UN/VN – Commission on Sustainable Development/ Commissie voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling

Well then, after a long silence caused by selling a house and moving to the main village in the Allen Valleys (Northumberland), I now find myself once again in New York. I was amazed last night how many small things I remembered from my trip last year. I recognised the car storage place next to the motorway exit with cars stored on top of each other (as I know from bike storage at Dutch train stations). Anyway, that’s not that important, but knowing small things does make these trips much easier. I’m definitely much more relaxed about this trip than I was last year. Last year I wouldn’t have been able to move house 10 days before coming (this year, it was just ‘a bit crazy’ doing it that way).

OK, back to the real important stuff. Why am I here?

UN building in New York

UN building in New York

I’m here, on behalf of the National Spiritual Assembly of the UK Baha’i community, as a delegate of the Baha’i International Community (BIC) during the 17th session of the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17).  The topics of CSD-16 & CSD-17 are: agriculture, Africa, drought & desertification, land, and rural development. CSD-17 starts on Monday 4 May and lasts for 2 weeks. Knowing from last year that there’d be several briefings beforehand, I arrived last night (Friday, 1 May) which also means that I hope to be over the worst of my jetlag by Monday.

Today I need to read loads of background documents and check the CSD-17 website since I haven’t had time for that yet (moving house is my main excuse). I also need to get myself a Metro card and remind myself of how to get to the UN and the Baha’i Centre (I want to go to their devotional meeting tomorrow morning). And, having done my homework (reading), I might go for a stroll in Central Park which is only 3 blocks away.

I’ll post another entry about the basics of attending these kind of UN meetings. Without it, none of my blog entries in the next 2 weeks will make any sense I think.

I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow delegates tomorrow, some of them I already know from last year. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed our online discussions to prepare ourselves on what the Baha’i Writings say about this year’s topics.

The BIC has organised a Learning Centre event on Monday afternoon: Climate ethics – Implications for the CSD 17 Thematic Cluster. If it’s anything as good as the BIC Learning Centre event from last year (on the SAT rural education programme in Honduras), it’ll be a very good start. For the last few years, the BIC has organised an early event focusing on the ethical dimensions of global issues. I’m looking forward to it.

Monday will be an incredibly long day, starting with an 8 AM meeting with the Women’s Major Group, the official opening at 10 AM by the Dutch Minister of Agriculture (this year’s chair, 1st female ever!), the BIC Learning Centre event at 3 PM, and then our BIC briefing at 6.15 PM. I guess I won’t see my bed until midnight. So, I need to make sure I sleep enough this weekend!

Anyway, do leave me a comment if my entries don’t make sense or if you want to know something specific, I’ll do my best to answer. I hope you enjoy getting some glimpses of this UN meeting and our involvement in these global affairs.

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