Climate and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

jsachs“Without tackling climate change, we will not succeed in eradicating extreme poverty.” – (UN High Level Panel Report)

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the MDG’s to Ban Ki Moon and an MDG Advocate.  Sachs has been advocating for greater visibility of climate change in the post-2015 agenda. Sachs recently took part in a discussion on climate change in the post-2015 development agenda at a workshop held in New York by the UN Millennium Campaign, CAFOD, Beyond 2015, and CAN and hosted by the Permanent Mission of France to the UN. The workshop focused on climate as a development issue and on how the Post-2015 sustainable development goals and the UNFCCC processes can be complementary.

Key messages* that emerged from the workshop:

  1. There is a clear and explicit link between development and climate change
  2. DGs must guarantee visibility of climate change as a development issue and provide direction for climate change action
  3. The UNFCCC and post-2015 processes can complement each other
  4. Differentiation according to country contexts is crucial for a universal approach, particularly for a climate change goal
  5. Advantages of a dedicated goal on climate change
  6. The success of the SDGs will depend on means of implementation

MY World and Climate Change

Though the MY World survey has globally ranked ‘Action Taken on Climate Change’ low, a recent report published by Overseas Development Institute shows highly ranked priorities such as ’Better health care’, ‘Access to clear water and sanitation’,  ‘Protecting forests, rivers and oceans’, ‘Affordable and nutritious food’, ‘Equality between men and women’ and ‘Jobs and Prosperity’ amongst others can be considered either direct or indirect impacts of climate change.

veryhighhdiAnother interesting correlation found is that ‘Action Taken on Climate Change’  rises up seven priorities in Very  High HDI countries compared to countries with lower HDI levels. This reflects the awareness of climate change in countries that have a higher Gross National Income and score higher on the Education Index. Countries with a very low HDI rank climate change last with the exception of a few low-lying island member states. See more MY World data here

 *The key messages represent a summary of the discussion during the workshop but not the position of any particular government or organization present. 

Secretary General, WOSM pledges scouts support

sample vote image2

The World Organization of the Scouts Movement (WOSM) has been a strong partner of the MY World global vote movement since its launch.

Given the reach of the 40 million active Scouts, their unique contact with youth and communities, and their mission  – to educate young people, and empower them to develop to their full potential and contribute to a better world — WOSM is perfectly positioned to collect the voice and votes of young people and communities.

In show of solidarity Secretary General, Scott Teare officially announced his support of the MY World initiative by posting a blog on WOSM’s website. Linking it to the Scout’s commitment to making an impact on achieving the MDGs, he further encouraged the Scouts to get involved:

We should continue to have a strong presence and voice in our communities today and in deciding for our tomorrow. I call upon everyone to take 30 seconds to vote on My World and have a say in what our future development goals should be.

To further show support of the partnership, WOSM combined the blue UN and purple Scout branding and hosted it on their social media outlets: facebook & twitter.

Scouts can vote via the unique partner ID:

As of 7 May, Scouts from around the world have contributed in thousands (both offline and online), several of whom have joined hands with the local UN offices and other partners so their actual total number of respondents is difficult to calculate. However, it is significant to note that the Boy Scouts of the Philippines alone have contributed 9786 votes, the majority of which are boys 15 and under. These numbers are expected to increase following the Global Vote Day on 8 May and as the initiative continues. The Organization recently created its own unique partner ID, which you can follow here:


People’s Voices on Accountability and the Post-2015 Agenda

In his speech during the Interactive Dialogue: “Elements for a Monitoring and Accountability Framework for the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon commended member states for their commitment to determining the goals and means of financing the next sustainable development agenda. However, he cautioned them on the need for results based goals which are accessible to policy makers and the public. To do so, he noted the United Nations must agree on a robust, universal accountability framework which includes the voice of the people:

…over the past few years, we have heard the voices of our global conversation and more than 2 million people through the My World survey. It is worth noting that there are more than a million votes for honest and responsive government. We must take the vision of the world’s people into account. We must recognize the strength of each of our many partners.

He echoed his commitment to integrating the UN’s analytical and operational work, and of integrating the UN with existing regional and national accountability frameworks.

2014.05.01 - UNSG

This event coincided with MY World votes for “An honest and responsive government” reaching over 1 million. In the qualitative data collected on The World We Want 2015 it is easy to see linkages between the people’s voices and accountability and governance issues.

