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November 2007

MDG AFRICA INITIATIVE TO DEVELOP MDG BUSINESS PLANS FOR AFRICA

On 30 November 2007, the Office of the UN Deputy-Secretary General in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Bureau for Development and Policy, hosted the Second Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Africa Working Group at UN headquarters in New York, US. The MDG Africa Initiative was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 14 September 2007, and aims to bring together the UN system, international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the European Commission. The MDG Africa Initiative is focusing on seven thematic sectors considered of relevance to boost the implementation of the MDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015, including: health; education; infrastructure; agriculture and food security; statistical capacity; aid predictability; and strengthening joint efforts at the country level. The initiative has a political and a technical forum represented by the MDG Africa Steering Committee, chaired by the Secretary-General with the heads of agencies as members, and the MDG Africa Working Group, with membership across agencies. On the occasion of the Second MDG Africa Working Group, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro requested that three strategic recommendations be contained in the business plans for each thematic sector, including how international mechanisms should be strengthened or reformed to support a scaling up for the achievement of the MDGs in Africa. Before closing, she noted that, as agreed by the MDG Africa Steering Group, its next semi-annual meeting is scheduled for early 2008 with the venue and date to be confirmed soon. The MDG Africa Steering Committee is expected to consider the recommendations and the business plans presented by the MDG Africa Working Group. Link to further information MDG Africa Steering Group website

October 2007

UNGA ROUND TABLE SAYS “ONE UN” PILOT PROGRAMME IS EFFECTIVE MODEL

On 19 October 2007, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial) organized a round table discussion at UN headquarters, New York, US, to discuss the triennial comprehensive policy review of UN's operational activities under the theme “How can the United Nations development system optimally respond to different countries' needs and priorities in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals?” Several speakers stressed that developing countries had a better chance of meeting national development priorities and the Millennium Development Goals when donors allowed them to design and manage the national development process, noting that the “One UN” pilot programme, which oversees the UN's activities in selected countries to avoid overlapping mandates, was an effective model. Many participants highlighted the robust systems of the “One UN” pilot countries Rwanda and Albania as examples of how a single development strategy and a positive cycle of leadership and accountability could be accomplished. Link to further information UN News release, 19 October 2007
YOUTH WEEK AT UNGA HIGHLIGHTS THEIR ROLE IN GLOBAL ECONOMY, POLICYMAKING

The UN Youth Unit, a unit of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, organized a Youth Issues Week from 8-11 October 2007, as part of the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Youth delegates of UNGA member States took part in panel discussions, seminars and briefings on issues related to empowering youth in the global economy, assessing experiences of youth participation in policymaking, youth participation in fighting HIV/AIDS, and empowering vulnerable and marginalized youth in employment and education. Links to further information Youth Issues Week Events
WIPO EXTENDS MANDATE FOR COMMITTEE ON GENETIC RESOURCES AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE

The General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which met from 24 September-3 October 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland, agreed to extend the mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) for an additional two year-period. Following lack of consensus at the IGC's eleventh session (3-12 July 2007), this decision renews the General Assembly's 2005 directions to the IGC to accelerate its work, and to focus in particular on the international dimension of intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore or traditional cultural expressions. The mandate excludes no outcome, including the possible development of an international instrument or instruments in this field without prejudice to the work pursued in other fora. The highlight of this year's General Assembly was the decision to adopt a Development Agenda, consisting of a series of recommendations to enhance the development dimension of WIPO's activities. The recommendations include a set of 45 agreed proposals covering six clusters of activities including: Technical Assistance and Capacity Building; Norm-setting, Flexibilities, Public Policy and Public Knowledge; Technology Transfer, Information and Communication Technology and Access to Knowledge; Assessments, Evaluation and Impact Studies; and Institutional Matters including Mandate and Governance. Links to further information WIPO press release, 2 October 2007 WIPO press release, 1 October 2007

