Photo credit: iStock photo used for UN Task Team Report Cover

Keeping the momentum beyond 2015

With less than three years to the deadline, significant progress has been made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Meanwhile, the UN is now working closely with different international stakeholders to ensure a sustainable development path beyond 2015.

The international community is ramping up activities as the 2015 target date approaches for achieving the development goals, set out in the Millennium Declaration, on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental sustainability, HIV/AIDS reduction and a ‘Global Partnership for Development’. These include discussions among governments, civil society, academia and research institutions, and the private sector on how to advance the UN development agenda beyond 2015.

“Nothing but a truly transformative agenda will match the challenges ahead and the aspirations of all people for development that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable” said Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Wu Hongbo, reflecting on the work and the opportunities ahead.

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs, headed by Mr. Wu, is fully engaged in promoting and supporting the emergence of a solid and ambitious post-2015 development agenda. DESA has established a department-wide task force to this end, as well as to support the role of DESA in leading, jointly with UNDP, the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.

The UN System Task Team

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon established the UN System Task Team in September 2011 to coordinate system-wide preparations for a post-2015 UN development agenda. The team is mobilizing analytical work and outreach within the UN system and beyond.

The Task Team is made up of more than 60 UN agencies, Secretariat departments and other international organizations, including the IMF, World Bank and WTO. Co-chaired by DESA and UNDP, its mission is to assess ongoing efforts within the UN system, consult external stakeholders and define a system-wide vision and road-map to support the deliberations on the post-2015 UN development agenda.

In June, the Task Team delivered its first report to the Secretary-General, “Realizing the Future We Want for All”. Striving for a more holistic outlook, the team advises to keep the Millennium Declaration as the point of departure, and retain a clear focus on human development, while building on the lessons learned from the MDGs and addressing new challenges. In line with the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference, it also underscores the central role of sustainable development.

The Task Team outlines a vision for the development agenda starting with the core values of sustainability, equality and human rights. The vision then unfolds into four key dimensions that could serve as the basis for defining specific global goals and targets: inclusive social development; inclusive economic development; environmental sustainability; and peace and security.

Getting on a sustainable development path

The Report of the Task Team will serve as a reference for the further broad and inclusive consultations that will take place in the coming years on the post-2015 UN development agenda. Much activity is already scheduled during the forthcoming session of the General Assembly, moving towards a post-2015 UN development agenda, with sustainable development at its centre.

By the start of its 67th session, and as agreed at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012, the General Assembly will launch an intergovernmental open working group to develop a proposal on sustainable development goals, or SDGs, as an integral part of the post-2015 UN development agenda.

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is continuing to play a leading role in the discussions, gathering government representatives from all over the world on 24 September for the ECOSOC Ministerial Meeting, featuring an expert panel discussion, followed by an interactive dialogue on strengthening the multilateral system for sustainable development.

The Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, established in July to provide further support to the multi-stakeholder consultations, will hold its first meeting on the margins of the Assembly’s high-level debate in September.

And later this fall, the General Assembly will consider the second annual report of the Secretary-General on accelerating progress towards the MDGs, including his recommendations on ways to advance the UN development agenda beyond 2015.

The MDGs have played an important role in advancing the development agenda and in improving the lives of people around the globe. With the target date on the horizon, the UN is intensifying its collaboration with global partners to build on the momentum and to build consensus around an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, with sustainable development at its core.

Photo credit: iStock photo used for UN Task Team Report Cover

For more information:

UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – beyond 2015

The UN System Task Team

“The Future We Want for All” – Report of the UN System Task Team

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012

Rio+20 Conference Outcome Document