New Resolution for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss approved

This blog has been written by Dr Diego Santana-Hernández – CBM Global Advisor for Ear and Hearing Care

This 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) which has just taken place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 22nd to 31st May 2017, has become very important for CBM, particularly for the area of work of Ear and Hearing Care (EHC), because a new Resolution for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss has been presented and adopted (approved) by the Assembly. A new WHA resolution approved by WHO Member States is a very strong tool for advocacy before Ministries of Health all over the world, including those countries where CBM works, because it is a public strategic document which their own governments have approved alongside all members of WHO.

Since 2015, CBM has been involved in this long advocacy process leading up to the present stage of progress. Firstly by contributing to raise awareness about the need of a new resolution among WHO Member States. Then by working alongside them in the process of developing this initiative and reviewing the draft document. Later on through advocacy with members of the WHO Executive Board, who approved the draft Resolution in May 2016. And finally, by lobbying with Ministries of Health across the world, requesting their support and endorsement of the resolution at this year’s WHA. This process has been mainly carried out by CBM advisors in EHC, through individual high level meetings during advisory field visits, at regional fora facilitated in collaboration with WHO regional offices, and also at international professional events; by transmitting this important message to technical officers and EHC professionals working with, or alongside, their Governments.

A particularly significant advocacy event took place on 4th and 5th May 2017, led by the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), co-facilitated with and supported by CBM (IO and LARO): the 3rd Meeting of Eye and Ear care managers at Ministries of Health in Latin America and the Caribbean. This event brought together 65 delegates with representatives from Ministries of Health of 26 different countries in the Americas. This was an excellent opportunity to directly interact in a high level forum with managers and technical officers for their Governments. They were updated on the progress of the WHO proceedings towards the resolution for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss, and we encouraged that as many WHO Member States as possible would support its adoption during the 70th WHA in May 2017.

The Resolution for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss was included under Point 15.8 of the 70th WHA agenda, and adopted by Committee B on Tuesday 30th May 2017. CBM, as a non-State actor in official relations with WHO, was allowed to make a statement which can be accessed through this WHO web-link.

Certainly, another example that “Together we can do more”

Financing for Development: ensuring the inclusion and participation of those furthest behind

The ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum) concluded today with 20 ministers, UN and non-UN entities, as well as civil society and business sectors in attendance during the week.

The four-day Forum contained a two-day ministerial segment followed by a two-day expert segment. The FfD Forum resulted in inter-governmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations that will feed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The outcome document was adopted on 23 May and includes leave-no-one-behind language, specifically “We recommit to ensuring that no country or person is left behind and to focusing our efforts where the challenges are greatest, including by ensuring the inclusion and participation of those who are furthest behind (para 3)” and “We reaffirm that achieving gender equality, empowering all women and girls” (para 5). These important principles are central to our work in CBM of reaching the most marginalized and empowering women and girls with disabilities to create a more inclusive society.

Additionally, the IATF Report was officially launched during the Forum. Fifty agencies participate in the Report, which is very global in nature and extends beyond the UN, including inputs from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It is the major input into the FfD Forum, although other inputs are also included. The 2017 Report contains 9 references to persons with disabilities, including a reference to the Washington Group on Disability Statistics. For details, take a look at the 2017 IATF Report.

The theme of leave no one behind, especially the most often left behind, was highlighted throughout the Forum from UN DESA, UNDP, the EU and many more presenters. Germany explicitly included persons with disabilities in their intervention and highlighted that women, children, and persons with disabilities are the most affected groups in terms of inequalities in financing for development, and emphasized the importance of disaggregation of data by disability in financing for development to adequately address inequalities.

Additionally, as a positive outcome of broad civil society collaboration, the CSO FfD Group included accessibility and persons with disabilities in their intervention on inequality and growth and again in the session devoted to the country statements after the adoption of the FfD Outcome Document. Furthermore, persons with disabilities were included various times in the stakeholder dialogue, as well as in many side events.

Alt="Three members of the CSO Financing for Development Group at the Forum"

Three members of the CSO Financing for Development Group at the Forum

During the compelling side event focused on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Development Finance, Bruno Rios from the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN highlighted that women and girls with disabilities are a priority for Mexico and furthermore gave the example of the Marrakesh Treaty as a successful example of collaboration between Member States, public and private sectors to jointly set standards for accessible documents for people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.

