BRIEFINGS NY 2016-2015


2016 HLPF: briefing by the ECOSOC President on the HLPF


Per below, we expect that the ECOSOC Bureau will also present a draft agenda for the HLPF this year at this meeting. For those that cannot attend in New York on Thursday, the meeting will be webcast at
From: Lotta Tahtinen <>

Date: Fri, Jun 3, 2016
Subject: 2016 HLPF: briefing by the ECOSOC President on the HLPF
To: Lotta Tahtinen <>

Dear All,

There will be an informal briefing by the President of ECOSOC, H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, on the preparations for the 2016 high-level political forum (HLPF) under the auspices of the ECOSOC and the high-level segment of ECOSOC on Thursday, 9 June, at 3 p.m. (NY time) in conference room 1. Representatives of Member States, the UN system and Major Groups and Other Stakeholders are invited to attend. The meeting will be web cast at

Please visit: for more information about the 2016 HLPF session. Please note that registration for representatives of ECOSOC accredited NGOs and those on the CSD roster to participate in the Forum is currently open in the CSO net (deadline for registration is 10 June). For more information about registration, please see:

Kind regards, Lotta

Lotta Tähtinen | Stakeholder Engagement Programme Coordinator
Division for Sustainable Development | DESA
United Nations | Room S-2619 | Email:

UN Sust Goals



New briefing paper on the impact of climate change in Least Developed Countries

Dear Colleagues

New research by the Least Developed Countries Independent Expert Group<> highlights the challenges for LDCs in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals given the expected impacts of climate change. The research draws on evidence from the Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC Working Group II regarding climate change scenarios for LDCs. A briefing paper has recently been produced that summarizes the results of the research. The paper, “Impact of climate change on Least Developed Countries: Are the SDGs possible?”, offers insights that could be of use to LDCs in positioning themselves in the upcoming Post-2015 UN Summit in New York and the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Paris.

A copy of the paper is available online here<>. IIED has also produced a short blog on the findings, which can be found here<>. The full report of the research will be published on IIED’s website in the run-up to the Paris COP.

We would welcome your feedback on these materials, and would be very grateful if you could circulate them to others who may find them useful.

With best wishes

Tom Bigg
Director of Strategy and Learning
80-86 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8NH, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 34637405

IIED is a company limited by a guarantee and incorporated in England. Reg. No 2188452. Registered office: 80-86 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8NH, UK. VAT Reg. No. GB 440 4948 50. Charity No. 800066. OSCR No 039864

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13 August NGO Briefing (also webcast): Where Would the Sustainable Development Goals Be Without Civil Society? And Where Do We Go from Here? (11:00am to 12.30 p.m., Conference Room 3)

If you will be attending or observing online through the webcast, let us know.  Thanks.


From: Krystal Fruscella <>
Date: Wed, Aug 12, 2015
Subject: Re: 13 August NGO Briefing: Where Would the Sustainable Development Goals Be Without Civil Society? And Where Do We Go from Here? (11:00am to 12.30 p.m., Conference Room 3)


Krystal Fruscella
NGO Relations and Advocacy




Highlights UN Turns 70 – Bremley’s Briefings


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Bremley is often fond of pointing out that the Co-Chairs of the UN SD Education Caucus represent the ideals of the UN:  male – female [gender equity], elder – youth [intergenerational], indigenous person  - non-indigenous person, developing country – developed country, and much more including justice, policy & practice, society & learning systems.  As Bremley is a global leader not only in the policy making arena but in terms of effective action and MOI.  
All the best,
Pam Puntenney and Bremley Lyngdoh
UN SD Education Caucus Co-Chairs
Co-Coordinators Climate Change
Here are some of Bremley’s highlights from the UN Turns 70…
• Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen welcome to the United Nations General Assembly as we celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations and reflect on the journey we have taken so far and where we are going!

•  It has been an amazing journey P.j. Puntenney Co Chairing the UN SD Education Caucus with you since we started at the UN’s 50th birthday in 1995 and the Caucus has played a critical role in advancing Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration/Principles and JPOI mandates on environmental education. The Education Caucus is pivotal to harmonization, alignment and connectivity with all other suggested Sustainability Goals. The UNCSD Education Caucus is the progressive voice for integration of other Sustainability Goals, with an emphasis on social responsibility through learning, through engaging an informed political forum, stakeholders, and civil society – as well as the private sector – utilizing the nexus of environmental sustainability, engaging people in sustainability, and learning, from the community to the President to the intergovernmental levels.
• Thank you and I am looking forward to joining forces with my fellow wood tiger brother Leonardo DiCaprio in our Battle for the Planet!
• Happy 70th Birthday to the United Nations
United Nations – As the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary we highlight the iconic…


