Linkages Update - Editor's Note #195 - 21 September 2012

 A Very Busy Quarter 

By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Manager, Knowledge Management Projects, IISD Reporting Services <lynn@iisd.org>
   

The annual opening of the UN General Assembly often signals the start of a busy final quarter to the sustainable development calendar. This year's final three months will be especially full, with UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) follow-up in the UN General Assembly and Conferences of the Parties to two of the three Rio Conventions.

During next week's UN General Assembly (UNGA) meetings, several high-level events will be watched closely by the sustainable development community. In particular, on Monday, 24 September, two events are likely to command a great deal of attention: the High-level meeting on sustainable energy for all (SE4ALL), hosted by the Secretary-General; and the Economic and Social Council Special Ministerial Meeting on “Building the Future We Want,” which will discuss steps that are needed for a strengthened and more effective multilateral system for sustainable development. The first meeting of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on Post-2015 Development Agenda also is scheduled to take place during the week, as is the G7+ high-level side event on fragile and conflict-affected States as the UN considers the post-2015 MDG framework.

Informal discussions during the coming weeks will include consultations on the membership of the open working group on sustainable development (OWG), which was called for by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), to develop the Sustainable Development Goals. As this issue of Linkages Update reports, the just-concluded 66th session of the UN General Assembly agreed to reach agreement at the beginning of the 67th session regarding the distribution of seats for the OWG, and the specific Member States to occupy them.

Soon after the Heads of State and Government leave UN Headquarters, Second Committee delegates will commence their negotiations on multiple follow-up issues to the Rio+20 outcome. This issue of Linkages Update notes that, in his opening address to outline his priorities for the session, incoming UNGA President Vuk Jeremić set the tone for this process, calling for full implementation of the Rio+20 mandate given to the UNGA by observing both its procedural deadlines and its political and financial objectives.

And delegates to the Rio Conventions will convene farther afield to discuss the governance of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and their protocols. The Conference of the Parties to the CBD and the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety will convene from 1-19 October 2012, in Hyderabad, India. One month later, the UNFCCC COP and the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will convene in Doha, Qatar, from 26 November to 7 December 2012. And many other key events will take place in between, including the 24th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

We are looking forward to reporting on these and many more developments in sustainable development policy during the coming three months, and to tracking the evolving narrative, institutions, resources and participation, to borrow the themes from our most recent guest article.