Tag Archives: Post 2015

Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

By Jianguo Wu and Tong Wu

Jianguo Wu is Dean’s Distinguished Professor at the Julie Ann Wrigley global institute of Sustainability and the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, United States of America, and Founding Director of the Center for Human-Environment System Sustainability, Beijing Normal University, China. Tong Wu is research student with the ecoSERViCES group in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) proposed by the Open Working Group of the General Assembly of the United Nations recognize the importance of the natural environment and its resources to human well-being. As a whole, it is definitely a worthy charter for the twenty-first century, as it addresses the diverse challenges that we face as a global community. SDG 7—to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”—is a challenge confronting every country, that touches everyone. To understand the necessity of meeting this goal, and what is required to do so, we should unpack the statement of the goal itself. The four dimensions of SDG 7 are affordability, reliability, sustainability and modernity. These different dimensions are not mutually exclusive. They overlap, and in some cases even entail each other.

Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Consider what it means to have access to affordable energy. The heterogeneity of energy use across the world is due largely to different natural resource endowments and purchasing power. For example, a country with large coal deposits will likely make wide use of this resource to industrialize its economy. The people living within this country will likely use it as the primary means of power generation.

On the other hand, people living in places without ready stocks of fossil fuels may rely on more primitive methods of combustion, such as wood fibers or perhaps even animal dungs. Indeed, this is the condition that prevailed for the vast majority of humankind throughout its history, and continues to be the condition for many parts of the developing world. For instance, approximately 2.7 billion people (about 40 per cent of the world’s population) now rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking.1 Such low-quality fuels can be a major source of indoor air pollution. Even with the expansion of energy accessibility and economic development, the annual death toll from indoor air pollution will still be over 1.5 million people—a higher rate than that from both malaria and tuberculosis.2

As globalization continues to bind the world in deeper networks of trade, countries can augment and diversify their energy endowments by import. However, if the development level of a country is low and the costs of energy—which are increasingly determined by global financial forces—are high, then people will lack access to energy no matter how large or diverse its country’s endowment. Thus, an essential condition of affordability is raising income levels (and hence purchasing power) and controlling the impacts that impersonal economic forces operating at global levels have on the costs that people face on an everyday basis.

Affordability is meaningless, however, if energy provision is unreliable. In many parts of the developing world, energy sources are often scarce and their supply intermittent. Today, 20 per cent of the world’s population still lacks access to electricity, and a larger share suffers from persistent power failures.3 In 2012, the massive, nationwide blackout that struck India affected nearly 700 million people, paralyzing transportation and communication systems and causing an unknown number of fatalities.4 This disaster was caused not just by supply issues, but also by mismanagement and an underdeveloped energy infrastructure. Thus, basic economic activity depends on a steady supply, robust governance, and an efficient and stable distribution system. There are multiple socioeconomic dimensions of energy reliability.

Electricity, automated transportation and information technology are essential to economic development. They are also basic features of modern society, and thus energy sources and systems that meet these needs reliably and affordably can be considered as “modern”. Population growth will continue in India, sub-Saharan Africa, and other parts of the developing world. Per capita economic consumption will also increase, creating much greater demand for the services described above, and consequently for access to modern energy. Over the next quarter century, about 90 per cent of the growth in energy demand will come from countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), i.e., countries outside of the rich Western economies and Japan.5 Meeting this rising wave of energy demand will be one of the paramount challenges of the twenty-first century, and is a reason why it occupies such a central place in the SDGs. It also brings us to the final dimension of SDG 7: sustainability.

Energy should generate a consistent stream of power to meet basic human needs, maintain and improve social functioning, and advance living standards. It should also fulfill these functions as sustainably as possible—that is to say, the power generated by energy use should be much greater than the resulting waste and pollution. All sustainable energy must be modern, although not all forms of modern energy are sustainable. Coal is perhaps the most important case in point. Historically, coal has been indispensable to industrialization and the advancement of human well-being. If more of the world’s people enjoy previously unimaginable living standards today, it is in large part because of coal. Offsetting its many virtues—for instance, abundance, wide distribution, and ease of use—is a long list of serious problems, however. In an age of population growth and environmental decline, this list is still growing.

