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UN Secretary General names Jorge Chediek Envoy on South-South Cooperation

NEW YORK – Jorge Chediek has been named Envoy on South-South Cooperation by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Chediek has been the Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) since 2015, leading UN system-wide promotion and cooperation for development. UNOSSC also houses the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, or WACAP.

Mr. Chediek has spent his career working to develop innovative policies and facilitating dialogue between partners on social development. Prior to serving as Director of the UNOSSC, he served as the Resident Coordinator/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Brazil (2010-2015).  In that capacity, he was also the Director of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, UNDP’s global forum for policy dialogue and South-South learning on social development innovations.  He served as Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Peru (2005-2010); United Nations Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Nicaragua (2001-2005); Deputy Resident Representative in Cuba (1999-2001); Deputy Resident Representative in Uruguay (1996-1999); Programme Management Officer, Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States in New York (1994-1996); and Programme Officer and then Assistant Resident Representative in Turkey (1990-1994).

Preceding his United Nations career, Mr. Chediek worked at the Department of Legislative Analysis of the Argentinean Congress and as an independent consultant assisting in the design of financial investment systems in Argentina.

Born in 1960, he holds a Master of Science in foreign service (honors) from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Science (“Licenciado”) in political science from Catholic University in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

NCDs

Mobilizing international cooperation on NCDs at Geneva WHO dialogue

GENEVA –  Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and against the challenge of preventing premature deaths caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), medical the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) is taking part in a dialogue on how to strengthen international cooperation on the prevention and control of NCDs in Geneva on Monday, November 30 in Geneva.

“The UN, through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation plays an important role in facilitating, strengthening and expanding South-South and Triangular cooperation as an integrated and essential dimension of global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, physician “ said Jorge Chediek, Director of the United Nations Office for South South Cooperation.

Chediek presented a summary of key conclusions from the Caucus of the UN system, held 27 October during the 5th Meeting of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs at WHO in Geneva.

He noted that UN Member States are already using South-South Cooperation to promote NCD responses. In September, click the UNOSSC supported a meeting in Uruguay organized by the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and UNDP, which brought together 23 Parties and triangular projects to strengthen FCTC implementation. The result was an agreement on eight South-South and triangular projects that begin in January 2016.

UNOSSC will include NCDs as one of the thematic issues at the next Global South-South Development Expo, where best practices and innovations from the South are showcased and shared across the South.

The World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty (WACAP), which is hosted by UNOSSC and based in Geneva, will include achieving NCDs in the urban context as one of the three pillars of the next WACAP Global Forum.

The Dialogue is a part of a drive to increase resources to respond to the threat to sustainable development posed by NCDs, which represent 50 percent of the global disease burden. UNOSSC is working closely with the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs to strengthen international cooperation on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases within the framework of North–South, South–South and triangular cooperation.

“Non-communicable diseases are a clear threat not only to human health, but also to development and economic growth. Claiming 63% of all deaths, these diseases are currently the world’s main killer,” said Attila Turos, Programme Specialist, Global Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum.

In anticipation of the GCM Dialogue, the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Agha Khan Development Network convened a private sector caucus to identify what can the private sector do to mobilize international cooperation on NCDs to help attain SDG goals and targets.

Turos said that eighty percent of NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries and half of those who die of chronic NCDs do so in the prime of their productive years, and thus, the disability imposed and the lives lost are also endangering economies.

While there were many ideas that emerged, the caucus chose to focus on four major areas, including developing platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogue at national levels; creating opportunities for the sharing of data and expertise between public, private and civil society sectors to identify high impact measures; mapping intervention areas for private sector collaboration; and the development of a framework for defining regulatory, co-regulatory and self approaches.

The WHO Global NCD Action Plan for 2013-2020 lists 9 voluntary global targets for 2025, including that of a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025. The Global Goals, or the SDGs, list six targets related to NCDs, including a 33% reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2030.

“If we focus on these 9 targets for 2025 and 6 targets for 2030 as our measurement of success, and the status quo as our baseline, we see there is much more the UN system can do through strengthened North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation for the NCDs,” said Chediek.

