Ambitions are affordable for Asia and the Pacific

by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

Three years of implementation of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific shows the region has some catching up to do.

Despite much progress, the region is not on track to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are living in a time of booming prosperity, yet many are getting left behind. Basic needs, such as the freedom for all from hunger and poverty, ill-health and gender-based discrimination, and equal opportunity for all are elusive. Economic, social and planetary well-being has a price tag. Calculations by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) show that it is mostly affordable for the region.

Realizing ambitions beyond growth

What will it take to realize the ambitious 2030 Agenda focused on strengthening the three pillars of sustainable development?

The 2019 edition of the ESCAP’s flagship publication Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific is asking for the region to raise ambitions beyond mere economic growth. Countries facing high and growing levels of inequality and environmental degradation will have to change course from pursuing a growth path that neglects people and the planet.

The 2019 Survey forecasts continuing robust growth in the region which remains the engine of the world economy. Amid rising global uncertainty that challenges the Asia-Pacific region’s economic dynamism, there is a need for investments that not only sustain growth but also build social and environmental capital.

ESCAP analysis shows the region needs to invest an additional $1.5 trillion every year to reach the Goals by 2030. This is equivalent to about 5 per cent of the region’s GDP in 2018, or about 4 per cent of the annual average GDP for the period 2016‒2030.

At $1 per person per day, this investment is worthwhile. It could end extreme poverty and malnutrition for more than 400 million people. A quality education for every child and youth would become possible, as would basic health care for all. Better access to transport, information and communications technology (ICT) as well as water and sanitation could be ensured. Universal access to clean and modern energy, as well as energy-efficient transport, buildings and industry could be achieved. Climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure could be built. Resources could be used more effectively, and the planet protected.

Most of this investment is needed to protect and nurture people and the planet. Making a better world for our people by ending poverty and hunger and meeting health and education Goals, requires some $698 billion per year. Protecting our planet by promoting clean energy and climate action and living in harmony with nature, requires $590 billion per year. Another $196 billion per year is needed to invest in improving transport and ICT infrastructure as well as access to water and sanitation services.

Of course, in a region as diverse as ours, investment needs vary considerably. Least developed countries need to invest the most at 16 per cent of GDP while South and South-West Asia has an investment need of 10 per cent of GDP to reach the Goals by 2030. More than two-thirds of the investment in these countries will be in reducing social deficits – poverty, malnutrition, lack of health care and education as well as job creation. Landlocked developing countries need to invest most in improving transport and ICT infrastructure as well as water and sanitation services. East and North-East Asia and, to a lesser degree, South-East Asia, need to focus on clean energy and climate action investment.

Paying the bill

It should be remembered that the Goals support each other and an investment in one area has a positive effect on another. Good health depends not only on access to healthcare services but also nutrition, safe water, sanitation and good air quality. Education for all also promotes gender equality. Resource efficiency supports climate change mitigation.

Besides harnessing these synergies, sustainable development financing strategies will have to turn to public and private finance. The good news is that most countries in the region have the fiscal space to invest in the Goals. There is also a massive untapped pool of private financial assets estimated at $51 trillion in developing Asia-Pacific countries alone. Enhanced regional cooperation would also help the region offset external risks and build resilience by tapping into regional resources.

Above all, leadership will be crucial in making the transition to a development strategy that balances all dimensions of human and planetary well-being. The 2019 Survey aims to stimulate a regional dialogue and offers guidance on accelerating progress towards the Goals in the region.

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is United Nations UnderSecretaryGeneral and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Video Message of the UN Secretary-General for Earth Hour, 30 March 2019

 

Below is the transcript of the UN Secretary-General’s video message for Earth Hour 2019:

This Earth Hour comes with a great sense of urgency.

We can see the worsening impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean pollution, soil degradation and water scarcity.

The good news is: there are solutions.

It is still possible to limit climate change, protect our planet and safeguard our future.

Technology is on our side.

I am convening a Climate Action Summit in September.

And I am telling global leaders to bring concrete plans.