The Way Forward

The IATF on financing for development will issue the unedited version of its 2018 report no later than the end of February 2018, to be updated with the latest data upon its release, in order to facilitate the timely preparation of the draft conclusions and recommendations.

The third ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up will convene from 23 to 26 April 2018 in New York, and will include the special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Next year’s modalities will be the same modalities that applied to this year’s Forum.

We will continue to be active in the CSO Financing for Development (FfD) Group. Keep tuned for the future FfD process.

 

Additional Information

Read here and here for more details on the Forum, here for information on FfD processes, and additional information can be found in the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities Position Paper for 2017 Financing for Development Forum.

Financing for Development: leave no one behind

The ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum) kicked off today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The FfD Forum is an inter-governmental process with universal participation mandated to review the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (Addis Agenda) and other financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Financing of the SDGs is a key and central theme to current global sustainable development, as well intrinsically linked to our work in CBM. It is particularly relevant at local and national levels in the areas of inclusive education, ensuring healthy lives, water and sanitation for all, gender equality, climate change, inclusive cities among other areas.

The four-day Forum is taking place from 22-25 May, beginning with a two-day ministerial segment and followed by a two-day expert segment. The FfD Forum results in inter-governmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations that are fed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.

The FfD process is important and unique as it is open ended, unlike the 2030 Agenda that has an end date of 2030. Moreover, the FfD Forum is not purely a UN meeting, but also includes non-UN entities, including the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO and UNCTAD indicating a shared space for collaboration with UN and non-UN organizations and institutions.

The theme of leave no one behind, especially the most often left behind, was highlighted throughout the first day, including Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs who launched the 2017 IATF Report that contains 9 references to persons with disabilities. Additionally, Mr. Tegegnework Gettu of UNDP highlighted the inclusion of the most “vulnerable” in Financing for Development follow-up.

The EU called to ensure that no one is left behind and for gender equality in financing for development and Germany explicitly included persons with disabilities in their intervention. Specifically, during the segment on inequalities and inclusive growth, H.E. Mr. Juergen Schulz, Vice President of ECOSOC (Germany) highlighted that women, children, and persons with disabilities are the most affected groups in terms of inequalities in financing for development. In addition, he emphasized the importance of disaggregation of data by disability in financing for development to adequately address inequalities.

Alt="CSO FfD Group preparing for the FfD Forum"

CSO FfD Group preparing for the FfD Forum

Further, as a positive outcome of broad civil society collaboration, the CSO FfD Group also included accessibility and persons with disabilities in their intervention on gender and women’s rights. Great teamwork everyone!

I’ll end with a quote from H.E. Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, ECOSOC President, that “promises made, must be promises kept,” which is especially true to achieve a truly inclusive society and to leave no one behind.

Additional Information

Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities Position Paper for 2017 Financing for Development Forum

Financing for Development Processes – Update 1

SDG Financing: Inaction is a greater cost for all of us

“Investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will cost an approximate annual investment of 6 trillion dollars annually – or 9 trillion over 15 years – but the cost of inaction will be far greater.” Peter Thomson, the President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly stated this daunting figure at the High-Level SDG Financing Lab at the UN in New York. Financing of the SDGs is a key and central theme to current global sustainable development, as well intrinsically linked to our work in CBM. It is particularly relevant at local and national levels in the areas of inclusive education, ensuring healthy lives, water and sanitation for all, gender equality, climate change, inclusive cities among other areas. Please keep reading for an update and overview on Financing for Development (FfD) processes.

Financing for Development Forum

The annual ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum) was established by the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The 2017 FfD Forum will be held at the United Nations in New York from 22 to 25 May. The four-day event will feature a Special High-level Meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO and UNCTAD, Ministerial round tables, general debate, thematic discussions on the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and other FfD outcomes and a dialogue with stakeholders. One of the key features of the FfD follow-up process is its multi-stakeholder approach, including civil society.

