African Youth Meet to Shape the ‘Africa They Want’

11 November 2015

More than 300 African Youth from East and West Africa met today (11 November) at the United Nations Office in Nairobi for the Africa High Level Youth Conference - Transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The three day conference organized by United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nairobi and a local partner, Research Institute for Peace Policy and International Affairs focused on the transition  from MDG to SDGs under the theme: "The Africa we Want: Redefining Africa's Place"

The youth delegates from 13 countries across the continent, with some from as far as West Africa, said that they wanted to be part of the conversation early at the launch of the SDGs.

The conference was opened by Per Knutsson from the UNDP who spoke passionately emphasizing that the youth were the future and their participation in this conversation was critical. Government officials participated bringing in the commitment and pledges from the Government.  

Apart from providing the venue for the conference, UNIC played a role in the invitation to guest speakers and facilitated the discussion at the opening of the conference.

The conference aims to formulate resolutions that will generate strategies for follow up across the region and eventually throughout the continent.

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Launch of MDGs report 2015 and Round-table on SDGs

08 July 2015

In global launching of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report 2015, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Dhaka organized a round-table discussion with the participation of stakeholders and young representatives from eight universities to talk about eight millennium goals and the post-2015 development agenda - proposed SDGs. The development and governance activist Dr. Zahurul Alam, spoke on the occasion as chief guest while Kazi Ali Reza, Director (communication) of Dhaka Ahsania Mission presided over. UNIC Officer-in-Charge M. Moniruzzaman moderated the round-table and shared the salient features of the report where there is significant improvements in various goals during the last fifteen years globally including Bangladesh. Apart from youngsters, NGO activists, academicians, media representatives, civil society members and cultural personalities took part in the discussion.

In his speech, the session chair focused on inclusiveness and equity that play a key role for sustainable development and growth while the chief guest emphasized on quantitative and qualitative growth. Special guest Mission, raised the issue of economic disparity and asked the youngsters to come forward to reduce it.

The young representatives said that young voices needed to be heard and opportunities needed to be created as well. Issues like consumerism, sharing of knowledge, data analysis, role of NGOs, maternal mortality, attitude towards women, discrimination, poverty, climate change, environment-friendly industrialization, quality education, inclusiveness and equity came-up in the round-table discussion. The participating universities/colleges were University of Dhaka, North South University, BRAC University, Daffodil International University, Dhaka Medical College, United International University, Sunny Dale and Scholastica. The participants will hold a follow-up round-table after shaping of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) scheduled in September 2015.

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Launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report in Moscow

07 July 2015

On 7 July, UNIC Moscow launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report in Moscow, to an appreciative audience of 30 government officials, academics, experts, journalists and students. Each guest received a copy of the Report and a competent presentation was made by Dr. Lilia Ovcharova, Professor of Higher School of Economics (HSE) and Director of the Institute for Social Development Studies, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Dr. Ovcharova made a comprehensive 30-minute overview, focusing on key achievements of the MDG campaign and the main problems faced in the course of 15 years of its implementation. She stressed that the key MDG achievement was the improvement of the lives of millions. The Goals, she said, served as a framework for local, national, regional and global monitoring of development progress resulting in remarkable gains; in many parts of the world, especially in the poorest countries. Finally, Dr. Ovcharova mentioned the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme, which will focus on where the international community has left off, and the new challenges at the forefront of the global agenda.

In her overview, she pointed out some critical factors that affected the MDG programme. First, the abundance of political and, especially, military conflicts in certain regions of the world aggravated the situations and in many cases prevented the implementation of the right policies. Thus, the number of refugees and internally displaced people is at its highest since the Second World War and it impedes the progress. Second, the inequality in access to basic services between countries and within them still exists and, in many places, is on the same level it was 15 years ago, despite all our efforts.

Then the floor was opened for questions and comments, which were quite substantive. Those related to the role of institutions in the MDGs implementation process; the methodological issue of mix-up between the terms “malnutrition” and “hunger” in the Goal 1 of the MDGs and the summing-up of its results; the comparison between institutions: which of them help underdeveloped countries battle inequality better; and, of course, the role of the Russian Federation in the pursuit of MDGs. The last question sparked a lively discussion between several participants.

Most participants praised the Report as highly informative and were pleased by a thorough and illustrative presentation. Judging by the active participation of the guests in the discussion, the issues presented by the MDG review resonated deeply with the attendees.

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Vienna in spotlight on Millennium Development Goals and Post-2015 agenda

16 January 2015

Senior officials from Vienna-based United Nations organisations got together with academics, diplomats and students in January to discuss how they will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and contribute to deliberations on what comes next.

“The Post-2015 development agenda is a call to action - to take up the unfinished work of the MDGs, to take advantage of innovations and new technologies that have emerged since 2000, and to work together for a better, more just world,” said Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), at the opening session of the 6th Annual Conference of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) which took place in Vienna from  14 to 16 January 2015.

Under the title “Lessons Learned from the Millennium Development Goals and Perspectives for the Post 2015 Development Agenda”, 300 UN representatives, diplomats, scholars and students discussed how the Vienna-based UN organizations are working on and toward the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. ACUNS is a global professional association of educational and research institutions, individual scholars and practitioners active in the work and study of the United Nations, multilateral relations, global governance and international cooperation. 

At the ACUNS Vienna Conference, senior UN representatives spoke in interactive panels with diplomats, academics and students about the activities they are pursuing to reach these sustainable objectives. Themes included “inclusive and sustainable industrial development”, “gender equality and the post-2015 agenda” and “the unique contributions of nuclear techniques to the post-2015 agenda”. 

The conference was organized by ACUNS and hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, with the help of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) and other partners. Participating organizations were the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the City of Vienna, the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the University of Vienna and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.