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Human Development


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December 2008

FORUM ADDRESSES HARMONIOUS URBANIZATION

The first Malawi Urban Forum, which addressed the theme “Harmonious Urbanization: The Challenge of Sustainable Urban Development in Malawi,” convened in Lilongwe from 8-9 December 2008, and brought together almost 200 stakeholders, including government officials. Participants discussed the challenge of rapid urbanization and the urbanization of poverty. The Forum focused on Malawi's key urban priorities, including urban planning, shelter, energy and environment, gender and youth, disability, HIV/AIDS, and public-private partnerships to promote sustainable urbanization. Link to further information UN HABITAT News, 9 December 2008
OVER 300 PARTICIPANTS ATTEND DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE DAYS AT COP 14

The “Development and Climate Days at COP 14” (D&C Days) event took place in Poznan, Poland, from 6-7 December 2008. D&C Days was held in parallel with the fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The event featured more than 30 speakers and numerous extended discussions and question-and-answer sessions. Over 300 participants attended the two-day meeting. D&C Days was organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the RING alliance of policy research organizations, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The event was held in the context of a growing call for knowledge sharing on the links between climate change and development. The purpose was to provide a platform for individuals and organizations working on the issues of development and climate change to exchange experiences, share the latest science and best practices, and promote linkages between development and climate change. A film festival, showing short films relevant to the topics discussed, ran in parallel to the event. D&C Days at COP 14 facilitated discussions and information sharing among speakers and participants on the complex relationships between climate change, adaptation and development. Link to further information IISD RS Coverage
Financing for Development Review Conference Expresses Concern over Impact of Climate Change on Development

The International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus took place from 29 November-2 December 2008, in Doha, Qatar. The Conference heard from high-level officials representing over 160 countries, including nearly 40 Heads of State or Government. Among other issues, delegates expressed their “deep concern that the international community is now challenged by the severe impact on development of multiple, interrelated global crises and challenges, such as increased food insecurity, volatile energy and commodity prices, climate change and a global financial crisis, as well as the lack of results so far in the multilateral trade negotiations and a loss of confidence in the international economic system.” Among the outcomes of the Conference, the need to convene a UN summit on world financial structures was highlighted. The conference adopted an Outcome Document that notes new and emerging challenges to financing development, including the impact of the financial crisis and the additional costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation and damage to the earth's environment. The Document also reaffirms governments' resolve to take concerted global action to address all these areas while consistently furthering economic and human development for all. The Outcome Document also notes that “ongoing and potential responses to tackle this phenomenon have major financing for development implications and will incur substantial additional costs on all countries, thus requiring additional resource mobilization, including from the private sector, particularly for developing countries to address the challenges of climate change, in order to support appropriate national adaptation and mitigation strategies and actions.” Countries reiterated “that it is critical to address the pressing needs of developing countries, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States, and other affected countries in Africa.” In this regard, they urged “all parties to engage in the ongoing process in a manner that will ensure an agreed outcome commensurate with the scope and urgency of the climate change challenge.” The States parties to the Kyoto Protocol also welcomed the launching of the Adaptation Fund within the structure of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and looked forward to its early operationalization with full support. Links to further information Official website NGLS meeting website

November 2008

SIXTH AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT FORUM CALLS FOR CLOSING THE GENDER GAP

The 6th African Development Forum, held from 21-24 November 2008, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was jointly organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The Forum focused on achieving gender equality and ending violence against women. At the closing of the forum, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro called upon African leaders to close the gender gap, warning that the combined financial, high food and fuel prices and climate change were affecting women disproportionately and widening existing gender inequalities. She underscored that women are largely responsible for maintaining food security and that to ensure fair and sustainable rural development, there is a need to adopt long-term solutions such as providing women and girls with access to secure land and rights, irrigation water, clean energy sources and agricultural technology. The Forum adopted a plan of action with recommendations for member states and development partners to accelerate the realization of equality of the sexes and autonomy of women. Links to further information UN News Centre, 24 November 2008 UN News Centre, 21 November 2008 UN Press Release, 21 November 2008 UN News Centre, 20 November 2008
UNDP WORKSHOP DEVELOPS GENDER-BASED GUIDELINES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE FINANCE DECISION-MAKERS

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN and Heinrich Böll Foundation North America, organized a workshop from 20-21 November 2008, on Gender and Climate Change Finance. The event took place at UN headquarters in New York, US, and brought together climate experts, governments, UN agencies, and civil society organizations to develop a first set of gender-based guidelines to ensure that climate change funds target women and men equitably. Given the fact that women are the most vulnerable to climate change risks due to their limited access to capital, markets, technology and decision-making, and that they have an important role to play in mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the workshop emphasized that women are emerging stakeholders in the upcoming climate negotiations. The workshop noted that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, among the Rio Conventions, is the only one that does not adequately address gender inequalities, and that this omission has been carried forward in the existing climate change finance mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism and the Adaptation Fund, which have not delivered on the needs of women. The gender-based guidelines for climate financing, developed at the workshop, will be taken to the climate change negotiations in Poznan, Poland. Link to further information UNDP Newsroom, 20 November 2008
WORLD URBAN FORUM IV HELD

The Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum was held in Nanjing, China, from 3-7 November 2008. The Forum took as its theme, “Harmonious Urbanization.” Chinese officials during the opening ceremony noted the importance of integrated development, between cities and regions, with emphasis on energy and climate change mitigation. UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka emphasized that the current financial crisis should not negatively impact the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, with particular reference to the one billion slum dwellers around the world. Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, on behalf of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, stressed that by the year 2030 two-thirds of the global population will live in urban areas, with one-third in slums and informal settlements. At the closing of the Forum, UN-HABITAT announced the Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development, created to engage leadership of young women and men in achieving sustainable urbanization. Links to further information IV World Urban Forum website Secretary-General's message, 3 November 2008 UN-HABITAT website Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development
ESCAP LAUNCHES REGIONAL FORUM ON GENDER AND POVERTY-SENSITIVE ENERGY POLICIES

At the conclusion of the High Level Regional Policy Meeting on Networking Towards Gender and Poverty Sensitive Energy Policies, which took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3-4 November 2008, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA), in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), launched the Policy Innovation Forum. The Forum aims to help provide women and the poor with reliable access to energy. The creation of the Forum is based on the recognition that progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals will be hindered or even reversed as a result of lack of energy supply in many rural areas in the region coupled with the food, fuel and financial crises. During the high-level meeting, participants discussed energy options for the livelihood needs for the poor and women; transportation needs for the poor and women; regulatory options to enhance energy access; and opportunities and barriers to financing energy options. Link to further information ESCAP press release, 4 November 2008

