UNODC hosts a multi-stakeholder conference with the vision towards boosting sustainable development

CST side event at COP8
Representatives of Member States, Vienna-based organizations, civil society, academia, and young academics attend the conference

6 February 2017 - With the adoption of the new development agenda entitled 'Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' in September 2015, Member States of the United Nations committed to achieving the new development agenda that is peaceful, just and inclusive, by the year 2030. This reflects Goal 16 of the Agenda which calls for Member States to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Goal 17 of the Agenda appeals for strengthened means of implementation and greater commitment to global partnership. The 17 goals draw together the strands of peace, the rule of law, human rights, development and equality into a comprehensive and forward-looking framework. The United Nations system has a key role to play in achieving the new global agenda. This is based on its culture of shared responsibilities, collective action and benchmarking for progress. Through its work at global, regional and national levels, UNODC provides support to Member States to reach their Targets under the various SDGs.

In this vein, UNODC hosted the 2017 ACUNS Vienna UN Conference from 17 to 19 January 2017, to discuss how Vienna-based UN organizations are implementing the 2030 Agenda. The conference brought together representatives of UN agencies, civil society, the diplomatic community, academia, and young people to discuss actions, potentials and challenges linked to the realization of the Agenda. Over 400 participants registered for the conference.

In his opening speech,Mr.Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC and Director-General of UNOV hailed the long-standing cooperation with ACUNS and encouraged stakeholders to strengthen their partnership for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Referring to the work of UNODC related to SDGs, Mr. Fedotov said, for UNODC, "the 2030 Agenda provides a holistic, multi-dimensional framework that recognizes that security, justice, the rule of law and health matter for achieving development for all." 

Addressing one of the expert roundtables, Mr. Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA) referred to Goal 16,  noting that "an integrated approach is needed, and that the rule of law should overcome the law of rule for successful implementation of the SDGs". 

The subsequent sessions included anexpert panel on "science and technology: innovative solutions to challenges in the 21st century" where UNODC was represented by Mr. Justice Tettey, Chief of Laboratory who made a presentation on new psychoactive substances, the so-called "legal highs", underlining the new challenges in terms of drug use. 

Mr. Jorge Rios, Chief of Sustainable Livelihoods Unit represented UNODC at an expert panel on "safeguarding the environment and sustainable use of water resources".  He presented the impact of de-forestation on everyday life and referred to SDGs 14 and 15 as a good framework to respond to the challenges related to wildlife and forest crimes.

During the discussion, it was pointed out that prioritizing environmental issues, involving women, and communicating better what the real needs in this field are, is crucial. Moreover, it was highlighted that more coordination and cooperation within the UN family and smarter investments in the data is key to achieve the SDGs.

The third and final day of the conference featured an expert panel on "health and well- being: prevention, detection and treatment" where UNODC was represented by Dr. Gilberto Gerra, Chief of Drug Prevention and Health Branch who emphasized the fact that, "trying to implement SDG 3, it is very important to recognize the need of treatment for people who use drugs, since they are affected by a health disorder". 

Finally, participants of the Regional Academy on the United Nations also presented the outcome of the projects, followed by the closing session and the certificate award ceremony officiated by Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of DPA and Laura Rockwood, Executive Director of VCDNP.

The 2017 ACUNS Vienna conference provided for a unique occasion to explore potential future areas of collaboration, and allowed experts and young scholars to engage in inter-sectorial and inter-agency dialogue on actions being taken by UN Vienna-based organizations in the implementation of the SDGs.