In accordance with paragraph 132 of the Addis Agenda, the annual FfD Forum results in intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations that are fed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The outcome document is expected to be adopted at the end of the second day (end of the ministerial segment) of the FfD Forum (23 May). H.E. Mr. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the UN, and H.E. Mr. Jerry Matthews Matjila, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the UN are the co-facilitators for the conclusions and recommendations of the 2017 FfD Forum.

The Inter-agency Task Force

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development was convened by the Secretary-General to follow up on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and is comprised of over 50 United Nations agencies, programs and offices, regional economic commissions and other relevant international institutions.

The Addis Agenda (para 133) mandates the Task Force to:

  • Report annually on progress in implementing the Addis Agenda and other Financing for Development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and
  • Advise the intergovernmental follow-up process on progress, implementation gaps and recommendations for corrective action, while taking into consideration the national and regional dimensions.

The IATF 2017 report addresses the above as well as:

  • A discussion of the global context and its implications,
  • an overview of each chapter of the Addis Agenda, while covering the broader set of commitments in an on-line annex, and
  • Analyses of thematic issues.

The IATF 2017 report can influence the FfD Forum outcome document and thus is an important document in which to input. The unedited draft of the IATF 2017 report was recently released. As the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities we contributed to this report. Click here to read the submission. We also contributed to the IATF 2017 unedited draft report as part of the CSOs for Financing for Development (FfD) Group. Click here to read this submission.

Currently the draft report includes 9 references to persons with disabilities, including one on the first page of the Executive Summary.

References:

  • One reference in the Executive Summary (page 1) under the paragraph Increased long-term investments need to be complemented by measures to directly ameliorate the living conditions of the poor and vulnerable, such as social protection floors.
  • Two references in the section on Addressing vulnerabilities (page 28 and 29)
  • Five references, including the Washington Group on Disability Statistics, in the section on Strengthening data and statistical capacities (page 134)
  • One reference in Data gaps and challenges (Box 1, page 138) specifically on Science, technology, innovation and capacity buildingData on ICT skills and accessible technology for people with disabilities (disaggregated by gender)

High-Level SDG Financing Lab

On 18 April, the President of the General Assembly convened the High-Level SDG Financing Lab at the UN in New York. The impetus for this event was for Member States to have a dialogue one month prior to the FfD Forum. The event highlighted the critical importance of sustainable finance for the achievement of the SDGs, including climate action. It focused on how to drive the transformation to align financial markets with sustainable development and discussed ways in which Member States can approach the financing of different SDGs.

Main summary points:

  • The private sector was a core theme of the event as a key partner to achieve the SDGs, such as the role of public-private partnerships and banking systems. It was noted that there must be new and different ways to work with the private sector.
  • Public-private partnerships will vary depending on context (e.g., post-conflict versus developed countries), but the ambition needs to be clear to address those most left behind.
  • The role of technology and access to Internet were emphasized.
  • There was discussion on how to reform existing policy and regulatory frameworks to leverage public and private financing for the SDGs, and to contribute to sustainable development, including through local and regional capital markets.

Inclusion of Marginalized Groups:

  • Bangladesh, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, highlighted that marginalized groups need to be addressed and included in economic opportunities.
  • Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice-President for Partnerships, UN Relations and the 2030 Agenda, World Bank Group mentioned persons with disabilities in his presentation in the opening session.

Challenges:

  • Despite the above mentions, marginalized groups were not strongly included in the overall discussions, but the leave-no-one-behind principle and social inclusion were mentioned throughout the event and are areas in which the rights of persons with disabilities can be included.
  • “Park Avenue” and the UN are worlds apart, despite only being separated by a few city blocks, especially in terms of the lack of awareness and action around the SDGs in the private sector. Thus, this is a chasm that needs to be bridged.

Compelling take-away points:

  • The UN and private sector are often saying the same thing in different languages, and perhaps with increased communication and collaboration there can be better synergy.
  • Sustainability is about collaboration, not competition, and it is important to focus on the former.
  • First integrate the SDGs into national plans in which the SDGs are aligned with programs (e.g. inclusive health care and energy programs) and then the conversation with financing cannot be ignored.

I’ll end on a hopeful quote from one of yesterday’s panelists: “When a bank and UN entity are saying the same thing, we are bridging a huge gap.” – Matt Arnold, JP Morgan Chase