“Addressing inequalities and Challenges to inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection and HLS under the theme: “Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality” New York 15 February 2019

On the occasion of the UN Commission for Social Development that took place from 11 to 21 February 2019, the World Family Organization (WFO) hosted a luncheon on 15 February at the Delegate’s Dining Room premises at the UNHQ in New York. 

The overarching theme of this luncheon and discussion was focused around the topic of “addressing inequalities and challenges to inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies” with the aim to further contribute to the ECOSOC 2019 High-Level Political Forum and High-Level Segment under the theme of “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. 

The luncheon was moderated by Ms. Hanifa Mezoui, PhD and attended by the President of the WFO, Dr. Deisi Kusztra together with Mr. Isidro de Brito, Vice-President for Legal and Administrative Affairs of WFO (Portugal) who presented WFO’s work over the past year and how effective UN family policies could contribute to reaching the common goal of equality and inclusiveness in all spheres of life.

In a spirit of partnership, the luncheon was attended by other notable officials from the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs, including, Ms. Daniela Bas (Directorof DESA’s Division for Inclusive Social Development), Mr. Alberto Padova (Chiefof DESA’s Social Inclusion and Participation Branch), Mr. Navid Hanif, Directorof DESA’s Financing for Sustainable Development Office, the UN Global Compact, Mr. Angus Rennie) Marc-Andre Dorel, Acting Chief, NGO Branch and the Secretariat of the G77.

Additional participants from civil society included, Ms. Suneeta Dewan, representing Children’s Hope India, who contributed on the role of social inclusiveness and equality in developing countries with the focus on children and youth growing up in poverty and lack of opportunities as well as the need for empowering women.  The International Federation for Family Development (IFFD) represented by its President, Mr. Ignacio Socias gave a briefing of the CSD57 side event coordinated in partnership with various stakeholders, titled: “The value of Unpaid Care and Domestic Work* – Is Target 5.4 a Utopia?” He presented the IFFD Family Award for 2019, to, among others, Ania Feron and the country of Austria.  

The luncheon was also honored by the presence of H.E., Mr. Mohamed Fathi Ahmed Idrees, Former Chair Group77 for 2018, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations, who emphasized, the crucial role played by Member States in financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by highlighting international cooperation, North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation.  

The discussion revolved on the need to combat discrimination and social exclusion by promoting inclusion through social protection systems that will enable families to thrive. 

Concerns were also raised on: How to align the global financial system with sustainable development? And how to advance the finance mechanisms for the SDGs and develop initiatives to reduce the current investment gap? 

It was also reported that at its January 2019, regular session, the NGO Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations had before it 521 applications and recommended 236 of them for consultative status. It was mentioned that in regards to the geographic distribution, efforts have to be made to increase the number of NGOs from Africa and Latin America.

We were also briefed, on activities and contribution to this year’s 63rdCommission on the Status of Women and to the upcoming Fourth Forum on Financing for Development.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who attended this very fruitful and inspiring discussion and we recognize the dedicated efforts of WFO in working with local authorities to advance the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in relations to family issues. 

*“Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies, and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate” Tuesday, February 12th, 2018

Solutions Selected for Solutions Summit 2017 at UN Headquarters

Solutions Summit is an annual catalytic gathering at United Nations Headquarters in New York during UN General Assembly high-level week in September. This initiative lifts-up and advances the work of exceptional teams already developing innovative solutions that address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This year’s Solutions Summit will take place from 19-21 September from 12:00-1:00pm each day in the UN SDG Media Zone – a live broadcast event space at the United Nations focused on the SDGs – and will involve in-person accelerator sessions and social media interaction with the selected solution-makers.
The Solutions Summit is led by the UN Foundation, UN-NGLS, shift7, and the Global Innovation Exchange. UN-NGLS coordinated the open and transparent application and selection process to curate solutions to be featured during the Solutions Summit, involving a Selection Committee of 25 top innovators and technologists from around the world.
The Selection Committee agreed a short-list of 35 solutions from 535 applications received, and the Solutions Summit lead organizers selected the following 11 extraordinary solution-makers:
The leaders of these projects – a regionally and gender balanced group – will each give a ‘lightning talk’ outlining their breakthrough efforts at United Nations Headquarters on 19-21 September.
For more information, please visit: http://solutions-summit.org

