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Utchang Kang, Programme Officer, UNCCD
Dust Disregards Political Boundaries, Let’s Act Together
Utchang Kang, Programme Officer, UNCCD
In March this year, an unusual sand and dust storm nicknamed ‘Mars on Earth or Orange Snow[1]’ transported and deposited dust that transformed European landscapes into a surreal orange-tinted scenery. An even more drastic dust storm swept over India recently and left behind a trail of casualties.[2] Then in May, sand and salt storms transferred from the dry Aral Sea, known as the Aralkum Desert, covered some provinces and the capital city of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat. Cotton fields, orchards and pastures were covered with salt.[3] [4]
Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General
SDG 11: Building the World’s Smart Sustainable Cities Together
Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General
The 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), meeting from 9-18 July 2018, in New York, US, will review in depth SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) and SDG 15 (life on land). The below article by ITU Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson addresses the unique and valuable role of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the UN agency for information and communication technologies – in advancing SDG 11 by building smart, sustainable cities.
Featured Image -225 Chad’s Accession to the Water Convention: Benefits, Lessons Learned and the 2030 Agenda
Eleonora Bonaccorsi, Project Management Intern, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
On 23 May 2018, Chad became the first country from outside the pan-European region to accede to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (the Water Convention), the Secretariat of which is provided by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy, WWF European Policy Office Sally Nicholson, Head of Development Policy and Finance, WWF European Policy Office
A Plan for the Future: How Strong Strategies Can Bring a More Sustainable Europe
Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy, WWF European Policy Office; and Sally Nicholson, Head of Development Policy and Finance, WWF European Policy Office
Around 1,000 days ago, the EU signed a historic agreement, along with 200 other countries. It was a UN-brokered deal to make every aspect of the world’s economies and societies truly sustainable. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development set 17 SDGs for 2030, which, once met, will transform everything from health to nature, to gender, to jobs.
Paolo Gemma, Huawei, U4SSC Vice-Chair
Unity in Diversity: How ITU Supports Smart Sustainable Cities and the Achievement of SDG 11
Paolo Gemma, Huawei, U4SSC Vice-Chair
Rates of urbanization show no signs of slowing down, giving rise to significant challenges for city leaders. New technologies, however, present us with new opportunities to meet these challenges.

Adam Fishman, Thematic Expert for 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (US)
SDG Knowledge Weekly: Finance, Development Cooperation, Data and Innovative Technology
Adam Fishman, Thematic Expert for 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (US)
As a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on breaking the bottlenecks to SDG investment convenes in New York, this brief explores a wide range of sources for SDG financing, as well as some challenges associated with their advancement. Data and technology continue to feature strongly in such conversations, and are also highlighted in the items below.

Community engagement in Piprasi Block, Bihar, India | NRMC Experts Discuss Effective Multi-stakeholder Partnerships ahead of SDG 17 Review
12 June 2018: Representatives of governments, the UN system, private sector and civil society exchanged experiences and lessons learned on partnerships, during a preparatory meeting for the review of SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) at the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
Photo by IISD/ENB | Angeles Estrada Pope Francis Urges Rapid Transition to Clean Energy
11 June 2018: Pope Francis has called on oil executives and energy leaders to switch to clean energy to fend off “disastrous” climate change. Addressing a conference on energy transition, he said that the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves is even more worrying than the increased levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.
Photo by IISD/Francis Dejon Five G7 Countries and EU Pledge to Tackle Pollution in Ocean Plastics Charter
9 June 2018: The leaders of the Group of 7 (G7) agreed on the ‘Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Communities’ at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada. In addition, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the European Union (EU) agreed to tackle ocean plastic in the ‘Ocean Plastics Charter.’
Featured Image -226 Six Countries and EU Reaffirm Strong Commitment to Paris Agreement, Carbon Neutrality at G7 Summit
9 June 2018: The leaders of the Group of 7 (G7) issued a communiqué on the 2018 G7 themes: investing in growth that works for everyone; preparing for jobs of the future; advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment; working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy; and building a more peaceful and secure world.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth Main Messages from 35 VNR Countries Outline SDG Actions and Plans
7 June 2018: A majority of countries scheduled to present Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) during the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) have issued the main messages of their reviews. According to the 35 messages currently available online, most of these countries have put in place institutional arrangements to advance SDG implementation, and have outlined the importance of engaging multiple stakeholders.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth Peer Review of Germany's Sustainable Development Strategy Results in 11 Recommendations
4 June 2018: Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), has presented the outcome from an International Peer Review Group's review of the German Sustainable Development Strategy to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Photo by IISD/ENB Governments Consider Third Draft of Global Refugee Compact
13 June 2018: UN Member States are holding consultations on the third draft of the global compact on refugees. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, circulated the revised text and a summary of the main changes made since the second draft, and noted that his office will provide an update on the consultations on 22 June 2018.
