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16 November 2017

GCDC Model UN Training Conference


Global Classrooms DC (GCDC) is the flagship program of UNA-NCA. GCDC works with students grades 6-12* in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and abroad to improve their public speaking, develop conflict management skills, and expand their understanding of global issues. Our successful approach to global education includes mentoring, professional development, curriculum, and events.

Students will discuss Human Rights of Refugees representing countries in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Students will be in double delegations (2 students representing 1 country) unless otherwise requested. The conference background guide and other preparation materials are available online under Unit 2 through the GCDC Schoology page. Students must have a basic understanding of the rules of procedure prior to November 16, though the conference will be designed to accommodate those who have never done Model UN before.

Groups may attend the Model UN Training Conference, Professional Development Workshop, or both. Groups must be registered with the GCDC Community, our year-round programming in order to attend. For more information on GCDC, please visit: http://bit.ly/GCDC_MUN 
 
When: Thursday, November 16, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Where: Pan American Health Organization, 525 23rd St. NW, Washington, DC 20037
Cost: Fee details found here 

Register here





07 November 2017

Fall into Sustainability: An Evening with UNA-NCA & Green Drinks DC


On Tuesday, November 7, UNA-NCA along with its Sustainable Development Committee in collaboration with Green Drinks DC is pleased to present a joint evening of drinks and networking with DC’s environmentally-minded community of professionals, students and enthusiasts. The ultimate purpose of this event is to bring together an environmentally-minded group in the Washington, DC area through both organizations and raise awareness on the importance of collective local action and participation in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Global Goal 13, Climate Action. 

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Date: Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Time5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location1101 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Cost: Free, but registration is required 

Register here




07 November 2017

Coverage of Fall into Sustainability: An Evening with UNA-NCA & Green Drinks DC

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By Kathie Bolognese, Member, UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Committee


The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area along with its Sustainable Development Committee in collaboration with Green Drinks DC held their first joint networking social on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at Barcode in Washington, DC. Despite the rainy weather, there was an amazing turnout of over 80 environmentally-minded professionals from the government, business, and non government sectors who gathered for an evening of fun and conversation walking away with many new personal and professional contacts.

Mr. Spencer Schecht, Co-Organizer of Green Drinks DC and Mr. Patrick Realiza, Chair of the UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Committee both welcomed the guests, briefly spoke about their respective organizations and encouraged attendees to help raise awareness and take collective local action on relevant environmental issues.

Social networking events like “Fall into Sustainability” continue to support UNA-NCA’s relationship building objectives and activities to help raise public awareness of its mission in developing and fostering strong US-UN partnership, both globally and locally. Looking ahead into 2018, the Sustainable Development Committee aims to continue to bring together more local green leaders to further bridge the environmental community. Interested potential members are encouraged to contact Mr. Realiza at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to join or become involved in the planning process.




31 October 2017

Graduate Fellows Program


Application Process

The deadline for Spring 2018 UNA-NCA applications is Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 5pm.
The deadline for reference letters and unofficial transcripts is Friday, November 17, 2017 at 5pm.

Applications should be submitted via email to Laurence Peters, Director, UNA Graduate Fellows Program with subject line "Firstname_Lastname GFP 2018 Application" 
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Click HERE for the Application

Graduate students in good standing from any of the Consortium Universities who will be in these graduate programs during the participating semester are welcome to apply to this exciting program. 

The application has five parts:
  • The two-page application
  • A one page essay discussing the applicant's five year career plan
  • A copy of the applicant's unofficial graduate transcript
  • One letter of recommendation
  • An updated resume

Please do not use staples on application. Submit only one copy. Unofficial transcripts accepted.

Background

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area provides an opportunity for Washington area graduate students interested in international affairs, development, trade, finance, and related disciplines to explore the role of the United Nations within the context of modern global affairs and other international organizations. The UNA-NCA Fellows Program offers participants the chance to build strong professional and academic skills through relevant internship experiences and a series of 10 seminars on global issues and the United Nations.

