The fifth session of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda took place from 18-22 May 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York. The session, which focused on follow-up and review of the post-2015 development agenda, was led by the Co-Facilitators for the post-2015 process, David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland, and Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya.
This session marked the last of the “scripted” sessions outlined in UN General Assembly decision A/69/L.46, on modalities for the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. During the course of the week, delegates discussed: follow-up and review of the post-2015 development agenda; goals, targets and indicators; themes for the interactive dialogues during the Post-2015 Summit in September; and the way forward. An interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders took place on Wednesday, 20 May. Delegates adopted the six themes for the interactive dialogues, which will be transmitted to the President of the General Assembly.
During the week, participants discussed what exactly “follow-up and review” entails at the national, regional and global levels. There was much discussion on the role of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in this regard. There was disagreement on whether there should be technical revisions to the targets, which were approved by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals in July 2014. At the end of the week, the Co-Facilitators announced that the zero draft of the outcome document would be circulated on or about 1 June 2015, noting this would provide enough time to delegations to organize preliminary informal consultations before the sixth session of the intergovernmental negotiations begins on 22 June.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
The intergovernmental negotiation process on the post-2015 development agenda was first mandated by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2013, which also decided that a Global Summit should be held in September 2015 to adopt a new UN development agenda.
UNCSD: The international community gathered at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012, agreed to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Rio+20 outcome called for establishing an Open Working Group (OWG) that would submit a report to the 68th session of the General Assembly, containing a proposal for SDGs. The UNGA endorsed the outcome document, titled The Future We Want, in resolution 66/288 on 27 July 2012.
UNGA SPECIAL EVENT TO FOLLOW-UP EFFORTS TOWARDS ACHIEVING THE MDGS: This Special Event took place on 25 September 2013, at UN Headquarters in New York. The Outcome Document called for, inter alia: a single framework and set of goals that are universal in nature and applicable to all countries, and that promote peace and security, democratic governance, the rule of law, gender equality and human rights for all; intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 agenda; the Secretary-General to release, by the end of 2014, a synthesis report on all post-2015 development agenda inputs; and adopting the new agenda at a summit in September 2015.
OWG: The OWG on SDGs held its first eight meetings, also referred to as the “input” or “stocktaking” phase, between March 2013 and February 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York. In February 2014, the Co-Chairs, Macharia Kamau (Kenya) and Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), released a “stocktaking” document, reviewing the discussions to date, and a “focus areas” document, outlining 19 focus areas as the basis for further discussion. Prior to each of the subsequent five sessions, the Co-Chairs released revised documents for OWG delegates’ consideration. A document considered the “zero draft” of the goals and targets was issued on 2 June 2014, containing 17 proposed goals and 212 targets. On 19 July 2014, at the conclusion of the 13th session of the OWG and following two sessions held primarily in informal consultations, the Group adopted by acclamation a report containing 17 proposed SDGs and 169 targets, and agreed to submit the proposal to the UNGA for consideration and action at its 68th session.
SYNTHESIS REPORT OF THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: The UNGA called on the UN Secretary-General, in resolution 68/6 of September 2013, to synthesize inputs on the post-2015 development agenda in a report before the end of 2014, as an input to the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released an advance version of “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet” on 6 December 2014 and formally presented it to UN Member States on 8 January 2015. The report proposes an integrated set of six essential elements: dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice, and partnership.
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: A number of UNGA resolutions have established and set parameters for the post-2015 development agenda negotiations and related processes. On 30 June 2014, the UNGA adopted resolution 68/279, titled “Modalities for the third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3),” by which it decided to hold FfD3 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 13-16 July 2015, and, inter alia, emphasizes the need for effective coordination with the preparations for the summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda.
On 10 September 2014, the UNGA adopted resolution 68/309, by which it: acknowledged the conclusion of the work of the OWG; welcomed its report; and decided that the proposal of the OWG contained in its report shall be the main basis for integrating the SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda, while recognizing that other inputs will also be considered in the intergovernmental negotiating process in 2015.
On 29 December 2014, the UNGA adopted resolution 69/244 on the organization of the UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, which will take place on 25-27 September 2015, in New York, with the 70th session of the UN General Debate beginning on 28 September. The Summit will be convened as a High-level Plenary meeting of the UNGA and include plenary meetings concurrent with interactive dialogues. The rules of procedure and established practices of the UNGA will apply, unless otherwise decided.
On 16 January 2015, the UNGA adopted draft decision A/69/L.46 on modalities for the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. The decision states, inter alia:
• the proposal of the OWG on SDGs will be the main basis for integrating the SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda, while other inputs will also be taken into consideration;
• “every effort shall be made” to ensure effective coordination between the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda and the preparatory process for FfD3, and other relevant UN intergovernmental processes;
• the outcome document for adoption at the Summit “may include” as main components: a declaration; the SDGs and targets; means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development; and follow-up and review; and
• the initial draft of the outcome document shall be prepared by the Co-Facilitators “on the basis of views provided by Member States,” as well as “taking into account substantive discussions in the process of intergovernmental negotiations,” and issued by May 2015.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS ON THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: The first session convened from 19-21 January 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York, and conducted a “stocktaking” of governments’ views on the agenda. This was the first of eight scheduled sessions to prepare the outcome of the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015. On the basis of this session, the Co-Facilitators prepared an Elements Paper for discussion at the next session.
The second session convened from 17-20 February 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York. This session focused on the declaration component of the outcome that will be adopted at the Summit on the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015. The session also included an interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders and a briefing with the Director of the UN Statistics Division.
The third session convened from 23-27 March 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York. This meeting focused on: a proposed timeline and roadmap for the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) to create an indicator framework for the SDGs; country experiences in implementing sustainable development; and arrangements for a joint meeting with the FfD3 preparatory process during their April session. The session also included an interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders.
The fourth session convened as a joint meeting with the FfD3 process from 21-24 April 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates focused on: the deliberations during the second FfD3 preparatory meeting, which had convened the previous week; a discussion with representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; proposals for the creation of a technology facilitation mechanism and other science, technology and innovation issues; the relationship between the FfD3 and post-2015 processes; follow-up and review on FfD3 and means of implementation (MOI); and coherence between the outcome documents from the two processes, outstanding issues and the way forward. An interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders also took place.
REPORT OF THE MEETING
On Monday, 18 May 2015, Co-Facilitator Macharia Kamau opened the meeting, explaining that the fifth session was the last of the “scripted” sessions outlined in decision A/69/L.46 on modalities for the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. He expressed hope that the post-2015 process will be agreed by the end of July in order to provide enough time for capitals to “get themselves ready” for the UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda in September. He noted that “we will not be able to pick and choose which goals to implement and which goals not to” as they are interrelated, and added that the follow-up and review framework must be the point where “we all keep on track systematically.” He said the follow-up and review framework should: relate to people, planet, prosperity and partnership, and remarked that the social, economic and environmental components must not be lost. He also reminded delegates of the need to have “vertical” coherence between the community, national, regional and global levels, and “horizontal” linkages between governments, multilateral agencies and other stakeholders, among others.
Co-Facilitator David Donoghue requested delegates to offer “constructive and precise” proposals as to how follow-up and review should be structured. He stressed that that the follow-up and review component will be a voluntary framework and is not intended to be a burden, but rather a supportive, positive and constructive aid to Member States. Donoghue invited delegates to contribute across the full range of issues, saying it would be artificial to divide the debate between the global, national and regional levels.
FOLLOW-UP AND REVIEW
South Africa, for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), highlighted the importance of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in ensuring that the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) delivers on all functions, reaffirming that the HLPF is the “key forum for envisioned follow-up and review.” He said the latter should: be universal in scope; be “owned” by each country; be government-led and voluntary; and encompass the 17 SDGs and 169 targets in a balanced and integrated manner. He called for follow-up and review endeavors to: focus on an international assessment of programme gaps in development of the post-2015 agenda; be conducted in a constructive spirit; and be based on mutual learning and achievement. At the national level, he said the follow-up and review should, inter alia, be determined by national governments, include participation of all stakeholders, and ensure coherence with the regional and global levels.
Nigeria, for the African Group, said his Group views the post-2015 and FfD3 processes as two separate tracks, while recognizing their complementarities and convergences. She said FfD3 follow-up should feed into the HLPF, and review and follow-up at the national level should be voluntary and state-led. On the regional level, she outlined the need to: be guided by globally-agreed principles for follow-up and review; provide adequate space for regional organizations while avoiding duplication of efforts; and include the UN Regional Commissions.
The European Union (EU) noted that many of the post-2015 agenda targets are already addressed by legally binding agreements in other fora, and said delegates should focus on how to improve and streamline existing mechanisms rather than create a new one, such as the new task force proposed in the FfD3 draft outcome document. He said the post-2015 agenda needs a single overarching monitoring, accountability and review framework for both financial and non-financial MOI, with the key aspects expected to be decided in Addis Ababa and merged under the HLPF. He stressed the need to monitor all financial MOI, including those mobilized domestically, and to adopt a new accountability approach for the non-financial MOI, involving all stakeholders at all levels.
Ecuador, for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the follow-up and review framework should be inclusive, transparent and universal. He stressed the need for enabling environments at the national and international levels, and strengthening international cooperation on trade, capacity building and innovation. He welcomed the UNSC’s work on global indicators and invited collaboration with the UN Regional Commissions. Indicators should be developed voluntarily at the national level, he added, in accordance with national circumstances and capabilities. He called for technological support for the follow-up and review of the entire post-2015 agenda, “not only of the environmental targets,” and underscored the need for a Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM).
Tunisia, for the Arab Group, stressed that the independence of development finance must be considered separate from the post-2015 agenda, and the FfD3 outcome should not make “premature recommendations.” He said the review process should take place under the HLPF, which should be able to make decisions. He suggested that the UN Regional Commissions could provide technical assistance to the regional review process, which he said should build on existing mechanisms and focus on peer learning. He underscored the need to provide appropriate political space at the national level to focus on national priorities and involve stakeholders.
Belize, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the follow-up and review framework will provide “the checks and balances of implementation” and should confirm the role of the HLPF and include the regular reviews of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). She said it should provide mandates, including: to the HLPF, to conduct regular reviews of the SDGs’ MOI and other development commitments, including the SAMOA Pathway, while integrating regional reporting; and for adequate resources to support developing countries. She added that the follow-up and review framework should: be multilayered; involve all stakeholders; provide for “multi-speed” reporting; and include harmonized formats with existing reporting obligations.
The Maldives, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS), proposed: using existing mechanisms and providing capacity building; making better use of available national statistics and indicators; reviewing activities of the UN system and stakeholders; and recognizing the special circumstances of small island developing states (SIDS) as well as the SAMOA Pathway. He also called for adequate time to integrate the agenda into national processes, and for sharing best practices at the regional level. He remarked that monitoring and review of the post-2015 and FfD3 processes must be separate in scope and substance, but coherent.
Tonga, for Pacific SIDS, called for: an accountability process at the national level that does not increase burdens on SIDS; a follow-up and review process informed by evidence that is “timely, available and disaggregated”; strengthening capacity for data collection; regional peer reviews; and the HLPF to devote adequate time to discuss SIDS’ challenges, including one day dedicated to follow-up and review of SIDS issues.