September 2007

WORKING GROUP OF MDG AFRICA STEERING GROUP SETS AGENDA

The Millennium Development Goals Africa Steering Group met for the first time on 20 September 2007 at UN headquarters in New York, US, gathering leading officials from, among others, the African Union, African Development Bank, European Union, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, UN Development Programme, and the World Bank. The Africa Steering Group was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 14 September 2007 to help boost development in Africa, following reports that sub-Saharan Africa is off track to meet any of the Millennium Development Goals. The objective of the meeting was: to identify effective mechanisms to implement commitments in the areas of health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and food security; to improve aid predictability; and to strengthen joint efforts at the country level. The members of the Group intend to meet at least twice a year and to work in the “most results-oriented manner possible.” Links to further information UN News release, 20 September 2007 UN News release, 14 September 2007 MDG Africa Steering Group website
UN HOLDS EXPERT MEETING ON FINANCING FOR GENDER EQUALITY

The UN Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) has convened an Expert Group Meeting in Oslo, Norway, from 4-7 September 2007. The meeting, which was organized with support from the Government of Norway, focused on “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women,” which will be the theme of the fifty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2008. The Expert Group Meeting aimed to explore the mechanisms of financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women, including public finance and gender-responsive budgeting; macroeconomic policies as a follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development; mobilization of international resources, including bilateral and multilateral assistance; new aid modalities; and innovative sources of funding. The event was attended by experts and representatives of relevant institutions such as bilateral and other donors, women's funds, foundations and development banks, inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and academia. DAW has also hosted an online discussion on the theme of financing for gender inequality from 18 June to 15 July 2007, covering four main related issues: public finance; bilateral and multilateral; mobilizing private and public resources for gender equality; and other issues and recommendations for future action. Links to further information Division for the Advancement of Women Archives of the online discussion on financing gender equali...

August 2007

COMMITTEE FOR THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN CONCLUDES 39th SESSION

The 39th Session of the Committee to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was held from 23 July-10 August 2007 at UN headquarters in New York, US. This session marked the occasion of the Committee's twenty-fifth anniversary. The Committee reviewed country reports from 15 states, including Cooks Islands, Belize, Brazil, Estonia, Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea and Singapore. Cook Islands announced its withdrawal of three reservations on recruiting women into active armed service, on maternity leave and on banning women from inheriting chiefly titles. The delegation of Jordan noted that social attitudes, unstable political conditions in the region and slow legal reform had hampered women's progress, but some success could be observed. The Committee commended Singapore's progress, but pressed it to withdraw reservations to the Convention, including the need to strengthen a domestic legal framework to counter discrimination. The delegation of Norway presented initiatives implemented to end violence against women, to put more women in public office and corporate boards, and to protect the rights of immigrant women and girls. At the close of the session, Committee Chairperson Dubravka Simonovic indicated that this was the Committee's last session in New York as part of the Division for the Advancement of Women. The Committee is moving to the Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Committee's 40th Session is scheduled to meet in early 2008 to review country reports from Iceland, Lithuania, Nigeria, Slovakia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Tanzania and Yemen. Links to further information UN News Centre, 23 July 2007 Press Release, WOM/1652, 10 August 2007 Press Release, WOM/1651, 3 August 2007 Press Release, WOM/1649, 2 August 2007 Press Release, WOM/1648, 1 August 2007 Press Release, WOM/1647, 1 August 2007

