Beyond 2015: Reactions, Reports, Research

This page contains links to post-2015 reactions, reports and research produced by Beyond 2015 participating organisations and others.
For Beyond 2015 reactions to OWG documents, click here.
Post-2015 Reports and Research
Can ordinary people shape development outcomes?, Mariana Rudge, UK Coordinator of Beyond 2015
The ecological dimension in the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development. Position paper of German Environment and Development Organisations, November 2013
Open letter to Amina Mohamed concerning the Synthesis Report of the Secretary General. German NGO Forum on Environment and Development, October 16, 2014

Inequality in a post-2015 framework, BOND Beyond 2015 UK, September 2014

Environmental Sustainability in a post-2015 framework, BOND Beyond 2015 UK, September 2014

Land Rights in the Post-2015 Agenda. International Land Coalition. 2014 (French and Spanish versions also available).
July 2014. Global Policy Forum publishes guide to environmental-social budgeting: International development policy is at a crossroads. By September 2015, governments plan to adopt a Post-2015 Development Agenda – an agenda that is supposed to shape the fundamental priorities, goals and strategies for development policy beyond 2015. The new GPF publication describes possible entry points for shaping fiscal policy in accordance with sustainability criteria and shows how to use them in order to achieve environmental-social budgets. It uses the budget cycle as a tool in identifying such entry points, from the drafting of the budget to policy implementation and monitoring of the results.
The United Nations is inching closer to defining the post-2015 development agenda, as the second session of the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development concluded and the thirteenth and final meeting of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals begin. So far neither of these two fundamental processes has be- gun to define how powerful actors, including transnational corporations, will be held to account for their contribu- tions – or damage – to sustainable development or to the lives and livelihoods of the people claimed to be at its center.
In this second installment of our new briefing series on Corporate Influence, Global Policy Forum is pleased to share specific questions and recommendations related to the HLPF as the locus of accountability for the post-2015 agenda, for both States and their “partners” in sustainable development initiatives.
These recommendations are based on input from Save the Children’s experts and staff from around the world and the organisation’s proposed Post-2015 Development Agenda, Framework for the Future.
Save the Children’s recommendations identify critical targets and concrete language amends that are transformative, universal,measurable and implementable.
The underlying ideas and principles of the concept of ‘Policy Coherence for Development’ (PCD) are relevant for post-2015 discussions. Yet, conceptual and political challenges exist when promoting the PCD concept as developed in the OECD and the EU as a universal concept in the global discussions. Various ideas and principles of PCD can be mainstreamed in the post-2015 framework without using strong PCD jargon. These include targets for means of Implementation in thematic areas, targets in relation to capacity building for more integrated and evidence-based policy-making and efforts to build a strong accountability framework.

A world without forced migration: Why migrants should support the call for development justice

This July 2014 briefing from the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development puts forward the radical shift needed if the Post-2015 development agenda is to induce a just, equitable and sustainable development for the people and address the inequities – between countries, between the rich and poor within countries, and between men and women – that maintain the current nature of migration and the exploitation of migrants.

Landesa’s Land Rights Post 2015 Infographic

Landesa’s Land Rights Stat Cards

Landesa, a global development non-profit that works to secure land rights for the world’s poor women and men, recently launched a new infographic designed to help inform the deliberations of the Open Working Group (OWG), which was established in January 2013,  by the UN General Assembly as a key group to help shape the post-2015 sustainable development framework.

The Ecological Dimension in the Post-2015 Agenda

German environmental and development organizations have drafted a set of ecological sustainability goals to be included in the Post-2015 Agenda. These suggestions are intended to focus attention on existential ecological baselines as well as the necessity of regarding ecology as an integral part of the new Post-2015 Agenda. Particular emphasis was given to issues that have so far received little attention from existing conventions and international processes. The following proposed goals assume that issues are cross-cutting and that they will be linked with each other as well as with development goals.

The World We Want: Bangladeshi Youth Voices on a post-2015 World

This report summarizes the discussions and findings of the three youth consultations held in Bangladesh between August and October 2013. It highlights important principles and ideas that young people have to improve the world they live in. The consultations gathered 84 youth representatives from 30 youth-led organizations and institutions to understand young people’s vision of a post-MDG world and ensure that their voices are heard at the national and global level.

Working out our future together: Four steps towards ending global poverty

2013 Cambridge International Development Report, Humanitarian Centre, Cambridge University
A four-part manifesto for fighting global poverty, which aims to build on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015, has been published by the Humanitarian Centre in Cambridge. The document is designed to show how anyone can, and must, get involved in the drive to end global poverty – whether they are volunteers, policy-makers, business-people or even shoppers.