The new UNOSSC chief also said there are lessons to learn from how the world addressed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) provided — in the few years prior to the 2015 deadline — a systematic way for countries to develop their own action plans based on existing plans and processes to pursue their MDG priorities. A similar NCD acceleration framework could borrow from the same experience.

An NCD acceleration framework, Chediek said, could borrow from the same experience.

“The value of the Global Coordination Mechanism lies in its reach beyond the core of experts, diplomats and activists who already ‘get it’,” said Dudley Tarlton, Programme Specialist, Health and Development at UNDP in Geneva.

“The NCD epidemic will be won or lost based on what happens beyond the health sector, and this dialogue will help build the movement to fight the diseases on all fronts – medical, but also social, economic and environmental.”

The Global Coordination Mechanism Dialogue continues through December 1 at WHO Headquarters from 30 November and are also available online through the WebEx platform.

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Summary of the Key Conclusions from the UN System Caucus

Address by Jorge Chediek, physician  Director, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation

I am pleased to present a summary of the key conclusions from the caucus of the UN system, which took place on 27 October during the 5th meeting of the UN Inter Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs at WHO in Geneva. 23 UN agencies, programmes and funds participated in the Task Force Meeting.

In assessing ways to strengthen North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation for NCDs, the caucus addressed the question, “What will we do differently to mobilize international cooperation on NCDs to attain the nine voluntary global NCD targets for 2025 and the six NCD-related SDG targets for 2030

To approach this task, seek the caucus first had to assess what the UN System is doing to support governments in strengthening their national NCD responses, in order to discuss doing something differently. During the course of the Task Force meeting members had earlier reviewed a number of ongoing activities under the 2014-2015 action plan of the UN Interagency

In the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020 there are 9 voluntary global targets for 2025, including that of a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025. In the SDGs, there are six targets directly related to NCDs, including that of a 33% reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2030.

If we focus on these 9 targets for 2025 and 6 targets for 2030 as our measurement of success, physician and the status quo as our baseline, we see there is much more the UN system can do through strengthened North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation for the NCDs.

The UN System, through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation plays an important role in facilitating, strengthening and expanding South-South and Triangular cooperation as an integrated and essential dimension of global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

I’d like to highlight one concrete example of how Member States are already using South-South cooperation to promote NCD responses. In September this year the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation supported a meeting in Uruguay organized by the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and UNDP that brought together 23 Parties and triangular projects to strengthen FCTC implementation. The result was the agreement on eight South-South and triangular projects that will start in January 2016.

Examples include nine countries in Latin America and Asia collaborating to minimize industry interference in tobacco policies; a project for six countries to coordinate their responses to common challenges from tobacco-related litigation and trade agreements; another project will capture what works for increasing revenue from tobacco taxation; and a project that will help develop alternative livelihood programmes for tobacco growers in Philippines, Jamaica and Uruguay. This is a concrete example of how countries can use the South-South targets in SDG 17 to achieve results on multiple SDGs

Efforts to achieve the nine voluntary global targets could benefit from experiences and lessons from how the world addressed the Millennium Development Goals. For example, in one such initiative, the MDG Acceleration Framework provided – in the few years prior to the 2015 deadline — a systematic way for countries to develop their own action plan based on existing plans and processes to pursue their MDG priorities. A similar NCD acceleration framework could borrow from the same experience.

With regards to raising awareness to address NCDs as a development issue, we see the need to accelerate work on a number of advocacy strategies.

The first is targeted at governments in each country to raise awareness about the national public health burden caused by NCDs, the relationship between NCDs and poverty, and the need to raise the priority accorded to NCDs within the national development agenda as part of national SDG responses. This advocacy strategy that would need to be developed urgently, responds to a commitment made by governments in the 2014 UN Outcome Document on NCDs to raise the awareness about the national NCD burden. WHO can lead on the development of this advocacy strategy and the UN System can fully engage in its development.

