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New events to shape post-2015 agenda


A trio of initiatives over the coming months look set to give greater shape to the post-2015 development agenda, the process to design a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals.

Following the conclusion of their “stocktaking” sessions (see: Co-chairs report) on 7 February, the United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals moves into negotiation mode between March and July as it goes about crafting a set of sustainable development goals to propose in its report to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September.

The OWG, a 30-member body with each seat shared between one and four Member States, is set to meet on 3–5 March; 31 March–4 April; 5–9 May; 16–20 June; and 14–18 July.

While the eight thematic consultation sessions of the OWG (February-June 2013; and November 2013-February 2014) were informed by technical issues briefs prepared by UN agencies (See: OWG8 with briefs co-led by FAO and UNEP) and characterised by side events featuring “Major Groups” and other stakeholders, the new phase will see member states take the lead in fashioning a set of goals.

Mandated by the Outcome Document (The Future We Want) of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, SDGs should be “limited in number, aspirational and easy to communicate, addressing all three dimensions of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental)”.

Stakeholder presence

Civil society, the private sector, academic institutions and other stakeholders will feature prominently in a parallel post-2015 initiative sponsored by John Ashe, President of the 68th session of the UNGA (PGA).

Under the theme “The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage!” the PGA will host three high-level events on:

  • Women, youth and civil society (6-7 March)
  • South-South cooperation, triangular cooperation and information communication technology (ICT) for development (20-21 May)
  • Human rights and rule of law (17-18 June)

And three thematic debates on:

  • Water, sanitation and sustainable energy (18-19 February)
  • The role of partnerships (9-10 April)
  • How stable and peaceful societies can contribute to development (24-25 April)

Among leading UN agencies providing technical guidance for the events, FAO is contributing to the preparation of all three high-level events as well as the thematic debates on the role of partnerships, and on water, sanitation and sustainable energy.

Speaking at an interactive briefing of global civil society representatives at the eighth session of the OWG in New York, John Ashe underlined the importance of building consensus on post-2015.

“You and your various organizations are the trusted partners of the United Nations,” Mr. Ashe said. “As President of the 68th session of the General Assembly, I see no greater task or mandate for my term than to support this vital process of getting the framework and content of the post-2015 development agenda right, so that people everywhere can live in dignity and with opportunities in their societies and economies…

“I am confident that we can all come together around one global sustainable development agenda, with poverty eradication at its centre and with true ownership from both governmental and non-governmental actors alike.”

New post-2015 consultations

Meanwhile, civil society and other stakeholders will play a key role in a second round of consultations on the post-2015 process currently being facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). With a focus on “means of implementation”, the new consultations will this time take place at national level with the global leadership of UN entities.

The proposed themes are:

  • Localising the post-2015 development agenda
  • Helping to strengthen capacities and institutions
  • Participatory monitoring, existing and new forms of accountability
  • Partnerships with civil society and other actors; Partnerships with the private sector
  • Culture and development

FAO will contribute technically to the two themes on partnership as well as the consultation on participatory monitoring, existing and new forms of accountability.

Initial post-2015 consultations had engaged more than 1.3 million people worldwide between August 2012 and April 2013. FAO, with WFP, co-led the Global Thematic Consultation on Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition, which culminated in the Madrid Statement and fed into the UN report “The World We Want” (See: A Million Voices).