Noting that reviews should be inclusive, participatory and transparent, Norway, on behalf of Egypt, Liechtenstein, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Norway and Switzerland, said national reviews should be state-led and should focus on assessing and achieving progress. She said regional organizations should enhance regional mechanisms and support review at the global level through existing thematic platforms. At the global level, she observed that the HLPF should promote knowledge exchange on SDG implementation through national and thematic reviews.
Mexico said the HLPF should be a forum for the review of national and regional progress towards SDG implementation, for exchanging national and regional lessons learned, and for advancing cooperation in areas where challenges still exist. He called for an independent assessment system for the follow-up and review structure in order to provide coherence between the two mechanisms for MOI that should be agreed on in the FfD3 and post-2015 processes.
Denmark stressed that national capacities for strengthening existing monitoring systems are paramount to the success of the SDGs. He said the framework should be: universal and the goals should include MOI; address gaps in implementation; and aim to promote actions that achieve goals, produce results and are transparent.
The Republic of Korea supported the key principles put forward in the discussion paper on follow-up and review, and noted that national review should be at the core, taking into account the cycle of the HLPF. He called for regional reviews to build on existing mechanisms. At the global level, he proposed grouping the 17 goals into several clusters, for the review purpose only. He also called for an overarching and integrated mechanism for the FfD3 and the post-2015 processes to achieve coherence, and for the FfD3 outcome to be an integral part of the follow-up and review framework.
China highlighted the need to: strengthen the review of MOI with a focus on official development assistance (ODA) commitments, technology transfer and capacity building; provide countries with flexibility; strengthen statistical work and institutional capacity for integration; enhance regional cooperation; and propose that Member States voluntarily submit reports on implementation.
Sri Lanka said the HLPF would be the most suitable platform to follow-up on progress on the post-2015 global commitments, and called for a strong follow-up and review mechanism that: is universal; respects the balance between the economic, social and environmental components; covers all the SDGs; and is led by governments.
The UK called for one overarching monitoring, accountability and review for the post-2015 agenda and the FfD3 MOI. She said: implementation will rest on accountability; the annual meetings of the HLPF will be critical; and there is a need to ensure that the post-2015 agenda does not lose its relevance because its targets or indicators become outdated. She highlighted specific issues for monitoring and accountability, including: ensuring no one is left behind; building data capacity and supporting national statistical offices; and aggregating data globally to provide a clear picture of progress.
Morocco said the follow-up and review framework should not impose conditionalities on the global partnership for development, deterring countries from participating; rather, it should integrate incentives for participation. He called for separate review mechanisms for the FfD3 and post-2015 processes.
The US said key principles for the follow-up and review framework include: focus on outcomes, rather than inputs; national ownership; multi-stakeholder participation at all levels; transparency; and evidence-based evaluation. On the institutional architecture, he supported using existing mechanisms to build an open and dynamic framework that allows comparability and identification of transboundary challenges. He opposed expanding the HLPF’s functions.
Moldova called for a multi-stakeholder, non-duplicative follow-up and review framework “to avoid falling into the trap of the review of the review of the review.”
Turkey remarked that national prioritization is the basis for implementation and strong national reviews are key. She called for: technical support for follow-up and review at the national level; a state-led, data-driven and voluntary process; and national review reports to be prepared every four years for submission to the HLPF.
Brazil said the follow-up and review discussion paper overemphasizes data, and asked to bring greater attention to mobilizing means to achieve the SDG goals and targets. He also emphasized the need for: diffusion of innovative solutions and technologies; reaffirming common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) as a basis for the post-2015 agenda; capacity building; and prioritizing poverty eradication as the overarching goal. He observed that the HLPF has the mandate to follow-up and review progress on SDGs, including on MOI commitments, which would not preclude the establishment of an inter-governmental committee on financing for sustainable development.
Explaining that the modalities for follow-up and review should be simple, robust and flexible to accommodate the comprehensive agenda, Japan emphasized that the HLPF, the entire UN system and non-UN frameworks should be included in the overarching review framework, while the diversity of regional groups should be taken into account, as “no one size fits all.” While agreeing to the principles presented in the discussion paper, he said they should be ordered by level of importance, suggesting the following: country ownership, people-centric results; inclusive partnerships; and transparency.
Sweden stressed the importance of having a robust, effective and transparent review and follow-up system in place that promotes effective implementation at all levels and is designed to support decision makers’ policy choices, prioritizing actions and investments. Saying the framework should apply to all stakeholders, including developing countries, and facilitate necessary course adjustments to make sure no one is left behind, she said Sweden would commit to putting 1% of gross national income (GNI) towards ODA.
Bangladesh requested further clarity on: the structure of the follow-up and review framework at the global and regional levels; the modalities of the HLPF and how it will work within eight working days and a four year cycle; and how the multi-layered process will harmonize. She stressed that the framework should not be for “naming and shaming” but rather intended to implement the agenda with a constructive spirit.
Paraguay stressed the need for an efficient and transparent system. He highlighted the importance of sharing experiences at all levels in a coherent manner in order to build capacity. He also called for providing access to technology, and for strengthening statistical bodies at all levels to have access to social, economic and environmental statistics.
Colombia remarked that the primary responsibility at the national level lies with governments, civil society and the private sector. She said it is vital to have a system for regional coordination that is not burdensome, and suggested that: a data bank to facilitate South-South cooperation could be created; the UN Regional Commissions could help identify regional priorities and assist with guidelines; and reports prepared at the regional level could be integrated in a global report.
Benin, on behalf of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), stressed that the follow-up and monitoring framework should capture all components, including elements linked to the Technology Bank. He called for: quality data and statistics and support for strong statistical capacity; adequate resources to participate in review and follow-up activities; and the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) to provide an update on the status of MOI, among other elements, and use disaggregated data.
Nigeria called for: strengthening reviews on MOI, especially technology transfer; considering national voluntary presentations within the framework of the Annual Ministerial Reviews; reporting on progress under the framework of the HLPF; timely data; and avoiding a one-size-fits-all solution.
Poland said the monitoring and accountability framework must be user-friendly, and highlighted the need for better use of existing resources, including the UN Regional Commissions and the UN Development Programme, among others.
The Russian Federation proposed considering one report to be prepared by governments, taking into account the views of other stakeholders, noting that states should determine the scope and format of the report. She also called for the UN Regional Commissions to provide regional reports, and for the global review to be held at the level of the HLPF.
Romania called for one overarching monitoring and review framework for the post-2015 and FfD3 processes that would cover all MOI. She emphasized the need for: clear lines of responsibility and guidelines for reporting; national reports based on a globally standardized format; and building on successful experiences such as the African Peer Review Mechanism at the regional level. She said the HLPF could orchestrate the review and annual HLPF meetings could discuss lessons learned, among other issues.
Liechtenstein highlighted the importance of: aggregating findings at the regional level; multi-stakeholder participation; and having one integrated mechanism for all FfD3 and post-2015 commitments, noting that the Addis Ababa outcome should be the MOI pillar of the post-2015 development agenda.
The Philippines called for: Member States to “start” national review bodies; accessing resources to formulate national reports; making aggregated data available; capacity building; better technical cooperation; strengthening regional peer review mechanisms; and the HLPF to ensure ownership of the post-2015 development agenda.
Italy called for: participatory approaches at the local level; a monitoring and review process that results in effective cooperation and addresses cross-border opportunities at the regional level; voluntary national presentations and follow-up of monitoring and review of all MOI under the HLPF; global monitoring that makes use of existing mechanisms; and linking the HLPF to the UN Fit for Purpose process.
Australia suggested follow-up and review principles, such as: improve development outcomes through quality data; be efficient but not duplicative; build on existing frameworks; emphasize sectoral and technical expertise; ensure that it is nationally owned and voluntary; integrate MOI; and improve continuously. He also suggested that the HLPF should focus on thematic aspects of the agenda each year.
Guatemala stressed the need to strengthen statistical information systems and called for the participation of different stakeholders. She said the most important efforts to achieve the agenda must come from the national level.
France explained that Member States should be responsible for transmitting reports and observations to the regional level and the HLPF, and that regional entities, such as development banks, should voluntarily contribute to the process. He said the HLPF should be a forum for, inter alia: sharing experiences, best practices and successes; discussing contentious topics and sharing solutions; and building together for progress. Noting the existence of a clear consensus for an effective mechanism that avoids duplication of efforts, he suggested adopting a single framework for the post-2015 and FfD3 processes.
Switzerland said the HLPF should: be the central locus of follow-up and review; bring together different sectoral review processes; and assess both how countries are doing individually and how the international community is doing globally in achieving the SDGs. He suggested that the financial MOI should be integrated in the post-2015 review framework to feed into the HLPF, and should be integrated into the post-2015 outcome document. He identified key principles for follow-up and review, including: universality; periodicity; transparency; results-oriented; incentive-based; and evidence-based.
Israel said each country should devise its own national review strategy following global guidelines. The follow-up and review framework should be based on the principle of accountability, she added, and she welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal of integrating national, regional and global reports. She further explained that the reports should be user-friendly, written in an understandable language, and pay special attention to women, youth and other vulnerable groups. She also stressed the importance of using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) platforms for data gathering.
Spain stressed the role of the HLPF and said implementation must be decided in Addis Ababa, but the review framework should be global, building on existing mechanisms and not duplicating efforts.
Egypt said the post-2015 negotiations should address the “authority deficit” of the HLPF and called for independent arrangements for follow-up and review of the post-2015 and FfD3 processes. He cautioned that many of the details presented in the Co-Facilitators’ discussion paper on follow-up and review could be seen as prescriptive and should be decided at the national level. He added that the follow-up and review framework should be built in a constructive spirit and should integrate incentives for participation.
Timor-Leste said follow-up and review of the post-2015 agenda requires a data revolution that needs to be supported by commitments on technological capacity building, which also need to be monitored and reviewed. He stressed the need for qualitative and quantitative reviews, not only “traffic lights” that identify overall progress.
Niger stressed the need for capacity building for national statistical offices (NSOs) to strengthen their data collection and analysis capabilities.
Uganda urged designing appropriate baselines for the desired change. He said the follow-up and review framework should: at the national level, assess progress against the benchmarks established and identify risks and actions to be taken; at the regional level, share lessons learned and identify challenges; at the global level, through the HLPF, ensure special focus on MOI like global finance, trade, capacity building, technology transfer, and policy coherence for sustainable development.
Venezuela recognized the contribution of many stakeholders, saying that national reporting is fundamentally reporting to people of the country. Explaining that reporting and implementation on national energy policies are the exclusive purview of Venezuela, she stated that the post-2015 development agenda must preserve the policy-making space for developing countries.
Recognizing the importance of a mechanism that efficiently and sufficiently addresses and responds to changing and emerging challenges in the implementation period, Zambia welcomed the proposal to have the HLPF take on a more central role to convene regular targeted sessions that would review the implementation progress on the SDGs. Sudan said the HLPF should “shoulder its responsibilities as soon as possible” and supported a follow-up and review mechanism that is voluntary and respects national priorities.
Cyprus emphasized the importance of: reliable and transparent data for measuring progress at all levels; capacity building for high quality data; involving stakeholders; and one overarching accountability and monitoring framework for the entire post-2015 development process, that would include the FfD3 outcome.
Pakistan noted the need for the review to: focus on assessment of challenges; be voluntary and state-led; and take into account different levels of development as well as best practices.