Since it was initiated in 1991 by officials of the UNA-NCA, with the mission of bringing together the resources of the organization and the 15 members of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, the program has involved over 500 students and 40 international organizations. UNA-NCA’s access to the United Nations system of agencies and a diverse range of professional relationships has helped make this program one of the most successful UNA program in the country.

Components of the UNA-NCA Fellows Program

  •  A 12 session seminar program focusing on pertinent current issues facing the United Nations system, including reform challenges, and featuring leading figures working on those issues. These seminars will be hosted in the DC area every Frdiay afternoon during the program.  Additionally, students will follow an online course on the history of ideas that led to the creation of the United Nations.
  • Membership in the UNA-NCA Young Professionals Program which includes invitations to networking events. You must attend at least one UNA-NCA sponsored event during the Spring 2017 semester to earn your certificate of completion.
      • You will only be afforded free membership if you are under 25 but will be expected to participate in at least two events during the semester (rather than the one expected of those who have paid for membership).
  • The opportunity to be mentored by a senior Washington DC based professional.
      • We will try to match you to senior professionals who share some of your interests. Mentoring can take various forms depending on the nature of your personal and career objectives. At a minimum it will include a resume review but could extend to leads that might lead to potential internships and coaching around a relevant piece of writing that might be included in a professional journal.
      • UNA-NCA offers unparalleled opportunities for networking with individuals with a wide range of senior level experience in matters related to the United Nations.
  • The production of a publishable article (800-2,000 words) on a relevant UN related topic

Eligibility

UNA-NCA Fellows are enrolled graduate students in the participating semester at one of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area studying international affairs, trade, development, or a related discipline. 

The 15 Consortium Schools are:
  • American University
  • The Catholic University of America
  • Gallaudet University
  • Georgetown University
  • George Mason University
  • The George Washington University
  • Howard University
  • Johns Hopkins University / SAIS
  • Marymount University
  • National Defense University
  • National Intelligence University
  • Trinity Washington University
  • University of Baltimore
  • University of the District of Columbia
  • University of Maryland, College Park

 

Seminars

UNA-NCA Fellows are required to attend the series of seminars. The seminars will be on the challenges and opportunities facing the UN system and will cover many topics of contemporary importance. Prominent experts and officials will be included as guest speakers. Past seminars have featured notable experts such as: Dr. William Durch, former Project Director of the UN Panel on UN Peace Operations; Salih Booker, Executive Director, Global Rights; Dr. Desmond Birmingham, Head, Fast Track Initiative Secretariat, World Bank; Edward Elmendorf, Former Advisor, US Mission to UN, former UN and World Bank official; Frank Vogl, co-founder, Transparency International; and Diana Wells, Co-President, Ashoka. 

Certificate of Accomplishment 

Those who complete the program by participating in the seminar series and completing their internships will be awarded a certificate by the UNA-NCA. 
 

Selection Process/Timetable

The UNA-NCA Fellows selection will be based upon the application and, for those under final consideration, a personal interview with a member of the UNA-NCA Fellows Board. Instructions for scheduling this interview will be available when each Fellow is contacted.

Dr. Laurence Peters
United Nations Association of the National Capital Area
2000 P Street NW, Suite 630, Washington, DC 20036
Phone 202-223-6092 Fax 202- 223-6096
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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25 October 2017

Recap of Fall 2017 Young Professionals' Career Dinner Series

On Saturday, October 14, 2017, UNA-NCA invited students and young professionals to participate in its semi-annual Young Professional Career Dinner series.


This signature event is held every fall and spring and is an opportunity for young professionals to discuss global career paths and network with experienced professionals in their fields of interest. The Fall 2017 Dinner Series kicked off with a networking reception at the United Nations Foundation, where around 80 participants and speakers had the chance to meet and swap business cards. Stephen Moseley, President of UNA-NCA, and Paula Boland, Executive Director of UNA-NCA, welcomed guests to the evening’s event, before turning over the stage to our keynote speaker, Andy Rabens, who is the Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues at the U.S. Department of State.

