Home » Posts tagged "EU-LatinAmerica" (Page 12)

Motion for a resolution on the EU strategic objectives for the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in Johannesburg (South Africa) from 24 September to 5 October 2016 – B8-2016-0987

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the seriousness of the decline in global biodiversity, which represents the sixth mass extinction of species,

–  having regard to the role of forests and tropical forests, which are the world’s largest reservoir of terrestrial biodiversity and an essential habitat for wild fauna and flora and for indigenous populations,

–  having regard to the forthcoming 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP 17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held from 24 September to 5 October 2016 in Johannesburg (South Africa),

–  having regard to UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 69/314 on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife, adopted on 30 July 2015,

–  having regard to the questions of xxx to the Council and to the Commission on key objectives for the Conference of the Parties to CITES in Johannesburg (South Africa) from 24 September to 5 October 2016 (O-00088/2016 – B8‑0711/2016 and O‑00089/2016 – B8‑0712/2016),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas CITES is the largest global wildlife conservation agreement in existence, with 181 parties, including the EU and its 28 Member States;

B.  whereas the aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants is not a threat to the survival of the species in the wild;

C.  whereas, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, more than 23 000 species, representing about 30 % of the 79 837 species assessed by IUCN, are threatened with extinction;

D.  whereas tropical rainforests contain 50 to 80 % of terrestrial animal and plant species; whereas today these environments are particularly under threat, including from the commercialisation of species, in particular the exploitation of tropical timber and subsoils; whereas deforestation and the illegal sale of wood are having a disastrous impact on the preservation of forest flora and fauna;

E.  whereas intensive fishing, commercial hunting and the unrestricted exploitation of micro-organisms and sub-seabed resources are harming marine biodiversity;

F.  whereas many species subject to trophy hunting are suffering a serious population decline; whereas over a 10-year period EU Member States declared as hunting trophies imports of almost 117 000 specimens of wildlife species listed in the CITES appendices;

G.  whereas wildlife trafficking has become an organised transnational crime which has major negative impacts on biodiversity and on the livelihood of local populations, as it denies them a legal income, creating insecurity and instability;

H.  whereas wildlife trafficking has become the fourth largest black market, after the drugs, people and arms markets; whereas the internet has come to play a key role in facilitating wildlife trafficking; whereas terrorist groups also use the above types of trafficking to finance their operations; whereas wildlife trafficking offences are not punished severely enough;

I.  whereas corruption plays a central role in wildlife trafficking;

J.  whereas evidence suggests that wild-caught specimens are being laundered through the fraudulent use of CITES permits and claims of captive breeding;

K.  whereas the EU is a major transit and destination market for illegal wildlife trade, especially for the trade in birds, turtles, reptiles and plant species(1) that are listed in CITES appendices;

L.  whereas a growing number of illegally traded exotic species are kept as pets in Europe and internationally; whereas the escape of these animals can lead to an uncontrolled spread affecting the environment and public health and safety;

M.  whereas the EU and its Member States provide substantial financial and logistical support for CITES, and for tackling illegal wildlife trade in many third countries;

N.  whereas the species under CITES are listed in appendices according to their conservation status and levels of international trade, Appendix I containing species threatened with extinction for which commercial trade is prohibited, and Appendix II species in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival;

O.  whereas CITES Appendix I species are strongly protected, whereas any commercial trade in species listed therein is prohibited, and whereas any permit to sell confiscated specimens or products (for example ivory, tiger products or rhino horn) would undermine the aim of the CITES Convention;

P.  whereas efforts to improve transparency in decision-making are essential;

1.  Welcomes the EU’s accession to CITES; considers the accession to be a fundamental step in ensuring that the EU can further pursue the wider objectives of its environmental policies and the regulation of the international trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna, and promote the sustainable development policies of the UN Agenda 2030;

2.  Welcomes in particular the fact that the EU is participating for the first time as a party, and supports the proposals made by the EU and its Member States, in particular the proposed resolutions on corruption and on hunting trophies, the extension of CITES protection to a number of species imported into the EU, notably as pets, and the proposed amendments to Resolution 13.7 (Rev. CoP14) on the control of trade in personal and household effects;

3.  Highlights the fact that the accession to CITES by the European Union has rendered the legal status of the European Union in CITES more transparent vis-à-vis third parties to the Convention; believes that it is a logical and necessary step to ensure that the European Union is fully able to pursue its objectives under its environmental policy; recalls that accession enables the Commission, on behalf of the European Union, to express a coherent EU position in CITES matters and play a substantial role in negotiations during the Conferences of Parties;

4.  Stresses that the European Union became a party to CITES in 2015 and that it will be voting with 28 votes on issues of EU competence at the CITES CoP; in that regard, supports changes to the CoP’s Rules of Procedure which reflect the text of the CITES Convention on voting by regional economic integration organisations and which are consistent with what has been in place in other international agreements for many years, and objects to having the votes by the European Union calculated on the basis of the number of Member States that are properly accredited for the meeting at the time the actual vote occurs;

5.  Welcomes the recently adopted EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking, which aims to prevent such trafficking by addressing its principal causes, improving the implementation and enforcement of existing rules, and combating organised wildlife crime more effectively; welcomes the inclusion in the Action Plan of a specific chapter on strengthening the global partnership of source, consumer, and transit countries against wildlife trafficking; and urges the EU and its Member States to adopt and implement the strengthened Action Plan, which will demonstrate a strong European commitment to tackling wildlife trafficking;

6.  Supports the initiative by the Commission and the Member States to agree on global guidelines on trophy hunting within CITES in order to better control internationally the sustainable origin of hunting trophies of the species listed in Appendix I or II;

7.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to adhere to the precautionary principle with regard to species protection in all their decisions on working documents and listing proposals (as set out in CITES Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP16)) – in particular regarding the import of hunting trophies of CITES species – taking account, in particular, of the user-pays principle, the principle of preventive action and the ecosystem approach; calls on the EU and its Member States, furthermore, to promote the removal of exemptions for permits for all hunting trophies from CITES-listed species;

8.  Demands that all CITES/CoP 17 decisions be based on science, careful analysis and equitable consultation with the affected range states, and be reached in cooperation with the local communities; underlines that any wildlife regulation should incentivise the rural population’s engagement in nature protection by linking their benefit with the state of biodiversity;

9.  Encourages CITES Parties to strengthen cooperation, coordination and synergies between biodiversity-related conventions at all relevant levels;

10.  Calls on the Member States to provide for cooperation, coordination and a prompt exchange of information among all relevant agencies involved in implementing the CITES Convention, in particular the customs authorities, the police, border veterinary and plant health inspection services, and other bodies;

11.  Encourages the EU and its Member States to promote and support initiatives to increase protection against the impact of international trade on species for which the European Union is a significant transit or destination market;

12.  Is concerned that the boundary between legal and illegal trade is very thin as regards the commercialisation of species and their derived products, and that with the cumulative effects of human activity and global warming the great majority of wild fauna and flora species are today threatened with extinction;

13.  Urges the EU to adopt legislation to reduce illegal trade by making it illegal to import, export, sell, acquire or buy wild animals or plants which are taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of the law of the country of origin or transit;

14.  Commits particularly to strongly encouraging all the Member States: to ban the export of raw ivory, as already do Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and some US States; to increase their vigilance with regard to marketing certificates on their territory; to make the fight against fraud effective, in particular at borders; to launch destruction operations of illegal ivory; and to strengthen the penalties for trafficking in protected species (notably elephants, rhinos, tigers, primates and varieties of tropical wood);

15.  Encourages the EU and its Member States, and the wider CITES Parties, further to Articles III, IV and V of the Convention, to promote and support initiatives to improve the welfare of live CITES-listed animals in trade; such initiatives include mechanisms to ensure animals are ‘prepared and shipped so as to minimise the risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment’, that destinations are ‘suitably equipped to house and care for them’, and that confiscations of live specimens are undertaken with due consideration for their welfare;

16.  Is concerned about the impact that ‘banking on extinction’, or the buying of products in the hope that the species concerned will soon be extinct, might have on the protection of endangered wildlife; invites the CITES Parties and Secretariat to carry out further research on whether emerging financial products and technologies such as bitcoin play an enabling role;

17.  Recognises that CITES observers play an important role in providing expertise on species and trade, and in lending their support to capacity-building by the Parties;

Transparency of decision-making

18.  Considers that transparency in decision-making in international environmental institutions is key to their effective functioning; welcomes all voluntary and procedural efforts to increase transparency in CITES governance; strongly opposes the use of secret ballots as a general practice within CITES;

19.  Welcomes the decision made at COP 16 to include a requirement for members of the Animals and Plants Committees to provide declarations of any conflicts of interest; acknowledges, however, that the requirement is based only on a self-assessment by members; regrets that there have been no declarations of any potential financial conflicts of interest from members of these committees so far;

20.  Urges the CITES Secretariat to investigate the potential for an independent review board, or the expansion of the mandate of the Standing Committee to include an independent review panel, in order to create an oversight safeguard for the conflict of interest provisions;

21.  Considers transparency imperative to any funding process and a requisite for good governance, and therefore supports the resolution proposed by the EU on the ‘Sponsored Delegates Project’(2);

Reporting

22.  Considers traceability essential for legal and sustainable trade, whether commercial or non-commercial, and also central to the EU’s efforts to fight corruption and wildlife trafficking and poaching, which is recognised to be the fourth largest illicit market on the planet; in this regard highlights the need for the implementation by all Parties of the e-permitting system, which should be organised transparently and jointly by all of them; acknowledges, however, the technical challenges faced by some Parties in doing so, and encourages the provision of capacity-building support to enable the implementation of the e-permitting system by all the Parties;

23.  Welcomes the decision made at COP 16 on regular reporting by CITES Parties on illegal trade; regards the new annual illegal trade report format, as included in CITES Notification No 2016/007, as a significant step towards developing a better understanding of wildlife trafficking, and encourages all CITES Parties to accurately and regularly report on illegal trade using the prescribed format;

24.  Welcomes private-sector initiatives such as those taken by the International Air Transport Association on e-freight for and by the air cargo supply chain; considers the expansion of such traceability initiatives, especially for the transport sector, to be an important tool in intelligence-gathering;

25.  Highlights the importance of the permit-issuing process in effective data-collection, and thus the key role played by the Management Authorities; reiterates that permit-issuing authorities must be independent, in accordance with Article VI of CITES;

Wildlife trafficking and corruption

26.  Draws attention to cases of corruption where deliberate fraudulent issuing of permits by actors in the permit-issuing authority has occurred; calls on the CITES Secretariat and the Standing Committee to address these cases as a matter of priority and urgency;

27.  Underlines that corruption can be detected at every stage in the wildlife trade chain, affecting countries of origin, transit and destination, and undermining the effectiveness, proper implementation and ultimate success of the CITES Convention; considers, therefore, that strong and effective anti-corruption measures are essential in the fight against wildlife trafficking;

28.  Raises serious concerns over the deliberate misuse of source codes for the illegal trade in wild-caught specimens in the form of fraudulently use of captive-bred codes for CITES species; calls on COP 17 to adopt a robust system for recording, monitoring and certifying trade in ranched or captive-bred species, in both countries of origin and the EU, in order to prevent this abuse;

29.  Urges the CITES Parties to develop further guidance and to support the development of additional techniques and methodologies to differentiate between species originating from captive production facilities and species from the wild;

30.  Condemns the high degree of illegal activity by organised criminal gangs and networks in violation of the Convention, which frequently use corruption to facilitate wildlife trafficking and frustrate efforts to enforce the law;

31.  Urges the Parties that are not yet signatories to, or have not yet ratified, the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption to do so without delay;

32.  Welcomes the international commitment under UNGA Resolution 69/314 (July 2015), inter alia on counter-corruption (Article 10)(3);

33.  Supports EU and Member State initiatives that call for more action in the global fight against corruption under CITES; urges the Parties to CITES to support the EU proposal for a resolution against corruption-facilitating activities conducted in violation of the Convention;

Enforcement

34.  Calls for the timely and full use of sanctions by CITES against Parties that do not comply with key aspects of the Convention, and in particular for the EU and its Member States to make use of the mechanisms available to encourage Parties to comply with the CITES Convention and other international agreements aimed at protecting wildlife and biodiversity;

35.  Underlines the importance of joint international cooperation between all actors in the enforcement chain, in order to strengthen law enforcement capacities at the local, regional, national and international levels; welcomes their contribution, and calls for even more engagement; points to the importance of setting up special prosecutors’ offices and specialised police squads to fight wildlife trafficking more effectively; highlights the importance of joint international enforcement operations under the ICCWC(4), congratulates in this respect the successful COBRA III operation(5); welcomes the EU support for the ICCWC;

36.  Acknowledges the increasing illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products via the internet, and calls on the CITES Parties to liaise with law enforcement and cybercrime units and the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime in order to identify best practices and model domestic measures to tackle illegal online trade;

37.  Calls on the Parties to adopt and implement clear and effective policies to discourage the consumption of products derived from vulnerable wildlife species, to raise consumer awareness of the impact of their consumption on wild species and to inform on the dangers of the illegal trafficking networks;

38.  Calls on the Parties to support the development of livelihoods for the local communities closest to the wildlife concerned and to involve these communities in the fight against poaching and in the provision of information on the effects of the trade in species of fauna and flora threatened with extinction;

39.  Asks for continuing international engagement in order to facilitate long-term capacity building, to improve the exchange of information and intelligence and to coordinate the enforcement efforts of government authorities;

40.  Calls on the Parties to ensure effective prosecution of persons who commit offences related to wildlife and to ensure that they are punished in a manner commensurate with the seriousness of their actions;

Funding

41.  Points to the need to increase the funding being made available for wildlife conservation and capacity-building programmes;

42.  Stresses the need to allocate adequate resources to the CITES Secretariat, especially in view of its increased responsibilities and additional workload; also stresses the need for the timely deposit of financial contributions pledged by the Parties to CITES;

43.  Encourages the Parties to consider increasing the core budget of CITES to reflect inflation and to ensure the proper functioning of the CITES Convention;