Opening the session on Tuesday morning, Co-Facilitator Kamau informed delegates that there are still “15 days or so” before finalizing the zero draft of the outcome document for the Post-2015 Summit, and that the draft would provide a “solid basis” for a debate.
Germany stressed the need for an overarching framework for a new global partnership. He said the HLPF, backed by an effective support structure, should be the “cornerstone” of an inclusive review framework, and states should have the opportunity to make national presentations. He called for considering follow-up and review principles in the post-2015 outcome document, including: building on already established systems; fostering ownership by stakeholders; creating a multi-layered review framework under the leadership of the HLPF that is evidence based; and facilitating peer learning and exchange.
Belarus said the HLPF is the most appropriate place for systematic review, including on the SDGs, and noted that reviews should: be voluntary in nature; serve as a “unifying force”; promote exchange of experiences; and use a differentiated approach to measuring progress. He suggested considering inter-parliamentary collaboration at the multilateral level, called for an independent assessment of countries on their own progress on the SDGs, and noted that the indicators being developed by the UNSC “must describe processes measurable in all countries”.
The EU said accountability should be “first and foremost” at the national level, where the framework should involve all relevant stakeholders and produce periodic implementation reports built on globally harmonized standards. At the regional level, he suggested that the framework should: facilitate peer reviews and exchanges of best practices; be used to track progress on transboundary issues and shared targets; and build on the support of the UN Regional Commissions. At the global level, he proposed that the review: be used to strengthen the effectiveness of the implementation measures; identify areas for further action and emerging issues; and include global thematic reviews and assessments of the private’s sector involvement in implementation, based on voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports. He called for annual streamlined SDG reports to be discussed during the HLPF, whose outcome should be a yearly negotiated ministerial declaration, including recommendations for action, and a concise political declaration at its quadrennial session under the UNGA.
Bulgaria, for the Group of Friends of Children and SDGs, stressed that investing in children is a key element for achieving progress on the poverty goal and other relevant SDGs as it is the only way to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and commence a cycle of sustainable growth and prosperity for all. In this regard, he called for measuring child poverty using monetary and multidimensional indicators, and for targeting public investments towards improving children’s well-being.
Finland underlined that the implementation, monitoring, accountability and review of the agenda are most important at the national level. She called for a single monitoring framework for the FfD3 and post-2015 processes, and invited: stakeholder participation at all levels; global thematic reviews; and flexibility in the functions of HLPF to ensure its adaptation to future development challenges.
The Holy See stressed “the need to move beyond verifiable results,” saying that “all of us have something at stake.” He called for remembering to put the vulnerable, poor and those most in need at the center of the post-2015 agenda. He said the review mechanism must be governmentally-led, voluntary and seen as beneficial and valuable to participants. He warned not to strain developing countries’ resources with new data requirements, and to ensure aid to strengthen statistical capabilities and the ability of the most vulnerable to participate in the HLPF.
Belgium stressed that the current debate does not sufficiently take into account the monitoring mechanisms that already exist within ECOSOC. She noted that the Rio+20 outcome document included separate paragraphs on the HLPF and ECOSOC’s role in follow-up and review. She said the need to create a system, where ECOSOC can find its place and avoid duplication. She called for the establishment of an integrated Secretariat and clear identification of the work between the HLPF and ECOSOC.
Canada said the post-2015 agenda needs an efficient, robust and transparent review framework. He asked for the Secretariat to do a mapping exercise to identify existing review mechanisms and called for the HLPF to discuss how these mechanisms relate to each other. He also advocated for a new paradigm for accountability, which should include governments, international organizations, the private sector, civil society and “ordinary people” and called for the new agenda and review to be “people centered.”
Palau called for inclusive and transparent participation of stakeholders, persons with disabilities, women, girls, children and youth. He noted three principles: integration and cohesiveness with respect to other conventions and treaties related to the three pillars; completeness: no goal or target is considered met unless it is met for all groups; and upholding human rights and the role of governments to meet basic human needs.
India stressed that it is better to look at this framework as “review and follow-up,” since review should come first. He said: the mechanism should help countries with voluntary objectives, while recognizing diverse situations and starting points; the agenda and its goals and targets are universal and aspirational in nature; and national review and follow-up should be left to governments. He added that there is a need for “a lean but not mean system of review and follow-up.”
Bulgaria said implementation of the post-2015 development agenda is the responsibility of all stakeholders. She called for one overarching framework for all goals and targets and MOI, including FfD3, with the HLPF in an oversight role. She noted that each state should determine its own monitoring mechanism, and regional and global reviews should take stock of progress and identify areas where less progress has been made as well as areas of new and emerging issues.
Mexico focused on how they are preparing to implement the SDGs, highlighting, inter alia, the existence of an inter-ministerial cross-cutting committee that is transitioning to work on the goals. He remarked that, with more than 300 possible indicators, the monitoring process will involve “monumental” efforts on methodology, and said the participation of the Mexican legislature in the post-2015 process will be key.
Nepal remarked that the HLPF under the auspices of UNGA and ECOSOC will be the most appropriate body to carry out tasks on sustainable development, and highlighted the need to strengthen it. He outlined the importance of modernizing national legislation on data, and called for the follow-up and review framework to: operate at all levels; be led by governments; and ensure coherence among the national, regional and global levels.
Ecuador suggested that: states should conduct biannual reviews to “better compare the SDGs from the start”; the regional-level should map out existing follow-up and review mechanisms to avoid duplication; national statistical offices should work together in coordination with UN Regional Commissions and other bodies; the HLPF should be in charge of the reviews at the global level; and the reviews should be intergovernmental and focus on progress based on data collected at the national level.
Italy said the follow-up and review framework should be built on: national ownership underpinned by the principle of universality; meaningful participation; transparency; accountability; and a multi-layered approach. He added that it should: allow transectoral review of the SDGs; review both financial and non-financial MOI; and include the private sector. He welcomed the recommendations of Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on a data revolution.
Peru proposed that the follow-up and review framework: respect national policy space; involve stakeholders at all levels; involve the most vulnerable groups; and recognize diversity and cultural manifestations. He added that the HLPF should: ensure the participation of all stakeholders in a context led by states; include regional and thematic reviews; integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner; and work from the ground up to monitor progress made.
New Zealand said the follow-up mechanism must: be simple, building on existing reporting mechanisms; be nimble, identifying implementation gaps in real time and as effective as possible; and break down the review into “digestible” portions, such as starting from achievements on the MDGs, then moving to the SDGs and themes. She stressed that Member States should not be obligated to submit reports to the HLPF.
Denmark said the global monitoring, accountability and review framework needs to work effectively at the national level with common core principles, and be flexible, easy to understand, based on indicators, and able to identify gaps. He noted that regional peer reviews and thematic reviews should be flexible; it is crucial to build on existing frameworks; and the HLPF should play a key oversight function, including by incorporating the role of all stakeholders, making recommendations for action at all levels, and strengthening the science-policy interface.
Croatia stressed the role of all stakeholders in an inclusive follow-up and review mechanism that is nationally driven, but with complementary regional and international mechanisms, and open to all stakeholders. He called for the HLPF’s activities to be expanded in this regard and for the UN to adjust itself to make the post-2015 agenda more visible and effective.
Indonesia said the principles of CBDR and universality are essential in follow-up and review, and stressed the important role of financing, technology and capacity building in implementation and review of the post-2015 agenda. He noted that: every country should take ownership of the review process at the national level; there is a need for cooperation with other stakeholders; there must be a specific review of SDG 17; and the HLPF can serve as a venue to bring everyone together, including major economic institutions.
Norway said the outcome document does not need to have all the specifics at this time. She added that the system of follow-up and review: must be high in impact and lightweight in structures and not burdensome for Member States; should not create new structures; and must be a coherent framework that monitors the post-2015 agenda including MOI. She suggested that the HLPF, at its July 2015 meeting, should elaborate on its role.
Sweden welcomed countries that already have begun to align their national development plans with the SDGs and asked delegates to agree on a timeline for all countries to do so, with respect for different national capabilities. She stressed the importance of involving civil society in follow-up and review, and said the HLPF’s form must follow function.
Thailand questioned whether the global post-2015 framework needs to determine the frequency of national level reviews. He called for national reviews to build on existing mechanisms, not start from scratch, but ensure a smooth transition. He expressed strong support for the UN Regional Commissions’ role in implementation, and welcomed Canada’s comment on the importance of considering the relationship between the HLPF and ECOSOC.
The Republic of Korea said follow-up and review should be based on universal accountability and shared responsibility and should be accompanied by incentives such as access to best practices, sharing experiences, policy advice and resources for implementation. He called for regional organizations to propose how regional reviews should be organized. He said the core principles of the review and follow-up should be identified at the Summit, but the outcome document should not be too prescriptive.
Singapore outlined that: the SDG targets are aspirational, meaning that all governments should set their own targets, taking into account their level of development; the UNSC framework should not be seen as one size fits all but should comprise a menu of indicators; national reviews should be based on national data and reports; and the HLPF should provide broad, overarching guidance on review, including a big picture of the progress achieved and the remaining gaps at the global level.
On Tuesday afternoon, Costa Rica expressed concern about overburdening the HLPF by overextending its mandate. He stressed the need to: set specific tasks for specialized agencies; clearly define the UN’s role; respect the principle of national ownership; strengthen national capabilities; and establish national councils and regional forums for sustainable development. He said SDG 17 on MOI needs to be part of the follow-up and review framework of the post-2015 agenda and a bridge to the FfD3 agenda.
Iceland proposed: adding the cost-effectiveness principle to the list of principles for the follow-up and review framework; avoiding silos, including for thematic reviews; integrating the work of the Commission on the Status of Women; and setting appropriate, not excessive, reporting burdens.
Japan called for concrete modalities and timelines to be left to countries, underscoring the need for flexibility in accordance with national circumstances and existing commitments. He highlighted that the regional level could address transboundary issues such as infrastructure or communicable diseases, and stressed the need for the UN system to map and incentivize all relevant networks, including non-UN regional organizations. At the global level, he said the framework should have the HLPF at the center and be supported by the widest network of existing mechanisms, such as those of the World Trade Organization or the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Argentina highlighted the importance of macroeconomic conditions for development that are needed to achieve the SDGs. He also said reviews should not be uniform or be conducted in an undifferentiated way, but should consider respecting different regional, economic and social conditions. At the global level, he remarked that reviews should avoid a “carrots and sticks” approach, but instead give space to different models and visions, so each country can achieve the SDGs.
El Salvador acknowledged the HLPF as the key forum for follow-up and review and called for strengthening cooperation and coordination within the UN system. She said follow-up and review needs to be universal and transparent and that the principle of universality must be consistent with the principle of CBDR. She said measuring progress in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) is technically inadequate and does not provide the right picture of challenges and opportunities.
Switzerland stressed the importance of the country review at the global level, where there should be “mutual reviews” between all Member States. She said the reviews should be based on national progress reports, and should be followed by an interactive discussion among countries and stakeholders in a constructive manner. She highlighted the importance of concrete exchanges between countries at the global level, because they promote mutual learning across regions. She also called for clear language in the post-2015 outcome document on the next steps for the implementation of the SDGs by the UN.