Today, coal still provides about 40 per cent of the world’s electricity and nearly the same fraction of global carbon emissions.6 Coal is also inefficient, with a low mass-to-energy ratio, and creates enormous pollution. Thus, coal is neither sustainable at the global scale because of its contribution to anthropogenic climate change, nor at the local scale because it is a threat to public health and ecological conditions (in addition to the polluting by-products of combustion, the process of coal mining creates myriad environmental problems). Given the scale of the use of coal, and the emergence of a global economy powered largely by fossil fuels, what can be done?

The SDGs

The SDGs

These are challenges that require a pragmatic, multi-faceted approach. Solutions need to be found at the global scale, where Governments and agencies must work together. International climate change agreements are the most visible fruits of such efforts. The SDGs have also helped set the tenor for cooperation and contributed to an emerging consensus on priorities. In terms of policies, the transfer of clean energy technologies to developing countries is an important example. Indeed, international climate change agreements—such as the clean development mechanism (CDM)—explicitly provide for such transfers. This is not enough, however. Solutions must also be developed locally. There is evidence that benefits from CDM, while necessary and net-positive generally, do not always reach the local level, particularly in impoverished rural areas.7 Development should be sensitive to local conditions, and identify unintended consequences of energy policies. The heedless pursuit of biofuels at the global and regional levels may result in unintended yet severe environmental degradation. The countless acres of land deforested for palm oil under- mine local well-being, and provide a stark reminder of the complexity of the energy problems that we face.

Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is integral to global development in the twenty-first century. Not all the solutions needed to meet this challenge are yet available, and those that are may not be apparent. Figuring out these solutions and aligning them across scales will be difficult. Yet the task is achievable if international organizations have sufficient vision, if Governments can work together, and if communities and individuals are offered the right incentives and the necessary means. SDG 7 is, at the very least, an important step in that direction.

Notes

1  International Energy Agency, Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal? Special early excerpt of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2010 for the UN General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals. (Paris, 2010) p. 9, 20. Available from http://www.se4all.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Special_Excerpt_of_WEo_2010.pdf.

2  International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2010 (Paris, 2010), p. 237. Available from http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/media/ weo2010.pdf.

3  International Energy Agency, Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal?, p. 9. Available from http://www.se4all.org/wp-content/ uploads/2013/09/Special_Excerpt_of_WEo_2010.pdf.

4  Helen Pidd, “India blackouts leave 700 million without power”, The Guardian, 31 July 2012. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/ world/2012/jul/31/india-blackout-electricity-power-cuts.

5  International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2011 Factsheet: How will global energy markets evolve to 2035? (Paris, 2011). Available from http://www.iea.org/media/weowebsite/factsheets/factsheets.pdf.

6  Michelle Nijhuis, “Can Coal Ever Be Clean?”, National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 225, issue 4 (April 2014), p. 30-40. Available from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/coal/nijhuis-text.

7  Srikanth Subbarao and Bob Lloyd, “Can the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Deliver?”, Energy Policy, vol. 39, issue 3 (March 2011), p. 1600-1611.

First published in the UN Chronicle, Department of Public Information, United Nations.

 

Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Rising to the Challenge: Enabling Access to Clean and Safe Water Globally
By Justin D. Brookes and Cayelan C. Carey

Justin D. Brookes is Director of the Water Research Centre at the Environment Institute, School of Biological Sciences, at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Cayelan C. Carey is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, United States of America.

Access to clean, safe and secure water resources is an essential prerequisite for communities to prosper. While access to water and sanitation is often taken for granted in developed countries, this basic right is denied to many across the globe every day.

Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Sustainable development goal (SDG) 6, as formulated by the United Nations Open Working Group, presents an ambitious, yet achievable mission for the next two decades: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” We propose that this goal can be achieved by applying four principles: 1) Separating drinking water from wastewater; 2) Accessing and treating drinking water to remove chemical and biological contaminants; 3) Protecting and restoring freshwater ecosystems; and 4) Guaranteeing water access and water rights.

