Chris Dickens, International Water Management Institute (IWMI); and Vladimir Smakhtin, UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH); and Matthew McCartney, International Water Management Institute Southeast Asia (IWMI-SEA); and Gordon O’Brien, School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, University of Mpumalanga, South Africa; and Lula Dahir, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
The uptake of the SDGs at the global level has been a momentous process, with frenetic activity at the UN level matched by many countries that are serious about SDG monitoring. However, there is a glaring issue that seems to be bypassing most concerned, which relates to the different requirements of global versus national monitoring and to the need, at the local level, to balance the use and protection of natural resources, so that the global aspiration for sustainability can be achieved.
Malawi has some of the highest HIV rates in the world, with 10,000 children dying from it yearly. Maternal mortality rates are at 634 deaths per 100,000 live births, and mortality under five years old is at 0.64%. Getting people tested and delivering medicine is a challenge given that over 80% of the population live in rural areas characterized by bad terrain and poor or non-existent road networks. Floods during rainy season completely cut off road networks, making it very hard for health services to reach remote areas.
6 February 2019: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has identified several trends related to scaling up corporate action on the SDGs, drawing attention to developments that will have important implications for business throughout the “pivotal year” of 2019. Author James Gomme suggests that business consider the themes to help them focus and prioritize their SDG-related work.
13 February 2019: The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth, introduced its ‘SDG Help Desk’ in a webinar. The SDG Help Desk features a knowledge hub, data portals, topics related to technical assistance, a community of practice and toolboxes.
12 February 2019: The National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network has issued publications outlining the role of the NAP process in advancing adaptation goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, supporting national monitoring and evaluation for climate change adaptation in Colombia and Uganda, and assessing the role of integrated vulnerability assessments in the NAP process in the Pacific.
12 February 2019: The UN’s programme of action for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) will be reviewed at the end of 2019, and preparatory initiatives and events are underway at the national, regional and global levels. Senior government officials and experts from LLDCs, transit developing countries and development partners met in Bangkok, Thailand, for the first of three regional meetings scheduled in the lead-up to the midterm review on the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA).
8 February 2019: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a technical paper that aims to support improved understanding and measurement of aquaculture and fisheries’ contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). SDG 14 (life below water) includes an indicator that intends to measure the value of sustainable fisheries.
7 February 2019: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO) and the European Commission (EC) launched MSPglobal, a maritime spatial planning project. The three-year project aims to develop international guidelines on maritime spatial planning and support regulation of activities in coastal and marine waters as a contribution to achieving ocean governance goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
31 January 2019: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated the additional amount that governments need to spend in order to make “meaningful progress” on the SDGs. The study’s authors recommend that countries increase tax collection as the first step, while acknowledging that, for low-income countries, this will not be sufficient to fill the financing gap.
22 January 2019: The World Economic Forum (WEF), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) and others have launched an initiative to break down barriers to public-private data collaboration. The Contracts for Data Collaboration (C4DC) initiative aims to address the inefficiencies of developing contractual agreements for such collaboration, and thus unlock privately processed data needed to address challenges.