2014.05.01 - Report

Focus on refugees in Rajasthan, India

My World Survey in Jodhpur, Rajasthan (India) - Saket Mani (7)By Saket Mani, Global Youth Advocate: My World 2015 & World We Want 2015

Last month, 1,450 people from three migrant villages in the outskirts of Jodhpur, Rajasthan in India had their say at the United Nations. Here is a closer look at some of their personal stories:

A wave of terror created by fundamentalists in Pakistan, forces the minorities to flee to India. They leave behind everything and arrive with heavy hearts and the fear and uncertainty of moving to a new land.

After an initial warm welcome they are soon left on their own, struggling to find housing, a decent livelihood, education, and to above all, get an identity as an Indian citizen. They cannot go back even if they want to as all the doors have been closed forever. Unlike other refugees living in India, these people have not crossed over to the country illegally but have passports.

My World Survey in Jodhpur, Rajasthan (India) - Saket Mani (12)Once they are here, most of them stay in Jodhpur; but many also go to remote villages spread across districts of western Rajasthan. They are forced to live in the filthy refugee camps. While spending harsh desert winters under the open sky and sleeping out the nights on wet ground make for extremely inhuman living conditions, for them,  it’s just another chapter in the story of their collective misery. They are given land with no basic facilities like electricity, pure drinking water, sanitation, transport or basic healthcare. They struggle hard to make a living, often exploited by the employers to work for lowest wages. The educated are forced to do menial jobs since they don’t have proof of identity. They are treated with suspicion and are regularly harassed by local authorities. In case of medical emergencies, they are denied by public healthcare facilities and have to opt for expensive private treatment , leaving them with heavy debts.

Lacking a clear policy on refugees, the Indian government fails to provide adequate support to these displaced people and often demands exorbitant fees for visa and citizenship applications. The minimum length of time spent in India before eligibility for citizenship is seven years, during which time refugees have no access to government schools, healthcare, or subsidized rations. Pregnant female migrants are denied ultrasound tests, crucial for ensuring safe deliveries, due to lack of proof of identity.

There are numerous heart wrenching stories to share, but each one ends with the same tragic note.

My World Survey in Jodhpur, Rajasthan (India) - Saket Mani (6)Devi Kumari is the eldest among seven children. Her father is the sole earning member doing variety of jobs. Devi was pursuing a Bachelor’s of Technology. Due to lack of identity she was not allowed to complete the final exams. She works as a school teacher earning a meager salary of ₹2,500/month (approx. 41$) in a local school. With tears in her eyes she asks, “Was it our fault that India was divided and our parents ended up on the wrong side? Am I not entitled to earn a decent living just because I don’t possess a single document of Indian citizenship?” In comparison, an Indian citizen working in a metro city with a Bachelor’s in Technology, could earn around ₹30,000-₹40,000 monthly (approx. 490$-660$).

Eighteen year old Suresh echoed the sad voice of every young migrant with dreams, “I was promised a good life. I want to study and get a decent job to make my parents’ life comfortable. But we were misled. These camps are filthy; the food is stale and drinking water is dirty. The Government schools are not giving admissions to migrants and private schools charge exorbitant fees which we can’t afford. What will be my future then? What about my dreams?”

 Top 6 Priorities for MY World participants in Rajasthan, India:

  1. Access to clean water and sanitation
  2. A good education
  3. Better healthcare
  4. Freedom from discrimination and persecution
  5. Affordable and nutritious food
  6. Support for people who can´t work
  7. (Optional)

52% asked for ‘Refugee Status’ & 48% asked for a simplification of citizenship conditions (reduction of both the fee and the period).

SOS Children’s Villages promotes MY World in Uruguay

During the month of October children without parental care from SOS Children’s Villages in Uruguay have being answering the MY World Survey. Capacity buildings sessions and awareness activities were carried out in three different cities (Montevideo, Salto, Florida), to engage and sensitize children on post 2015 related issues. Thanks to the Plan Ceibal, a government initiative for which all children enrolled in public schools own a laptop, children were able to participate directly from their personal  laptop and eventually promote the initiative through social networks. This very enriching and revealing experience was documented in a short video were children express clearly and simply their priorities for the world they want. Above all, children call for free and quality education, a world with no violence and where people have good and safe jobs.


Every opinion counts

IMG_0174Volunteers engaged young people in Azerbaijan in an open conversation about their priorities for the post-2015 development agenda.

BAKU, October 2013 – “If I had a chance to be born again, I would choose to be born nowhere else but in my village. I don’t want to move to the city, I just want to be able to get everything I need as a young person in my village,” said 19-year-old Firuza Guliyeva from the remote rural area in Gedebey during the National Youth Consultations held in Shirvan, Azerbaijan. For young people to be heard and considered during decision making came up as one of the most salient themes during the national consultation process in Azerbaijan – part of the ongoing global conversations being led by the UN and world leaders to build a collective vision of a new post-2015 development framework. Continue reading “Every opinion counts”

New data visualization depicts MY World open option

Hendrik Viz

As the MY World votes increase, so do the ways we can look at the data.  Out of more than 1.2 million votes worldwide, more than 100,000 people opted to write in to the free text ’17th option’. Many of these comments reinforced issues voted on in the 16 priorities – education, heath, jobs – but some additional and more nuanced issues have been raised including animal rights, child labor and HIV/AIDS.