July 2007

ECOSOC Concludes Summer Session

July 2007: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2-27 July 2007, for its annual substantive session. This year marked the launch of two new elements: the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) and the Development Cooperation Forum. During the first AMR, ministers from Bangladesh, Barbados, Ethiopia, Ghana, Cambodia and Cape Verde presented national voluntary presentations, following which participants responded. On the final day, ECOSOC delegates suspended the 2007 substantive session. Over the course of the July meeting, ECOSOC adopted texts on, inter alia, the UN's role in providing full and productive employment and decent work for all, the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child, and ECOSOC's role in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major UN conferences and summits. Among these decisions, on 10 July the ministers and heads of delegations participating in the high-level segment adopted a Declaration, in which they “reaffirmed their commitment to prioritize actions and allocate resources to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in all countries and agreed to undertake measures to increase access of malnourished people to food.” They also called for, inter alia, the promotion and facilitation of access to and the development, transfer and diffusion of technologies, and for all countries to adopt strategies for reducing urban poverty. On 19 July, delegates debated the follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development. During discussions, developing countries noted great challenges for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and highlighted the need for full implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. Many countries also emphasized that efforts to promote dialogue among the Bretton Woods Institutions and the UN should continue. In New York, the Financing for Development Office and NGLS have opened the application process for participation in the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development (22-23 October 2007), as well as informal interactive hearings with representatives of civil society organizations (11 October 2007). On 23 July, delegates considered a text concerning sustainable development. It adopted decisions on the dates of the meetings of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) during its 2008/2009 cycle, took note of the CSD's report on its fifteenth session and approved the provisional agenda for CSD-16. ECOSOC also decided, inter alia, that there should be an intervening period of at least two weeks between the closing of the sessions of relevant intergovernmental bodies and the beginning of the CSD session. Links to further information ECOSOC Press Releases The Road to Doha Newsletter, August 2007 UN Non Governmental Liaison Service webpage
GLOBAL FORUM ON MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPS RECOMMENDATIONS

The first state-led meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development brought together representatives from 155 countries and international agencies in Brussels, Belgium, from 9-11 July 2007. The Forum stressed the inevitability and potentially equalizing force of migration as well as its inherent risks. It sought to provide a space outside domestic political arenas to understand how policy makers can make migration work better for development, and was organized around roundtables on human capital development and labor mobility, remittances and other diaspora resources, and enhancing institutional and policy coherence and promoting partnerships. UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon urged immediate action to improve the plight of 200 million migrants worldwide. The conclusions and recommendations of the Chair, Ambassador Regine De Clerq, highlighted the cross-cutting themes of capacity building, policy coherence, human rights and gender equality. Links to further information Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) UN News Centre, 10 July 2007 Final Conclusions and recommendations of the Chair

June 2007

BALI WORKSHOP DISCUSSES MAINSTREAMING DRYLANDS INTO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORKS

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Drylands Development Centre, in collaboration with the UN Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) Global Mechanism and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), convened an international workshop from 18-20 June 2007 in Bamako, Mali, gathering governments, civil society, bilateral and multilateral partners to discuss how environment and particularly drylands issues can be integrated into national development frameworks. The objectives of the workshop included: to validate mainstreaming generic guidelines; to promote a common understanding between UNDP and UNEP of the challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming drylands issues into national development frameworks; and to share experiences, lessons and best practices in the mainstreaming process. Link to further information UNDP Press release, 18 June 2007
MDG DEBATE ASSERTS PARTNERSHIPS ESSENTIAL FOR PROGRESS

The debate “Financing development to achieve the MDGs,” organised by the Foreign Ministry of Qatar in cooperation with the UN General Assembly (UNGA), convened in Doha, Qatar, from 17-18 June 2007, gathering some 50 prominent representatives from governments and international organizations. The meeting was a follow-up to the thematic debate “Partnerships to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” held in New York, US, in November 2006, and focused discussions on, inter alia: domestic resources mobilization, including by least developed countries; delivering on commitments, predictability and effectiveness; and successful examples of scaling up for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In her opening remarks, UNGA President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa noted that Sub-Saharan Africa is not on track to achieving any of the MDGs, and called for investments in agriculture, health, education and infrastructure to fight poverty and support economic growth. She also underlined that the MDGs will only be achieved if partner countries, donors, the private sector and civil society are fully engaged. Several speakers noted that the debate marked an important step in preparation for the 2008 Review Conference on Financing for Development. Link to further information Meeting programme, statements and documents
THIRTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE TO ELIMINATE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN CONCLUDES

The 38th Session of the Committee to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was held from 14 May to 1 June 2007 at UN headquarters in New York, US. The Committee, set up to monitor compliance with an international treaty on the issue, reviewed country reports from Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Pakistan, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Syrian Arab Republic and Vanuatu. The Committee's Chairperson, Dubravka Simonovic, indicated that the reports provided an opportunity for each State Party to establish a baseline for its compliance with the Convention. The Committee agreed that it will hold three annual sessions as a permanent measure. The 39th Session is scheduled to meet from 23 July to 10 August 2007, and will mark the occasion of the Committee's twenty-fifth anniversary. Links to further information CEDAW UN News Centre, 14 May 2007 UN ECOSOC Press release, 14 May 2007 UN ECOSOC Press release, 1 June 2007

May 2007

ACTING TOGETHER FOR A JUST WORLD – THE WORLD ALLIANCE FOR CITIZEN PARTICIPATION HOLDS WORLD ASSEMBLY

The seventh CIVICUS World Assembly was held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 23-27 May 2007. CIVICUS, a World Alliance for Citizen Participation, was established in 1993 with the aim to nurture, facilitate and protect civil society activism, particularly in areas where democracy and freedom of association are considered threatened. The 7th World Assembly was organized around the theme of accountability to whom and for what, such as corporate, human security and gender, media and CSO accountabilities. The opening plenary sought to promote debate on conceptual issues related to accountability, its multiple scope and challenges faced given the increasing voice and influence of CSOs in public policy, and the need to ensure their legitimacy. A concept paper, “Answering for Ourselves: Accountability for Citizen Organizations,” informed the main debate. The paper focuses on the diversity of understanding of accountability, going beyond the view of accountability in terms of compliance with formal requirements and budgetary transparency. The 7th World Assembly also took stock of participatory governance practices and explored strategies for promoting and building civil society capacity for participatory governance. Links to further information CIVICUS Concept paper “Answering for Ourselves: Accountability for C... Oxfam free journal articles related to this Assembly
UN FORUM FOCUSES ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' RIGHTS TO TERRITORIES, LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCES

The sixth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues met in New York, US, from 14-25 May 2007, with the theme “Territories, Lands and Natural Resources.” Over one thousand delegates from seventy countries participated at the forum, which sought to build support for a UN General Assembly vote to endorse a declaration protecting indigenous peoples' land and resource rights. Reaffirming indigenous peoples' central role in decision making concerning their lands and resources, the Forum urged States to take measures to halt land alienation in indigenous territories, through for example a moratorium on the sale and registration of land in areas occupied by indigenous peoples. Agenda items included: the implementation of recommendations on the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum and on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); a dialogue on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people; data collection and disaggregation; and Asia and urban indigenous peoples and migration. The Forum made recommendations regarding economic and social development, health, education, culture, environment and human rights, and discussed ways for implementing recommendations within the framework of the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People to achieve the MDGs. With regard to the international regime on access and benefit-sharing under negotiation in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a number of indigenous peoples and organizations meeting during the session issued a declaration on indigenous peoples' rights to genetic resources and indigenous knowledge, urging the UNPFII to prepare a legal analysis on States, peoples and sovereignty and their relationship, scope and application, to assist the CBD parties in understanding sovereignty in the context of the Convention and the role of sovereignty in developing an international regime on ABS; prepare a report on the social, cultural and economic impacts of commercialization of genetic resources and indigenous knowledge on indigenous peoples; and recommend to the CBD that, consistent with international human rights law, States have an obligation to recognize and protect the rights of indigenous peoples to control access to the genetic resources that originate in their lands and waters, and associated traditional knowledge, as such recognition must be a key element of any international ABS regime. The 2008 session, to be held from 21 April to 2 May 2008, will focus on climate change, the Pacific region and indigenous languages. Links to further information UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues UN ECOSOC press release, 17 May 2007 UNPFII press release, 25 May 2007 UN press release, 25 May 2007 Declaration on indigenous peoples' rights to genetic resourc..., 20 May 2007
CONFERENCE PREPARES FOR FIRST GLOBAL FORUM ON MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT

The World Bank, the OECD Development Centre and the Migration Policy Institute co-organized a Migration and Development Conference from 23-24 May 2007, in Washington, DC, US. This two-day Conference aimed at promoting a dialogue on critical areas for public policy interventions that could enhance the positive development impact of migration and its potential role in poverty reduction and economic growth. Participants acknowledged the increasing role of remittances and their economic consequences for developing countries, but also recalled the importance of knowledge transfer, investments in human capital and technology. Participants also recalled that positive effects of migration should not replace sound domestic economic development policies. This Conference served as a preparatory event for the First Global Forum on Migration and Development which will take place in Brussels, Belgium, from 9-11 July 2007. The Global Forum will address the mutually beneficial interaction of migration and development and the way development can contribute to better manage migration and migration can contribute to development. Links to further information World Bank's Conference Web Site Global Forum on Migration and Development Migration Policy Institute
FEMALE ENTREPRENEURSHIP DISCUSSED IN RELATION TO MDGs

Women Together, a non-governmental organization, organized the conference “A Step Forward: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” at UN headquarters in New York, US, on 14 May 2007. President of the UN General Assembly Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa addressed the meeting, and recalled the role microfinance could play in empowering women socially and economically. She noted that investments in women through small loans or increased educational opportunities are often translated into improvements for their families, economies and communities, as illustrated by experiences in Asia, Latin America and Africa. She called upon governments to incorporate gender perspectives into their macroeconomic policies. Links to further information UN News Centre, 14 May 2007 Statement by UNGA President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khaifa

April 2007

COMMITTEE ON PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF MIGRANT WORKERS CONCLUDES SIXTH SESSION

The Committee on the Protection of Migrant Workers, which reviews the implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families by its 36 Parties, concluded its sixth session on 27 April 2007 by presenting its final remarks on the initial report of Egypt, and adopting its annual report to the UN General Assembly. The Committee recognized Egypt's efforts to regulate private recruitment agencies of migrant workers and to close down those that do not comply with its labor code. The Committee announced that the Global Forum on Migration and Development will be hosted by Belgium from 9-11 July 2007. The Committee is expected to meet again in Geneva, Switzerland, from 26-30 November 2007. Links to further information UN OHCHR webpage for sixth session of the Committee on the P... 2007 Global Forum on Migration and Development
UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL BACKS WOMEN'S LAND AND PROPERTY RIGHTS WHILE YOUTH DIALOGUE AT “MDG-TOWN”

The 21st Session of the Governing Council of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) convene from 16-20 April 2007, at UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The session focused on the main theme of “Sustainable Urbanization: local action for urban poverty reduction with an emphasis on finance and planning.” The Council, composed by representatives of 58 governments, meets every two years to deliberate on the agency's work programme and budget. On the final day, the Governing Council approved a resolution that provides guidelines aimed at improving women's land and property rights and access to finance. In her closing statement, UN-HABITAT Executive Secretary Anna Tibaijuka called on all governments to review their constitutions and laws to eliminate discriminatory customary practices against women's land and property rights. The Council also approved a resolution on sustainable public-private partnership incentives for attracting large-scale private sector investment for low-income housing. The Executive Secretary noted the importance of involving the private sector in scaling-up solutions to reduce urban poverty, given that governments alone do not have the resources required to lift people out of slums. In a parallel event, over 200 youth attended the “MDG-Town” event in Nairobi, Kenya, on 16-17 April 2007. The event was promoted by UN-HABITAT and sought to provide an opportunity for youth to exchange ideas and best practices on the role they have played in meeting Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. UN Youth Spokesperson for MDGs Ben Omondi said that youth and UN-HABITAT would build on the MDG-Town model as a platform for further dialogue at the Fourth World Urban Forum (WUF-4), to be held in Nanjing, China, from 13-17 October 2008. Links to further information UN-HABITAT 21st Governing Council Draft Resolution on Women's land and property rights and acc... Draft Resolution on sustainable public-private partnership i... UN-HABITAT News Release on MDG-Tow, 20 April 2007
WORKSHOP ASSESSES AFRICA'S PROGRESS TOWARDS MDGS