UN Photo/Pasqual Gorriz Climate Mitigation Finance Update: Carbon Pricing Gains Traction, Banks Update Policies to Support Low-carbon Transition
14 June 2018: Reports released May and early June 2018 show, among other developments, that: mitigation finance provided by multilateral development banks (MDBs) reached a new record in 2017; more and more countries and subnational jurisdictions implement carbon pricing mechanisms; and climate-related financial disclosures are increasingly popular with banks and businesses. MDBs and commercial banks have also announced changes in their financing policies to support a low-carbon transition in line with the Paris Agreement.
Photo by Lucas Vasques UN Releases Zero Draft on Modalities for Universal Health Coverage Meeting
12 June 2018: The co-facilitators of negotiations towards a High-Level Meeting on universal health coverage have released the zero draft of a UN resolution outlining proposed modalities of the meeting, which is to take place in 2019.
Photo by American Public Power Association FTSE Russell Study Highlights Investment Opportunities in Green Economy
8 June 2018: The green economy is worth as much as the fossil fuel sector, and provides safer investment opportunities, according to a report published by FTSE Russell, a provider of stock market indices and associated data. The report titled, ‘Investing in the Green Economy: Busting Common Myths,’ aims to help investors to better understand their interactions with the green economy.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe UNWTO Report Links Sustainable Tourism to 17 SDGs
6 June 2018: The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has published a two-volume report titled, ‘Tourism for Development,’ that makes recommendations on the ways in which tourism could contribute to sustainable development and the SDGs, and illustrates the global reach and positive effects of tourism on other sectors.
Featured Image -161 World Bank Approves US$100 Million for Water Supply in Indonesia
6 June 2018: Indonesia has received a World Bank loan of US$100 million for its National Urban Water Supply Project. The loan will enable the provision of water supply and sanitation to six million people in the country, through promoting access to safe water, and improving the performance of water service providers in under-served urban areas. Indonesia has set a national target of universal access to water supply and sanitation by 2019, ahead of the 2030 deadline for SDG 6.1 on drinking water and SDG 6.2 on sanitation and hygiene.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth Third STI Forum Calls for National Roadmaps, Technology Regulations
6 June 2018: The third annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum) focused on the Goals under review at the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF): SDG 6 (on water); SDG 7 (on energy); SDG 11 (on cities); SDG 12 (on consumption and production) and SDG 15 (on biodiversity).
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe UNGA Adopts Resolution on UN Development System Reform
31 May 2018: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution on the repositioning of the UN development system, in order to align it with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By this decision, the functions of the Resident Coordinators (RCs) of the UN system in each country are separated from those of the resident representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak said that, while the resolution is not seen by everyone as “the perfect document,” it represents a legitimate outcome of a multilateral process.
UN Photo/Manuel Elías Governments to Consider Revised Resolution on ECOSOC Reforms
8 June 2018: The co-facilitators of the process to review reforms to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) have circulated a revised draft resolution. UN Member States will consider the text in an all-day consultation session on 13 June 2018.
UN Photo/John Isaac Delegates Continue Migration Compact Negotiations, Hear Plans for UN Migration Network
8 June 2018: During the fifth round of negotiations of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, delegates discussed the second revised draft of the compact. Member States' opinions diverged with regard to the principle of non-refoulement, among other issues, and some remarked that the text "blurs lines" between refugees and migrants.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth India-UN Fund Supports 22 Projects for SDG Implementation in First Year
8 June 2018: The UN announced that a partnership with India has supported 22 SDG-related projects during its first year of operation, including on climate early warning systems in Pacific countries, and governance in Africa and Latin America. The Government of India initially pledged US$100 million to the India-UN Development Partnership Fund over ten years, and in April 2018 committed an additional US$50 million for projects in Commonwealth countries. The purpose of the Fund is to support implementation of the SDGs in low-income countries.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth World of Work Summit Highlights Links between SDG 8, SDG 16
7 June 2018: Participants at the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) World of Work Summit underscored linkages between work and peace, noting the role of job creation in building resilience, preventing conflict and tackling poverty. The Summit also considered the ILO’s work to support strategic partnerships for peacebuilding and the sustainable development agenda.
UN Photo/JC McIlwaine South Sudan First State of Environment Report Emphasizes Sustainable Resource Management for Peace
7 June 2018: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) and South Sudan’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry issued the first-ever report on the state of the environment in South Sudan. Titled ‘South Sudan: First State of Environment and Outlook Report,’ the publication highlights that droughts, floods, pollution, deforestation and conflicts could worsen South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis and threaten the livelihoods of ten million of the country’s 12 million people.
