Tag Archives: SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals: a learning process for private sector, local authorities, the youth and Librarians in the country.

The United Nations Youth Association of Zambia, Chingola Chapter organized a series of discussions on the SDGs with focus on Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in Chingola, while the other was organized through the Library Association of Zambia (LIAZ). These discussions took place from June 18 through July 21, 2016 at Icon Hotel in Chingola and Fatmols Executive Lodge in Ndola respectively.

The SDGs

The SDGs

The first discussion had youths from different backgrounds in attendance, including students at tertiary level and those in both formal and informal business. During this session they were given a general overview of the SDGs and specific information on goal 11 and its impact on the city of Chingola was given by Charles Nonde, Team Assistant UNIC Lusaka.

Mr, Zulu, Director of Planning at the Chingola City Council, shared some insight in the practical things that the council is doing in realizing SDG 11. He said that the council has partnered with UNEP and will be constructing an energy efficient and sustainable building in the centre of Chingola that will act as a show piece and example for promoting modern day buildings that are also sustainable. He also explained that the council was in the process of obtaining solar street lights and have them installed in various locations of the city as a way of averting the current power deficit being faced countrywide.

Mr. Sakala a private sector ICT entrepreneur who runs an entity called Net Innovation Enterprise in Chingola gave a presentation on how they are incorporating the SDGs as part of their operating strategy and promoting good sustainable business practices.

The Library Association of Zambia (LIAZ) holds its annual general conference in July, this year it was from 19th to 21st July 2016, and extended an invitation to the centre to present on the SDGs and how Librarians and other information professionals can help achieve them through their various channels. A presentation was done by Charles Nonde, Team Assistant together with the LIAZ President Mrs. Velenasi Munsanje. The conference with attended by 80 librarians from different institutions countrywide, encompassing academic and professional bodies.

Information professionals were reminded that libraries make an important contribution to development, it was also highlighted that economic development can be broadened so that it now involves not only the reduction in poverty, inequality and unemployment but also to an improvement in the quality of life which includes a cleaner environment, better education, good health and nutrition.

In our knowledge society, libraries provide access and opportunity for all. Libraries guarantee access to information, a cross-cutting target that supports all SDGs said the LIAZ President.

While SDGs are universal goals, each country is responsible for developing and implementing national strategies in order to achieve them. The relevance of libraries and other specialized units is key to creating awareness and promoting the SDGs by aligning themselves to the specifics of the SDGs.

Mr. Nonde, emphasized that libraries have the responsibility of transforming our world
increasing access to information and knowledge across the society, assisted by the availability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), supports sustainable development and improves people’s lives

UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan tours the Copperbelt: Economic Development and the SDGs

The UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Ms. Janet Rogan undertook a one-week tour of the Copperbelt from June 27 to June 30, 2016. During this time, she visited a number of private sector entities in the mining industry at small to large scale from Lufwanyama to Chililabombwe in order to better understand their business models and the various partnerships if any that exist and how they fit into the development agenda of the country and the SDGs. She also visited one of the largest beef producing farms in the country Zambeef located in Mpongwe district, Copperbelt.

Monday June 27

There were two visits to the Provincial Administration; courtesy calls to the Permanent Secretary Rev. Howard J Sikwela and the Commissioner of Police Ms. Charity Katanga

After the visits in Ndola, the mission went to Mpongwe and visited the Mpongwe Agriculture Development Corporation being managed by Zambeef Zambia limited. During the visit, the team was met by Ms. Brenda Lombard who is the Commercial manager. Ms. Lombard gave an outline of the operations of Zambeef and its expansion program in the chicken production unit, where it has plans to supply an average of 300,000 chicks every week. The expansion will create at least 3000 jobs for the locals and ready market for maize for the small scale farmers in and around Mpongwe, as Zambeef would require an average 30,000 tons of maize for stock feed production on a monthly basis.

The mission also visited one of the clinics and school that Zambeef supports. At the school the Ms. Rogan took time to engage with the pupils and discussed the role of the UN in development activities. She encouraged the girl child on the importance of getting an education with the message “school first and babies later”. She also shared the information with the pupils the work of the UN and this was appreciated as there was little knowledge on the subject matter. At the clinic she was given a tour of the facility and the services they provide including provision of ART and management of medical waste. On medical waste management the mission engaged the health staff to explore modern and efficient technologies of waste management that do not only contribute to environmental protection but also mitigate climate change such as autoclave.
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Tuesday June 28

UN Resident Coordinator, Janet Rogan Entourage touring Lufwanyama at Dambisa Mine

