The United Nations and system organizations should engage with donors in a dialogue at the strategic level for the adoption of donor reporting templates and accommodating the common information needs, demands and requirements of donors and the regulatory frameworks and capacities of the organizations.

This is one of the main recommendations highlighted in a new report by the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), an independent external oversight body of the United Nations system, reviewing donor reporting requirements across the UN system.

The JIU review focused on the United Nations system organizations that have the highest number of donor reports and on the 16 major donors to the United Nations system, including the European Commission.

Most farms in developing and least developed countries are small, generally plots of less than two hectares of land. Smallholder farmers manage over 80% of the world’s estimated 500 million small farms and provide over 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, contributing significantly to poverty reduction and food security. As much as 75% of global seed diversity in staple food crops is held and actively used by smallholder farms. However, despite their vital role in the global agricultural community, the participation and priorities of smallholder farmers – most of whom are women – are often neglected. Effective mechanisms giving smallholder farmers a voice in policymaking are imperative to address their needs and interests, to promote the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources and more broadly, to ensure food security.

On February 14, 2018, UN Women released its SDG Monitoring Report, Turning Promises Into Action, which assesses what is needed to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular in regards to gender equality.

In line with the report’s focus, the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) addresses the challenges rural women and girls face in achieving gender equality and empowerment. Despite a number of advances globally, progress for women and girls remains slow, and even where it has been made it is often highly uneven. While issues such as stagnant economic growth, rapid environmental degradation, unsustainable land use practices, and the dynamics of migration and urbanization impact women in both the global North and South, they affect rural women in particular.

International investment and trade agreements are legally binding international treaties which give investors an additional layer of legal protection on top of the host country law and contract law.  However, little efforts have been made in ironing out the interface between these different laws and treaties. Inconsistencies and even contradictions have emerged in dispute settlement decisions, sometimes at the expense of public good, sovereignty and financial and economic stability. An asymmetry seems to exist in the allocation of risks and benefits between investors and recipients of investments. 

"Civil society organizations are natural allies of the United Nations, but the partnership modality is not the primary way for civil society to engage with the UN" argued Barbara Adams at a panel discussion on "Strengthening partnerships and stakeholder engagement" that took place in the framework of the ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development on 27 February 2018. From a CSO perspective, she added, the primary way of leveraging resources for the Sustainable Development Goals is fair and progressive taxation.

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