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International Policy Work

One of our public policy priorities is to ensure that a Just One Health approach is reflected in the policy recommendations of intergovernmental organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Additionally, we work to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a Just One Health approach centered on rights, health, and wellbeing.

As a member of the NGO Major Group, Phoenix Zones Initiative is involved in the review and the implementation of the SDGs. Phoenix Zones Initiative helped draft the NGO Major Group’s 2021 Position Paper, which addresses how governments should implement the SDGs and related targets, and the role civil society can play in achieving the SDGs, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Through the NGO Major Group, Phoenix Zones Initiative also provided comment on various drafts of the Ministerial Declaration of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (UNHLP) on Sustainable Development, which ultimately acknowledged the critical importance of human rights, with special attention to the needs of vulnerable populations, as well as the importance of “increased ambition and urgency of action to protect wildlife and other living species and reversing the trends in environmental degradation through the restoration of ecosystems…” 

The declaration also called for “halting biodiversity loss and deforestation, promoting sustainable forest management and combating desertification, drought and land degradation, combating sand and dust storms, sound management of chemicals and waste, and enhancing global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking in protected species, including by ending the illegal trade in and unsustainable consumption of wildlife.” 

Although Phoenix Zones Initiative continues to fight to end all animal trafficking, the adopted language of the 2021 Ministerial Declaration was a step in the right direction. 

Phoenix Zones Initiative’s CEO, Dr. Hope Ferdowsian, was also selected as an expert to advise on preparations for the UNHLPF on Sustainable Development held July 13–15, 2021. The HLPF is the UN’s core platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Ferdowsian was asked to provide expertise on SDG 3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.” The Expert Group Meetings were held virtually, May 17–20, 2021, and the session on SDG 3 was co-organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the WHO. Dr. Ferdowsian’s recommendations were made available on the UN Department of Economic and Social Development for Sustainable Development website for consideration by UN Member States and other stakeholders. 

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