Latest news and insights from various sources relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

UN expo to highlight vital role of South-South cooperation in achieving Global Goals

24 November 2017 – A United Nations expo next week in Turkey is set to highlight the critical role of South-South cooperation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in light of the vast array of knowledge, skills, expertise and resources that is, and can further be, shared among developing countries.

The meeting, which will take place in Antalya from 27 to 30 November, will provide an opportunity to showcase share solutions, initiatives and success stories, as well as explore new avenues for collaboration and partnership.

“It is about sharing with the spirit of solidarity and with the spirit of finding solutions to similar problems,” said Jorge Chediek, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on South-South Cooperation and Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

In an interview with UN News ahead of the Global South-South Development Expo 2017 (GSSD), Mr. Chediek added that South-South cooperation can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through enhancing productive capacity, facilitating trade and investment, and sharing contextually-appropriate technologies.

VIDEO:Jorge Chediek, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on South-South Cooperation, talks to UN News about the upcoming Global Expo that will take place in Antalya, Turkey, from 27 to 30 November.

At the same time, he stressed that the SDGs require a global alliance with the engagement of all countries.

“South-South should not be seen as a replacement but as a complement to North-South cooperation. It will be an important one because it can produce and it can generate more relevant experiences and more relevant practices for other developing countries.”

More than 1,100 participants are expected at the Expo, which will feature over 50 exhibits highlighting cost-effective and replicable solutions to the challenges faced by developing countries.

“We have representatives from over 120 countries that will participate in over 35 events and there will be the possibility of establishing lots of partnerships, as a demonstration of the importance South-South cooperation has in the context of the achievement of the Agenda 2030,” said Mr. Chediek.

Travel+SocialGood rebrands as Impact Travel Alliance and announces 2018 plans

Committed to growing its inclusive community and expanding the travel industry’s impact, Travel+SocialGood, a nonprofit working in the global travel industry since 2013, changed its name to Impact Travel Alliance (ITA). The new name better reflects the organization’s long-term vision to affect the choices an average leisure or business traveler makes and the importance travel businesses put on a triple-bottom line.

“Our goal is to reshape the narrative around sustainable tourism, and help average consumers understand that sustainability can be applied to any type of travel,” said Kelley Louise, Impact Travel Alliance’s executive director. “Our new name reflects our commitment to build an inclusive community of professionals dedicated to building a more impactful travel industry.”

The organization’s rebrand was announced on Nov. 17, at the end of its Global Summit, an event presented in partnership with Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Sustainable Travel International, Center for Responsible Travel and Tourism Cares. ITA is working with these partners to make sustainable tourism more accessible to all travelers. The Summit challenged all 150 attendees to think about increasing transparency in the industry.

“Working together with our partners has helped us to shape our vision for the future of ITA,” Louise said. “We believe business and leisure travel can help to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, and hope that through collaboration, we can continue to push the industry toward a more impactful future.”

In 2018, ITA will begin building a comprehensive platform of vetted travel resources to help professionals gain a holistic understanding of sustainability, and implement it into their business models or own travel experiences. ITA’s goal is to provide a resource of trusted materials to those looking to learn more about sustainable tourism. ITA will first look to its current industry partners, such as Ritz-Carlton, Hostelling International USA, Lokal Travel, Kind Traveler and Myght, Inc., but will be expanding its network rapidly.

“Sustainable travel is up to all of us – travelers and industry providers alike – to integrate into every journey. We’re excited to have a partner like ITA to accelerate the collective efforts of providers like HI USA committed to responsible tourism,” said Hostelling International USA’s Director of Communications And PR Netanya Trimboli.

Impact Travel Alliance is the world’s largest community for impact-focused travel professionals. Through education and advocacy around sustainable tourism, the organization aims to transform the travel industry into a force for good, and to address issues like poverty and inequality through business and leisure travel. ITA is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit with a highly engaged and active global community with 20 Hubs (local chapters) in cities around the world. ITA is run entirely by volunteers and the passion of more than 200 active Hub leaders and Media Network members. For more information, visit impacttravelalliance.org.

Share this:

At UN, over $2 billion pledged to help hurricane-affected Caribbean nations ‘build back better’

22 November 2017 – The international community mobilized over $1.3 billion in pledges and more than $1 billion in loans and debt relief to help Caribbean nations recover from the strong hurricanes that pummelled the region a few months ago, during a meeting at United Nations Headquarters on Tuesday.

“I think we’re extremely happy with the results of the conference,” said Stephen O’Malley, the UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

The powerful category-5 hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Caribbean in September causing a number of deaths and widespread devastation in the Caribbean. According to the latest needs estimates, recovery costs are expected to surpass $5 billion.