Featured Image -184 Special Event Highlights "Integrated Technological Solutions" for SDGs
7 June 2018: A special event on technological solutions for the SDGs took place as part of the Global Sustainable Technology & Innovation Conference series (G-STIC). The event shared key outcomes from the first edition of the Conference, in 2017, offered an early look at themes to be discussed at G-STIC 2018, and showcased examples of market-ready, integrated technological solutions for advancing the SDGs.
Photo by Peter Berko European NGOs Launch Campaign to Drive Progress on SDG 10
6 June 2018: At the 12th edition of the European Development Days (EDD), 25 organizations from 15 EU countries launched a campaign to raise awareness of the need for action on SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) in order for the world to achieve the SDGs. Over the next three years, the 'Fight Inequalities' campaign plans to integrate gender, climate and migration issues into focused campaigns on equality, sustainable farming and changing consumption and production patterns.
Featured Image -202 ECLAC Calls on Countries to Sign Escazú Agreement
5 June 2018: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) called on countries to sign the ‘Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in LAC,’ or the Escazú Agreement. The call was made on the occasion of World Environment Day, the theme of which, 'Beat Plastic Pollution,' reinforces that participation by society and its access to information and knowledge are critical to developing and applying policies for a pollution-free planet.
Featured Image - 171 Global Climate Action Summit Co-Chairs Urge More Carbon Disclosure, Businesses Pledge to Go Climate Neutral Now
5 June 2018: Co-Chairs of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) California Governor Jerry Brown, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Mahindra Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Anand Mahindra have challenged businesses, cities, states and regions to step up their reporting on and progress in reducing emissions ahead of the Summit. Two businesses have joined the Climate Neutral Now initiative.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth Seawalls in Tanzania Build Climate Resilience
5 June 2018: The UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment), with the Government of Tanzania, have completed large-scale coastal defense structures along the coastline of Tanzania, contributing to the country’s coastal area resilience to climate change.
Photo by Luis Del Río Camacho Portugal, Lebanon to Lead Open-ended Group on Environment Pact
4 June 2018: UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miroslav Lajcak has appointed the permanent representatives of Portugal and Lebanon to lead consultations on a global pact for the environment. The process to create the pact was initiated by France, and aims to address the challenges posed by environmental degradation in the context of sustainable development.
Photo by Arturo Rivera FAO Discusses Biodiversity Mainstreaming across Agricultural Sectors
31 May 2018: Transformative changes are needed to produce healthy and nutritious food while simultaneously safeguarding the planet's biodiversity. This was one of the messages of the 'Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Biodiversity Mainstreaming across Agricultural Sectors,' hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
Featured Image - 157 GLF Event Discusses Mitigation of Land Tenure Risks
30 May 2017: A survey carried out by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Indufor North America and the European Investment Bank uncovered six lessons on how to design investment policies and programmes that help land investors assess risks and protect the land rights of local communities.
Photo by IISD/Mike Muzurakis Co-Facilitators Appointed for 2019 Meeting on Universal Health Coverage
22 May 2018: UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miroslav Lajcak has appointed the permanent representatives of Hungary and Thailand to act as co-facilitators for preparations towards a high-level meeting on universal health coverage (UHC). The Assembly resolved, on 12 December 2017, to organize the meeting in 2019, before the end of its 74th session (Resolution 72/139).
Photo by Lynn Wagner New York Declaration on Forests Launches Community of Practice
May 2018: The Global Platform for the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF Global Platform) has launched its Community of Practice, an online platform to enhance multi-stakeholder collaboration and knowledge sharing towards achievement of the 10 NYDF goals. The platform offers a space for identifying challenges, sharing best practices, and for community users to keep abreast of current events.

G20 Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting
15 June 2018 | Bariloche, Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina
World Day to Combat Desertification 2018
17 June 2018 | Ecuador (worldwide)
Petersberg Climate Dialogue IX
17-19 June 2018 | Berlin, Germany
Green Transformation and Competitive Advantage: Evidence from Developing Countries
18-19 June 2018 | Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Regional Conference on Reducing Gender Inequalities in WASH
18-19 June 2018 | Dakar, Kaolack, Senegal
Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium
18-20 June 2018 | Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic
Adaptation Futures 2018
18-21 June 2018 | Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea
18-22 June 2018 | New York City, US
Expert Group Meeting Linking Nutrition with the SDGs
19-20 June 2018 | New York City, US
ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment 2018
19-21 June 2018 | New York City, US
ICLEI World Congress 2018
19-22 June 2018 | Montreal-Est, Quebec, Canada
21st Session of the FAO African Forestry and Wildlife Commission
19-23 June 2018 | Dakar, Kaolack, Senegal
26th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Rese...
20-21 June 2018 | Antigua, Guatemala
20-21 June 2018 | Vienna, Wien, Austria
High-Level Conference on International Decade of Water for Sustainable Development
20-22 June 2018 | Dushanbe, Kuhistoni Badakhshon, Tajikistan
VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas
20-22 June 2018 | Cartagena de Indias, Bolivar, Colombia