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During a publicly live-streamed dialogue with former Brazilian President Lula da Silva last Friday, Argentinian president Alberto Fernandez said he misses the regional solidarity that Latin America had when he was Chief of Cabinet of President Nestor Kirchner back in 2003.

"Now it's only Andres Manuel [Lopez Obrador] in Mexico and me" he explained, after Lula's description of the close ties he had as president with many other heads of State in the region and how they dared to say "no" to US president George W. Bush's proposal of a Free Trade Area of the Americas in 2005.

Preparations are underway for the 2020 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) and review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Member States are engaged in negotiations to adopt by consensus a Political Declaration and 47 have undertaken Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) for presentation at the HLPF. The UN system has issued a number of reports containing analyses and assessments of progress towards the SDGs. In addition to contributing to these processes and reports, major groups have issued a range of analyses and demands.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global sustainability agenda

The COVID-19 pandemic and the policies with which governments have responded to it have had a serious impact on the global sustainability agenda. While the full extent of the pandemic and its impacts cannot yet be assessed, there is an evident risk that the pandemic will jeopardize the achievement of the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their entirety.

The UN has released a three phase plan for re-opening the United Nations, releasing information on what the “new normal” will look like for Member States, UN Staff and other stakeholders. The plan indicates:

A new phrase has gained traction in inter-governmental deliberations at the UN in the virtual world ushered in by COVID-19: “All protocols observed”. Many Member States begin their statements with this phrase that replaces the formality of recognizing lists of colleagues and Member States.

Additionally, COVID-19 has given momentum to the development of an “omnibus” UN General Assembly resolution titled: Comprehensive and Coordinated Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This has the potential to advance initiatives and new approaches and thinking. It also has the potential to overtake, bypass, reverse or replace the outcomes of policy deliberations separately negotiated and/or not housed explicitly in the COVID-19 Pandemic track.

Love (And Health) In The Time Of Corona: The Evolving Shape Of State, Market And Society Triumvirate, As Seen From Latin America.

Week 8 of the series on IMAGINARIES FOR A RESILIENT AND INCLUSIVE NEW WORLD, organized by the ENvironment Support Group of India

Across the UN System, all hands are on deck to address the impact of COVID-19 from immediate humanitarian and health needs, to medium and longer-term socio-economic policy. Various initiatives are circling one another, raising issues of governance, reporting and accountability. Member States in the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment explored some of these questions as they related to the UN Development System (UNDS), while in the 28 May and 2 June meetings on Financing for Development they also explored policy ideas, with an emphasis on accounting for vulnerability in macroeconomic analysis.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. Secretary-General, António Guterres, has initiated a "global conversation" on the future of the UN. The ongoing pandemic of Covid-19 has made physical meetings impossible and overwhelms us all with new responsibilities and demands in the face of its enormous health, social and economic impact.

In this difficult context, a document was submitted to the UN as the result of a dialogue of "the Americas". Concerned that this is the only view from our region reaching the UN, and worried about the very biased opinions it contains, which undervalue the role of women and social movements, among other questionable recommendations, such as the promotion of a closer alliance between the Un and the OAS, a joint letter was sent to the UN, ECLAC, CARICOM, GRULAC and the co-sponsors of the document.

The year 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations as well as the beginning of the final 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the wider 2030 Agenda. The Secretary-General, UN leadership and various Member States have been highlighting the importance of the 75th Anniversary as the opportunity to address challenges to global governance and reinvigorate the UN System with what is needed to deliver meaningful change to people’s lives worldwide.

At the upcoming triennial review of the list of 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as defined by the United Nations, scheduled on 22-26 February 2021, five countries will be reviewed and recommended for graduation from the LDC category if they continue to meet a set of criteria.

These are: Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal and Timor-Leste.

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