1. Separating drinking water from waste water
Historically, the single biggest factor contributing to the increased longevity of humans was the separation of drinking water from waste water. Building sanitary infrastructure has enabled communities—and in turn, economies—to flourish, free from the burden of waterborne disease. Yet, today a staggering 1 billion people still do not have access to improved sanitation, in spite of the fact that it would reduce disease and infant mortality. There are many examples of successful sanitation projects in the developing world when financial resources and engineering are available. They demonstrate that it is possible to separate water for drinking from waste water in regions that traditionally have lacked this infrastructure. Although many challenges remain to ensuring adequate sanitation for all, building sanitary infrastructure is a critical step needed to achieve SDG 6.

2. Accessing and treating drinking water
Having water available at home or within short distances obviates the need to cart it from other sources, often over long distances. A direct result of greater water accessibility is a substantial increase in time available for productive work, attending school, developing a business, or raising a family. This is particularly relevant for women and children who spend significant time gaining access to water when it is not piped to their home. Ultimately, water will require treatment before drinking, but this challenge can be overcome with adequate resources for filtration and disinfection. In particular, point-of-use devices that are robust, reliable, require low maintenance and are widely available are needed to enable treatment for small drinking water systems. In tandem with principle 1 above, this will ensure there are multiple barriers to pathogens, offering greater protection to consumers.

3. Protecting and restoring freshwater ecosystems
We must also be cognizant of the relationship between ecosystem well-being and human health. Most of the world’s fresh waters have already been degraded due to unsustainable withdrawal, contaminants, climate change, nutrient pollution (eutrophication), and other human activities. The net result of human misuse and mismanagement of fresh waters is decreased water quality and inadequate quantity for consumption. Preserving and enhancing the ecological integrity of our freshwater lakes, rivers, wetlands and groundwater is critical for ensuring that pollutants and pathogens do not contaminate drinking water supplies. Functioning freshwater ecosystems have many built-in mechanisms that help naturally clean water that we need for drinking (e.g. riparian buffers that absorb stormwater run-off). As with principles 1 and 2 above, developing sanitary infrastructure is pivotal for protecting fresh waters from eutrophication, which is one of the greatest challenges to functioning freshwater ecosystems. Balancing the maintenance of natural capital and the provision of ecosystem services with development and increased productivity is the key to ensuring the future sustainability of our water resources.

4. Guaranteeing water access and water rights
Economic development inevitably requires water resources. However, it is imperative that planners and Governments are considerate of the needs of diverse water users, including communities, agriculture, industry, mining and the environment. All development and land use changes have consequences. For example, land clearing will alter river flows, increasing the risk of flooding. Similarly, deforestation will decrease evapotranspiration, reducing precipitation needed for agriculture downwind. As the need for water for agriculture and industry increases, it is critical that we develop water-sharing agreements to ensure equitable access for all water users, including the environment. These agreements will require negotiations across local, regional and national boundaries and must include participants representing all stakeholders, such as community and industry leaders, and scientists. While these discussions may be difficult, they are not impossible and will help ensure adequate water access for all.
Implementing the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda

Tremendous progress has already been made towards meeting SDG 6. As nations have become more prosperous, they have undertaken sanitation and drinking water improvement programmes. Nevertheless, the astonishing statistics regarding the number of people who still lack sanitation and access to safe drinking water emphasizes that this problem remains one of the greatest humanitarian challenges.

Leadership is required at every level to implement water reform: within the household, within municipalities and within Governments. The solutions for supplying potable water and sanitation vary depending upon the available resources, the size of the communities and the scale of the desired improvement. We advocate both “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches. Top-down water quality improvement and water allocation may appear as an imposition, but are often accompanied with more resources and provide the legislative framework necessary for sustainable development. “Bottom-up” improvement is also desirable as communities take responsibility and stewardship for the water resources and land for which they are custodians.

