Business leaders pledge investments worth millions to boost gender equality – UN

26 September 2015 – Top global companies and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Unilever, are committing millions of dollars to promote gender equality as they gather at a United Nations event in New York.

Commitments made at the Business and Philanthropy Leader’s Forum, hosted by the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women (UN Women), seek to close the deep financing gaps that hinder progress for women and girls.

Achieving gender equality is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that comprise the 2030 Agenda, which world leaders adopted on Friday. According to UN Women, gender equality is crucial to realizing the “transformative promise” of the new global development agenda.

“There can be no gender equality without investment and willingness to change the status quo,” the agency’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said in a news release. “To make 2030 the expiry date for all forms of gender discrimination, everywhere, all businesses will need to step up essential investments in gender equality.”

The forum, co-hosted with Alibaba Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, received contributions of $5 million and $1 million from these organizations, respectively. Significant contributions were received from other institutions as well.

“Achieving gender equality by 2030 is an ambitious, but realistic goal in the modern age and the private sector has a critical role to play,” said Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma. “We at Alibaba believe in the power of technology to allow women to thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s economy. With partners such as UN Women, we will continue to create economic opportunity for millions of female entrepreneurs around the world.”

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of the Gates Foundation, noted that the world is moving in the right direction because women are pushing it that way. “Women drive progress for all of us by demanding better healthcare and opportunities for their children and greater equity for everyone. That’s why, when we invest in women and girls, we’re investing in the people who invest in everyone else.”

Unilever, which has set for itself the goal of empowering five million women across the world by 2020, is extending support to promote economic opportunities for women, reduce unpaid care work and ensure the safety of women and girls.

“Gender equality also presents an enormous opportunity for economic and business growth. Addressing the barriers is not just the right thing to do; it must be a business priority,” said Paul Polman, the company’s CEO and recent winner of the UN’s top environmental prize for his role in advocating more sustainable business models.

Other organizations taking part in the event in support of UN Women are representatives of Coca-Cola, Cisco, Infosys, Itaipu, MasterCard, H&M, Citibank, State Bank of India, Ford Foundation, General Electric Foundation and Nigeria-based Dangote Foundation.

The event takes place on the eve of the Global Leader’s Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment – a Commitment to Action, at which heads of State and government will discuss actions to achieve gender equality by 2030.

UN adopts new Global Goals, charting sustainable development for people and planet by 2030

25 September 2015 – The 193-Member United Nations General Assembly today formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of bold new Global Goals, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.

“The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms – an agenda for the planet, our common home,” declared Mr. Ban as he opened the UN Sustainable Development Summit which kicked off today and wraps up Sunday.

The UN chief’s address came ahead of the Assembly’s formal adoption of the new framework, Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is composed of 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.

The Goals aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000, rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

The Summit opened with a full programme of events, including a screening of the film The Earth From Space, performances by UN Goodwill Ambassadors Shakira and Angelique Kidjo, as well as call to action by female education advocate and the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate, Malala Yousafzai along with youth representatives as torch bearers to a sustainable future.

The adoption ceremony was presided over by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who stressed the successes of the MDGSs and the need for the full implementation of the new Agenda.

Speaking to the press after the adoption of the Agenda, Mr. Ban said: “These Goals are a blueprint for a better future. Now we must use the goals to transform the world. We will do that through partnership and through commitment. We must leave no-one behind.”

In his opening address to the Assembly, which also marks the Organization’s 70th anniversary, the UN chief hailed the new framework as an agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership. “It conveys the urgency of climate action. It is rooted in gender equality and respect for the rights of all.”

Mr. Ban urged the world leaders and others convened at the event to successfully implement the Global Goals or Agenda 30 by launching ‘renewed global partnership.’

“The 2030 Agenda compels us to look beyond national boundaries and short-term interests and act in solidarity for the long-term. We can no longer afford to think and work in silos.

Institutions will have to become fit for a grand new purpose. The United Nations system is strongly committed to supporting Member States in this great new endeavour,” said Mr. Ban.

“We must engage all actors, as we did in shaping the Agenda. We must include parliaments and local governments, and work with cities and rural areas. We must rally businesses and entrepreneurs. We must involve civil society in defining and implementing policies – and give it the space to hold us to account. We must listen to scientists and academia. We will need to embrace a data revolution. Most important, we must set to work – now,” added the Secretary-General.