44.  Encourages the extension of public-private partnership financing for capacity-building programmes to other areas of the CITES Convention framework, as well as of direct funding, in order to support the implementation of the Convention;

45.  Welcomes the EU funding provided for the CITES Convention through the European Development Fund, and encourages the EU to continue to provide and ensure targeted financial support and, in the long term too, to continue to support specific and targeted financial aid;

Amendments to the CITES Appendices

46.  Expresses its strong support for the listing proposals submitted by the EU and its Member States;

47.  Urges all Parties to CITES and all participants in COP 17 to respect the criteria laid down in the Convention for the inclusion of species in the appendices, and to adopt a precautionary approach in order to ensure a high and efficient level of protection of endangered species; observes that the credibility of CITES depends on its ability to alter listings in response to negative trends as well as positive ones, and therefore welcomes the possibility of downlisting of species only when it is appropriate, in accordance with established scientific criteria, providing evidence that the CITES listing functions well;

African elephant and ivory trade

48.  Notes that with the doubling of illegal killing and the tripling of the quantity of ivory seized over the past decade, the crisis faced by the African elephant (Loxondonta africana) as a result of poaching for the ivory trade remains devastating and is leading to a decline in populations across Africa, and is a threat to the livelihood of millions of people, given that the illegal ivory trade harms economic development, fosters organised crime, promotes corruption, fuels conflicts and threatens regional and national security by providing militia groups with a source of funding; urges the EU and its Member States, therefore, to support proposals that would strengthen the protection of African elephants and reduce the illegal trade in ivory;

49.  Welcomes the proposal submitted by Benin, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Uganda and endorsed by the African Elephant Coalition that seeks to list all the elephant populations of Africa in Annex I, which would simplify the implementation of the ban on international trade in ivory and would send a clear message to the world regarding the global determination to prevent the extinction of African elephants;

50.  Calls on the EU and all Parties to maintain the current moratorium and hence to oppose the proposals made by Namibia and Zimbabwe on the ivory trade, which seek to remove restrictions on trade associated with the annotations to the Appendix II listing of those parties’ elephant populations;

51.  Observes that attempts by CITES to reduce poaching and illegal trade by permitting legal ivory sales have failed and that ivory trafficking has increased significantly; calls for further efforts by the parties concerned under the National Ivory Action Plan process; supports measures for the management and destruction of ivory stockpiles;

52.  Recalls the call made in Parliament’s resolution of 15 January 2014 on wildlife crime on all 28 of its Member States to introduce moratoria on all commercial imports, exports and domestic sales and purchases of tusks and raw and worked ivory products until wild elephant populations are no longer threatened by poaching; notes that Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Denmark have already decided to not grant any export permits for pre-Convention ‘raw’ ivory; encourages the EU and its Member States, therefore, to ban the export and import of ivory and prohibit all commercial sales and purchases of ivory within the EU;

White rhino

53.  Regrets the proposal made by Swaziland to legalise trade in rhino-horn from its white rhino population (Ceratotherium simum simum), which would facilitate the laundering of poached rhino-horn into legal trade, undermining existing demand reduction efforts and domestic trade bans in consumer markets, and might fuel poaching of rhino populations in Africa and Asia; urges the EU and all Parties to oppose this proposal, and consequently calls on Swaziland to withdraw its proposal;

African lion

54.  Notes that while African lion (Panthera leo) populations have experienced a dramatic inferred decline of 43 % in 21 years and have recently been extirpated from 12 African States, international trade in lion products has increased significantly; urges the EU and all Parties to support the proposal by Niger, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Rwanda and Togo to transfer all African lion populations to Appendix I of CITES;

Pangolins

55.  Observes that pangolins are the most illegally traded mammal in the world, for both their meat and their scales, which are used in traditional medicine, putting all eight species of pangolin (Manis crassicaudata, M. tetradactyla, M. tricuspis, M. gigantea, M. temminckii, M. javanica, M. pentadactyla, M. culionensis) at risk of extinction; welcomes, therefore, the various proposals for transferring all Asian and African pangolin species to Appendix I of CITES;

Tigers and other Asian big cats

56.  Urges the EU and all the Parties to support the adoption of decisions proposed by the CITES Standing Committee which lay down strict conditions for tiger farming and trading in captive tiger specimens and products, as well as the proposal made by India encouraging the Parties to share images of seized tiger specimens and products, which would assist law enforcement agencies with the identification of individual tigers by their unique stripe patterns; calls on the EU to consider providing funding for the implementation of these decisions, and calls for the closure of tiger farms and for an end to be put to the trade in captive tiger parts and products at the CITES COP 17;

Pet traded species

57.  Observes that the market for exotic pets is growing internationally and in the EU and that a large number of proposals have been submitted to list reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals that are threatened by international trade for the pet market; calls on all the Parties to support these proposals in order to ensure better protection for these endangered species from exploitation for the pet trade;

58.  Calls on the EU Member States to establish a positive list of exotic animals that can be kept as pets;

Agarwood and rosewood

59.  Acknowledges that illegal logging is one of the most destructive wildlife crimes, as it threatens not just single species but entire habitats, and that the demand for rosewood (Dalbergia spp.) for Asian markets has continued to increase; urges the EU and all the Parties to support the proposal by Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala and Kenya for the inclusion of the genus Dalbergia in CITES Appendix II, with the exception of the species included in Appendix I, as this will be a critical contribution to the efforts to halt unsustainable rosewood trade;

60.  Notes that the current exceptions to CITES requirements could allow resinous powder of agarwood (Aquilaria spp. and Gyrinops spp.) to be exported as exhausted powder, and other products to be packaged for retail sale before export, thus evading import regulations; calls, therefore, on the EU and all the Parties to support the United States of America’s proposal to amend the annotation in order to avoid loopholes for trade in this very valuable aromatic timber;

Other species

61.  Urges the EU and all the Parties:

–  to support the proposal from Peru to amend the annotation to Appendix II for the vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), as it will consolidate the marking requirements for the international trade in this species;

–  to support the inclusion of the nautilus (Nautilidae spp.) in Appendix II, as proposed by Fiji, India, Palau and the United States of America, given that the international trade in chambered nautilus shells as jewellery and decoration is a major threat to these biologically vulnerable species;

–  to oppose the proposal by Canada to move the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) from Appendix I to Appendix II, as this may exacerbate the significant illegal trade in the species;

62.  Recalls that the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) is on the IUCN list of endangered species and that a huge proportion of the species has been lost, including several entire populations, due to the continuing high demand for the aquarium trade, with main destinations being the European Union and the United States; calls on the European Union and its Member States, therefore, to support the inclusion of the Banggai cardinalfish in Appendix I rather than Appendix II;

63.  Notes that the international trade in raw and worked coral has expanded and that market demand for precious corals has increased, threatening the sustainability of precious corals; urges the European Union and all the Parties to support the adoption of the report on precious corals in international trade submitted by the United States;

64.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Parties to CITES and the CITES Secretariat.

Read More

Trouble in Lake Chad

Despite gains against Boko Haram a crisis looms in this region. “Nearly half a million children around Lake Chad face “severe acute malnutrition” due to drought and a seven-year insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, UNICEF said on Thursday. Of the 475,000 deemed at risk, 49,000 in Nigeria’s Borno state, Boko Haram’s heartland, will die this year if they do not receive treatment, according to the United Nations’ child agency, which is appealing for $308 million to cope with the crisis. However, to date, UNICEF said it had only received $41 million, 13 percent of what it needs to help those affected in the four countries – Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon – that border Lake Chad.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/2bSMVEY)

Report of the Day: Arab Spring Uprisings have significantly reduced life expectancy in the region…New from the Lancet. “ Between 2010 and 2013, Yemen, Tunisia, and Egypt lost about 3 months of life expectancy, whilst the war in Syria has erased 6 years off average life expectancy, with men expected to live to around 75 years in 2010, falling to about 69 years in 2013. For Syrian women, average life expectancy dropped from about 80 to 75 years over the same period.” (Euraklert http://bit.ly/2bSLTci)

Quote of the Day…“It is not that common for the ICRC to donate morgues. The fact that we now do is telling of the size of the human tragedy in Yemen.”  —  Rima Kamal, Yemen bases spokesperson for the Red Cross/Crescent (the Intercept http://bit.ly/2bSMXgh)

Bizarre arrest of the day: A Nigerian man is being charged for provoking people and “breach of peace” by naming his dog after President Muhammadu Buhari and painting the name twice on the pet, police said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2bDlnC2)

Nearly half a million children around Lake Chad face “severe acute malnutrition” due to drought and a seven-year insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, UNICEF said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2bjyiOH)

Burundi could scrap presidential term limits from its constitution after a commission set up to hear public views on governance said most citizens wanted no curbs on the number of times the head of state may seek re-election. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2blOEVP)

As Zimbabwe prepares for the bleak coming dry season in September and much of October, on the heels of more than a year of El Niño-induced drought, it finds itself running out of water. (TRF http://yhoo.it/2blOhdC)

The increasingly disgruntled people of Gabon go to the polls Saturday in a presidential election in which a last-minute opposition pact has robbed incumbent Ali Bongo of a clear run at a second term. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2bKkgCy)

In Eastern Uganda and parts of Western Kenya, circumcising teenage boys is a practice carried out every two years and is performed as a sign of the community’s unity. The countries are now trying to figure out how to make these circumcision ceremonies appeal to tourists. (DW http://bit.ly/2bjSVXO)

African children will account for more than 40 percent of the world’s poorest people in 2030, almost double the current share, unless more is done to improve education and healthcare, a UK-based thinktank said on Thursday. (TRF http://bit.ly/2blObTn)

The United Nations human rights office called on Thursday for more light to be shed on the Saudi-led coalition air strikes in Yemen and for violations including attacks on hospitals to be punished. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2bZcdn0)

Iraq’s parliament impeached Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi on Thursday over corruption allegations, removing him from office as the army gears up for an assault on Islamic State’s de facto capital, Mosul. (Reuters http://reut.rs/2bSLh6r)

Libya’s U.N.-backed government said on Wednesday it would continue seeking approval from the parliament based in the east of the country, despite members of the assembly voting to reject the fledgling administration. (Reuters http://bit.ly/2bj7XKD)

France’s foreign minister said on Thursday the Security Council had to respond firmly after a U.N. probe found that Syrian government troops were responsible for two toxic gas attacks. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2bKk4mE)

Turkey sent more tanks into northern Syria on Thursday and demanded Kurdish militia fighters retreat within a week as it seeks to secure the border region and drive back Islamic State with its first major incursion into its neighbor. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2bjQwwz)

An Israeli soldier shot dead a Palestinian motorist who had stabbed him and threw rocks from his car at a military vehicle in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2bKkk5d)

Authorities in eastern India are struggling to evacuate more than 100,000 people stranded in villages after floods intensified, killing more than 300 and driving hundreds of thousands from their homes, officials said on Thursday. (TRF http://yhoo.it/2bA2XF3)

Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring up major rights violations, including a “policy of disappearances”, when Germany hosts the president of Turkmenistan next week. (AFP http://yhoo.it/2bA1gYa)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile and declared it “the greatest success,” which puts the country in the “front rank” of nuclear military powers, official media reported. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2bj7I2m)

The Philippines could suspend more mines in a crackdown on environmental abuses that has halted operations of 10 miners, a minister said, dismissing a claim by mineral producers the review was a “demolition campaign” against them. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2bKjR2M)

Colombia’s president is moving fast to hold a plebiscite on a landmark peace deal reached with leftist rebels, presenting to congress Thursday the full text of the accord that he says will end a half-century of bloody combat. (AP http://yhoo.it/2bJMGfS)

Brazil’s Senate opened the impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday and hear witnesses for and against the leftist leader who is expected to be removed from office next week on charges of breaking budget laws. (VOA http://bit.ly/2bRTw1b)

The development community is eyeing the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria replenishment on Sept. 17 as a litmus test for aid under U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and the new head of the country’s Department for International Development, Priti Patel. (Devex http://bit.ly/2bSLDKg)

Within hours of the earth shaking and houses collapsing, thousands of volunteers from all over Italy had descended on the country’s stricken central mountains to bring what help they could. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/2bRPmX4)

A former manager of a home for asylum-seekers in Germany has been charged with raping a Syrian woman. (AP http://yhoo.it/2bRP8zx)

More than 36,000 asylum seeker claims were made in Britain in the 12 months to June, according to government figures published on Thursday, the highest number in over a decade. (TRF http://yhoo.it/2bA2Glh)

Countries with dilapidated transport networks and unsafe power grids stand a greater risk of extreme natural events becoming humanitarian disasters, a report has found. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2bmrYzP)

The European Union’s executive branch rejected Thursday the U.S. government’s complaint that its probes into sweetheart tax deals between EU governments and big companies are hitting U.S. firms hardest. (AP http://yhoo.it/2bKknOl)

The game of thrones for Mexico’s drug cartels has begun (CNN http://cnn.it/2blPyfT)

Bold moves, tepid gains: Have central banks met their limit? (AP http://yhoo.it/2bZcTZH)

Could America’s War On Terror Creep Across Africa? (African Arguments http://bit.ly/2bA2t1t)

It’s time to talk about fraud in aid agencies (Guardian http://bit.ly/2bZe7nw)

How Colombia conflict developed over decades (AP http://yhoo.it/2briK7w)

Zimbabwe’s government is standing by as its wildlife is slaughtered (Guardian http://bit.ly/2bJLtoQ)

Why Sexism Is a Threat to Gender Equality Gains (New Times http://bit.ly/2bRQKsP)

Social Media Crackdown: The New Normal for Africa? (VOA http://bit.ly/2bJMcGB)

Direct democracy: lessons from Trump and Brexit for international development (ODI http://buff.ly/2bjCrll)

Zimbabwe’s rock and hard place (IRIN http://buff.ly/2bjCsWv)

Tribute: The Man Who Killed Smallpox (Goats and Soda http://buff.ly/2brV6I3)

TB in PNG: the impact on children (DevPolicy http://buff.ly/2brUhyV)

Discussion

comments...

