General Assembly embarks on historic task of finalizing the post-2015 agenda

“Today, we embark on the critical task of negotiating an ambitious, inclusive and transformative post-2015 development agenda,” said UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa as he opened the stocktaking session of the intergovernmental post-2015 development agenda negotiations, which took place from 19 to 21 January at UN Headquarters in New York. 

“We have a heavy but noble responsibility to finalize the new agenda on a strict timeline, so that our Heads of State and Government can adopt it during the forthcoming Summit scheduled for 25-27 September,” he said. The President also reminded Member States that a final push would have to be made to achieve the MDGs.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled the overarching message of his Synthesis report: “We need a new and universal compact that is people-centered and planet-sensitive. It must encompass the fight against poverty and inequality and against gender-based discrimination; it must include those who do not enjoy full participation in society; and it must be based on safe and peaceful societies and strong institutions led by women and men from all backgrounds.”

ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik outlined the key role that the ECOSOC system and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will play in the follow-up and review of the new agenda, and noted the importance of communication and partnerships of all kind for its success.

During the session, Member States commented on the possible four parts of the outcome document of the September Summit: the Declaration; Sustainable Development Goals; means of implementation and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development; and follow up and review.

A number of distinguished speakers shared their views on these four elements, their statements can be found on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (see the link provided below). During an interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other Stakeholders, the conclusions of the Stakeholder Preparatory Forum for the post-2015 negotiations, held on 16 January, were presented to Member States. The topics discussed ranged from the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report to the review mechanism and means of implementation.

In their concluding remarks on the last day of the session, the co-facilitators of the negotiations, Ambassador David Donoghue of Ireland and Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya, noted the constructive engagement of member states and the large turnout of civil society and major groups.

Ambassador Donoghue, who presented the co-facilitator’s concluding remarks, observed that member states recognized the Open Working Group’s SDG proposal as far reaching and ambitious achievement with broad legitimacy. Contact had been made with the UN Statistical Commission who will present for member state’s reflection a draft of indicative global indicators linked to the Goals and targets.

The co-facilitators concluded that member states favour a Declaration which is comprehensive in scope but also concise, inspirational and visionary in its terms. Many delegates would like to see the Declaration reflect the integrated and universal nature of the agenda and for it to reaffirm core values and principles.

An overriding message heard regarding means of implementation and a Global Partnership was that it will be impossible to deliver on the SDGs without an even higher level of ambition in respect to both. Many member states reiterated the importance of an open, transparent and inclusive follow up and review framework for the delivery of the post-2015 development agenda. Some thought that no target should be considered met unless met by all relevant income and other groupings, especially the most vulnerable.

The next session of the negotiations will be held from 17 – 20 February 2015 and will focus on the introductory Declaration.

For more information:
Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations