the European Union. Speakers from the persons with disabilities stakeholder group and the women’s major group also spoke.
Source: United Nations
The interlinking nature of the Sustainable Development Goals represented an important opportunity to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and scale of future development efforts, speakers said today, as the Economic and Social Council wrapped up the first segment of its High-Level Political Forum.
The balance and details of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were contained in its targets, which were the social contract that had been negotiated between Governments and other stakeholders, said Charles Arden Clarke, Head of the African 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Secretariat at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Achieving some 49 targets contained within 13 of the 17 Goals depended on a shift to sustainable consumption, said Mr. Arden Clarke, speaking in a panel discussion aimed at exploring opportunities for leveraging interlinkages for the implementation of the Goals. A range of targets across the 2030 Agenda highlighted the integrated and synergetic challenges of sustainable development, although designing polices that could adequately address those challenges would require more coherence and coordination among Government departments.
From the world’s experience in attempting to address HIV and AIDS, it was clear that interlinked issues, such as those related to equality, poverty, gender, hunger, governance, education and human rights must be addressed, said Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). For example, in Botswana, it was determined that even one year of additional education could reduce one’s risk of HIV infection rate by almost 11 per cent, he told the Forum. Such experiences pointed to the fact that leveraging interlinkages for implementation was a critical issue for all, although it was important to recognize that those issues were often deeply rooted in politics.
Intellectual clarity was needed for implementing the agenda, as well as for establishing conceptual and analytical frameworks for doing so, said Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair of Southern Voice and a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue. All models of implementation suffered from a major problem in that they focused on the aggregate level � which was the global level � and did not look deeper into national experiences, he continued.
Highlighting that as an intergovernmental organization which promoted the rule of law for the purposes of development, Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization, noted that 14 out of the 17 Goals addressed the need for access to justice or inclusive societies. For example, women’s equal rights to land and natural resources were related to many aspects of food security; yet, in many of those countries, law and policies did not give women equal access to land and resources.
Pointing to a fantastic amount of data emerging from a variety of different producers, Roberto Olino, Chief Statistician of Brazil, underlined the need to harmonize those sources in a way that would create more coherence. Speaking in a second panel discussion focused on data and statistics, Mr. Olino said the national challenge of leaving no one behind implied a need for data disaggregation in order to identify the no-ones, adding that this spotlighted the need to gather data in order to better understand trends and movements. Noting that talking about data had recently become trendy, he said there was nevertheless a real need to consider it more seriously and coherently.
Underscoring the importance of avoiding getting stuck in the weeds in discussions on data, Judith Randel, Co-founder and Executive Director of Development Initiatives, said one major challenge was to develop a more sophisticated understanding about how people’s identities made it harder or easier to take advantage of opportunities. We have to make it really easy for politicians to understand the 2030 Agenda, she stressed.
Also today, the Forum held a panel discussion on the science-policy interface and other emerging issues.
In closing remarks, Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the Economic and Social Council, and Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs, gave a broad overview of the sessions throughout the week.
The Forum will meet again at 9 a.m. on Monday, 17 July, to begin its ministerial segment.
The first panel on the day titled leveraging interlinkages for effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, was moderated by Minh-Thu Pham, Executive Director for Global Policy, United Nations Foundation. The panellists included Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, Southern Voice and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue; Michel Sidibe, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and Charles Arden Clarke, Head of the African 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Secretariat, Economy Division, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The lead discussants were Michael Gerber, Special Envoy for Sustainable Development, Switzerland; and Irene Khan, Director-General, International Development Law Organization.
Mr. BHATTACHARYA said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development not only linked the three pillars of sustainable development, its own goals and indicators were also interconnected. Those connections should also be looked at as means of implementation. Intellectual clarity was needed for implementing the agenda, as well as for establishing conceptual and analytical frameworks for doing so. All models of implementation suffered from a major problem in that they focused on the aggregate level � which was the global level � and did not look deeper into national experiences. Most countries had finished their policy planning and mapping for the future development agenda and the lead institutions for implementation had also been identified, while resource assessments had been completed. The integration approach was too abstract and unmanageable at the national level and actually worked best at the ministerial level. Sequencing and prioritizing were also needed for the implementation phase.