Read More

Opening Coordination, Management Session, Economic and Social Council Adopts Seven Texts, Including on Regional Cooperation, Non-Governmental Organizations

Opening a three-day coordination and management session today, the Economic and Social Council considered a range of issues — from regional cooperation to the participation of non-governmental organizations at United Nations proceedings —adopting seven resolutions and seven decisions.

The Council reversed two previous decisions of its Non-Governmental Organization Committee, deciding to grant special consultative status to two non-governmental organizations.

By a vote of 40 in favour to 5 against with 6 abstentions, the Council adopted a resolution whereby the Committee to Protect Journalists would be granted special consultative status.

Further, by a vote of in 26 in favour to 7 against with 13 abstentions, the Council adopted a resolution whereby the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights would also be granted special consultative status.

In each case, the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had deferred the group’s application numerous times over the span of several sessions.

In introducing the resolution on the Committee to Protect Journalists, the representative of the United States expressed concern that in recent years, the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had systemically abused its authority to delay the applications of legitimate organizations, with thousands of applications having been deferred, often times because their work seemed to be critical of Governments.

“Honestly, this is outrageous”, she said, adding that such practices hurt the United Nations ability to perform its duties.

The representative of China expressed deep regret and serious concern about the Council taking up the issue at all, saying that efforts by some countries to overturn the decisions of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee were tantamount to stirring up confrontation.

The Council also went on to adopt seven decisions contained within the Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2016 resumed session, in each case without a vote.

In other business, the Council adopted four resolutions related to the recommendations contained in the Secretary General’s report on “Regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields”.  Two of those texts were adopted without a recorded vote, while the resolution “Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia strategy and plan of action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was adopted by a recorded vote of 28 in favour to 16 against, with 3 abstentions.

Another text, titled “Committing to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific”, was also adopted by a recorded vote, this time with 29 in favour to 16 against with two abstentions.

In both of those instances, delegations voiced concern about the programme budget implications related to the resolutions and expressed regret that information in that regard had only been provided to Member States the previous day.  Other delegations called the lack of timely information a “clear violation of the rules and procedures”.

In other proceedings, by a vote of 42 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States) with three abstentions (Honduras, Panama, Togo), a resolution titled “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan”, was adopted by the Council.

The Council also took note of four documents, including the report of the Secretary-General on the main decisions and policy recommendations of the Committee on World Food Security, the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its fifty-sixth session, the annual overview report of the United Nation System Chief Executives Board for Coordination in 2015 and the documentation relating to the proposed strategic framework for 2018-2019.

The Economic and Social Council will resume its work on Tuesday, 26 July, at 10 a.m.

Regional Cooperation

AMR NOUR, Director of the Regional Commissions New York Office, introduced the report of the Secretary-General titled “Regional cooperation in the economic, social and related fields” (E/2016/15), noting that the document contained regional perspectives and efforts pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly related to selected areas of regional and interregional cooperation.  He recalled that the Regional Commissions were tasked to assist Member States in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  The Commissions were working with countries in their efforts to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into national development planning and fiscal frameworks including assisting in conceptual understanding and analysis of cross-cutting and merging issues; proving support for the formal modelling necessary to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development; and translating global commitments into regional transformative strategies and agendas.

The Regional Commissions were also assisting in providing follow-up and review of actions undertaken to reach the development Goals, including organizing forums which were inclusive and integrated other regional and subregional actors.  He underscored that Member States would need to enhance data and statistical capacities to successfully implement the 2030 Agenda.  In that context, the Commissions were assisting Member States by identifying gaps in measuring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as collecting, analysing and disseminating data and statistics across Member States.  The Commissions had also supported countries with regard to the Paris Agreement and climate change financing.  Collaboration had also taken place, with the Commissions having met 10 times over the last year.  Four resolutions were being presented for endorsement by the Council, of which three related to support by the respective Commissions to their Member States and the fourth related to the venue of the next Commission session.

ACHAMKULANGARE GOPINATHAN, Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the report titled “Cooperation among the United Nations regional commissions” (E/2016/48), during which he highlighted that the document covered, among other areas, cooperation between the various regional commissions and the interface between regional organizations and global governance decision-making bodies.  The report sought to enhance the potential contribution of the commissions in the implementation of the new development framework, including through greater coordination between the commissions and Member States and the whole of the United Nations system.  It was noted that the commissions could make a contribution to the development agenda’s accountability framework on the regional level, most notably in the follow-up and review activities.

The review found there were very few specific mandates calling for coordination between the regional commissions, nor was there a mechanism for review of that effort on the global level, he noted.  The review called for more joint activities by the Commissions, greater information sharing and wider awareness-raising and dissemination efforts regarding their activities and accomplishments.  The review recognized the important role played by the Commissions in contributing to norm-setting, consensus building and follow-up on important global efforts, while calling for increased cooperation and coordination as well as a more proactive role for the Deputy-Secretary-General, in that regard.  Further, the report called for greater oversight by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council on the activities of the commissions.

He recalled that the report contained seven recommendations and that there were a number of informal recommendations aimed at encouraging greater cooperation.  The report addressed, at length, the disconnect between the regional and global governance structures.  The Joint Inspection Unit hoped all parties would take a closer look at the recommendations, particularly as the regional commissions had an opportunity to reinvigorate and renew their work in the context of the 2030 Agenda.  In that regard, the Unit stood ready to contribute to the strengthening of the accountability framework for the review and follow-up work around the 2030 Agenda, particularly at the regional level.

Mr. NOUR then introduced the comments by the Secretary-General and those of the Executive Secretaries of the regional commissions on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit entitled “Cooperation among the United Nations regional commissions” (document A/70/677-E/2016/48).  He said that it aimed at assessing the relevance and effectiveness of cooperation among the regional commissions, as well as between the commissions and other United Nations system entities.

He said that cooperation among the regional commissions had gained momentum in 2014, with the appointment by the Secretary-General in November 2013.  At a meeting held in Santiago, the commissions had agreed on the criteria to guide the selection of areas for interregional policy cooperation.  Turning to recommendation 5, he said that the Economic and Social Council must review the existing legislation relating to the objectives and modalities of the Regional Coordination Mechanism.  On recommendation 7, he underscored the need for the body to invite the commissions to submit substantive and analytical reports on their activities for discussion.

The Vice-President then proposed that the Council defer action on recommendations contained in document E/2016/15/Add.1.

The representatives of Chile, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and China, objecting to the proposal, stressed that the deferral would undermine the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the regional level.

Algeria’s speaker asked about the reason to postpone the decision.

The representative of Australia expressed support for the decision to defer action on texts related to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The Council then decided to take action on the recommendations contained in document E/2016/15/Add.1.

In connection with resolution I in Chapter 1, section A, entitled “Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia strategy and plan of action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union, emphasized the need to uphold the common rules of procedure.  “There is no justification for violating the rules and regulations,” he said, drawing attention to the financial request, which contained budget implications for the biennium 2016-2017.

The representative of the United States noted that the programme budget implications had been made available one day before the adoption.  He expressed regret that his delegation would vote against the text.

By a recorded vote of 28 in favour to 16 against with 3 abstentions, the Council adopted resolution I in Chapter 1, section A.

The representative of Australia, in explanation of vote after the ballot, said that his delegation had to vote against the resolution as it contained substantial budget implications.

The representative of Japan, also speaking in explanation of position after the vote, expressed regret that the text contained programme budget implications.

The Council then turned to draft resolution II in Chapter 1, section B, entitled “Committing to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific”.

The representative of Japan drew attention to the contractions in oral statements delivered by the Secretariat regarding the budget implications.  “It is a clear violation of the rules and procedure,” he said, and requested a recorded vote.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed support for the request and stressed that the bloc would vote against the draft resolution.

The representative of the United States, while expressing support for the text’s substantive context, said that it contained large programme budget implications.

The Council then adopted resolution II in Chapter 1, section B, by a recorded vote of 29 in favour to 16 against with 2 abstentions.

The representative of Australia, speaking after the vote, remained supportive of ESCAP, yet expressed concern about the additional funding.  “We cannot support a resolution which undermines due process,” he said, emphasizing that the budget implications must be made available to Member States in advance.

The representative of Japan said that the Commission must optimize existing resources rather than expanding the budget.

The Council then turned to draft resolution III in Chapter 1, section C, entitled “Establishment of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development”.

The representative of the United States, speaking before the adoption, said that the text would make a meaningful contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  However, he stressed that the Commission must cover the costs from the extra budgetary resources.

Without a recorded vote, the Council adopted the resolution.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf the European Union, took note of the oral statement, yet stressed that any costs should be covered by the extra budgetary resources.

The representative of Chile, welcoming the text’s adoption by consensus, said the process was open, transparent and inclusive.

The representative of Japan said that the regional follow-up and review process must be performed in a more cost-effective manner.  Costs must be covered by the extra budgetary resources, he stressed.

Without a recorded vote, the Council adopted resolution IV in Chapter 1, section C, entitled “Venue of the thirty-seventh session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean”.

It then took note of the documentation under item 15, “Regional cooperation”.

Economic and Social Repercussions of Israeli Occupation

TARIK ALAMI, Director of the Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Section of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), introduced the report of the Secretary-General entitled “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan” (document A/71/86-E/2016/13).

Mr. ALAMI said that Israeli policies and practices continued to violate international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the Palestinian peoples’ right to self-determination.  In October 2015, tensions and violence erupted in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.  While addressing that issue, the Secretary-General highlighted the growing frustration felt by the Palestinian people.  The existence and expansion of Israeli settlements were at the height of discriminatory actions, including in the allocation of water, access to land, movement restrictions and a discriminatory legal system.  Israel had created two different legal systems in the West Bank.  Applications for construction permits for Palestinian people were largely rejected in East Jerusalem, while the poverty rate there among Palestinians was around 75 per cent, due to a severe lack of services and neglect.  Palestinians continued to suffer from the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces, including unlawful and extrajudicial killings.

In Gaza, 76,000 Palestinians remained homeless due to the 2014 Israeli offensive and the subsequent blockade, which had impeded reconstruction, he said.  Settler attacks continued with impunity.  The blockade of the Gaza Strip amounted to the collective punishment of 1.8 million people, including the restricted access of people and goods and deteriorating living conditions.  The blockade wall was the primary obstacle to Palestinian movement.  The repercussions of the 2014 offensive included chronic electricity shortages and an ongoing water and sanitation crisis.  Nearly 50 per cent of Palestinians needed humanitarian assistance, which was directly tied to the 50 years of occupation.  The unemployment rate stood at 38 per cent in the Gaza Strip and 18.7 per cent in the West Bank.  Food insecurity was another huge challenge, with 28 per cent of the people living in Gaza lacking access to adequate food.  The Israeli occupation had a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of Palestinians, including increases in infant mortality.  Children had restricted access to education, with those who were able to attend school doing so at great risk to their safety.

An observer of the State of Palestine spoke following the introduction of the report, saying that the facts, numbers and statistics included in the document indicated a steep and alarming deterioration of the situation on the ground in the occupied territories, which had led to a human rights crisis among the Palestinian population.  While the information contained within the report was accurate, it represented only a fraction of the violations that Israel, with its military forces and settlers, continued to perpetuate against the Palestinian people and their land with total impunity.  The international community had continued to fail to hold Israel accountable, she emphasized.  The socioeconomic, humanitarian and human devastation sown by five decades of occupation had gravely affected the living conditions of the Palestinian people, compounding socioeconomic hardships and undercutting efforts towards sustainable development.  It was unquestionable that to end the suffering of her people and make tangible progress towards peace, security and prosperity, Israel must end its prolonged occupation and comply with international law, without exception.

The representative of Syria highlighted that the report acknowledged that the occupying authorities had disregarded hundreds of United Nations resolutions that underscored the need to put an immediate end to the occupation and requested that Israel stop exploiting the natural resources of occupied Arab territories.  Those resolutions had also stressed the occupied peoples’ rights to enjoy their freedoms, just as other people of the world.  Since the first day of its occupation of Arab territories, Israel had created an environment of daily suffering for the Palestinian and Syrian people due to constant discrimination and violations of their fundamental rights, including confiscation of their lands and resources for the benefit of various settler projects.  Israel had imposed taxes and fees on local inhabitants simply for exercising their right to resist occupation, with such practices resulting in arbitrary arrests.  The Palestinians wanted international support to cope with the terrorism that threatened their security.  It was not acceptable that the international community had ended its support for those living under Israeli occupation.

The representative of Ecuador recalled that the Security Council had on 2 July convened an open debate on the Middle East, including the Question of Palestine.  At that meeting, her delegation had expressed its concern about the lack of effective action by the Council on the Palestinian issue.  She reiterated her country’s support for the Palestinian cause, saying that if the Organization had addressed the issue in a more timely fashion, a great deal of human suffering and terrorist attacks could have been avoided.

The representative of Algeria underscored the usefulness of the report, which highlighted the extensive suffering affecting all areas of life in the occupied territories.  The report confirmed previous accounts and demonstrated the mass violations of human rights that were being systemically carried out by the occupying Power.  Algeria condemned those violations.  His delegation regretted the complete impunity that existed, despite the many resolutions and texts that clearly outlined the rights of people to live freely.

The representative of Saudi Arabia noted that the Israeli occupation had wide-spread negative effects on the economic and social opportunities for Palestinians.  The report had not elaborated on the lack of travel opportunities for Palestinians, nor did it indicate the fact that the Israeli occupation had cut off various Palestinian areas from tourism revenue.

The representative of Thailand, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, then introduced a draft resolution titled “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan” (document E/2016/L.22).  The continuing occupation had a devastating impact on the Palestinian people, including socioeconomic and humanitarian hardships.  Drawing attention to the worsening negative trends of unemployment rates, access to basic services and aid dependency in the Gaza Strip, she said that the draft text was based on the Economic and Social Council’s 2015 resolution with updates to reflect the current realities on the ground.

