Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Climate Change and SDG's Dominate the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly

The importance of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) cannot be overstated. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that the 69th session could be the “most consequential” in and for a generation, he also said, “the coming year must be a time for action. A time for results.” UNGA's 69th session officially opened in New York on September 16, 2014. The theme for this session is ‘Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.'

Two major issues that will be addressed at this assembly are post 2015 development goals and climate change. UNGA President Sam Kutesa, Uganda, said UNGA 69 has an “historic opportunity” to formulate a transformative post-2015 development agenda. He told delegates it is “our responsibility to ensure that adequate means for implementing the agenda, in terms of finances, technology development and transfer and capacity building are mobilized.”

Among other discussions, Kutesa indicated that he will convene a high-level event on combating climate change to add momentum to efforts to reach a global agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015.

The UN Secretary-General urged delegates to accelerate progress on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and an agenda to eradicate extreme poverty; commit to tackling climate change and leave a greener, cleaner planet; prioritize human rights; and promote peace and security for all.

At a press conference before the opening of UNGA 69, Ban outlined his goals for the UN Climate Summit: “to mobilize political will for a universal and meaningful agreement next year in Paris and…to generate ambitious steps to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and strengthen resilience.” Ban said he anticipates “firm commitment that we should reduce GHG emissions so that we will be able to contain the global temperature rise within two degrees centigrade” and mobilization of support for the capitalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The UN General Assembly's Second Committee (Economic and Financial) held its organizational session for UNGA 69, on 19 September 2014, in New York, US. The Second Committee will conduct its substantive work from 7 October until 26 November, beginning with the general debate on 7-9 October.

Item 19, Sustainable Development, covers: a) Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development; b) Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States; c) International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; d) Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind; e) Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa; f) Convention on Biological Diversity; g) Report of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme; h) Harmony with Nature; i) Promotion of new and renewable sources of energy.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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