Working towards an inclusive new development agenda (Photo credit: iStock photo)

Working towards an inclusive new development agenda

Efforts towards building a new global development agenda are intensifying with only three years left to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expiration date in 2015. While it is still too early to speak of specific goals, many stakeholders agree on a number of issues that were not adequately reflected in the MDGs and have become more pressing ever since.

“We hope to bring views from all corners of the world together because what we are striving for is an agenda that will take us to a shared, secure and sustainable global development for all, our generation and all future ones,” said Rob Vos, Director of DESA’s Division for Development Policy and Analysis, as the department together with UNDP held an online Facebook chat with more than 900 participants.

During the two-hour chat themed “Keeping the momentum beyond 2015 – Moving forward towards a new global development agenda”, members of the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 Development Agenda answered a wide range of questions on topics including on poverty, disability rights, hunger eradication, social justice, democratic governance and sustainable development.

The live chat was one of the many activities currently taking place to secure an inclusive development agenda moving forward after 2015. Efforts to gather and include perspectives from all corners of the world are also being carried out in other ways.

Thematic consultation to secure an inclusive agenda

Seeking to ensure that the vision of the world we want to live in takes into account the perspectives from a broad base of civil society and marginalized groups, eleven thematic consultations have been established by the United Nations Development Group. Online discussions are being held on issues that include: inequalities; governance; growth and employment; health; education; environmental sustainability; food security and nutrition; conflict and fragility; population dynamics; energy; and water.

These themes have been selected because they are part of the Rio+20 Outcome Document “The Future We Want”. These themes have also been included in the work of the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda. DESA is currently engaged in ten of the eleven thematic consultations (to the exclusion of the one on education).

The thematic consultations are co-lead by two or more UN agencies and they receive support from other UN agencies, civil society organizations, private sector representatives and academia. The web portal – World We Want 2015 – jointly owned by representatives from the United Nations and civil society, is serving as the online platform for all eleven thematic consultations.

Enabling informed decisions moving forward

The consultations include initiatives as diverse as calls for papers, online consultations and discussions, expert group meetings, newsletters and panel discussions. Each thematic consultation will organize one global thematic meeting to summarize and discuss their findings. Governments in the global South and North have been contacted to host these final meetings.

The thematic consultations serve several purposes. First and foremost will be the analytical inputs they provide to the ongoing process. With in-depth discussion on a specific thematic area and how it links to other areas they provide analytical thinking on ways to incorporate important issues into the global development agenda beyond 2015. The thematic consultations will inform Member States’ decisions on the content of the post-2015 development agenda.

These thematic consultation solicit inputs from all stakeholders to help create ownership of the new agenda amongst people from all strands of life. They will feed into other ongoing consultation processes through the use of reports that consolidate the findings.

Different formats for each discussion

Each thematic consultation follows a design most suited to the topic that the consultation focuses on. One example is the consultation on population dynamics, which is jointly led by UN DESA, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UN Habitat, with support from the International Organization of Migration, the International Labor Organization and UN-Women and in partnership with the Government of Switzerland.

This consultation kicked the process off with an Expert Group Meeting in New York in mid-November 2012. Roughly 40 experts and practitioners assembled for two days to discuss how to phrase the discussion on population dynamics in the post-2015 development agenda. During the meeting experts were also interviewed on camera on population dynamics issues. These short clips will be featured on the population dynamics website shortly.

The outcomes of this Expert Group Meeting will not only shape the global meeting on population dynamics to be held in early 2013 but have also helped to initiate several online consultations that have just been launched.

Keeping Member States updated

Member States briefings are also being organized to inform missions in New York about the outcomes of the ongoing discussions. The thematic consultation on health held a Member State briefing on 29 November 2012; organized in collaboration with the Missions of Botswana and Sweden.

The consultation on peace and conflict has chosen to host three regional meetings focusing on different aspects of peace and conflict in addition to the high level global meeting that will be organized in Finland in February 2013. The first meeting in Indonesia at the end of October 2012 focused on disaster risk and resilience. At the end of November there will be a meeting in Liberia to address the issue of conflict and fragility. The final regional meeting on organized violence and citizen security will take place in Panama in January 2013.

The thematic consultation on growth and employment started with a high-level global meeting held in Tokyo, Japan in May 2012, which culminated in a outcome report, available at Drawing on this report, the consultation is currently in the process of setting up a newsletter with articles and opinion pieces from academia, civil society, policy makers and UN experts. Other outreach measures will include online discussions inputs by experts and a briefing for Member States.

With all these different processes in place, the online discussions are supporting the broad and inclusive consultations that stakeholders including Member States, civil society organizations, citizens and academia have called for, and which the United Nations is committed to support.

“As the time for achieving the Millennium Development Goals draws near, the international community is working to accelerate their progress. This is our priority, first and foremost,” said DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Mr. Wu Hongbo in a statement to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, adding that preparations for the Post-2015 UN development agenda will build on lessons learned from the MDGs. The new agenda “… will also draw on input from the full range of partners, and will hold at its core sustainable development, including its social dimensions,” Mr. Wu said.

The world community has a unique opportunity to get involved in the post-2015 process by participating in the online discussions, sharing knowledge, opinions and ideas. All thematic consultations can be accessed via the World We Want Platform where you can sign up to receive regular updates and to contribute to the ongoing e-consultations.

For more information:
World We Want Platform with all thematic consultations