October 2008

SECOND GLOBAL FORUM ON MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT FOCUSES ON HUMAN RIGHTS

The Second Global Forum on Migration and Development was held from 27-30 October 2008, in Manila, the Philippines, under the theme “Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development”. The Forum built on the achievements and recommendations made at the Brussels Forum 2007 regarding policy and institutional coherence in linking migration and development, but advanced the debate with special emphasis on the human face of migration. The debate shifted from the rational arguments about economic benefits of migration to emphasize the human element, families and their rights. In his opening speech, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that migration can and should be a tool to help lift countries out of the financial crisis and called for strengthened collaboration across borders as unemployment is expected to rise with the crisis. The Forum had three roundtable discussions on migration, human rights and development; on how secure, legal migration can achieve greater development impact; and on policy and institutional coherence and partnerships. In the closing ceremony, Vice President Noli “Kabayan” de Castro noted migration and development should be the shared responsibilities of countries of origin and destination. He also noted the need to engage non-government actors in all stages of the migration life cycle. Links to further information UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's address, 29 October 2008 Global Forum on Migration and Development website
UNGA SECOND COMMITTEE CONSIDERS HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, CLIMATE CHANGE, DESERTIFICATION AND BIODIVERSITY

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial issues) of the 63rd UN General Assembly (UNGA) has recently considered a variety of topics related to sustainable development, including climate change, desertification, biodiversity and human settlements. On 28 October 2008, the Committee considered the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the Outcome of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) (document A/63/291). The report outlines how the medium-term strategic and institutional plan for 2008-2013 addresses the adaptation and mitigation challenges of climate change in the context of urban development and planning. Discussions in the Second Committee focused, among other issues, on the role of housing finance in the current economic crisis, the need to implement the Habitat Agenda given rapid urbanization. The previous day, on 27 October, the Committee began its general discussion on sustainable development, discussing issues relating to climate change, biodiversity and desertification. Speakers underscored the opportunity to make commitments given the economic and climate imperatives. The discussions were informed by the Secretary-General's note on Implementation of UN environmental conventions, transmitting the reports submitted by the secretariats of the UNFCCC, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (Document A/63/294). The document reports on the work of the UN Climate Change Conference, which took place in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007, and its follow-up. The Report recommends that the UNGA: take note of the report of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary and the outcomes of COP13 and the third session of the COP to the Convention serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol; pledge its support to the negotiating processes established by the Bali road map; and invite the Executive Secretary to continue to report to it on the work of the Conference. In his report on implementing the UNCCD, the Secretary-General recommends that UNGA underline the importance of the Convention when addressing climate change issues, and envisages that the post-Kyoto arrangement should account for land's potential as a carbon storage reservoir, as well as in mitigating the effects of climate change and strengthening the resilience of affected developing countries. The report outlines actions aimed at delivery of the joint strategic objectives of the three Rio Conventions, namely: raising public awareness; creating capacities; contributing to the improvement of the global environment; and fostering strong scientific backing for sustainable policies derived from their implementation. Links to further information UNGA Press Release, 28 October 2008 Report of the Secretary-General on Habitat II Conference, 14 August 2008 UN Press Release, 27 October 2008 Note by the Secretary-General on the Implementation of UN en..., 15 August 2008
EU, ASIAN NATIONS REAFFIRM NEED FOR COPENHAGEN DEAL

The EU and 24 Asian States have signed a declaration urging agreement on an international framework on climate change at the Copenhagen negotiations in December 2009. The Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development was agreed and signed during the Seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), held from 24-25 October in Beijing, China. ASEM was launched in 1996 to strengthen “interaction and mutual understanding between the two regions.” The Beijing Declaration states that “developed countries should continue to show strong leadership and take measurable, reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation commitments, including quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives, including through sectoral approach, where appropriate, as a tool to implement them, and provide financial support and technology transfer to developing countries.” For developing countries, the declaration states that they should take “nationally appropriate mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner, with a view to achieving a deviation from business as usual emissions.” The declaration also contains several paragraphs dealing with the Millennium Development Goals and with social cohesion. Links to further information Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development – official te..., 27 October 2008 Chair's Statement from the meeting, 25 October 2008 EurActiv News Report, 27 October 2008
Conference Considers Cities' Climate Adaptation

Mayors and senior officials from 36 of the world's largest cities gathered from 22-24 October 2008, in Tokyo, Japan, for talks on how to fight global warming in the latest meeting of the so-called C40 climate initiative. The C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group, established in 2005 by London's then mayor Ken Livingstone, includes leaders from the 40 largest cities in the world dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that cities worldwide are responsible for 75% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Participants heard a keynote presentation by Martin Parry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II Chair, and engaged in a symposium on “The growing threat of climate change and adaptation measures for a low carbon city,” moderated by Takejiro Sueyoshi, Special Advisor to the UNEP Finance Initiative. In his opening remarks, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said that the climate change talks during the Group of Eight rich nations Summit in July 2008 in Japan, which called for halving global carbon emissions by 2050, could have achieved more. Toronto Mayor David Miller highlighted the vulnerability of cities and pointed to the so-called ‘urban heat island effect,' in which populated areas heat up in the summer. Participants then engaged in five sessions on: sustainable adaptation measures for temperature rise in cities; adaptation measures for water shortage and deteriorating water source quality from climate change; adaptation measures for the increasing threat of flood and natural disaster from climate change; food problems caused by climate change; and further issues needing adaptation measures. The next Summit is scheduled to take place in Seoul, Korea, from 18-21 May 2009, around the theme “Cities' Achievements and Challenges in the Fight against Climate Change.” Links to further information CLIMATE-L.ORG news report, 25 October 2008 Official meeting website, October 2008
UN CHIEF EXECUTIVES BOARD MEETING CALLS FOR PROTECTION TO THE POOR

On 24 October 2008, the Chief Executives Board (CEB), comprised of the heads of UN agencies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, gathered to discuss ways in which the United Nations system must respond to the financial crisis in a coordinated manner, to protect the most vulnerable and the poor and toensure that crucial issues such as climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, the food crisis and the health needs of the poor are not forgotten. Links to further information UN News Centre, 24 October 2008 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks to the Chief Exec..., 24 October 2008
REGIONAL CONSULTATION MECHANISM MEETING OF UN AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS WORKING IN AFRICA CONVENES