By the text, the body would reiterate the call for the full opening of Gaza’s border crossings, in line with the Security Council resolution 1860 (2009).  It would demand that Israel comply with the Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).  By the draft, the Economic and Social Council would stress the need to preserve the territorial integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and develop Palestinian institutions and infrastructure for the provision of vital public services.  Further, the body would call upon Israel to restore and replace civilian properties, vital infrastructure, agricultural lands and governmental institutions that had been destroyed as a result of its military operations.

The representative of the United States, describing the text as biased, said it failed to address the conflict in a balanced manner, and called for a recorded vote.  Expressing concern about the humanitarian situation on the ground, he said that the United States had been the largest single donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).  The problem must be solved through direct bilateral negotiations.

The representative of Turkey said his delegation wished to co-sponsor the draft text.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, noted that the term “Palestine” should not be interpreted as the recognition of the State.

The Council then took action on “L.22” with a recorded vote of 42 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States), with 3 abstentions (Honduras, Panama, Togo).

The representative of Israel, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, said “the circus is back in town”.  The Palestinians were exploiting the United Nations system, he said, adding that the report was deeply biased and misleading.  It failed to report that Hamas, the terrorist group, was controlling the Gaza Strip, and broke ceasefires on multiple occasions.  According to a report produced by a non-governmental organization, 79 per cent of Palestinians perceived their Government as corrupt.

The observer of the State of Palestine, expressing concern about Israel’s ongoing occupation, said that the United Nations must safeguard international law.  Stressing that Israel was shifting attention from the realities, she noted that the report was backed by concrete facts, many of which amounted to war crimes perpetuated by the Israeli Government.  “42 votes in favour must mean something,” she said, adding “all Palestinians want to be free in their homelands.”

The representative of Israel said he was compelled to respond to the accusations made against his country, despite the fact they had been addressed numerous times in the past.  The Palestinian leadership continued to glorify terrorism and portrayed terrorists as heroes.  There was a growing correlation between terrorist attacks and the incitement of the Palestinian leadership.  No solution would be found without a return to face-to-face negotiations.

Implementation of and Follow-up to Major United Nations Conferences and Summits

Presenting the report of the Secretary-General on the main decisions and policy recommendations of the Committee on World Food Security (document A/71/89–E/2016/69), AMIRA GORNASS, Chair of the Committee, said that the intergovernmental body had continued to deliver on its mandate to ensure food security and improve nutrition for all.  Through its inclusive model, the Committee ensured that the voices of all stakeholders were heard.

Turning to the accomplishments, she said that, at its forty-second session, the Committee had endorsed the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises, which aimed at improving food security and nutrition for populations affected by the risk of protracted crises.  A total of 11 principles, laid out in the Framework, represented a global consensus between countries, civil society, private sector and the United Nations agencies.  Further, the Committee had discussed and agreed upon a comprehensive set of policy recommendations that highlighted the links between water, food security and nutrition.  In addition, the Multi-Year Programme of Work for 2016-2017 had been adopted, including the themes for future reports.

The Council then took note of the report.

Then, the Council then took note of the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its fifty-sixth session (document A/71/16), the annual overview report of the United Nation System Chief Executives Board for Coordination in 2015 (document E/2016/56) and the documentation relating to the proposed strategic framework for the period 2018-2019 (document A/71/6).

Non-Governmental Organizations

Starting the discussion, Chile’s delegate, also speaking on behalf of Mexico and Uruguay, said that the work carried out by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was essential for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  The refusal to grant consultative status for political reasons was a “serious distortion of the procedure”, he said, stressing the need to end such discriminatory practices.  It was disturbing that several organizations from developing countries, which were devoted to the protection of human rights, were not allowed to contribute.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations was the only specialized body tasked with enabling the participation of civil society in the work of the United Nations.  It had a pivotal role in ensuring that the Organization benefited from the expert opinions and advice of civil society foreseen by resolution 1996/31.  “NGOs should not be perceived as a threat to the proper functioning of the United Nations or as a vehicle for subverting the will of Member States,” he said, stressing the need for the Committee to complete its deliberations in a fair and transparent manner.

The statistics from the Committee’s last session indicated that applications engaged on human rights were significantly more likely to be deferred than other applications, he said.  Of the new applicants, 60 per cent focussed on women’s human rights and 40 per cent of those concerned with the human rights of persons with disabilities had been deferred.  The case of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, whose repeat application had been rejected alongside six other organizations dealing with similar issues, now fell to the Economic and Social Council for consideration.  In addition, he said that the voted decision by the Committee to reject a recommendation for consultative status for the Committee to Protect Journalists had drawn strong criticism, with the United Nations Secretary-General expressing his “deep disappointment”.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking in his national capacity, said that Member States must welcome civil society participation, and be ready to work with them to achieve shared objectives.  “We cannot afford to block the participation of legitimate and effective civil society actors from our work,” he said, stressing that the Committee must act in the best interests of the United Nations.

The representative of Germany said that the Council had much to gain from the contributions of non-governmental organizations.  “We depend on the active participation of these stakeholders,” he said, stressing the need for their “expert opinion”.  It was problematic that the applications of organizations working in the area of human rights were more likely to be deferred.

The representative of Estonia said that the involvement of civil society organizations was essential to the work of the United Nations, noting that the opposition to granting status was often based on the views of such organizations.

The representative of France said that the Committee to Protect Journalists was a respected organization, whose work was recognized by all.  Expressing support for the work carried out by non-governmental organizations, he stressed that his country co-sponsored the draft resolution.

The representative of United States then introduced the resolution titled “Application of the non-governmental organization Committee to Protect Journalists for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council”, saying that a free press was not only valuable in and of itself, but was a critical tool for protecting other rights.  The Committee to Protect Journalists worked to fight corruption, document human rights violations, provide a voice to those who were marginalized or at risk, and expose problems in societies that may otherwise go unseen.

Journalists often found themselves at risk by those who felt threatened by their work, she said.  The Committee to Protect Journalists defended the basic right of journalists to do their work without fear of reprisals.  The Committee to Protect Journalists was an independent, impartial organization with a long track record of fair reporting.  Yet, the Committee to Protect Journalists had been denied accreditation by the Non-Governmental Organization Committee for four years, during which time hundreds of journalists had been imprisoned, gone missing or lost their lives.  In recent years, the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had systemically abused its authority to delay the applications of legitimate organizations, with thousands of submissions having been deferred, often times because their work seemed to be critical of Governments.  “Honestly, this is outrageous”, she said, adding that such practices hurt the ability of the United Nations to perform its duties.

The representative of Uruguay said his delegation wished to join the list of countries sponsoring the decision.

The Vice-President then informed the Council that additional Member States, including Antigua and Barbuda, Honduras, Republic of Moldova and the United Kingdom, wished to co-sponsor the resolution.

The representative of Czech Republic, associating himself with the European Union, said his delegation was deeply concerned over the recent proceedings of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee.  He recalled that both the General Assembly and Security Council had expressed the belief that journalists deserved protection, and in that regard, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists had a critical role to play.

The representative of Greece said that the safety of journalists was a critical issue that the United Nations had addressed in many contexts.  The international community had been united in condemning the increasing prevalence of journalist being killed, detained or tortured in recent years.  He expressed regret that the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had voted not to grant consultative status to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The representative of United Kingdom recalled that the Committee to Protect Journalists already participated in United Nations conferences and panels and their expert data and research was appreciated throughout the international community.

The representative of the United States requested to know which countries had requested a vote on the resolution.

The Vice-President informed the Council that China and the Russian Federation had requested the vote.

The representative of China expressed regret and concern over the practice whereby some countries forced the Council to overturn the decisions of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee, which was an authoritative organ of the United Nations.  He recalled that in May, the Non-Governmental Organization Committee had conducted its work, which should now be adopted by the Council by consensus.  The effort of some countries to overturn the decisions of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee was tantamount to stirring up confrontation.

The representative of Afghanistan highlighted that the Committee to Protect Journalists had been working closely with many Afghan journalists unions for numerous years, helping many of those that had been victims of crimes.  Further, the Committee had come up with a comprehensive model for journalists’ safety in Afghanistan, which was now being used in other countries, further demonstrating the organization’s utility.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that the Committee had considered the application of 464 applications at its last session.  As imposing a decision on Member States would undermine the work of the Committee, there was no reason to revisit the decision.

The representative of Viet Nam said his country had attached great importance to the promotion and protection of freedom of speech.  While recognizing their key role in contributing to the development of Viet Nam, he stressed that the Committee needed more time to consider applications.

The Council then took action on “L.26” with a recorded vote of 40 in favour to 5 against (China, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe), with 6 abstentions (Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India, Pakistan, Uganda).

The representative of Chile, describing the freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, said his country had voted in favour of the resolution.

The representative of Australia then introduced the resolution entitled “Application of the non-governmental organization Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council” (document E/2016/L.27).  She said that the organization was made up of young people who were committed to promoting adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive rights at the national, regional and international levels.  Stressing that the Coalition had submitted its first application in 2010, she said that over the past six years it had been deferred 11 times.

The representative of Canada said that the application of the Youth Coalition had answered all the questions posed by the Committee.  The group was composed of several young people, who were actively engaged in numerous processes, including the negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The representative of the Czech Republic said that the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights’ application for special consultative status should not be denied simply because the topics that the organization addressed were of concern for some Member States.

The representative of Australia requested to know which countries had requested a vote on the resolution.

The Vice-President informed the Council that China and the Russian Federation had requested the vote.

The representative of the United Kingdom said that the issues dealt with by Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights were critical for the realization, promotion and protection of human rights, particularly with regard to gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.  His delegation believed that the refusal of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee to grant the group special consultative status was not based on legitimate reasoning, but rather due to prejudice about the subject matter the group dealt with.

The representative of Portugal indicated that her delegation wished to join the list of co-sponsors for the resolution.

The Council then took action on “L.27” with a recorded vote of 26 in favour to 7 against with 13 abstentions.

The representative of Chile, speaking after the vote, said his country had supported the resolution after paying special importance to what was said in the United Nations Charter, which began with the phrase, “We the peoples”, which to him, required respect for diversity.

The Economic and Social Council then took up the “Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2015 resumed session” (document E/2016/32 Part II).  At its 2016 resumed session, held from 23 May to 1 June and on 10 June, the Committee had considered 464 applications for consultative status, including applications deferred from earlier sessions.  Of the non-governmental organizations submitting those applications, the Committee recommended 188 for consultative status, deferred 235 for further consideration at its regular session in 2017, and closed consideration without prejudice of 39 applications that had failed to respond to queries over two consecutive sessions.

The Council then adopted, without a vote, seven decisions contained in the report.

By decision I, the Council (a) granted consultative status to 188 non-governmental organizations; (b) reclassified the consultative status of four non-governmental organizations; (c) recognized that the Committee decided to take note of the change of name of 15 non-governmental organizations; (d) recognized that the Committee took note of the quadrennial reports of 335 non-governmental organizations, including new and deferred reports;(e) closed without prejudice consideration of the request for consultative status made by 39 non-governmental organizations after the organizations had failed to respond to queries over the course of two consecutive sessions; (f) closed without prejudice consideration of the request for reclassification of status by one non-governmental organization following the failure of the group to respond to queries over the course of two consecutive sessions; (g) decided not to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization Committee to Protect Journalists; (h) decided not to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

By decision II, the Council decided to withdraw the status of the non-governmental organization Human Lactation Center.

By draft decision III, the Council suspended, for a period of one year, the consultative status of 158 organizations with outstanding quadrennial reports.

By draft decision IV, the Council decided to reinstate the consultative status of 81 organizations that had submitted their outstanding quadrennial reports.

By draft decision V, the Council decided to withdraw the consultative status of 85 organizations with continued outstanding quadrennial reports.

By draft decision VI, the Council approved the provisional agenda for the 2017 session of the Committee.

By draft decision VII, the Council took note of the present report.

Read More

Biographical notes

Donald Bobiash (BA [Political Science], University of Saskatchewan, 1980; Laval University, 1982; certificate, Ecole Nationale d’Administration et de Magistrature, Senegal, 1983; MA [Industrial Relations and Personnel Management], London School of Economics, 1984; DPhil [International Relations], Oxford University, 1989). Mr. Bobiash is a Rhodes Scholar and has received the Commonwealth and Rotary International graduate scholarships. He worked for Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Finance from 1980 to 1981 and as a part-time consultant to Oxford Analytica Daily Brief and the International Development Research Centre from 1986 to 1988. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1989. His first overseas assignment was as second secretary in the Canadian high commission to Pakistan, where he served from 1990 to 1992. From 1996 to 2000, he served as counsellor and consul in the embassy to Japan. He was appointed high commissioner to Ghana and ambassador to Togo in 2004. From 2006 to 2009, he was deputy head of mission in Tokyo and from 2013 to 2016, ambassador to Indonesia, Timor-Leste and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. At Headquarters, his first assignment was with the Francophone Affairs Division in 1989; he transferred to the South America Relations Division in 1990. From 1992 to 1994, he served in the Economic Relations with Developing Countries Division. He served as deputy director of the South Asia Division in 2000 and as deputy director of the Policy Planning Division in 2001. From 2002 to 2004, he was director of the Southeast Asia Division. In 2009, he was named director general for Africa. He is married to Teresa Rozkiewicz, and they have two children, Ariane and Catherine.

Ian Burney (BA Hons [Political Science], McGill University, 1985; MA [International Relations], University of Toronto, 1986) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1987. Abroad, Mr. Burney served as third and second secretary at the embassy in Bangkok from 1989 to 1991 and as consul and senior trade commissioner at the consulate general in Ho Chi Minh City from 1995 to 1997. In Ottawa, he was seconded as a policy analyst to the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat in the Privy Council Office from 1993 to 1995. At Headquarters, he has occupied a number of positions in the United States, Asia Pacific and trade policy branches. He served as the director of the Trade Controls Policy Division from 1999 to 2002, director of the Trade Remedies Division from 2002 to 2004, director general of the Bilateral and Regional Trade Policy Bureau from 2004 to 2006 and as chief trade negotiator (bilateral and regional) in the Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch from 2006 to 2009. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Burney served as assistant deputy minister of the International Business Development, Investment and Innovation Branch and from 2011 to 2015, as assistant deputy minister, trade agreements and negotiations. Mr. Burney received the 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada. In July 2015, he was appointed assistant secretary to the cabinet for economic and regional development policy, in the Privy Council Office. Mr. Burney is married and has four children.