Andy Rabens delivered a keynote speech that set the tone for the evening. His enthusiasm and passion for international affairs was contagious as he encouraged participants to pursue careers in government and international affairs. He offered three main points of advice to the attendees: “1) Keep pushing; don’t take rejection personally; and cast a wide net; 2) Continue to focus on building your leadership skill-sets for down the road; 3) Foreign Affairs begins in your backyard - neighborhood, ward, community - and broadens globally.” In his role as Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues, Andy focuses on helping the U.S. Government better engage young people internationally to help solve the pressing challenges of today while also building greater global connectivity and networks to shape a more secure and prosperous future. He leads efforts to coordinate and amplify global youth policy and initiatives. Prior to joining the State Department in 2008, Andy worked for United States Senator Dianne Feinstein and for the Rt. Honorable Ed Miliband in the UK Parliament.

After entertaining questions from the audience, Andy spoke with participants one-one-one as everyone made their way to one of the seven topical dinners held at the UN Foundation and in homes of UNA-NCA board members in DC and Arlington.

This season’s dinners focused on Careers in the United Nations, Careers in Sustainability, Careers in Human Rights, Careers in Global Health, Careers in Technology for Development and Social Entrepreneurship, Careers in Managing International Conflict and Careers in Working Globally and Locally to Implement the SDGs. Several of these dinners were hosted in private homes around the DC Metro Area – including two in DC and one in Northern Virginia – while others were held at the United Nations Foundation. Professional speakers in each of these topics offered career advice and guidance, and shared personal stories of experience in their particular fields. Attendees were encouraged to ask specific or general questions about the field, and engage in conversation in a uniquely intimate and comfortable setting.

The event was part of UNA-NCA’s month-long UN Day celebrations. In the reception closing, Laura Blyler, UNA-NCA VP of Young Professionals and Lanice Williams, UNA-NCA Chair of Young Professionals, reminded participants of the UN month theme “Global goals, local leaders” and challenged participants to volunteer with local organizations to develop skills needed for their career. Consider getting involved with UNA-NCA to develop skills related to event planning, fundraising, and public speaking. If you want to get involved with the Young Professionals program in particular, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Did you join us on Saturday night? See if you can spot and tag yourself in our photo album!

Thank you to the United Nations Foundation for the use of its facilities, UNA-USA staff for their logistical support, our distinguished speakers for their expertise, the evening’s hosts and sponsors, and UNA-NCA’s Young Professionals Program and volunteers.

The Young Professionals Career Dinners are hosted semi-annually: in the spring and fall of each year. We hope you’ll join us for the Spring 2018 edition!




20 October 2017

Gender Justice Project Conference: Moving Beyond Resistance


Nine Months Post-Inauguration: Moving Beyond Resistance. Creating an Action Plan for Gender Justice in the New Political Reality.

It has been nine months since the Inauguration. A new movement has been born, based largely on resistance. Resistance is powerful, and it has slowed down the progress of the Republican agenda. Yet resistance alone cannot take us where we want to go. For this movement to grow and flourish, we need a positive agenda, an action plan to move forward with progressive goals and ideas. 

The purpose of this conference is to call together activists, policy makers, lawyers, and law students to envision the next stage of the new movement for global gender justice.

Conference themes and topics will include:

  • Intersectionality and representative leadership. Centering women of color, lesbian and transgender women, religious minorities, immigrants, women living in poverty, and women living with disabilities in the conversation.
  • GET* Lightning Rounds. Examine the most pressing challenges of the new Administration, including the assault on immigrants, Muslims, working women, health care, and the LGBTQ community. (*Gender Equity Talks)
  • GET Huddles. Join with our speakers and like-minded people to explore opportunities for progressive change through law, policy, and activism.
  • Speed Networking. Learn about opportunities for activism and advocacy from local and national organizations.
  • Action Spotlights. Tools of progressive change, including story-telling and media strategies, political participation and running for office, and innovative legal services.


