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CMMD Perspectives — from the CMMD Geneva Observer
Note: Click on the article title to view the full article. Access to articles marked with an asterisk (*) is restricted to CMBD Members and paid CMBD Geneva Observer subscribers. Dates shown are dates the articles were posted individually on the CMBD site. All articles are drawn from the weekly CMBD Geneva Observer unless otherwise indicated. We welcome comments to our posts. Please use the form on the Contact CMBD page.
The Evolving Dialogue on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
September 29th, 2014
Catarina de Albuquerque wraps up her role as Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation with an overview report laying out the typology of common violations and access to justice and a handbook providing a checklist for governments to use in implementing their obligations.
The WHO issues its first global report on suicide prevention
September 13th, 2014
World Suicide Prevention Day is 10 September 2014, and the WHO convened its annual mhGAP meeting (a meeting usually organized in October by the World Health Organization’s Mental Health unit) on 4 to 5 September 2014 in order to issue its first global report on suicide prevention in proximity to this particular date.
A first-ever US-Africa Leaders Summit
31 July 2014
The Obama Administration has announced the first ever US-Africa Leaders Summit, to be held in Washington, DC from 4 to 6 August. This is being described as the largest ever any US President has held with African heads of state and government. With the theme of “Investing in the Next Generation”, the Summit will focus on trade and investment opportunities, as well as security and democratic development commitments.
The general thrust of the Open Working Group’s revised Zero Draft on the sustainable development goals is to streamline some of the language in the goals and targets and to reduce the overall number of targets. In the case of the primary goal of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere, the streamlining is understandable. The goal is now just “End poverty everywhere”. Reducing the number of targets, though, is more problematic since the three targets that were dropped were on achieving “equal access to productive employment and decent work…”, on pursuing “sustained and inclusive economic growth as a key enabler for achieving poverty eradication” and integrating “biodiversity conservation measures into … poverty reduction strategies”.
The Role of Business and Finance in Supporting the Post-2015 Agenda is a report issued on 2 July 2014 to supplement the cooperation of the Global Compact Board with advisory business groups involved in the Principles for Responsible Investment and Principles for Responsible Management Education.
Sustainable Development Goals
July 17th, 2014
The Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is completing its series of consultations with a final session on 14 to 18 July 2014 – its 13th session. The Co-Chairs, the Permanent Representatives of Kenya Macharia Kamau and of Hungary Csaba Körösi to the United Nations in New York, have issued a “Zero Draft rev 1” as the basis for drafting a final report to be submitted to the UN General Assembly in September 2014.
The High Level Political Forum
15 July 2014
The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is holding its second meeting from 30 June to 9 July 2014 in association with the Economic and Social Council of the UN in New York. This HLPF is the “implementing” body for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, as designated in the outcome of the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit in June 2012.
UNCTAD 2014 World Investment Report
9 July 2014
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development issued its 2014 World Investment Report on 24 June 2014. The report confirms that 2013 was a year for recovery in global and regional investment trends, with a 9 percent increase in FDI to $1.45 trillion.
Many observers of this last 26th session of the Human Rights Council have remarked about how divided the Council’s membership has become, voting in blocs and exacerbating the North-South divide in its deliberations. This was especially pronounced in the failure to reach a consensus on a single resolution to address the renewal of the Council’s mandate for the Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
In the week of 16 to 20 June 2014, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held its 50th anniversary celebrations, including a special session with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a public symposium and a side event on small island developing states and numerous cultural events.
UNCTAD Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary in Style*
2 July 2014
The week of events for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was a combination of excellent cultural events, reflections on the 50-year history and solid policy discussions. We highlight here a couple of those policy discussions – not really a summary of the week; look at the UNCTAD website for that – but rather a selected commentary on what stood out for us.
As we had noted in the report on the Global Social Observatory look across the silos, human rights is another one of those cross-cutting issues that justifies scrutiny in the development of a linked-together Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The WSIS Silo and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
June 26th, 2014
During the WSIS+10 events on 10 to 13 June 2014, with 2,000 plus delegates, there were several sessions to discuss the role of information and communications technology in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
A Truly Historic Moment for the ILO*
23 June 2014
The International Labour Conference (ILC) voted on a new protocol and recommendation that are intended to “effectively achieve the elimination of forced labour” in the world today – a scourge that continues to affect over 21 million people. Ed Potter, the Employer Vice Chair in the committee that worked on this over the past two weeks describes this accomplishment as “a truly historic moment for the ILO”.
Views from the Silos
20 June 2014
Almost all of the Geneva-based international organizations are developing their issue-specific priorities and building the case for the centrality of their particular issue in the post-2015 Development Agenda – employment and decent work for the ILO, health for the WHO, trade for the WTO and UNCTAD, human rights for the Human Rights Council, information and communications technologies for the ITU, and moving beyond Geneva, food security and nutrition for the Rome-based food agencies (FAO, IFAD and WFP) or climate change for the Bonn-based UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. These are the “views from the silos”. Some of them have been successfully included in the list of goals in the drafting process aiming for a Post-2015 Development Agenda; others have not.
Gary Shapiro on the Internet and the First Amendment
18 June 2014
On Wednesday 4 June, the Brookings Institute hosted Consumer Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro to talk about privacy, internet governance and freedom of expression. He noted that ‘around the world, the internet has changed things’ and many governments and businesses are trying to change the internet for their own benefit, such as imposing restrictions on access or additional costs on particular website uses.
The G7 heads of state – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Japan and the USA – met with the Presidents of the European Council and European Commission on 4 to 5 June 2014 in Brussels, linking up its economic and social policy pronouncements with the G20. The next G20 Summit is planned for Brisbane, in November 2014.
Following the High-level Summit on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in New York in September 2011, the WHO has had the lead in developing a global action plan with a set of targets and indicators, and this task was completed last year.
The ILO continues to be challenged by the International Organization of Employers and its national member associations in at least two areas of governance – one has to do with the standards supervisory system and the other with the ILO’s relations with the private sector.
Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
5 June 2014
At the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva, developing a WHO strategy for promoting health as a central goal for the Post-2015 Development Agenda required a drafting group to work out the details in large part because there were differing views that needed to be resolved on what to emphasize and how to define basic rights. The resolution adopted by the drafting group has language that is carefully worded and sequenced – urging Member States to engage actively in the discussions at the UN General Assembly, to ensure that health is central to the post-2015 development agenda, and to ensure continued efforts towards the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals.
Human Rights in the 21st Century*
3 June 2014
On Monday May 19th the Freedom House hosted an event titled ‘The International Human Rights System: A Missed Opportunity?’ in Washington DC. The day-long conference featured a range of panel discussions on the success and failures of the human rightssystem and what it might look like in the future. There were panels on responding to human rights crises and on the UN Human Rights Council, Treaties and Treaty bodies as well as regional mechanisms. It also featured a keynote address from the former US representative to the UN, Nancy Soderberg on ‘Implementing the Responsibility to Protect’.
Big Ideas for a New America*
2 June 2014
The New America Foundation held a two-day conference called ‘Big Ideas for a New America’ on Thursday May 15 and Friday May 16. The conference included keynote speeches from Senator John McCain and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. The conference touched on a range of issues including Inequality, the Media, Health, and Energy and of course, Technology. The conference invited many experts from these fields to discuss the new ideas and innovations that are moving America forward.