Austria stressed that, in addition to the important role of parliaments, national and local governments, civil society, science and academia in follow-up and review, national supreme audit institutions have great potential to enable the follow-up and review mechanisms to work and to help implementing institutions achieve the expected outcomes of sustainable development initiatives.
Liberia stated that peace and security is paramount to achieving the SDGs. He added that governments cannot own a follow-up and review process if national capacity is low, legislatures are weak, and there are no clear data to assess “where a country begins and where it can go.” He called for debt waivers and timely delivery of ODA, so developing country governments can implement the SDGs.
Turkey said regional reviews should be a platform to share best practices, develop partnerships and guarantee achievements. She called for discussing aggregated findings of national reviews at the regional level, a robust and well-functioning monitoring process, and including a provisional list of global indicators in the September package. She also stressed the importance of: the GSDR; a strong science-policy interface; and follow-up on the MOI commitments in the post-2015 and FfD3 agendas.
Chad called for: separating the follow-up and review mechanisms for the FfD3 and post-2015 agendas; strengthening and restructuring the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to enhance its role; and strengthening the capacity of countries to improve data collection and analysis.
Greece and Estonia called for a single overarching monitoring, accountability and follow-up framework for the entire post-2015 development agenda, involving all stakeholders at all levels. Estonia also stressed the need to consider ICTs and opportunities for innovation in devising the framework.
Montenegro called for the establishment of an online platform for sharing national quantitative data on progress and gaps in implementing the SDGs, noting that the platform should be accessible for all and ensure civil society engagement. He also called for this platform to be reviewed biannually. He said the regional review meetings could be an opportunity for countries to provide qualitative explanations for the statistics shared on the online platform.
Serbia supported the introduction of standardized criteria at the national, regional and global levels to strengthen comparability. He highlighted that, despite differences between regions, there are many cross-cutting issues such as fighting poverty, empowerment of women, and combating climate change. He also called for all countries to submit biannual reports and to adopt universal standards and indicators to be used in national reports.
Paraguay said more emphasis should be given to responsibilities that some countries have towards other countries in specific situations, such as landlocked developing countries. He suggested including UN principles on this issue in the Summit outcome document, and using existing universal review mechanisms to inspire the process. He remarked that the possibility of reviews at the global level depend on the comparability and comprehensiveness of national statistics.
Kazakhstan called for, inter alia: holding international organizations accountable; ensuring data quality; and engaging stakeholders, including women and youth.
Cameroon called for: voluntary and state-led reviews; allowing regional organizations to decide how they want to function; and addressing capacity building. Referring to the illustrative framework for follow-up and review, included in annex of the discussion paper, he warned against “over-prescription” at the national level, and clarified that the APRM includes specific goals and MOI.
The Netherlands emphasized the need for enabling environments for the inclusion and participation of NGOs and data disaggregation. She added that thematic sessions of the HLPF could be considered on cross-cutting issues and where progress is lagging.
Timor-Leste said continued country ownership and targets remain the backbone of the agenda, and noted the importance of outreach to civil society and business groups.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said that, “as custodians of the public purse,” parliaments have a key role in mobilizing resources for the SDGs, adding that the question of being “fit for purpose” applies as much to parliaments as to governments and the UN system. She called for avoiding a silos approach within parliaments and for clear language on the role of the parliaments.
IDEA said democratic accountability of governments is a crucial enabling element for the SDGs’ implementation, stressed the importance of follow-up and review at the sub-national level, and called for expanding big data resources by the development community.
In closing the discussion, Co-Facilitator Donoghue highlighted common themes and issues meriting further discussion, based on the discussion over the first two days. He noted that everyone shared the view that implementation of the SDGs depends on a well-functioning review framework, but there needs to be further discussion on terminology (is it a monitoring, assessment and review process or a follow-up and review process?). He also noted convergence on the principles that should guide this framework, including universality, voluntary nature, nationally-owned, evidence- and data-based, multi-stakeholder inclusive, transparent, “lean but not mean,” based on an exchange of experience and best practices, and not overburdening.
Donoghue noted that most delegates supported the HLPF as the main platform for follow-up and review at the global level. He outlined that there is emerging consensus that the HLPF will have to: keep track of progress towards the SDGs; identify shortcomings and gaps; make recommendations about what countries should do to stay on track; and discuss emerging issues and challenges. He remarked that there is still divergence on how to approach the follow-up and review on both the FfD and post-2015 processes (whether there should be a single overarching framework or not). Delegates also expressed varying opinions on what the key outcomes of the HLPF’s work will be, and what the HLPF should focus on in 2016.
The Co-Facilitators asked delegates to think about how the HLPF will deliver on the multitude of tasks it will need to perform, including: should the HLPF meet twice a year; should activities under other tracks be discontinued; and should country reviews be discussed at the regional level instead of at the HLPF. Donoghue also welcomed further views on whether there should be separate secretariats for ECOSOC and the HLPF, or a single, integrated secretariat.
Kamau echoed the concern about nomenclature and accountability mechanisms, and said there needs to be coherence in all of the information and data from the various accountability frameworks and mechanisms. With regard to the HLPF, he cautioned that the Forum has too much to do in eight days, which includes three ministerial days. He suggested that either there should be two meetings or some of the HLPF’s agenda should be offloaded, for example, the thematic reviews could be done in the governing bodies of the UN system and report back to the HLPF. He said those issues that do not have a natural home in the UN system (water, energy, inequality, marine ecosystems and maybe SDG 16) could stay with the HLPF and other governing bodies could handle some of the other issues.
On Wednesday afternoon, Co-Facilitator Donoghue invited delegates to provide their reactions on the preliminary impressions presented by the Co-Facilitators on Tuesday afternoon. He expressed hope to receive guidance from delegates about: how to concretize the discussion; what should appear in the zero draft of the post-2015 outcome document; and what should be left for further resolution after the Summit.
The EU said monitoring, accountability and review are all essential for the implementation of the agenda. He clarified that monitoring is about data and information to provide an assessment of progress, and accountability is about taking ownership, responsibility and ensuring follow-up of commitments. He called for monitoring and review to incorporate disaggregated data, and said the HLPF should not operate alone but other mechanisms, including multilateral environmental agreements, should feed into its work. He cautioned against delegating the thematic reviews to other bodies, noting that only the HLPF has the mandate to ensure that the review process fully integrates and captures all views on the agenda. He called for one overarching accountability and review framework for the whole post-2015 development agenda, which would include MOI to be agreed during FfD3.
Referring to resolution 67/290 on the format and organizational aspects of the HLPF, South Africa, for the G-77/China, remarked that the HLPF is the appropriate platform for follow-up and review, but accountability and monitoring “have no place in this debate.” He said follow-up and review should: be universal in scope and take into account national circumstances; be government-led and voluntary; assess the results of a TFM in catalyzing efforts to promote and transfer technology to developing countries; assess post-2015 progress, gaps, achievements and challenges; include contributions of relevant UN entities, including at the regional level; apply to commitments at the international level that are required for the attainment of the SDGs; and ensure coherence at national, regional and global levels. He called for an intergovernmental commission on follow-up and review of FfD commitments, noting that recommendations should not be prescriptive.
Fiji raised the issue of thematic reviews and finding homes for “orphan” SDGs such as SDG 14 on oceans. He mentioned the ongoing negotiations on a draft resolution calling for an Oceans Summit, which will deal with accountability for SDG14 in its entirety, providing triannual benchmarking procedures. He said the timing of the HLPF should coordinate with other fora undergoing evaluations, such as the Oceans Summit, or focus annually on one of the social, economic or environmental clusters.
Armenia called for: building synergies and maximizing coordination between existing mechanisms; avoiding exposing states to reporting fatigue caused by the multitude of existing monitoring frameworks; and integrating review of the commitments in the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries into the post-2015 follow-up and review framework.
Mexico suggested considering the activities that are already part of the ECOSOC system in order to avoid burdening the HLPF with bureaucratic mandates that are handled by the Council. He said the HLPF should produce a ministerial declaration every year, providing guidelines for SDG implementation, but should not produce global progress reports. He stressed the need for an integrated secretariat for ECOSOC and the HLPF.
Canada proposed that the Secretariat should map existing review mechanisms, including with regard to their weaknesses and strengths and how they relate to each other. He cautioned against holding two HLPF meetings a year, noting that this view should not preclude possible changes in the future.
France said the HLPF cannot fulfill the ambitious functions envisioned and suggested looking at existing mechanisms and drawing on the expertise of the UN system and its partners. He suggested that: synergies between ECOSOC and the HLPF could be facilitated by a shared secretariat; two HLPF meetings a year would dilute the interest, and thus participation, of high-level officials; and using the annual GSDR would be a good way to include the newest information from the scientific community.
Switzerland reiterated the need for coherence between the post-2015 and the FfD3 processes. He proposed postponing the first HLPF meeting under the auspices of the UNGA from 2017 to 2019 so as to allow a five-year review of the post-2015 development agenda. He added this would allow the quadrennial HLPF meetings under the auspices of the UNGA to take place in the same year as the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), which would strengthen the ability of the UN to align its work to the implementation of the post-2015 agenda.
The UK called for agreement on a review framework where no target is considered met unless it refers to all groups. She said data must be disaggregated, better-used and more accessible; monitoring, accountability and review must drive action on the ground; full participation of all people, including civil society and business, will help ensure we leave no one behind; and participatory modeling should be highlighted.
Australia supported continuing the current practice under the MDGs by producing an annual SDG report that aggregates progress on achieving the SDGs. He said the HLPF should: synthesize information; cover the agenda in a cyclical way; and have thematic reviews each year. He remarked that eight meeting days will be enough for the HLPF and added that the GSDR should reflect the HLPF theme each year.
Liechtenstein expressed support for one overarching framework for all sustainable development commitments. She said the HLPF should determine its own programme of work, not the post-2015 negotiations. She cautioned against a linear approach to reporting—national to regional to global—and suggested that the outcome document should establish general principles for the framework and the objectives we want to achieve.
Germany said having two meetings of the HLPF per year does not seem appropriate and suggested, inter alia, structuring the review of the HLPF around clusters of SDGs.
Japan said the HLPF does not have to do everything every year and noted that, if it met twice a year, the level of participation would decrease. He called for the efficient division of labor between the UNGA Second Committee and ECOSOC.
Iran said there is a biological connection between all the components of the post-2015 development agenda and the success of the follow up and review process depends on all of them.
Norway called for horizontal participation in follow-up and review, including Major Groups and the private sector. Regarding follow up and review of the MOI commitments, she said delegates should consider one overarching framework, but that this would not necessarily imply that all parts of that framework will need to be considered by the HLPF. She added that the HLPF, as the “crown of the system,” should have the prerogative to discuss all matters related to sustainable development and its financing”
The US called for the review of the HLPF to be transparent, inclusive and focused on outcomes. He said the review framework should include both the FfD3 and post-2015 processes, and there is no need for two meetings a year. He added that the HLPF should be seen as a forum for high-level discussion of issues identified in advance. He also welcomed the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs).
Turkey remarked that national reviews should include accountability between the government and citizens, and regional reviews should focus more on exchange of experiences and lessons learned. She added that the HLPF should ensure the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development and its annual meeting should ensure a bottom-up approach for the review and allow sufficient time for countries to set their own priorities in relation to the SDGs.
Concluding the afternoon session, Co-Facilitator Donoghue said he appreciated the detail of the interventions, which helped the Co-Facilitators to add “flesh to the bones of the structure we are working towards.”
Co-Facilitator Kamau listed his takeaways from the discussions, including: Switzerland’s proposal to reset the HLPF’s timeline; not being over-prescriptive; and the absence of support for both a two-secretariat arrangement and for HLPF meetings twice a year. Kamau suggested that the thematic issues to be considered by the HLPF could be organized around people, planet, prosperity and partnerships. He reminded delegates that there is both the GSDR, which was mandated by Rio+20 and collates reports and provides guidance to the HLPF in its work, as well as the Global Sustainable Development Trends Report, which will focus more on each SDG and will also feed into the HLPF. He said there seems to be no doubt about the participation of stakeholders, Major Groups and other members of civil society in the process.
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE WITH MAJOR GROUPS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS
On Wednesday morning, Co-Facilitator Kamau opened the interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders. He remarked that concerns had been expressed by some representatives on accessing the post-2015 negotiation sessions, but confirmed that the Co-Facilitators would “continue to champion” the access of Major Groups and other stakeholders to the meetings. He reported that some had suggested using a different format for the interactive dialogues, such as holding them at the end of the day for each remaining session, but advised that this option could have negative consequences, such as not getting a slot because the negotiators “might take the whole time speaking.”
Agnes Leina Ntikaampi, Illaramatak Community Concerns, as part of Tebtebba Foundation, called for: a mechanism for the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples at all levels; data disaggregation, including on ethnic origin and on indigenous status; empowering and building capacity of the indigenous community to act on the basis of the information they have; and including, in UN and national government reports, community-based monitoring and data collection with full respect for the free, prior informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.
Kate Donald, Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), announced that the CESR, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are proposing a peer review component under the HLPF to examine cross-border challenges, in particular the responsibilities of the rich countries, to create an enabling environment for sustainable development. She called for the post-2015 outcome document to lay down principles that all states implement participatory planning and review processes at the national level, guided by their human rights obligations.
Nana Koomah Brown-Orleans, Trade Unions Congress - Ghana, called for: indicators to be rights-based; Member States to report on the implementation of all targets, including MOI; the HLPF to integrate existing accountability mechanisms; replicating the International Labour Organization (ILO) supervisory mechanism or use it to inform the global accountability mechanism; and an effective mechanism to hold business accountable. She expressed concern about using public-private partnerships (PPPs) for health, water, sanitation and other social issues and called for demonstrating their added value.
Veronica Robledo, WWF Columbia, called for creating national accounting systems and incorporating them into national and local development plans and strategies. She also stressed the importance of the thematic reviews and called for a circular rather than linear system of review between the national, regional and global levels.
Samuel Mensah-Baah, VSO West and Central Africa, emphasized the importance of a strong bottom-up approach to reviews in the post-2015 agenda. He said this approach needs to look beyond statistics and reports and must focus on including citizens, especially those in remote areas. He added that civil society participation needs to be more than a “talking box,” and that a conducive environment needs to be created through more investments in education. He highlighted the need for robust regional reviews like the APRM.
Riitta Reich, Post-2015 Coordinator, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland, stressed the importance of ensuring multi-stakeholder participation not only in review and monitoring processes, but throughout the entire post-2015 process―including in the negotiations. She flagged Finland’s initiative, titled “Civil Society Commitment to Sustainable Development,” as an example of how to get contributions from the private sector and civil society included throughout the political process.
Amb. Hahn Choonghee, Republic of Korea, said follow-up and review at the international level needs to address progress and achievements with contributions from diverse stakeholders. He noted that a periodic peer review mechanism at the global and regional level should be “seriously” considered, and that a thematic review would be important to chart progress and identify challenges and bottlenecks.
Cristina Diez, ATD Fourth World, said no target will be considered met unless met for all, including the most vulnerable. She stressed the importance of constructing national mechanisms for participatory monitoring and accountability, which include qualitative as well as quantitative data.
Arpita Das, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, expressed concern with the emphasis on private financing and noted that the private sector must follow human rights, labor laws and environmental standards. She called for an increase in public health funding to reach out to vulnerable populations who suffer from health inequalities and large out-of-pocket expenditures.
Betty Wamala Mugabi, World Vision East Africa Region, outlined the need to: have a monitoring mechanism that is multi-level; promote an enabling environment for participatory monitoring, as well as means and capacity building to make this happen; and ensure spaces “for citizen-generated evidence and dialogue” so as to incorporate people’s voices in national, regional and global post-2015 monitoring mechanisms.
Margaret Batty, WaterAid, welcomed Goal 6 on water and sanitation, and outlined the importance of multi-stakeholder initiatives that promote mutual accountability between partners, such as the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership. She emphasized the need for a principle on integration and policy coherence, providing the example that universal health coverage will not be achieved without sanitation, and sanitation will not progress without improvements in education, such as school toilets.
Ari Eisenstat, DRÆM VENTURES, as part of the International Chamber of Commerce, stressed the importance of “impact investing” and reducing the disconnect between the goals of business and society. He said his firm is applying a Microfinance Model for Venture Capital to help “find, found and fund” the next generation of socially, environmentally and technologically conscious entrepreneurs, and has developed a system to facilitate partnerships with stakeholders and startups and to streamline transparent and intentional impact reporting.
Dámaso Luna, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, supported continuing the dialogue with civil society and stressed the importance of getting the private sector “onboard in relation to this agenda.”
Mireia Rozas-Simon, nrg4SD, stressed that coherence both across governance layers and issues is a prerequisite for successful implementation and called for capacity building for national and sub-national reporting systems.
Farah Eman Mesmar, ActionAid Arab Regional Initiative, called for accountability mechanisms that include legally-mandated, well-resourced and specifically-designed measures for meaningful youth participation in monitoring and review, including the HLPF. She called for children and young people to be included in the themes of the Summit’s interactive dialogues.
Joseph Enyegue Oye, Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, said implementation needs to be disability-inclusive at the national, regional and global levels. He called for: integrating persons with disabilities in the process through accessible technologies, sign language, and Braille; disaggregated data; and measuring if national development plans are targeted to those who need them the most.
Sharmila Murthy, Suffolk University Law School and Harvard University, said the follow-up and review framework should be participatory, evidence-based and multi-tiered. She welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal for an annual Global Forum for knowledge sharing under the HLPF.
Francisco Ramiro Cevallos Tejada, Global Campaign for Education, said the review mechanisms should provide space for the participation of stakeholders who work on individual targets. He called for rights-based indicators and for education and health to be separate from any profit-seeking initiatives.
Amb. Bénédicte Frankinet, Belgium, stressed the important role of the UN system and the HLPF in follow-up and review. She remarked that the post-2015 development agenda will become the UN’s main focus and suggested focusing on how we can prevent duplication and ensure complementarity between ECOSOC and the HLPF.
Co-Facilitator Kamau asked participants how 20th century institutions can deliver a 21st century agenda. He noted that we are discussing matters of UN Fit for Purpose, but change is anathema “in these parts.” He added that the status quo “has an army and is afraid that change will impact on us individually, even though change may bring better prospects for us all.”
Erlinda Capones, National Economic Development Authority, the Philippines, said the review mechanism needs to be transparent and participatory, and enable people to participate effectively and without discrimination. She described the multi-sectoral committee in the Philippines that has been the venue for coordinating implementation and progress in achieving the MDGs, and will be used for the SDGs.
Eleanor Blomstrom, Women’s Environment and Development Organization, said we must match the goals and targets with a robust, transparent follow-up and review mechanism. She said: gaps must be addressed at the national level; regional reviews can provide space for shared learning; and the HLPF should include universal peer review. She added that the mechanism must be: grounded in CBDR, with regular reviews that are results-oriented and fulfil gender equality and human rights obligations; and are open, democratic and participatory.
Meghan Sapp, Euro-African Green Energy, as part of the International Chamber of Commerce, called for political space for partners to report on progress, including at the HLPF and other thematic venues like the Committee on Food Security. She said a “new, separate reporting standard” would not be feasible for most businesses, and called for updating existing business reporting systems to take the SDGs into account.
Pedro German Guzman Perez, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty/Agrosolidaria, as part of IBON International, called for: periodic peer reviews of the SDGs’ progress on implementation and of action plans at all levels with civil society, Major Groups and other stakeholders; establishing independent special rapporteurs to assess progress, barriers, violations and provide recommendation to advance the right to sustainable development; and adhere to and fully apply the principle of non-regression regarding agreed principles and rights, including the “human right” to participate in decision-making and access to information.
Stefano Prato, Society for International Development, highlighted the need: for every country to adopt a National Sustainable Development Strategy, through a truly inclusive participatory process; for review, accountability and follow-up processes to respond to right-holders rather than stakeholders; and to support a HLPF-centered monitoring and accountability framework with a complementary intergovernmental FfD follow-up mechanism.
Tom Thomas, Praxis Institute for Participatory Practices, said “the proof of the SDGs is how it is implemented and experienced―not for data researchers, but for the people it is meant for.” He brought attention to the unequal power relations and discriminatory social norms existing in most contexts, and said these must be addressed though processes and institutions to help people living in poverty to participate in the post-2015 agenda, and “not be mere recipients, as they were under the MDGs.”
Alena White, Ministry of the Environment, Germany, encouraged the HLPF to focus on providing feedback to the national level. She reiterated calls at the session for thematic reviews at the HLPF and suggested that the HLPF could choose to focus on only one cluster of themes at each annual meeting. She suggested including business, banks and regional development banks in the review process.
Rodrigo Gouveia, International Cooperative Alliance, called for all relevant stakeholders to be able to participate not only formally, but also in practice in the review and follow-up, and for data disaggregation.
Tsegga Medhin, Pearl Leadership Institute, as part of the International Chamber of Commerce: said PPPs are “power partnerships” that can catalyze change; called for reducing poverty through education of women and girls; and recommended data optimizing through investments in capacity building, technology, policy, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Medea Khmelidze, Federation for Women and Family Planning, called for gender and participatory budgeting at all levels and providing young people with access to information in an understandable language.
Nauman Bashir Bhatti, Pakistan, said key characteristics for the follow-up and review framework are: state-led and voluntary with a focus on assessment of progress, achievements and challenges; simple and focused; and encompassing all SDGs and MOI in a balanced manner. He further stressed the need to avoid putting additional reporting burdens on developing countries.
Thomas Kaydor, Deputy Foreign Minister, Liberia, expressed concern about who monitors civil society, since they also have to be held accountable for results on the ground. He noted that donors provide civil society with funds that are often marked as development assistance to the country.
Co-Facilitator Kamau then opened the floor for additional comments. Participants raised a number of points, including:
• the important role of the media in communicating successes;
• the need for the follow-up and review mechanism to promote human rights, including the right to water and sanitation;
• PPPs should be excluded for the provision of essential public services that need universal access, such as water, sanitation and healthcare;
• the need to put “mathematical substance (data, budgets, etc.) behind sustainability;
• ensuring the voice of the marginalized is heard;
• changing from calling people “stakeholders” to calling them “rights holders”; and
• the need to build bridges with the business sector and distinguish between small local businesses and transnational corporations.