Education is the common prerequisite for water quality improvement. In developing nations, educating women and children in every household on the benefits of hygiene and sanitation is a fundamental first step for building awareness and implementing change. Advancing water quality in villages, towns and cities requires engineering, but also understanding of the close links between water quality and quantity, and land management. In developed nations with more advanced water treatment infrastructure, the educational focus should be on improving water sustainability and developing policies required for water reform.

Human water use across the globe is coupled with social and natural systems, both by the globalized economy, trade and capital, as well as by the global water cycle and climate systems. Therefore, local and regional water use cannot be managed in isolation. The responsibility of developed nations is not just to provide financial aid, but also to assist developing countries in building human capital with the skills necessary to improve water quality and sanitation. Developed nations can help research and advance new water treatment technologies, providing sustainable solutions for water management. Investment of time and resources to the development of low-cost, robust and reliable point-of-use devices is urgently needed.

Water reform needs to address the protection of water quality through prudent land management and the allocation of water between different users. Equitably sharing water resources between human consumers, the environment, industry, and agriculture is complex

The SDGs

The SDGs

and requires strong water governance and policy so that the needs of both upstream and downstream users are met. This is further complicated by the fact that rivers flow across local, regional and national boundaries. Integrated water-trading markets are one tool that enables water to be bought and sold as a tradable commodity. This practice, however, does not consider water for the environment, which needs protection through policy and legislation.

Conclusion

Water sustains life, but clean, safe drinking water defines civilization. Achieving SDG 6 promises dramatic improvement to the quality of life and longevity in some of the world’s poorest nations. If we declare that access to clean, safe drinking water is a basic human right, then providing the necessary education, infrastructure and support to ensure the success in achieving SDG 6 is the responsibility of us all.

Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

By Qian Tang

Qian Tang is Assistant Director-General for Education at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

A collective sigh of relief was heard from the international education community when the sustainable development goals (SDGs) proposed by the Open Working Group (OWG) of the General Assembly in July 2014 included a stand-alone goal on education.

Earlier on in the OWG process, there were genuine concerns that education might not emerge as a stand-alone goal, or that there could be a repeat of what happened in 2000 when the scope of the international agenda for education fell short of the ambition and the holistic approach set by the education community.

It was April 2000 when the world gathered in Dakar, Senegal, for the World Education Forum and adopted six Education for All (EFA) goals. It committed United Nations Member States to 1) expand early childhood care and education; 2) universalize primary education; 3) improve access to life-skill learning; 4) achieve 50 per cent improvement in adult literacy; 5) achieve gender equality; and 6) enhance the quality of education. A few months later, eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established at the United Nations. Featured among the MDGs were universal access to primary education (MDG 2) and a target on gender parity in education, as part of the goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment (MDG 3).

There is now a remarkable opportunity to provide a more aspirational vision for education in the post-2015 development agenda. Preparations began more than two years ago in 2012, when the international education community, co-led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), began a broad and intensive consultation to define the future education agenda. This extensive process culminated in the Muscat Agreement adopted at the Global EFA Meeting in Oman in May 2014, representing a shared vision of education for the future.

The global education community was reassured that the proposed SDG 4, which calls for the international community to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, was closely aligned with the proposed goal in the Muscat Agreement. Although there are some discrepancies between the targets in the Muscat Agreement and those proposed by OWG, the seven targets and three means of implementation under SDG 4 set forth an ambitious education agenda that will pave the way for a transformative and sustainable future.

As the specialized agency of the United Nations in education, UNESCO stands by the conviction that education is a fundamental human right inextricably linked to the realization of other rights. As such, it is a public good for all individuals and the foundation for human fulfilment, peace, sustainable development, gender equality and responsible global citizenship. As a catalyst for development, education is a key contributor to reducing inequality and scaling down poverty; and full access to quality education at all levels is an essential condition for accelerating progress towards the achievement of other sustainable development goals. In other words, sustainable development begins with education.

