UN Secretary-General Reports to UNGA 70 on SD, Environmental Issues
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The reports focus on: mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the UN system; agricultural technology for development; harmony with nature; implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD); implementation of the UN Environmental Conventions; follow-up to and implementation of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS; global code of ethics for tourism; sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America; the review of the implementation of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-2014; and the role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation for sustainable development.

United NationsAugust 2015: The UN Secretary-General has issued reports to be considered by the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial), during the 70th UNGA session. UNGA 70 opens on 15 September 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The Second Committee is expected to begin its work in October.

The reports focus on: mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the UN system; agricultural technology for development; harmony with nature; implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD); implementation of the UN Environmental Conventions; follow-up to and implementation of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS; global code of ethics for tourism; sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America; the review of the implementation of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-2014; and the role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation for sustainable development.

The report on mainstreaming the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the UN system (A/70/75) discusses the potential for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide new impetus for integrated approaches to development, and to “marshal a range of existing policy tools and guidance for collaboration.” It examines efforts within the inter-agency work of the UN system to prepare and be “fit for purpose” for the post-2015 development agenda. It also outlines the need to review and adjust strategic plans and frameworks of the UN system to strengthen coordination and integration, and to adapt country-level support; and reviews and evaluates the impact of the UN system on sustainable development. It suggests that UN Member States: invite the Secretary-General to map UN system support in the areas addressed by the SDGs; encourage implementation of the Environment Management Group (EMG) framework for advancing environmental and social sustainability in the UN system; and request the Secretary-General to report on progress to the UNGA, through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and to the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF).

The report on implementation of Agenda 21 and follow-up to the UNCSD (Rio+20) includes updates on: the 2015 session of the HLPF; options for facilitating the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies; strengthening the science-policy interface, including through the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR); sustainable consumption and production and the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP); the regional fora on sustainable development; partnerships and voluntary commitments; and Major Groups and other stakeholders. It outlines possible next steps for preparing the HLPF for the post-2015 era. It also suggests that the UNGA: hold HLPF national implementation reviews, in 2016, on how countries are transitioning to and preparing to implement the SDGs; and invite ECOSOC to decide on how the work of its various segments and subsidiary bodies will best contribute to promoting and implementing progress on the SDGs, notably at the HLPF.

The first section of the report on implementing the UN Environmental Conventions focuses on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), identifying the main outcomes of the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the tenth session of the COP serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that took place in Lima, Peru, in December 2014. It invites the UNGA to pledge support to the negotiating process under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action toward the conclusion of a new climate agreement under the UNFCCC in 2015, and to urge Parties to communicate their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) well in advance of COP 21 (Paris Climate Change Conference) in December 2015.

The section on the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) provides updates on, inter alia: the preparations for the 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties taking place in October 2015, in Ankara, Turkey; the 13th Session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 13) held in Bonn, Germany, from 25-27 March 2015; the follow-up to Rio+20; and the consideration of desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) in the post-2015 development agenda. The report suggests that the UNGA pursue its support to the implementation of the Convention, including on the nexus between DLDD issues and global policy challenges such as food security, poverty, climate adaptation and mitigation, political instability in affected regions.

The section on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlights progress made in the implementation of the Strategic Plan and achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and provides updates on COPs and others meetings that took place in 2014 and 2015. As part of its recommendations to the UNGA, it calls for: implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets; and inviting all States to ratify or accede the CBD, and all Parties to the Convention to ratify or accede the Nagoya Protocol.

The report on the follow-up to and implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy includes updates on implementing the partnerships announced during the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), held in September 2014, in Apia, Samoa. It examines initiatives taken by the UN system and Member States on economic growth, data and statistics, oceans, energy, gender equality and women’s empowerment, among other issues. It recalls recommendations contained in an informal ‘Note by the Secretariat for a SIDS Partnership Framework,’ and reflects on SIDS’ priorities in the wider UN development framework, including in the post-2015 development agenda and the HLPF. It also includes an annex on initial findings of the review and recommendations of the Joint Inspection Unit of the UN system (JIU) on the determination of parameters for a comprehensive review of UN system support for SIDS, as mandated by UNGA resolution 69/217 on the follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy. [UN Secretary-General’s Reports to Second Committee]


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