Voorbeeld van YouTube-video Leonardo DiCaprio (UN Messenger of Peace) at the opening of Climate Summit 2014 weergeven

Leonardo DiCaprio (UN Messenger of Peace) at the opening of Climate Summit 2014

Voorbeeld van YouTube-video The UN Turns 70 weergeven

The UN Turns 70





Global Policy Watch Briefing #7: An Action Plan Without Much Action

Subject: Global Policy Watch Briefing #7: An Action Plan Without Much Action
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015
To: Social Watch Secretariat <>

WM GPW Global Policy Watch

8 July 2015
An Action Plan Without Much ActionBy Barbara Adams and Gretchen LuchsingerWith pens still hovering over the Addis Ababa Action Plan, the outcome agreement for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), there is already a sense that for all the recent talk at the UN about ambition and transformation, it is falling short. For a financing document, the Action Plan includes an impressive number of references to issues at the core of sustainable and inclusive development, like social protection, essential services, decent work for all and sustainable industrialization. There are multiple references to consumption and production, a rebalancing of which, among the rich and the poor, will determine the future of our world.But how do we get there? The Action Plan has very little in the way of concrete steps and deliverables. It spends a lot of time encouraging and incentivizing, and circling around inherent contradictions. Rather than aiming high, it sets a low bar, perhaps in anticipation of leaving room to maneuver towards the Paris climate change summit at the end of the year.For some observers, this may fit the narrative of UN negotiations as being of diminishing relevance, since they do not do enough to take on weighty issues in the real world that, like debt, trade and private sector activities, have profound impacts on people’s lives. That’s all true. But on another level, deliberations like those at FfD3 very accurately mirror what’s going on in the world today—in terms of the balance of power. For all the rhetoric about leaving no one behind in the post-2015 world, the reality is not about using UN agreements to advance global justice, but about minimizing disturbances of the status quo—which accepts leaving people behind as an inevitable tradeoff.While there is often a temptation to argue that “at least the line was held†or “it could be worse,†the challenges in the world today exceed any justification for the retreat from ambition. With growing inequalities and a planet in crisis, we have run out of time–and we should have run out of tolerance—for tinkering.

Which Assumptions?
Looking beyond particular issues in the agreement, it can be useful to consider some of the assumptions that underpin them. Is the assumption behind the strong emphasis on blended or private sources of finance that the public sector is inherently unreliable or less than fully trustworthy, even though blended and similar instruments have relatively little evidence to support their efficacy? Instead of jumping through hoops to work with corporations with incentive structures that focus more on individual profits than collective well-being, why not just tax them adequately and use the money for social protection, essential services for all and so on?

The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), for one, has championed partnerships with the private sector as an “engine for growth.†Its financing of private sector firms has skyrocketed to an estimated £580 million pounds, up from £68m in 2012. Yet a recent report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact gave the watchdog group’s second worst rating to DfID’s work with businesses, noting that much of it has taken place without much focus on targets or specific benefits for people living in poverty.

Most of the document’s references to rights concern property, labour, women, children, migration and trafficking. All valid—and important references in a financing agreement that might in the past have considered rights references as less relevant. But why are there no rights associated with trade and debt? Do these have no implications for the rights of workers, women, children, migrants and so on?

Many assumptions are made about existing institutions and systems as adequate platforms on which to base financing for the future. The International Monetary Fund, for example, remains integral to an international financial safety net, despite its less than stellar record in the 2008 global financial crisis. It is asked to take steps such as strengthening analytical tools for sovereign debt management and improving early warning of macroeconomic and financial risks. Developing countries, especially the poorest, are to be assisted in developing capacities to benefit from opportunities in international trade and investment treaties, despite all the evidence that these do not fundamentally work in their favour. What would it mean instead to help these countries develop capacities to question, shape and negotiate/renegotiate treaties with clear benefits in terms of sustainable development and human rights?

Coherence or…
At its very beginning, the Action Plan makes a promising start by committing to policy coherence and an enabling environment for sustainable development. But coherent for what and for whom? One reference is clear on this: “We will continue to strengthen international coordination and policy coherence to enhance global financial and macroeconomic stability.†Stability, while sound in theory, in practice has often been defined—by powerful international institutions—in a manner that ends up to stripping people of jobs and services. Is that coherent with sustainable development? With human rights?

