The current development agenda is centered on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have an overall target date of 2015.
The MDGs encapsulate eight globally agreed concrete goals, with time-bound targets and indicators for measuring progress in the areas of: poverty alleviation, education, gender equality and empowerment of women, child and maternal health, reducing HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases, environmental sustainability, and building a Global Partnership for Development.
At the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly to review progress towards the MDGs, governments called not only for accelerating progress towards achieving the MDGs, but also for thinking on ways to advance the UN Development Agenda beyond 2015.
This is the origin of the discussions now underway on the ‘Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.’ The UN Secretary-General submits an annual report on accelerating progress towards the MDGs as requested by the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting. The latest report is A/67/257.
There is wide consensus that the United Nations is the most inclusive and comprehensive platform for putting a global development agenda together and for bringing to the table the views of all governments and a range of other stakeholders, from civil society, the private sector, academia and research institutes to philanthropic foundations and international institutions.
UN 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. Co-chaired by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Task Team today brings together more than 60 UN agencies, Secretariat departments and other international organizations. UN Women is part of this Task Team.
The Task Team’s mission is to assess ongoing efforts within the UN system, consult all relevant stakeholders and define a system-wide vision and road-map to support the deliberations on the post-2015 UN development agenda.
The High-level Panel of Eminent Persons
In July 2012, the Secretary-General appointed a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda. The Panel is co-chaired by His Excellency President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia; Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; and His Excellency Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom.
The Panel is expected to present a report to the Secretary-General in the second quarter of 2013. The report is to provide:
- Recommendations regarding the vision and shape of a post-2015 development agenda that will help respond to the global challenges of the 21st century, building on the MDGs and with a view to ending poverty;
- Key principles for reshaping the global partnership for development and strengthened accountability mechanisms;
- Recommendations on how to build and sustain broad political consensus on an ambitious yet achievable post-2015 development agenda around the three dimensions of economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability; taking into account the particular challenges of countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.
A process to identify the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June launched an intergovernmental process to define the Sustainable Development Goals. It called for the establishment of an open working group with the view to developing global sustainable development goals which will be agreed by the UN General Assembly.
The Open Working Group will include 30 representatives nominated by Member States from the five UN regional groups. The Open Working Group is expected to submit a report to the 68th session of the General Assembly in 2013 with a proposal for SDGs.
The Rio outcome document specifies that the SDGs should:
- address and incorporate in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) as well as their interlinkages;
- build upon commitments already made and contribute to the full implementation of the outcomes of all major summits in the economic, social and environmental fields, including the Rio+20 outcome document;
- be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries;
- be coherent with, and integrated into, the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015.
The Secretary-General will provide the initial input to the work of the group, in consultation with national governments. To support the Open Working Group, an inter-agency technical support team on SDGs is being established under the umbrella of the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.