In conclusion, Co-Facilitator Kamau said these dialogues provide the opportunity to discuss issues that may not be comfortable for everyone, such as accountability and PPPs. He expressed hope that “we can begin to distill what is important after this and make it impactful.”
GOALS, TARGETS AND INDICATORS
DISCUSSION ON THE REVISED TARGETS DOCUMENT: On Thursday morning, Co-Facilitator Kamau invited delegates to provide their views on the “Revised Targets Document” issued by the Co-Facilitators on 7 May 2015. He recalled that the proposed tweaking of the targets had been based on two criteria: 1) the need to replace the “Xs” included in the OWG’s report with text or values, noting he wanted to believe that there was “a measure of comfort” from all delegates on that; and 2) ensuring consistency with existing international agreements. He said one or two additional targets had also been refined to include reference to humanitarian assistance, based on the fact that the issues of disasters and humanitarian matters are “important to a lot of us,” and to take into account the outcome from the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai. He remarked that it was not the intention of the Co-Facilitators to undertake further tweaking of any other targets than the 21 currently outlined in the revised document.
Co-Facilitator Donoghue added that work had been done in the revised document to provide an explanation of the reasons behind each amendment and have “clearer” language.
South Africa, for the G-77/China, said the Group was not in a position to accept the revised targets, stressing that the OWG’s SDG proposal had been carefully crafted, was the result of an intergovernmental process, and any attempt to reopen it could affect the post-2015 agreement. He recalled that the OWG’s SDG report should serve as the basis for the post-2015 negotiations.
Nigeria, for the African Group, reiterated that the OWG’s SDG proposal was the result of a delicate political and substantive compromise, and that this must be preserved. He noted that tweaking targets would lead to another round of negotiations and that there was “no time” for this if the post-2015 negotiations had to conclude by the end of July. He asked for integrating the OWG’s SDG report in its entirety in the post-2015 outcome document, including the chapeau.
The EU noted “important progress” in making the targets more precise and welcomed target 14.c (ensuring the full implementation of international law, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)), and the alignment of targets 11.5 (reduce deaths and economic losses due to disasters) and 11.b (cities, human settlements and resilience) with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. He proposed revising target 4.b to read “expand globally the target on scholarships,” and expressed concern that targets 6.6 (protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems) and 15.2 (sustainable management of all types of forests) are still not well established.
Maldives, for AOSIS, inquired about the criteria used to propose revisions for the targets, expressed caution about engaging in this exercise, and called for transparency and inclusivity. Noting that international agreements are being negotiated all the time, he inquired if Member States would welcome the review of the targets “on a rolling basis” and proposed the issue to be addressed by adding a caveat in the text indicated that the targets do not undermine or negate other existing commitments.
Belize, for CARICOM, expressed “even more concern” after reviewing the revised targets, noting the lack of clear criteria, and said she does not find the proposed suggestions for filling in the “Xs” effective. She explained that the CARICOM Secretariat is concerned about: missing baselines for most of the revisions; making targets more costly to implement in some cases; and the vagueness of some of the targets in spite of the revisions.
Tunisia, on behalf of the Arab Group, restated its wish not to reopen the OWG report. He said the Arab Group was troubled that some Member States might use the excuse of technical proofing to reopen the goals, targets and indicators identified after 18 months of negotiations in the OWG. He called for integrating the report of the OWG, including its preamble, goals and targets and its reservations, into the post-2015 outcome document.
Canada said the Co-Facilitators’ revisions have strengthened the targets and ensured their alignment with international agreements. He welcomed the inclusion of a clear numerical target under target 3.2 (preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age), and called for adding a numerical target under target 3.1 (global maternal mortality).
Mexico remarked that the revision paper helps to ensure consistency with existing international agreement. He noted that some targets are too ambitious and some too vague.
Argentina underscored that the 17 SDGs reflect consensus achieved by the international community, and the agreement must be looked at as a whole and should not be reopened from a technical standpoint. He called for setting out a “common agenda” to achieve these goals quantitatively and qualitatively to ensure the UN can play a role in eradicating poverty by 2030.
Israel stressed that any adjustment to the targets should be consistent with the criteria that were set at the start of this exercise: targets are specific and measurable, they address the “Xs,” and they do not fall below existing international standards and agreements. She added that the work of the UNSC is technical and not political and, therefore, should remain independent and led by the relevant professional experts.
Colombia did not see a rationale for revising the targets and expressed concern about changes brought to target 14.c (UNCLOS).
The UK said targets should be as technically sound as possible, and expressed support for the revision of the targets, as proposed by the Co-Facilitators.
Turkey said she was not against tweaking targets, and supported, inter alia: revised target 1.5 that includes language on “assistance to those affected by complex humanitarian emergencies”; revised target 4.4 (ensuring that all youth and adults have relevant skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship by 2030); and revised target 17.2 (ODA provided to LDCs in line with the Istanbul Programme of Action). She opposed revisions brought to target 14.c (UNCLOS), among others.
Japan said the technical proofing exercise should: remain “purely technical in nature,” and should be a UN Technical Support Team and Secretariat-led exercise. On the criteria related to consistency with international agreements, he added that the revision should be accurate and precise in wording. He noted the “Xs” should, in most cases, be replaced by language on “substantially increased” or something similar, instead of “doubling” or providing specific figures.
Greece stressed that it should be clear that no one wants to reopen the OWG report or upset the carefully crafted political balance struck in that document. He explained the need for technical proofing referring to the importance of making the SDGs more measureable and consistent with existing international agreements. He also welcomed and highlighted the revision of target 14.c on UNCLOS.
The US referred to the Rio+20 mandate, which calls for the SDGs to be, inter alia, limited in number, aspirational and clearly stated. He said these qualities are essential for mobilizing action. He stressed the need for the UNSC and delegates to use best available evidence and experience to improve consistency, clarity and implementability to end poverty. He noted that the US does not see the need to include the added language on humanitarian assistance in targets 1.5 (build resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations to disasters) and 11.5 (reduce deaths and economic losses due to disasters)
Cyprus, New Zealand, Monaco and Croatia supported the revisions as constructive and welcomed the revision to target 14.c (UNCLOS).
Norway, Sweden and Australia welcomed the revised targets document. Australia added that there is a need for precision when referencing international agreements, which can be done in a way that respects the balance and intent of the OWG.
Palau said the Co-Facilitators’ objective was not to reopen negotiations but to find clarity and strengthen the targets, and he expressed support. He expressed some concern with the revision to target 1.5, since all humanitarian emergencies require assistance, not just “complex” ones. In targets 4.b (scholarships) and 4.c. (supply of qualified teachers), Palau preferred the original formulation.
Benin, on behalf of the LDCs, said that while they support the G-77/China’s statement, they prefer the proposed revision of MOI target 17.2 (ODA), which says “at least .15-.20% of GNI” should be provided to LDCs, in line with Istanbul Programme of Action. He noted that in actuality, LDCs are requesting .20-.25% of GNI.
Venezuela called for integrating the report of the OWG in its entirety in the post-2015 development agenda, including its introduction and the reservations made by Member States. She opposed the proposed revisions brought to target 14.c (UNCLOS).
France said the revised amendments respond to the mandate to replace the “Xs” and to align the targets to international agreements. He expressed his support for the UNSC’s work, noting that the progress achieved is reassuring.
The Republic of Korea expressed support for the work of the UNSC on the development of global indicators and remarked that the tweaking effort should not lower the level of ambition. In reference to target 15.2 (forests), he asked to replace “substantially” with “350 million hectares” to be in line with the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests.
Iceland noted that the SDGs and targets, when adopted by the OWG, were not seen as a final product, but were adopted under the assumption that they could be further refined and said the many “Xs” in the OWG’s report reveals the “non-finite nature” of the outcome document. She outlined Iceland’s understanding that the Co-Facilitators do not view the proposed target revisions “as a precedent for further revisions to come,” but as a way to ensure that there is a factually and legally credible text to present to the Summit. She expressed support for all the revisions made for specificity, in particular those that remove the “Xs,” and for revisions brought to: targets 3.6 (global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents); target 15.3 (land degradation-neutral world by 2030); and target 14.c (UNCLOS).
Switzerland said the post-2015 outcome must give the UNSC a clear mandate to adopt an indicator framework at its March 2016 meeting and update it at a later time, if necessary. She underlined the importance of strengthening the national statistical capacities of countries and the need for new approaches, including integrated monitoring for sustainable development. She added that any changes cannot lower the ambition of the SDGs just for the sake of clarity.
Saudi Arabia argued that the SDGs and targets should not be reopened to be consistent with international agreements. He said that if one part of the SDG package is reopened, governments may want to reopen other elements, such as goal 5.6 (reproductive healthcare and reproductive rights).
UPDATE ON UNSC’S WORK ON INDICATORS: On Thursday morning, John Pullinger, UNSC Chair, via conference call, updated Member States on the work undertaken by the UNSC on developing a global indicator framework to be presented at its 2016 session.
On the IAEG-SDGs, he said the UNSC established its terms of reference and membership and expressed gratitude for the UN Regional Commissions’ assistance in ensuring equitable regional representation and technical expertise. He explained that the IAEG-SDGs: is comprised of 28 representatives of NSOs and observers (representatives of the UN Regional Commissions and international organizations, including those organizations responsible for reporting on the MDGs); will conduct its work in an open, inclusive and transparent manner; and will invite inputs from civil society, academia and the private sector. He added that the Group will meet from 1-2 June 2015, to discuss, inter alia: the process of developing indicators, its working methods for the way forward, indicator proposals for different targets, data disaggregation, and crosscutting issues.
On indicators, Pullinger said they will: cover all targets, including those on MOI; maintain the balance achieved in the OWG outcome; not bring any contentious issues; maintain the level of ambition; and be limited in number by addressing cross-cutting issues. He explained that indicators might be organized on three different tiers: indicators for which methodology and available data exist; indicators for which methodology exists but no data are available; and indicators for which methodology does not exist. Pullinger proposed establishing a global data base under the UN Statistics Division to facilitate the implementation of the global indicator framework by ensuring coherence among regional and national reporting on global indicators. He also stressed the need for capacity building for strengthening national statistical systems.
On the process, Pullinger said the work on the indicator framework is “well underway,” welcomed further political guidance and questions, and announced that the UNSC will provide updates on progress during the June and July post-2015 negotiating sessions.
Member States raised issues related to: the need for regular updates on progress; making the process transparent and inclusive; providing political oversight; capacity building; the impact of the three-tiered indicator system on implementation; and which body the UNSC will report to (ECOSOC, UNGA or HLPF).
In response, Pullinger said UNSC 46 decided to create a High Level Group that will provide strategic leadership for SDG implementation, which will be comprised of NSO representatives and international organizations to ensure that the monitoring is not only nationally owned, but capacity building is also being taken into consideration. On methodology, he noted that the UNSC will welcome Member States’ guidance during the June intergovernmental session. He added that IAEG-SDGs members will systematically go through all the goals and targets and might develop new methodologies in some areas. On the reporting line from 2016 onwards, Pullinger said the UNSC will report to ECOSOC. He concluded, noting that “by 2016, we will be able to start the work of putting the indicators into play.”
PROPOSAL FOR THEMES OF THE INTERACTIVE DIALOGUES FOR THE SUMMIT
Following the discussion on the targets and indicators on Thursday, Co-Facilitator Kamau introduced the proposal for themes of the interactive dialogues for the Post-2015 Summit. He said he had been advised there was a measure of consensus on this issue and invited Member States to consider adopting the theme set.
