On June 2 the co-Facilitators circulated the zero draft of the post-2015 development agenda, comprised of a preamble; a lengthy declaration; the Sustainable Development Goals and targets; a few placeholder paragraphs on Means of Implementation and the global partnership (most governments agreed that until the Financing for Development outcome has been finalized, the details of the MOI section cannot be agreed); a chapter on follow-up and review; and several annexes. During the June intergovernmental session, governments primarily discussed the preamble and the declaration, though there was also debate about the Means of Implementation chapter in relation to the Financing for Development (FfD) negotiations, technical proofing of selected targets, as well as the follow-up and review chapter. Member States were in general agreement that the preamble and declaration are visionary and will play a critical role in making the post-2015 agenda accessible and communicable. Spain, Australia, Chile, Tunisia, Finland, the Netherlands, Serbia, Korea, Lichtenstein and Costa Rica called for stronger language in the declaration on women’s human rights and the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Some governments expressed concern that the declaration privileges certain goals and targets over others. Preserving and strengthening the explicit references to gender equality and sexual and reproductive health information, education and services will be a critical priority during the July session.
On July 7, the co-Facilitators released a new version of the text, which will serve as the basis for the final intergovernmental session beginning next week. The co-Facilitators have circulated an agenda for the first week. It is unclear if they will be able to complete their work by the end of July as originally planned, in which case negotiations may continue through August and early September. Key priorities for the outcome document include:
· Gender equality and the human rights of women and girls:
o The final draft must recognize gender equality and women’s human rights as a cross-cutting issue critical for the success of the overall agenda. The political declaration currently includes an explicit reference to sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. This must be strengthened and defended.
· Human rights:
o Language on human rights must be strengthened to recognize that a human rights-based approach is integral to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. The human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people must be respected, protected and fulfilled without discrimination on any basis or distinction of any kind.
· Civil society and Major Groups:
o Commitments to civil society and Major Group participation must be strengthened, and the role of feminist and women’s organizations must be recognized.
· Private sector:
o The role of the private sector must be regulated, and its social, economic and environmental impacts assessed. The political declaration must include strong commitments on the parts of States to ensure private sector accountability, including for transnational corporations in their cross-border activities, international financial institutions and multilateral development banks, including through unbiased monitoring and evaluation, and participatory review mechanisms.
· Monitoring, review, and accountability:
o The document should include a stronger call to governments to create robust, transparent, multi-sectoral accountability mechanisms at the national level that includes meaningful participation of civil society organizations, including women’s and feminist organizations. These should be complemented by strong, transparent and participatory regional and global monitoring and review mechanisms.
Prior to the May session, the co-Facilitators presented a revised version of the targets they think require technical proofing, expanding on the proposals they made during the March session. On this subject, there continues to be a complete divergence of views. The G77 has argued that the targets should remain entirely untouched; a number of countries, including members of the G77, said they could consider replacing the ‘X’s’ with numerical values, but that no other changes should be made; and the US and Canada, among others, pushed for a more extensive technical proofing exercise, though have recently conceded that is not feasible. In the final draft of the post-2015 outcome, the co-chairs replaced many of the 21 targets in the final list of SDGs with the new versions, despite the lack of consensus on this issue.
While the Women’s Major Group supports the co-Facilitators’ proposal to replace some of the ‘X’s’ in various targets with numerical values as this will be critical for global accountability, there are some revisions that the WMG does not support because they represent a regression on existing commitments. For example, target 15.2 would extend the deadline for halting deforestation from 2020 to 2030. In addition, the WMG remains concerned that this process may open the door to reopening, tweaking, or proofing other targets, which could put some priority targets at risk.
· Find out who from your government is attending the final intergovernmental negotiations and use the Women’s Major Group’s comprehensive response to the outcome document and Red Flags document to lobby them on key priorities that they may be able to champion.
· Join the Women’s Major Group to engage in strategic discussions and influence the Women’s Major Group’s position.
The final outcome for the 3rd International FfD Conference, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, was adopted on Wednesday July 15. It will serve as the basis for the Means of Implementation pillar of the post-2015 development agenda, despite strong advocacy from civil society to keep the two tracks distinct. On a range of issues, namely the relationship between the FfD and post-2015 tracks, international tax cooperation, and the Rio Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), the negotiations were characterized by a significant divide between countries of the G77 and more developed countries. While the final agreement contains some incremental steps forward, it ultimately lacks the ambition and strong leadership needed to bring about transformative change or even ensure that the SDGs will be fully funded.
Ahead of the conference, more than 600 representatives from civil society organizations agreed to a shared vision of what a progressive and fair financing agreement should look like. It called for the Addis agreement to address the impacts of global economic inequalities on women’s and girls’ lives, prioritize human rights and strong commitments on financing for gender equality, recognize and value unpaid care work, establish fair tax policy, stop illicit financial flows, and improve international trade regimes.
Unfortunately, rather than realizing women’s human rights as a global priority, the Action Agenda takes an instrumentalist approach to gender equality and women’s empowerment as “smart economics.” It gives a preferential role to the private sector in driving development without accounting for the harmful impacts that privatization can have on women and girls, and fails to account for the structural barriers that stand between women and the full realization of their economic rights, such as the unequal distribution of unpaid care work. In the joint civil society reaction to the final outcome, the outcome is characterized as a “lost opportunity to tackle the structural injustices in the current global economic system and ensure that development finance is people-centered and protects the environment.”