UN Resident Coordinator, Janet Rogan Entourage touring Lufwanyama at Dambisa Mine

The day begun with an inception meeting with the Executive Team of the Emerald Mining Association of Zambia in Kitwe. The president of the association gave a brief history of the mining operations on the Copperbelt and that of the Association highlighting the following:
• The need for capacity building to support the small scale miners
• Access to long term financing
• Need to help miners with skills development
• Support towards linkages to big players in the industry

While in Lufwanyama The RC’s entourage visited two small scale emerald mining sites (one operational, the other not) and a large scale mine owned and operated by Gemcanton.

i. The first site visited is owned by Ms. Violet Lewis and at the time of the visit, no mining activities were ongoing as it was flooded which is one of the challenges faced by small mining operations. The flooding occurs due to lack of equipment for pumping water.
ii. The second site visited was at Dabwisa Small Scale Mining Operation owned and managed by Mr. Malan Ngwira, a retired teacher. Despite being small scale, the local investor has mobilized heavy duty machinery to help in the mining of the emeralds. It was also observed that the work force had the appropriate protective gear to enable them work in the hazardous environment.

iii. Visit to Gemcanton/Grizzly Large Scale Emerald Mining: The visit begun with an induction from mine management at which they explained the investment portfolio of the mine. Key lesson at this mine was the deliberate effort to retool local uneducated staff in some of the

Snap shoot of the open pit mine at Gemcanton mine lufwanyama

Snap shoot of the open pit mine at Gemcanton mine lufwanyama

company’s mining chains. Local staff are being recruited to work as sorters, welders, miners and machine operators. After a period of 6 months, the recruited staff are awarded certificates which will enable them to get employed in any mine. The company is also supporting adult evening classes for those who want to learn English. From the time the company took over the operations of the mine in 2015, they have managed to increase the workforce from 300 to 700.

The team was then taken on a tour of the mining operations on site that included the open pit mine, the washer and sorting areas.

Gemcanton Management also reaffirmed its commitment to support other mining operations in the area and exploring possible partnerships with small scale miners especially in helping to negotiate better prices as they have global links with key players in the sector. They requested the UN to continue supporting the policy framework that would enable them to operate effectively. The issue of electricity supply was cited as a key challenge that the sector is facing. Furthermore, there is need for government to develop infrastructure such as roads to support the sector.

Wednesday June 29

Visit to Konkola Copper Mines, Chililabombwe and Nchanga

One of the anode making sections at Nchanga Mine in Chingola

One of the anode making sections at Nchanga Mine in Chingola

After meeting management at the headquarters of KCM, the team was taken on a tour of the underground mining operations in Chililabombwe and operations at Nchanga, Chingola and shown the process of how the copper anodes are produced.

Thursday June 30

Private Partnership meeting Mukuba Hotel, Ndola

Private Partnership meeting Mukuba Hotel, Ndola

Private Sector dialogue at Mukuba hotel, the RC delivered a speech at this forum and also gave an exclusive interview to the media houses present on the side lines of the dialogue. Among the issues she spoke on included the referendum, the bill of rights and its meaning to the people of Zambia.

The RC lead the discussion and advocacy on how the private sector could be part of the global development agenda through the UN led concepts on Business Call to Action and the Global Compact
Ndola Energy Limited (NEL) – Power producer (50 MW) from heavy fuels

After the the private sector dialogue meeting in the morning, the RC Team visited Ndola Energy, the team was oriented in the inner working of the plant and given a safety talk before being taken around the plant. The visitors learnt that NEL sells its power to ZESCO and depends on Indeni for its raw materials FCO that it uses in the production of electricity. The purpose of the visits was to engage with different players in the energy sector on how they can contribute towards the attainment of SDG 7, Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and also contribute to the country’s energy mix

Friday July 1

Visit to Kitwe- Zambia Homeless and Poor People’s Federation

RC meeting with the women's group in kitwe

UN Resident Coordinator meeting with the women’s group in kitwe

The purpose of this visit was to showcase some of the women who have not only benefitted from housing units but also skills that they have obtained in assembling solar panels and installing them. The women’s group also makes its own bricks which it uses to construct houses in the area. Of the 150 plots given 100 of them have fully constructed units or are in various stages of completion.

Ms. Bupe the coordinator of the Federation explained that the financial support that the women received for raw materials was in the form of a loan that acted as revolving fund to help those in need of assistance.

One of the women took the team around her house and explained how she was able to design and install an electrical system for the solar panel, she also explained that she earns some extra income from the skills she obtained in assembling and installing solar systems within the neighborhood and beyond. RC congratulated the women for commitment and advised them to transform the initiative into a business.