When: Friday, October 20, 2017
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM 

Where: UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
4340 Connecticut Avenue NW
5th Floor Moot Court Room
Washington, District of Columbia  20008

Contact: Professor Laurie Morin -  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Conference registration 

Registration to speak at Speed Networking

Conference Agenda 


Sponsored by the Gender Justice Project



14 October 2017

Fall 2017 Young Professionals’ Career Dinner Series


THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN THE FALL 2017 YOUNG PROFESSIONALS' CAREER DINNER SERIES.
UNFORTUNATELY, REGISTRATION HAS NOW CLOSED FOR ALL DINNERS. 


On Saturday, October 14, 2017, UNA-NCA invites students and young professionals to participate in its semi-annual Young Professional Career Dinner series.
This signature event is an opportunity for young people to discuss global career paths and network with experienced professionals in their fields of interest. The Fall 2017 Dinner Series will kick off with a networking reception where participants and speakers will have the chance to meet and swap business cards. This Fall's keynote speaker is Andy Rabens, Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues at the U.S. Department of State.

Mr. Rabens focuses on helping the U.S. Government better engage young people internationally to help solve the pressing challenges of today while also building greater global connectivity and networks to shape a more secure and prosperous future. He serves as the principal representative on youth issues for the U.S. Department of State and leads efforts to coordinate and amplify global youth policy and initiatives. 

When: 
Saturday, October 14, 2017
5:00 pm Networking Reception
7:00 pm Dinner 

Where: 
United Nations Foundation
1750 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006 

Cost: 
$45 for members (*Students under the age of 25 are eligible for this price)
$55 for non-members 
$65 for non-members with UNA-NCA membership 

Keynote
Andy Rabens, Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues at the U.S. Department of State.

Dinners 
Professional speakers in each of these topics will offer career advice and guidance, and share personal stories of experience in their particular fields. Attendees are encouraged to ask specific or general questions about the field, and engage in conversation in a uniquely intimate and comfortable setting. 
To register, click on the dinner topic you are interested in.
Each dinner has its own length program please be advised that you are only allowed to register for one dinner. 



Careers in the UN - REGISTRATION CLOSED
Speaker:
  • Laura Fuller, Head of Communications, North America Office, UN Enviroment Programme (UNEP) 
  • Jason Sigurdson, Senior Policy and Strategy Adviser, UNAIDS
  • Sophie Loran, Communications Office, UN Environment Programme - Paris Office

Dinner will be held at the UN Foundation

REGISTER



Careers in Global Health - REGISTRATION CLOSED
Speakers: 
  • Temitayo "Temi" Ifafore-Calfee, Director of Operations, The Human Diagnosis Project and former Health Workforce Technical Advisor, USAID Global Health Fellows Program
  • Folake Olayinka, Immunization Team Leader, JSI on USAID's flagship Maternal Child Survival Program
Dinner will be held at the UN Foundation

REGISTER



Careers in Technology for Development & Social Entrepreneurship - REGISTRATION CLOSED
Speakers: 
  • Caroline Howe, Project Specialist, University of the District of Columbia
  • Nick Martin, President & CEO, TechChange

Dinner will be held at the UN Foundation

REGISTER 



Careers in Working Globally and Locally to Implement SDGs - REGISTRATION CLOSED
Speakers: 
  • Steve Moseley, President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area
  • Jodi-Kaye Wade, Small Business Specialist, United States Agency for International Development
Dinner will be held at the UN Foundation

REGISTER



Careers in Human Rights - REGISTRATION CLOSED
Speakers:
  • Karol Boudreaux, Land Tenure Practice Lead, The Cloudburst Group
  • Maggie Marshall, Program Officer for Human Rights Initiatives, Freedom House

    Although reception will be at the UN Foundation, dinner will be offsite. (Location to be provided closer to the event)

 