Solutions Summit at UNHQ: Call for Submissions


Solutions Summit 2017 will highlight projects advancing the
17 UN
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


Solutions Summit is an annual catalytic gathering at UN Headquarters in New York during UN General Assembly high-level week in September. This initiative lifts-up and advances the work of exceptional teams who are already developing innovative solutions that address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year’s Solutions Summit will take place in the UN SDG Media Zone – a live broadcast event space at the United Nations focused on the SDGs – and will involve in-person accelerator sessions and social media interaction with the selected solution-makers. Solutions Summit 2017 will take place from 19-21 September and will highlight projects that advance the objectives of one or more of the 17 SDGs.
During the Solutions Summit, a group of selected global innovators will give ‘lightning talks’ outlining their breakthrough efforts to an audience of senior policymakers who have the means to pave solid regulatory foundations, investors who care deeply about long-term change and impact, industry leaders who are able to deploy quickly and at scale, fellow entrepreneurs who can share wisdom on starting up, and members of the public, including youth, who will bring additional creative insight. The gathering will serve as a catalyst to convene resources and talent around solution-makers.
The Solutions Summit is led by the UN Foundation, the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) and the Global Innovation Exchange, in collaboration with Shift7, the Global Entrepreneurs Council, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, with an open invitation for governments and other partners to join. UN-NGLS is coordinating the open and transparent application and selection process to curate solutions to be featured during the Solutions Summit.

Deadlines: 25 August – Selection Committee  /  29 August – Solutions

25 August 2017: Apply to be a part of the Selection Committee
29 August 2017: Submit a solution to be considered for inclusion in Solutions Summit
Help us surface extraordinary individuals and teams who are developing solutions that address the SDGs and encourage them to apply.

Pace of progress must accelerate to achieve the SDGs

If the world is to eradicate poverty, address climate change and build peaceful, inclusive societies for all by 2030, key stakeholders, including governments, must drive implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a faster rate, says the latest progress report on the SDGs launched by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Using the most recent data available, the annual Sustainable Development Goals Report provides an overview of the world’s implementation efforts to date, highlighting areas of progress and areas where more action needs to be taken to ensure no one is left behind. This year’s report finds that while progress has been made over the past decade across all areas of development, the pace of progress has been insufficient and advancements have been uneven to fully meet the implementation of the SDGs.“Implementation has begun, but the clock is ticking,” stated Mr. Guterres. “This report shows that the rate of progress in many areas is far slower than needed to meet the targets by 2030.”Despite advances, acceleration is needed

While nearly a billion people have escaped extreme poverty since 1999, about 767 remained destitute in 2013, most of whom live in fragile situations. Despite major advances, an alarmingly high number of children under age 5 are still affected by malnutrition. In 2016, an estimated 155 million children under 5 years of age were stunted (low height for their age). Between 2000 and 2015, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 37 per cent and the under-5 mortality rate fell by 44 per cent. However, 303,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth and 5.9 million children under age 5 died worldwide in 2015.

In the area of sustainable energy, while access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking climbed to 57 per cent in 2014, up from 50 per cent in 2000, more than 3 billion people, lacked access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, which led to an estimated 4.3 million deaths in 2012. From 2015 to 2016, official development assistance (ODA) rose by 8.9 per cent in real terms to 142.6 billion US dollars, reaching a new peak. But bilateral aid to the least developing countries fell by 3.9 per cent in real terms.