Zambia Celebrates 70 years of the United Nations

United Nations this year celebrates its 70th anniversary on 24th October 2015. This marks the day in 1948 when the Charter of the United Nations was brought into force. UN Day is celebrated every year to recognize how much the UN contributes to the world peace and common progress.

Zambia commemorated the UN Day under the global theme “UN@70-Strong UN Better World”.
The UN Day celebrations are an opportunity to promote universal values and principles and renew its relations with its various national and international partners. 2015 is unique and historic as it being promoted as the “time for global action” for Sustainable Development.

Furthermore, the UN day celebrations are a great opportunity to promote the UN system as a development partner with the government and various partners. It is a time to reflect on the many areas in which the UN works such as human rights, gender and environmental norms and values across the sustainable development partnership.

This year the UN day celebrations in Zambia raised awareness, of the UN’s vision and role in Zambia, to create greater understanding across government and society of the sustainable development goals in particular SDG 16 and the UN in Zambia’s strengthened focus on partnership and to strengthen relations between the UN county team and partners, both present and potential new actors such as the private sector.

Amid the threat of poverty, economic crises, underdevelopment and regional conflicts, peacekeeping has become the main focus of the UN, whose vast family of agencies are tirelessly engaged in improving people’s lives around the world. Better rates of child survival, greater environmental protection, improved human rights, health research and continuing work to eliminate poverty, among countless other achievements, are all examples of the UN’s success since its establishment were the many things highlighted during the celebrations.

Students from Northmead Secondary School preparing art works

Students from Northmead Secondary School preparing art works

As part of the UN Day activities, a school art exhibition was also organized under the theme “bluing the UN” which runs from October 22 to November 1 at various locations including the UN Information Centre. Students used the UN corporate colors blue and white to interpret what the UN meant to them. 10 schools representing 60 students participated to produce 70 art works, the themes covered included health, gender equality, education, peacekeeping, refugees and the flagship theme UN@70 among the many other broad areas in which the UN is engaged in worldwide.

At the reception hosted at the residence of the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Janet Rogan on October 20, 2015. It was a colourful ceremony for invited guests that included Government, UN partners, donors, Civil Society and corporate entities like Standard Chartered Bank. The UN used this occasion to also rally the men to sign up for the HeforShe Campaign as a way of showing their support against gender based violence.

The climax of the celebrations was with a UN staff Day on 0ctober 22, 2015 held at the Mulungushi Conference Centre dubbed the “UN Staff learning day” were staff learnt about their unique position in the delivering as one process and how they are expected to continue to deliver on the promise of leaving no one behind. Later in the day it was time to relax and dance the night away as they celebrated 70 years of the United Nations.

HeforShe registration, left to right Vincent Mwale, the minister of youth and sport, Stephen Kaunda, UNDP and Mulenga Sata, Deputy Minister State House

HeforShe registration, left to right Vincent Mwale, the minister of youth and sport, Stephen Kaunda, UNDP and Mulenga Sata, Deputy Minister State House

Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries

Why Addressing Inequality Matters by Chantal Line Carpentier, Richard Kozul-Wright and Fabio David Passos

The Rio+20 negotiations began amidst the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, which made it abundantly clear that the economic, social and environmental imbalances that had built up recently could no longer be tackled separately, sequentially, or by countries acting alone. Despite rapid export growth, strong capital inflows and high commodity prices in the developing world, the resulting income gains had been unevenly distributed, and many poorer countries and communities remained vulnerable to shocks and reversals. Crisis came in the wake of slow growth, massive income redistribution in favour of the top 1 per cent and an explosion in private debt, provoking not only a degree of moral soul-searching but also raising concerns about the fragility of the social compact.

Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries

It was recognized that the sustainable development goals (SDGs) would have to be more universal and more inclusive than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to address a wider range of socioeconomic differences around which inequalities had emerged and grown.

The Scale of Inequality

Compared to 30 years ago, income inequality has risen in a startling number of countries and is at its highest level in most member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since the end of the Second World War. Moreover, income inequality has been compounded by wealth inequality, particularly in countries with already high inequality levels such as the United States of America. Other traditionally more egalitarian countries, such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden, have also seen the gaps between rich and poor increase.

Economists have been making the connection between globalization and income convergence, and closing income gaps across nations appears to be a clear trend, reflecting the growth slowdown in rich countries and sustained rapid growth in China and later in India. However, the trend is less secure than many had initially envisaged (The Economist explains, 2014). Moreover, recent growth spurts in developing countries have themselves coincided with rising levels of inequality, in some cases as or even more pronounced than in advanced economies.

Combining these intra/inter-inequality trends is no easy task, though overall, the global Gini coefficient has, on some estimates, dropped slightly over the last 20 years (Lakner and Milanovic, 2013), in no small part because wage earners in the advanced countries have seen their incomes squeezed. Even so, and except for the few most unequal countries, it is still greater, and by far, than inequality within countries.

Understanding inequality dynamics and their links within and across countries is one of the biggest challenges facing analysts and is also at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda.

Why Inequality Matters?

It is clear that inequality can be a serious threat to social and political stability. There is a growing recognition, however, that it can also threaten sustained growth. A study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that greater equality of income increased the duration of countries’ economic growth spells more than free trade, low government corruption, foreign investment, or low foreign debt (Berg and Ostry, 2011). There is literature exploring the links between growing inequality and economic shocks and crises (Bordo and Meissner, 2012), a connection that appears to be closely associated with the greater economic and political weight of unregulated financial flows and markets (UNCTAD, 2012).

Inequality jeopardizes the achievement of the overarching economic goals proposed by t he Open Working Group (OWG) of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals, such as eliminating extreme poverty, boosting decent work and transforming economic structures. Inequality is not a matter of fate or chance and can be reversed through policies and reforms, a point made recently in the path-breaking research of Thomas Piketty. While solutions rest with national and regional policy makers, collective actions and measures at the international level also have a crucial role to play.

SDG 10: Reduce Inequality within and among Countries by 2030

The SDGs

The SDGs

The OWG on SDGs proposed a stand-alone goal on inequality with seven targets and three means to achieve them. The first target calls for the income of the bottom 40 per cent of the population to grow faster than the national average; the second—for the empowerment, social and economic inclusion of all, irrespective of race, ethnicity or economic status; and the third—for ensuring equal opportunity and reducing inequalities of outcome, including through eliminating discrimination by means of appropriate policies and actions.

Four other targets focus on progressively adopting policies to promote greater equality, including fiscal policies, regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions, policies to promote the orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility of people, and the long-standing issue of fair representation and voice of developing countries in the global governance system.

Proposed means of implementation are more vague and more difficult to quantify and to develop indicators that will help measure progress towards reducing inequalities. Further thinking is needed. Specific proposed means include: 1) upholding the principle of special and differential treatment for least developed countries (LDCs); 2) directing official development assistance and encouraging financial flows, including foreign direct investment to countries in special situation such as LDCs, African countries, small island developing States, and landlocked developing countries; and 3) reducing the cost of migrant remittances transfers to below 5 per cent.

Can We Achieve this Goal by 2030?

Whether the targets and means under SDG 10 and SDG 17 will reduce inequalities by 2030, depends on the robustness of indicators selected to guide and monitor progress, the presence of political will for regional and international cooperation to rebalance the global system, and strengthened policy coherence.

Tackling within country inequalities will require increased policy and fiscal space at the national level to enact the country-specific mix of policies needed to lift all boats and, in particular, to increase the income of those at the bottom. Two crucial variables will be jobs and wages. Job creation remains the only assured way of tack ling poverty on a sustained basis, in particular where the labour force is expanding rapidly. But rising wages are also necessary to expand domestic demand, increasingly seen as an essential component of more sustainable growth (UNCTAD, 2013). Countries will thus have to build the kind of infrastructure and productive capacity that lead to a more diversified economy, moving away from dependence on commodities and achieving some degree of success in more sophisticated industrial activities, which relies on industrial policy.

Addressing imbalances arising from the international economic system will require global reforms of financial, investment, trade, monetary and fiscal system in order to reduce volatility. International conventions against tax avoidance and evasion to stem the use of tax competition and tax havens to circumvent fiscal responsibilities would help ensure sufficient financing for long-term investment projects of the kind that are required to achieve the inclusive and sustainable development paths. Between 8 and 15 per cent of the net financial wealth of households is held in tax havens, resulting in a loss of public revenue amounting to between US $190 and US $290 billion annually. Half of it is from developing countries, which may also be losing over US $160 billion annually through misuse of “transfer pricing” and “thin capitalization” for shifting accounting profits to low or no-tax jurisdictions. Making mandatory and extending the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative would also help mobilize domestic resources.

