Webinar: UN Working Committee and Climate Change Policy Group – Working with the Sustainable Development Goals

Join us in our next conversation on UN Working Committee and Climate Change Policy Group – Working with the Sustainable Development Goals by David Kay, Erik Steinecker, and Estera Borsca on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at 12:00 PM ET (UTC -4). This webinar is the third in our CCPP webinar series. In this webinar, David, Erik, and Estera will discuss how MBBI hopes to advocate for conflict resolution policies within the contexts of sustainable development.


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Chapter VI of the UN Charter mandates the UN to first resolve international disputes by negotiation, mediation, and conciliation. Throughout the past decade, the UN enhanced its mediation and dispute resolution capacity, and has called on civil society to assist.

This webinar will first consider this context of international dispute resolution. We will next provide a broad overview of the relevance of collaborative problem-solving approaches to the achievement of the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A majority of the UN mission states (countries) have identified conflict being a barrier to achieving the SDGs in their home countries.  This workshop will address the need for peace processes and conflict resolution to resolving conflicts in order to focus on achieving the SDGs.  We will discuss the development of our Thematic Report to the UN member states, stakeholders and Major Groups highlighting our best practices,  power imbalances, understanding underlying interests, and conflict resolution practices to overcome barriers that prevent the movement and progress of the SDGs.

Our field’s attention to peace, inclusivity, justice, accountability, and institutions are embodied in the wording of SDG 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” Perhaps less obvious is how achievement of the other SDGs also benefits from collaborative problem solving and mediation skills.


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David Kay is a Senior Extension Associate with Cornell University’s Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI), Department of Global Development.  He earned his BA and M.S. in economics (agricultural, resource and environmental).  His work has spanned many environmental, economic, and community development topics, and is united by the theme of building local and regional capacity for informed decision making.  He currently provides leadership for CaRDI research and outreach programming in the areas of energy, land use, community decision making, and economic development.  He has long been involved in a variety of capacities on municipal, state and not-for-profit boards and organizations concerned with land use planning, sustainable living, and sustainable regional and community development.  A member of MBBI since 2015, he has mediated at his local Community Dispute Resolution Center for about 15 years.

David’s research focuses on a number of issues pertaining to local and regional development inclusive of land use planning, climate change and energy transitions, and governance. Within the category of land use, engaged research has focused on residential land use preferences, implementation of NYS’s “Smart Growth Policies”, and survey research on local government needs for comprehensive land use planning. Within the category of energy transitions, David’s research has focused on the socio-economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing practices and natural gas extraction, as well as the issues for local governments and communities pertaining to scaling up large-scale solar electric facilities. In all cases, the issues involve the interrelations of phenomenon with questions regarding community/economic development opportunities and the challenges of informed decision-making for policy makers and their stakeholders.



Erik Steinecker has co-led the United Nations Multilateral Working Group (UNMWG) of Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI). He helps maintain the organization’s Special NGO Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN), which provides MBBI access to ECOSOC and other major UN conferences.  

With both a Master’s degree in International Law and the Settlement Disputes from the UN University of Peace in Costa Rica and a Law Degree from Seattle University, Erik is well versed in conflict resolution and has an interest in grievance mechanisms and dispute systems design. Additionally, Erik has interned with and conducted research for both the UN Department of Political Affairs and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Erik now works for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In this capacity, he was first an equal opportunity specialist, investigating and conciliating over 100 cases of alleged discrimination in housing. Erik now helps in the administration of the Fair Housing Assistance Program, which provides funding and support to state and local governments to aid in their enforcement of fair housing laws.

As a leader of the UNMWG, he continues to invite members to attend and partake in UN conferences on behalf of MBB. Erik has helped organize MBBI’s delegates to various conferences throughout the years. This year, there will be 35 delegates representing MBBI at the UN annual Conference on the Status of Women (CSW63 ) beginning on March 11-22, 2019.



Estera Borsca, M.A., LCSW earned a three concentration Masters in Social Work with an emphasis in Policy, Law and Administration from the University of Southern California (USC).  She is a certified psychotherapist in neuroscience EMDR therapy and an advanced trainer in Motivational Interviewing, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Suicide Prevention, Attachment Focused Therapy, Conflict Resolution and Mediation. She serves as a certified mediator for Orange County Court System, where she performs mediations in family law, civil harassment, small claims, law enforcement, employment law and community mediations.  Estera is passionate about peace building on a global level, women empowerment and breaking generational curses in children by complex trauma. Estera conducts trainings for law enforcement, Orange County Courts, Los Angeles courts, universities, Bar Associations and Department of Mental Health-Los Angeles County. Estera is currently a Clinical Director of Intense Mental Health programs spanning across Federal, State level and local levels of service serving children and families with complex trauma, refugees, human trafficking victims and unaccompanied minors. Estera is the Chair of Mediators Beyond Borders International, Los Angeles Chapter. Estera is the Chair of the SDG World Goals, United Nations Multilateral Working Group, MBBI.


Life Goals: 

  1. Break generational curses of abuse/trauma and empower children to break the cycle of violence and oppression. 
  2. Promote peace/sustainability globally through conflict resolution practices.  


  • Peace Builder of the year award- MBBI–Los Angeles 
  • American Red Cross- Community Hero award 
  • Community Leader Award-Orange County Board of Supervisors 
  • United Nations nominee of the International distinguished women leader award 
  • International Impact Leader Award – State of CA 


Special thanks to Charalee Graydon a dedicated member of the MBBI Climate Change Policy Project (CCPP). She has attended the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) twice, the COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, and the COP 24 in Katowice, Poland. She first joined as a member of MBBI 5 years ago when she was working on a collaborative group focusing on climate change. She is also active in the Children & Youth Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group, and United Nations Multilateral Working Group. She considers it important to work with young people to develop peaceful models for climate change dispute resolution.

Charalee is most interested in climate change as a global issue. Her advocacy in finding solutions revolves around her wide academic expertise; She is a part of the faculty at Euclid University and focuses on international law, climate change, and dispute resolution. Further, she has authored multiple articles on the legal structures of the Paris Agreement, the US’s decision to leave the Paris Agreementinternational law in fostering cooperation on the Paris Agreement, and international piracy, one of her largest selection of articles is about the combination of creative arts and climate change.

Please note that the deadline to register for this webinar is one day before the event. We will send the Zoom access link to registrants after the registration closing time and again on the day of the event. For further information about this our other webinars, contact us at webinars@mediatorsbeyondborders.org

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