REGISTER 



Careers in Managing International Conflicts - REGISTRATION CLOSED
Speakers:
  • Laura, Strawmyer, Policy Associate, Alliance for Peacebuilding
  • Amber M. Whittington, Fund Manager of the Elections and Political Processes Fund (EPP), Center of Excellence in Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, USAID
Although reception will be at the UN Foundation, dinner will be offsite. (Location to be provided closer to the event)

REGISTER 



Careers in Sustainability - REGISTRATION CLOSED
Speakers:
  • Tom Riesenberg, Consultant; Legal Director, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
  • Nicholas M. Bassey, Division Chief, Frontier Partnerships for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Global Development Lab 
  • Emily Robichaux, Fellow, GroundswellAlthough reception will be at the UN Foundation, dinner will be offsite. (Location to be provided closer to the event)
REGISTER 



25 September 2017

The UN Sustainable Development Goals: Diplomatic Perspectives

Event presented on: Monday, September 25, 2017

Report by: Kathie Bolognese, supported by Jordan Hibbs, Alexander Sanson Gomez, and Mario Murcia, Members, UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Committee

On September 25, 2017, Diplomats from Latin America and Asia, and activists supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), found common perspectives and multiple forms of engagement in SDG implementation across a wide range of countries, both nationally and locally, in the public, NGO and private sectors, at a UN Association public forum on the Agenda 2030 Global Goals.


The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) along with its Sustainable Development Committee in collaboration with the Georgetown International Relations Club hosted The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Diplomatic Perspectives.  The event took place at the Healey Family Student Center at Georgetown University and was livestreamed via Nexus Media. The program’s distinguished speakers featured diplomatic perspectives on the progress made and challenges faced by the countries of Afghanistan, Barbados, Costa Rica, Finland and Sweden in working to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Member states of the UN continue to use the SDGs, which include a universal set of goals, targets and indicators, to frame their policies over the next 13 years.


Professor Anthony Clark Arend, Senior Associate Dean from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, opened the program by reminding the audience members about the purpose of the UN Charter which was designed to prevent future wars and promote social progress. He also noted that the Charter’s preamble has been further re-invigorated by the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 and more recently with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015.


Following Professor Arend’s opening, Andrew Doll, UNA-NCA Programs and Membership Manager, and Thomas Liu, member of the UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Committee emphasized the occasion of the second anniversary of the SDGs, and the importance of the role of the UNA-NCA and its committees in being a driving on-the-ground-force in support of the Global Goals, by helping local residents and citizens better identify ways that these successes could be brought back to their communities.

 
Anthony Pipa, Senior Fellow for Global Economy and Development from The Brookings Institution, and former U.S. Special Coordinator for the Post-2015 Development Agenda for the U.S. Department of State, delivered a keynote speech: The SDGs in 2017: Where Are We Now?  Mr. Pipa observed that society has moved past the optimistic spirit of the previous U.S. administration, and the apex of global cooperation on development issues reflected in the adoption of the SDGs and the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement.

 
Although the current U.S. administration has signaled its intention to withdraw from the Climate Agreement and place greater emphasis on national interests, Mr. Pipa said that it is clear from the UN General Assembly, from the Davos World Economic Forum Meetings, and through the Global Impact Investing Network's Annual 2017 Impact Investor Survey of several hundred financiers, that advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda is becoming an increasingly important theme, both domestically within the US and around the world. Indeed, it is  a major thematic framework for all stakeholders.
 

With 13 years left to achieve an ambitious agenda Mr. Pipa noted some troubling signs, and stressed that “exponential, not incremental, progress is needed.” For example, he pointed out that at current rates, extreme poverty will only decrease from 9% worldwide to 6% by 2030, and that this will not end extreme poverty - the moral center of the SDGs and key to its vision to “Leave No One Behind.”  There is also very limited embrace of the universality of the SDGs. Integration, he observed, is still more rhetoric than reality; most stakeholders are still siloed when they think of solutions.  Furthermore, the U.S. federal government is absent, though Mr.Pipa observed that other governmental entities in the US are increasingly engaged in the SDGs.  It’s a long game, however, with future elections and potential engagement opportunities ahead.