While global reform will be slow, greater stability at the regional level can be generated by building up alternative rules and institutions to provide a degree of protection from financial shocks, requiring significant amount of capacity-building, South-South and triangular cooperation and also a fiscal cooperation space. For example, China’s success has relied on selective capital controls, countercyclical fiscal policy and active monetary policies aimed at stable exchange rates, as well as a full range of active industrial policies instead of solely focusing on GDP growth (UNCTAD, 2013).

Finally, an integrated policy framework that reflects all development models and ensures policy coherence across goals will be needed to assure that social, economic and environmental goals are mutually supportive.

References

Berg, Andrew G., and Jonathan D. Ostry (2011). Inequality and Unsustainable Growth: Two Sides of the Same Coin? Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund. IMF Staff Discussion Note SDN/11/08 (8 April).  Available from https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2011/sdn1108.pdf.

Bordo, Michael, and Christopher M. Meissner (2012). Does inequality lead to a financial crisis?, 24 March. Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)’s Policy Portal. Available from http://www.voxeu. org/article/does-inequality-lead-financial-crisis.

C.W. (2014). “Why globalization may not reduce inequality in poor countries” (2 September). The Economist explains. Available from http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/09/ economist-explains-0.

Lakner, Christoph and Branko Milanovic (2013). Global income distribution: from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the great recession, vol. 1. Policy Research Working Paper, No. 6719. Washington, D.C.: World Bank. Available from http://econ.worldbank.org/external/default/ main?pagepK=64165259&thesitepK=469382&pipK=64165421&me nupK=64166093&entityiD=000158349_20131211100152

Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (2011).

Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising. December 2011.

Available from http://www.oecd.org/els/soc /49170768.pdf.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2011). World Investment Report 2011: Non-equity Modes of International Production and Development. Sales No. E.11.ii.D. 2. Available from http:// unctad.org/en/publicationslibrary/wir2011_en.pdf.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2012). Trade Financing and Regional Financial Institutions from a South–South Perspective. Trade and Development Board. Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission Multi-year Expert Meeting on International Cooperation: South–South Cooperation and Regional Integration, Geneva, 24-25 October 2012. Distr.: General 15 August 2012. TD/B/C .II/MEM.2/11. Available from
http://unctad.org/meetings/en/sessionalDocuments/ciimem2d11_en.pdf.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2013).

Growth and Poverty Eradication: Why Addressing Inequality Matters. Post-2015 Policy Brief, no. 02, November 2013. New York and Geneva. Available from http://unctad.org/en/publicationslibrary/

presspb2013d4_en.pdf.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2014). Website of the 61st session of UNCTAD Trade and Development Board. Available from http://unctad.org/en/pages/MeetingDetails.aspx?meetingid= 490.

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

Chantal Line Carpentier is Chief of the New York office of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Richard Kozul-Wright is Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at UNCTAD. Fabio David Passos is an intern at UNCTAD and a student in International Economic Politics and Financial Markets at School of Professional Studies, Center for Global Affairs, New York University.

Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

A Sustainable Future of Infrastructure By Grete Faremo

UNOPS has a key role to play in building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation

Investing in basic, sustainable infrastructure is essential to improving the living standards for communities worldwide. When we speak of the basics, we mean the fundamentals. These are issues which comprise common human needs all over the world. Just because these are basics, however, does not mean that addressing such concerns correctly is a simple task. In the case of infrastructure it requires coordinated, long-term planning that stretches across geographic, political and cultural boundaries.

Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

For too long infrastructure has been understood and evaluated solely by the presence of a building or a completed roadway. We know, however, that a hospital cannot function without a solid waste system, and a waste system, in turn, cannot function without the acquired and applied knowledge, institutions and underlying resources necessary to manage it. Yet when we talk about infrastructure, this understanding beyond the immediate is still too often overlooked. We need a shift in this thinking.

Quite simply, without infrastructure we would not have a healthy society. Essential services such as health care and education require infrastructure. For communities and businesses to operate and thrive, they need access to goods and markets. Infrastructure must respond to societal needs, but it also should be evaluated for its long-term outcome, including the resources required to ensure longevity.

Many of the proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs) will require solid, functional and sustainable infrastructure if they are to be reached. Reliable forms of energy, the availability of potable water, education, safety and security, social and economic services—all of these are made possible through resilient infrastructure.

However, this very reliance creates significant challenges. We must consider the bigger picture, both in terms of the opportunities and the risks. We must support development, but what if something goes wrong? What is the environment in which we are operating? What are the issues in today’s world? With climate change, for example, comes an increase in the frequency of natural disasters. So sustainable infrastructure not only supports development, but is essential for post-disaster recovery as well.