The internationally agreed education goals of EFA and the MDGs have made far-reaching gains over the past 15 years. Countries have used these goals as targets and standards to rally domestic political will to reform and improve their education systems, while donors have used them to align their development aid policies and priorities in education with the international goals and targets.

Since 2000, the international community has made tremendous progress in expanding educational opportunities and has made education and learning a reality for millions of children and adolescents. Despite rapid population growth, the number of primary school age out-of-school children dropped by 42 per cent between 2000 and 2012, with the number for girls seeing an even greater drop of 47 per cent. The number of out-of-school adolescents also reduced by 31 per cent between 1999 and 2011; while during the same period, the pre-primary education gross enrolment ratio increased from 33 to 50 per cent. Among 161 countries with data, the number of countries which achieved gender parity increased from 91 in 1999 to 101 in 2011.

These extraordinary successes demonstrate that achievable and measurable solutions are within reach, to unlock the potential in all learners and to create a prosperous, healthy, just and equitable world. The international community must build on the achievements and lessons learned over the past 15 years, while continuing to identify innovative solutions and approaches to tackle the unfinished business of the Education for All Agenda. For while we have come a long way, there are still an estimated 58 million children who are not going to school and around 100 million children who do not complete primary education. The poor quality of education at the primary level has resulted in some 250 million children leaving school without learning to read, write or count, while an estimated 782 million adults, 64 per cent of whom are women, still lack basic reading and writing skills.

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Remarks by the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Janet Rogan At the launch of Action 2015 Campaign 15 January 2015, Zingalume

The Oxfam Country Director

Members of Civil Society present

Colleagues from the media

Ladies and gentlemen

I am delighted to have been invited to address this important gathering on behalf of the UN in Zambia. This gathering is important because of the pivotal role that Civil Society Organizations play globally to enhance human development and promote human rights. Launching the Action 2015 Campaign is linking CSOs in Zambia to CSOs around the world so they can all raise their voices and together be part of making real change happen.

UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan

UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan

2015 is a very significant year. It will see the end of the Millennium Development Goals and the launch of a new set of Sustainable Development Goals to succeed them. Many of you here today will already have played a role in the dialogues that have been taking place here, and worldwide, about the Future We Want. 2015 will see three major international conferences: the first, in Addis Ababa in July on Financing the new Sustainable Development agenda; the second, in New York in September on the Sustainable Development Goals; and third, in December in Paris, the Global Climate Change Summit. Together these three major international conferences will set the international agenda on a new course up until 2030.

Today we are looking forward to that new agenda, but let us not forget the agenda that is not yet quite over. Zambia has made significant and steady progress on several Millennium Development Goals. These include primary school enrollment, which increased from 80% in 1990 to 93.7% in 2010. Zambia is also on track to achieve gender parity in primary school enrollment and in literacy among 15-24 year olds. For HIV and AIDS, the number of Zambians infected with HIV has dropped to 14.3% of the population and this figure is expected to drop further once the 2014 Demographic Health Survey data set is published.

In contrast to this progress, there are still Millennium Development Goals not yet achieved in Zambia. Poverty levels remain very high. Over 42% of Zambians are still extremely poor. There are low levels of completion at secondary school level; and continued gender inequality. Girls are particularly vulnerable – levels of early marriage and early pregnancy are at crisis point. Over 67% of the population has no access to improved sanitation facilities. Although there is still a little time for improvement in these areas before the final evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals which is underway, it is clear that these goals will not be met.

In fact, although the Millennium Development Goals will end this year, the needs which they are addressing will not. The SDGs will therefore build on the Millennium Development Goals in areas of poverty, health, hunger, illiteracy Action 2015among youth and so forth. But there will also be a focus on building peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, with access to justice for all, and building accountable and inclusive institutions. The SDGs will target the rule of law and participatory, representative, transparent and honest government at all levels. They will also address climate change, ecosystem degradation, and other environmental threats.

This wide and cross-cutting agenda is one reason why there are 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, as opposed to the 8 Millennium Development Goals and their 21 targets.