Panel 1 - Progress and Monitoring Achievement of the SDGs

The first panel discussion, on Progress and Monitoring Achievement of the SDGs, was moderated by Professor Mark Giordano, Director at the Georgetown Walsh School of Foreign Service, featuring Ambassador Selwin Charles Hart of Barbados and Ambassador Roman Macaya Hayes of Costa Rica.  Ambassador Hart continued the conversation initiated by Mr.Pipa, reporting that despite its small size, Barbados played a significant leadership role in advancing the 2030 Agenda and sustainability, in general, even when it was not popular to do so. He further shared his concern that the multilateral rules-based system which has worked well for the past 70 years, and provided clear roles for finance, trade and security issues, is now under threat. The need to ensure fairness and security in the conduct of global affairs, which is necessary for implementation of SDGs, was emphasized. In addition, the Ambassador noted that no one country can solve the problems before us, emphasizing that “global problems need global solutions.”  He emphasized the important role the U.S. played in achieving the Paris Climate Agreement and that U.S. leadership is key to making a difference in the world.

 
Ambassador Roman Macaya Hayes of Costa Rica centered his remarks on where Costa Rica is at today, how it has achieved its current status and what it ultimately still needs to accomplish in order to successfully achieve the targets set forth in the SDGs. Political turbulence in his country in the 1940’s led to the formation of an agreement by which the governing administration, opposition party and the Catholic Church provided social guarantees: a labor code, free education and a strong health care system. These institutions continue, and evolve, to this very day. Costa Rica was the first county to abolish its military and to fund health and education instead. Today, its primary exports are services and medical devices. Ambassador Macaya also highlighted the innovative approach of paying the private sector landowners for environmental services as an incentive to enter the conservation effort. These payments for environmental services made Costa Rica the first tropical nation to reverse deforestation, increasing forest coverage from 21% to 51% between 1986 and 2012. Ambassador Macaya also pointed to the highly renewable matrix for electricity generation. The county has generated 98-99% of its electricity  by alternative energy this year. Costa Rica plans to convene future stakeholder meetings and pursue an “all of country approach” to achieve its commitments to the SDGs


The successful use of soft power by small countries was another topic addressed by panelists.   Ambassador Hart noted that diplomacy is the only option for small countries who do not have strong military or economic options, and pointed out that small countries are the glue of the multilateral system. Ambassador Macaya stressed that size helps in modeling country performance for others. When a country can show something is possible or a new record is set, then others will be more likely to work on trying to achieve or break it.


When asked by Professor Giordano to reflect on lessons learned, Ambassador Hart noted that the priorities of Barbados are now clear: political leadership, embedding implementation and follow up in existing budgetary processes, and using social partnerships to advance local policy objectives. Ambassador Macaya similarly stressed the need for society buy-in and developing policies based on citizen aspiration in Costa Rica. Also, the need to be principled, credible and consistent in diplomacy.

 
Panel 2 - Continuing Challenges: Moving Toward Attainment of the SDGs

The second panel discussed Continuing Challenges: Moving Towards Attainment of the SDGs, and included diplomatic representatives from Finland, Afghanistan and Sweden. The panel conversation was moderated by Mr. A. Edward Elmendorf, Co-Chair of the UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Goals Task Force. 

 
Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi from Finland reported on the country’s two-level approach to SDG implementation.  For the first approach, the government moved quickly to issue its plan for implementation in February 2017, which contained two focus areas: carbon neutrality and wise use of resources.  It identifies policy principles and forward thinking measures related to long-term action and transformation, policy coherence and global partnerships, as well as ownership and participation. The second line of approach is a unique way to involve all stakeholders through the National Commission on Sustainable Development to make sure all policy work has integrated the 2030 Agenda. The result was a vision: “The Finland we want by 2050 – Society’s commitment to sustainable development.” Its objectives may not be totally identical with the 17 Global Goals but are related to them, with an expert panel on the SDGs keeping a critical eye on implementation. Ambassador Kauppi said that gender equality is a key factor in the country’s achievements. The current prime minster maintains it as a top priority and contributes to UN campaigns such as “HeforShe.”  The ambassador also mentioned the joint Nordic contribution to promoting sustainable development, as well as work done in the EU.


