United Nations Action: Last Minute Call for Session Proposals Focused on Sustainability

The United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will be held in New York from July 10 – 19, 2023.

The Division for Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA/DSDG) and the New York Office of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), are organizing the 2023 edition of the SDGs Learning, Training & Practice – a series of capacity building and knowledge learning sessions held annually as a special Event to the HLPF, featuring speakers and experts from many sectors on crucial topics related to the implementation of the SDGs under review in 2023 HLPF as well as supporting discussions leading up to the SDG Summit in September.

The 2023 edition of the SDGs Learning, Training & Practice also aims at sharing concrete tools, methodologies and good practices that can support the mid-term review of the implementation of the SDGs and the preparations for the 2023 SDG Summit – the HLPF to be convened under the auspices of the General Assembly in September 2023.

National governments and stakeholder organizations interested in organizing a SDGs Learning, Training & Practice session are invited to submit one learning session proposal for the 2023 edition.

The application form for submission of proposals can be accessed online . Only submissions in English will be considered. Applicants will be asked to indicate their preference for virtual or in-person sessions.

The selection of learning sessions will be based on the quality of proposals, relevance to the HLPF theme and focus of the 2023 SDG Learning, Training and Practice priorities (as indicated above), the expertise of the organizers, and willingness to produce the desired output. There is no fee for submission or approval of proposed courses.

Learning Session proposals should be submitted no later than March 30 2023. The application form can be accessed through this link. Organizations of selected course proposals will be notified by May 15, 2023.

Nijmegen, the Oldest City in the Netherlands, Is a Trendsetter in Terms of Green Initiatives and Sustainability

A BBC report says Nijmegen in the Netherlands is a clean, compact city with a number of green initiatives that rival Amsterdam. Residents prioritize quality of life and sustainability, and the historic city center is car-free. The city also has bicycle “superhighways,” buses running on green fuel, and programs to encourage car-sharing. Learn more about Holland’s oldest city.

8 Sustainability Ideas That Will Change the World

This short report from the Financial Times highlights some of most innovative ideas for sustainable development across retail, city planning, policy, technology and construction. Ideas that will truly change the way we think about sustainability in 2022

New > United Nations Agreement To Protect Biodiversity

A historic agreement to protect biodiversity was reached at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada. Nations agreed to preserve 30 percent of the planet’s land, oceans and coastal areas by 2030. The agreement is critical to protecting biodiversity and restoring ecosystems.

Learn more from the United Nations

Challenges Abound as World Population Reaches 8 Billion

The global population reached 8 billion people in November. According to the United Nations, the moment underscores the need for humanity to look beyond the numbers and meet its shared responsibility to protect people and the planet, starting with the most vulnerable.

“Unless we bridge the yawning chasm between the global haves and have-nots, we are setting ourselves up for an 8-billion-strong world filled with tensions and mistrust, crisis and conflict,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

While the world’s population will continue to grow to around 10.4 billion in the 2080s, the overall rate of growth is slowing down. The world is more demographically diverse than ever before, with countries facing starkly different population trends ranging from growth to decline. Today, two-thirds of the global population lives in a low fertility context, where the lifetime fertility is below 2.1 births per woman. At the same time, population growth has become increasingly concentrated among the world’s poorest countries, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Against this backdrop, the global community must ensure that all countries, regardless of whether their populations are growing or shrinking, are equipped to provide a good quality of life for their populations and can lift up and empower their most marginalized people.

“A world of 8 billion is a milestone for humanity – the result of longer lifespans, reductions in poverty, and declining maternal and childhood mortality. Yet, focusing on numbers alone distracts us from the real challenge we face: securing a world in which progress can be enjoyed equally and sustainably,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA executive director. “We cannot rely on one-size-fits-all solutions in a world in which the median age is 41 in Europe compared to 17 in sub-Saharan Africa. To succeed, all population policies must have reproductive rights at their core, invest in people and planet, and be based on solid data.”

Key facts and figures at a glance

  • It took about 12 years for the world population to grow from 7 to 8 billion, but the next billion is expected to take approximately 14.5 years (2037), reflecting the slowdown in global World population is projected to reach a peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100.
  • For the increase from 7 to 8 billion, around 70% of the added population was in low-income and lower-middle-income countries. For the increase from 8 to 9 billion, these two groups of countries are expected to account for more than 90% of global growth.
  • Between now and 2050, the global increase in the population under age 65 will occur entirely in low income and lower-middle-income countries, since population growth in high-income and upper-middle income countries will occur only among those aged 65 years or over.

More information is available from the UN

UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) Takes Action

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), that took place in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh, concluded on Nov. 20 with a historic decision to establish and operationalize a loss and damage fund.

Welcoming the decision and calling the fund essential, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that more needs to be done to drastically reduce emissions now. “The world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition.”

“The red line we must not cross is the line that takes our planet over the 1.5 degree temperature limit,” Guterres stressed, urging the world not to relent “in the fight for climate justice and climate ambition.”  

“We can and must win this battle for our lives,” he concluded.

COP27 held high-level and side events, key negotiations, and press conferences, hosting more than 100 Heads of State and Governments, over 35,000 participants and numerous pavilions showcasing climate action around the world and across different sectors.

Learn more about COP27 and climate change

New Thinking: Balancing Industry and Climate Change

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.

Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.

In a series of UN reports, thousands of scientists and government reviewers agreed that limiting global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C would help us avoid the worst climate impacts and maintain a livable climate. Yet based on current national climate plans, global warming is projected to reach around 3.2°C by the end of the century.

The emissions that cause climate change come from every part of the world and affect everyone, but some countries produce much more than others. The 100 least-emitting countries generate 3 per cent of total emissions. The 10 countries with the largest emissions contribute 68 per cent. Everyone must take climate action, but people and countries creating more of the problem have a greater responsibility to act first.

Winners of UN SDG Action Awards

The winners of this the 2022 United Nations SDG Action Awards were announced at a ceremony in Bonn, Germany. The awards sought initiatives that mobilize, inspire, and connect people to drive action towards a more sustainable future on a healthy planet — those that are flipping the script and rethinking how we live. The finalists were selected from over 3,000 applications from 150 countries. 

The SDG Moment: Update from the United Nations

The SDG Moment serves to place an annual spotlight on the Sustainable Development Goals and will be held at the beginning of the United Nation’s General Assembly’s High-Level Week. It takes place as the world faces a deepening cost-of-living crisis that carries huge implications for the advancement of the SDGs, especially in developing countries.

The third SDG Moment will take place in-person on Monday, 19 September 2022. This 90-minute event in the United Nations General Assembly Hall, will set the scene and lead into the Transforming Education Summit.

Goals include:

  • Reinforcing the continued relevance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and build momentum for major summits and intergovernmental meetings.
  • Highlighting urgent actions that for an equitable, inclusive and accelerated transition to sustainable development.
  • Demonstrating that transformative change at scale is possible between now and 2030.

Nations United: Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times

Nations United is a special, first of its kind film, created by the United Nations on its 75th Anniversary and to mark five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the midst of a pandemic radically transforming our world, Nations United tells the story of the world as it is, as it was, and as it could be. It focuses on the solutions and action we need to tackle poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change.

Featuring the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Malala Yousafzai, Don Cheadle, Michelle Yeoh, Forest Whitaker, Thandie Newton, Sugata Mitra and an exclusive performance from Grammy nominated singer Burna Boy, and a new version of a previous UN performance by multi-Grammy award winning artist, Beyoncé.