The ECOSOC have acted in quite a naive fashion regarding the Kyoto protocols. For years they have underestimated the consequences, and overestimated the expected results.
If you don’t know… ECOSOC is one of the six main organs of the United Nations established in 1946 by the UN Charter. ECOSOC is the principal body for policy review, policy dialogue, coordination, and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of internationally agreed development goals.
Supposedly the work of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is guided by an issue-based approach.
They decide upon an annual theme that accompanies each programmatic cycle, ensuring a sustained and focused discussion among multiple stakeholders. With more than 3,200+ registered non-governmental organizations as well as a wide variety of stakeholders, academics, policymakers, parliamentarians, major groups, foundations, business sector representatives, the council can become unwieldy.
A friend of mine who happens to work for this maritime lawyer partnership has worked with a number of academics regarding climate change and ecological disasters like the the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. As a maritime lawyer serving Texas & Louisiana, he happens to work for a law firm that represented several of the injured maritime workers who were on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Using the Jones Act, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, that safeguards specific rights of seamen when they qualify under the law, he and his maritime injury law firm finally reached substantial settlements for the maritime workers they represented. Since he lives in the Gulf coastal area he also saw first hand the extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and fishing as well as the tourism industries due to the months-long spill, along with the adverse effects from the response and cleanup activities. As a result, he has now decided to work with academics who take part in the UN Economic and Social Council to help effect change worldwide on a number of issues.
Unfortunately after 8 years of neglect from the Bush administration, and the ineptitude of the Obama administration, climate change discussions among others seem doomed.
What has been done since even 2008? The May 2008 session, which extended into 22 May 2008 convened at UN headquarters in New York, US. Léo Mérorès, President of ECOSOC, emphasizing that “agriculture has to be put back in the center of the development agenda,” added that “we need to concentrate efforts on minimizing greenhouse emissions, deforestation and global warming, while finding ways to promote investments in agriculture [and] maximize the use of agro-science and technology, with the aim of reducing the costs of production and substantially increasing the productivity and output of every hectare of arable land.” Even the UN General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim emphasized the need for greater investment in agriculture. He called for the “best science, tools and technologies to optimize efficiency and boost production,…[and] policies that support land and resource ownership.” By drawing attention to the role that high oil prices have played in rising food prices, the UN General Assembly President emphasized that “A sustainable solution to the crisis must therefore be linked to oil price stability and our efforts to tackle climate change.” Two years later there was the Deepwater Horizon oil. Since then there have been dozens of oil spills from Thailand, to Canada, to dozens in the US, more in the Gulf of Mexico, Italy the UK, to India and China. There has to be a concerted effort to encourage green alternatives to oil.
As the world enters the third year of the Covid 19 pandemic is is no surprise that 2022 ECOSOC Partnership Forum which was held in February, 2022 would find its participants debating solutions and policies to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic guided by the SDGs while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including the issue of global warming. As usual multiple actors and stakeholders participated, including countries, the United Nations system, international financial institutions and organizations, parliamentarians, local governments along with non governmental organizations, the private sector, scientists, academia, and others.
They are expected to (a) exchange new ideas, expectations and priorities which should be explored further by the Council and the high-level political forum in the following months; and (b) shine the spotlight on forward-looking actions and partnerships by countries and all relevant stakeholders that can help recover from the pandemic and accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda. A summary can be found at: https://sdgs.un.org/sites/default/files/2022-01/online%20consultation%20report_final.pdf
While I was digesting the summary of the ECOSOC Partnership Forum 2022, I received a phone call from my sister to update me on the progress our father was making in taking control of his drinking which had started to become excessive after our mother died of Covid in 2019. After attempting to get our father to AA meetings and even into rehab which he had rebuffed saying he wasn’t an alcoholic, my sister found a site online called LifeBac that offered a different approach. She said she had sent me a link so I would understand how this works. Foremost the site’s approach allows the person to set their own goals and achieve them at their own pace! The prescription medication which is prescribed suppresses cravings, allowing people to return to safe drinking levels without needing to quit (if they so choose). That blew me away. Such a different approach from the total abstinence mantra of AA and rehabs. The LifeBac holistic solution lets people cut back their drinking by themself. Weekly check up are virtual which is great considering how Covid is still out there killing over 2000 people a day in the US alone. Plus the LifeBac patient is given a personal LifeBac Guide to help them keep motivated and set goals. There are no labels, judgement, or shame. Our father was intrigued as was I.
If only the world’s problems could be solved so simply- a dose of medicine and a personal guide who helps set goals and then offers support throughout the process. But because of the nature of the UN and its multiple actors, stakeholders, and agendas, nothing is simple. At least the UN keeps plodding forward. I just hope the solutions won’t be too late in arriving.