Abdul Nafay Sana, Political Counselor from the Embassy of Afghanistan, spoke about the reconciliation and reconstruction process begun in 2001, at which point internal conflict had left the country unable to complete the majority of the MDGs. The country is  still in a phase of alignment with the SDGs.   Though it has made some progress by forming a high-level committee for the SDGs in 2017 (whose secretariat is housed in the Ministry of the Economy) and will start implementation in January 2018, Afghanistan continues to face daunting security and cultural challenges, alongside weak political institutions, compared to other countries.

 
One of the key challenges under the process of “nationalizing” and aligning the SDGs is the reliance on international assistance for virtually 90% of the country’s budget. There are also several problems associated with data collection and processing. Mr. Sana, however, highlighted some recent progress, including many newly educated Afghan citizens returning to lead institutions, and significant hope for a peace deal soon. As forty percent of the country’s students are now girls, education is considered a top priority and food programs are used to incentivize parents to send their children to school. As well, twenty-eight percent of the country’s Members of Parliament (MPs) are female, more than in the United States Congress.


Emma Nilsson, Counselor for Development in Trade and Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Sweden, stressed Sweden’s firm belief in a strong multi-lateral system with a positive agenda for change.  All Swedish government ministries oversee SDG implementation in their own areas and two ministers are responsible for coordination. The country has several focus areas: first, it aims to be one of the first fossil free developed nations with net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.  Second, it has a feminist government with a feminist foreign policy, both of which work through a lens of gender equality focused on resources, representation and the rights of women and girls.  Third, the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, has also launched the Global Deal for decent work and inclusive growth that addresses challenges in the global labor market through enhanced social dialogue. Another priority is SDG14 which promotes sustainable oceans.  In addition, Sweden is the sixth largest donor of development aid and very engaged with UN reform efforts. Ms. Nilsson shared that, to date, the country has delivered on 49 of the indicators and 20% of its goals for the 2030 Agenda.

 
When asked by the moderator, Mr. Elmendorf, to talk about how their countries currently address the issue of immigrants and refugees in connection with the SDGs, Ambassador Kauppi noted that Finland is working to address this through its non-discrimination policies. Furthermore, Finland has a platform in place which actively works to ensure full inclusion of all of its people.  Mr. Sana indicated that the present Afghan constitution lists every ethnic group as a citizen, including all minorities; this contributes to elimination of possible polarization, sidelining or exclusion of any particular group of people.  For Sweden, inclusion is an issue in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. An opportunity and a challenge for Sweden will be to  integrate newly arrived immigrants.

 
In closing, Mr. Elmendorf and Mr. Patrick Realiza, Chair of the UNA-NCA Sustainable Development Committee, synthesized some themes and highlights from the rich presentations and conversations. It was apparent that all countries face challenges as they move from adoption of the SDGs at a very global level to the practical challenges of prioritizing targets and indicators from an enormous agenda. Yet, the dialogue at the event made clear that progress is being made, at widely different paces from country to country and also within countries. The range of stakeholders engaged in the SDGs is now much wider than it was at the comparable stage of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The presentations at the forum from both developed and developing countries show that the universality of Agenda 2030 and its movement away from the North-South framework of the MDGs is one of its strengths. The forum also showed the importance and value of moving the SDGs to local levels, especially in larger countries. Mr. Realiza encouraged all attendees present at the forum to help take on the shared work of successfully accomplishing the implementation of the SDGs in their respective local communities and beyond. Following the event, informal dialogue continued among attendees in the conference room and beyond.

An SDG Newsletter oriented to the USA is available and a valuable resource: SDG USA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .




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