“Seventy years ago, the United Nations rose from the ashes of war. Governments agreed on a visionary Charter dedicated to ‘We the Peoples’. The Agenda you are adopting today advances the goals of the Charter. It embodies the aspirations of people everywhere for lives of peace, security and dignity on a healthy planet,” said Mr. Ban.

General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft called the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development “ambitious” in confronting the injustices of poverty, marginalization and discrimination.

“We recognize the need to reduce inequalities and to protect our common home by changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. And, we identify the overwhelming need to address the politics of division, corruption and irresponsibility that fuel conflict and hold back development,” he said.

On the adoption of the new agenda, UN Economic and Social Council President (ECOSOC) Oh Joon said action on Sustainable Development Goals must start immediately. “The Economic and Social Council stands ready to kick-start the work on the new agenda,” he added.

Head of UN economic and social forum says women’s rights will be enhanced by new sustainability goals

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOSC) elected Oh Joon of Republic of Korea as its new President. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

22 September 2015 – Addressing today a high-level gathering at United Nations Headquarters, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) declared that the empowerment of women and the full realization of their human rights are essential for achieving sustainable development and for building peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

“Women and girls should be able to benefit from all policies for sustainable development,” said Oh Joon, in remarks to the 2015 Empowering Women and Sustainable Development Summit, which opened today.

The ECOSOC President stressed that enhancing women’s rights will be included in the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Even though the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted 15 years ago, there are still challenges remaining. Mr. Oh said, and “a comprehensive and transformative approach is urgently needed to address the structural barriers to gender equality.”

Mr. Oh said those ambitious goals “must be matched with an equally ambitious level of commitment and investment.” He appealed all nations should ensure “a gender perspective is systematically incorporated into all national planning, budgeting and implementation.”

Emphasizing that women must be able to influence decisions on economic, social, and environmental issues, he said “women need to develop their full potential, and fully participate in decisions affecting their families, communities and countries.”

Accorng to Mr. Oh’s address, “gender equality, the empowerment of women, and the full realization of their human rights are essential for the achievement of sustainable development and for building peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”

ECOSOC will work through its substantive bodies, including the UN Commission of the Status of Women, to lead the efforts to build an inclusive and engaging global partnership bringing together all relevant stakeholders.

Mr. Oh ended his speech with strongly confidence of creating action-led solutions and turning the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda into reality.

Supported by the UN Development Programme in China (UNDP) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG Fund), the Sino-American Friendship Association (SAFA), in partnership with the China Women Development Foundation (CWDF), hosted today’s opening ceremony, luncheon and summit, and will also be hosting an award ceremony and symposium on 26 September at the Harvard Club NYC.

Around the world, the Social Good Summit celebrates the Global Goals

Sep 2015 by Boaz Paldi, Communications and Partnerships, Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

Last week, the 100th UNDP country office confirmed participation in the 2015 Social Good Summit that will take place between the 25th and the 28th of September.

From Gaza to Costa Rica, Kabul to Nairobi, and Tehran to Pyongyang, UNDP and UN country teams will be holding local events, all connecting together in the world’s largest conversation about the largest issues facing us over the next 15 years.

The Social Good Summit (SGS) begun its journey six years ago. A group of like-minded friends at the United Nations Foundation, Mashable and the 92Y decided that while the UN General Assembly holds a closed door meeting at UN Headquarters, they themselves would have a conference were everyone could be invited and have a seat at the table.

I was privileged to be invited to join this initial conversation and immediately understood the immense power of this platform. Here was a committed community that could share knowledge, experiences, and the strong belief that together we could make the world a little better. But it lacked an international reach and flavor – to touch on the world’s problems, you need to include the world and have that reflected in the summit. And that is exactly what UNDP could provide.

In 2012, UNDP joined the summit partnership and with the amazing support of 32 country offices, the SGS went global. With local events ranging from a prime time TV show in Bhutan to a small event in Damascus in the midst of a civil war, the Social Good Summit now truly felt like a place where everyone across the world was welcome to join, in many cases bridging the digital divide.

The next year brought 47 UNDP offices joining, then 72, and now this year we have over 100 live events.

And 2015 is no ordinary year. This year’s SGS will be celebrating and helping to launch the new Sustainable Development Agenda – The Global Goals. In every location around the globe, flag raising ceremonies will be held to mark the adoption of the goals and in-depth discussions will highlight the changes and opportunities that lie ahead.

Thanks to the commitment and hard work of UNDP colleagues across the globe, the events promise to be a unique and inspiring experience. In Liberia, the SGS will be hosted by Dr. Fallah, whose work on community outreach helped put a stop to the Ebola epidemic. Award-winning photographer and activist Laila Ghanda will join the Morocco event. In Nairobi, the SGS flagship Africa event, there will be a program bursting with celebrities and influencers from the across the continent.

