Speaking at the London School of Economics in April, World Bank President Jim Kim laid out a new strategic direction for development finance: he called on the development community to find win-win outcomes by connecting capital seeking reasonable returns with developing countries’ needs to maximize sustainable investments.
The United Nations System will focus on supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next 13 years. In doing so, the UN system will be able to draw on the wealth of specialized technical, normative and operational capacity, and services to support Member States on specific aspects of sustainable development that it has developed over recent decades.
27 June 2017: The countries participating in the 2017 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) have adopted various measures related to SDG implementation, related to institutional arrangements, monitoring, financing, accountability, integration in planning and legislative documents, localization and inclusion. Those measures are outlined in the participating countries’ “main messages,” which have been posted on the website for the 2017 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
22 June 2017: Meeting for the 12th Metropolis World Congress and the 37th General Assembly of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (l’Association Internationale des Maires Francophones or AIMF), almost 140 mayors of the world’s largest cities issued a ‘Montréal Declaration: Cities in the Vanguard to Address Local and Global Issues and Implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.’
23 June 2017: In order to prevent and end trafficking in persons, the 2030 Agenda must be implemented, said representatives of governments, civil society, UN agencies and academia, who also stressed the need to leverage global efforts to take advantage of the SDGs. Multi-stakeholder participants gathered for a one-day informal interactive hearing convened by the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in preparation for a High-Level Meeting (HLM) on the Appraisal of 2010’s UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
21 June 2017: Environmental assessments can help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and address climate change, thereby contributing to SDG 13 (climate action), in particular, according to a declaration adopted during a meeting on transboundary environmental assessments.
23 June 2017: The UN Public Service Forum recognized institutions from 11 countries for their innovation and excellence in providing public services in support of SDG implementation. The Forum highlighted innovative initiatives by public institutions to address challenges encountered in implementing the SDGs.
23 June 2017: The 5th session of the Plenary Assembly of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) agreed to launch the Global Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC) Map at this year’s World Soil Day celebrations on 5 December. The GSOC Map seeks to contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3 on land degradation neutrality, specifically by indicator 15.3.1, which measures the proportion of degraded land over the total land area.
22 June 2017: UN Member States held the third informal thematic session in preparation for the global compact on migration, while EU officials discussed managing population flows into Europe. The UN Statistics Division considered how to capture “migratory status” in population research, to better monitor action toward migration-related commitments in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
22 June 2017: Since President Trump’s announcement of US’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change on 1 June 2017, US cities, federal states, subnational entities and other relevant stakeholders have demonstrated commitment to climate action and reaffirmed their intention to uphold the Paris Agreement.
22 June 2017: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) enhanced its collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Kyoto University, Japan, on responding to climate variability and climate change impacts on food security, among others.
22 June 2017: Electric trains are among the forms of public transport with the lowest emissions, and their emissions can be reduced even further if some or all the electricity powering the trains and their auxiliaries is generated from renewable sources. Recent announcements from India and Chile show that developments in this direction are underway.
22 June 2017: Natural Gas is often cited as a “bridge” technology to reduce emissions of electricity generation until zero-emission technologies become viable. However, a report by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) warns that investing in natural gas infrastructure could risk locking-in emissions and delaying the transition towards a carbon-free power sector.
22 June 2017: Financial institutions should be interested in deploying capital into energy efficiency as it brings the following advantages: business opportunities, risk reduction, corporate social responsibility, and reduced regulatory pressure. These are some of arguments made in the ‘EEFIG Underwriting Toolkit,’ launched by the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) and UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
19 June 2017: A number of companies are undertaking efforts to help improve educational opportunities for children and economic opportunities for youth, thereby helping to achieve SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals), among others.
20 June 2017: Over the past few weeks, the UNFCCC Secretariat released nine reports on the individual review of the annual submissions by developed country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol submitted in 2015 and/or 2016, as well as two reports on the review of the reports to facilitate the calculation of the assigned amount for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (CP2). In addition, the Secretariat issued 33 status reports of the annual inventories for 2017.
19 June 2017: According to the UN Secretary General’s Report on Progress towards the SDGs, progress in every area of sustainable energy falls short of what is needed to achieve energy access for all and to meet targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Recent events and energy infrastructure investments announced by the World Bank show that efforts are underway to accelerate implementation of SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy).
19 June 2017: Recent briefings to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on peace-related issues have addressed the importance of coordinated, coherent approaches to peace and development. UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Chair Cho Tae-yul highlighted coherence, transparency and collaboration as key priorities for the Commission’s upcoming session, while the UN Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet recommended institutionalized approaches to joint planning and financing for African Union (AU) peace support operations.
16 June 2017: Recent initiatives in the field of adaptation and loss and damage brought into the spotlight climate change adaptation in Asia, particularly in the agriculture sector.
14 June 2017: An Expert Group Meeting convened by the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) endorsed the conclusions of a study exploring ethnic-based land conflicts in Africa. Participants called for the establishment of a high-level panel on land and development to help address peace and security issues in an integrated way.
13 June 2017: Businesses are prioritizing corporate social responsibility and opposing the decision taken by the US to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to recent updates. Around 82% of S&P 500 companies published corporate sustainability reports in 2016, according to the Governance and Accountability (G&A) Institute, up from 20% in 2011 and 72% in 2013.
5 June 2017: UN Environment is encouraging all concerned to make individual pledges to protect the earth’s water resources, through its joint campaign with a private US-based foundation, the Wyland Foundation. The two partners launched the Wyland World Water Pledge at the start of the UN Ocean Conference that took place in New York, US, from 5-9 June 2017. The launch also marked the beginning of their joint partnership to protect marine resources through UN Environment’s Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA).
June 2017: Private companies continue to announce support for Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water) implementation. Albertsons Companies and Calysta are the latest to relay how they will help the international community meet targets on oceans. Their initiatives focus on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, in particular, and join announcements from other industry players like Dell, Adidas and the New Plastics Economy, which address marine plastic pollution.
June 2017: The China-UN Peace and Development Trust Fund and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have launched land restoration initiatives that may also help countries progress towards sustainable energy, agriculture and water management. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) is supporting the conversion of desert to cultivable land in Egypt, while the China-UN Peace and Development Trust Fund launched a project on Juncao Technology that could be tailored to countries’ needs across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.