News from the UN # 133

In late October, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resumed the 11th emergency special session to discuss the attempt by the Russian Federation to illegally annex the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia through the means of referenda. This emergency special session first opened in March of this year but was put on hold in April. However, after the Russian Federation vetoed a Security Council resolution put forward to address the contentious issue, the states of Ukraine and Albania urged UNGA President Csaba Kőrösi to resume the emergency session.

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News from the UN # 132

During 10 days in September, Heads of State and Government gathered at the UN HQ in New York for the opening of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and ten days of the annual High Level General Debate. Summits, speeches and dialogue filled the days as police sirens, closed streets and occasional protests took over the surrounding area. This year the meeting was mostly held in person and took place against the somber background of three complex and interconnected global crises currently challenging traditional forms of diplomacy and calling for new forms of multilateral response: Conflict, Climate Change and COVID 19. At the same time, Climate Week in New York City highlighted the urgency of response to the climate
crisis through a plethora of panels, activities and events. In this issue of News from the UN we highlight just a few of the sessions we attended.

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News from the UN # 131

“Our world is in deep trouble—and so too are the Sustainable Development Goals.” Secretary General Antonio Guterres did not mince his words in addressing the Heads of State and Government Ministers attending the High Level Political Forum at the UN in July 2022. In a world reeling from the effects of the COVID pandemic, beset by conflicts, geopolitical instability, global economic turndown, food and energy insecurity, and the worsening climate crisis, the Sustainable Development Goals are perhaps more crucial than ever. During the period 5 – 13th July the progress on attaining the SDGs was reviewed with the focus placed on SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 14 (life below water), SDG 15 (life on land), and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). Forty four countries presented their “Voluntary National Reviews”, - sharing challenges and good practices and Civil Society representatives pushed for action and accountability. It is clear from the VNRs presented that a lot more needs to be done to accelerate progress on the SDGs.

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News from the UN # 130

“Our world is in deep trouble—and so too are the Sustainable Development Goals.” Secretary General Antonio Guterres did not mince his words in addressing the Heads of State and Government Ministers attending the High Level Political Forum at the UN in July 2022. In a world reeling from the effects of the COVID pandemic, beset by conflicts, geopolitical instability, global economic turndown, food and energy insecurity, and the worsening climate crisis, the Sustainable Development Goals are perhaps more crucial than ever. During the period 5 – 13th July the progress on attaining the SDGs was reviewed with the focus placed on SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 14 (life below water), SDG 15 (life on land), and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). Forty four countries presented their “Voluntary National Reviews”, - sharing challenges and good practices and Civil Society representatives pushed for action and accountability. It is clear from the VNRs presented that a lot more needs to be done to accelerate progress on the SDGs.

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News from the UN # 129

Nearly four years have passed since the first-ever internationally negotiated UN agreement on a common approach to managing international migration was adopted by the UN General Assembly, following a two year process of consultation and negotiations. Although the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” (GCM) is not a legally binding agreement, a review process is built into it, and the first “International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) took place in New York from 17-20 May 2022. Discussions focused on progress in the implementation of the 23 Action proposals with a view to identifying the gaps and the challenges impacting implementation as well as the sharing of good practices developed in the context of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. A Progress Declaration was agreed by consensus and adopted by the UN General Assembly by acclamation.

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News from the UN # 128

In the last week of April, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Moscow and Kyiv as he attempted to mediate a cease-fire in Ukraine and the opening of humanitarian corridors in conflict torn areas such as Mariupol. According to OCHA, UN Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the grave humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is leaving millions of people in dire need. It has affected those who have fled across borders, those who who are on the move within the country and those who are hunkered down in sites under attack. The United Nations and partners have been scaling up supplies and services to meet the urgent needs of civilians throughout the country protection and relief.

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News from the UN # 127

On March 25th the 66th meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) drew to a close with the adoption by consensus of Agreed Conclusions on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. There was broad based support from Member States of the need for gender-responsive action to address and tackle the climate crisis and the recognition that this requires immediate and urgent action. Over a two week period, and in parallel to the formal sessions, interactive panels and member state negotiations a marathon of some 800 virtual sessions formed the NGO CSW Forum on the same theme. The Forum was aimed at informing, engaging and inspiring the grassroots efforts and advocacy needed to empower women and girls in the face of climate change and environmental disaster. This issue of News from the UN shares some glimpses from these events.

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News from the UN # 126

Held outside the UN HQ in New York for the first time, Global Goals Week took place from 15 – 22nd January at the heart of Expo 2020 in Dubai. It brought together partners, activists and advocates to mobilize and accelerate momentum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As the UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, noted in her opening words, the 2015 commitment to Agenda 2030 represented a major paradigm shift to which member states committed, promising to deliver 17 SDGs. Progress has been painfully slow and the Decade of Action has been severely impacted by COVID 19. However she highlighted its vital importance. “The 2030 Agenda still remains our indispensable blueprint to avert a future of widening inequality, escalating climate catastrophe and perpetual conflict”.

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News from the UN # 125

Each year the world commemorates December 10th as Human Rights Day - the day on which the UN General Assembly of the UN adopted the Universal Declaration on Human rights in 1948. Translated into more than 500 languages, this globally accepted Declaration serves as the foundation for an expanding system of universally recognised human rights protections. These are at the core of the UN’s Agenda 2030 and our RSHM advocacy for a more just world. This year’s theme for the day focused on “Equality” –“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Article 1).

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