Mr. SIDIBA� said leveraging interlinkages for implementation was a critical issue for all, as it dealt with efficiency, effectiveness and scale. However, it was important to recognize that those issues were often deeply rooted in politics; better leverage political leadership was needed. Given the recent seismic political shifts, it was imperative that people were not left behind. From the world’s experience in attempting to address HIV and AIDS, it was clear that interlinked issues, such as those related to equality, poverty, gender, hunger, governance, education and human rights must be addressed. For example, in Botswana, it was determined that even one year of additional education could reduce one’s risk of HIV infection rate by almost 11 per cent. What was learned was that HIV and AIDS could not be dealt with in isolation, and in that context, a new fabric within the United Nations system was established, based on new partnerships. The price of medicines was reduced from about $15,000 per year to about $80 at present, which would not have happened without civil society activism. HIV was taken out of isolation and investments were made across different areas of the system that ultimately benefitted the fight against HIV.
Mr. ARDEN-CLARKE said the balance and details of the 2030 Agenda were contained in its targets, which were the social contract that had been negotiated between Governments and other stakeholders. For example, he noted that 49 targets contained within 13 of the 17 Goals were dependent on a shift to sustainable consumption, which highlighted the interlinked nature of the Goals. He noted that target 8.4 on sustainable economic growth aimed at increasing resource efficiency and decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation. The positioning of that Goal had broad implications for development and was clearly liked to target 1.5 in Goal 1 on ending poverty as the more efficiency use of resources would result in greater resilience for all, particularly the poor. A range of targets across the Goals highlighted the integrated and synergetic challenges of sustainable development, although designing polices that could adequately address those challenges would require more coherence and coordination and among Government departments. Achieving the world’s future development efforts would not be achieved by policymaking alone, but would require the collective definition of the linkages and the policies and actions and investments that put them to most effective use.
Mr. GERBER recalled that it had often been said that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were interlinked and indivisible, which was a fundamental concept for the implementation of the whole of the 2030 Agenda. The international community must pay attention to the interlinkages by maximizing synergies and alleviating trade-offs. The key methods for addressing development challenges were the mechanisms and processes determining the interactions between the targets that produced synergies and trade-offs, which, in turn, pointed the way to success or failure. There needed to be more intersectoral research and approaches, greater efforts on leverage points between goals and targets and more multi stakeholder cooperation to foster synergies and produce concrete results and, in turn, coherence. There were many different levels of coherence, all of which were important, including international and domestic collaboration and actions.
Ms. KHAN said that as an intergovernmental organization that promoted the rule of law for the purposes of development, she had a slightly different perspective on the discussion. She agreed that the real strength of the development agenda was contained within the targets, and in that context, it was important to dig deeper than the individual Goals. In her view, it was important to view Goal 16 not as a standalone Goal, but as a framework and enabling environment for other Goals through the concepts of laws and processes. She noted that 14 out of the 17 Goals addressed the need for access to justice or inclusive societies. For example, women’s equal rights to land and natural resources were related to many aspects of food security. Women’s work in agriculture not only ensured their own foods security, but that of their families, and also contributed to economic growth. Yet, in many of those countries, law and policies did not give women equal access to land and resources.
In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Sri Lanka stressed that measuring prosperity would require far greater non-quantitative indicators and dynamic influences, which had tangible outcomes rather than mere mechanical results. Highlighting the importance of actions on the regional level, the representative of Romania noted that regional strategies, initiatives and actions were useful instruments for advancing global decisions at the national and subnational levels.
The representative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted that his organization had a team specifically dedicated to policy coherence that had identified a framework that could help policy makers navigate and identify synergies and trade-offs. The framework involved a checklist and self-assessment tool that would be helpful for countries as they moved forward in their policy planning. The representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stressed that to reinforce joint action across all sectors and achieve coherence among wide-ranging polices, identifying interlinkages across the 17 Goals would require broad knowledge and collaboration.
The representative of the Philippines said that her country’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda was led by clusters of different Government agencies that had been organized around specific themes. The clusters were chaired by cabinet secretaries, who reported directly to the country’s President.
Mr. BHATTACHARYA said it was important that, during the discussion, there was a common understanding of the terms that were used. In that regard, he called for the United Nations to take the initiative to help bring about more clarity and understanding to promote a consistent use of language and concepts.
Emphasizing the need for impact, Mr. SIDIBA� said that the fact that the 2030 Agenda laid out a clear vision would be extremely helpful for countries as they sought to devise comprehensive approaches. The key issue would be the need to maximize policy coherence and to bring the data revolution into the debate to ensure that there would be proper, strategic information available.
