All aboard the Peace Boat! Guests champion the SDGs during the "Floating Festival for Sustainability"!

img_0959 img_0958On Thursday, October 20, over 600 people attended a grand exhibit aboard the Peace Boat. This “Floating Festival for Sustainability” marked the Peace Boat’s 92nd Global Voyage for Peace since the nonprofit was established in 1983, and the first time the ship has docked in New York in five years. It also marked the inauguration of the Global Goals logo on the boat.

The SDG Action Campaign has a long history of working with the Peace Boat, having launched a partnership in 2009 to promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Peace Boat previously hosted the Millennium Campaign logo, gave courses on the MDGs to passengers, and participated in the Stand Up Campaign among other activities. The Peace Boat has also been an early adopter of the MY World 2030 survey, helping to translate the ballot into Japanese, and collecting ballots both from passengers and people they meet during their journey. They presented the results of their first efforts in their recent report about the ship’s visit to Latin America – showing the enormous efforts and impact the boat is able to make on supporting the implementation of the SDGs.

The event occurred aboard the Peace Boat, providing guests with an intimate glimpse of life at sea. When guests first arrived, they were greeted with a tour of Peace Boat’s impressive ship. The foyer of the ship allowed guests to engage with the mission of the Peace Boat and with an exhibition of projects the peace boat is aligned with. Peace Boat, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations, campaigns for the Sustainable Development Goals as it tours the globe each year. The UN SDG Action Campaign was present to drum up excitement about the SDGs and give participants the ability to engage with immersive content. Participants could take the MY World survey to voice their opinion on the importance and progress of the SDGs, take selfies highlighting their favorite SDGs and watch the virtual reality films of stories from around the world.

The World We Want team was also present, inviting guests to learn about their activities and to join the Policy Strategy Group. The World We Want is looking to continue doing WWW exhibitions around the world to promote the SDGs and civil society’s participation in UN activities. Other exhibits included the presentation of the Eco Ship, an entirely sustainable ship fueled by renewable energy sources that will retrieve the mission of the Peace Boat and promote climate action world-wide when in launches in 2020.

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The main event of the evening began with live music and dance, followed by a series of speakers including H.E. Jan Eliasson (United Nations Deputy Secretary-General), H.E. Ahmed Sareer (Ambassador of the Maldives and Chairman of the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS)), Jeff Brez (Chief NGO Relations Advocacy and Special Events, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information), Yoshioka Tatsuya (Peace Boat Director) and Cora Weiss of the (President, Hague Appeal for Peace). The presentations were followed by an eco fashion show highlighting sustainable designs, and the SDGs chosen to be of highest import to each of the designers.

The presenters made appealing calls to action for all guests to get involved with the SDGs and in promoting peace. The Mr. Eliasson stressed the need to join forces and approach the SDGs in a collaborative manner, encouraging everyone to not be phased by the large task at hand, but rather to focus on small actions that add up: “nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something”. He stressed the need to empower and create space for youth and women as major actors in the fight for peace.

Mr. Tatsuya gave an energetic presentation about the new ship the Peace Boat is developing, which will soon be the most sustainable ship to ever set sail. It will include an on-board university for peace & sustainability, sport activities, and volunteer exchanges in local communities visited.

The evening also included a passionate appeal from a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing as part of a special partnership with the United Nations First Committee on Disarmament and International Security (UNODA). Five victims of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima, known as Hibakusha, are traveling with the Peace Boat to campaign against nuclear weapons, hoping to see a world without them in their lifetimes.

For more information on the Peace Boat, please visit: http://www.peaceboat-us.org/  

UN Deputy Secretary-General on importance of “An honest and responsive government”

In his closing remarks to the General Assembly during the Thematic Debate on “Ensuring stable and peaceful societies,” Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson highlighted the essential link between the rule of law and an inclusive political processes as the binding elements in peace, development and human rights. 

Commitments to rule of law are important to reaching developmental goals, as was discussed and agreed upon in the Rio +20 Report of the UN on Sustainable Development in June 2012, and the General Assembly’s High Level Meeting on the Rule of Law in September 2012.

To futher support this issue, the Deputy Secretary-General noted the high priority of “An honest and responsive government” in the MY World Survey:

world survey, organized by the United Nations in support of the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda, shows that “honest and responsive government” – and I quote, “honest and responsive government” – is a very high priority for all population groups in all regions.

Inclusive political processes help to ensure the accountability of the State. Being included in political processes empowers people to address inequality, exclusion and other causes of conflict. That is why it is essential that we promote broad-based participation in all levels of the political process, particularly in post-conflict societies.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe/586375
Photo: (c) UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe/586375

“An honest and responsive government” has risen to the third priority globally among the 1,855, 839 MY World voters from its previous position as the fourth priority. This was thanks in part to the 1.1 million voices of people aged 16-30. Among this age group, 561,575 people voted for “An honest and responsive goverment.”

This priority is second for voters 31-45, and third for all other age groups with the exception of those 15 and under, who rank it sixth.

Regionally, this priority is second for those in Europe, third for those in the Americas and Asia, and fourth in Africa. It ranks lowest in Oceania behind environmental issues such as “Protecting forests, rivers and oceans,” “Access to clean water and sanitation” and “Affordable and nutritious food.”

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