Complementing the existing MY World analytic page and heat map his new visualization by researchers at NYU Poly, created in collaboration with UN Global Pulse, shows the most common phrases entered in the open option and how people voted on the MY World 16 options in relation when they raised additional issues. For example, the visualization shows that people who raised the issue of animal rights, were less likely to vote on better job opportunities than the global average.  Continue reading “New data visualization depicts MY World open option”

Over one million people speak at the United Nations

1,130,000 people have answered MY World, the United Nations global survey to citizens- voting for education, health, honest and responsive government and jobs as basis for a better future. 

Results from MY World are being presented to world leaders during the 68th UN General Assembly session in New York through a report and an innovative and interactive new exhibit called “Listening to ONE MILLION Voices.”


Continue reading “Over one million people speak at the United Nations”

UN Secretary-General listens to 1 million voices from MY World

People around the world call for better education, healthcare, honest and responsive government and jobs. 

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented today a new report “A Million Voices: The World We Want”. The report summarizes the findings from public consultations and surveys, that engaged more than 1.3 million people in all 193 UN Member States since August 2012 in an effort to identify priorities for the post-2015 development agenda that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

For the last year, the UN has been encouraging an unprecedented ‘global conversation’ on the world that people want,” said Ban Ki-moon. “The report that we launch today captures the voices of over one million people from all regions and backgrounds. We sought the voices of those that are usually unheard – particularly those people that are poor, excluded or marginalized.

SG with kid 1 million

Almost one million people participated on this consultations through the MY World options survey, using digital channels, SMS and extensive offline interactions through a network of over 700 civil society partners.

Most MY World votes came from India, Nigeria, Cameroon, Thailand, Philippines, Rwanda, USA, UK, Brazil and Indonesia. Half of all participants were under 30 years old.

Continue reading “UN Secretary-General listens to 1 million voices from MY World”

MY World gives young girls in Thailand a special voice

Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and Kannika Jarusuraisin, External Relations Officer, P&G Thailand pose for a photo with the girls from Rajvithi Home.

BANGKOK–Sitting in a plastic chair in a cold quiet room, Nok isn’t eager to share her story.  She’s reserved, quiet, and often leans on the shoulder of her friends.

Like many of the young girls at Rajvithi Home for Girls in Bangkok, they come from traumatic backgrounds—domestic violence at home, orphaned at birth, or innocent victims of their parent’s divorce.

“My parents divorced when I was young and I didn’t get along with my new mom,” Nok said. She’s been at home for just year after transferring from another home in Isan.

With tears welling up around her deep brown eyes, reveals that she wanted to stay with her mother, but her father refused. Now around 12, she doesn’t know where her birth mother is.

Now her home now is here. Her teachers often take the role of mothers, and she is looked after by her peers, and in turn looks after children younger than her.

On a Sunday morning, Procter and Gamble and the United Nations in Thailand paid a visit to Rajvithi Home for Girls and spoke to more than 300 girls about the importance of sharing their voices and their concerns. Using the MY World Global Survey, more than 200 students and volunteers cast their votes—each with a reason—all with different stories.

“The United Nations is committed to empowering women and girls in Thailand and around the world. The voices of these young women are a critical part of our efforts to reach out to as many people as we can during this very important campaign,” said Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and MY World National Campaign Director in Thailand.

The Rajvithi Home for Girls is home to more than 350 girls aged 5 through 18. Many grow up there, are schooled there, and are allowed to stay through their undergraduate university studies.

But it’s a long road for these young women.

“Many of them have learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or have medical ailments like anemia, which can be caused by malnutrition at birth,” said Ms. Patchara Klangsathorn, Child Psychologist.

Yet these girls find strength through each other and within themselves.

I’ve never met my real parents,” said Pam, who has been at Rajvithi since kindergarten.

“I take care of myself and I take care of others. I listen to the teachers (parents). I’ll change myself that way and focus on my education.”

Education topped her list of MY World priorities, along with healthcare and equality for women.

Ms. Patchara was eager to teach the children the importance of voting on the MY World Global Survey.

“Education is important, especially to teach the children about the dangers of domestic violence. It’s also important for us to have a good government, because we always need to raise awareness about the importance of schools like this that have learning disabilities,” she said.