Mr. ARDEN-CLARKE reiterated the importance of interministerial coordination, and highlighted the need to provide a sense of authority to the coordination and policy integration process, which was best achieved by making it a function within the Head of State’s office.
In a second round of comments from the floor, the representative of Kenya described her country’s establishment of an interministerial coordinating committee � aimed at improving coherence, efficiency and breaking down silos within the Government � which provided a voice for coordination from the top.
The representative of Malaysia, striking a similar tone, described his country’s Sustainable Development Goal Council, as well as a related steering committee. Those structures brought together civil society, academia and a wide range of other stakeholders to ensure coherence, he said, drawing attention to the successful example of Malaysia’s Blue Ocean Strategy, which worked to streamline Government action on oceans with a focus on rapid implementation and low cost.
The representative of the Netherlands, noting that he had been appointed as his country’s Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals, called on Member States to take an inclusive approach to mobilizing power, people and pennies, rather than employing traditional negotiation methods such as threats, bargaining down or withholding information.
The representative of the business and industry major group, agreeing with other speakers on the need for a systemic vision to guide the 2030 Agenda’s implementation, urged Governments to coordinate systemic thinking as a signal to all actors � including private sector investors.
The representative of the group Together 2030 � an initiative of over 500 civil society organizations working across all the 17 Goals � underscored the group’s commitment to preserving the interlinked nature of the 2030 Agenda. In that regard, she said, countries should commit to review all the Sustainable Development Goals annually, focus on the means of implementation and respect the links between the 2030 Agenda and other agenda critical global frameworks.
The representative of the group Partners in Population in Development, an intergovernmental organization consisting of 26 Governments, pointed to the wide existence of confusion about the various terminologies being used today, including coordination and interlinkages. Regardless of which term one chose to use, he said the issue should not be taken as something new. Such discussions had existed for a long time, and now a greater emphasis should be placed on outcomes.
The representative of the indigenous peoples major group, noting that the vast majority of the 2030 Agenda’s targets were related to human rights, underscored the importance of integrating the work of human-rights-monitoring bodies into the agenda’s review and follow-up processes. Noting that indigenous communities had long advocated for a wide array of rights � including the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determined development, to their land and the conservation of the environment � she also made several concrete recommendations including the inclusion of a Sustainable Development Goal indicator on indigenous people’s right to secure, collective land tenure.
The representative of the stakeholder group for women echoed the need to connect solutions to the world’s ecological, economic and social crises. Recalling a number of important discussions over the course of the week � including wide support for the equitable sharing of benefits, efforts to improve the planet’s environmental sustainability and calls for ensuring the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls � she underscored the particular importance of the latter, stressing: We will not accept women’s rights to be traded away.
Also speaking were the representatives of Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and Thailand.
Representatives of the children and youth major group and the persons with disabilities stakeholder group also participated.
The day’s second panel discussion, which focused on data and statistics, was moderated by Mr. Bhattacharya. It featured three panellists: Roberto Olino, Chief Statistician, Brazil; Judith Randel, Co-founder and Executive Director, Development Initiatives; and Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada, Statistics Canada.
Mr. BHATTACHARYA, noting that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda had brought with it the new term data revolution and that countries around the world were paying increased attention to better quality, more granular and disaggregated data, as well as big data. There was also a more recent backlash led by people who felt there was an overfocus on, and fetishizing of, data, he said.
Mr. OLINO, pointing to a fantastic amount of data emerging from a variety of different producers, underlined the need to harmonize those sources in a way that would create more coherence. The national challenge of leaving no one behind implied a need for data disaggregation in order to identify the no-ones, he stressed, also spotlighting the need to gather data in order to better understand trends and movements. Among the most important tools in that regard were household surveys and the improved use of modern data sources. Noting that talking about data had recently become trendy, he said there was nevertheless a real need to consider it more seriously and coherently.
Ms. RANDEL, underscoring the importance of avoiding getting stuck in the weeds in discussing data, said one major challenge was to develop a more sophisticated understanding about how people’s identities made it harder or easier to take advantage of opportunities. We have to make it really easy for politicians to understand the 2030 Agenda, she said, citing the work of the Development Initiatives’ P20 Initiative � aimed at tracking the progress of the poorest 20 per cent of the global population � in that regard. Urging stakeholders to consider three simple questions � namely whether people were better off, better nourished and known by their Governments � she called for both political and technical progress in those regards, and said national statistical offices should engage much more with the wider ecosystems of data.
