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Preparing the post-2020 biodiversity framework

09-01-2020

In October 2020, the parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the main international agreement on biodiversity protection, will meet in Kunming (China) to agree on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, with conservation and restoration goals for the next decade. A party to the CBD, the European Union (EU) aims 'to lead the world' at this conference (COP15), as it did at the Paris climate conference. A debate is scheduled in view of the COP15 during Parliament's ...

In October 2020, the parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the main international agreement on biodiversity protection, will meet in Kunming (China) to agree on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, with conservation and restoration goals for the next decade. A party to the CBD, the European Union (EU) aims 'to lead the world' at this conference (COP15), as it did at the Paris climate conference. A debate is scheduled in view of the COP15 during Parliament's January I plenary session.

Reporting on SDG implementation: UN mechanisms and the EU approach

20-12-2019

Adopted in 2015 by the United Nations (UN), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – 'the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all' – clearly links the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) it introduced to a series of targets to be reached by 2030. The 2030 Agenda includes a detailed mechanism to monitor progress with regard to these targets. At the core of this mechanism are a number of quantified indicators for each target that are regularly revised by the UN and ...

Adopted in 2015 by the United Nations (UN), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – 'the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all' – clearly links the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) it introduced to a series of targets to be reached by 2030. The 2030 Agenda includes a detailed mechanism to monitor progress with regard to these targets. At the core of this mechanism are a number of quantified indicators for each target that are regularly revised by the UN and other international agencies. These agencies and the EU provide support to national statistical services across the world in collecting data for the SDG indicators in order to gather reliable and comparable datasets. These data feed the voluntary national reports that countries prepare to exchange good practices and advice on tackling the challenges they encounter in implementing their SDG strategies. High-level forums take stock of both progress and weaknesses in implementation, so as to ensure that everybody is on track in pursuing the SDGs. The EU has long experience in collecting consistent data from its Member States. The European Union Statistical Office (Eurostat) has created a set of sustainable development indicators that provide a good overview of progress within the EU; yet, according to analysts, these indicators do not give a clear picture of the risks of not attaining some goals by 2030. EU development cooperation services have devised a framework of indicators to assess how EU support contributes to other countries' implementation of the SDGs. However, the European Parliament and other stakeholders regret that the spill-over effect of EU policies on third countries remains a blind spot in the evaluation of the EU's contribution to the SDGs. Although technical in nature, SDG indicators and data also have a political dimension, as they clearly measure countries' and other stakeholders' achievements against their own commitments.

Understanding the Sustainable Development Goals

13-12-2019

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be attained by 2030, as a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) and the Rio+20 Summit (2012). Unlike their predecessors, the SDGs commit both developed and developing countries, and embrace the economic, environmental and social aspects of development. The SDGs and the broader 2030 Agenda for sustainable development of which they form the core, are based on the findings that human activities have ...

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be attained by 2030, as a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) and the Rio+20 Summit (2012). Unlike their predecessors, the SDGs commit both developed and developing countries, and embrace the economic, environmental and social aspects of development. The SDGs and the broader 2030 Agenda for sustainable development of which they form the core, are based on the findings that human activities have triggered dramatic changes in the conditions on Earth (climate change and biodiversity loss), which in turn have contributed to the deterioration of human well being. To reverse the trend, there is an urgent need to simultaneously address the multiple causes and consequences of environmental depletion and social inequalities, by developing synergies and managing trade-offs between the SDGs. Challenges in pursuing the SDGs include the fact that countries do not necessarily have an equal start and, even more importantly, that regardless of their stage of development, they can no longer afford to apply the current development model, where production and consumption happen at the expense of natural resources. According to many observers, such a model creates unsolvable tensions between SDGs, notably between the safeguarding of natural resources and the aspirations for improved well-being. The structural transformation that would bring about the desired change requires a joint effort by the international community, but equally so by natural and public or private legal persons, to urgently speed up the process. The European Union has been a leader in drafting and implementing the SDGs; however, the European Parliament considers the EU could go further in devising a common SDG strategy. This briefing updates an EPRS 'At a glance' note published in November 2017, PE 608.819.

United Nations reform

13-02-2019

At the 72nd United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 18 September 2017, 120 countries expressed their commitment to the reforms proposed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Since 1946, the UN has undergone a number of reforms either in whole or in part. The term 'reform' has proved troublesome for UN member states on account of its lack of clarity and the lack of consensus as to execution. This is particularly apparent in the scepticism expressed by the United States (US) in 2018 regarding the ...