Here in New York City, on the stage at the 92Y, the program will be extra special this year. A celebration of the Global Goals will kick of the Summit with 17 celebrities each reading a goal, including filmmaker and Project Everyone founder Richard Curtis, former child soldier and author Ishmael Beah, singer and activist Victoria Beckham, politician and humanitarian Graça Machel, and many more. This will be followed by star-studded two days with much of the conversation focusing on the SDGs.

We have come a long way in the past six years. From an event inspired by a group of friends to summit spanning the length and breathe of the globe. More than 100,000 people are expected to watch the live stream from all the events and more 100 million to engage with the #2030Now hashtag.

I can’t wait to see you there.

MDG Gap Task Force Report 2015: Taking Stock of the Global Partnership for Development

The 2015 Report continues to monitor the five core domains of the Global Partnership for Development, namely, official development assistance (ODA), market access (trade), debt sustainability, access to affordable essential medicines and access to new technologies, as prescribed by MDG 8. This year marks the last of the series of this monitoring process with a closing report tracking 15 years of the global partnership for development. As has been reported throughout the monitoring process, there have been significant positive developments pointing to an effective international partnership in the five domains, but several deficits in development cooperation have continuously highlighted the need for a rejuvenation of the global partnership for development.

The report finds that ODA increased substantially over the MDG period, although ODA to LDCs has declined in recent years. Additionally, global trade of goods and services expanded significantly over the last fifteen years to more than USD20 trillion, with improved levels of participation by developing countries. However, a key challenge of MDG 8 has been the failure of the international community to conclude the Doha Development Round after 13 years of negotiation. This failure has had ramifications for the potential of trade as an enabler of economic growth and development. Debt relief initiatives have alleviated debt burdens of many developing countries, but the need for enhanced policies towards debt crisis prevention and resolution remains to address the concerns of other vulnerable countries whose debt problems remain unresolved. Monitoring studies on access to affordable essential medicines have repeatedly shown that, in general, access remains insufficient and, in particular, that generic medicines are significantly less available in public health facilities than in private health facilities. Finally, the report notes that access to new technologies, in particular information and communication technologies has grown tremendously since 2000 but these impressive gains observed during the MDG era continue to be marred by a digital divide between developed and developing countries.

The full 2015 report will be launched in New York at 11:00 am, 18 September 2015.

Girl Up

All girls deserve the freedom to reach their full potential. But the fact is, we’re just #NotThere yet — especially when we know that 1 in 4 girls worldwide is married before her 18th birthday.

By knowing the facts, we can help change them. Learn more:

The Beijing Platform for Action: inspiration then and now

An unprecedented 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists streamed into Beijing for the opening of the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995. They were remarkably diverse, coming from around the globe, but they had a single purpose in mind: gender equality and the empowerment of all women, everywhere.

Two weeks of political debate followed, heated at times, as representatives of 189 governments hammered out commitments that were historic in scope. Thirty thousand non-governmental activists attended a parallel Forum and kept the pressure on, networking, lobbying and training a global media spotlight. By the time the conference closed, it had produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights.

As a defining framework for change, the Platform made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern. Even 20 years later, it remains a powerful source of guidance and inspiration.

The Platform imagines a world where each woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize all her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for equal work.

The Beijing process unleashed remarkable political will and worldwide visibility. It connected and reinforced the activism of women’s movements on a global scale. Conference participants went home with great hope and clear agreement on how to achieve equality and empowerment.

Since then, governments, civil society and the public have translated the Platform’s promises into concrete changes in individual countries. These have ushered in enormous improvements in women’s lives. More women and girls than at any previous point in time serve in political offices, are protected by laws against gender-based violence, and live under constitutions guaranteeing gender equality. Regular five-year reviews of progress on fulfilling Beijing commitments have sustained momentum.

Still, the Platform envisioned gender equality in all dimensions of life—and no country has yet finished this agenda. Women earn less than men and are more likely to work in poor-quality jobs. A third suffer physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Gaps in reproductive rights and health care leave 800 women dying in childbirth each day.

The 20th anniversary of Beijing opens new opportunities to reconnect, regenerate commitment, charge up political will and mobilize the public. Everyone has a role to play—for our common good. The evidence is increasingly in that empowering women empowers humanity. Economies grow faster, for example, and families are healthier and better-educated.