The second advocacy strategy is included in the work plan of the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism to advocate for the feasibility of achieving the nine targets for 2025 and six targets for 2030. There is a sense of urgency to develop, taking into account that the SDGs will start in 2016. The GCM should invite the UN System, though the Interagency Task Force, to engage fully in its development.

The third advocacy strategy is to help governments increase investments for effective interventions to ensure access to healthy and sustainable diets for all and promote public awareness about healthy diet and physical activity, which is one of the “best buys” for NCDs. A lot of work has to be done in this area to ensure that food systems can provide year-round access to food that meets people’s nutrition needs: it makes no sense to encourage people to eat healthy if healthy food is not available!

The fourth advocacy strategy that needs to be developed urgently is to raise the awareness of the work of the UN Interagency Task Force on NCDs and the role of the UN System in supporting governments to accelerate multi-sectoral actions among policy makers and potential donors.

For our caucus, in addressing NCDs in each country, it is clear that we, as UN Organizations, have diverse entry points into Governments. It is through working with and through Governments, we can ensure the sustainability of our collective initiatives.

The Joint Programming Missions that the Task Force has undertaken to date highlight that the UN system agencies can and do work with their counterpart government ministries, and with local and municipal governments, to advocate for addressing NCDs in a way that no one else can, convincing them of the investment case for tackling NCD right across government.

Thus, in the time available the conclusions of the UN System Caucus on how to raise the priority given to NCDs in international development cooperation, we wish to highlight three issues to complement ones already being taken forward. They are to:

Consider the success of UNDP’s MDG Acceleration Framework and how it was able to identify bottlenecks quickly and capture successes for replication;

Encourage all Members of the UN Interagency Task Force to support WHO in developing the four advocacy campaigns which I outlined earlier;

Seek and share best practices better across the UN system through global, South to South and South to North cooperation.

Lastly, before I close, let me here highlight UNOSSC’s own commitments as part of the UN Interagency Task Force:

At UNOSSC, we will include NCDs as one of the thematic issues at the next Global South-South Development Expo, where best practices and innovations from the South are showcased and shared across the South. We will showcase local best practices and innovations in achieving progress in the nine voluntary global NCD targets from throughout the South.

The World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, which is hosted by UNOSSC and based here in Geneva, will include achieving NCDs in the urban context as one of the three pillars of the next WACAP Global Forum. We anticipate that the dates and venues for both UNOSSC-supported events will be announced in early 2016.

 

UNOSSC

Silk Road Cities Alliance formed at Launching Conference in Beijing

BEIJING, China – September 18: Established against the backdrop of highest-level political support from over 50 countries in their call for a revitalized Silk Road, the Maritime Continental Silk Road Cities Alliance was formed last week at a launching conference in Beijing.

The new Alliance is embedded in the United Nations Secretary-General’ Ban Ki-moon’s articulation of world leaders’ vision for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, stressing that “in many instances, local authorities, including Mayors, are already leading the change for sustainable development.”

“The MCSR Alliance is a platform supported by UN agencies to serve cities and enterprises along the ancient silk roads. With multilateral cooperation channels and rich expertise provided by the UN agencies, and infrastructure demands in the region, cities and enterprises may find abundant development opportunities through this initiative,” said Mr. Zhang Xiangchen, Vice Minister of Commerce, in extending his congratulations at the conference.

Mr. Yao Shenhong, Director General of the China International Centre For Economic & Technical Exchanges (CICETE) pointed out that CICETE and UN Agencies are committed to creating a platform of mutual assistance for relevant countries by leveraging the integrated strength of various UN agencies to help and support the sound development of Silk Road cities, those in developing countries in particular.

“We at WACAP are proud to be associated with the Maritime-Continental Cities Alliance through both UNDP and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation and look forward to exploring together areas of synergistic cooperation and mutual collaboration to further advance the goals and objectives of both alliances,“ said Adam Rogers, Assistant Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and Coordinator of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty.

“We look forward to working together to make all our cities, along the Silk Road and beyond, cleaner and safer, more affordable, accessible and livable for all.”