There has from the beginning been criticism that the Millennium Development Goals were introduced without enough consultation at the local level and were essentially imposed top down. So this time round, the process of designing the Sustainable Development Goals has been widely consultative, not only at the top levels of governments, but right down to the grass roots.

National consultations have been held in around 100 countries, including Zambia, reaching out to those in the poorest and most marginalized communities, who are not usually asked for their views on global agendas. Nearly 5 million people around the world have described ‘the World We Want’. In New York, there has been an Open Working Group of governments, including Zambia, which each fed in consolidated views from their country and region. Here in Zambia consultations around the country showed people’s priorities to be:

  1. quality education with life skills
  2. better health care
  3. equality of income, gender, access and opportunity
  4. better job opportunities and an enabling business environment
  5. an honest and responsive government
  6. eradication of poverty
  7. access to clean water

These are complex, qualitative goals and they show that people themselves are looking for change in the way that development is designed and delivered. They want development pathways that are cross-cutting, meaningful and sustainable; that speak to quality of services not just numbers of services provided.

For example, it is a good first step to ensure that all children have access to schooling. But are they leaving school with qualifications and skills that enable them to get a job? Sustainable development is about inclusivity, quality, and progress. There are on-going consultations led by the UN system on what it will take to implement this wide and ambitious Sustainable Development agenda. Apart from governments, there will need to be engagement of civil society, academia, communities themselves, to translate the global agenda into local action. There will be a need to invest in governance capacity, to involve the private sector, to engage local people to monitor progress actively including at the local level. All governments will be held to account by their people for progress in sustainable development in their country.

So what does the post-2015 sustainable development agenda mean for CSOs in Zambia? 2015 is the year of debate and decision on the 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Conference in September will adopt the new set of SDGs. So there is still time to feed into the global debate views from the local level here. The Zambian government has taken a leading role in the global debate and design of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. So the first thing you can do as CSOs is to engage with the government as it participates at the global level by mobilizing debate and helping people at the local level to articulate clearly their concerns and priorities.

The second thing you can do is to start already to think about how the new Sustainable Development Goals should be localized into meaningful ambitious Sustainable Development Goals for Zambia. The same process happened for the Millennium Development Goals: the top level global targets were each localized into targets for each country, relevant to local circumstances. The third thing you can do is prepare to engage with the government, the UN and other development partners as we start to implement sustainable development programmes in the future. Development is not a one-way street. It is not something that should be done by governments or international organizations to people. It needs the participation of people in the process. It needs regular feedback on how it is going – is all that activity actually making a real and desired difference to people’s lives? CSOs have a key role to play in helping bring about that dialogue throughout a development programme – from the very outset, determining local needs and priorities; and all the way through the implementation process, including evaluation of how effective it was at the end.

Let me end on a youthful note. Those who will be particularly affected by what we do in the Sustainable Development agenda are the youth. Children in high school today will be in their 30s in 2030, which is the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals. They will have families of their own, who need to be fed, clothed, educated, employed and treated when they fall sick. If governments, with the support of international organizations, deliver on the Sustainable Development agenda to create the world that people have told us they want, then that world in 2030 will be a very different place and it will Leave No-one Behind. In 2015, the UN in Zambia will intensify our outreach to Zambian youth to make sure that we hear their voice. I encourage all CSOs, and particularly those involving the youth, to be a part of sustainable development, to raise your voices. The Action 2015 Campaign is a great place to start!

THE SECRETARY- GENERAL — MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY 9 December 2014

 

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Corruption is a global phenomenon that strikes hardest at the poor, hinders inclusive economic growth and robs essential services of badly needed funds. From cradle to grave, millions are touched by corruption’s shadow.

On this year’s observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day, we call again on people everywhere to get involved in “Breaking the Corruption Chain”.

Next year the world will agree a new post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Our aim is to empower individuals and catalyse governments, the private sector and civil society to help lift millions out of poverty, protect the planet and achieve shared prosperity and dignity for all. Eliminating corruption and its harmful impacts will be crucial to our future well-being.