The Beijing Platform for Action, still forward-looking at 20, offers important focus in rallying people around gender equality and women’s empowerment. Its promises are necessarily ambitious. But over time, and with the accumulating energy of new generations, they are within reach.

Video: Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!

– See more at:


Report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing

At the eighth meeting of its fifth session on 8 August 2014, the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing adopted its report “proposing options on an effective sustainable development financing strategy to facilitate the mobilization of resources and their effective use in achieving sustainable development objectives”, as mandated by the Rio+20 outcome document.

The report develops an analytical framework for financing sustainable development, proposes a basket of policy options for countries to choose, and suggests areas for advancement of the global partnership for sustainable development.

It builds on the Monterrey Consensus with its emphasis on using all financing sources – public, private, domestic and international, and adds important new elements. The report incorporates global challenges, such as combatting climate change, into the conceptual framework. It addresses the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated manner. In addition, by treating different financing sources as complements, not substitutes, and by analysing the underlying mandates and incentives of different financial intermediaries, it sheds light on how to design new policies to incentivize investments in the three dimensions of sustainable development.

The report finds that financing needs for sustainable development are large, but that global savings would be sufficient to meet these needs. However, current financing and investment patterns will not deliver sustainable development. While there is no one simple policy solution, a concerted effort that draws on all actors and mobilizes all resources in an integrated manner will allow to finance the investments necessary to achieve sustainable development for all.

The Committee’s strategic approach for financing sustainable development derives from a flow of funds analysis from sources to uses. It is built on nine key precepts, including: national country ownership of sustainable development financing strategies; the importance of using all financing sources in a holistic and efficient manner, with effective government policies and support as the linchpin of financing strategies; and the mainstreaming of sustainable development criteria in financing strategies and implementation approaches.

This non-prescriptive strategic approach underpins a toolkit of policy options and financial instruments, including for strengthened domestic resource mobilization, better regulation and management of financial flows, and mechanisms for blending resources that are both fair and efficient. The analysis suggests how diverse types of finance can be integrated into coherent and appropriate packages, in the context of cohesive national sustainable development strategies. In addition, international public finance will continue to be critically important. One of the many recommendations is that the level of concessionality of aid flows be matched with the type of investment and level of development of a country.

Finally, the report stresses the importance of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development and suggests areas for action, including in global economic governance, trade, investment, the international financial system, taxation, debt, regional cooperation, monitoring and accounting and effective development cooperation.

The reports of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the synthesis report of the Secretary-General, will provide important inputs to the third International Conference on Financing for Development (13-16 July 2015, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). The outcome of the Conference should constitute an important contribution to and support the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.


24th of October – The United Nations Day

“The United Nations is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises. […] At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable. On United Nations Day, I call on Governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good. ”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.

24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.

For more information:

‘Convoco governos e indivíduos para trabalhar em uma causa comum para o bem comum’, diz Ban Ki-moon

Mensagem do secretário-geral da ONU, Ban Ki-moon, para o Dia da ONU 2014. A data é marcada anualmente em 24 de outubro.

As Nações Unidas são, mais do que nunca, necessárias neste momento de múltiplas crises. A pobreza, a doença, o terrorismo, a discriminação e a mudança climática estão sendo um pesado fardo.

Milhões de pessoas continuam a sofrer uma exploração deplorável através do trabalho forçado, tráfico humano, escravidão sexual ou condições inseguras nas fábricas, campos e minas. A economia global continua a sofrer com uma situação de desigualdade.

A fundação das Nações Unidas foi uma promessa solene dos povos do mundo para por fim a tais ataques à dignidade humana, e liderar o caminho para um futuro melhor. Houve recuos dolorosos, e há muito trabalho pela frente para realizar a visão da Carta da ONU. Mas podemos nos sentir motivados por nossas conquistas.

Os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento do Milênio da ONU inspiraram a campanha antipobreza mais bem-sucedida da História. Tratados das Nações Unidas enfrentando a desigualdade, a tortura e o racismo têm protegido as pessoas, enquanto outros acordos têm protegido o meio ambiente. As Forças de Paz da ONU apartaram forças hostis, nossos mediadores solucionaram disputas e os nossos trabalhadores humanitários forneceram ajuda que salvaram vidas.

Neste momento crítico, vamos reafirmar nosso compromisso em empoderar os marginalizados e vulneráveis. No Dia das Nações Unidas, convoco aos governos e indivíduos para trabalhar em uma causa comum para o bem comum.