A workshop taking stock of Africa's progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) gathered Senior African government planners, UN Development Programme (UNDP) policy advisers, and representatives of donor and multi-lateral agencies in Lome, Togo, from 11-13 April 2007. The workshop focused on pinpointing barriers and identifying what African countries can do to catch up with other regions to reach the MDGs. To date, 40 of the 45 countries covered by UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa have embarked on MDG-based planning, and about 20 of these countries, including Togo, have established credible MDG-based plans. The Lome workshop is the first of two workshops organized by UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa in 2007. Link to further information UNDP press release, 12 April 2007

March 2007

FIFTY-FIRST CSW SESSION AND UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY DISCUSS GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held its fifty-first session from 26 February to 9 March 2007, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. In accordance with its multi-year programme of work for 2007-2009, the Commission emphasized national-level implementation of commitments made at the Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, China, and focused on the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child as its priority theme. Participants also discussed progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions on the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality, capacity building on mainstreaming a gender perspective in the development, implementation and evaluation of national policies and programmes for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child, and financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women. Draft resolutions related to women, the girl child and HIV/AIDS, the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, ending female genital mutilation, and forced and early marriage were also considered. Coinciding with the 51st CSW session, the UN General Assembly convened an Informal Thematic Debate on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women from 6 to 7 March 2007. A panel on women in decision-making and another on empowerment of women including microfinance aimed at sharing views on effective actions and lessons learned to achieve gender equality. General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa (Bahrain) emphasized the need to prioritize and not marginalize issues regarding gender equality, indicating that one of the biggest obstacles in attaining gender equality is the perception that the empowerment of women is a women's issue. Links to further information 51st CSW session, official website General Assembly News Release, 6 March 2007

February 2007

45TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: PROMOTING FULL EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK FOR ALL

The 45th session of the Commission for Social Development, which convened from 7-16 February 2007 at UN headquarters in New York, NY, focused on full employment, ageing, disability and youth. Member States discussed the goal of “promoting full employment and decent work for all,” and adopted by consensus key resolutions on the needs of youth (document E/CN.5/2007/L.5) and elderly persons (document E/CN.5/2007/L.4). The Commission reviewed the World Programme of Action for Youth, addressing the effects of globalization on youth and other related issues, such as: employment and skills development; an inclusive information society; HIV/AIDS; armed conflict; reintegration of ex-combatants; peace and security; and intergenerational issues. The Commission also encouraged Member States to involve young people and youth-led organizations in consultations and as representatives in national delegations to relevant United Nations forums. It also reviewed the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and urged countries to bear in mind the importance of mainstreaming ageing and gender into global agendas. Links to further information UNDESA, Division for Social Policy and Development Draft resolution on youth (document E/CN.5/2007/L.5) Draft resolution on the modalities of the first review and a...
UN COMMITTEE MONITORING COMPLIANCE WITH WOMEN'S ANTI-DISCRIMINATION TREATY OPENS 37th SESSION