The calls for inclusive and sustainable industrialization and promoting small and medium enterprises are good elements. Yet is this coherent with current trade rules, which have done much to block the process of restructuring economies, and to prevent new industries and businesses to emerge and move up global value chains? Trade and investment language has very little to say on what one forthcoming UN report refers to as a spaghetti bowl of bilateral and other agreements deliberately being used by some rich countries to keep themselves high on global value chains, while corporations deploy dispute mechanisms to, for example, shut down the kinds of national industrial policy that allowed the Asian economic “miracles†to happen. Might more “miracles†undercut the steady supply of cheap labour and raw materials on which consumption by the rich everywhere has come to depend?

Who’s Empowered?
The references to the United Nations throughout the Action Plan are encouraging, if mixed. The UN, often sidelined in global economic governance—despite being the only multilateral forum that is universally owned and mandated to uphold internationally agreed principles including human rights—is called to the table on issues such as combatting illicit financial flows, continuing work on standards for credit ratings agencies and coordinating activities related to international trade law. The Action Plan “takes note†of UNCTAD’s principles on responsible sovereign lending and borrowing—if in lower case letters to denote the more diffuse area of work rather than the principles themselves.

But real “empowerment,†as it were, remains with the powerful, including the international financial institutions—and not just in traditional economic arenas. For example, the Action Plan gives the Global Financing Facility (GFF), housed at the World Bank, a key role on health issues, as reported in a recent Global Policy Watch. It is being cited as a model for SDG implementation. The GFF’s working group comprises some UN agencies, as well as twice as many northern as southern governments. All foundations and NGOs involved are from the United States and United Kingdom. Does that pattern bode well for the future? And there is the Bank itself. An independent evaluation of its support for public-private partnerships found that these tended to measure success as profitability, with lesser consideration for social and other safeguards. Or, as one Bank insider confirmed in the case of Tunisia, the Bank was content to lend money before its recent revolution, even knowing that corruption and human rights violations had reached horrific proportions, because the returns were consistently good. 

One of the final sticking points in negotiating the Addis Action Plan involved scaling up the current UN expert body on taxation to a more powerful UN commission. Most countries agree that international tax cooperation is a good idea, but rich countries fought hard against the idea of doing it within the UN, preferring business as usual at the OECD and the IMF. In a side event during the June negotiations, a rich country delegate acknowledged that his government would never go for a commission, because the UN already has too many, it would cost more money, and besides, if the commission became a really robust review mechanism, countries would drop out, as has happened with climate change.

Tax avoidance is now an issue of global proportions. Many countries cannot effectively tax the hugely wealthy transnational corporations that operate within their borders. As stated in the recent report by the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT), half of global trade now occurs within related corporate structures, a strategy companies use in part to avoid taxation. In the Action Plan, three OECD initiatives are singled out in talking about international tax cooperation, despite the fact that its members include some of the world’s foremost tax havens and are home to most of the largest tax-avoiding transnationals. The fox appears not only to be in the hen house, as the saying goes, but also to own it, to set all the rules and to oversee compliance.

What does it mean for the Action Plan to then also promise to “make sure that all companies, including multinationals, pay taxes to the governments of countries where economic activity occurs and value is created, in accordance with national and international laws and policies?†How likely is that to happen, particularly with the amount of corporate money now flooding some political systems?

For developing countries, the initial emphasis in the Action Plan is on modernizing national tax systems and integrating the informal sector—default workplace for the poor. Beyond the obvious equity issues, how much will be collected from them? And, if so many tax issues are outside national borders, how much will “technical improvements†actually achieve? The recent G7 communiqué echoes the same message, with a commitment to helping developing countries build their “tax administration capacities.â€

The Action Plan as a whole gives the private sector a major pass, continuing the tradition from earlier FfD rounds. It suggests “regulatory frameworks to better align private sector incentives with public goals,†but this is to be done through incentives, without specifying that these probably need to involve consistent legal requirements backed by stringent enforcement that, at least in the past, have had the most notable impact on shifting corporate behaviour. As it stands, current profitability perspectives are too short-term for change to reliably work any other way. Within a single paragraph, the Action Plan mentions international labour standards and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, both positives, but then also fits in the UN Global Compact, widely viewed as an example of how the UN has allowed itself to be used for corporate publicity objectives, with minimal, if any, meaningful changes in behaviour.