Mr. ARORA, describing Canada’s deep engagement in exploring the interlinkages between the various Sustainable Development Goals and indicators, said data on those issues were growing rapidly. However, stronger statistical rigour was needed, because more and more data did not always lead to successful outcomes and could even be used to justify the desires of narrow interests. In order to broaden the world’s understanding of data � especially among policymakers � national statistical offices needed to sharpen their elbows in such areas as accessibility, statistical literacy and communication, he said.
In the ensuing discussion, a number of delegates representing their countries’ statistical offices shared national experiences, best practices and challenges in the collection and use of quality data.
The representative of Belarus was among several speakers who described disaggregation as one of today’s most complicated data issues. Noting that Belarus was improving its efforts in that area by designing new studies on people with disabilities, women and children and other areas in conjunction with United Nations agencies, she also pointed to a broader need for increased accountability, and cooperation and the enhanced sharing of best practices on data collection.
The representative of Ghana, also voicing concern about the challenge posed by disaggregation, warned that many countries around the world were still struggling with basic data collection.
Other speakers addressed the issue of statistics through a more systemic lens, with the representative of Chile emphasizing that decentralized national statistical systems � such as the one in her country � would be critical to the neutral, impartial monitoring of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation in light of the fact that administrations would change over the course of its implementation. Statistics were one tool Chile was using to better identify, and continuously improve its response to, the needs of its citizens, she said.
The representative of Iran underscored the importance of identifying what could be done to implement the Sustainable Development Goals within the framework of a Government’s various ministries and sectors. Capacity-building � including at the regional level � would be essential in that regard, he said.
The representative of the Russian Federation echoed the panellists’ calls for more harmonized data collection, also drawing distinctions between the 2030 Agenda’s three tiers of indicators. Tier 3 indicators would require detailed methodological standards, he said, adding that they would require strong monitoring at the national level.
Several speakers, including the representative of the stakeholder group on ageing, drew attention to particular populations in the context of data disaggregation. Noting that, by 2030, almost one fifth of the world’s population would be over the age of 60, she stressed that data must be used to help Governments better understand and pay more attention to the needs of older adults.
As the panellists responded briefly to those comments, Mr. ARORA agreed that, despite the recent explosion of demand for disaggregated data, many countries were still struggling with the basics. Efforts to leave no one behind must also ensure that no national statistical office was left behind, he said in that regard.
Ms. RANDEL called for a standards-based minimum set of disaggregation criteria, adding that civil registration and census data would be critical tools in that regard.
Mr. OLINO described the 2030 Agenda as a huge endeavour that would require significant data, time, reflection and coherence.
Also speaking were the representatives of Madagascar, Switzerland, Senegal and Kenya.
A panel on science-policy interface and emerging issues was moderated by Bill Colglazier, Editor-in-Chief, Science & Diplomacy and Senior Scholar, Center for Science Diplomacy, American Academy for the Advancement of Science and former science adviser to the Secretary of State, United States. The panel featured Endah Murniningtyas, former Deputy Minister for National Resources and Environment, Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency, Indonesia; Peter Messerli, Director, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern; and Wang Ruijun, Director-General, National Center for Science and Technology Evaluation, Ministry of Science and Technology, China and Chair, United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development. Tolu Oni, Associate-Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Stuart Taberner, Director of International and Interdisciplinary Research, Research Councils of the United Kingdom were lead discussants.
Ms. MURNININGTYAS said an inclusive process was being created with a view to reaching the goal of poverty eradication. Working groups were focusing on, among other things, examining how research could be used for policymaking in that regard. Turning to the issue of the science-policy interface, she said a set of evaluation guidelines existed to bring science advances into the policymaking arena.
Mr. MESSERLI reflected on implications on the science-policy interface and other issues of concern. When analysing land use change, functions were often reshuffled to create winners and losers. Sustainable development was not about harmony between stakeholders, but instead was a challenge of how to maximize progress. Interlinkages must be understood, he said, emphasizing that real evidence existed that more foreign direct investment led to poverty eradication. Working within and with the system, a new realm of development pathways could be identified. However, knowledge gaps were a challenge and no single scientific assessment could provide solutions. To face the huge task ahead, science, policy and the interface between them must be changed. Available knowledge must be used, he said, emphasizing that the uneven distribution of knowledge and science was a great concern.