With our mandate within the United Nations system to lead on infrastructure, and our 20 years of experience developing infrastructure projects, the success of any infrastructure goal requires learning the lessons from practical experiences. We have this at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The international community and industry must work together to ensure that investment in infrastructure considers risk, placing security and resilience at its core.

At UNOPS our experience is broad and built upon partnerships. We work with the United Nations system, Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. Our model encourages private investors to prioritize sustainable development. And right now, increased investment is needed to improve the security and resilience of critical infrastructure in developing countries.

The destruction caused by recent natural disasters in communities around the world highlights the need for a risk-based approach to sustainable infrastructure. Our work covers these areas. For example, in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, UNOPS supported the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labour Organization in a wide range of post-disaster activities, including the construction of shelters for the affected populations and managing the vast quantities of debris. We have also supported the Government of Brazil in constructing earthquake and cyclone resistant community hospitals, which incorporate environmentally friendly infrastructure such as external solar lamps and rainwater harvesting. There are many more such examples.

Existing infrastructure is also an important consideration. Assessments should be conducted seeking to understand how the structures already in place can be serviced and repaired. How do various developments interact with existing water treatment facilities, roads, bridges and utility grids, wherever they are in the world? It sounds simple, yet in many cases and in many parts of the world this factor is of ten overlooked.

Where risks cannot be eliminated, we need to improve management and mitigation. Disaster risk reduction aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards through prevention. There

The SDGs

The SDGs

is a direct correlation between risk and resilience—a reduction in risk contributes to an increase in resilience. In turn, effectively managing risk in our projects will contribute to more sustainable infrastructure development. This connection also needs to be better understood.

Whereas the resilience of infrastructure can be seen as the ability to absorb stresses caused by natural hazards—for example, how a building responds to an earthquake—the sustainability of infrastructure looks at the impact of that building on the environment. Sustainability helps reduce the footprint of a development, while resilience allows infrastructure to better withstand environmental impacts.

There are many principles and complexities within these issues. Ultimately, what is clear is that infrastructure systems must be developed in a way that supports essential services over the long term, beyond political cycles.

Without consideration of all of these factors, sustainable infrastructure will always be just a horizon we never reach. Which is why as we set the future agenda, we must not forget that truly sustainable development is reliant on its foundations, on the infrastructure upon which success can be built.

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

 

Grete Faremo is Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services.

 

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 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Achieving Gender Equality and Empowering Women and Girls: Is SDG 5 Missing Something?

By Gita Sen

Gita Sen is Professor of Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India, and Adjunct Professor of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, United States of America.

Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

In a paper entitled “No empowerment without rights, no rights without politics”, that was written for a Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) assessment project, we argued that: “…progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment in the development agenda requires a human rights-based approach, and requires support for the women’s movement to activate and energize the agenda. Both are missing from Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 3. Empowerment requires agency along multiple dimensions—sexual, reproductive, economic, political, and legal. However, MDG 3 frames women’s empowerment as reducing educational disparities. By omitting other rights and not recognizing the multiple interdependent and indivisible human rights of women, the goal of empowerment is distorted and “development silos” are created…”.

We also drew attention to “women’s organizations…[as] key actors in pushing past such distortions and silos at all levels, and hence crucial to pushing the gender equality agenda forward. However, the politics of agenda setting also influences funding priorities such that financial support for women’s organizations and for substantive women’s empowerment projects is limited” (Sen and Mukherjee, 2014, p. 188).

Much has changed since the MDGs were first formulated soon after the Millennium Declaration in 2000. Or has it? It is undoubtedly true that, as compared to the formulation of the MDGs, the sustainable development goals (SDGs) has been a more open and more inclusive process driven by United Nations Member States, and generating intense and wide debate. And yet, when it comes to gender justice, the goals sound eerily similar. MDG 3 committed to “Promote gender equality and empower women”; SDG 5 (as agreed thus far through the process of the General Assembly’s Open Working Group (OWG)) (United Nations, 2014) calls to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. However, two important differences at this level are the explicit inclusion of girls, and of the word “all ”, which can be used to address the challenges faced by the most marginalized and oppressed. More differences appear at the level of the targets under the goal: whereas MDG 3 had a single target focused on education, SDG 5 proposes a range of targets to end discrimination, violence and harmful practices, recognize and value unpaid care work, participation and leadership in decision-making, and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. How SDG 5 and its proposed targets will finally translate into indicators, and whether these will be effective and usable for monitoring (where the rubber hits the road) remains to be seen.