Barbuda, the smaller of the two-island State of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica were among the most severely affected, along with Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands. Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage, while St. Maarten/St. Martin as well as Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico were also impacted.

“It is a very long road to recovery,” Mr. O’Malley said in an interview with UN News, noting that while the roads in the capital, Roseau, are more or less clear and water is back, only three per cent of the country currently has electricity. In addition, agriculture has been badly affected. “It’s still a hard time.”

Meanwhile, on Barbuda, water was restored yesterday and people are trickling back to the island. The roads have been cleared and people are beginning to repair their homes, and trying to determine whether they can come back and resettle or wait longer until the conditions are right for returning. Schools have not re-opened and medical services are very limited, Mr. O’Malley noted.

Nearly 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organizations and the private sector gathered in New York, along with the Secretaries-General of the UN and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help the affected countries “build back better.”

“They want to be a climate-resilient region,” Mr. O’Malley stated, explaining that this involves practical steps from the way a country’s road network and electricity grid are designed to ensuring that schools and hospitals are built to withstand the impact of climate change.

“It’s your infrastructure. It’s also better planning and preparedness by the governments so that they can respond more quickly,” he pointed out. “They have the capacity to do that […] there’s a variety of different things there to make everybody more climate resilient.”

Addressing the conference yesterday, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that countries in the Caribbean need support now to rebuild, and to take effective climate action.

“We need a new generation of infrastructure that is risk-informed, to underpin resilient economies, communities and livelihoods,” he told the gathering.

Find out more about the UN’s efforts to assist countries impacted by the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season here

‘New and better deal’ needed for climate resilience in Caribbean, UN chief tells donor conference

21 November 2017 – Caribbean countries need “a new and better deal” – one that includes access to concessional finance and adequate insurance – if they are to build climate resilience, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Tuesday at an international conference to mobilize support for the reconstruction of communities devastated by a series of powerful hurricanes.

“During my visits to Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, I saw a level of devastation that I have never witnessed before in my life,” Mr. Guterres said, noting that in these islands alone, damage is estimated at $1.1 billion, and total economic losses at $400 million.

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season was particularly active, with storms having been more frequent, and stronger. Of the 13 named storms, eight were hurricanes and of those, four were major hurricanes, including Irma and Maria. Across the entire Caribbean region, there was tragic loss of life and widespread devastation.

The pledging conference today at UN Headquarters in New York, was co-organized by the UN and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is a regional grouping of 20 countries.

“Let’s not forget that these island States are not only interlinked by geography, but also interlinked by the economy, so when one country suffers, all countries suffer,” Mr. Guterres said.

Secretary-General António Guterres delivers remarks at High-Level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-resilient Community. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

He noted that extreme weather is becoming the new normal and sea levels have risen more than 10 inches since 1870. Over the past 30 years, the number of annual climate-related disasters has nearly tripled and economic losses have quintupled.

Countries in the Caribbean need a new generation of infrastructure that is risk-informed, to underpin resilient economies, communities and livelihoods, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015 by 193 UN Member States.

But financing is a key challenge for many Caribbean countries, which have limited access to concessional finance because of their ‘middle income’ classification. They also have high levels of debt, much of it incurred through investment in recovery and resilience.

Caribbean countries are also paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year in remittance fees. Disaster insurance has also proved inadequate to this unprecedented hurricane season. Debt instruments should be sensitive to the ability to pay, and have catastrophe clauses built in.

“In short: we need a new and better deal for the Caribbean, if these countries are to build climate resilience and achieve the SDGs,” Mr. Guterres said, urging international financial institutions and donors to coordinate risk sharing and concessional lending terms.

“Today must be about more than speeches and pledges,” he said. “It is an opportunity to forge a partnership for a better future, and to deepen a vision for recovery that brings together all actors and puts people at its centre, as active development agents.”

Also addressing the conference was UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák, who highlighted three key steps the international community can take.

We should not let the people be punished once by nature and twice by outdated economic policies.General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcák

First is commitment to support the rebuilding effort. Funding and technical assistance are urgently needed to help the affected countries to get back on their feet. Housing, telecommunications, water and sanitation, healthcare services and education facilities are needed.

Second is to rebuild with greater resilience, he said, commending CARICOM’s goal of becoming the first climate-resilient region in the world.

Third, he continued, there is a need to recognize that small island developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters and external shocks. To compound this, middle income small island developing Stated face inadequate access to grant and concessional funding because of how their development is measured.

“We should not let the people be punished once by nature and twice by outdated economic policies,” he said.