The ninth Regional Consultation Mechanism (RCM) meeting of UN agencies and organizations working in Africa convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 21-22 October 2008. The meeting was co-Chaired by UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, who warned that the global financial crisis, compounded by food shortages and the effects of climate change, could “derail Africa's prospects” of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She underlined that all the global challenges faced by Africa are intertwined and that efforts to address climate change and food security are integral parts of achieving the MDGs. Migiro called on all UN agencies and organizations working in Africa in support of the African Union to work together and coherently at all levels to seek common solutions to these challenges. The participating organizations concluded that there is a “strong need for coordinated UN-wide support in the area of capacity building of the key players in the continent, including at the levels of African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, NEPAD Secretariat, and other African organizations.” They called on all RCM clusters to work collectively to assist all stakeholders to build capacity, and to support efforts to enhance the relationships between the UN and African regional and subregional organizations, and to strengthen the RCM Secretariat based at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Links to further information ECA Press Release, 24 October 2008 RCM website Deputy Secretary-General's Statement, 21 October 2008

August 2008

UNEP AND WHO HOLD CONFERENCE ON HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT IN AFRICA

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) organized the First Inter-ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa, from 26-29 August 2008, in Libreville, Gabon. At the conference, which sought to catalyze the reduction of environmental threats to health, Health and Environment experts and Ministers from across Africa considered: policy actions to address current environmental risks to human health; climate change; new and emerging environmental threats to human health; tools and approaches for policy making in environmental management and public health; policy frameworks for addressing health and environmental impacts; health impact assessment; economic and development dimensions of environmental risk factors to human health; and international legislative and regulatory frameworks. The meeting closed with the adoption of the Libreville Declaration which, inter alia, called on WHO and UNEP to establish a network for addressing communicable and non-communicable diseases. Links to further information IISDRS coverage of meeting Conference website

July 2008

ECOSOC Concludes July Substantive Session

July 2008: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) concluded its July 2008 substantive session with the adoption of nine resolutions and three decisions on 25 July 2008. Decisions adopted during the session addressed issues including strengthening coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance and promoting full employment and decent work for all, and a Ministerial Declaration on “Strengthening the efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, including through the global partnership for development.” A resolution on ECOSOC's coordination segment reaffirms the need to continue to strengthen the Council as the central mechanism for system-wide coordination, and recalls that it should increase its role in overseeing system-wide coordination and the balanced integration of economic, social and environmental aspects of UN policies and programmes aimed at promoting sustainable development. The resolution also welcomes the holding of the first Development Cooperation Forum and second Annual Ministerial Review as “steps forward in strengthening of the Council,” and stresses that preparation for the 2009 Annual Ministerial Review should be fully supported by the UN system, especially the funds, programmes and specialized agencies, in coordination with national Governments. It also welcomes strengthened cooperation between the Council and the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and emphasizes that interaction should be further improved. In his closing statement, ECOSOC President Léo Mérorès (Haiti) indicated that, during the final semester of 2008, he would focus on two issues: responding to the mandate regarding adaptation of the working methods of the Council, for which he would convene a meeting to explore possible areas for further action; and finding ways and means to further strengthen the Council's oversight role on funds and programmes, as envisage in the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review resolution. The Council also decided that the theme of its 2009 thematic discussion would be “current global and national trends and their impact on social development, including health,” and the themes for its Annual Ministerial Reviews in 2010 and 2011 would be, respectively, “implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender quality and empowerment of women” and “implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education.” Links to further information ECOSOC Press Release, 25 July 2008 ECOSOC Press Release, 24 July 2008 ECOSOC website
INTERNATIONAL FORUM RAISES AWARENESS ON GENDER ISSUES

An International Forum on Gender and Environment took place in Mexico City, Mexico, on 7 July 2008. The forum aimed to promote and raise awareness on international agreements on gender equality, especially those related to women's rights and the environment. During the event, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resource Guide on Gender and Climate Change was launched. The guide seeks to inspire action that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of participation on climate change issues from a gender perspective. It presents the main conceptual and methodological progress that has been made regarding gender and climate change, and is currently available in Spanish. An English version is expected to be produced. Link to further information UNDP Resource Guide on Gender and Climate Change

June 2008

UN DEVELOPMENT GROUP DISCUSS GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS AND DELIVERING AS ONE INITIATIVES

On 25 June 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland, the UN Development Group (UNDG) organized a a meeting to update States on Delivering as One Initiatives and the challenges facing UN Country Teams regarding the implementation of country-level strategies to address the Global Food Crisis. David Nabarro, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Coordinator of the UN Task Force on the Global Food Crisis, spoke about the efforts to coordinate the UN system to promote a unified response to the global food price challenge, including by facilitating the development of a strategy and a prioritized plan of action. The UNDG is expected to provide support and to coordinate the implementation of country-specific strategies. The discussion focused on key challenges and obstacles faced by country teams in implementing country-specific activities. (IISDRS sources)
COMMISSION ON LEGAL EMPOWERMENT OF THE POOR LAUNCHES REPORT

On 3 June 2008, the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor presented its final report, entitled “Making the Law Work for Everyone,” to UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro. The Commission, which was launched in 2005 and hosted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), was co-chaired by Madeleine K. Albright, former US Secretary of State, and Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. The report's main message is that four billion people – the majority of people in the world – find themselves excluded from the protection and opportunities provided by the rule of law and, as a result, are robbed of the chance to build a better life for themselves. On the occasion of the report's launch, Kemal Dervis, UNDP Administrator, noted that legal empowerment of the poor means bringing the work of democratic governance and poverty reduction closer together and taking a fresh look at the relationship between law and development. He indicated that reforms aimed at the legal empowerment of the poor complement more established policies and strategies designed to reduce poverty and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. As part of its Initiative on Legal Empowerment of the Poor launched in 2007, UNDP is working on legal empowerment of the poor in nine countries: Mauritania, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Albania and Kyrgyzstan. Other legal empowerment projects are also underway. Links to further information Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor Report - Making the Law Work for Everyone

May 2008

TICAD IV AGREES ON A BLUEPRINT FOR AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT

Representatives from 51 African countries, including 40 Heads of State and Government, joined Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda from 28-30 May 2008, in Yokohama, Japan, to develop a framework for African growth at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV). During the session, Prime Minister Fukuda announced Japan's intention to double its official development assistance (ODA) to Africa by 2012, with up to US$4 billion dollars in ODA to finance infrastructure in African countries. TICAD IV addressed the theme “Towards a Vibrant Africa: a Continent of Hope and Opportunity,” and focused on three priorities: boosting African economic growth; ensuring human security, including the achievement of the MDGs and the consolidation of peace and governance; and addressing environmental issues and climate change. TICAD IV concluded with the adoption of three elements: the Yokohama Declaration, which outlines guiding principles and approaches to African development; and the Yokohama Action Plan and Yokohama Follow-up Mechanism, which provide a road map of interventions needed and measurable targets. Agriculture production and productivity vis-à-vis the current situation of high food prices was discussed, and measures for technology transfer related to the development of improved seeds, access to financial assistance to purchase fertilizers and the importance to organized farmers' groups were highlighted. There was a broad consensus on the risks of climate change to overall African development. The need to ensure affordable and clean energy and adequate technology to boost economic development was considered. The outcomes of TICAD IV are expected to feed into to the G8 Summit to be held in Hokkaido, from 7-9 July 2008. Links to further information UN Press release, 27 May 2008 UN News Centre, 28 May 2007 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, TICAD IV website
MDG AFRICA WORKING GROUP MEETS ON THE MARGINS OF TICAD IV

On the morning of the 29 May 2008, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro spoke to journalists and members about the MDG Africa Working Group on the MDG Africa Steering Group's recommendations regarding how existing commitments to achieve the MDGs in Africa can be turned into tangible actions. An advance draft of the recommendations was circulated, which map out an agenda. The MDG Africa Steering Group was first convened on 14 September 2007, and is chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Steering Group is supported by the MDG Africa Working Group, which is chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General. At the end of the meeting, the Deputy Secretary-General outlined the plans for the high level event on the MDGs, which is being jointly organized by UN Secretary-General Ban and the President of the General Assembly in New York on 25 September 2008. Links to further information MDG Africa Official site MDG Africa Steering Group Advance draft of the recommendations of the MDG Africa Steer...
DELIVERING AS ONE PILOTS SHARE LESSONS LEARNED AT MAPUTO MEETING

Senior government representatives from the eight Delivering as One pilot countries gathered in Maputo, Mozambique, from 21-23 May 2008, to exchange experiences and lessons learned. The seminar also included the Co-Chairs of the UN General Assembly consultations on System-wide Coherence and UN country team members from the pilots. The seminar focused on the contributions that Delivering as One can make in implementing the UN system's Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review of Operational Activities for Development. Participants discussed ways to further strengthen national ownership and leadership through capacity development, ensuring more predictable and timely funding from donors, further harmonization and simplification of UN system business practices, promoting a better understanding of the UN's transaction costs, better aligning the UN's capacities with the priorities of programme countries, and promoting greater use of national capacities. A number of recommendations were made on how the pilots can build on their initial progress and work together more effectively, and produce better results and reduce costs, while contributing to the achievement of internationally agreed international development goals and the Millennium Development Goals. Link to further information Maputo Meeting Summary
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL DISCUSSES WORLD FOOD CRISIS

The UN Human Rights Council held its seventh special session on 22 May 2008 to consider “The negative impact on the realization of the right to food of the worsening of the world food crisis, caused inter alia by the soaring food prices.” In her address to the session in Geneva, Switzerland, High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour highlighted that, while the current food emergency was triggered by the confluence of several factors, including imbalances in supply and demand, unfair trade practices and distorted incentives and subsidies, “at its core and in its punitive effects, this crisis boils down to a lack of access to adequate food,” and that this access is a right protected by international law. A resolution adopted during the session calls on States to actively participate in the High-level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy (3-5 June 2008, Rome, Italy), and invites the Food and Agriculture Organization to extend an invitation to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to attend and actively participate in the Conference, “so as to help to mainstream a human rights perspective in the analysis of the world food crisis, with a focus on the realization of the right to food.” Links to further information Seventh Special Session website Resolution of the Seventh Special Session
UN SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE CONSULTATIONS ADDRESS GENDER

The UN General Assembly consultations on System-wide Coherence continued on 16 May 2008, when UN member States met at UN headquarters in New York, US, to discuss the gender dimension of system-wide coherence. Deliberations focused on the establishment of a new UN gender entity and the creation of an Under-Secretary-General post on gender and women's rights, with some countries supporting the creation of a new body, and others favoring further discussions before any decision is made. Co-Chair Paul Kavanagh (Ireland) stressed the importance of addressing gaps within the UN system and asked the UN Secretary-General to submit a non-paper on the current status of gender within the UN system. Delegations were informed that a debate to address the gender issue on a more programmatic level is scheduled for the beginning of June 2008. Also planned for early June is an information session to learn more about the undertakings within the Chief Executive Board. Links to further information Center for UN Reform Education press release, 19 May 2008 Co-Chairs Mahiga and Kavanagh's letter, 12 May 2008
UN AND BRITISH GOVERNMENT LAUNCH BUSINESS PUSH FOR MDGs

On 6 May 2008, in London, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown took a step further to advance the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Call to Action, an initiative launched in July 2007 that has the support of 14 heads of state and 21 major private sector leaders to encourage the international community to accelerate progress to reach the MDGs. The Business Call to Action event, organized jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UK Government, was attended by the Presidents of Rwanda and Ghana as well as over 80 business leaders, UN officials and members of think tanks. The event sought to galvanize a global partnership of innovative and creative initiatives from the private sector to promote poverty reduction in least developed countries to meet the MDGs. Concrete actions were announced by a number of businesses in attendance, and are expected to generate employment opportunities and potentially improve the lives of poor people across Africa and Asia. During the event, UNDP Administrator Kermal Dervis highlighted that innovative business leaders from the North and the South are changing the way traditional business operate, making markets more inclusive and generating more wealth to groups that were previously excluded. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown indicated that European leaders will meet in Brussels next month to discuss what else can be done to scale up MDG achievements, which will feed into the G-8 Summit in July. The President of the UN General Assembly, Srgjan Kerim, noted that many business leaders present at the Call to Action event would be invited to announce new initiatives and champion specific MDGs during the High-Level MDG Summit at the UN in New York, US, on 25 September, which he will convene jointly with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Links to further information Business Call to Action DFID MDG Call to Action UNDP News, 6 May 2008 UN News Centre, 6 May 2008
UN PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE, UNFCCC PARTICIPATION