Progress is uneven

The benefits of development are not equally shared. On average, women spent almost triple the amount of time on unpaid domestic and care work as men, based on data from 2010-2016. Economic losses from natural hazards are now reaching an average of 250 billion to 300 billion US dollars a year, with a disproportionate impact on small and vulnerable countries. Despite the global unemployment rate falling from 6.1 per cent in 2010 to 5.7 per cent in 2016, youth were nearly three times more likely than adults to be without a job. In 2015, 85 per cent of the urban population used safely managed drinking water services, compared to only 55 per cent of rural population.

“Empowering vulnerable groups is critical to ending poverty and promoting prosperity for everyone, everywhere,”stated Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

Harnessing the power of data

Effectively tracking progress on the SDGs requires accessible, reliable, timely and disaggregated data at all levels, which poses a major challenge to national and international statistical systems. While data availability and quality have steadily improved over the years, statistical capacity still needs strengthening worldwide. The global statistical community is working to modernize and strengthen statistical systems to address all aspects of production and use of data for the SDGs.

About the Report

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017 is the annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the Goals. The report is based on latest available data on selected indicators of the global SDG indicator framework, prepared by UN DESA with inputs from a large number of international and regional organizations.


Source: UN DESA

“Without women the Global Goals won’t see the light of day”

It was October 1989 and Alaa’s mother had just gone into labour. Alaa’s father was in town, working, and couldn’t be reached. Her three-year-old sister had called the ambulance, but the medical crew couldn’t get there in time and so Alaa was born in her parents’ bedroom.

Had this story been happening in present-day Libya, where Alaa Murabit’s parents come from, it could’ve had a very grim ending. In 2015 alone, 303,000 women around the world died during pregnancy or childbirth. That same year saw close to six million children under the age of five perish. That’s over 800 mothers and 16,000 small children dying every day.

Alaa was lucky. She was born in Canada, a country with universal healthcare. “Within minutes I was in a hospital where they took my vitals and made sure I was OK,” she said.

She was even luckier to have supportive, open-minded parents who treated her and her brothers equally and who encouraged her career in medicine. “[My mother’s] definition of leadership was to nurture the necessary confidence and build the skills for her daughters to make their own decisions,” Alaa would later write.

Spurred on by her mother’s example, Alaa Murabit became a vocal activist for women’s rights and universal healthcare. Her initiatives, such as the groundbreaking “Noor Campaign”, which uses Islamic teaching to combat violence against women, are replicated internationally.

Last year, she became the youngest of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals Advocates – a group of eminent personalities who are helping the UN Secretary General to encourage action and commitments for the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals – the SDGs.

This week, Alaa Murabit is in New York for the High-Level Political Forum – an annual meeting to review progress made by countries towards achieving the SDGs. Her message to government officials and other stakeholders is as simple as it is strong: empower women to participate in sustainable development or fail.

“[Only when we] start having honest conversations about the impact that women and girls have on our communities and on this agenda, and the importance of our governments to resource that (…), that’s when we’re going to see legitimate change,” she told ministers and other high-level delegates on Monday.

In Tuesday’s SDGLive interview, she said it was understandable that countries focus more on some SDGs than others, depending on their priorities and capacities. But there are three goals, which according to her underpin the entire 2030 Agenda and where failure is simply not an option.

“The three areas we cannot overlook (…) are education, healthcare and gender equality. Those are the three areas that, when they intersect, can completely transform the world,” she said.

Alaa Murabit is convinced that the only path to achieve the SDGs leads through the economic and social empowerment of women and girls, and through ensuring that they have access to education.

“Data (…) backs up the fact that women and girls really are the key to seeing this agenda come to fruition,” she said in her SDGLive talk.

“If you talk about climate change action [for example], the most cost-effective and practical solution to climate change is the combination of girls’ education and women’s reproductive rights,” she added.

She quoted estimates, according to which equal education and employment opportunities for women and girls would result in a global economic growth greater than that of China and India combined. “We have to realize there is an untapped resource and the only way we can really leverage that is through education and through economic empowerment,” she said.

