Leaders addressing the 73rd UN General Assembly (UNGA 73) in September and October 2018 drew attention to the importance of multilateral efforts, linking multilateralism to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Bringing the annual general debate to a close on 1 October, UNGA President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés observed that sustainable development and climate change were the most frequently mentioned topics. This policy brief summarizes the main messages raised by UN Member States in the six-day debate.
This week’s brief reviews papers on a set of interrelated topics, each of which also can enable SDG achievement on their own as well: data; blockchain; technology in general; finance; good governance; and “transformational action.”
26 October 2018: Delegates in the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial) underscored the need to strengthen UN regional commissions’ role in SDG implementation, during the Committee’s annual meeting with the heads of the five commissions. The representatives highlighted regional challenges to SDGs implementation, including climate change, debt, natural disasters, and lack of inclusivity in economic growth.
25 October 2018: A research paper published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) suggests that the UN High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) is in danger of being “victim to its own success” if it cannot fulfill the high expectations of its role. Author Marianne Beisheim, SWP, adds that the Forum will only generate real added value if preparatory processes ensure that UN Member States discuss relevant findings at meetings, and translate them into productive policy decisions.
25 October 2018: During the month of October, we saw the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) approve new grant funding windows as well as funding of new projects in the African, Indian Ocean and Eastern Europe regions. Specifically, the project funding will benefit Armenia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Togo as well as Mauritius and Seychelles. Reports examined the future of the Adaptation Fund under the Paris Agreement on climate change. The World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) announced support for building resilience to weather-related shocks in Dominica and the Bahamas.
26 October 2018: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) and the European Commission (EC) have launched a coalition of aquariums to combat marine plastic pollution and raise awareness on the world’s oceans. The organizations announced the coalition at the fifth edition of the Our Ocean Conference.
24 October 2018: At the opening of the Eye on Earth (EoE) Symposium 2018, Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary-General, Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) and host of the EoE Network Coordination Unit, highlighted information-related obstacles to sustainable development, and the Symposium’s aim of addressing them based on the principle of free, open and accessible data that contributes to the 2030 Agenda. Participants at the Symposium discussed a number of data-based initiatives that contribute to SDG monitoring.
24 October 2018: The financing for the data agenda has gained visibility over the past five years, but only 56 of the 102 countries with statistical plans have secured adequate financing to implement them, according to a report prepared by PARIS21. In addition, it finds that available information on domestic support for statistics remains a challenge in many developing countries.
16 October 2018: The UN General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) held a side event in New York, US, on the topic of ‘Infrastructure and sustainable development: making infrastructure investments work for women and girls.’
16 October 2018: UN Member States met in New York, US, in the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee to continue their two-day debate on sustainable development. The discussion addressed the 2030 Agenda, SIDS, disaster risk reduction, the rights of future people, desertification, biological diversity, harmony with nature, renewable energy, sand and dust storms, and radiation threats.
15 October 2018: UN Member States addressed sustainable development topics including the SAMOA Pathway and Mauritius Strategy, developing states, disaster risk reduction, climate for future generations, desertification, biological diversity, reports, energy, sand and dust storms, and the radiation threat in Central Asia during a recent debate in the UN General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial).