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CEB Spring Session Focuses on Post-2015, Climate, Education

United Nations9 May 2014: The UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Spring Session 2014 focused on how the UN system can support Member States in the transition to the post-2015 development agenda. The Board also discussed implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), financing for sustainable development, climate change and water, among other issues. The session took place from 7-9 May 2014, in Rome, Italy.

The CEB, which brings together the executive heads of 29 specialized UN organizations, is the primary instrument for strengthening the coordination of UN intergovernmental bodies on economic, social and related matters. It aims to "deliver as one" through three pillars: UN Development Group (UNDG); High Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP); and High Level Committee on Management (HLCM). The Spring Session endorsed the reports of its High Level Committees.

During a discussion on the MDGs, participants discussed country-level progress in Benin, Colombia, and the Philippines. The review aimed to improve alignment of UN system-wide support on accelerating MDG progress as well as support for country-led acceleration action plans. UNESCO Director-General Irinia Bokova described Benin as a "champion country" in UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Global Education First Initiative (GEFI). She also highlighted UNESCO's commitment to developing national statistical capacity and ensuring the collection of reliable data and statistics.

During a session on climate change, Ban highlighted his vision for the UN climate change agenda, including plans for 2014 Climate Change Summit. Bokova described policy papers that are being prepared by the UN Secretary-General's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and are expected to contribute to discussions on climate change. She also highlighted activities being held in preparation for UNFCCC COP 21, including a Forum for Youth and the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, which will mark the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

The GEFI Steering Committee also met on the sidelines of the CEB Session. Participants discussed accelerating education-related MDGs, reaffirming commitments to education in the post-2015 agenda, and its strategy for the next 18 months. Bokova said the post-2015 education agenda should be equitable and inclusive, and focus on learning outcomes through attention to quality at all levels of education. Participants recommended a stand-alone goal on education to raise ambitions beyond primary education.

Also during his trip to Rome, Ban addressed the Committee on World Food Security (WFS). He highlighted the UN's work in three key areas: accelerating progress towards the MDG target on hunger; reflecting food security and sustainable agriculture in the post-2015 agenda, including the role of women in boosting the productivity of smallholder agriculture and ensuring good nutrition; and climate change. On the relationship between climate change and food security, Ban called for enabling farmers, particularly women, to adapt to changing climates and commitments and actions on reducing agriculture emissions, increasing agricultural productivity and helping food systems and rural people become resilient.

In an audience with Pope Francis, Ban thanked him for his personal commitment to promoting sustainable development and eradicating poverty, and asked for the Catholic Church's support in promoting a life of dignity for all. [UN Press Release on Audience with Pope Francis] [UN Secretary-General Statement to CFS] [UN Secretary-General Statement with Pope Francis] [UNESCO Press Release] [UNESCO Press Release on GEFI] [CEB Website] [Video of Audience with Pope Francis]