Nonetheless, despite advances over the MDGs, there is still a worrying limitation to SDG 5: the absence of a clear recognition of the human rights of women and girls. This piece is being written even as the battle over the affirmation of women’s human rights and the role of women human rights defenders has been bitterly fought at this year’s meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). What happens at the CSW is important because it is an established institution for review and monitoring, and because it is under the aegis of UN-Women, which will be the main operational arm for meeting SDG 5.

The Political Declaration of the CSW (United Nations, 2015), which is the main outcome of the meeting, includes human rights in a non-operational chapeau; once more in paragraph 2 where it recognizes that the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are mutually reinforcing for the realization of the human rights of women and girls; and again in paragraph 5 where human rights of women are listed as one of the 12 critical areas of concern (of the BPFA). The attempt to thread human rights throughout the document did not succeed, although neither did the attempt to remove all mention. But the main operational paragraph (paragraph 6) where Governments pledge to take action contains nothing explicit on human rights, nor does any other paragraph.

Even the limited mentions of human rights in the Political Declaration were only agreed upon after protracted negotiations against arguments such as those of an observer State that women’s human rights are only one among the 12 areas of the BPFA and should not be given special mention. That the human rights of girls and women should be contentious 15 years after the Millennium Declaration, and 20 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women, is a product of backlash. This backlash attempts to roll back the advances and very real changes in norms and frameworks for realizing women’s human rights, agreed by consensus among Member States during the United Nations conferences (at Vienna, Cairo and Beijing) of the 1990s. While funding to translate these norms and frameworks into practice has been woefully inadequate as noted by Sen and Mukherjee in their articles, the norms themselves are essential to have in place.

Human rights are contentious because, unlike policies and programmes, they are often more

The SDGs

The SDGs

clearly justiciable, and can be used to hold Governments and others to account for their acts of commission or omission. The backlash against women’s human rights has been led by Member (and observer) States of the United Nations with poor records on discrimination against women, as well as laws, policies and practices that sustain gender inequality across a wide spectrum of issues. A telling reminder of who is principally behind the backlash was the Political Declaration’s refusal to recognize the key role of women’s human rights defenders who often risk their liberty and their lives to protect and advance the human rights of girls and women at risk. However, the fault is not only here. The refusal by other Member States to recognize that economic, social and cultural rights are interlinked and inseparable from civil and political rights is also a serious challenge to advancing towards the fulfilment of SDG 5.

Finally, one also has to ask the question: where’s the beef? Each SDG (as enunciated in the OWG’s report) has its attached targets and means of implementation. Those linked to SDG 5 mention legal reforms and technology (5.a, 5.b and 5.c), but there is no reference made about funding. Given that a major weakness in the fulfilment of MDG 3 was the inadequacy of funding, the challenge of funding SDG 5 will remain as a major stumbling block unless it becomes central to its means of implementation.

References

Fukuda-Parr, Sakiko, Alicia Ely Yamin, and Joshua Greenstein (2014). The Power of Numbers: A Critical Review of Millennium Development Goal Targets for Human Development and Human Rights. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, vol. 15, no. 2-3, p. 105-117.

Sen, Gita, and Avanti Mukherjee (2014). No Empowerment Without Rights, No Rights Without Politics: Gender-equality, MDGs and the post-2015 Development Agenda. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, vol. 15, no. 2-3. p. 188-202.

United Nations, Report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals, 12 August 2014 (A/68/970). Available from http://undocs.org/a/68/970.

United Nations, Economic and Social Council (2015). Commission on the Status of Women. Political declaration on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

5 March. E/Cn.6/2015/L.1.

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

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark, visits Zambia

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark was in Zambia from July 16 to July 19 2015. During this visit she held a number of meetings with Republican President Mr. Edger Lungu, The National Assembly, Minister of Foreign Affairs and corporating partners of the United Nations in Zambia.

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark on arrival in Chief Nyampande's area, Petauke, Eastern province, Zambia. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark on arrival in Chief Nyampande’s area, Petauke, Eastern province, Zambia. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

She also took part in the official launch of the “HeforShe” Campaign which took place in Chief Nyampande area and Misolo Village in Petauke, of the Eastern Province Zambia some 500kms from the capital city Lusaka on July 18, 2015 she was accompanied by the UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan and UNDP staff. The launch was graced by the Head of State, various traditional Chiefs, the Ministers of Gender; Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Women for Change and other corporating partners.

In Lusaka, she saw the President; the Vice President who hosted a lunch on environment and climate change resilience, attended by the Ministers of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Agriculture and Tourism as well as the French Ambassador and the Director of the Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit; the Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairs of main Committees and Caucuses, including the new SDG Caucus; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who also hosted a reception for her; the Ministers of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Transport, Works and Supply and Communications, who co-hosted a meeting with the private sector; the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, who hosted a meeting with youth representatives. The Chief Justice hosted lunch with senior members of the judiciary. She also met the diplomatic community in Lusaka and the UN Country Team.