Earth Hour is an opportunity to show support for ambitious climate action, by turning off your lights this Saturday, March 30th, at 8:30 p.m. local time.

Together, let’s build a cleaner, safer and greener future for everyone.

[Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, 25 March 2019

Day in and day out, deed by deed, United Nations personnel work unwaveringly to help the most vulnerable, protect the planet and build a better future for all.

Sadly, fulfilling this vital mission often entails great perils.

In 2018, 16 UN staff members were kidnapped or abducted, and one thus far in 2019. Thankfully, all have been released. As of today, there are 21 UN staff members under arrest or in detention — five of whom are being held without any known charges. We will continue to do everything within our means to secure our colleagues’ release.

On this International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, I call on all countries to support the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel as well as its 2005 Optional Protocol. To date, only 95 countries are party to the Convention and only 33 to the Optional Protocol.

Whether in their home countries or abroad, United Nations staff members have an admirable commitment to service. Their safety must be our priority. On this International Day of Solidarity, I call on the Member States and the international community to strengthen resolve to give them the protection they need to continue their work for peace and prosperity for all.

(Above) Alec Collett, a UN staff member, who was abducted in 1985. UN Photo/Milton Grant

[Ends]

Mga nag-aaklas para sa klima, inspirasyon para sa susunod na pagpupulong ng UN

Sinulat ni Antonio Guterres

Ika-15 ng Marso 2019

Salin ng UNIC Manila mula sa Ingles*

Libu-libong kabataan ang tumungo sa mga lansangan noong Biyernes upang ipahatid sa mga lider ng bansa ang mensaheng ito: kumilos na kayo upang sagipin ang ating mundo at kinabukasan laban sa climate change.

Naiintindihan ng mga kabataang ito ang isang bagay na di makuha ng mga nakatatanda: tayo ay nakikipagkarera para sa ating buhay, at tayo ay natatalo. Ang pagkakataong makaungos sa karerang ito ay mabilis na nauubos. Di tayo maaaring magpatumpik-tumpik pa. Ang pagpapaliban sa aksyon para sa klima ay mas peligroso kaysa sa pagtanggi dito.

Bigo ang aking henerasyon na gawan ng solusyon ang climate change. Ito ay dama ng mga kabataan kaya nga sila ay nagagalit.

sa kabila ng ilang taon ng pag-uusap at pagpupulong, ang binubuga nating greenhouse emissions ay pinakamataas ngayon at di humuhupa. Ang nakaraang apat na taon ang pinakamainit sa kasaysayan. Sa nakalipas na 50 taon, ang temperatura sa Arctic ay tumaas nang 3-4 antas sentigrado. Ang lalim ng ating karagatan ay tumataas, nagkakamatayan ang ating mga koral, at naguumpisa na nating makita ang kahilahilakbot na tama ng climate change sa ting kalusugan, dahil sa polusyon, matinding init at banta sa tuluyang pagkakaroon ng pagkain.

Salamat na lamang at nariyan ang Paris agreement–isang mapangarapin at pasulong na balangkas na nagsasaad ng dapat nating gawin upang pigilin ang pagkasira dulot ng klima at salungatin ang mga epekto nito. Subalit ang Paris agreement ay walang-saysay kung walang pagkilos.

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit pupulungin ko ang mga lider ng bansa sa isang climate action summit ngayong taon. Tinatawagan ko ang mga lider na tumungo sa New York sa Setyembre, bitbit ang mga konkreto at makatotohanang mga plano upang mapaigting ang kanilan nationally determined contributions pagsapit ng 2020, ayon sa layuning bawasan nang 45% ang ating green house gas emissions pagsapit ng susunod na dekada, at gawing net zero pagdating ng 2050.

Pagsasamahin sa summit na ito ang mga estado, pribadong sektor, civil society, lokal na awtoridad, at mga samahang pandaigdigan upang makalimbag ng mga ambisyosong solusyon sa an im na larangan: renewable energy; emission reductions; sustainable infrastructure; sustenableng agrikultura at pamamahala sa kagubatan at karagatan; paglaban sa tama ng klima; at pamumuhunan sa green economy.