A call for increased transparency and accountability for private philanthropic organizations is nice, but how, exactly? And why just “encourage†philanthropic donors to manage in some cases billion-dollar endowments through impact investing that takes social and environmental considerations on board? Since many benefit from special tax provisions, why not require them to do this? How much policy coherence is involved if a foundation can fund health programmes on one hand, and invest in a global conglomerate producing products undercutting rural livelihoods (while avoiding taxes) on the other?

Who’s Calling for Real Change?
Interestingly, while the current power configuration seeks to maintain its vice-like grip, an end-run around the blockage to progress has gathered momentum, although it is happening in fits and starts, and with no guarantees. Witness the creation of the new Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the staunch opposition by some rich countries, even as others opted to sign up. Or Greece putting debt relief to a public referendum beyond the sole purview of a handful of rich creditors—a move endorsed by UN human rights experts. They pointed out that not only are debt repayment obligations at stake, but so are respect for human rights, human dignity, equality and solidarity, all foundational principles of the European Union.

A court in the Netherlands, based on a suit by a climate change NGO, set a new precedent by drawing a link between poor domestic emissions reduction policy and climate damages, and requiring the state to achieve scaled-up emissions targets. In Indonesia, a court annulled water privatization because excessive price increases would violate of people’s rights to water. And the Pope condemned carbon trading as part of the same market mentality that led to climate change in the first place.

Around the world, some forms of insecurity could be read as protests against a world order viewed as unfair. Upholding the “rule of law†has become an increasingly common refrain, yet better laws, court systems and the like will only go so far as long as the root causes of injustice remain, and as long as the rule of law is applied primarily to individual countries, and not to all the activities that cut across them and deepen inequities.

Inside the UN, during the last round of FfD3 negotiations, as rich countries attempted to join forces around removing a reference to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has been endorsed by nearly every country, a delegate from a small Pacific country took the floor with an informed and impassioned plea. He reminded delegates that the same conversations had already taken place to negotiate the convention, that tobacco use has a profound impact on health and national health care costs, and that this was about the lowest-hanging fruit around.

His willingness to take such a visible stand required determination. The powerful US Chamber of Commerce is not only a regular contributor in UN “partnership†forums, but also among the last remaining supporters of selling tobacco products outside the industry itself. The United States is one of only a couple of countries that have not signed the convention.

And Who’s Responsible?
One reason for optimism in both FfD3 and post-2015—beyond the fact that the latter really will be transformative if implemented the way it has been intended—has been the consistent call by developing countries to apply the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. Rich countries accept this principle on environmental issues, but no further, arguing that the world has moved on since the principle was agreed at the Rio conference more than two decades ago, that there is more wealth in more countries, and that the old colonial era divides no longer hold. We are all now universally responsible.

But the new wealth remains concentrated in relatively few hands, and it will be states who bear the primary responsibility for financing development. Even countries with now thriving economies face disproportionately large numbers of people whose basic needs and essential services are not being met.

Legal systems often define equality as treating equally those who are similarly situated, and treating differently those who are differently situated. So, either the world is already equal, or we have to respond to its differences. Since the first case is clearly impossible to make—and, interestingly, is never made in terms of the UN Security Council or global economic governance, at least by those who control these and are selectively willing to assume “differentiated responsibility†—only the second case remains.

Responding to current differences requires all efforts to balance needs and responsibilities, and to factor in often big gaps in capabilities—in other words, common but differentiated responsibility. This principle is fundamental to any notion of global partnership, and should be applied on both international and national levels.

Without common but differentiated responsibility, in the context of FfD3, universal “responsibility†essentially gives rich countries an exit from financing commitments. But so far, this does not also involve a retreat from dominance of trade, debt and international economic governance rules and forums that undercut the abilities of developing countries to develop and become “responsible†on the same level.

Up until almost its final draft, the Action Plan ended with a dismaying penultimate paragraph that the agreement does not “create rights or obligations under international law.†UN agreements, no matter how critical their concerns, cannot work without a spirit of common commitment and solidarity. Undermine that, and we are left with a world with even less responsibility and ever deepening divides.
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[SAVE THE DATE- TRAINING SESSION] Making your voice heard: How to influence the post-2015 development agenda, 1:15-2:45 pm, Mon 23 March, UNHQ (NY)​​​​​


 ‘Making your voice heard: How to influence the post-2015 development agenda’

1:15 – 2:45pm, Monday, 23 March

Room 2726 UN Secretariat Building, ​New York


Beyond2015SD2015 and the Tellus Institute invite you to participate in this advocacy training to help you and your organisation successfully engage government delegates during the remaining post-2015 intergovernmental sessions.

Following up on last month’s training session, learn how to effectively influence governments and other key decision makers to make sure we bring about the world we want by 2030​.