An estimated 2000 delegates gathered at UN headquarters in New York, US, from 21 April to 2 May, for the 7th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues – a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The theme for the session was “Climate change, biocultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship roles of indigenous peoples and new challenges.” The Forum noted that indigenous traditional ways of life have been threatened by climate change, that indigenous peoples continue to be the main custodians of knowledge and biodiversity and that indigenous peoples have largely been kept out of the international dialogue on climate change. A text on the main theme of climate change, biocultural diversity and livelihoods (E/C.19/2008/L.2) called on the international community to take measures to mitigate climate change and promote the participation of indigenous peoples in all negotiations on mitigation measures, and also urged consideration of alternative systems beyond the usual mechanisms. Specifically, the text recommended that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) develop mechanisms to facilitate indigenous participation in the upcoming negotiations for the post-2012 period. The text recommended the establishment of a working group under the UNFCCC on local adaptation measures and traditional knowledge. It called on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) to undertake an assessment of threats and opportunities for indigenous peoples arising from mitigation and adaptation strategies. The text was adopted after amendments to reflect the concerns of some indigenous groups about current emissions and deforestation measures. Some indigenous groups emphasized the need to respect their decision to not participate in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and other carbon funds, and noted that they did not support the framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Forum Chair Victoria Tauli-Corpuz noted that a report on the measures being undertaken by indigenous peoples to tackle climate change, which could substantially contribute to the objectives of the UNFCCC, will be forwarded to the UNFCCC Secretariat. A text on the implementation of Millennium Development Goals (E/C.19/2008/L.4) was adopted with emphasis on the right to water, as a fundamental human right, and with a recommendation on the need to develop international standards for water's use, management and regulation. The Forum also pledged to pursue a proposal for a world conference on indigenous peoples at the General Assembly. The proposal was made by President Evo Morales of Bolivia, with support from Ecuador, Guatemala and other Latin American countries. Links to further information UN PFII UN News Centre, 18 April 2008 UN Press release, 18 April 2008 UN Press Release, 22 April 2008 UN Press Release, 30 April 2008 UN New Centre, 1 May 2008 UN Press Release, 2 May 2008

April 2008

BUSINESS-ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT CONSIDERS CLIMATE CHANGE, BIODIVERSITY-HEALTH LINKS

The Global Business for the Environment Summit, jointly organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Global Compact, met in Singapore from 22-23 April 2008 to discuss business-driven solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change. During the event, UNEP announced that ten new participants joined the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net). The CN Net is an online forum set up by UNEP, in cooperation with the UN Environment Management Group, to tackle the challenge of increasing greenhouse gases. The initiative was launched in February 2008, during UNEP's Governing Council in Monaco. The meeting also revealed the findings of a newly released book entitled Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, which provides a comprehensive view of how human medicines, biomedical research, the spread of infectious diseases, and the production of food depend on biodiversity. Links to further information UNEP press release on CN Net, 23 April 2008 UNEP press release on "Sustaining Life," 24 April 2008 Sustaining life website, Harvard Medical School
UN COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT CALLS FOR ACTION TO ADDRESS URBAN GROWTH AND INTERNAL MIGRATION

The 41st session of the UN Commission on Population and Development, which met from 7-11 April 2008, in New York, US, focused on the theme “Population distribution, urbanization, internal migration and development.” The Commission ended its session by issuing a call for sustained action and policy response to the challenges and opportunities of urbanization and internal migration. The recommendations, contained in document E/CN.9/2008/L.4, were adopted by consensus and highlighted the need to ensure positive impacts of economic growth, including healthy living in both rural and urban areas, and to practice sustainable urbanization in order to address environmental issues. The recommendations called for the promotion of full employment and decent work for all, and urged governments to improve the plight of the urban poor. The recommendations also called on developed countries to provide financial assistance to developing countries with respect to population and development, as recognition that the effective implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) requires a significant increase of financial resources. The 42nd session of the Commission, to convene in 2009, will focus on the contribution of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development to the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. Links to further information UN Commission on Population and Development UN News Centre, 7 April 2008 UN Press release, 11 April 2008
G8 DEVELOPMENT MINISTERS HIGHLIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE- DEVELOPMENT LINK

G8 Ministers and senior officials responsible for development cooperation met from 5- 6 April 2008, in Tokyo, Japan, along with representatives from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, South Africa, the ASEAN Secretariat, the AU Commission, the OECD, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank. The meeting was held with a view to provide political input and support to the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in May 2008, the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in July 2008, the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra in September 2008, Ghana, the UN high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2008, and the Follow-up Conference on Financing for Development in Doha in November/December 2008. Ministers addressed the development agenda for the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, and held outreach sessions on: expanding partnerships for development; climate change and development; and human security and the achievement of the MDGs. The chair's summary of the meeting expresses the Ministers' commitment to double aid for Africa by 2010 and emphasized that, to realize the goal of halving the proportion of people living in poverty, growth needs to be inclusive and sustainable. On climate change and development, the G8 Ministers recognized the link between these two issues, highlighting that they have to be dealt with in an integrated manner. In particular, they noted the urgency in assisting developing countries, which are most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, in their adaptation efforts. In the water and sanitation sector, the Ministers highlighted the need to promote good water governance for sustainable use of water resources and called for a review of the Evian Action Plan to measure its progress. Links to further information G8 Development Meeting Chair's Summary G8 Development Meeting website
UNGA HOLDS THEMATIC DEBATE ON MDGs

On 4 April, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) concluded its four-day thematic debate on ‘recognizing the achievements, addressing the challenges and getting back on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.' The debate was marked by calls from delegates for investments in agriculture and infrastructure given current rising food and energy prices, which many highlighted as responsible for exacerbating food insecurity and malnutrition. Some delegates warned against changing the MDG framework without intergovernmental agreement. UN General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim noted that only 17 percent of developing countries had effectively integrated the millennium targets into their national development strategies, while others still lacked the appropriate operational strategies to achieve the goals. At the conclusion of the meeting, Kerim noted that many government delegations had endorsed his proposal for an Annual UNGA Debate on the MDGs, through 2015, and a Global Monitoring Report by the UN Secretariat and relevant agencies to review progress on the MDGs. He also noted that the upcoming meetings in September, focusing on the development needs of Africa and the High-Level Summit for the Millennium Development Goals, would provide further opportunities to announce concrete initiatives. Links to further information UN News Centre, 4 April 2008 UN GA Press Release, GA/10700

