The Rationale: UN SDG

The 72nd United Nations GA Session

The 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly convened on September 12th, the general debate started on September 19th, and concluded on September 25th, 2017. Here is a summary of the participation of the Halsten Enterprise, as a CSO, within the General Assembly:

9/17→The 2017 Equator Prize at NYC Town Hall Theater, with UNDP Administrator A. Steiner as speaker:

According to Osee Lieberman, the event rewarded with its prize 15 communities, that work or co-work with the UN and the civil society for the establishment of the SDGs. This year's topics were related to the indigenous communities, and the impact of climate change. Moreover, the President of National Geographic, highlighted the efforts of his organization to develop such projects mentioning cases in Thailand and Indonesia. For many years now, National Geographic is closely working with the UNDP to help the awardees in term of funding and research.

9/18→Business for the SDGs: Innovation, technology and connectivity for a better future for all, at the UNHQs (ECOSOC Chamber):

Prior to this event that was co-hosted by UN-DESA, ICC and GSMA, I delivered, on the behalf of the Halsten Enterprise, the recommendation of topics to be focused on in the general debate of the UNGA, within the Global Compact context and the definition of the SDGs as BDGs, which was in concordance with the topics of the conference.

Hence, I recommended the following aspects to the General Assembly, from our civil society standpoint:

- Strategies for Investing and Preserving Capital in an Economic Slowdown - Private Sector - Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) - Climate - Digital Transformation of Social Impact - Universal Health Coverage: A High-Level Discussion at the United Nations on Achieving the SDGs

- Through Health for All - Business Fights Poverty - Modern slavery: From here to elimination - Scaling Impact on Investment - Women Leading the World to 2030 - Education Cannot Wait - Sustainable Development Impact - Institutional Investment - Global Citizenship - Data Analytics for SDGs and National Reports - Sustainable Investment - Behavioral Science & Policy Association - Collective private sector action for disaster risk reduction, emergency, response and recovery - Zero Hunger (SDG 12.3) - Role of the Fashion Industry in Achieving the UN SDGs - Presidential Dialogue on the Future of U.S.-Africa Business Relations - Carbon and assessing Low-Carbon Transition for Key Sectors - Closing the Investment Gap on Water Infrastructure: How - - Governments, Utilities, and the Private Sector Can Achieve SDG 6 ? - Global Digital Health: Aligning private and public sector objective

- The oil, gas and mining industries and the 2030 Agenda: - WEPs Gender Gap Analysis Tool - Youth Employment for Peace and Resilience - Low Emission Solutions - Mobilizing the Private Sector to Address the Refugee Crisis, beyond CSR - Launch of the World Benchmarking Alliance Consultation - Going Further Together for Shared Impact: Public-Private Partnerships for Development - Parental leave, a key to prosperity - Global Business and Philanthropy - Women and Girls and Gender Equality - Youth Innovation, Social Business and SDGs

The conference focused on the 2017 Mobile Industry Impact Report, the 2nd Annual Report of SDG Increase, and about the rapid growth of SDG 9 during the first panel. Then the critical role of ICC.

Following that, UNCTAD Secretary Mr.Mukhisa Kituyi delivered a speech about Business and Technologies for Economic Inclusion (topic of the second panel). In addition, speakers invoked exemplary businesses such as Alibaba group and its owner Jack Ma, especially with the recent involvement in developing economies in Africa. Within the same context of action, another conference will be held in Geneva (from October 4th to 6th) about the BDGs and Economic Inclusion.

The effective rule of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), an exclusive international forum of business leaders, founded by actor Paul Newman was also on the agenda of the conference. I had the opportunity to talk at the end of the conference with Mr.Agustín García-López Loaeza, representing AMEXCID within the Mexican delegation participating at the 72nd Session of the UNGA. We had the opportunity to speak about several topics of economic development, including the North American bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, as a concrete opportunity for NAFTA.