To dismantle corruption’s high walls, I urge every nation to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Corruption. Its ground breaking measures in the areas of prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery have made important inroads, but there is much more to do. Public services must uphold the highest standards of integrity and ensure that appointments are driven by merit. Public servants, as well as elected officials, must be guided by ethics, transparency and accountability.

The private sector also has a crucial role. Good behaviour is good business. Business groups can convert anti-corruption action into firm support for sustainable development.

I call on everyone to help end corruption, and come together for global fairness and equity. The world and its people can no longer afford, nor tolerate, corruption.

The UN in Zambia holds Discussion Forums and road shows on the Post-2015 Development Agenda June 22- June 28, 2014

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) addressed the fact that not enough recognition had been given to some of the world’s main development challenges: poverty reduction, education,

Outreach through edutainment.

Outreach through edutainment.

maternal health, gender equality, child mortality, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The MDGs were instrumental in mobilizing the international development community around simple, clear and measurable goals. Shortfalls however, have occurred not because the MDGs are unreachable, or because time is too short, but due to unmet commitments, inadequate resources and a lack of focus and accountability. Now with a fast-approaching deadline to achieve MDGs by 2015, a strong consensus is now emerging on the need for a bold and inspiring ‘Post-2015 Development Agenda’ that is measurable in both theory and practice, for effective implementation, monitoring and accountability of development delivery.

The first round of the global consultations in 2013, including in Zambia, were focused on the issues to be included in the Post 2015 Agenda, hence addressed the “what”. The dialogue organized under the auspices of the UN Country Team, ensured an active engagement of the government representatives, policy makers, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and young people across Zambia, with results which put Quality Education as the number one priority. This outcome saw the education sector get a boost in budget for 2014, and also guided the Zambia’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) to form a task-team to work further on preparing the country’s vision/position on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The task-team comprises the Government of Republic of Zambia, private sector, civil society and the UN. Globally, the national consultations provided substantive inputs to the Post-2015 processes, influencing key reports such as the SG’s High Level Panel on Post-2015 and the SG’s report on the MDGs and the Post-2015 Agenda: A Life of Dignity for All.

The initiative is now in its second round, focusing more on concrete ways of making the Post 2015 Agenda a reality by addressing the “How”. Continuing an inclusive dialogue on Post-2015 is an appeal by many young Zambians, who expressed a strong desire for continued avenues for consultation and engagement. It is also the mandate given to the UN by Member States; the Outcome Document of the UNGA68 Special Event on the MDGs and Post-2015 states: “In arriving at an inclusive and people-centered Post-2015 Development Agenda, we look forward to a transparent intergovernmental process which will include inputs from all stakeholders including civil society, scientific and knowledge institutions, parliaments, local authorities, and the private sector as governments count on the strong support of the UN system throughout all of its work.

The United Nations in Zambia conducted a district wide consultative dialogue program on the Post 2015 Development agenda from June 22, 2014 to June 28, 2014. Under the roadshows and the dialogues 5000 people from different representations took part in the Participatory, Monitoring and Accountability dialogues which included Civil society groups, senior government officers, high schools and communities in Kitwe, Ndola and Kabwe

These meeting are in line with the first round of consultation on post-2015 Agenda undertaken last year which focused on the issues to be included in the post-2015 agenda highlighting the need for better health facilities, more employment opportunities , a more responsive and caring government among other issues hence it addressed the ‘what’.
However, the second round of discussion was focused more on concrete ways of making the post-2015 Agenda a reality by addressing the ‘How’, therefore through the discussions with the different stakeholders answers would be provided. The groups answered a set of questions as a way of trying to find out their level of participation in the development agenda, it was discovered that many of the people are never consulted in the development agenda as a result felt left out, this in the process made it difficult for them monitor and make their leaders accountable with the various resources entrusted to them.

