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Karen Sack, Managing Director, Ocean Unite Nathalie Rey, Engagement and Policy Specialist, Ocean Unite​
2017: A Year for Ocean Conservation Decisions, Action and Accountability - Because the Ocean is Everybody’s Business
Karen Sack, Managing Director, Ocean Unite; and Nathalie Rey, Engagement and Policy Specialist, Ocean Unite​
For the Ocean, 2016 was a remarkable year. There was: record marine protection in the Pacific, the Antarctic and the Atlantic; new international trade protection for several shark and ray species; and there were new treaties entering into force to fight illegal fishing and climate change. Negotiations started towards a new UN treaty to protect high seas marine life; and marine protected area (MPA) commitments exceeded more than 6% of ocean real estate, globally. Many NGOs and governments upped their ambition by supporting the strong protection of at least 30% of the ocean by 2030 at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, and philanthropic investments in ocean conservation were boosted by over US$5 billion.
Manoel Sobral Filho, Director, UN Forum on Forests Secretariat
Investing in Sustainably Managed Forests Offers Energy Solutions Now and in the Future
Manoel Sobral Filho, Director, UN Forum on Forests Secretariat
Forests and trees populated our planet long before we came into existence. At the end of the last great ice age 10,000 years ago, forests covered 6 billion hectares -- or 45% of the Earth’s land area. In the last five thousand years, 1.8 billion hectares of forests have disappeared from the face of the Earth. The majority of this loss -- about 1.4 billion hectares -- has occurred in the last 300 years.
Eva Müller, Director, Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Forests and Energy: Using Wood to Fuel a Sustainable, Green Economy
Eva Müller, Director, Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The next time a sleek sports car streaks past you on the highway or a jet aircraft roars overhead, think about this: a world where these are fueled by wood.

Faye Leone, Content Editor, SDGs and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (US)
The 2030 Agenda’s “Missing Piece”: Update on SDG Indicators
Faye Leone, Content Editor, SDGs and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (US)
Creating the indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a historic challenge on par with creating statistics to measure post-war recovery in the 1950s and environmental indicators in the 1990s. This was among the reflections expressed during the UN Statistical Commission’s (UNSC) celebration of its 70th anniversary earlier this month. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) placed this challenge on the UNSC’s agenda when it adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. Has the Commission fulfilled this once-in-a-generation task?

UN Photo/Marco Dormino International Community Mobilizes Response to Hunger Crises in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen
March 2017: In past weeks, the UN family of organizations, governments and partners have stressed the need to respond to evolving hunger crises in north-east Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, with UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealing to the international community to take “decisive action” and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien calling the situation the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN. This update provides an overview of events and responses by the international community to famine threatening the lives and development of millions in fragile countries.
UN Photo/Manuel Elías ECOSOC President Provides Updates on HLPF Preparations
17 March 2017: The President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, updated UN Member States and other stakeholders on preparations for several ECOSOC meetings and segments taking place from April to July 2017. Shava said he will make an announcement soon on the nomination of two co-facilitators to lead informal consultations on a draft text for the Joint Ministerial Declaration of the 2017 sessions of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and ECOSOC High-level Segment.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Pamela Chasek Online Platform Launched for VNRs
17 March 2017: The Division for Sustainable Development of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) launched an online platform for the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Featuring a designated country page for each government that participates in the VNR, the platform indicates that six countries have already signed up to present reports in 2018.

