UN begins task of drafting declaration on sustainable development agenda

Delegates express concern over achieving equitable development

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Friday 20 February 2015


Talks among UN member states geared towards agreeing to a post-2015 development agenda kicked off in New York this week. The meeting is meant to review sustainable development goals (SDGs) that will replace the millennium development goals (MDGs), expiring this year, and provide a vision for sustainable development for the next 15 years. SDGs are the outcome of the Rio+20 conference of 2012 on sustainable development.

This is second meeting focusing on review of SDGs after the post-2015 SDGs stock-taking session in January 2015. While the January meeting reviewed the entire agenda for the negotiating process, this meeting aims for more detailed exchanges on the content, tone, and ambition of the declaration, said co-facilitator David Donoghue, permanent representative of Ireland. 

Underlining the objective of this event, co-facilitator Macharia Kamau, permanent representative of Kenya, in his opening remarks on February 17, said the business of the week will be to discuss ways to break with the past by crafting a declaration focused on the future. 

Reviewing the entire agenda for the negotiating process and focusing on key messages for inclusion in the post-2015 development agenda, delegates expressed their concerns on how to achieve equitable development and associated responsibilities. Addressing the missing inter-linkages between the SDGs and the Third Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) due to be held in July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, suggestions were also provided on how to address this problem.  

The elements paper released on February 6 guided the global debate on the declaration component of the post-2015 development agenda.  Welcoming various aspects of this paper, the international delegates proposed changes and additions, and shared their visions for the post-2015 development agenda. Governments had voiced “a huge amount of divergent, as well as consensual, views,” said Kamau. 

Also read: Views of UN member states on the declaration through 97 different statements. 

“Reporting is important for turning the SDGs into what the MDGs were not and the third intergovernmental negotiation on the post-2015 development agenda scheduled from 23-27 March 2015 will focus on “Sustainable Development Goals and targets,” UN officials said. 

Stefan Schweinfest, director of the UN Statistics Division, briefed delegates on the progress of the ongoing work to develop indicators for the post-2015 development agenda. This essential process calls for “a global data revolution” and demands active involvement and engagement of the member states. The participating UN member states raised several questions on the statistics process.  

Inter-linkages between the post-2015 development agenda negotiations and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3) was another important aspect that came up for discussion . So, the next inter-governmental meeting in April 2015 on “Implementation and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development” will incorporate significant financial issues in context of the SDGs. 

Development justice for all

According to IISD news report, the  interactive dialogue held a day before the meeting concludes on Feb 20, 2015 was highly participative and provided a platform for engagement between the civil society representatives ,other stakeholders and the member states 

Also see: Speakers list Major Groups, Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations

With planned interventions covering each section of the draft declaration as outlined in the Elements Paper, the participants discussed issues on the process to ensure development justice for all and called for rights of the indigenous communities too. 

Issues on how to deal with Information poverty, the need for the Declaration to provide a framework of elements, and engaging scientific community to decided the SDG framework too were highlighted. 

Following this dialogue, a “draft discussion document” was circulated by the co-facilitators. While 20 delegates presented their views on this, the G-77 and China demanded some more time to present their opinion.  

What Next: Dates and themes of the forthcoming intergovernmental sessions
  • March 23-27, 2015– Sustainable Development Goals and targets
  • April 20-24, 2015– Means of Implementation and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
  • May 18-22, 2015– Follow up and review
  • June 22-25– Intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document
  • July 20-24– Intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document
  • July 27-31– Intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document
Source: https://slocat.net/sites/default/files/u10/modalities_decision_-_17_decfinal.pdf

The Road from Rio+20: towards Sustainable Development Goals

Global sustainable development report

The future of sustainable development: rethinking sustainable development after Rio+20 and implications for UNEP

Triple wins for sustainable development: case studies of sustainable development in practice

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :
Related Stories

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.