The Maritime-Continental Silk Road (MCSR) Cities Alliance aims to facilitate the coordination of policies, building of partnerships, formulation of initiatives and access to finance, leading to intensified trade, investment and exchange among participating cities.

The new alliance will be managed by CICETE and will coordinate stakeholders on advancing the identification of the various trade, investment and exchange opportunities through the action-plans sponsored by UN Agencies.

MCSR will also establish a Mayor’s Forum to foster multi-city and country political support and convene a platform of dialogue, and a Business Council to facilitate business relations among enterprises in the MCSR cities, incubate initiatives and facilitate linkages for financing as well as other business services.

The United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation will serve as Fund Manager, as well as provide quality assurance to the broad global initiative, coordinate the various stakeholders, and support the development of a South-South Cooperation Action plan.

UNDP will offer technical expertise, an international network and programme management services to facilitate the implementation of the initiative.

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Khon Kaen shows Asia how to create ‘smart’ cities

KHON KAEN – 17 September: Khon Kaen province in Northern Thailand is demonstrating how to create smart, decease creative and sustainable cities. Three unique partnerships with data-giant IBM, prescription Coca Cola and the United Nations have helped the province become a model for the region.

As Thailand enters a new era of ASEAN economic integration, the city of Khon Kaen is adapting to meet technological and globalization challenges.

“Khon Kaen has grown incredibly since I was a kid,” said Prakorn Nongtu, a customer service executive for the U.S-based company, Gamevil. Nongtu grew up in Khon Kaen and recently graduated from Khon Kaen University.

“It used to be a village,” he said, “but it is now a metropolis, providing many more opportunities to its citizens. Many people think that when Bangkok sinks under the sea, our city will become the next capital.”

One of the challenges facing the city and its growing university is its traffic.

“The traffic in Khon Kaen is approaching that seen in Bangkok, so we are calling for an early intervention to resolve the city’s transport issues,” said Somsak Suwansucharit, Governor of Khon Kaen province.

With the support of a $50-million IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant, Khon Kaen is working to improve the way it manages its growing population.

“Our collaboration at the international level with IBM through the Smarter Cities Challenge programme has yielded tangible outcomes that will help us in the future,” said Somsak Suwansucharit, Governor of Khon Kaen province.

“Khon Kaen has experienced dramatic growth in the last decade, and is likely to continue on this growth trajectory. We have worked hard to manage this growth so that it brings the greatest benefit to all. We have been fortunate in that we are able to draw on lessons from other cities, and our own efforts are being recognize globally,” said Teerasak Teecayuphan, Mayor of Khon Kaen.

“We are very interested in the WACAP framework and look forward to both benefiting from the experience of other city members, and to sharing our own successes with them.”

Khon Kaen is designing a better traffic management system and a smarter public transit system. IBM works with Khon Kaen University to build a strategic road map for a center for education and research in big data, analytics, and mobile technology.

IBM suggested video monitoring and surveillance using smart analytics, the implementation of traffic light management to optimise traffic flow at key intersections, as well as methods of traffic law enforcement.

The partnership with IBM is also advancing Khon Kaen University’s (KKU) analytics capability in order to form a data “center of excellence” within the region.

The center will lead international academic institutions from Khon Kaen University’s network in providing IBM coursework and knowledge sharing opportunities. It will also provide consulting services on data analytics to government agencies and private organisations for social development and business purposes.

UNDP

Khon Kaen University is one of Thailand’s largest. It is also home to an active student body. In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and True Coffee, the university will open an anti-corruption café under the slogan “Refuse to be Corrupt”, a social enterprise that aims to teach young people about the dangers of corruption in society.

A survey of Thai students revealed that Thai youth understand the concept and the importance of integrity, but there is a gap between what they say they believe and how they would actually behave. More than 60% said they said they would use connections or pay bribes to obtain an unfair advantage.

The partnership between UNDP, True Coffee, and, Khon Kaen University provides students with the knowledge and means to run the cafes which are safe places to talk freely about corruption and share their views among peers, organize events and map out plans to tackle corruption within their universities and local communities.

“UNDP is really proud of this innovative initiative and partnership and we hope to see the cafes spread across the country to other universities. Ultimately, we hope that the anti-corruption messages will spread well beyond the university campuses” said Martin Hart-Hansen, Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP in Thailand.

Profits from the cafés will help fund anti-corruption activities on campus. True Lifestyle Retail, operator of the True Coffee chain, is one of the main partners in the project.

“True Coffee is very proud to be a part of this project. It is a great opportunity for us to contribute to society by inspiring and mobilizing the youth in our country,” said Virat Techanirattisai, True Lifestyle Retail’s General Manager told UNDP.

“Aside from the knowledge and lessons learned from running their own business, the students can also contribute to the creation of a knowledge-based society as well as raise funds for their future projects,” added Mr. Techanirattisai.

The first anti-corruption café opened at Ubon Ratchathani University in August.

Coca-Cola

Thailand is no stranger to flooding or drought. According to UNDP, drought or floods affect more than 8 million people in any given year. Many Thai communities are struggling with water management challenges, which are a challenge to both small farmers and local business that rely on a steady supply of water for agriculture, sanitation and livelihoods.

The province of Khon Kaen is taking a proactive approach to water management with the help of beverage-giant Coca Cola. The Coca-Cola Foundation launched a community water management project, known as “RAKNAM” (Love Water) in 2007 to support communities with water challenges. Once small village, Ban Non Kha has face significant clean water issues.

“In the past, Ban Non Kha was nothing but a dry, drought land. Water scarcity was so severe to the point that wildfires broke out frequently. As a result, members of the community decided to leave their homeland and find jobs in other areas,” Laksanee Thitichotrattana, head of the village told the Nation newspaper.

“As a community leader, I realised that the main problem was due to the water shortage in our area, and I also realised a need for change. I travelled long distances to the town to meet with the local authorities and ask if they could help us solve our challenges.”

Through “Love Water”, villagers are now moving from severe drought to reaping the rewards of better water management and improved fertilization. Incomes are up almost $100 per month per household and the community electricity bill is down by just as much.

Coca-Cola worked with a local organization to develop an abandoned wasteland and build a solar-powered water system to provide clean water for villages and for agriculture.

Cooperation between the private sector and the local municipalities helped facilitate knowledge sharing. As a result, Ban Non Kha has transformed into a model community for sustainability.

In addition, the new solar-powered system provides enough water to share with two other villages located nearby, which further benefits an additional 500 households.

Love Water has since provided over $5 million in funding for water projects across Thailand, impacting more than 1 million people.

WACAP

Remarks by Adam Rogers, WACAP Coordinator at Silk Road Cities Alliance Conference

BEIJING, China –  Your Excellencies, Distinguished Panelists, colleagues, friends, Ladies and Gentlemen: Good afternoon. I am Adam ROGERS, a long-time veteran of UNDP, recently reassigned to UNOSSC, Where I serve as regional representative for Europe, and the Coordinator of WACAP, the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty.

WACAP is a UN initiative that was created in 1996 at the HABITAT II conference in Istanbul by both UN Habitat and UNDP. It has, since then, held bi-annual global forums on average every two years, the most recent being in Dublin, Ireland, in 2013. The WACAP Secretariat was hosted by UNDP Geneva until it moved to UNOSSC last year — where it is now placing a greater emphasis on linking cities through south-south cooperation. It has nearly 1,000 member cities worldwide, connecting and sharing insights and innovations to make our cities, in the words of UNOSSC Director Yiping Zhou, “cleaner and safer, more affordable, accessible and livable for all.”

We at WACAP are proud to be associated with the Maritime-continental Cities Alliance through both UNDP and the UN Office for south-south Cooperation and look forward to exploring together areas of synergistic cooperation and mutual collaboration to further advance the goals and objectives of both alliances, and to indeed making all our cities, along the silk road and beyond, “cleaner and safer, more affordable, accessible and livable for all.”

Thank you for your attention.