Please register your interest to participate in this training session as soon as possible as there is limited room capacity and participation will be confirmed on a first come, first serve basis. To register you need click here

Note: You will need to have already registered to attend the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations that are taking place at the UN between 23-27 March to have qualified for a pass to get into the UN building ​for this training OR you must already have a UN grounds pass to ensure access.




WM 2015 Logo unnamed

Draft Programme March Session; ECOSOC NGO Briefings; ECOSOC Integration Segment (30 March to 1 April


The draft programme for the 23-27 March post-2015 negotiating session is available online here:

Informal briefings for non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
There will be three consecutive informal briefings for non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council on Monday, 16 March 2015, at 3:00 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.The first will be a briefing by the Vice-President of the Council, Her Excellency María Emma Mejía Vélez (Colombia), on the Council’s ongoing dialogue on longer-term positioning of the United Nations development system. The ECOSOC dialogue is mandated by Council resolution 2014/14, in which the Council decided to convene a dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the United Nations development system, taking into account the post-2015 development agenda, including the interlinkages between the alignment of functions, funding practices, governance structures, capacity and impact of the United Nations development system, partnership approaches and organizational arrangements. The Vice-President will outline her vision for the ECOSOC dialogue and present its roadmap.The second will be a briefing by the Vice-President of the Council, His Excellency Vladimir Drobnjak (Croatia), on the preparations for the Integration Segment to be held from Monday, 30 March, to Wednesday, 1 April 2015.  The Integration Segment will consider the theme “Achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all”. The Segment aims to bring together Heads of States and Governments, ministers, the United Nations system, the tripartite constituents of the International Labour Organization, civil society and the private sector to focus on how the creation of good quality jobs could be a tool for promoting the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, and to identify policy choices and possible trade-offs that could arise from an integrated approach.The third will be a briefing by the Vice-President of the Council, His Excellency Mohamed Khaled Khiari (Tunisia), on the preparations for the Humanitarian Affairs Segment to be held from Wednesday, 17 June, to Friday, 19 June 2015, at United Nations Office in Geneva.  Member States, UN agencies, humanitarian and development partners, civil society, the private sector and affected communities will discuss emerging and pressing humanitarian issues during two High-Level panel discussions, a Transition event, side-events and a humanitarian fair.

For additional information relating to the ECOSOC dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN development system please click here, and for the Integration Segment please click here.

Kind regards, Lotta  Lotta Tahtinen  Major Groups Programme Coordinator Division for Sustainable Development/DESA United Nations, S-2619 E-mail: Tel: +1 (917) 367-221

Anjali Rangaswami <> Date: Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Subject: ECOSOC Integration Segment (30 March to 1 April) – Achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all To:


Please note the following details on the ECOSOC Integration Segment (30 March to 1 April) – Achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all.
ECOSOC  ▪  Integration Segment (30 March – 1 April 2015)  Achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all
Dear Sir/Madam,
The Vice-President of the UN Economic and Social Council, H.E. Ambassador Vladimir Drobnjak, has the honour to invite you to attend the 2015 United Nations Economic and Social Council Integration Segment. The Council will be focusing on the very timely issue of “Achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all” during this Segment.
The programme details are:
Date/ Time:         Monday, 30 March 201510:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,  Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and  Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Venue:          United Nations Headquarters, 1st Avenue and 46th Street, New York City
The Segment, being organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), aims to bring together Heads of States and Governments, ministers, the United Nations system, the tripartite constituents of ILO, civil society and the private sector to focus on how the creation of good quality jobs could be a tool for promoting the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, and to identify policy choices and possible trade-offs that could arise from an integrated approach. The three-day meeting will also feature high-level side events to provide an opportunity to engage with a wide range of constituencies on this issue around the world.
The online registration form should be completed no later than 20 March 2015. The tentative programme and the concept note are available at the 2015 Integration Segment website.  A follow-up email to confirm your attendance will be sent shortly after submitting the online registration form. Please note that only invited guests will be confirmed for attendance. An agenda and other information for the meeting, including background documents and a logistics note will be available online shortly via the2015 Integration Segment website. Should you have any questions, kindly email
We also would like to bring to your attention that the ECOSOC Facebook and Twitter accounts are being utilized to raise awareness on the meeting and to have a dialogue on the issues with the public. We encourage you to contribute to the meeting through social media by following ECOSOC on Facebook ( and Twitter (, and using hashtags #600MillionJobs #DecentWork, #Action2015.


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