Perry Calderwood (BA Hons [Soviet and East European Studies], Carleton University, 1983; MA [International Affairs], Carleton University, 1986) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1986. During his time at Headquarters, he was the director for Eastern and Southern Africa and deputy to the personal representative of the prime minister for Africa (2004 to 2007), deputy director of the United Nations and Commonwealth Affairs Division (1998 to 2000), and also served in the Arms Control and Disarmament Division (1989 to 1992). He served overseas at missions including New York City, Bogotá, Moscow, Buenos Aires and Pretoria. He was ambassador to Venezuela (2007 to 2010) and to Senegal (2010 to 2013) and high commissioner to Nigeria (2013 to 2016).

Heather Cameron (BA Hons [Political Science], Carleton University, 1987; MA [Public Policy], King’s College London, 2009) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1990 and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 1992. During her career, she has had a number of assignments in the Africa and Middle East Bureau, including as director of the pan-African and Francophonie programs. She has also served as director of strategic initiatives (2009 to 2012) and director of the Human Development and Gender Equality Division (2012 to 2013). Since 2013, she has been the senior director of the Haiti and Dominican Republic Division. Overseas assignments include the high commission in Harare, Zimbabwe (1992 to 1996), where she was responsible for regional humanitarian affairs, and the high commission in Maputo, Mozambique (2004 to 2007), where she served as counsellor and director (development).

Janice Charette (BA [Commerce], Carleton University, 1984) served as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet from October 2014 to January 2016. She was appointed Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet in January 2013 and deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet in November 2010. Her previous positions in the public service include senior assistant deputy minister for policy at the Department of Justice Canada (1999 to 2001); assistant secretary to Cabinet for priorities and planning (2001 to 2002), and deputy secretary to the Cabinet for planning and consultations (2002 to 2003), both in the Privy Council Office; associate deputy minister at Health Canada (2003 to 2004); deputy minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2004 to 2006); and deputy minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada as well as chairperson of the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (2006 to 2010). Ms. Charette was director of the transition team for the newly formed Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in 1998 and principal at Ernst & Young LLP from 1995 to 1997. She is married to Reg Charette, and they have two adult children, Jed and Cassie.

Antoine Chevrier (BA [Economics], Laval University, 1993; MA [International Relations], Laval University, 1996) started working with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 1997. At Headquarters, he was director of the Haiti Bilateral Development Program, as well as director of the transition team in charge of amalgamating CIDA with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in 2013. In 2014, he was appointed director general of the Geographic Coordination and Mission Support Bureau. He has served abroad in positions including, from 2009 to 2013, director of the development program at the Canadian embassy to Peru and Bolivia. From 2002 to 2006 he assumed various functions, including chief of staff in the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development at the Organization of American States, in Washington, D.C. Mr. Chevrier is married to Catherine Vézina; they have a daughter, Philomène.

Chris Cooter (BA Hons [Political Science], University of Toronto, 1981; MA [Political Science], Columbia University, 1982; BCL, LLB [Common/Civil Law], McGill University, 1986) was an associate at Campney & Murphy, a Vancouver law firm (1987 to 1989), then acting manager of lands for the British Columbia region of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (1989 to 1990). He joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1990. He served abroad as deputy permanent representative to the Joint Delegation of Canada to NATO, as political officer in the Canadian high commissions to India and Kenya and as high commissioner to Nigeria. At Headquarters, he served as director of the Policy Planning division and of the Southeast Europe division. He served as director general responsible for the amalgamation of the Canadian International Development Agency and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Most recently, he was director general of the Executive Management and Assignments Division. He has two children, Zoe and Anais.

Jennifer Daubeny (BA [International Relations], University of British Columbia, 1984; MPA, University of Victoria, 1990) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1988. She was posted as a trade commissioner to the Canadian embassy in Prague (1990 to 1993), and in 1995 she opened and headed Canada’s first consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she served for three years. She served as senior trade commissioner at Canada’s high commission in London (2009 to 2013). At Headquarters she has held positions in the International Financial and Investment Affairs, Agricultural Trade Policy, Caribbean and Central America Relations, Technical Barriers and Regulations, and U.S. Transboundary divisions. She also served as director of the Middle East and Africa Commercial Relations Division (2007 to 2009) and  Investor Services Division, responsible for attracting foreign direct investment to Canada (2013 to 2014). Her most recent position was director of the Science, Technology and Innovation Division. She and her partner David Springgay have two sons, Alex and Eric.

Lise Filiatrault (BSc [Biology], Université du Québec à Montréal, 1983; Graduate Studies Diploma in International Development and Cooperation, University of Ottawa, 1989) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1990 as a foreign service officer. Previously, she served in Cameroon with Centre d’études et de coopération internationale and worked with Crossroads International in Montréal. Ms. Filiatrault served in Georgetown, Guyana (1992 to 1994); in Santiago, Chile (1996 to 2000); and in Havana, Cuba (2002 to 2005). Ms. Filiatrault also held various positions at the Canadian International Development Agency, such as director of the Middle East Program (2005 to 2008), regional director general of the Europe, Middle East and Maghreb Directorate (2009 to 2010) and regional director general of the Americas Directorate (2010 to 2013). At Headquarters, she was assistant deputy minister for the Sub-Saharan Africa Branch (2013 to 2016). Ms. Filiatrault and her spouse Richard Boisvert have two daughters, Frédérique and Gabrielle.

Emi Furuya (BA Hons [Political Science specialization, French Literature major], University of Toronto, 1996; MA [Political Science], University of Toronto, 1997) worked as a consultant for the Canadian International Development Agency, specializing in democratization and good governance before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1999. Ms. Furuya has served abroad as political counsellor at the embassy in Paris (2006 to 2010), as second secretary (political) at the embassy in Tokyo (2000 to 2003) and as junior adviser at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York City (1999). In Ottawa, she has worked on Commonwealth affairs; managed peace support operations, including security sector policy and deployments; and served as deputy director for the department’s international assistance envelope and international financial institutions division. She has also served as deputy director for the G7 and G20 summits, as director of the Office of the Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and, most recently, as executive director of the Office of the Deputy Minister of International Development. Ms. Furuya and her spouse have two sons.

Carla Hogan Rufelds (BSc [Forestry], University of New Brunswick, 1983) joined the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in January 1995. During her time at Headquarters, Ms. Hogan Rufelds was a senior program officer and forestry adviser for the Asia Branch (1995 to 1999) and the manager for policy and strategic planning in the Canadian Partnership Branch (2003 to 2008). She served as director for sustainable economic growth, food security and environment in the Strategic Policy and Performance Branch and the Global Issues and Development Branch (2008 to 2014). More recently, Ms. Hogan Rufelds was the director of strategic planning and operations for the Latin America and Caribbean region (2014 to 2016). She served abroad in Kathmandu at the Office of the Canadian Embassy and at CIDA’s Canadian Cooperation Office as the Canadian representative (1999 to 2003). She also worked abroad in Rome as a forestry officer in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1990 to 1993). Ms. Hogan Rufelds is married to Dan Hogan and has two children, Liam and Sylva.

Masud Husain (BA, Laval University, 1988; LLB, McGill University, 1991) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1991. He was desk officer in the Legal Advisory Division (1995 to 1997). He was deputy director of the Oceans and Environmental Law Division (1999 to 2002) and of the Criminal, Security and Treaty Law Division (2003 to 2006). He was later executive director of the Criminal, Security and Diplomatic Law Division (2013 to 2016). In his overseas positions, he was posted to Amman as the political officer responsible for Iraq (1992 to 1995). He served in Damascus as head of the Political Section (1997 to 1999). In The Hague, he served as counsellor in the Political Section (2005 to 2009). He served as minister-counsellor and political coordinator in the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York (2009 to 2013). Most recently, he was director general of the Middle East and Maghreb Bureau. He is married to Laila El Fenne, and they have two children, Omar and Lalla Miriem.

Ping Kitnikone (BA [Pacific Studies and Economics], University of Victoria, 1991; MPA, University of Victoria, 1994) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1994. During her time at Headquarters, Ms. Kitnikone has worked in the International Financial Institutions Division, the Policy Development and Integration Division,  the North Asia Commercial Relations Division and, most recently, at the Centre of Learning for International Affairs and Management (2014 to 2016). Postings overseas have included Beijing, Taipei and Bangkok (with concurrent accreditation to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar). In 2004, she was appointed consul general in Mumbai. Ms. Kitnikone and her spouse, Jean-Stéphane Couture, have two children.

Marie Legault (BA [Political Science], University of Geneva, 1988; MA [International Relations], Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland, 1991) joined the Canadian International Development Agency in 1996. At Headquarters, she served as director, Central America Division (2006 to 2008) and director of programming, Haiti Division (2014 to 2016). Ms. Legault also served in the Privy Council Office in the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat (2002 to 2005). Abroad, she was posted to the High Commission of Canada to Jamaica, serving as head of the Cooperation Program (2010 to 2014). Ms. Legault is widowed and has one child, a daughter, Alexa.

Matthew Levin (BA, University of Manitoba, 1975; MA [International Economics], Monterey Institute of International Studies, California, 1984) was most recently director general of Global Affairs Canada’s Europe-Eurasia Bureau. He was previously director of operations at the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat of the Privy Council Office, and served as ambassador to Colombia, from 2005 to 2008, and to Cuba, from 2010 to 2013. After joining the Department of External Affairs in 1986, Mr. Levin served abroad in Washington as economic counsellor and in Moscow as deputy head of mission. At Headquarters, Mr. Levin’s assignments also include two years as chief of staff to two deputy ministers. Prior to joining the department, Mr. Levin taught English literature at the University of Milan and worked for Amnesty International in Canada. He is married to Rosalba Imbrogno Levin. They have three adult children.

Deborah Lyons (BSc Hons [Biology], University of New Brunswick; certificate, National Defence College) was a successful small business owner for seven years prior to joining the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in 1983. In 1986, Ms. Lyons joined the Privy Council Office as a senior policy analyst. From 1987 to 1999, Ms. Lyons worked with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), first as director for business networks, then as director of policy and planning and later as director of trade and technology. During her time with ACOA, she briefly left, joining the Department of National Defence to attend National Defence College. In 1999, Ms. Lyons joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and was assigned to Tokyo as a counsellor for high-tech industries. She returned to Ottawa in 2004 to become director for international finance and then director general of the North America Commercial Bureau. In 2009, she was promoted to assistant deputy minister for policy and planning and filled the new position of chief strategy officer. She was deputy head of mission at the embassy in Washington, D.C., from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, she was appointed ambassador to Afghanistan.

Peter MacDougall (BA [Political Science], University of British Columbia, 1988; BSW, University of Victoria, 1992; MSW, McGill University, 1998; MA [International Relations], Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2014; Diploma, École nationale d’administration, Strasbourg, 2014) worked in the non-profit sector prior to joining Health Canada in 2000. Following senior analyst and manager positions at Health Canada, Canadian Heritage, and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), Mr. MacDougall became director of HRSDC’s Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Initiative in 2004. In 2006, he became director of Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Relations at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). He subsequently was director general, Admissibility Policy, and director general, Refugee Affairs, at CIC before joining the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat at the Privy Council Office in 2011 as director of operations. Since January 2015, Mr. MacDougall has been the assistant secretary to the Cabinet for Foreign and Defence Policy. He is married to Rachel Aslan and they have four children.

Ian Myles (BSc [International Development], University of Toronto, 1991; MSc [Natural Resource and Environmental Economics], University of Guelph, 2000) joined the Canadian International Development Agency in 2000 after seven years working with various non-governmental organizations in Canada and Latin America. During his time at Headquarters, he has worked as an environment specialist in Africa Branch (2000 to 2008), director of strategic analysis and operations for Southern and Eastern Africa (2011 to 2014) and senior director for the Panafrica and Regional Program (2014 to 2015). His overseas positions include deputy director of the development program (2008 to 2010) and then senior director and head of cooperation (2010 to 2011) at Canada’s high commission to Ghana. Since August 2015, Mr. Myles has been senior director and head of cooperation at the high commission to Tanzania. He is married and has two sons.

Jeff Nankivell (BA Hons [International Relations], University of Toronto, 1986; MSc with distinction [Political Sociology], London School of Economics and Political Science, 1988) joined the foreign service in 1988. Mr. Nankivell served in various capacities with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): at Headquarters, he worked as a development officer with the China Division (1988 to 1989)a country analyst with the Russia Division (1995 to 1998), as a senior program manager for the World Bank Group in the International Financial Institutions Division (1998 to 2000), as director of the Strategic Policy Division in the Policy Branch (2004 to 2006) and as director of the China and Northeast Asia Division (2006 to 2008). Mr. Nankivell was also posted to the embassy in Beijing on several occasions, serving as first secretary (1991 to 1995), counsellor (2000 to 2002), as head of the Development Section (2000 to 2004) and as minister and deputy head of mission (2008 to 2011). In August 2011, Mr. Nankivell returned to CIDA Headquarters to serve as director general of the Asia Bureau. In 2013, he became director general of development programming for the Asia Pacific Branch at DFATD. Mr. Nankivell is married to Alison Nankivell. They have two sons, Sam and Alex.

Olivier Nicoloff (BA [Political Science], McGill University, 1978; MA [International Relations], Laval University, 1982) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1987. At Headquarters, he worked in the Human Resources Directorate (1991 to 1993) and held the position of coordinator of the Anti-personnel Mine Action Team (1999 to 2002). Overseas, he served in Abidjan (1988 to 1989), Dakar (1989 to 1991), Tunis (1993 to 1996), Moscow (1996 to 1999) and Prague (2002 to 2006). Upon his return to Ottawa, he served as director of the Intergovernmental Relations Division (2006 to 2009), of the Democracy, Commonwealth and La Francophonie Division (2009 to 2012) and of the European Union and Europe Bilateral and Institutional Relations Division (2012 to 2016). Mr. Nicoloff is married to Isabelle Guévin, and they have two adult children, Raphaël and Catherine.