The 37th Session of the Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) opened on 15 January 2007 at the UN headquarters in New York, US, and will continue until 2 February 2007. The Committee, comprised of 23 members, was established in 1982 and is mandated with monitoring implementation of the provisions of the Convention, which currently counts 185 States as parties. Article 18 of the Convention requires States parties to report within one year of the Convention's entry into force and thereafter at least every four years. The 37th Session will examine and make recommendations on the reports of 15 countries: Austria, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Greece, India, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Suriname, Tajikistan and Vietnam. In her opening remarks, Rachel Mayanja, UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, affirmed that violence against women and girls continues to deprive them of full enjoyment of their human rights. Carolyn Hannan, Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women, reviewed advances made in 2006 and noted that the question of violence against women was a priority issue for the General Assembly during its sixty-first session, given the release of the Secretary-General's in-depth study on all forms of violence against women in October 2006. Links to further information CEDAW 37th Session UN News Centre, 15 January 2007 Secretary-General's in-depth study on all forms of violence ..., 6 July 2006 (A/61/122/Add.1)
COMMITTEE TO ELIMINATE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN CONVENES 37th SESSION

The Committee to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) held its thirty-seventh session from 15 January-2 February 2007. The Committee considered the national-level implementation reports of Austria, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Greece, India, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Suriname and Viet Nam, and a preliminary report by Tajikistan. Although there was consensus that progress has been achieved, particularly in light of the number of new laws adopted to safeguard women's rights, Committee Chair Dubravka Šimonovic indicated that it was not systematic and gaps in implementation, monitoring and evaluation are persistent. The Committee's thirty-eighth session is expected to take place from 14 May-1 June 2007.

Links to further information CEDAW 37th Session website General Assembly Press release, 2 February 2007
UNDP AND UNEP ADVANCE PARTNERSHIP ON POVERTY AND ENVIRONMENT AND DISCUSS COUNTRY EXPERIENCES

The tenth meeting of the Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP-10) took place from 30 January to 1 February 2007, at the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya, and was jointly hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The meeting sought to exchange learning from on-ground experiences in mainstreaming environment in national development processes and to advance harmonization and joint work among PEP member agencies in support of country-led environmental mainstreaming. Experiences were shared by government representatives from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda and a “User Guide” for poverty-environment mainstreaming and donor harmonization was discussed. In the closing session, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner noted the inclusive nature of PEP and stated that it is “the core around which many institutions move from the periphery to the center of environment and development cooperation.” Links to further information Poverty Environment Net, hosted by ADB UNDP-UNEP PEI website IISD RS Coverage

January 2007

AU MEMBER STATES ADDRESS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN AFRICA

Heads of State and Government of the African Union agreed to designate 2007 as Africa's year for scientific innovations at the eighth AU Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Summit, which consisted of a series of meetings from 22-30 January 2007, saw delegates addressing the themes of “Science, Technology and Scientific Research for Development” and “Climate Change in Africa.” Meeting outcomes included agreement of a 20-year continental strategy for biotechnology, and a decision to proceed with establishing a Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization. On 30 January, AU leaders adopted a plan of action to promote women's sexual and reproductive health. A set of science and technology awards, aimed at increasing the number of scientists in Africa, were also announced in conjunction with the meeting.

Links to further information AU Summit website IISD RS AU Summit website
WORLD SOCIAL FORUM CONSIDERS PEOPLE'S STRUGGLES, PEOPLE'S ALTERNATIVES

The seventh gathering of the World Social Forum (WSF) brought together activists, social movements, networks, coalitions and other progressive forces for five days of cultural resistance and celebration under the theme “People's Struggles, People's Alternatives.” The WSF was created to provide an open platform to discuss strategies of resistance to the globalization model proposed at the annual World Economic Forum at Davos. The WSF is an open space for discussing alternatives, exchanging experiences and strengthening alliances among civil society organizations, peoples and movements. Speakers at the 20-25 January 2007 event in Nairobi, Kenya, included 2004 Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai and international human rights activists Chico Whitaker and Danny Glover. The forum - held for the first time in Africa – played host to more than 1,200 events. Resolutions passed during the Forum highlighted human rights, women, and labor issues. The next WSF event will convene in 2009, given difficulties with self-financing the event, although major protests are expected to be organized during the WEF in January 2008. Links to further information World Social Forum 2007 The Nation, 26 January 2007 IPS News Agency, 1 February 2007