Colloquium on Finding Relevance in a Globalised World: (Building a Post MDG Scenario)

By a group of Post-Graduate Students of PGDM-Development Studies (pursuing) with their mentors and faculty, 21 September, 2013

We, participants of the Colloquium have analysed the efforts of the global community to reach a common articulation of some of the most crucial issues in the world through the formulation of the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs). The MDGs framework is essential for the nations of the world to progress together and assure their responsibility and accountability to the people. While there has been some progress in achieving the objectives of the MDGs as was envisaged in the Millennium Declaration, there remains a lot to be achieved.

Emerging perspectives of African youth on a post-2015 development framework

African Monitor, 2013

The Voice Africa’s Future initiative was rolled out in 10 countries: offline work is being undertaken in Burkina Faso, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia, and online work – the subject of this report – in six countries (Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) to create a platform to enable youth to participate in post-2015 process and ensure that their voices are heard. Through various events, roundtables and thousands of SMSs, African youth were able to express their vision for post-2015 Africa.

The Geography of Poverty, Disasters and Climate Extremes in 2030

Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK Met Office and Risk Management Solutions, October 2103

This report examines the relationship between disasters and poverty. It suggests that the post-2015 development goals must include targets on disasters and climate change, recognising the threat they pose to the headline goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

Global Development Goals: Leaving no one behind

United Nations Association UK, Sept 2013

The report considers the context in which the MDGs were developed, assesses progress to date, offers views on achieving the 2015 targets, and provides insights into the creation of the post-2015 agenda.

The Post 2015 Water Thematic Consultation

The World We Want 2015, August 2013

The World We Want 2015 Water Thematic Consultation, facilitated under the umbrella of UN-Water, co-led by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and co-hosted by Jordan, Liberia, Mozambique, the Netherlands and Switzerland has helped define the role of water in the post-2015 development agenda.

A Life of Dignity for All – Accelerating progress towards the MDGs and advancing the UN development agenda beyond 2015

(عربي, 中文, English, Français, Русский, Español)

Report of the Secretary-General, July 26, 2013

According to the latest report from the UN Secretary-General, the “new post-2015 era demands a new vision” and a new universal agenda. Sustainable development – which must become both a global guiding principle and an operational standard – will require deep economic transformations and a new global partnership.

Joint Statement of CSOs in South Korea in response to the UN High-Level Panel Report on Post-2015 Development Agenda

Beyond 2015 Korea, July 3, 2013

Following the Beyond 2015 Korea position paper (Feb 2013) and the ADA1 statement (June 2013), Beyond 2015 Korea would like to express the opinion of the South Korean Civil Society in response to the “Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda” (hereinafter “UN-HLP Report”), submitted to the UN Secretary-General on 30 May 2013.

The Future We Want to Work On: (European) Think Piece for the SDG-Framework from the NGO Point of View

ANPED, 2013

ANPED, a debate the with international several networks NGO-network in Europe together working with on CIDSE development and EEB took and the environmental initiative to issues. The main goal was to have a clearer picture and joint strategy on how to link and eventually merge the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) process with the Beyond 2015 process (Millennium Development Goals MDGs). As both processes are being followed up in two more or less different circuits, ENV/SD and DEV, constant communication is important between each other on one hand, and with other relevant/(interested) networks (health, finance, etc.) on the other hand to be on line with a participatory, inclusive and relevant approach also at this phase.

The Importance of Early Childhood Development to Education

The Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Developmen, March 19, 2013

Expansion and improvement of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is the first goal in the Education for All (EFA) Dakar Framework. While progress has been made, most governments still do not prioritise early childhood in their health, education, poverty reduction or other national plans, and many countries still lack early childhood development policies, strategic plans and laws.

A Transformative Solution: Reducing Poverty and Inequality through a Post-2015 Early Childhood Development Goal

The Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Developmen, 2013

A measurable and actionable Early Childhood Development (ECD)1 goal will not only strengthen efforts towards the health, development and well-being of young children but also work to reduce the inter-generational transmission of poverty and inequality. Such a goal should be part of a human development and rights-based framework2 that promotes equitable and sustainable development and is implemented in partnership with multiple sectors and multiple partners.

