On December 19, 2013, Peace Boat US attended the year-end briefing of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development in the United Nations plaza. Presentations were given on the topics of global warming and climate risk management with regard to global issues that we are facing now. Member organizations are advocates for Sustainable Development as defined in Agenda 21, adopted by the UN Conference on Environment and Development and as incorporated into the Johannesburg Plan of Action adopted at the World Summit for Sustainable Development. Other themes covered by the committee are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted at the Millennium Summit, and the global climate crisis, a cross-cutting issue, is an important Committee focus.

Peace Boat US is a new member NGO of this committee, and we believe that travel in itself can be a tool for positive social and political change, and seek to create and implement best practices in responsible travel and what we call travel for peace and sustainability. Socio-political considerations rather than commercial interests largely determine our choice of destinations. Our partnerships with local organizations and travel agencies reflect our effort to utilize tourism in a progressive and educational form so as to contribute to global sustainability and peace.

Peace Boat strives to practice a progressive form of travel which aims to benefit people and communities at the local level as well as create a more meaningful and educational travel experience based on people-to-people exchange for participants. Our goal is to continuously identify and implement new practices that will help a better redistribution of the income generated through our travel/tourist activities towards our NGO or grassroots partners. We also hope to contribute to sustainable development projects and better understand and minimize our impact on the environment while linking local issues to the global context and learning first hand how we can positively impact these issues.

We are excited to join The NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, which participates in relevant meetings and conferences of the United Nations and builds understanding of how the many parts of the United Nations system promote sustainability.Together, the committee members facilitate the formation of working groups according to the interests of member NGO groups leading to the formulation of Research and Action Papers and the creation of Side Events, Learning Centers, Partnership Fairs and engagement with representatives from UN Member States.

From right: Margo LaZaro (Co-Chair), Dr. T. Bella Dinh-Zarr (Co-Chair), Kevin Cawley, Ph.D. (Treasurer, also who gave us lecture at the briefing), Bruce Knott (Member-at-Large), Kathy Adler (Member-at-Large), and Gerard Farias (Member-at-Large). Besides these who were present at the briefing, following members were also elected: Modou Cham (Secretary), and Joan Lurie Goldberg, Ph.D. (Member-at-Large).

The committee interacts principally with the following United Nations entities:

UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)

UN Environment Programs (UNEP)

UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC)

UN Commission for the Status of Women (CSW)

UN Department of Public Information (DPI)