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas Governments Consult on Ocean Call for Action
22 March 2017: UN Member States exchanged views on the zero draft of the ‘Call for Action’ of the UN Ocean Conference. Conducting a first reading on 20-21 March and discussing it further on 22 March, governments generally favored the draft as an accurate and balanced reflection of the discussions that took place during a preparatory meeting for the Conference, held in February. A revised draft will be prepared ahead of another round of consultations to be held in late April.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe HDR 2016 Highlights Disadvantaged Groups, Uneven Development Progress
21 March 2017: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) released the 2016 Human Development Report (HDR), finding that human development progress remains uneven, with women, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples facing systemic discrimination and exclusion as a result of economic, political, social and cultural barriers. The report stresses the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to build on development gains and ensure sustainable human development for all.
Featured Image - 93 Mitigation Update: Agriculture and Soil Management in the Spotlight
21 March 2017: Recent news has put agriculture and soil management in the spotlight, as soil is shown as a crucial carbon reservoir, and agriculture is responsible for a significant share of New Zealand’s emissions. This Update features these and other developments, that relate to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 (climate action).
UN Photo/Eva Fendiaspara International Day Highlights Linkages Between Forests and Energy
21 March 2017: The International Day of Forests was celebrated on 21 March 2017 under the theme ‘Forests and Energy.’ Of particular relevance to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and specifically Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 15 (Life on Land) and SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), the theme of the 2017 celebration aimed to increase awareness of forest-energy interconnections and strengthen engagement between forest and energy practitioners and policy-makers.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth UNGA, UNFCCC Convening Action Event with 2020 Focus
20 March 2017: UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson released the concept note and updated programme for the High-level Action Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda, which he is convening in collaboration with Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
ENVIRONMENT-AIR POLLUTION G20 Foreign, Finance Ministers Prepare for July Summit
18 March 2017: The Group of 20 (G20) continues to convene meetings of ministers from the largest economies in the world. Coming on the heels of the agriculture ministers' meeting that produced an action plan with references to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including on water (SDG 6), climate (SDG 13) and food security (SDG 2), the latest ministers’ meetings have had variable records on their engagement with the 2030 Agenda.
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas Input Invited for Ocean Dialogue Concept Papers
17 March 2017: In advance of the upcoming Ocean Conference, the UN invited Member States and other stakeholders to submit inputs for concept papers on the themes of the Conference’s seven partnership dialogues. Also in preparation for the Conference, a Regional Preparatory Meeting took place for Pacific countries.
Featured Image - 117 Private Sector Evaluates SDG Progress
16 March 2017: GlobeScan and SustainAbility released a survey on corporate responses to and perceptions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Harvard Business Review has published recommendations on how corporations can prioritize their efforts to support the SDGs. In February, GSMA, which represents mobile operators, launched the ‘Big Data for Social Good’ initiative to leverage the capabilities of mobile operators to address humanitarian crises, with an initial focus on epidemics and natural disasters.
UN Photo/Gill Fickling US Joins International Seed Treaty as Countries Support ITPGR and IPPC, and Overnutrition Confronts Europe, Central Asia
March 2017: As the US officially joins the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), several countries have made contributions to the ITPGR, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and other bodies addressing food safety and animal welfare.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth CSOs Report on Accountability in 2030 Agenda
6 March 2017: The German Development Institute (DIE) has released reports on aid effectiveness and accountability, while the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) reported on an expert group meeting between the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development (IATF) and Member States. Civicus, Citiscope and Avaaz issued inputs on citizen participation and data related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth ITPGR Working Group Discusses Options to Enhance Benefit Sharing
17 March 2017: An intersessional working group under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) met in Rome, Italy, to continue discussing options for enhanced benefit-sharing regarding the use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Participants discussed, among other issues, a draft for a revised Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA).
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth IRP Stresses Improved Resource Efficiency to Achieve Global Goals
16 March 2017: More efficient resource use could yield US$2 trillion in annual benefits for the global economy by 2050, according to the report 'Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications' launched by the International Resource Panel (IRP) of UN Environment.
UN Photo/Evan Schneider South African Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub Launched
16 March 2017: The South African Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub (SA SD KH), which serves to connect African policy makers and development partners with research related to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, was launched at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth Capacity Building and Technology Update: Initiatives Enhance National Adaptation Planning, Low-Carbon Maritime Shipping
8 March 2017: In preparation for the Bonn Climate Change Conference, which is scheduled to take pace in May, the UNFCCC Secretariat released several capacity building and technology-related publications. Capacity building initiatives of the past few weeks focused on a broad range of issues, including national adaptation planning, agriculture and development of low-carbon technologies in maritime shipping.

CSW 61
13-24 March 2017 | New York City, US
Webinar: Satellite Derived Annual PM2.5 Data Sets in Support of the SDGs
15-29 March 2017 | virtual
18th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty
20-24 March 2017 | Washington D.C., US
Fifth Mediterranean Forest Week
20-24 March 2017 | Agadir, Laayoune, Morocco
Sixth Meeting of the Negotiating Committee - Principle 10
20-24 March 2017 | Brasilia, Distrito Federal, Brazil
Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon
21-23 March 2017 | Rome, Lazio, Italy
5th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism
21-24 March 2017 | Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Local Climate Solutions for Africa (LoCS4Africa) 2017 Congress and Interactive Expo
22-24 March 2017 | Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda
23 March 2017 | New York City, US
World Meteorological Day
23 March 2017 | worldwide
Annual Ministerial Conference of UNECA and AUC
23-28 March 2017 | Dakar, Kaolack, Senegal
2017 European Union Summit
25 March 2017 | Rome, Lazio, Italy
EGM on MGoS Engagement in National Reviews and Partners for Review Meeting
25-28 March 2017 | Bogota, Distrito Especial, Colombia
FCPF Twenty-third Participants Committee Meeting
27 March 2017 | Washington D.C., US
World Energy Outlook 2017: High-level Workshop on Energy and Development
27 March 2017 | Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Second Partnership for Action on Green Economy Ministerial Conference
27-28 March 2017 | Berlin, Germany