Looking beyond the EFA goals and the MDGs: The case of Pakistan

Pakistan Coalition For Education, 2013

This paper seeks to state Pakistan Coalition for Education’s (PCE) position vis-à-vis the post-2015 education agenda, in the context of Pakistan. It has three broad aims. First, it highlights the importance of the on-going global efforts to set the post-2015 agenda. Second, it stresses the need to proactively engage with the current policy debate surrounding the global education goals. Third, it outlines the issues and areas in relation to education in Pakistan that the decision makers both at home and abroad must take into account.

Post 2015: What It Means for the United Nations Development System

Pio Wennubst and Timo Mahn, Briefing Paper 13/2013

In order to build up the necessary support and momentum for substantial reforms of a funding structure  “beyond aid”, stakeholders will need a clear understanding of the specific role that the UN Development  System would be playing in the post-2015 agenda, and  assurances that the UN Development System “House” is  well prepared to deliver. A sequenced approach meets  these concerns.

Growing Together Sustainably: A Zero-Poverty Post-2015 Development Framework

The Unnayan Onneshan Contribution to Post 2015  Development Framework, 18 July 2013

This paper contains the Unnayan Onneshan contribution to the  ongoing discussion of a global development framework as a  replacement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the backdrop of the recommendations made by United Nations  Secretary-General appointed high-level panel on post-2015  development agenda.

European report on development 2013 – Post-2015: Global action for an inclusive and sustainable future

Overseas Development Institute, European Union, European Centre for Development Policy Management, 21 May 2013

This European Report on Development aims to provide an independent contribution to the debate on a possible post-2015 development framework to succeed the MDGs and what elements it might usefully incorporate. The Report focuses on the potential value of a new global framework in generating a concerted movement to promote development and support the efforts of poor countries to this end. Have the MDGs helped or even hindered their development progress, or have they perhaps served mainly to mobilise donors? How might a new global agenda most usefully support national development efforts?

2015 and Beyond: Perspectives on Global Development

World Federation of United Nations Associations, May 2013

This issue aims to invite the reader into an imaginary UN conference room, where  leading global opinion makers from different sectors have gathered to share their views on the post-2015 process. Contributing authors include UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, the Liberian Head of State and Co-Chair of the High Level Panel on Post-2015 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Unilever CEO and High Level Panel Member Paul Polman.

Recommendations and key findings for the post-2015 global development framework

IDS, Beyond 2015 and UKAid,  March 2013

Key recommendations based on the  findings of the research with people  living in greatest poverty and those who are most marginalised.

Tackling inequalities in a post-2015 framework

Claire Melamed and Emma Samman,  April 2013

The authors argue that addressing inequality should be central to the post-2015 development framework. Their paper says inequality must be approached on multiple levels: within countries, among nations, and between generations. Tracking inequalities – for example, the progress of the poorest quintile of the population – is important, but to actually reduce inequality, we must reduce the structural inequalities that cause poverty, they say.

Synthesis report: Consultations on a post-2015 framework on disaster risk reduction (HFA2)

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR),  April 2013

This synthesis report provides countries and all stakeholders with an overview of the issues emerging to date on the consultations and development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction (HFA2). The key purpose of this report is to provide the basis for continued consultations, and to inform a draft HFA2 following the Fourth Session of the Global Platform in May 2013.

Protect my Future: A series of papers on child protection in the post-MDG agenda

Terre des Hommes believe that Child Protection and child rights must receive due policy priority in this Agenda. This is an ambitious objective that needs common efforts by child rights defenders. Under the lead work of the NGO “Family for Evey Child”, a group of NGOs joined efforts to produce a series of six thematic position papers aimed at influencing the post-MDG agenda. Terre des Hommes contributed to that common work. They invite any organisation involved in the post-MDG debate to make use of them to promote development based on child rights.

– The links between child protection and good governance

– The links between child protection and population dynamics

– The links between child protection and equity

– The links between child protection and health and survival

– The links between child protection and disasters and conflict

– Why child protection matters in the post-2015 development agenda

Building from the ground up: How the foundations of a post-2015 framework should translate into change for people in poverty

Neva Frecheville and Bernadette Fischler (CAFOD),  March 2013

This paper on the post-2015 agenda looks at the value-add of a global development framework, contributing to the discussion to define the post-2015 agenda. It looks in detail at the values CAFOD believes the framework should be built on to take us towards a shared vision for global development. The paper shows how this can be practically done by suggesting example goals which embody those values, including empowering governance, equitable economies, and resilient livelihoods. Finally, it makes a suggestion on the framework architecture, and how indicators can link across goals to ensure that no goal can be left behind while the others make progress.