Despite these setbacks, some commitments in the Action Agenda will help accelerate implementation of the SDGs, including the establishment of a Technology Facilitation Mechanism at the UN. In addition, the Action Agenda places a strong emphasis on data, calling for data disaggregated by a number of factors including sex and age.
Moving forward, the Action Agenda establishes a formal Forum on Financing for Development, which will meet annually to assess progress toward meeting commitments in the Action Agenda and past agreements, and ensure there are necessary resources for implementing the SDGs. The Forum will report annually to the HLPF.
· Review the analyses of the Financing for Development negotiations and the Addis Ababa Action Plan prepared by the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development (WWG). The WWG formed in 2007 for the Doha Conference and has been identifying ways for ensuring the strategic engagement of women’s rights organizations in the FfD process.
The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) took place from June 26-July 8. The theme of this year’s session was "Strengthening integration, implementation and review - the HLPF after 2015". Building on discussions on follow-up and review during the May intergovernmental negotiations, there was broad agreement that there will be three layers of review at the national, regional and global levels. While governments agreed that, at the national level, governments should define and lead the review process in its entirety, there was a divergence of views with respect to the regional-level process. The G77 and others argued that each region should define their own process; others called for a similar process for each region that is guided by agreements at the global level.
At the global level, there is broad agreement that the HLPF should be the primary body for review, though there was also some discussion about using existing mechanisms to conduct reviews on specific goals (i.e. the World Health Assembly for Goal 3, the Commission on the Status of Women for goal 5, etc.). There is no clear agreement on whether or not to do this, and it remains an area for further discussion. We must ensure that such a process does not reinforce development silos and that the HLPF continues to be a space where gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights are discussed.
Countries universally emphasized that any reporting and review process should be voluntary. There was minimal support for a global peer review process, and many said that if there is peer review it should occur at the regional level. The ECOCOC President's summary of the HLPF is now provides further detail on the deliberations.
A series of regional sustainable development fora took place over the last several months with the aim of beginning discussions on establishing similar mechanisms to the HLPF at the regional level to follow-up on implementation of the post-2015 agenda. More information about each regional forum can be found through the links below:
· Latin America and the Caribbean: Mar 19-20, NYC
· Europe: Apr 14-16, Geneva, Switzerland
· Africa: Jun 16-18 2015, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
· Asia and the Pacific: May 21-22, Bangkok, Thailand
· Western Asia: May 5-7, Bahrain
The Interagency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IEAG-SDGs), which has been charged with developing the indicator framework for the post-2015 agenda, met for the first time from June 1-2. The IAEG, which will be co-Chaired by Italy and the Philippines, is comprised of 28 national statistical offices; UN agencies have been invited to participate as observers.
At their meeting last month, a list of priority indicators, based on inputs from UN agencies, was released. Governments, many of whom were represented by their missions, were insistent that the 28 member states in the IAEG, not the UN system, will be responsible for making recommendations to the Statistical Commission. There seemed to be broad agreement that arbitrary limits (i.e. one indicator per target), should not be imposed on the framework, and that some targets may require more than one indicator.
The report of their first meeting details a number of next steps in the process. The IAEG agreed to establish two discussion streams to which all members are invited and encouraged to participate and provide contributions: the first one focusing on conceptual frameworks and indicator concepts and definitions, and a second one focusing on identifying interlinkages between indicators across different goals and targets. It will be critical for supportive member states to articulate why certain targets (like 3.7 and 5.6) will require discrete indicators.
The IAEG will meet again from October 26-28, and they will work remotely between now and then. They aim to have a proposal for the global indicator framework by the end of November 2015, with the final framework to be presented to the Statistical Commission in March 2016.
· Reach out to your national statistics offices and identify who is involved in defining post-2015 indicators at the national, regional, and global levels.
· Encourage them to support opportunities for civil society to engage with and provide inputs into the indicator development process. Refer to the Women’s Major Group’s guiding principles and priorities for the indicator development process.
The Summit for adopting the post-2015 agenda will run from September 25-27 (Friday-Sunday), with six interactive dialogues to be held alongside the plenary sessions. During the May intergovernmental session, governments agreed on the following themes for the dialogues:
· 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 combatting climate change
· Building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to achieve sustainable development
· Delivering on a revitalised Global Partnership
The current and incoming Presidents of the General Assembly, Uganda and Denmark respectively, will jointly preside over the Summit. More information about the Summit can be found here. The following is
the preliminary schedule:
o 25th: 11am-1pm, 3pm-9pm
o 26th: 9am-1pm, 3pm-9pm
o 27th: 9am-1pm, 3pm-9pm
· Interactive Dialogues (2 per day of the Summit):
o 25th: 12pm-3pm, 3pm-6pm
o 26th: 10am-1pm, 3pm-6pm
o 27th: 10am-1pm, 2pm-5pm
The following are other relevant the dates for the 70th Session of the General Assembly:
· 15 September 2015: Opening of the 70th Session of the General Assembly (Preliminary list of items in the provisional agenda)
· 25 September 2015 (morning): Visit of Pope Francis
· 28 September - 6 October 2015: General Debate of the General Assembly 70th Session
· Apply to join the Civil Society Selection Committee to identify speakers from civil society and the Major Groups for the Post-2015 Summit. The deadline to join the Selection Committee is July 17.
· Submit applications for speakers here. There will be one civil society speaker for the opening ceremony and 2 for each of the six Interactive Dialogues in the Summit. The deadline to submit applications for speaking roles in July 20.
Sarah Gold | Program Associate
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