Intergovernmental Negotiations on Post-2015 Development Agenda Begin with Stocktaking

[IIDS 19 January 2015] Intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda began in New York, US, with the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) opening a three-day session of «stocktaking.» President Sam Kutesa reminded UN Member States of their responsibility to finalize the agenda on a strict timeline so that Heads of State and Government can adopt it in September 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Martin Sajdik also addressed Member States.

Kutesa said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a key component of the agenda, are designed to be “holistic, universal, and applicable to all countries, taking into account national circumstances and levels of development.” He added that the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) has been requested to coordinate work on developing indicators, given the technical nature of this task, and that it will present its work to Member States.

Ban expressed hope that his Synthesis Report could help frame and bring clarity to the process. He highlighted three meetings in 2015 that will “usher in a new era of sustainable development»: the third Financing for Development (FfD 3) conference in July; the post-2015 summit in September; and the Paris Climate Change Conference in December. «Seventy years after the founding of the United Nations,» he said, «we must answer the call of shared prosperity and a sustainable future for all.»

Sajdik said the follow-up and review arrangements for the agenda should emphasize the national level, with links to global and regional frameworks. He said partnerships should be driven by national leadership and ownership, and inclusive of all stakeholders, and emphasized, “ECOSOC is the partner for the partners.” Sajdik called for communication of the new development agenda to be a central topic of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF).

Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya and Co-Facilitator of post-2015 negotiations, said the present negotiations culminate several years of work, and highlighted results to date, including the Open Working Group proposal of SDGs and targets, reports on sustainable development financing and technology facilitation, the “transformative shifts” called for by the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP), an expert report on the data revolution, citizens’ priorities as identified by the MY World initiative, and the Secretary-General’s synthesis report. Kamau asked Member States for their views on both broad outlines and detailed priorities of what should be included in the post-2015 agenda, and on how to make any needed «course corrections» to the agenda over the next 15 years.

In a keynote speech, Nancy Birdsall, Center for Global Development, suggested that Member States should add a 170th target, using each country’s median income as a measure for economic growth and equality. The meeting also included general statements made by approximately 50 delegates on their preferred directions for the SDGs, political declaration, means of implementation (MOI) and follow-up and review systems, the four expected components of the post-2015 development agenda.

The stocktaking session, the first meeting in the series of intergovernmental negotiations, is convening from 19-21 January 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The schedule for the intergovernmental negotiations and the September 2015 summit were agreed in December 2015. The negotiation modalities were agreed in January 2015. [UN Press Release] [UNGA President Statement] [UN Secretary-General Statement] [ECOSOC President Statement] [IISD RS Meeting Coverage] [Programme of Work] [IISD RS Story on Adoption of Dates] [IISD RS Story on Adoption of Modalities]

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