New Zealand tourism industry launches new SDG-focussed sustainability commiment

Tourism Industry Aotearoa has today launched the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, establishing eight Goals for the tourism industry to attain by 2025. Individual businesses are being invited to adopt 14 Commitments designed to support the industry to reach the Goals. A new website www.sustainabletourism.nz has also been launched.

According to TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts, The New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment is a response to the boom times experienced by the industry in recent years. “The Tourism 2025 aspirational goal to reach $41 billion a year in total tourism revenue is on track to be achieved a number of years earlier than 2025,” he said. “This has generated many business and employment opportunities, as well as benefitting New Zealand’s economy and communities across the country. Financially sustainable businesses are able to invest in environmental and social sustainability, maintaining and enhancing New Zealand for future generations of residents and visitors. We know some tourism businesses are already operating in line with the 14 Commitments, or exceeding them. That’s a good start. It is our goal that every tourism business in New Zealand will commit to operating sustainably. The greater the buy-in, the more powerful it will be. We want a New Zealand where our economy, people and the environment are better off because tourism exists. Together, we can create a world-leading example of a truly sustainable tourism industry that will make a positive long-term contribution to New Zealand.”

To track the tourism industry’s progress, TIA will measure and report annually against each of the eight Goals and also on the level of tourism business uptake of the 14 Commitments. More than 40 leading tourism businesses have already agreed to sign up to the Tourism Sustainability Commitment.

“As progress is achieved against the Commitments, the target levels will be raised to reflect higher expectations of industry performance. By 2025, we want every New Zealand tourism business to be adopting most, if not all, of the 14 Commitments within their business practices,” Roberts said.

Share this:

Equality in tourism launches crowdfunding campaign to support Tanzanian women farmers

Women’s network Equality in Tourism today launched a crowdfunding campaign for a groundbreaking initiative in Tanzania that could join the dots between the livelihoods of local communities and lucrative tourism industries across the developing world. Equality, which is dedicated to ensuring that women have a voice in global tourism, is looking to raise £16,600 by 20 December 2017. This will be used to fund the initial six-month phase of training and development for 30 women farmers in Mailisita in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The aim is to form a farming and business collective that will provide the area’s hospitality sector with an easy supply of fresh food. Already, local hotels and tour operators have expressed a keen interest in the project, with the scene set to create powerful and lasting partnerships.

The exciting pilot project will be delivered by Equality’s locally managed team, which will train, mentor and empower these aspiring entrepreneurs. The women will learn how to farm, store and sell their produce more effectively, build their business more efficiently, and become stronger decision-makers with greater financial stability both at home and in their communities. (See Notes to Editors, below, for suggested donations and what they can achieve.)

Thousands of tourists visit Kilimanjaro each year and use the area as a gateway to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. Farming families living in the shadow of the mountain and the booming tourist industry that surrounds it currently subsist on work as seasonal day labourers and produce grown on the family plot. A typical family income is about £8 a week. “Most of us expect to travel, go on holiday and see the world around us, but what happens when you live in one of these hot-spot destinations yet cannot afford to take your family to the doctor or buy fertiliser to farm your land?” says Dr Barnett. “Until now, no one has thought about connecting these women to the profitable local tourism industry. This is what we have suggested to them and this is what they really want to do. We also want to make sure that when people go on holiday they can relax knowing that the locals are benefiting from their visits.”

Suggested donations and what they can achieve:

  • £5 – Thank you! You win a place in our hearts and our land at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro (unlimited hearts to be won).
  • £12 – You will supply much-needed seeds for these women farmers to start sowing the ground and earning for their families’ future (unlimited seeds to be sown).
  • £25 – A huge thank you! Your gift will buy the equipment each farmer needs to ensure that her newly grown produce gets to her new market, making it quicker, easier and more likely that the hotels will buy from her time and time again. (Thirty phones and satellite chargers need to be bought.)
  • £77 – Thank you! By investing in us, you will help train each woman to save her money, buy books and uniforms for school, and build for the future. (Thirty women need to be trained.)
  • £267 – Your donation is enough to pay for one woman to take part in this project for three months, offering her the chance learn, test and refine her new skills in planning crops and planting fields.
  • £1,170 – Your investment will make sure that two of our women have six full months of training, advice and support to kick-start their farms and new business.
  • £8,300 – Thank you so much. Your gift will enable our local partner to run the whole project, for all 30 women, for three of our planned six months. This will make a huge difference to the lives of the women, their families and the community as a whole.

Follow developments at Equality in Tourism on Twitter at @EqualityTourism, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EqualityInTourism and on LinkedIn at Equality in Tourism.

For more information, visit the crowdfunding page.

Share this: