Inclusive participation in the sustainable development agenda


On 11 May 2015, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Bonn, Germany, hosted a "Knowledge Café" on the “Inclusive participation in the sustainable development agenda”. Jointly organized by UNV and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, the panel discussion brought together staff members from many of the UN agencies located in Bonn.

Richard Dictus, UNV Executive Coordinator (UNV, 2015)

Mr. Richard Dictus, UNV Executive Coordinator, and Ms. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, chaired the dialogue on the capacity to adapt and modify everyone’s behavior to fight global warming and save the planet.

In her address, Ms. Figueres first questioned whether the international agreement, which she said with confidence will be adopted at COP 21 in Paris at the end of the year, will impact the governmental decisions on an international scheme. She highlighted that “development” and ‘’climate change” have to be linked within the United Nations since controlling global warming has definite implications on achieving the development goals.

In this context, "we are constructing a broad highway of responses to climate change. Everybody needs to be on that highway but countries can take different actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Figueres described.

Mr. Dictus called attention to the "Miracle of the Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) underlining that the poverty rate has halved worldwide and that many of the MDG targets have been met in 2015.

Moreover, he stressed the importance of the individual initiative to advocate for a change of global behaviors through volunteerism. Referring to Albert Einstein’s quote "we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them", he emphasized the major role innovation will play in reaching the sustainable development goals to further improve people’s lives.

Given the chance to comment and ask questions, the audience asked about how to measure development goals and get actors to volunteer, and drew attention to the role employees of the United Nations could play in combating climate change. Panelists commented on the challenge of today, emphasizing that we all need to change our behavior to adapt to our changing world.

Long a member of her country’s delegation to United Nations climate change negotiations and the Vice President of its Bureau of the Conference of the Parties in 2008-2009, Christiana Figueres, from Costa Rica, is the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC. She is currently charged with the intergovernmental process to deliver the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator of UNV since January 2013, served in different UNDP missions in Sudan, Lesotho and Bangladesh, in management and environmental management areas as well as human rights, micro finance and rural development.