A matter of justice: Securing human rights in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda

Center for Economic and Social Rights,  2013

To be effective in meeting the new and persistent challenges of our time, CESR believes any future sustainable development framework should be anchored in the essential human rights principles of universality, interdependence, equality, participation, transparency and accountability, and in the duty of all states to guarantee at least minimum essential floors of rights enjoyment, to use the maximum of their available resources to progressively realize rights for all, and to engage in international cooperation for this purpose.

A ZEN Approach to Post-2015: Addressing the Range of Perspectives across Asia and the Pacific

Douglas Brooks, Kaushal Joshi, John W. McArthur, Changyong Rhee, Guanghua Wan, January 2013

The paper discusses key challenges faced throughout the Asia and the Pacific region as a number of its developing economies graduate from low-income status to middle-income status at the same time as the region remains home to the majority of the world’s poor people and a number of fragile states. The region is gaining increased influence in the world economy but is still grappling to overcome interrelated challenges of poverty and sustainable development, so its priorities will be of significant importance in informing the contents of any post-2015 global development framework.

Beyond 2015: Time to reposition Scandinavia in global health?

Peter Byass, Peter Friberg, Yulia Blomstedt, Stig Wall, 3 April 2013

Global health currently finds itself in an exciting, almost bewildering, state of flux. A plethora of initiatives, statements, high-level meetings, and other activities are generating a continuous flow of new ideas, with the impetus at least partly driven by the advent of the 2015 target date set for the Millennium Development Goals that were adopted in 2000. Whatever shape the post-2015 global health landscape may eventually take, it is already clear that there will be new targets of some kind as the world tries to make further progress on some of the less tractable health issues.

A matter of justice: Securing human rights in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda

Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), April 2013

This briefing argues that human rights principles provide concrete guidance as to how goals and targets are framed and how common but differentiated responsibilities are defined. They also set parameters for how the new commitments are implemented and resourced, how progress is measured and how accountability for the delivery of an effective and just 21st century sustainable development framework can be ensured.

A renewed global partnership for development

UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda, March 2013

This report reflects the shared understanding of and contributions by all members of the UN System Task Team in a genuinely collaborative process, including the preparation of ten individual think pieces on the various themes that are part of the discussion of global partnerships.

Asia Voices for the World We Want 2015

Asia Development Alliance (ADA), March 2013

From the 31st of January to the 2nd of February 2013, Bangkok-Thailand, over 70 participants from various human rights and development organizations participated in the inaugural meeting of the Asian Development Alliance (ADA). This is the official statetment that was produced at this meeting.

My World summary of results

My World, 2013

This is the 2nd MY World Summary of Results report which was presented the High-Level Panel Meeting in Bali on 25th March 2013. The report provides information on the current findings at a global and regional level, and some information on the partnerships that have made MY World possible – the prject has just hit over 250,000 votes and counting.

Children in the post-2015 agenda

Family for Evey Child, 2013

Under the lead work of the NGO “Family for Evey Child”, a group of NGOs joined efforts to produce a series of six thematic position papers aimed at influencing the post-MDG agenda. You can download the thematic papers here:

The links between child protection and good governance

The links between child protection and population dynamics

The links between child protection and equity

The links between child protection and health and survival

The links between child protection and disasters and conflict

Why child protection matters in the post-2015 development agenda

What can be learnt from the impact of health performance on donor policies for health assistance?

Katharina Stepping, 2013

It is unclear how health will be positioned in the post-2015 development agenda. Health already plays a dominant role in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Likewise, funding for health has risen considerably since 1990. For the design of a future agenda, it is important to understand the motives for the provision of health assistance and whether health MDGs have had an impact on health aid.

Why is the water-energy-land nexus important for the future development agenda?

Clara Brandi, Carmen Richerzhagen and Katharina Stepping, 2013

Sector policies regarding water, energy and land are intertwined, particularly in their trade-offs. Policies for one sector often entail consequences – externalities – for the other two sectors, be they on a local, national, regional or global scale. These interconnections add to current pressures on water and land as well as on resources that fuel our energy system, and will thus exacerbate existing scarcity problems, as the demand for food, water and energy is expected to rise by 30–40 per cent by 2030.

Reconsidering sustainable development goals: Is the environment merely a dimension?

Frederick Boltz, Will R. Turner, Frank Wugt Larsen, Imme Scholz and Alejandro Guarín, 2013

The idea that environmental concerns can be subordinated to economic growth disregards the fact that our society and  economy are bound by a natural biophysical system that sustains life on earth. But human society and nature operate on  different time scales: while solutions to human suffering are required now, environmental policies must address the long-term effects of today’s economic actions. The welfare of people today is important, but the welfare of future generations matters too: their fates are intertwined.