Patrick Parisot (CGE [Business Management], HEC Montréal, 1976; BSp Rel Hum [Psychology of Communications], University of Quebec at Montréal, 1979; BA [Political Science], University of Quebec at Montréal, 1984; CIJ [Information and Journalism], University of Montréal, 1987) has been an independent public relations and communications professional since 2011. He was principal secretary to the leader of the Official Opposition (2010 to 2011) and served as press secretary and special policy adviser in the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Office of the Prime Minister (1993 to 2001). He has served as ambassador to Algeria (2007 to 2010), Portugal (2003 to 2007) and Chile (2001 to 2003). He and his spouse, Carmen Altamirano, have three sons.

Donica Pottie (BA [Asian Studies], St. Mary’s University, 1985) joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1991. She was third and second secretary at the embassy in China (1993 to 1996), served in assignments at the embassy in Jordan as head of the political section (1999 to 2002) and was ambassador to Cambodia (2004 to 2007). She was the director of several divisions: Democracy and Governance Policy (2007 to 2010), Development Policy and Institutions (2012 to 2013) and Peace Operations and Fragile States Policy (2013 to 2015). In 2015, she became director general of consular operations. She is married to Scot Slessor, and they have a daughter, Sophie.

Isabelle Poupart (LLB, University of Montréal, 1992; LLM [International Law], University of Montréal, 1994) joined the Quebec Bar in 1993 and worked as a lawyer prior to joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1995. At Headquarters, she worked in the Legal Bureau and in the International Economic Relations and Summits and the Defence and Security Relations divisions. Her first assignment abroad was at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York. She also worked for the Conflict Prevention Centre of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. She served twice at the Joint Delegation of Canada to NATO in Brussels—the second time as head of the Political Section. Upon her return to Ottawa, she worked as senior adviser to the assistant deputy minister for Global Issues, Strategic Policy and Europe. Most recently, she was ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the OSCE. She is married to Reinhard Bettzuege, and they have a daughter.

Barbara Richardson (BA, University of Alberta, 1972) began her career at the University of Calgary in 1974 and entered the public service in 1984, working with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Alberta and the Northwest Territories and with Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s International Region. She joined External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1989. She has had assignments in the Philippines, as well as in Kenya, where she served as political counsellor and deputy head of mission (with accreditation to Burundi, Eritrea, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda) and as deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Environment Programme and to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. In 2005, she was appointed high commissioner to Bangladesh and, in 2008, ambassador to Zimbabwe and Angola and high commissioner to Botswana. Since her return to Canada in 2011, she has worked as director general for consular operations, director general for mission operations and client relations and, most recently, as the department’s inspector general. She has one adult son.

Ulric Shannon (BA Hons [History and Political Science], McGill University, 1997; MA [International Relations], Graduate Diploma in Security Studies, York University, 1998) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1999. In Ottawa, he has served as director of the Media Relations Office. He also served as the executive assistant to the assistant deputy minister for global and security policy and as a desk officer in both the Regional Security and Peacekeeping Division and the Eastern and Southern Africa Division. Abroad, Mr. Shannon has served as a political and public affairs officer in Cairo, senior political officer in Ramallah and first secretary in Islamabad. He was awarded the department’s foreign-language fellowship to pursue advanced studies in Arabic from 2012 to 2013, and during that time he also served as Canada’s first representative to the Syrian opposition. Most recently, Mr. Shannon was based in Istanbul as country director for ARK, a stabilization consultancy. He is married to Robin Wettlaufer.

Phyllis Yaffe (BA, University of Manitoba, 1969; BLS, University of Alberta, 1972; MSc [Library Science], University of Toronto, 1976) has had a distinguished career in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. Ms. Yaffe has served as chair of the board of Cineplex Entertainment, lead director of Torstar Corporation and as a member of the boards of Lionsgate Entertainment and Blue Ant Media. A former board member of Astral Media, for many years she served as a senior officer, and ultimately as chief executive officer, of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. At Alliance Atlantis, Ms. Yaffe oversaw worldwide operations, including Canadian specialty-television channels, international television distribution business and the popular CSI television franchise. Ms. Yaffe has also served as chair of the board of governors of Ryerson University, of the Ontario Science Centre board and of Women Against Multiple Sclerosis. She also served on the World Wildlife Fund board and was executive director of the Association of Canadian Publishers. Ms. Yaffe has earned a long list of awards, including an induction into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2007.

Read More

Speakers Tell High-level Political Forum Unique Challenges of Countries in Special Situations Must Remain Central to Sustainable Development Strategies

The unique challenges of countries in special situations needed to stay at the forefront of efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Agenda speakers said today, as the High-level Political Forum continued.

The Forum held three panels exploring the need for statistics in the monitoring and evaluation of the future development agenda, as well as the particular needs of those countries.  The panels’ themes were “National mechanisms for monitoring progress and reporting on implementation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”; “Making the 2030 Agenda deliver for small island developing States, building on the SAMOA Pathway”; and “Countries in special situations”.

A profound strategic shift would be needed to fulfil the goal of “leaving no one behind” said David Steven, Senior Fellow and Associate Director at the Centre on International Cooperation, New York University, United States.  “We must do this work urgently”, he stressed, noting that the 2030 Agenda singled out, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and conflict- and post-conflict countries, as well as middle-income countries.  The new agenda was both a promise of what could be achieved and a warning against failing to act now, he emphasized.

Many countries were facing unfulfilled development expectations, said Youba Sokona, Special Adviser on Sustainable Development of the South Centre Least Developed Countries Independent Expert Group.  “The window for action is rapidly closing,” he said, adding that there was room for each country, no matter its condition, to take on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

As the world pursued a more sustainable future, small island developing States had every potential to be left behind, warned Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati.  Climate change put those countries at particular risk, and without concrete action on climate issues, every other development objective would be meaningless.  In that context, he was pleased that climate change and ocean preservation were included as stand-alone elements within the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Recalling that the Millennium Development Goals were a “set it and forget it” exercise, Justina Langidrik, Chief Secretary of the Marshall Islands, said that the Sustainable Development Goals were an opportunity for all to do better and should be seen as a benefit and not a burden at the implementation level.  With a population of 60,000 people spread over an area the size of Mexico, the Marshall Islands grappled with unique data reporting challenges.  Moreover, the islands were almost entirely dependent on bilateral assistance, she said, stressing the need to urgently review those arrangements in the context of the development framework.

David Smith, Coordinator at the University of Consortium for Small Island States and the Institute for Sustainable Development at the University of the West Indies, said there was a need to push forward with an economic transformation to a green economy with more focus on increased markets for goods, services and labour.  The private sector and civil society involvement should be promoted.  Human capital development through education and training should be undertaken, while science and technology should be mainstreamed into policies.

The Forum will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 15 July, to continue its session.

Panel I

The first panel of the day was titled “National mechanisms for monitoring progress and reporting on implementation for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals” and was moderated by Johannes Paul Jütting, Manager of the PARIS21 Secretariat within the Development Co-operation Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).   The panellists included Lisa Grace Bersales, National Statistician and Head of the Philippine Statistics Authority; Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General of South Africa; and Georges Simon Ulrich, Director General of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office.

Lead discussants included Milorad Scepanovic, Director-General from the General Directorate of Multilateral Affairs of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, and Peseta Noumea Simi, Chief Executive Officer at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Samoa.

Mr. JÜTTING said the world had learned a lot over the last decade and much progress had been made with regard to the availability of data.  Many challenges remained, however, including the lack of birth registration, particularly for girls in developing countries.  Even in developed countries, there were large gaps in data availability.  Those realties illustrated the need for more and better data produced at the national level.

Ms. BERSALES said clear governance structures were needed to implement and monitor the Sustainable Development Goals, with national statistical offices playing an active role.  The Philippines had organized a series of workshops at the national level to look at data availability and aggregation and to identify what data needed to be prioritized.  In the statistical community, there were many challenges that existed for monitoring the Goals.  The Philippines would seek to utilize multi-stakeholder partnerships, both globally and nationally, as well as official statistics to generate information for the indicators.

Mr. LEHOHLA said statistics were a conduit of trust and formed the basis of many discussions within the context of international relations.  Statisticians were being pressed to fast track their efforts in order to feed into the Sustainable Development Goals.  Legislation was needed to implement the fundamental principles of statistics.  In South Africa there was a national development plan that was informed by statistics.  There was a demand not only to provide numbers, but also to modernize statistical organizations.  He called for more administrative data about the citizens of the country, which in-turn, needed to be embedded within geographical information.

Mr. ULRICH said active collaboration between the High-level Political Forum and the United Nations Statistical Commission was crucial and must be based on mutual trust.  Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would require greater cooperation between policymakers and statistical offices, particularly for monitoring development goals.  It was important to establish a cultural of dialogue and cooperation, clearly-defined processes and well-documented decisions, as well as to share knowledge and skills.  The early involvement of national statistical offices was of great importance and would help implement and monitor the future development framework in a scientific, systematic and well-documented manner.  National statistics were the basis of all indicators and could support planned coordination activities.

Mr. SCEPANOVIC stressed the need to fully integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into national policies, plans and programmes.  Montenegro had adopted a National Strategy on Sustainable Development through 2030, which was an overarching national development plan that defined principles, strategic goals and measures for achieving long-term sustainable development.  The strategy not only referred to the economy and environment, but also addressed irreplaceable human resources and invaluable social capital.  The successful implementation of the strategy would depend on the ability to secure strong and integrated support from the United Nations system. 

Ms. SIMI said despite the focus on statistics, there were other factors that needed to be taken into consideration, particularly with regard to the perspective of small island developing States.  Many indicators were not relevant to the unique situations of small island developing States, which meant there was a need to contextualize and localize.  There was also a lack of ownership and political will, as well as a lack of awareness and engagement with stakeholders, all of which resulted in serious challenges to achieve the development targets.  The lack of alignment between global and regional efforts and limited resources created additional hurdles.  Many small island developing States continued to focus on mainstreaming the development goals into national plans, which would inform the regional indicators that covered common priority issues.

In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Estonia said that in her country, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals was done through a set of indicators that were agreed in an inclusive fashion and renewed on a regular basis.  She noted that every country likely had some challenges with the global indicators, including repetitive reporting requirements.

The representative of China called for steps to help developing countries build their statistical capacities so that monitoring and evaluating could truly contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Monitoring and evaluating should not be a goal in and of themselves.

The representative of the Cook Islands said his country’s national goals resembled the Sustainable Development Goals.  His Government had worked to simplify the goals and engage with all stakeholders to garner their buy-in.  However, the Cook Islands were challenged by the need to disaggregate and reliably collect data, given that the country encompassed a large number of small islands, spread over a vast area.

The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization noted that while Governments had the primary responsibility to collect data at the national level, international agencies responsible for the compilation of the indicators could help ensure that data was comparable between countries, as well as aggregated regionally and globally.

A representative of the major group for children and youth said that the participation of major groups in monitoring and reporting must be considered a best practice.  It was imperative to include diverse perspectives in the sustainable development process, including those of children and youth.

A representative of the European Union said that keeping track of progress in a systematic and transparent way would be essential for delivering on the 2030 Agenda.  In that regard, EuroStat would play an active role across the European Union in monitoring and reporting processes.

A representative of the major group from persons with disabilities noted that the first national voluntary review had taken place but had not used all evidence available.  He asked what steps could be taken to ensure that other national voluntary reviews would be more inclusive.

The representative of Viet Nam said that her country had carried out a review of 230 Sustainable Development Goal indicators through its national statistical indicator system.  The results of that review included evidence that about 141 indicators had no data and 106 were difficult to collect.

Also speaking were the representatives of Malaysia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Chad.

Representatives from the major groups for ageing and non-governmental organizations also participated.

Panel II

The second panel discussion of the day focused on “Making the 2030 Agenda deliver for SIDS, building on the SAMOA Pathway” and was moderated by Elizabeth Thompson, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Coordinator for Rio+20 and former Minister for Energy and Environment of Barbados.

The panellists included Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati, and David Smith, Coordinator at the University of Consortium for Small Island States and at the Institute for Sustainable Development of the University of the West Indies.

The lead discussants included Justina Langidrik, Chief Secretary of the Marshall Islands, and Kate Brown, Executive Director of the Global Island Partnership.

Ms. THOMPSON said the discussion would not only revolve around the development needs of small island developing States, but also to what extent the various platforms for development were reconcilable and relevant to small islands.

Mr. TONG warned that small island developing States had every potential to be left behind.  He was pleased to see that climate change and ocean preservation were included as stand-alone elements within the Sustainable Development Goals.  Climate change was the most important and pivotal element of small island developing States’ efforts to achieve development.  Without addressing climate change, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would be impossible.  Those countries on the front line of climate change were the most vulnerable amongst the international community.  If the world could not address climate change, then every other element of development would be meaningless.  Unless something could be done to render small island developing States climate-resistant, the people living there would be forced to relocate.  Already small island developing States were feeling the impacts of climate change, yet the question remained whether they would be able to get the required resources to adapt and build the necessary resilience.  The piecemeal approach was not working and more resources must be made available, including through the Green Climate Fund.

Mr. SMITH stressed that the negative impacts of climate change were being felt much earlier in the tropics than the rest of the world.  He recalled that the Sustainable Development Goals were very much in-line with the goals of the SAMOA Pathway.  There should be more emphasis placed on sustainable energy, as doing so would address many different elements of sustainable development concurrently, all of which could improve efficiency.  More attention must be paid to Goal 14 on life below water and the so-called “blue economy”, related to the world’s oceans.  There was a need to push forward with an economic transformation to a green economy with more focus on increased markets for goods, services and labour regionally.  The private sector and civil society involvement should be promoted.  Human capital development through education and training should be undertaken, while science and technology should be mainstreamed into policies.