Ayon sa mga mga pinakabagong pagsusuri, kung kikilos tayo ngayon mapapababa nating ang carbon emissions sa loob ng 12 taon at di na hihigit sa 1.5C ang global warming. Subalit kung magpapatuloy tayo sa nakagawian, ang kahihinatnan natin ay mahirap na mahulaan.

Ang paglaban sa climate change ay mahalaga para sa ating buhay, ngunit mayroon din itong kaakibat na halaga. Hindi maaaring ang pagkilos ay magresulta sa pagkatalo para sa ilan, o di pagkakapantay-pantay sa ekonomiya. Kailangang patas ang pagkilos at magbunga ng oportunidad para sa mga tatamaan habang patungo tayo sa pagbabago.

Kaakbay natin ang negosyo. Ang mabilisang pagharap sa climate change ay makapagpapalakas sa ating mga ekonomiya at makapaglilkha ng trabaho, habang nililinis ang ating hangin, pinananatili ang ating biodiversity, at pinangangalagaan ang ating kapaligiran.

Ang mga bagong teknolohiya at solusyong inhinyero ay nakalilikha na ng enerhiya na mas mura kaysa sa enerhiyang galing sa krudo. Ang enerhiyang nagmumula sa araw at hangin ay siyang pinakamurang pinagmumulan ng malakihang pinagkukunan ng enerhiya sa halos lahat ng malalaking ekonomiya ngayon. Ngunit kailan pa ring tayo ang magpasimuno sa radikal na pagbabago.

Kinakailangang alisin na natin ang mga subsidiya na pumapabor sa krudo at sa uri ng agrikultura na malakas gumamit ng krudo at lumipat na sa renewable energy, mga sasakyang tumatakbo sa kuryente, at mga gawi na tinatawag na climate-smart. Kinakailangan din nating bigyan ng kaukulang presyo ang binubuga nating karbon. At kinakailangan nating pabilisin ang pagsasara sa mga planta ng karbon at palitan ang mga trabaho ng mas maiging alternatibo upang ang pagbabago ay makatarungan, ingklusibo at kapakipakinabang.

Sumisigla na ang pagkilos, nakikinig na ang mga tao, at mayroon nang bagong pagpupuniyagi upang ipakita ang mga posibilidad sa Paris agreement. Ang climate summit ang umpisa sa pagtatayo ng kinabukasan na gusto nating lahat.

Magtatapos ako sa pamamagitan ng isang mensahe sa mga nag-aklas noong Biyernes. Alam ko na kaya ng kabataan na baguhin ang mundo.

Marami sa inyo ang nababahala at natatakot sa kinabukasan, at naiintindihan ko ang inyong mga alalahanin at galit. Subalit alam ko rin na maraming pwedeng maabot ang sangkatauhan. Ang mga boses niyo ay nagbibigay sa akin ng pagasa.

Habang namamalas ko ang inyong pagkilos at pangako, lalong napapalagay ang loob ko na tayo ay magwawagi. Tulong-tulong, at sa pamamagitan ng inyong ayuda, makakayanan nating talunin ang bantang ito at lumikha ng mas malinis at mas ligtas na mundo para sa lahat.

Si Antonio Guterres ang secretary-general ng United Nations

*Ang op-ed na ito ay isinulat sa Ingles, na may titulong, “The climate strikers should inspire us all to act at the next UN summit,” at inilathala ng The Guardian noong ika-15 ng Marso, 2019.

Basahin ang op-ed na ito sa Ingles.

UN Secretary-General’s Message on World Water Day, 22 March 2019

Water is vital for survival and, alongside sanitation, helps protect public and environmental health. Our bodies, our cities and our industries, our agriculture and our ecosystems all depend on it.

Water is a human right. Nobody should be denied access. This World Water Day is about upholding this right for all, leaving no one behind.

Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe water due to factors such as economic status, gender, ethnicity, religion and age. Growing demands, coupled with poor management, have increased water stress in many parts of the world. Climate change is adding dramatically to the pressure. By 2030, an estimated 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity.

We must encourage cooperation to tackle the global water crisis and strengthen our resilience to the effects of climate change to ensure access to water for all, especially for the most vulnerable. These are vital steps towards a more peaceful and prosperous future. As we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must value water resources and ensure their inclusive management if we are to protect and use this vital resource sustainably for the benefit of all people.

Application open for Reham Al-Farra Journalism Fellowship

Manila, 21 March 2019 — The Department of Global Communications (DGC) is accepting applications for the 2019 Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalism Fellowship, which will be held at UN Headquarters in New York from 15 September to 5 October 2019.

The Fellowship will bring a select group of young journalists from around the world to United Nations Headquarters to cover the General Assembly, interview senior officials, and attend special briefings and workshops.

The Fellowship is open to full-time journalists between the ages of 22 and 35 from countries with developing and transitioning economies. A full list of eligible countries is available at https://outreach.un.org/raf/eligibility.

The Fellowship covers the cost of roundtrip air travel to New York and provides a daily subsistence allowance.

Applications must be submitted online at https://outreach.un.org/raf/applyThe application deadline is 15 April 2019.

This Fellowship commemorates the memory of Reham Al-Farra (photo above), a Jordanian diplomat and journalist who was murdered in the Canal Hotel bombing in 2003. Only 29 years old when killed, she served as a Minister of Public Information and for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

UN seeking to fill 4 judicial vacancies in UN Dispute Tribunal (Deadline 31 March 2019)

 

The United Nations is seeking to fill four judicial vacancies in the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT). The deadline to apply is 31 March 2019.

Details of the vacancy announcement can be found at the link below:

http://www.un.org/en/internaljustice/overview/judicial-vacancies.shtml

A brief overview of the structure and purpose of the UN Internal Justice System is found in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=mXS2CAK3BNU

You may also watch this interview of Judge Alexander W. Hunter on his role as a Judge in the UN Dispute Tribunal https://youtu.be/BYI_CilOrRg

6 Director level positions at UNDOCO

UN Development Operations Coordination Office (UNDOCO) is re-advertising 6 Director level positions

Due to modified job responsibilities and requirements, 6 D level positions in the UN Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) are being re-advertised both in New York and in regional hubs.

The positions include:
Regional Directors in Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Amman and Istanbul (D2)
Deputy to Assistant Secretary General in New York (D2)
Chief of RC System Leadership Branch in New York (D1)

Job requirements – education, experience and language skills – are specific to each position and are included in the job openings.

Details here.

Join the biggest gathering of young people at the UN!

Filipino youth groups are invited to get involved in the 8th ECOSOC Youth Forum—the largest annual gathering of young people at the United Nations—which will take place from 8 to 9 April 2019 at UN Headquarters in New York

The Forum serves as a platform for youth leaders, government officials and civil society representatives to address the challenges that today’s generation of young people is facing.

Locally, there are three ways in which youth groups could participate, as follows:

1. Identifying Local Influencers – (Deadline: 25 March)

  • Suggest any relevant local influencers with good social media reach who could join the conversation online, by promoting the Forum and issues affecting young people.
  • The DGC will produce an Instagram story with several influencers and would also like to include your local influencer.
  • The DGC would be happy to discuss and provide more suggestions on the influencers’ engagement, including proposed social media messages, as we move forward.

2. Photo/text on inspiring young people  – (Deadline: 29 March)

  • The DGC is looking for ways to profile a series of inspiring young people on social media in the run up to the Forum.
  • If you have in mind a young person involved in an SDG-related project, please share with us a good photo and a compelling paragraph (200 words max) on their work.
  • Ideally, the photo would be of them at work with the community paired with an inspiring short narrative with the paragraph you can provide.

3. Joining the conversation – (Deadline for confirmation: 29 March)

  • Tune in and join the conversation online. We will provide the link to the live forum.