March 2008

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ESTABLISHES INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON RIGHT TO SAFE WATER AND ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The UN Human Rights Council held its seventh regular session from 3-28 March 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. During the meeting, the Council adopted by consensus a resolution sponsored by Germany and Spain, and over 40 co-sponsors, establishing an Independent Expert on human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The Independent Expert will work for three years on two primary tasks. First, to identify, promote and exchange on best practices related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation and, in that regard, to prepare a compendium of best practices; and second, to carry out further clarification of the content of human rights obligations, including non-discrimination obligations, in relation to access to safe drinking water and sanitation. On 28 March 2008, the Council adopted by consensus a resolution requesting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a detailed study of the relationship between climate change and human rights, to be submitted to the Council prior to its tenth session, and thereafter to make the study, together with a summary of the debate at its tenth session, available to the Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Link to further information UN Office at Geneva press release, 28 March 2008
UN SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE SESSIONS ADDRESS “DELIVERING AS ONE,” FUNDING AND GOVERNANCE

Within the framework of the UN General Assembly consultations on UN System-wide Coherence, member States met on 28 March 2008 at UN headquarters in New York, US, to consider the issue of Delivering as One at Country Level, on 7 April 2008 to discuss the UN's funding structure, and on 17 April 2008 to address governance and institutional reform. On 28 March, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro noted that significant progress had been achieved on the “One budgetary framework,” as well as on increased accountability and national ownership, while cautioning that new priorities must be set for 2008, including closing the funding gap. Several members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 also drew attention to the funding gap, underlining that savings must be channeled back into the system. Discussions on funding on 7 April focused on achieving a better balance between non-core and core funding, resource mobilization and reviewing funding mechanisms. On 17 April, delegates heard briefings on the Resident Coordinator system at country level, and subsequently discussed governance, primarily on the intergovernmental level. Discussions centered, among other things, on the balance between national ownership of development strategies and mechanisms for intergovernmental oversight, and several delegates noted that coherence at the country level needs to be reflected at the central level. Links to further information Co-Chairs Mahiga's (Tanzania) and Kavanagh's (Ireland) state..., 17 April 2008 Co-Chairs statement, 7 April 2008 Co-Chairs' statement, 28 March 2008 Center for UN Reform Education, press release 18 April 2008 Center for UN Reform Education, press release 8 April 2008
MDG AFRICA STEERING GROUP HOLDS SECOND MEETING

The second meeting of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Africa Steering Group was held at UN headquarters in New York, US, on 10 March 2008. Immediately following the meeting, a briefing was held for media and other observers. The briefing involved high-level members of the Steering Group. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chaired the Steering Group meeting and opened the briefing, highlighting the “unprecedented” collaboration and involvement in the group. He stressed the tremendous gains possible for Africa if international commitments can be translated into action. He also outlined examples of progress on some MDGs in particular African countries, such as achievements in Malawi on child mortality, in Senegal on water and sanitation goals, and in Tanzania on primary education. He stressed that the challenge now is to replicate and expand on these successes. He explained that the Steering Group had reviewed recommendations for future action and approved a plan for Africa to work towards a “green revolution” to achieve the MDGs across a range of issues and sectors, including economic growth, hunger and malnutrition, education, gender parity, water and sanitation, and infectious diseases. He stressed rising food prices and agricultural productivity in Africa as key issues, urged progress in the Doha round of trade talks, and said African countries needed to mobilize domestic resources and receive the necessary support from development partners. He announced that a high-level meeting on the MDGs would bring together world leaders, civil society and the private sector at UN headquarters on 25 September 2008, to “translate commitments into action.” Responding to a question about sub-Saharan Africa being the most “off-track” region to date in terms of the MDGs, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the need to replicate the examples of specific country successes, and emphasized maternal mortality as a major issue. With regard to food prices and the issue of market access and subsidies, several members of the Steering Group highlighted the need to raise agricultural productivity in Africa. Louis Michel, European Commission for Development and Humanitarian Aid, stressed that the Least Developed Countries already have unlimited access to European markets, noted the issue of quality standards as an area of concern, and outlined EU action to support developing countries. World Bank President Robert Zoellick highlighted the need for more action on hunger and malnutrition, especially given its impact on other MDGs. On subsidies, he said this is an ideal time to address them, given high food prices. He outlined the World Bank's efforts to support agricultural productivity in Africa. Regarding a question on security and instability in Africa, Alpha Oumar Konaré, Chair, African Union Commission, underscored Africa's responsibility for what is happening and said the continent must acquire the means to act in a timely way and not simply wait for help to come from outside. He urged respect for the rule of law. On China's investment in the region, Konaré said China can be a major partner, adding that no outside group should be allowed to exploit Africa, as has sometimes been the case with investors in the past. He insisted that a new sort of partnership is needed that encourages Africa's development and is consistent with democratic values. On UN spending in Africa and the large sums spent on contracts for large EU and US companies' services, Konaré stressed the UN's positive cooperative role, but said that it was “scandalous” that large sums were going into potentially avoidable disasters such as Darfur when so much was needed for development goals, and that Africa had a role to play in resolving such issues. Participants also discussed replicating the “self-help spirit” of the Republic of Korea in local communities in Africa (IISD sources). Links to further information UN News Center, 10 March 2008 MDG Africa Steering Group Website
CSW DISCUSSES FINANCING FOR GENDER EQUALITY