9/21→Parental leave, as a key to prosperity, at the UNHQs (ECOSOC Chamber):

In a key conference related to SDG 5, and organized by the Nordic Co-operation (Member-States from Scandinavia), the Norwegian delegation focused on highlighting the efforts made by their parliament since the 1970's to give parental leave a full-year, and the importance of considering the quota of the fathers.In this context, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized that world class standards must include world class kindergartens as well. Then, from an universal angle, the conference spoke about the necessity of having healthcare accessible for all, as a morality of human rights. In addition, people throughout the planet don't have to choose between a career and taking care of their family. And that is a big field of work for us, as a CSO, even if the hard part will be to make compatible (on a copy-and-paste basis) the system of country A within country B.

The topic related to regulations and incentives, and how it has helped in the cases of the Nordic countries was also discussed , as it has effectively helped their governments to advance in parental leave in comparison with other countries in the planet.

9/21→SDGs in Action: Country-led/Country-owned conference with UN Deputy SG Amina J.Mohammed, UNDP Administrator/UNDG Chair Achim Steiner, the Presidents of The Gambia and Kyrgyzstan, at the UNHQs:

In one of the most highlighting events related to the 2030 Agenda, within the 72nd Session of the UNGA, UNDP Administrator/UNDG Chair Achim Steiner, insisted on the situation of several enduring conflicts in the globe, and how harmful of an impact they were for economies, mentioning that without peace it will be impossible to achieve development, including sustainable one. The President of The Gambia, Mr.Adama Barrow, spoke about the issue of the weak institutions within the extremely challenging transition his country has encountered in 2017. He also spoke about the importance of following a global road-map for sustainable development by all the Member-States.

Following him, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Mr.Almazbek Atambayev, highlighted the visit of UNSG António Guterres to Bishkek, as an important step to lead on sustainable development in Central Asia. He also presented the 5 years sustainable development national plan for the Kyrgyz economy, lauding the rapid growth of general exports, and of the sector of tourism. UN Deputy SG Amina J.Mohammed, spoke about how to take the SDGs further outside of the UN building, precising that Member-States must meet their self-commitments, and that going to scale has become preponderant. Deputy SG Mohammed, who worked in the past on the concept of the MDGs as well, insisted that it is critical for country-teams to have more women, and more youth on them. Which is a good empowerment framework where we can focus as a civil society.During the conference, Mr.Jong-moon Choi (Republic of Korea's Deputy Minister for Multicultural and Global Affairs/Chair of 2017 Peacebuilding commission), was among the other dignitaries who gave speech.

9/21→Conference on Migration and the 2030 Agenda, at the UNHQs:

On the margins of the general debate at the 72nd Session of the UNGA, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) of London organized this working conference, involving CSOs about a determinant field to achieve all the SDGs: Migration. With the participation of Former Republic of Ireland Ambassador to the UN David Donoghue (Co-facilitator, SDGs). Hence, it has been mentioned at the beginning of the conference that this issue must be people centered, rather that Human Rights centered, to make it advance better in the forthcoming years.

In addition, since the Global Compact is an important tool to put forward and map out migration policy, at a global scale, it has been proposed that it must be incorporated, and presented, in States-cooperation, at the international, regional and national levels. Dr.Edward Kelley (WHO) presented the policy of Dr.Tedros Adhanom, within the context of migration, precising that the UN technical agency of health is focusing on the UN Charter as the bedrock of its action-policy aiming to strengthen the health system(s) worldwide. Invoking the case of the Syrian crisis, as a hard challenge to manage. The conference commended the role of the civil society along with the private sector, in including academia/local authorities/migrants within the dynamic of migration. At the conclusion, 2 important points were specified:

- The importance of differentiation between "Migration" and "Mobility" in term of conceptualization and mechanisms' understanding; - After training the UN agencies in the field of global migration, it is important to go through a thorough analysis of what will be incorporated in the Global Compact, and what will not, as a 2nd step.

By Youssef Bahammi

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