Students wearing branded attire for the "HeforShe" campaign.

Students wearing branded attire for the “HeforShe” campaign. Photo Credit/UNIC Lusaka

Her field trip to Eastern Province was a great success. The President agreed to launch the Zambia HeForShe campaign and spent the whole day with the UN Team at Chief Nyamphande’s village and then at Misolo village visiting the Anti-GBV One-Stop Shop there. We could not have a better platform for pushing forward this campaign. Driving around Eastern Province, Helen was struck by the persisting levels of rural poverty, which she had also seen in other countries, such as Malawi and Tanzania, which have not experienced conflict since independence. She found the persistent rural poverty and inequalities in such circumstances shocking and she hopes that, among other work, the UN (UNDP) extractives project, once launched, can become part of a solution for dealing with persistent rural poverty and inequalities.

About the global HeforShe Campaign, HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls. Grounded in the idea that gender equality is an issue that affects all people — socially, economically and politically — it seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as “a struggle for women by women”. Some noticed the contradiction of a campaign for gender equality which only takes action against inequalities faced by women and girls, ignoring problems affecting men and boys.

Branded HeforShe Minibus at Chief Nyampandes Palace. Petauke, Eastern Province, Zambia.

Branded HeforShe Minibus at Chief Nyampandes Palace. Petauke, Eastern Province, Zambia. Photo Credit/UNIC Lusaka

On the HeForShe website, a map which uses a geo-locator to record global engagement in the campaign counts the number of men and boys around the world who have taken the HeForShe pledge, as UN Women works towards its goal of engaging 1 million men and boys by July 2015. The campaign website also includes implementation plans for UN agencies, individuals and civil society, as well as those on university and college campuses, both through online and sustained engagement.

“Initially we were asking the question, ‘Do men care about gender equality?’ and we found out that they do care,” said Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior adviser to the executive director of UN Women. “Then we started to get a lot of emails from men who signed up, who now want to do more.”

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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World Environment Day 2015 Sustainable Consumption and Production “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet Consume with Care”

June 4: Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Environment Day, a number of activities took place between June 4th and June 5th 2015., The United Nations in Zambia, Ministry of Environment and Tourism and Natural Resources, Standard Chartered Bank and Youth United Nations Association (YUNA), organized a tree planting exercise as one of the activities during the Environment Week, this event took place at the National Heroes Stadium.

The 2015 global theme was “Sustainable Consumption and Production “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet Consume with Care”, Zambia localized the theme to “13 Million Dreams Consume with Care”. A number of activities were conducted around the country and there was participation from various partners including government ministries.

Tree planting exercise at Heroes Stadium, Lusaka. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

Tree planting exercise at Heroes Stadium, Lusaka. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

At the tree planting exercise, Mathews Kalabo the representative of the United Nations Youth Association said the issue of the environment knows no boundary and affects the world at large, he also shared the efforts, that the three Organizations are implementing to combat climate change, citing the 5000 trees has been planted so far, in 6 provinces out of 10 in Zambia. He said that YUNA has been leading the cause in combating climate change with the support from Standard Chartered bank, the UN and Government in the country. He appealed to the ministry to consider the creation of green projects for the youth as well as green jobs to sustain the Environment and future generation, He further recommended Government for the strong partnership with ILO on Youth Empowerment through green jobs.

The UN representative Mr. Jonathan Wesley Roberts, the Chief Technical Advisor in Integrated Land Use Assessment of FAO highlighted some projects that the UN is doing in partnership with the government in promoting sustainable land use while protecting the environment, he also commended the efforts of other government partners in their efforts to help serve the environment.
The Honorable Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Ronald Chitotela was the guest of Honor, in his remarks he thanked the three organizations on what they are doing to respond to climate change effects. He further said the Government of the Republic of Zambia is very willing to work with the International Community, Civil Society Organizations and the private sector in creating awareness on issues relating to climate change and the environment. He also urged citizens to consume with care in all areas of the production for sustainable development.

Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Chief information Officer Mrs. Musonda reiterated that as a bank they are committed to supporting activities related to the environment in Zambia and to continue with developmental partnerships for noble causes like tree planting with the United Nations and Government.

Other activities included an exhibition were various organizations showcased what activities and programs that they are doing in relating to the theme and the issue of climate change and match past to create awareness for world environment day.