The US noted the need to ensure that the language in the proposal for the themes did not set a precedent for the outcome document. Kamau confirmed that the themes were for conversation, discussion and debate, and were not considered as agreed language.
Egypt said he did not support the use of the term “vulnerable groups” under the second theme on “Tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind.” He preferred the terminology “people in vulnerable situations.”
Kamau responded that “vulnerable groups” is Rio+20 language, but Egypt said he could not accept it. Kamau said he was advised that this change is not acceptable to other constituencies in the room. After a short break for the Co-Facilitators to confer, Kamau announced that they would return to this matter in the afternoon. Opening the afternoon session, Co-Facilitator Donoghue informed participants that no consensus had been reached on the proposal for themes and suspended the proceedings, noting that the matter would be revisited on Friday.
On Friday morning, Co-Facilitator Kamau returned to this “unfinished business,” noting the need to conclude it as soon as possible, and adding that the language used in the document on the interactive dialogues would not necessarily appear on the agenda nor constrain the debate.
Egypt, on behalf of the Arab Group, explained that they raised the issue of “vulnerable groups” prior to the document’s circulation, requesting the use of the language agreed in the OWG outcome. Nigeria, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, and Pakistan supported Egypt’s proposal, calling for replacing “vulnerable groups” with “people in vulnerable situations.”
Australia, Canada, the EU and the US underlined that “vulnerable groups” is language agreed in other fora, including Rio +20, and requested its retention, adding that if the issue is re-opened, they would like to re-open other issues, too.
Summarizing the discussion, Co-Facilitator Kamau noted that the challenge encountered in reaching an agreement lies with the word “groups.” He invited interested delegations to consult informally.
On Friday afternoon, Co-Facilitator Donoghue said that since all delegations agreed on the titles for the six themes, as stated in the Co-Facilitators’ proposal, the titles of the themes for the interactive dialogues would be transmitted to the President of the General Assembly. He added that the full Co-Facilitators’ proposal would be circulated to all Member States under a cover letter, in which the Co-Facilitators would emphasize that the document has no formal or legal status and does not set a precedent, but will assist in preparations for the Summit. The themes were then adopted. The six themes are:
• Ending poverty and hunger;
• Tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind;
• Fostering sustainable economic growth, transformation and promoting sustainable consumption and production;
• Protecting our planet and combating climate change;
• Building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to achieve sustainable development; and
• Delivering on a revitalized Global Partnership.
STATUS OF THE TRUST FUND
On Friday morning, Nikhil Seth, UN DESA, reported on the status of the Trust Fund. He said 47 developing countries, including 19 LDCs, applied for and received travel support for this meeting. He noted contributions to the Trust Fund from the UK and Qatar, and said arrangements are underway for contributions from Sweden, Finland and Ireland. He added that the Irish contribution is also for the participation of stakeholders and Major Groups in the preparatory process and the Summit. He said that, in the last five sessions, 140 organizations representing stakeholders have contributed to these proceedings.
THE WAY FORWARD
On Friday morning, Amb. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Tunisia, delivered a message on behalf of the ECOSOC Bureau. Amb. Khiari called for the post-2015 agenda to be implemented in an “integral” manner as the 17 SDGs and their targets are interconnected, and noted that integration is at the center of the work of ECOSOC. He said the ECOSOC Bureau will submit a few proposals for the review and implementation architecture of the post-2015 development agenda to the Co-Facilitators, noting this architecture should: ensure the highest level of political engagement; be voluntary and built around a common review framework; be based on rigorous analysis and draw on expertise from throughout the UN system; use all “existing mechanisms and systems”; not overburden Member States with reporting requirements; and be consistent with the spirit of UNGA resolution 67/290 on the format and organizational aspects of the HLPF and resolution 68/1 on the strengthening of ECOSOC. He added that the future architecture for review and implementation of the agenda should consider the “full range” of ECOSOC’s existing platforms and processes, including: the Development Cooperation Forum; the Financing for Development follow-up process; the QCPR follow-up process; the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN Development System; and the work of ECOSOC’s functional commissions and expert bodies.
Co-Facilitator Kamau then called on delegates to agree on how to take the process forward in the three remaining sessions and announced that the zero draft of the outcome document would be circulated on 1 June or thereabouts. He remarked that this would provide enough time for delegations to organize preliminary informal consultations within and between groups before the sixth session of the intergovernmental negotiations starts on 22 June. He informed participants that “an important missing piece in the zero draft” will be coming from the FfD3 Conference in Addis Ababa, and expressed his confidence that the content of the zero draft will be received with wide support as it would ensure balance and representativeness.
Co-Facilitator Donoghue noted that the discussions so far had covered a “vast amount of territory” and expressed hope that the zero draft would be regarded as a good basis for future work.
South Africa, for the G-77/China, stressed that poverty eradication must be the overriding objective of the post-2015 agenda and Member States’ efforts must be underpinned by Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and the Rio Principles, especially CBDR. He reiterated that MOI is critically important for the success of the post-2015 agenda. He welcomed the Co-Facilitators’ “food for thought” paper on a possible TFM and added that the scope of the TFM should reflect the scope of the SDGs and targets, and the TFM should be included in the zero draft.
The EU called for a single monitoring and review framework for the FfD3 and post-2015 processes, within existing bodies and forums, adding that a new commission or inter-agency taskforce, as put forward in the FfD3 draft, would not be necessary. He said the political declaration needs to put forth an inclusive, integrated and rights-based approach to sustainable development and the eradication of poverty in all its dimensions, with an emphasis on the human rights of women and girls and gender equality. He added that the declaration must be based on a new global partnership, including: principles of universality and mutual accountability; consideration of respective capabilities; a multi-stakeholder approach; and how the new agenda will be implemented by the UN system. He stressed the importance of effectively communicating the post-2015 agenda so it is accessible to the “citizen on the street” and noted that the “4Ps” (people, planet, prosperity and partnership) cannot capture the transformative nature of the agenda.
Maldives, on behalf of AOSIS, stressed the necessity of technology transfer to provide sustainable and reliable energy and sustainably manage oceans in SIDS. He called for a decision to be made on how much detail will be included in the outcome document of the Post-2015 Summit and how much will be left for other fora to determine later on.
Belize, on behalf of CARICOM, called for a global TFM to be established together with a platform and online hub for information exchange and technology support. She also called for a capacity-building programme to be set up, which could support entrepreneurs developing technology focused on meeting the special needs of SIDS.
Denmark, on behalf of the Nordic countries, said the process is probably one of the most transparent processes at the UN and stressed the importance of continuing this approach to ensure the success of the post-2015 agenda. He emphasized the need for a single framework for review and follow up on the FfD3 and post-2015 processes and for avoiding duplication and the creation of new institutions. He also stressed that the agenda should be easily communicable through six key messages, such as those proposed by Germany, and for placing human rights, especially the rights of girls and women, and women’s empowerment, at the center of the agenda.
Germany said the follow-up and review process is “a true opportunity to learn from each other.” He suggested that countries should integrate the SDGs in their own national strategies and that the review should be undertaken under the HLPF. He called for: the adoption of a multi-stakeholder approach; continuing the Dialogue with Major Groups; and using the webcast during the upcoming sessions so as to be as inclusive as possible.
Canada showed his appreciation for the “steady progress” made since January and for the inclusiveness of the process. On the way forward, he called for using the “Discussion document for declaration,” discussed during the second post-2015 session, as a “foundation” for the zero draft, with global partnership outlined as an overarching principle, and as a tight, concise and communicable document that resonates with people around the world. He called on the Co-Facilitators to continue to hold the pen, find a “middle ground” on the targets document as soon as possible, not include reservations from countries in the outcome document, and initiate an exchange of views on the title of the agenda, noting “we can do better than post-2015.” He also mentioned the need to incorporate the FfD3 outcome in the post-2015 outcome document, and to consider technology and all other MOI in the FfD3 process.
Japan called for including, in the zero draft, inter alia: principles and an outline of modalities for follow-up and review at the global level; SDG goals and targets with a reference to the possibility of revising the targets in the future; and a short and succinct declaration. He identified universality, ownership and leaving no one behind as the principles that should guide the implementation of the post-2015 agenda at the country level, and asked the Co-Facilitators and negotiators of the FfD3 and post-2015 processes to coordinate.
France stressed the need to reach a visionary declaration, “accessible to the billions to which it is addressed.” He expressed his support for replacing the “Xs” in the targets, and said his country is ready to work constructively and effectively on MOI within the FfD3 process.
Israel called for a clear and concise political declaration that inspires, speaks to all people and is not written in “UN language.” She expressed support for the technical revision of the proposed targets and said the post-2015 agenda should: include a roadmap for the UNSC’s work; endorse the FfD3 outcome as the MOI pillar; and have a strong and clear follow-up and review framework.
On the communicability of the agenda, Brazil said substance should not be sacrificed for the sake of form, and suggested the 4Ps as an instrument to communicate the agenda effectively. He called for integrating the SDGs and targets as adopted in the OWG and said MOI is not a separate pillar but a cross-cutting issue.
The UK said the declaration should “connect, inspire and motivate,” and stop recycling UN language to inspire a global audience. He supported the Secretary-General’s six elements and Germany’s six key messages, but said the 4Ps do not do justice to the issues on the agenda. He said the FfD3 agreement should be incorporated into the Summit outcome as the MOI chapter, as well as issues related to technology. He concluded that openness has benefited this process and it should continue.
Switzerland urged the Co-Facilitators to “keep the pen in your hands, while ensuring that the various views are taken into account.” He said the diversity of views must continue to be heard going forward.
India noted that poverty eradication is the central part of the agenda and called for: complementarity not subsidiarity between the FfD3 and post-2015 processes; focus on the three pillars of sustainable development, without adding a fourth; a concrete deliverable on the TFM; and the OWG report to be included in its entirety. He concluded that “the MOI targets have come under sniper fire, but we hope they will not be missing in action.”
Australia said the Summit declaration should be short and inspiring. He expressed hope that the intergovernmental negotiations in June could agree on how best to communicate the Summit’s declaration. He suggested that any discussions on MOI should wait until after the conclusion of FfD3 so as to avoid duplication. He said the Co-Facilitators should “continue to hold the pen” and lead the process in its final phases. He also supported including civil society and other Major Groups in the process.
Mexico said the declaration needs to be short and clear and set forth a far-reaching development agenda that improves people’s living conditions. He noted the need to ensure that FfD3 and the post-2015 processes are not seen as subsidiary but as complementary, and called for active participation of all relevant actors, in particular civil society.
The Russian Federation said the outcome document must be compact in nature and in line with Rio+20, focusing on eliminating poverty. She opposed the technical revision of targets, and suggested strengthening the role of the HLPF as the central place for a global review of the post-2015 agenda.
The US called for: an evidence-based outcome; a multi-stakeholder approach; communicating the agenda in a concise way; prioritizing the most vulnerable; and finding a different title. He expressed support for the six key messages proposed by Germany, said MOI should be discussed under FfD3, including those related to science and technology, and stressed that the principle of CBDR applies solely to environmental issues and not the entire agenda.
