Over the past months, SustainUS has been actively involved in the post-2015 discussions at the United Nations Headquarters. The Post-2015 Development Agenda is an UN process that is seeking to develop the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new set of goals that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. The process was a significant outcome for the Rio+20 Conference.
Even though the MDGs provided a set of development goals that rallied the international community behind a shared understanding of poverty eradication, development experts recognized the need for a more holistic development agenda. The MDGs overemphasized economic poverty and gave limited attention to the structural cases of poverty, population dynamics, or sustainable development. Moreover, the historical and economic context in which the MDGs were anchored has changed and it becomes vital to find a new set of development goals that reflect the challenges of today’s world.
Last week, President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan, which lays out a series of executive actions to address climate change. SustainUS is happy to see the president draw much-needed attention to the issue, but we feel that the Plan needs to be more ambitious in order to address one of the biggest challenges faced by our generation. The SustainUS Steering Committee developed a response statement that includes our suggestions on ways to strengthen the Climate Action Plan to safeguard our future. We hope the President listens carefully to the concerns of young people and leads on climate change.
Thanks to all of the SustainUS members who voted on the latest amendment to our bylaws! The amendment passed, increasing the leadership opportunities available to youth. To recap what this means, any youth 29 and under is now eligible to run for the Steering Committee and any youth 18 and older is now eligible to run for the Board of Directors. We are excited to be able to extend a wider range of engagement to all of our members. Please note that this change will not affect program participation age requirements for Agents of Change delegations, Citizen Science applicants, or Lead Now Fellows.
We are mid-way through our inaugural year of the Lead Now Fellowship and are excited to see a couple Fellows featured by media outlets highlighting their great work.
Amira Odeh is working to ban the sale of bottled water on her campus at the University of Puerto Rico Rio, Río Piedras. The Puerto Rican newspaper Primera Hora interviewed her about her work. Helping her campaign to get great attention for her work. You can read the story about Amira's work (in Spanish) over on Primera Hora.
With a city of movers and shakers it can be hard to stand out in New York City, but the project that Sarah Konner and Toni Craige have developed is one that stands out. Their project Sustainable Cycles spreads the word about reusable menstrual products through bicycle tours. The Village Voice picked up their story and talked with Sarah who lives in Brooklyn and with Lead Now Director Ellie Johnston. Read the story from the Voice to learn more.
SustainUS's Policy Coordinator Oli Maisonet-Guzmán joined former President Bill Clinton, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Nobel winner Muhammad Yunus, and many other eminent speakers at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) conference April 5-7.
Oli spoke on a panel about women and water. She discussed the work SustainUS does to elevate youth participation at the UN and her advocacy and policy research on water issues around the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development last June, where she led policy coordination for the SustainUS delegation. She was joined on the panel by Gemma Bulos, Director of Global Women's Water Initiative, and Cate Owren, Executive Director, Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). The panel was moderated by Zafar Adeel, Director of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH).
The meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University brings together over a 1,000 students who are working to make concrete commitments for social and environmental change. SustainUS has been at past CGIU meetings and is excited to participate once again.