The fifty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 52) convened in New York, US, at UN headquartes from 25 February to 7 March 2008. In accordance with its multi-year programme of work for 2007-2009, the Commission considered ‘Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women' as its priority theme. Recommendations from CSW 52 will provide input into the preparations for the Follow-up International Conference on financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus to be held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December 2008. Amongst the recommendations, the Commission called upon Governments to incorporate gender perspective into the design, development, adoption and execution of all policies and budgetary processes, as appropriate; reaffirmed the need for the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action; promoted the protection of and respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women, including the right to development; encouraged the integration of gender perspectives in aid modalities and efforts to enhance aid delivery mechanisms; and noted that investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth and that women's economic empowerment is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to eradicating poverty. The Commission also considered the emerging issue of climate change and how this can affect the trends and approaches to the situation of women and equality between women and men. An interactive expert panel that convened on 28 February highlighted many gender-specific impacts of climate change. Participants noted that women play a vital leadership role in community revitalization and natural resource management, although they tend to be underrepresented in decision-making on sustainable development, including on climate change. Participants suggested, among other actions, greater involvement and participation of women in the current international policy dialogue on climate change; research to obtain more comprehensive data on gender aspects of climate change in relation to both mitigation and adaptation strategies; approaching climate change from a human rights perspective, and taking women's needs into account in technological developments. Links to further information CSW 52 website CSW 52 meeting documents CSW 52 Agreed Conclusions and Resolutions
HIGH-LEVEL GATHERING DISCUSSES SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE

The high-level dialogue United Nations System-wide Coherence: The Next Steps, organized by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), convened from 4-5 March 2008, in Vienna, Austria, gathering representatives from governments, the “Delivering as One” pilot countries, aid agencies, and the UN system. The objective of the dialogue was to focus discussions on the development aspects of system-wide coherence and the “Delivering as One” initiative, as well as reviewing the status of inter-governmental consultations on system-wide coherence and the next steps to be taken. Co-Chairs Augustine Mahiga (Tanzania) and Paul Kavanagh (Ireland) of the UN General Assembly consultations (UNGA) on System-wide Coherence outlined experiences from their recent visits to three of the pilot countries, Tanzania, Mozambique and Cape Verde, emphasizing that the ‘Delivering as One' projects are resulting in significantly greater alignment of UN system activities to national plans and priorities, and highlighting the political commitment of the governments concerned. They also stressed the need for various headquarters to catch up with progress at country level and for granting greater flexibility to the UN country teams. The recognition and popularity of the project is reportedly growing, with some 30 small and medium-sized states having asserting their interest in joining as pilot countries. In related news, on 26 February 2008, Co-Chairs Mahiga and Kavanagh put forward a preliminary programme of work for the UNGA consultations on System-wide Coherence, where they suggested holding consultations on 28 March to consider the topic delivering as one at country level, and on 7 and 17 April to discuss issues relating to funding and governance, respectively. Furthermore, the Co-Chairs expressed their intention to invite the UN Secretary-General to brief delegations on the efforts toward greater coherence being made under the auspices of the Secretary-General and the Chief Executives Board in early May 2008. Links to further information UNIDO High-level dialogue website Statement by Co-Chairs Augustine Mahiga and Paul Kavanagh, 4 March 2008 Co-Chairs' letter to UN member States, 26 February 2008

February 2008

ECOSOC EVENT DISCUSSES CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY AND THE MDGS

A special event of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has discussed “How corporate philanthropy can contribute to advancing the Millennium Development Goals, particularly for sustainable development.” The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, with support from the UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), organized the 25 February 2008 event, which gathered more than 200 executives, corporate philanthropists, UN officials and country representatives at UN headquarters in New York, US. Amir Dossal, Executive Director of UNOP, summarized the proceedings, highlighting that participants had raised issues related to questions of scale and strategic approach, and the need for private-public partnerships to be beneficial to both sides. Participants also noted a role for developing guidelines for building partnerships with the UN, and indicated that the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has experience in this regard. A synthesis of the event will be reported to ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly. Link to further information ECOSOC News Release, 25 February 2008
DECENT WORK KEY TO POVERTY REDUCTION – COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

On Friday 22 February 2008, the Commission for Social Development (CSD) concluded its 46th session, which focused on Promoting Full Employment and Decent Work for All. The Commission adopted by consensus all six outstanding resolutions, which were left pending at the close of the 46th session's scheduled meeting dates, 6-15 February. One of the adopted resolutions addresses the promotion of full employment and decent work for all, and seeks to galvanize UN work on employment issues. The resolution identifies constraints, best practices and possible approaches for achieving full employment and reversing trends towards low-paying, insecure and temporary jobs. Another resolution deals with the future of the organization and methods of work for the CSD, while identifying the priority theme for 2009-2010: social integration. Additional resolutions address: equalization of opportunities by and for persons with disabilities and protection of their rights, extending the role of the Commissions' Special Rapporteur on disabilities; and mainstreaming disability in the development agenda. These four resolutions will be forwarded for consideration by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at its July 2008 substantive session. Two additional resolutions deal with the first review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (2002) and the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa's Development. The 47th session of the Commission is scheduled to take place during the first quarter of 2009 in New York, US. Links to further information UNDESA, Commission for Social Development 46th Commission for Social Development, Resolutions and Deci...
IFAD GOVERNING COUNCIL FOCUSES ON POOR RURAL FARMERS

The Thirty-first Governing Council Session of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) ended on 14 February in Rome, Italy, with its 164 member countries adopting a policy strategy to address the worsening world food security problem and calling for further investments in agriculture to support poor rural farmers. The Council Session focused on challenges and opportunities for smallholder farmers in the context of climate change and new demands on agricultural production, including the rising cost of commodities. Some member countries called for measures to ease the burden on rural poor, such as reducing transportation costs of produce, establishment of safety nets, and research and microcredit initiatives to boost agricultural production. 2008 marks the 30th anniversary since IFAD's foundation to fight rural poverty and hunger. The organization was created originally in response to droughts and famines that affected millions of people in Africa and Asia in the early 1970s. In its thirty years of operation, IFAD's member countries have invested almost US$ 10 billion in loans and grants, benefiting more than 300 million poor rural women and men worldwide. Links to further information UN News Centre, 15 February 2008 UN News Centre, 13 February 2008
WOMEN ACT FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE AND GENDER EQUALITY IN AFRICA

At the occasion of the High-Level Policy Dialogue on National Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, held on 6-8 February 2008, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) launched two new projects in Africa. The projects aim to support the implementation of resolution 1325, by calling for the full and equal participation of women in all peace and security initiatives, and calling for gender mainstreaming in the context of armed conflict, peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction. The projects will assess the situation of women in peace and security areas, while promoting awareness among policy-makers, the security sector and civil society for a national consensus building process and development of a national agenda. One project will be carried out in Burundi and Liberia, with support from the Government of Austria, and another one will be in Somalia, with support from the Government of Italy. Link to further information UN-INSTRAW website
UN SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE DISCUSSIONS RESUME

