The UN Association of Canada held a public panel on how Canada can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with participants addressing biodiversity loss, climate change, refugees, and data and monitoring.
Marks and Spencer provided an update on an initiative to support jurisdictional approaches for reducing deforestation in commodity supply chains.
9 November 2016: The UN Association of Canada held a public panel on how Canada can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with participants addressing biodiversity loss, climate change, refugees, and data and monitoring. Civil society organizations (CSOs) released a magazine focusing on achieving SDG targets related to universal access to medicines, and showcased the private sector’s role in sustainability.
The UN Association of Canada’s public panel, which convened on 4 November 2016, in Montreal, Canada, discussed how to end poverty, tackle species loss and climate change and reduce inequalities, among other topics. Speaking at the event, the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias urged action to address increasing rates of biodiversity loss, saying “we’ve lost almost 90 per cent of all the world’s wetlands, more than 50 per cent of the world’s forests and more than 90 per cent of all large fish species.” On climate action, Dias observed that keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is critical to prevent environmental collapse. On refugees, Denise Otis, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canada, stressed the 2030 Agenda’s commitment to leaving no one behind as “fundamental for the inclusion of refugees and internally displaced people,” underscoring that UNHCR will support the SDGs on poverty reduction, food security and inclusive societies through aid to refugees. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics Director, Silvia Montoya, described the Institute’s role in collecting data to accurately monitor progress on the SDGs and hold governments accountable.
On health, the South American Institute of Government in Health (ISAGS-UNASUR) focused the third issue of its magazine, ‘Inspira 2030,’ on ensuring access to medicine and treatment for all South Americans within the context of SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and target 3.8 (Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all). The issue highlights successful health initiatives, such as compiling a ‘Drug-Price Database’ and ‘Mapping of Production Capabilities’ to understand production of health products in South America and existing production capacity.
On the role of the private sector in meeting sustainability goals, Marks and Spencer provided an update on an initiative to support jurisdictional approaches for reducing deforestation in commodity supply chains, during an event on the sidelines of the Marrakech Climate Change Conference. Marks and Spencer announced that six companies have established a working group to inform and operationalize this approach, and outlined lessons learned, underscoring the importance of local communities to ensure social legitimacy for the programmes.
Also on the private sector, a ‘Just Means’ blog by Vikas Vij showcases ways for companies to leverage the power of global partnerships to promote sustainability while improving their bottom line. The article emphasizes the importance of the private sector in recognizing SDG 17 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development), highlighting ways in which Unilever, Gap, Starbucks and Barclays engage in partnerships that help the companies to achieve sustainability goals. Unilever, for example, has collaborated with external organizations to achieve zero-waste in its supply chain, cut food waste and enhance local livelihoods. [UN Association of Canada Event Website] [Article on UN Association of Canada Panel] [Inspira 2030: Medicines] [IISD RS Coverage of Marks and Spencer Statement] [Just Means Blog] [IISD RS Coverage of COP 22]