This year’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which convened at UN Headquarters in New York, from July 10-19, was particularly significant. Forty-three countries came forward to present their reviews of progress on promises laid out in 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – arguably the most ambitious global exercise ever to create a better life for all.
On coming to Canada as a student, it was immediately apparent that Canada and Canadians are proud of their diversity. The intent of Pierre Trudeau’s 1971 statement for a multicultural Canada in the House of Commons was shared with me in casual conversations and in the classroom alike, just as the 2015 federal elections emphasized Canada’s commitment to embracing diversity with Trudeau’s pledge to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees.
14 August 2017: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has released draft specifications for the application of the UN Framework Classification of Resources (UNFC) for public comment to facilitate the assessment of waste materials for recycling and re-use.
August 2017: The World Bank has granted financing for water infrastructure in urban growth centers in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and for integrated water resource management (IWRM) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). World Bank research projects water scarcity in areas that were formerly water-abundant, including Central Africa and East Asia, while water-scarce areas will experience more severe shortages. In the arid Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and partners are supporting Algeria, Libya and Tunisia to jointly manage scare groundwater resources.
15 August 2017: In the wake of President Trump’s announcement of the US’ intended withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change, cities around the globe continue to take the lead on tackling climate change. US cities of Orlando, Nevada City, and Nederland joined more than 40 other US cities by committing to transitioning to 100% renewable energy. In addition, UN officials have published an op-ed on climate actions in Asian cities.
15 August 2017: The Government of South Australia is taking steps to reduce the cost of electricity and improve the integration of renewable energies into its electric grid, including commissioning the world’s largest solar thermal power plant and lithium-ion battery for grid storage.
14 August 2017: The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) released the report of the Vienna Energy Forum 2017 (VEF) titled, ‘Sustainable Energy for the Implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.’ The organization also reported on its participation in a conference held as part of the Future Energy Forum, a flagship event of the Astana 2017 Expo.
10 August 2017: The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Expert Group (LEG) met to review the implementation of its 2017-2018 work programme, which advances national adaptation planning in LDCs. The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) published an op-ed by Robert Glasser, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), identifying climate change as a key driver of disasters.
10 August 2017: The member States of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have finalized a draft declaration of ethical principles in relation to climate change. The draft declaration is the result of a year of work, including the meeting of the Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) and extensive written consultations with member States.
8 August 2017: Since 23 September 2016, ten Parties have accepted the Doha Amendment, bringing the total number of ratifications to 80. The Amendment will enter into force when 144 or three-quarters of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol have submitted their instruments of acceptance to the Depositary.
August 2017: The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) has published a report on virtual trade in water, energy and food in East Asia. The report finds that China’s export strategy is affecting its own food security and degrading its environment.
August 2017: The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) in partnership with the World Bank announced that it would approve funding for up to US$2.5 million on ‘Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development.’ The Partnership announced the funding during the 2017 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
July 2017: The UN Environment Management Group (EMG) has announced plans for the third and fourth events in its nexus dialogue series. The third EMG Nexus Dialogue will focus on partnerships between the environmental and humanitarian sectors. The fourth dialogue will take place in December, alongside the third meeting of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 3), and will consider linkages between pollution and health. Pollution will also be on the UNEA 3 agenda.