During the brutal conflict, which erupted in Libya at the beginning of this decade, Alaa called for women and local leaders to be allowed active participation in the peace process. In her new role of SDG Advocate, she remains a fervent champion of genuine women empowerment.

“We so often instrumentalize women,” she said. (…) “We very rarely empower and allow for women to be able to architect their own projects.  And the one way, in which we can actually do that, is through economic empowerment, because we know that when women are economically empowered they re‑invest 90 per cent into their community. And the vast majority of that 90 per cent goes into health and education, so you’re completely transforming that landscape for future generations.”

But despite the wealth of data that supports empowerment and a broader participation of women in SDGs implementation, Alaa Murabit doesn’t see enough progress by countries in that field. “We need to start asking ourselves why, two years in we still haven’t really taken on this agenda as much as we can.”

To Alaa Murabit, the answer is simple: “Without women and girls, this agenda is not going to see the light of day – not even a little bit.”


Committee of Experts on Public Administration, 16th session

The Committee of Experts on Public Administration will hold its sixteenth session at the United Nations in New York from 24 to 28 April 2017. The main subject of discussion will be “Ensuring effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals: leadership, action and means”.

Dr. Deisi Kusztra, WFO President, is participating in todays session as an expert at the “Interactive dialogue with CEPA members, Member States, United Nations system and civil society organizations”

More information is available at https://publicadministration.un.org/en/CEPA/session16

The Movement for Community-Led Development

Who we are: As individuals and organizations committed to the successful implementation of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we call for enhancing the power and capacity of communities to take charge of their own development.

Watch our brief introductory video.

A Human Right. Every human being has the inalienable right to participate in governance. For most of those living in hunger and poverty, this means governance within walking distance. People deserve this right to know that their voice and energies can make a difference. People in power must view people as “active citizens,” not beneficiaries, and “solutions,” rather than “problems.”

SDG #16 calls for building participatory, effective, accountable institutions “at all levels” – which must start at the level closest to the people. This must become a high priority.

A Gender-focused, Transformative Process. Community-led development is more than participatory projects. It requires a long-term process that empowers citizens and local authorities to transform entrenched patriarchal mindsets and take effective action.

Key Global Challenges. Four of the biggest challenges in the SDGs – to halt stunting, empower women, achieve inclusive economic growth and build climate change resilience – all require integrated  and community-led solutions at the local level.

An end in itself. Community-led development is more than an effective and sustainable means to achieve development goals. As expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 29, “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.” Participatory local governance is the only pathway through which most people will have this opportunity.

We therefore commit to work in alignment to achieve the following near-term goals:

  • Raise the profile of community-led development in SDG-implementation discourse – starting with ourselves. We will develop a shared language for the practices, interventions and policies that enhance community-led development and we will project this language in our internal and external communications.
  • Do the analysis. We will work in every context to ensure that the systems thinking being carried out by policy makers includes a bottom-up analysis – starting from people — as well as an accurate understanding of the community-level programs and institutions required.
  • Generate, gather and disseminate evidence. We will build the evidence base for the importance of community-led development, and what works to enhance it.
  • Share best practices. Empowering community-led development is a science, and we will document and share what works.
  • Build the movement. Community-led development has strong relevance to good governance, peace and security, and humanitarian response, as well as to urban and rural social and economic development. We will reach out to all those working to enhance community-led development in all these communities.
  • Advocate for an enabling policy environment and funding. Communities face an uphill battle, and are often starved for the information, skills, voice, and human and financial resources they need to fulfill their aspirations. We will develop and work together to support local, national and global advocacy efforts to remove the obstacles and strengthen support for community-led development.
  • Take it to scale. Within activities already underway, there are enormous opportunities to work together to mobilize communities and unleash the greatest and most under-recognized resource for development – people power, and particularly the leadership of women and youth.