At the 72nd United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 18 September 2017, 120 countries expressed their commitment to the reforms proposed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Since 1946, the UN has undergone a number of reforms either in whole or in part. The term 'reform' has proved troublesome for UN member states on account of its lack of clarity and the lack of consensus as to execution. This is particularly apparent in the scepticism expressed by the United States (US) in 2018 regarding the need for global governance, the importance of UN Security Council decisions such as the Iran nuclear deal, and the efficiency of the United Nations. This briefing explains how the current reform differs from previous ones, in as much as it focuses on management and addresses the criticisms of a lack of accountability and transparency, ineffectiveness, and the deficit in trust between the organisation and its member states in the current system. The United Nations reform agenda centres on three key areas: development, management, and peace and security. First, development reform will bring a bold change to the UN development system in order to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This will be centred on the creation of a new generation of country teams led by an independent team of UN country experts ('resident coordinators'). Second, the simplification of processes, increased transparency and improved delivery of mandates will form the basis of a new management paradigm for the secretariat. Third, peace and security reform will be underpinned by placing priority on conflict prevention and peacekeeping, increasing the effectiveness and coherence of peacekeeping operations and political missions. Two years after its launch, the reform process is starting to bear fruit, with implementation set to begin in 2019 and a focus on streamlining, accountability, transparency and efficiency. However, the reform process does not make explicit mention of bolstering human rights. This briefing also explores the possibility of capitalising on the current reforms so as to boost the indivisibility of human rights, while taking stock of stakeholders' reactions to the UN reforms under way.

The concept of 'climate refugee': Towards a possible definition

29-01-2019

According to statistics published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, every year since 2008, an average of 26.4 million persons around the world have been forcibly displaced by floods, windstorms, earthquakes or droughts. This is equivalent to one person being displaced every second. Depending on the frequency and scale of the major natural disasters occurring, there are significant fluctuations in the total number of displaced people from one year to the next, yet the trend over recent ...

According to statistics published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, every year since 2008, an average of 26.4 million persons around the world have been forcibly displaced by floods, windstorms, earthquakes or droughts. This is equivalent to one person being displaced every second. Depending on the frequency and scale of the major natural disasters occurring, there are significant fluctuations in the total number of displaced people from one year to the next, yet the trend over recent decades has been on the rise. Many find refuge within their own country, but some are forced to go abroad. With climate change, the number of 'climate refugees' will rise in the future. So far, the national and international response to this challenge has been limited, and protection for the people affected remains inadequate. What adds further to the gap in the protection of such people – who are often described as 'climate refugees' – is that there is neither a clear definition for this category of people, nor are they covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention. The latter extends only to people who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and are unable or unwilling to seek protection from their home countries. While the EU has so far not recognised climate refugees formally, it has expressed growing concern and has taken action to support and develop resilience in the countries potentially affected by climate-related stress. This briefing is an update of an earlier one of May 2018.

Indivisibility of human rights: Unifying the two Human Rights Covenants?

05-11-2018

This year we celebrate 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration, adopted on 10 December 1948 in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly, expressed an idea that was revolutionary at the time: human rights are universal, indivisible and inter-dependant, and the international community has an obligation to ensure protection of those rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic ...

This year we celebrate 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration, adopted on 10 December 1948 in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly, expressed an idea that was revolutionary at the time: human rights are universal, indivisible and inter-dependant, and the international community has an obligation to ensure protection of those rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) were intended to provide a legally binding codification of the rights listed in the Declaration. Initially drafted in 1954 as a single document, they were opened for signature and ratification separately, in 1966, and came into force in 1976, during the Cold War. In the light of the United Nations General Assembly’s 31 May 2018 mandate for reforms – aimed at simplifying, addressing fragmentation, and improving transparency and accountability – more and more stakeholders ask whether it is time to end the Cold War-era ideological division between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights, on the other. Apart from all United Nations' member states ratifying and implementing both covenants, a further step could be to codify the two Covenants in a single document, thereby emphasising their indivisibility and overcoming fragmentation.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF), New York, 16 - 18 July 2018

28-06-2018

The SDGs framework has the potential to provide a useful overarching framework to further the debate on Europe's political priorities, with a view to pursuing social, economic and environmental sustainability both within the Union and globally. However, this requires increasing the political buy-in across sectors. There is a need to translate the SDGs into concrete sectoral political priorities, targets and actions for the EU, and to agree on a legitimate framework for delivering these priorities ...

The SDGs framework has the potential to provide a useful overarching framework to further the debate on Europe's political priorities, with a view to pursuing social, economic and environmental sustainability both within the Union and globally. However, this requires increasing the political buy-in across sectors. There is a need to translate the SDGs into concrete sectoral political priorities, targets and actions for the EU, and to agree on a legitimate framework for delivering these priorities across Member States. The July 2018 HLPF meeting constitutes a window of opportunity to assert influence on the implementation of SDGs in the EU, providing an opportunity to use a range of key current EU initiatives (e.g. the EU circular economy package, post-2020 biodiversity objectives and 2021 – 2027 EU budget) to advance the SDGs debate. In the global context, it will be important to promote linkages between the outcomes of the 2018 HLPF, the forthcoming Global Sustainable Development Report, and other global process of relevance to the environment, including the UNFCCC, the CBD, UNEA, as well as the newly launched negotiations for a global Pact for the Environment. There is a need to set the stage for environment to become more at the heart for the following HLPF, especially in terms of the 4-year stocktake in 2019.

Autor extern

Kettunen M, Charveriat C, Farmer A, Gionfra S, Schweitzer JP & Stainforth T, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

Counter Terrorism and External Border Management in Italy

15-05-2018