In the discussion with CSOs many issues emerged they alluded to the fact that they knew about the existence of development plans, but they never got involved in the process this made it difficult for them to participate in monitoring all developmental projects and plans. They also lacked information on development plans and projects and therefore, they could not give feedback to the government. They reiterated that there was need by the government to involve the civil society development plans and to engage participatory governance. A bottom up kind of flow of information would motivate people’s participation in local debate and this would provide effective monitoring and accountability.

Regarding the Millennium Development Goals, most of the youth talked to were unfamiliar with the MDGs and their wider implications in national development. Most young people think the MDGs are for the United Nations and the government and by extension didn’t know who is responsible for achieving the MDGs. The youth pointed out that Government should therefore create a platform for consultation on developmental issues among the youth in order for them to be actively involved in molding the future because participatory monitoring and accountability is the only tool that is able to push for policy change in the way implementation of developmental projects are done.

The parliamentarians and councilors during their own deliberations, said although they were aware of the district plans they did not know them and were not actively involved in the process of planning, other than the implementation stage. They agreed that information should be made available to all stakeholders to foster development; the availability of information enables the stakeholders and key policy makers to give necessary feedback on the matters of development and the plans for development.

In order to achieve the ‘How’ of the post -2015 agenda, the challenges that are being faced should be resolved. All stakeholders should be actively involved the development planning as well as the developmental projects and should not see the Post-2015 Agenda as independent of their core business but must be their core business; young people should change their views and start seeing themselves as changers and key contributors to national development. There must be available data on MDGs as well as the Post-2015 Agenda readily available for all and all stakeholders must be well educated on the matter at hand in order for them the participatory monitoring and accountability to work. It is widely acknowledged that participatory, monitoring and accountability can bring a comparative advantage in undertaking developmental projects relating to providing inclusive and transparent practices which will change habits and promote monitoring of developmental projects.

The UN Zambia in celebrates 68 years of existence

The UN in Zambia celebrated 68 years of existence with a string of activities from October 18 to 29th 2013. Under the UN4U umbrella a discussion was organized and conducted at the University of Zambia, Great East Road Campus.

UN Concert: LtoR Second Lady Charlotte Scott, UN Resident Coordinator Kanni Wignaraja and First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, sing the theme song for the concert "Youth Arise"

UN Concert: LtoR Second Lady Charlotte Scott, UN Resident Coordinator Kanni Wignaraja and First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, sing the theme song for the concert “Youth Arise”

The UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Ms. Kanni Wignaraja had a discussion with 300 students on the work of the United Nations, Post 2015 Campaign and Acceleration of the MDGs and the signature issues for 2014-2015 in Zambia under the themes “state of inequalities” and “the condition of young people” all focusing on the youth on Oct 18, 2013. Bulk sms was also used to inform the general public on this significant day in the United Nations by reaching out to 100, 000 mobile subscribers who received some “did you know” facts about the UN.

A free concert was organized at the Barclays Sports Complex that was graced by the first lady Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata and second lady Ms. Charlotte Scott. The concert was dubbed “A young Zambia Arise”. Some of Zambia’s renowned artists performed and educated the mostly youthful audience on the MDGs and post 2015 agenda as a way of raising awareness, about 500 people attended the free concert.

A formal event took place at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel on October 29, 2013, with the UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway; the Vice President of Republic of Zambia, Dr Guy Scott, M.P; the First President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda; the First Lady, Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata; Chiefteness Nkomeshya, the Guest of Honor the Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Wilbur Simuusa; Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and senior government officials present, the High Commissioners and Ambassadors and other cooperating partners of the UN where also in attendance.

In his remarks the Crown Prince expressed his gratitude at the work that the UN is doing in Zambia and the strides it is making through the various partnerships with government and other cooperating partners, he also reaffirmed

his country’s continued support to the United Nations and the Republic of Zambia.

The out-going Resident Coordinator Ms. Kanni Wignaraja gave a special thanks to the Government and the People of Zambia for their unwavering commitment and support to the United Nations and for its resilience in shaping the future it wants. 250 guest were in attendance.