Ms. LANGIDRIK recalled that for the Marshall Islands, the Millennium Development Goals were a “set it and forget it” exercise, namely because they were not mainstreamed.  The Sustainable Development Goals were an opportunity for all to do better.  The international community must collectively ensure the development goals were implemented in a way that had direct impacts and empowered the most vulnerable.  With a population of 60,000 people spread over an area the size of Mexico, the Marshall Islands presented unique data reporting challenges.  She hoped that the Sustainable Development Goals would be viewed as a benefit and not a burden at the implementation level.  The Marshall Islands were almost entirely dependent on bilateral assistance, which meant that there was an urgent need to review those arrangements in the context of the new development framework.

Ms. BROWN said it had become clear that there were not enough resources for small islands to do everything that was hoped.  It would be useful to consider how to build the business case for investment in small islands and also how to enable those countries to meet their development objectives.  Small island developing States provided an opportunity to learn a great deal about both the green and blue economies.  There were many examples to study to learn about what was actually working for small islands.  Partnerships presented an important means to implement the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway.  There were an enormous number of initiatives already under way, but the question that remained was how to gauge the impact of that work in a way that benefitted small island developing States.

In the ensuing discussion, the representative of the Federated States of Micronesia, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States and associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), highlighted the need for a tailored approach to implement the 2030 Agenda for small island developing States by linking to specific commitments identified in the SAMOA Pathway.  Strong national institutions would be critically important to meeting the future development aspirations.

The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community and associating himself with the statement of AOSIS, noted the 2030 Agenda’s holistic nature and deliberate integration of the SAMOA Pathway; both of which accommodated the unique challenges faced by small island developing States for building economic, social and environmental resilience.  The two frameworks were bonded in a symbiosis of purpose.

The representative of Maldives, speaking on behalf of AOSIS, said small island developing States had long-since been acknowledged as a unique case in sustainable development.  What was critical now was for adequate mobilization of the necessary means of implementation.  Without focusing on the SAMOA Pathway, small island developing States could not achieve a sustainable future.

The representative of Belize highlighted the risks faced by small island developing States due to their reliance on foreign trade, including the dangers posed by their high sensitivity to external shocks.

A representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization said food security and nutrition, agriculture and fisheries production, the protection of biodiversity and responses to climate change could and must be brought together to achieve the promises of the 2030 Agenda.

The representative of Samoa said the 2030 Agenda provided an occasion to explore the specific challenges and opportunities of small island developing States, as well as their unique multi-dimensional view of development and partnerships.

Also speaking were the representatives of Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Kazakhstan.

Round Table

This afternoon, the Forum held a round table discussion on “Countries in special situations”, which was chaired by Hector Alejandro Cerna (Honduras), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council.  Moderated by David Steven, Senior Fellow and Associate Director at the Centre on International Cooperation of New York University, United States, it featured five panellists:  Youba Sokona, Special Adviser on Sustainable Development of the South Centre Least Developed Countries Independent Expert Group; Jean-Marc Châtaigner, Deputy Executive Director of the French Research Institute for Development; Marina Djernaes, Director of the EcoPeace Center of Environmental Peacebuilding of EcoPeace Middle East; Claudio Huepe Minoletti, Professor and Coordinator of the Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile; and Stephen Chacha, Founder of the Africa Philanthropic Foundation and member of the Africa Civil Society Organizations Working Group.

Mr. STEVEN said “leaving no one behind” represented a profound strategic shift and demanded that the international community work to address the most vulnerable people and countries.  “We must do this work urgently,” he stressed, noting that the 2030 Agenda singled out, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and conflict- and post-conflict countries, as well as middle-income countries.  The new agenda was both a promise of what could be achieved and a warning against failing to act now, he said.

Mr. SOKONA said many countries were facing unfulfilled development expectations.  “The window for action is rapidly closing,” he said, citing in particular the depletion of the global carbon budget.  Aligning climate change and sustainable development offered huge opportunities, but there was no one-size-fits-all solution.  There was room for each country, no matter its condition, to take on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  “We have to start with development priorities at the local level” and move to the national level, he said, calling for the removal of policy, market and social barriers to sustainable development.  Three main groups — the policy, practice and research communities — must work together.  Underscoring the need for political will and adequate resources, he also highlighted the need to link short-term and long-term imperatives.

Mr. CHÂTAIGNER said all countries could be said to be in special situations as each faced its own challenges.  Describing inequalities in the number of research and development professionals between countries, as well as a striking lack of data in some States, he said the international community must pool together its knowledge to bridge those gaps.  There were also major discrepancies between countries in such areas as homicide rates.  Turning to the particular case of least developed countries, he said the world was far from achieving the goal of the Istanbul Programme of Action, which was to delist half of least developed countries by 2020. 

Ms. DJERNAES said her organization worked in environmental peacebuilding in Israel, Jordan and Palestine, aiming to create transboundary environmental solutions through cross-border commitments — especially on water issues.  In conflicts, people tended to grab as much water as possible, and the environment became a hostage to conflict.  Her work brought parties together to develop “win-win” solutions, using bottom-up grassroots approaches as well as top-down solutions.  Local experts, media, politicians and other stakeholders were involved in the process, she said, underscoring the need to speak directly to city mayors and create small groups of local environmental leaders to drive solutions.  Civil society efforts could achieve a lot even in the midst of a conflict, she stressed, calling on participants to support EcoPeace’s new centre in Washington, D.C., slated to open this fall.

Mr. MINOLETTI spotlighted the situation of middle-income countries, noting that category contained a lot variation both within and among countries.  Middle-income countries were facing a growing complexity in their societies in which different groups with different interests could not find a common ground.  In addition, those countries had seen rapid increases in income levels, but their institutions had not had time to adapt adequately.  Finance and trade were both becoming more complex and there were increasing environmental impacts.  Those States also faced the “middle-income trap”, where they were not able to grow further.  He underscored the need to reverse the current thinking that growth was a means for sustainable development, and to instead consider sustainable development as a means for growth.

Mr. CHACHA focused on a wide array of special challenges facing States, calling in particular for more effective mechanisms for conflict prevention and mediation and for the creation of enabling environments that would help States implement the 2030 Agenda.  Drawing attention to the African Union Agenda 2063, he said there was huge potential in the overlap between the two development agendas.  The United Nations system and the African Union should strengthen synergies in their implementation.  “We need to take the sustainable development agenda down to the grassroots,” he said, stressing that raising public understanding and awareness was critical.  Among other things, he proposed the creation of an annual report on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in countries in special situations.  

Mr. STEVEN raised a number of discussion questions, including how context-specific approaches could ensure that countries in special situations were not left behind and how countries in such situations could be better protected against shocks and crises.

In the ensuing dialogue, speakers from a number of countries — including those in a variety of special situations — joined representatives of major groups and other stakeholders to explore those questions.

In that regard, the representative of Bahamas spoke on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), noting that the Group consisted of small island developing States, least developed countries and others in special situations.  The present dialogue could not be just a “talk shop”, she said, calling for frank and open discussions on the realities of those countries to continue.  Noting that her region was one of the most debt-affected in the world, she said debt relief could create major opportunities for economic growth, job creation and accelerated sustainable development.

The representative of Papua New Guinea said there would not be uniformity in the way the Sustainable Development Goals would be implemented among countries.  The seriousness of climate change, resource constraints and the need for capacity development affected some countries more than others.  For example, small island developing States faced rapidly rising sea levels and other severe impacts of climate change.  The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the SAMOA Pathway and other related international agreements needed to be better translated to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, she said.

The representative of Zambia, speaking as Chair of the Landlocked Developing Countries Group, recalled that the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries was an important component of the 2030 Agenda.  That document, along with the Addis Agenda and the 2030 Agenda, had recognized the special needs and challenges of countries in special situations.

The representative of Bangladesh called on the international community to facilitate the sharing of best practices and the mobilization of financing.  However, support should never encroach into domestic policy space.  Noting that the General Assembly was planning a study on the special vulnerabilities of least developed countries, he stressed the need for the international community to focus more on those countries.  Those States were not the polluters, but they were among the main victims of climate change, he said.

The representative of the major group for women, who hailed from Fiji, welcomed the language on special circumstances in the SAMOA Pathway outcome.  There was a need for clearer synchronization between that document and the Sustainable Development Goals, she said, adding that there was not yet enough real support for small island developing States to address the challenges of climate change. 

Responding to those comments, Mr. CLAUDIO said the elements of development were interrelated, which presented a number of opportunities.  For example, low rates of job market participation on the part of women brought up issues of economy, equality and health. 

Mr. CHÂTAIGNER responded to the representative of Bangladesh, agreeing that countries themselves needed to establish projects and carry them out.  However, they required capacity-building and technical training. 

The representative of the major group for children and youth said context-specific plans would be effective when a country’s young people were active in creating them.

Mr. SOKANA said climate change was one element that was resonating throughout the discussion.  Nationally determined contributions addressed that issue at the national level.  The fact that energy systems of least developed countries were not yet in place offered major opportunities to institutionalize sustainability.  In that regard, he recalled that Africa had gone to the Paris Climate Change Conference with a specific and very ambitious proposal — the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative — on the table.

Mr. CHACHA, asked about ways to harness the potential of young people in the implementation of sustainable development, said the goal of the 2030 Agenda was to make a better world for current and future generations.  Youth naturally needed to be involved in such discussions.

The representative of Chile, noting that hers was a middle-income country, emphasized the need to find new measurements of development that went beyond gross domestic product and which took into account social and environmental issues.  She asked the panellists how progress could be made towards developing such new measurements.

Meanwhile, the representative of Rwanda, a country emerging from conflict, said trade barriers and lack of economic diversification were among the main challenges impacting her country.  Like hers, many countries required structural transformation and diversification in order to become more resilient to shocks.

The representative of the European Union spotlighted development cooperation as an important way to share knowledge and catalyse progress.  The bloc would continue to support its partners around the world, especially those most in need, to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

Asked about the role of the United Nations in supporting countries in special situations, Mr. CHÂTAIGNER called for an “agenda of coherence” through which policies were better aligned to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.  He agreed with the representative of Chile that a new composite indicator was needed at the United Nations level to measure development progress.

Mr. MINOLETTI agreed a new indicator was needed, noting that gross domestic product (GDP) had not been meant to measure development.  The example of the Human Development Index had been interesting but even more “rethinking” was needed.

Asked about ways to involve a wider array of stakeholders in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Mr. CHACHA said civil society’s contribution had been “lost in the cracks” of the Millennium Development Goals process.  This time around, African countries had instituted national civil society platforms in order to document their contribution.

Ms. DJERNAES said the contribution of civil society was particularly important in conflict areas, and that the United Nations should support such engagement.

Mr. SOKONA stressed that, in order to widen the participation of diverse stakeholders, the kind of dialogue taking place today must be brought down to the local level.  That would also serve to focus discussions on local priorities, he said.

Mr. STEVEN agreed with speakers that aid presented a major opportunity in the new sustainable development agenda.  In particular, aid could help to broker relationships and financing could be used as a catalyst in the coming years.

The panellists were then invited to spotlight one important issue in brief closing remarks.

Mr. MINOLETTI said greater efforts were needed to bring the sustainable development agenda to the practical “business level”.

Ms. DJERNAES said her organization hoped to bring its experience to a larger community, because success depended upon wide participation.

Mr. CHACHA, recalling that none of the countries in special situations had achieved all of the Millennium Development Goals, said “we have a lot to learn” from that experience.

Mr. CHÂTAIGNER said the challenges facing the world had never been so many and so serious.  There was only one choice: to innovate, to invest and to find solutions.

Mr. SOKONA, stressing the need for a stronger collective commitment to the sustainable development agenda, said there was a need to innovate new institutions for its implementation.

Also participating were the representatives of Zimbabwe, Chad, Belarus, Iran, Canada, Sweden and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as those speaking on behalf of the major groups for indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and non-governmental organizations.

Read More

Major attack on hotel in Mogadishu

Meanwhile, the Pentagon also confirmed another drone strike against an al Shebab commander. “Witnesses in Somalia’s capital say at least 10 people were killed and more than 15 others wounded when militants attacked a major hotel Wednesday.  Somali lawmaker Mohamed Ismail Shuriye told VOA that two parliamentarians, Abdullahi Jama Kaboweyne and Mohamud Gure, were killed during the attack. He said a third lawmaker, Abdullah Hashi, was injured…The assault on Mogadishu’s Ambassador Hotel came hours after Somali officials said a top commander of militant group al-Shabab was killed in a late-night military operation. Mohamed Mohamud, better known as Dulyadeyn, allegedly masterminded the April 2015 attack on Kenya’s Garissa University College that left 148 people dead, nearly all of them students.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1WxmTtL)

This is getting uglier by the day… “Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye’s treason trial began Wednesday with the prosecutor saying he could not be brought to court for security reasons. Besigye, who claimed fraud after coming second in February’s presidential election, was arrested last month for holding a mock swearing-in ceremony and charged with treason. He is being held at the maximum security Luzira Prison in the capital Kampala. State prosecutor Lino Angunzu told the judge that Besigye could not be brought to court because of “a specific security threat” and requested that further hearings be held inside the prison.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1UhPAo4)

After four years, aid finally reaches Daraya… “A convoy carrying much-needed aid, including medicine and baby milk, has reached the besieged suburb of Daraya in Syria’s capital. Less than a month ago, a convoy was turned away by government forces. The International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations and the Red Crescent — an aid organization active in the Muslim world — coordinated the effort to get supplies to the Damascus suburb. It’s the first delivery of its kind to the town since 2012.” (NPR http://n.pr/1Wxnr2H)

Dire economic warning of the day…The world economy risks getting caught in a “low-growth trap” if governments don’t spend more on investments, open up to trade, and make reforms, a top economic forum warned Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/22yCl8V)

A dead baby plucked out of the sea whose picture sparked international outrage this week was probably a six-month-old Somali boy whose mother also most likely died in the shipwreck, Italian police said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1UfBPqc)

One Chinese United Nations peacekeeper has been killed, and four injured, after an attack in Mali, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, calling for an investigation into the incident to bring the perpetrators to justice. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/22yCoS6)

The International Criminal Court says it hopes to complete the trial of an Islamic radical accused of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu in just a week because the suspect plans to plead guilty. (AP http://yhoo.it/22yBmWl)

Zimbabwe is seeking support from its neighbors to be allowed to engage in international trade in ivory and will not burn its 70 tonnes of ivory stocks as Kenya did last month, the environment minister said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1XhLkvZ)

A project to build dams and irrigation systems to bring water to parched fields in Zimbabwe is set to help – and could protect at least some families against the more frequent droughts climate change is bringing in southern Africa. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1XhKShf)

Ethiopia has grand ambitions for its tiny auto industry, seeking to transform a handful of assemblers that bolt together imported kits into a network of factories that can make the country Africa’s biggest car manufacturer over the next two decades. (Reuters http://bit.ly/20TZocR)

A severe drought in southern Africa has triggered a surge in food prices preventing central banks from loosening monetary policy to spur economic growth. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1t2cB98)

Botswana is battling to repair its troubled 600 megawatt power station before a surge in power demand during the approaching winter season, its power supplier said on Wednesday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1UhQrFa)

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved $175 million in financing to help mitigate the impact of forced displacement on refugee-hosting communities in the Horn of Africa. (World Bank http://bit.ly/1XhOr77)

Fearful of the Mediterranean crossing and confused by reports of a European refugee lockdown, Syrians are seeking the precarious safety of Mali – which is itself on humanitarian life support and faces severe security challenges. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1UhRN2T)

The U.N. children’s fund on Wednesday issued a stark warning to Iraqi troops and Islamic State militants in the battle for Fallujah to spare the children, the most vulnerable among tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the city west of Baghdad. (AP http://yhoo.it/1t1Dhqp)

A besieged suburb of Syria’s capital received humanitarian aid Wednesday for the first time since 2012, as the United Nations said it was looking into “every possible means” to reach besieged Syrians now that a deadline set by world powers has passed. (AP http://yhoo.it/1TQtS0n)

Three local employees of an international aid organization affiliated with the Aga Khan Development Network were shot and killed by gunmen in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1UhQUav)

Thailand’s military-led cabinet could formally agree as soon as next week to pursue Trans-Pacific Partnership membership after clear signals from cabinet members in favor of joining history’s most expansive trade agreement. (VOA http://bit.ly/1UhOBEy)

The Philippines will not distance itself from its long-time security ally, the United States, but neither will it be a lackey to any foreign power, incoming Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told Reuters on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1TQtkb2)

A Pakistani police official says a female teacher has died after being beaten and set on fire for refusing a marriage proposal from a man twice her age. (AP http://yhoo.it/1UhRqFm)

Authorities in Malaysia have uncovered an immigration racket involving the sabotage of a computerised passport-screening system at its main international airport, police said on Wednesday, raising worries about human-trafficking and security. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/22yCCbK)

The United Nations is showing the first signs of compromise over the Haiti cholera epidemic, after more than five years in which it has consistently refused to accept responsibility for a disaster that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1VxqSFv)

Youngsters whose asylum applications are handled by the U.S. government’s regional offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles are far more likely to win approval from asylum officers than those applying in Chicago or Houston, according to data obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request. (AP http://yhoo.it/1TQujbb)

Transgender people in the socially conservative U.S. territory of Puerto Rico have claimed another victory. The island’s electoral commission has ruled that transgender voters are allowed to change their gender on voter ID cards. The ruling comes one week after a registered voter requested to change her listed gender. (AP http://yhoo.it/20TZBNa)

The targeting of hospitals and humanitarian workers in war is quickly becoming a “new normal”, a top official at Médecins Sans Frontières has said, describing permanent members of the UN security council as complicit in the killing of medics. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Vxrif1)

The German government says the European Union’s anti-migrant smuggling operation in the Mediterranean sea has intercepted and destroyed 103 boats in its first year of operation. (AP http://yhoo.it/1UfzmvX)

Germany expects up to 100,000 undocumented migrants to leave the country in 2016, a number Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere Wednesday hailed as high but insufficient after last year’s record influx. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1UhPEnN)

In Mali, peacekeepers have become the target of an insurgency. This is unprecedented. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1WxmQhH)

How long before North Korea can nuke a U.S. city? (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1UfAwYu)

Islamophobia: Why Are So Many People So Frightened? (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/22yBncR)

The astounding increase in New Zealand aid, and other woes (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/22yD61G)

Why is the US defending the honor of the International Criminal Court? (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/22yDEoa)

Fancy a holiday in a former Taliban stronghold? (IRIN http://bit.ly/1VxuxDd)

How to turn Africa from a “borrowed continent” to a global powerhouse (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1UhSmtt)

Hissène Habré, Chad’s former dictator, just got a life sentence for crimes he committed in the 1980s (Monkey Cage http://wapo.st/1UhSZmR)

Discussion

comments...

Read More

Economic and Social Council Adopts 3 Draft Decisions, Approves List of NGOs Requesting Hearings during High-Level Segment

The Economic and Social Council adopted three draft decisions and approved a list of non-governmental organizations requesting hearings at its 2016 high-level segment, as its June coordination and management session opened today.

By the terms of one of the decisions, the Council would hold an informal panel discussion on 27 June, titled “Understanding the humanitarian-development nexus”, to discuss transition from relief to development.

The Council also adopted a draft decision relating to the report on the Statistical Commission’s forty-seventh session, as well as the report of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management.

Participating in today’s meeting were the Chair of the forty-seventh session of the Statistical Commission; Co-Chair of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management; the Vice-Chair of the Committee for Development Policy; the Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); and an official of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Taking the floor during general discussions were representatives of Cuba, Mexico, China, Chile and the United States.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 2 June, to continue its coordination and management session.

Statistics

WASMÁLIA BARATA BIVAR, Chair of the forty-seventh session of the Statistical Commission, said that about 800 delegates had attended the Commission’s most recent session, including representatives of more than 135 countries and over 50 international and regional agencies.  The key subject addressed had undoubtedly been data and indicators in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Commission had considered the proposed framework of global indicators provided by the inter-institutional Group of Experts on Indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals, a panel established by the Commission and tasked with developing that framework.  It had examined the initial series of indicators in an inclusive and transparent fashion, she said, noting that many consultations had been held with interested parties.

She said the Commission had agreed on a proposed framework of 230 indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals and related targets.  It had acknowledged that working out a framework of indicators would involve a technical process that must continue over time.  The Commission had indicated that the 230 indicators had been created with the need to perform global monitoring and examination in mind.  Furthermore, it had recognized that the indicators were not necessarily applicable in all national contexts, although national involvement would be vital for sustainable development.  Going forward, national surveys, although voluntary, would take the realities and levels of development in various countries into the account, she said.

The Commission had agreed that improving data disaggregation was fundamental to the full implementation of the framework of indicators and to ensuring that no one was left behind, she continued.  In the future, countries would bear the principal responsibility for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, which would require accessible and timely high-quality data, she said, noting, however, that that would present a major challenge for most countries, particularly those in special situations.  Geospatial information would be important for the 2030 Agenda, an area in which the United Nations had made significant contributions, and the statistics community was already working “very hard” to compile data so as to ensure that there could be proper analysis of all goals and targets, which would be necessary for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The floor was then opened for a general discussion.

BIANA LEYNA REGUEIRO (Cuba) said the 2030 global indicator framework required technical refinement, with attention given to the policies, degree of development and priorities of different countries.  Reasonable space must be provided for the development of regional and national monitoring indicators, she added.

JUDITH MARCIA ARRIETA MUNGUIA (Mexico) supported adoption of the report and the decisions contained therein.  Paying tribute to the work of her country’s statistical commission, she said Mexico would continue to share its experiences and lessons learned.

Acting without a vote, the Council then adopted the draft decision contained in the report on the Statistical Commission’s forty-seventh session (document E/2016/24).

Cartography

ROLANDO OCAMPO, Vice-President, Governing Board of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico and Co-Chair of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, then introduced that body’s report on its fifth session (document E/2015/46-E/C.20/2015/17) as well as a note by the Secretariat on the programme review of the work of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (document E/2016/47).

He described the Committee’s report as an opportunity to have the Economic and Social Council strengthen its mandate in order to place it on the same level as other Council subsidiary bodies, such as the Statistical Commission.  A resolution would be needed to address the Committee’s request in that regard, he said, adding that Programme Budget Implications would be likely.

HUA YE (China) said the Committee on Global Geospatial Management had provided a useful platform for cooperation among Member States on geospatial issues and had helped to build the capacities of developing countries.  China had actively participated in and financially supported its work.

PATRICIO AGUIRRE VACCHIERI (Chile) said his country wished to continue playing an active role in the Committee’s work and was eager to review the proposal addressing the vital, fundamental relationship between geospatial information and the 2030 Agenda.

JUDITH MARCIA ARRIETA MUNGUIA (Mexico), noting that her country played a central role in the management of geospatial information in developing countries, emphasized that efforts must be made to identify funding that would allow the Committee to continue its work.  The United Nations must regulate the geospatial information obtained by various agencies across the Organization, she added.

Acting again without a vote, the Council adopted the report of the Committee of Experts.

FREDERICK MUSIIWA MAKAMURE SHAVA (Zimbabwe), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said the agenda item on Cartography would remain open for the remainder of 2016 should the Council wish to revert to it during its coordination and management meeting in July.

YAMINA DJACTA, Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda (document E/2016/54).  Noting that more than half of the world’s population now lived in urban areas, she said that by 2050, that figure was expected to increase to 6.5 billion people, representing two thirds of humanity.  She said one of the report’s four main recommendations called upon Member States to adapt the City Prosperity Initiative as a national monitoring framework for Sustainable Development Goal 11 and targets relating to other goals relevant to cities and human settlements as well as the New Urban Agenda.  The report also called upon countries to promote the role of local and other subnational governments in sustainable development, as reflected in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and in implementing and monitoring Sustainable Development Goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda.  Further, the report called on Member States to support UN-Habitat’s contribution to implementation of the Sendai Framework for Action.  Finally, it called on States to consider using the “Guiding Principles for City Climate Action Planning”, launched during the twenty-first Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The floor then opened for a general discussion.

JILL DERDERIAN (United States), while expressing overall support for UN-Habitat’s work, said it would be more effective for the agency to partner with local governments and organizations than to take on more projects of greater scope.  It should also encourage implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction in urban planning, without necessarily owning that task, she said, adding that the City Prosperity Initiative and UN-Habitat’s capacity-building work should take the efforts of the private sector and non-governmental organizations into account.

JUDITH MARCIA ARRIETA MUNGUIA (Mexico), endorsing the report’s adoption, emphasized the importance of ensuring that UN-Habitat established cohesion and synergies with other entities.  The upcoming United Nations Human Settlements Programme Habitat III conference would be an opportunity to revisit the issue of cities.

Mr. SHAVA (Zimbabwe), Council Vice-President, said the agenda item on human settlements would remain open for the remainder of the 2016 session should the Council wish to revisit it during its July coordination and management meeting.

The Council then took up requests from non-governmental organizations to be heard by the Economic and Social Council (document E/2016/73) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), adopting the draft decision contained therein without a vote.

It then took up a draft decision titled “Economic and Social Council event to discuss the transition from relief to development” (document E/2016/L.15/Rev.1).  Informed that it contained no programme budget implications, the Council adopted the draft decision without a vote.

Implementation of and Follow-Up to Major United Nations Conferences and Summits

IRENA ZUBCEVIC of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs then presented the Secretary-General’s report “Mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system” (document A/71/76–E/2016/55), saying it provided an update on milestones reached and preparatory steps taken in adjusting the Organization’s work to the 2030 Agenda.

The Council then took up the agenda item “assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions”.

Mr. SHAVA (Zimbabwe) Council Vice-President, recalled that the Economic and Social Council reaffirmed, in resolution 2000/32, its own important role as well as those of the General Assembly and the Committee for Programme and Coordination in mobilizing and monitoring, as appropriate, the efforts of the international community and the United Nations system to provide economic assistance to States confronted with special economic problems arising from the imposition of preventive or enforcement measures imposed by the Security Council, and in identifying, as appropriate, solutions to those problems.

Council members concluded their consideration of the item after the Vice-President indicated that there was no draft proposal before them.

Sustainable Development

SAKIKO FUKUDA-PARR, Vice-Chair, Committee for Development Policy, presented the report on that body’s eighteenth session, discussing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) initiative to review definitions of official development finance.  She said new reporting criteria would become standard beginning in 2018.  A separate new measure of development financing, provisionally named “Total Official Support for Sustainable Development”, would reflect the broadening global development agenda beyond the historical official development financing concept, but the Committee was concerned that it would dilute existing development commitments.  She questioned why existing metrics could not be improved instead, and how the perspectives of both providers and recipients would be included in the definition.  The Committee recommended that the Council reiterate its call for donors to meet financing commitments and for all States to be involved in deliberations on a new framework.

She went on to emphasize the importance of providing vulnerable countries with concessional financing for adapting to climate change, expressing particular concern that climate-vulnerable countries graduating from the least-developed category may lose their priority access to climate financing.  The economic vulnerability index should be used for allocating climate financing, regardless of least-developed status, she said.  As more States graduated, their understanding of support and related policy implications specific to least developed countries would be critical, and the Secretariat’s proposed toolkit for facilitating understanding of the possible reduction of international support that might accompany graduation should be further developed.

MAYRA BRAVO (Mexico), expressing support for the report’s adoption, said a number of countries had begun making estimates of the challenges involved in implementing the 2030 Agenda.  The European Commission, for instance, saw difficulties resulting from such conditions as lack of investment, unemployment and migration flows, making it difficult to define a strategy.  She emphasized the indivisibility of goals and objectives, saying none was more important than another.

Read More

Subcribe to my feed Follow on Twitter Like On Facebook Pinterest

Search News

Calendar

September 2018
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Zimbabwe Online News is an interactive website which compiles all form of news and press releases for the visitors.

Read More!

Zimbabwe Online News Copyright © 2017