Pakistan underlined the need to integrate the OWG outcome into the zero draft. He added that the follow-up and review section should reflect core principles and key elements, without going into specificities.
Saudi Arabia said the declaration should stress CBDR, noted that the post-2015 and FfD3 processes are complementary and not subsidiary, and requested integrating the SDGs and targets as they were decided by the OWG.
Egypt stressed that all MOI should be included in the zero draft and called for integrating the SDGs and targets the way they were adopted in the OWG.
In conclusion, Donoghue said the Co-Facilitators would take into consideration all the points raised during the session as they prepare the zero draft. The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE MEETING
The fifth session of the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations marked the last stocktaking session of the process before the focus turns to the textual negotiations on the post-2015 outcome. Since January 2015, participants have discussed elements of the structure of the post-2015 development agenda, including the declaration, the goals and targets, means of implementation and, at the fifth session, follow-up and review. As delegates await the zero draft of the outcome document, which they were informed would be issued by the Co-Facilitators on or about 1 June, it is clear that some “existential questions” remain regarding the post-2015 development agenda. These questions could be the focus of difficult debates before negotiations conclude in July. This brief analysis reflects on some of these questions, within the context of the fifth session’s discussions on follow-up and review, and examines the way forward, in the context of a complex set of interrelated sustainable development negotiations.
“COMING TO TERMS WITH THE TERMS”
While most delegations shared the view that a well-functioning review framework is essential for the implementation of the SDGs, it was clear that there is not yet agreement on the nomenclature. While most developing countries wanted to maintain the terminology “follow-up and review” in the outcome document, some developed countries preferred to use “monitoring, accountability and review” instead. The phrases have different meanings and implications and many developing countries are concerned that “accountability” could imply conditionality.
The EU, for example, said monitoring, accountability and review are all essential for the implementation of the agenda, and clarified that monitoring is about data and information to provide an assessment of progress, while accountability is about taking ownership, responsibility and ensuring follow-up of commitments. By contrast, the G-77/China stressed the importance of follow-up and review, noting that these terms were used in decision A/69/L.46 on the modalities for the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, and stating that accountability and monitoring had “no place in the debate.” India argued that it is better to look at this part of the post-2015 agenda as “review and follow-up,” since review should precede follow-up. It was clear from this that achieving a common understanding on the terminology is necessary before agreeing on any review framework.
“BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR”
By the end of the week, there was some degree of consensus that, at the global level, the HLPF should be the main platform for follow-up and review. However, the issue of whether the review of the post-2015 agenda should take place under a highly centralized structure under the authority of the HLPF or under a network with the HLPF at its core remained, among other questions. As these discussions took place, Co-Facilitator Kamau cautioned delegates to “be careful what you wish for,” noting that there was a level of complexity built into their proposals and that, once their complexity was unpacked, it would be difficult to develop a proposal that would work, especially given the short negotiating time left before the Post-2015 Summit. The G-77/China said the HLPF should be the key forum, to which other mechanisms created to follow up on outcomes of UN conferences and conventions should report in order to eschew unnecessary duplication.
Japan, however, stressed that it is impossible to build a highly centralized structure whereby one single authority would take charge of following up the wide and interlinked agenda. Therefore, Japan and others suggested that the global review structure should have the HLPF at the center, with the widest possible network of existing review mechanisms supporting it. Existing mechanisms, from the World Trade Organization for trade elements, to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee for reviews related to official development assistance, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation for multi-stakeholder efforts, and existing legally binding agreements for relevant targets were identified as candidates for supporting mechanisms during the discussions, but the nuts and bolts of the reporting relationship with the HLPF and timing for reviews require further examination and discussion.
Another issue that remains to be unpacked is whether the follow-up for the FfD3 and post-2015 processes should take place under an integrated framework or in two separate review mechanisms. The EU and Switzerland, among others, supported developing an overarching monitoring, accountability and review framework for the entire post-2015 agenda, including both the financial and non-financial MOI, and said the FfD3 review process should ultimately feed into the HLPF. The G-77/China, by contrast, argued that the two processes are independent and said, even though they have points in common, they need two different review frameworks. Many agreed that the unpacking of this issue will depend on what is agreed by FfD3 in July.
A key question for the follow-up and review mechanism relates to how the HLPF itself will function. As the Co-Facilitators noted, delegates assigned a multitude of possible tasks to the HLPF during this session, including: keeping track of progress; identifying shortcomings and gaps on the SDGs; making recommendations about what countries should do to stay on track; discussing national and regional reviews; providing a science-policy interface; and addressing emerging issues and challenges. The Co-Facilitators reminded delegations that the HLPF only meets eight days a year, under the auspices of ECOSOC, with three of those days taken up with a ministerial segment. Co-Facilitator Kamau’s suggestion that the HLPF might need to meet twice a year was almost universally rejected, but his idea that some elements could be “offloaded” to other UN bodies that could report back to the Forum generated some interest. Additional proposals related to the HLPF’s functions included calls for the annual HLPF meetings to focus on thematic topics, and for the adoption of a four-year review cycle, where governments could be invited to communicate how they are implementing the SDGs at the national level and what still needs to be done.
In addition to the HLPF, there was also discussion on how other institutions and stakeholders would be involved. On the question of whether regional or global institutions should undertake national reviews, some proposed that country reviews should be done at the regional or sub-regional levels, with the HLPF taking the lead on the global assessment with inputs from the UN Regional Commissions, other relevant stakeholders and international organizations. Others, such as Switzerland and Germany, said the HLPF should review both how countries are doing individually and how the international community is doing globally. Many countries also stressed the importance of stakeholder participation at all levels. The EU, for example, suggested that the UN Global Compact could contribute to the work of the HLPF by preparing assessments of the private sector’s involvement in implementation. Several delegates noted that NGOs, civil society and the private sector also need to be held accountable for implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, especially with regard to MOI. The G-77/China and Egypt said that the follow-up and review process should be determined by national governments and include the participation of all relevant stakeholders in accordance with existing laws and regulations, pointing to another aspect in which further unpacking will be necessary before the follow-up and review framework is adopted.
“WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PICK AND CHOOSE WHICH GOALS TO IMPLEMENT AND WHICH GOALS NOT TO”
In opening the session, Co-Facilitator Kamau highlighted that, because the SDGs are interrelated, “we will not be able to pick and choose which goals to implement and which goals not to.” This indivisibility of the agenda, due to the integrated nature of the SDGs, implies that one cannot look at a goal without taking into account its relationship with other goals and targets. For example, as a participant noted during the interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders, universal health coverage will not be achieved without sanitation, and sanitation will not progress without improvements in education, such as school toilets, which calls for integration and policy coherence. Some participants noted that the same interdependence applies to thematic reviews and proposals to organize the work of the HLPF along thematic lines. If those thematic reviews are to be considered, inter-sectoral linkages as well as horizontal linkages with other multilateral agreements, international organizations, the private sector, governments and other stakeholders will have to be considered to ensure coherence of action.
What will be reviewed does not, however, simply relate to the coherence and inter-linkages between the goals, but also to the targets and indicators under each goal. While the targets were included in the report of the OWG, some said that having undefined numbers―identified by the use of “Xs”―was unacceptable and expressed concern that Heads of State should not adopt a document with “Xs.” However, when the Co-Facilitators distributed a document containing revised targets, there were mixed reactions to the proposal to revise only some of the targets. Some welcomed the revisions so as to ensure that the goals are measurable and aligned with international agreements. Others actually supported leaving the “Xs” in the text since it would allow countries to choose the targets that are best for them. Finally, there were those who expressed concern that this exercise could reopen the SDGs and thus derail the entire post-2015 agreement. The development of indicators by the UNSC will also try to achieve coherence across this indivisible agenda.
“WE CANNOT USE PREVIOUSLY AGREED LANGUAGE IN A DOCUMENT THAT IS LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE”
Based on the discussions during the first five sessions of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, the Co-Facilitators will attempt to put “flesh on the bones” of the document to be adopted in September. However, as several countries noted, the outcome document has to look towards the future, not rely on “stale,” previously agreed UN language. To achieve this objective, delegates will need to unpack previous arrangements and business-as-usual frameworks to understand how 193 countries can individually and jointly pivot to pursue a sustainable development path for the next 15 years. Optimists at the fifth session pointed to the sticking points that emerged from the discussion as evidence that delegates are grappling with the need to change course, although they too wondered how the complexities of interrelated issues and actors could be fully recognized when the process finally puts pen to paper over the next two months.
The zero draft of the outcome document will be the focus of three weeks of negotiations in June and July. The Co-Facilitators have asked delegations to consult within and among their negotiating groups before the sixth session begins on 22 June, and start to build bridges across the chasms on the agenda. Many questions remain about the details of this agenda and the fifth session of the intergovernmental negotiations indicated that there could be a rocky road ahead in reaching agreement on terminology, the follow-up and review process, the role of the HLPF, and any changes to the targets. What is clear, however, is that many want a document that will “connect, inspire and motivate” a global audience, avoid recycling UN language, and look towards the future.
Informal Hearings with NGOs, Civil Society, Major Groups and the Private Sector on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the preparatory process for the September 2015 UN General Assembly Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, two days of stakeholder hearings will be hosted by UNGA President Sam Kutesa and the Co-Facilitators of the post-2015 development agenda negotiations. dates: 26-27 May 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York www: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=13&nr=1012&menu=1561
Additional Consultations on the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development: In support of continued progress, additional sessions for consultations on the draft outcome document have been scheduled. dates: 26-29 May 2015 and 1-5 June 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Financing for Development Office phone: +1-212-963-4598 email: email@example.com www: http://www.un.org/ffd3
First meeting of the IAEG-SDGs: The Inter Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) was established by the UNSC at its 46th session to develop an indicator framework for the monitoring of the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda at the global level, and to support its implementation. dates: 1-2 June 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Statistics Division fax: +1-212-963-9851 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://unstats.un.org/sdgs/first-iaeg-sdgs-meeting/
Third drafting session of the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The third drafting session of the outcome document for FfD3 will take place in June. dates: 15-19 June 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Financing for Development Office phone: +1-212-963-4598 email: email@example.com www: http://www.un.org/ffd3
Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda – Sixth Session: The sixth session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda is expected to focus on negotiating the outcome document. dates: 22-25 June 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963-8102 fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/negotiationsoutcome1
Third Meeting of the HLPF: The third meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which will take place under the auspices of ECOSOC, will focus on the theme, “Strengthening integration, implementation and review – the HLPF after 2015.” dates: 26 June - 8 July 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: email@example.com www: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?menu=1838
Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The Third International Conference on Financing for Development will be held at the highest possible political level, including Heads of State and Government, ministers for finance, foreign affairs and development cooperation, and other special representatives. dates: 13-16 July 2015 location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia contact: UN Financing for Development Office phone: +1-212-963-4598 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.un.org/ffd3
Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda – Seventh and Eighth Sessions: The seventh and eighth sessions of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda will focus on negotiating the outcome document. dates: 20-31 July 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development phone: +1-212-963-8102 fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: email@example.com www: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015
UN Summit to Adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The Summit is expected to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, including: a declaration; a set of Sustainable Development Goals, targets, and indicators; their means of implementation and a new Global Partnership for Development; and a framework for follow-up and review. dates: 25-27 September 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/summit
For additional meetings, see http://sd.iisd.org/