An informal meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) consultations on System-wide Coherence took place on 7 February 2008 in New York, US, aiming to take stock of recent developments and the report of the previous Co-Chairs during the 61st UNGA session. The new Co-Chairs, Augustine Mahiga (Tanzania) and Paul Kavanagh (Ireland), proposed using a bottom-up approach in exploring ways for the UN to work more coherently and effectively. Co-Chair Mahiga stressed that they would strive to reach an agreement in June 2008 on the modalities for implementing greater coherence across the UN development activities system, noting that this will require a careful assessment of progress made so far, particularly focusing on the implementation of the 'One UN' pilot projects. He also said that the Co-Chairs plan to tour four pilot-countries and report back to member States in mid-March 2008. UNGA President Srgjan Kerim cited recent encouraging developments, including the adoption of the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review, which contains many elements that will promote better coherence across the UN's operational activities for development, and he also stressed the importance of system-wide coherence in the context of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Among the statements made, the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand stressed the importance of increased efficiency and accountability “on the ground,” while the G-77/China put priority on overall funding, development and governance, as well as demand-driven development cooperation. A more detailed program of work is expected from the Co-Chairs shortly. In related news, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has announced that it will host a conference entitled United Nations System-Wide Coherence: The Next Steps from 4-5 March 2008 in Vienna, Austria. This high-level conference will provide a platform for interactive and action-oriented discussions on the development aspects of system-wide coherence and the “Delivering as One UN” initiative, among representatives of governments, aid agencies and UN organizations. Links to further information Center for UN Reform Education news release, 12 February 2008 UNGA President Srgjan Kerim's statement UNIDO conference website

January 2008

UN BRIEFS JOURNALISTS ON THE MDGs AND RELATED EVENTS IN 2008

On 29 January 2008, the UN Secretariat organized a seminar to brief journalists and foreign correspondents at UN headquarters in New York, US. The session aimed at clarifying the role of the UN in current affairs, detailing advancements achieved within the UN Reform agenda and highlighting the organization's priorities for 2008. Rathin Roy, Public Resource Management Advisor, UNDP/Bureau for Development Policy, noted that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) still have the power to galvanize efforts towards poverty reduction. Pragati Pascale, MDG Spokesperson, UN Department of Public Information, stressed that 2008, as the mid-point for the achievement of MDGs, will be politically significant, with several events taking place, including the UK Call for Action in May 2008, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) IV, the MDG Africa Initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General, and the MDG Summit on 25 September 2008 (IISD RS sources).
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ADDRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE, MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND WATER

The World Economic Forum made climate change one of its major areas of discussion during its latest session in Davos, Switzerland. The event, which convened from 23-27 January 2008, included sessions on “going nuclear to fight climate change?” and on international collaboration in moving “beyond Kyoto,” as well as discussions on “the effectiveness of carbon trading.” In the closing session of the Davos event, business, government and civil society leaders called for “a new brand of collaborative and innovative leadership to address the challenges of globalization, particularly the pressing problems of conflict in the Middle East, terrorism, climate change and water conservation.” As well, Japan's Prime Minister, Yasuo Fukuda, announced a five-year, US$ 10 billion fund to support efforts in developing countries to combat global warming. Japan also plans to create a new multilateral climate change mitigation fund with the US and the UK. The Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, also attended the Davos meeting, where he outlined the scientific basis of climate change and the need for urgent action. Prior to the event, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer responded to the pre-meeting “Davos question” posed for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. In a video interview, de Boer responded to the question, “What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?” by highlighting the immediate and long-term risks of climate change, including economic implications. On 25 January 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, U2 rockstar Bono, Queen Rania (Kingdom of Jordan), World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab, Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, and Cisco CEO John Chambers issued a joint statement at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, vowing to make 2008 a turning point in the fight against poverty and to get back on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed that 2008 will be the year of the bottom billion, referring to those living on under $1 dollar per day. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for a meeting with the private sector in May to galvanize support towards financing the MDGs. Bono, U2 rockstar, warned that pledges would not be enough and said a binding contract is needed among governments, with the assistance of the private sector. Among other announcements, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a US$ 306 million package of agricultural development grants “designed to boost the yields and incomes of millions of small farmers in Africa and other parts of the developing world so they can lift themselves and their families out of hunger and poverty.” In his address to the World Economic Forum, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized that both governments and businesses must play a role in the efforts to achieve the MDGs and to secure safe water for all. The Secretary-General called on business leaders to make water sustainability a corporate priority, and commended the efforts of Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical to address water scarcity and sanitation through initiatives such as The CEO Water Mandate. The CEO Water Mandate was launched at the UN Global Compacts' Leader Summit in July 2007 and represents both a commitment to action and a strategic framework for companies seeking to address the issue of water sustainability in their operations. The first implementation conference for endorsers of the CEO Mandate will convene on 5 March 2008 at UN headquarters in New York, US. Links to further information World Economic Forum 2008 – list of events and summaries World Economic Forum 2008 – statement from the closing sessi... IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri's speech, January 2008 UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer's video presentation ... January 2008 Davos session on Call to Action on MDGs, 25 January 2008 World Economic Forum Press Release, 25 January 2008 AllAfrica.com News Story, 25 January 2008 DFID News release, 25 January 2008 End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign, 25 January 2008 BBC News Story, 25 January 2008 UN Secretary General's address, 24 January 2008 The CEO Water Mandate homepage
DIALOGUE ON MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT ADDRESSES LEGAL AND POLICY PERSPECTIVES

The Center for Migration Studies and the International Organization for Migration hosted a Conference on International Migration and Development in New York, US, on 17-18 January 2008. The Conference aimed to continue the dialogue initiated by the High-Level Dialogue on Migration convened by the UN Secretary-General in 2006 and the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) launched in 2007. During the two-day conference, policy-makers, practitioners and experts reviewed the outcomes and achievements of past events to assess the direction of the international debate on migration and development as well as policy and legal implications. In her opening address to the conference, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro stressed how the debate on migration and development has matured from a sensitive, conflictive issue to a collaborative one between recipients and countries of origin. The meeting will feed into the second GFMD to be held in Manila, the Philippines, from 27-30 October 2008. Greece will host the third GFMD in 2009. Links to further information UN News Centre, 17 January 2008 Deputy Secretary General remarks, DSG SM/370, 17 January 2008 Conference website