Mr. RUIJUN said it was necessary to identify science, technology and innovation gaps in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Issues to be addressed included inadequate and mismatched research and development funding. New, innovative approaches must address current and future challenges. Providing examples, he said innovations in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were helping communities. Offering several recommendations, he said awareness of scientists should be continuously raised so they could devote themselves to addressing the Sustainable Development Goals. The science-policy synergy should be strengthened and building the capacity of science, technology and innovation should be mainstreamed into official development assistance (ODA) initiatives.
Ms. ONI said engaging with policy-making could be considered to be a trade off for scientists. To overcome such trade-offs, efforts should be supported to equip mid-career scientists with the relevant skills to help bridge existing gaps and identify solutions. Providing examples from Africa and Asia, she said efforts had been made to engage scientists with communities. In addition, education programmes should target science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes to bolster knowledge among younger generations. Turning to the issue of rapid urbanization, she said urban health research was an area to examine. Good health did not accidentally happen; it should be directly addressed, bringing uneasy bedfellows together. For instance, health scientists must work with non-health policy makers. Voluntary national reviews could be harnessed as a tool to ensure that evidence generated from various studies supported those linkages.
Mr. TABERNER said bringing together a diverse group of experts to solve problems was important. Challenges of research and policy forced stakeholders to think about identifying or creating pathways to make significant impacts. Fundamental research and outcomes must be considered more closely. For instance, he said, the challenge of different cultures and expectations among stakeholders existed and solutions must be found. Another challenge was that research had a long timescale, whereas policy required answers immediately. Such challenges must recognize the need for equal partnerships and broader dialogue. In addition, efforts must focus on capacity-building and partnerships.
In the ensuing dialogue, participants provided examples of how they were making inroads, with GABRIEL LIVIU ISPAS, Secretary of State of the Ministry of National Education of Romania, saying that the role of education was critical in empowering people to take action and play an active part in their communities. Romania provided appropriate teacher training and believed educational research was essential for progress and should be intensified. Cooperation must be bolstered between scientists and policy makers to find suitable solutions to development issues.
Participants also raised pressing issues and shared challenges in science policy interfacing. The representative of Japan said domestic science and technology policies must be directly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals while the representative of Uganda stressed the importance of investments in research and development.
Some representatives of major groups raised their concerns. The representative of the women’s major group said a holistic approach must ensure that equality was achieved in a range of fields, including by providing youth with universal access to education to allow them to build their futures. People centred and gender-responsive initiatives were also essential, she said. The representative of the scientific and technological community major group called for an inclusive definition of science that could be rationally applied and interfaced with traditional knowledge systems. In addition, she underlined the importance of engaging young scientists in the science-policy interface practice.
Also participating was the representative of Finland. The representative of the United Nations Environment Programme spoke, as did the representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Also speaking were representatives of the persons with disabilities stakeholder group, indigenous peoples major group, non-governmental organizations major group and the children and youth major group.
During a wrap-up session of the first week of meetings of the high-level political forum, Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava (Zimbabwe), President of Economic and Social Council, and Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs, provided observations and an overview of panels that had been held.
Mr. SHAVA, noting an unprecedented level of engagement by all stakeholders, said the indivisible, integrated and interlinked nature of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals had been clearly recognized by discussions that had taken place over the past week. There were positive signs of progress in efforts to leave no one behind and many participants had made commitments to forge new partnerships and increase cooperation.
Empowering vulnerable groups must become a priority to end poverty and promote prosperity, he said, stressing the need to focus efforts on making real progress on the ground. Several recurring themes had included a lack of statistics and data, which remained a great challenge, and the importance of taking a whole society approach.
Mr. HONGBO, calling the Forum the right platform on the right track with regard to the 2030 Agenda, said progress had already been made during the current session. A total of 44 national reviews would be presented, partnerships had been forged, 147 side events had been confirmed and special events had focused on business and learning. A measure of success should be how much value the Forum had added to the follow-up review by, among other things, identifying gaps. Its mission had indeed been accomplished.
The Forum, he continued, provided space for various communities that sought to go beyond sectoral boundaries. Linkages and transformative actions had been discussed. While growth bolstered poverty alleviation, it alone was not enough and the various dimensions of poverty must also be addressed. A clearer focus on what was needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals had also been discussed in areas such as science and technology. In addition, the importance of data had been recognized as a tool to implement the Goals.
Source: United Nations