UN Officials Highlight Hidden Aspects of 2030 Agenda
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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This quarter’s UN Chronicle is authored exclusively by senior women in the UN system, and examines actions taken the UN has taken in its “lead role in advancing the 2030 Agenda”.

Izumi Nakamitsu discusses the nexus between disarmament, arms control and development,while Pramila Patten highlights gender-based violence.

Amina Mohammed calls for participation, consultation and engagement to ensure effective SDG implementation.

August 2018: The UN Chronicle’s second issue of 2018 features contributions authored by women who are senior officials in the UN system. This edition of “the magazine of the United Nations” focuses on the SDGs, and examines actions the UN has taken in its “lead role in advancing the 2030 Agenda.”

The articles cover topics that do not always feature prominently when discussing SDG implementation, such as disarmament and sexual violence. Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, highlights gender-based violence, which she describes as the “missing dimension” of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Patten links sexual violence to a human rights-based approach and the “leave no one behind” principle. She notes that “when war erupts, and the threat of rape at gunpoint becomes a pervasive terror,” women are unable to access fields, marketplaces and water points, and that girls are unable to attend school. Patten further highlights the disproportionate economic and health impacts of war on women, connecting to the majority of the SDGs. She also flags the importance of time: whereas men can invest hours in work, education or civic engagement, women—especially in developing countries—are often burdened with unpaid labor such as cooking, cleaning and childcare. Patten closes by calling on countries to legislate gender equality not only as a moral and social justice imperative, but also a smart economic choice.

Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, discusses the nexus between disarmament, arms control and development, outlining the linkages to SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), and noting that the issue and its connection to development are not new. She references Article 26 of the UN Charter and points readers to the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament launched on 24 May 2018, which aims to take the issue out of its “narrow, isolated security lens.” Nakamitsu stresses the importance of disarmament to achieving SDG targets 16.1 (reduce all forms of violence and related death rates) and 16.a (develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions), and flags that disarmament is explicitly recognized in SDG target 16.4 (reduce illicit financial and arms flows). She also draws linkages to Goals 3 (good health and well-being), 4 (quality education), (5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 11 (sustainable cities and communities).

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed follows by arguing that success on the SDGs will be “measured in how well we live up to the commitment to leave no one behind.” Doing so, she notes, entails providing a voice and platform for meaningful participation and engagement, particularly by the most marginalized and vulnerable. To make this a reality, Mohammed calls for six elements to be put in place, including: making the SDGs better known in society; investing in more transparent and accountable institutions; creating appropriate spaces for young people and fostering their ideas and leadership potential; and connecting overlapping agendas.

Additional articles cover sexual health and reproductive rights, rule of law and sustainable human settlements, among other topics. The authors are:

  • Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, UN Department of Public Information;
  • Bience Gawanas, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa;
  • Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA);
  • Mami Mizutori, Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN/ISDR);
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women;
  • Jane Connors, the first Victims’ Rights Advocate for the UN;
  • Michèle Coninsx, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate;
  • Leila Zerrougui, Head of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); and
  • Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

The UN Chronicle has been published quarterly since 1946. This issue’s forward notes that the magazine’s publication style will change in 2019 to accommodate a more dynamic digital format. [Publication: UN Chronicle Vol. LV No. 2 2018: 2030 Agenda]

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