Events during February 2019 are laying the groundwork for the year ahead on issues related to SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 15 (life on land), and the principle of leaving no one behind.
While major sustainable development meetings are not traditionally scheduled for the month of February, the shortest month of the year often finds key constituencies coordinating and collaborating with an eye to moving the sustainable development agenda forward. Events during February 2019 are laying the groundwork for the year ahead on issues related to SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 15 (life on land), and the principle of leaving no one behind.
The month kicked off with the 30th UN-Water Meeting. Participants considered the results of a consultation process on the ‘SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation,’ which reviewed global progress towards SDG 6 and was an input to the 2018 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). They also prepared for World Water Day 2019 and World Toilet Day 2019, on 22 March and 19 November, respectively, both of which will focus on the theme, ‘Leaving No One Behind.’ The meeting also discussed the upcoming release of the World Water Development Report 2019, which takes on the same theme and was developed through a collaborative process among UN agencies and partners. IISD RS coverage of the UN-Water Meeting is available here.
These meetings’ focus on leaving no one behind is consistent with the next HLPF session, which will convene in July 2019 on the theme of ‘Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality.’ Among the SDGs that the HLPF will review in July is SDG 10 (reduced inequalities). Formal preparations for that review will take place in March in Ghana at an expert group meeting on the topic. Later in February, the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) will hold a high-level debate on international migration and development, to inform the HLPF’s review of migration-related Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda. Information sharing and best practices for governance are on the agenda at the World Government Summit.
Working towards July, the emphasis on social equality is also on the agenda at the 57th session of the UN’s Commission for Social Development (CSocD57), convening in New York, US, from 11-21 February. This year’s meeting will have the theme, ‘Addressing Inequalities and Challenges to Social Inclusion through Fiscal, Wage and Social Protection Policies.’
At the beginning of February, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed that 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 were the four warmest years on record, and warned of extreme, high-impact weather in the first months of 2019. UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted these data with concern, and stressed the need to “significantly increase the global level of climate action and ambition” ahead of the UN 2019 Climate Summit on 23 September. Climate change-related meetings taking place in February will convene against the backdrop of this renewed sense of urgency.
The World Symposium on Climate Change and Tourism will focus on the impacts of climate change on the tourism industry and discuss possible responses in order to reduce its vulnerability. The HFLD Conference on Climate Finance Mobilization will discuss climate finance mechanisms available to high forest cover, low deforestation (HFLD) countries. Towards the end of the month, we will be closely watching the 22nd meeting of the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is its first meeting in 2019, following the launch of its first replenishment in October 2018.
Clean finance is among the “mega themes” of this year’s World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) in New Delhi, India, which is the annual flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). Other mega themes include clean oceans, energy transitions and sustainable agriculture.
The 17th session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA 17) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) will convene from 18-22 February. It is expected to address a series of sectoral and cross-sectoral issues of relevance to genetic resources for food and agriculture, including: finalization and endorsement of explanatory notes for the Commission’s Elements to Facilitate Domestic Implementation of Access and Benefit-sharing for Different Sub-sectors of GRFA; and discussion of how to address the implications of the use of digital sequencing information for the conservation of GRFA. The meeting is also expected to launch reports on the State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture and the State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The IISD RS coverage of the event will be available here.
Elena Kosolapova, Faye Leone and Lynn Wagner