How to reconcile the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Markus Loewe, 2012

The majority of the MDGs refer to improvements in the wellbeing of individuals, they are thus final goals of human development (education, health, access to water) to be measured at the micro-level. The SDG agenda also involves such goals (clean air, biodiversity), but also ones that refer to the preservation or establishment of global public goods (limiting climate change, financial stability) that can thus only be measured through macroindicators. The latter are not objectives, but preconditions for sustainable development that for reasons of consistency should not enter into one agenda with final goals. Some of these are already addressed by MDG 8 (among them a fair financial and world trade system).

The global conversation begins: Emerging views for a new development Agenda

United Nations Development Group, March 2013

This report offers a snapshot of the current stories emerging from a global exercise in listening to people’s perspectives and priorities. It represents an effort by the UN to reflect on preliminary results for the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons o the post-2015 Development Agenda, as well as the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.

Contributions to the UN Thematic Consultations

Beyond 2015, March 2013

Many Beyond 2015 participating organisations have followed the call to coordinate a Beyond 2015 position paper which will input to each of the nine themes of the UN thematic consultation. You may view the full list of organisations and position papers, or use the following links to download a specific paper.

European Commission Communication

March 2013

The European Commission presented on 27 February the Communication ‘A Decent Life for All’ which outlines the Commission’s position on the post 2015 development agenda and will serve as basis for discussion among the 27 EU Member States as they try to reach agreement on a common position prior to the UNGA Special Event in September 2013.

Beyond 2015 input into UN thematic consultations

Beyond 2015, March 2013

Lead agencies and drafting teams have been finalising Beyond 2015 position papers for the 11 UN thematic consultations. Recent papers which have been finalised include water and sanitation, governance and population dynamics.

Please note that all Beyond2015’s position papers can be found on this website.

A post-2015 world fit for children: The role of business

UNICEF, March 2013

Businesses have played an important role in contributing to the MDGs but in order to help create a world fit for children, they must go further. This briefing identifies the steps that businesses should take to maximise their impact on development and the role that the UK Government must play to support responsible business behaviour.

Beyond 2015 national deliberations: A synthesis report

Since September 2012, Beyond 2015 and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) have been creating a global civil society position on a post-2015 framework. This is happening through a series of national, regional, and community civil society deliberations that are currently ongoing. So far, civil society deliberations are planned in 40 countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. In a review of the deliberations that have taken place so far around the world, we have received reports from 22 countries about community, regional and national deliberations. This report is the synthesis of these outcomes.

Rearranging the deck chairs: Australia’s carbon “leadership” without comparable followers

Tim Wilson, Februrary 2013

Most of the major developed countries that Australia negotiates with in international climate talks – the Umbrella group of non-European developed countries – have not ratified a second commitment period under Kyoto, including Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Russia.

Beyond the Millennium Development Goals: What can Africa expect?

Simelane & Chiroro, Februrary 2013

What will replace the MDGs? In analysing this question, this brief evaluates Africa’s vulnerability to the shrinkage of resources that had been allocated for development through a grand world strategy such as the MDGs. In the post-2015 development agenda, Africa expects to play a critical role in areas such as agriculture, which has the potential to reduce poverty and hunger.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights in the next global framework

EuroNGOs, October 2012

The European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development (EuroNGOs) is a European network of nongovernmental organizations working on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues in development cooperation and global policy. EuroNGOs is for a sustainable world without poverty where all individuals enjoy good sexual and reproductive health and well-being and are empowered to exercise their sexual and reproductive
health and rights (SRHR).

Addressing conflict and violence from 2015

Saferworld Briefing, Februrary 2013

This briefing paper presents options for goals, targets and indicators that could help address conflict and violence as part of the post-2015 development framework. It builds on a series of three Saferworld Issue Papers entitled ‘Addressing conflict and violence from 2015’.

Multidimensional poverty

Sabina Alkire and Andy Sumner, Februrary 2013

This brief considers what the Multidimensional Poverty Index  (MPI), reflecting acute multidimensional poverty, could offer in the context of the post-2015 MDG discussions.

1st Regional Youth Declaration on Post-2015 Agenda

George Ndungu, January 2013

From 18th-20th November 2012, representatives of regional, sub regional and national youth organizations and participated in the African Youth Conference on Post-2015 Development Agenda at the UN Gigiri, organized by Organization of African Youth-Kenya in partnership with UNDP, UN-Habitat, PACJA, FEMNET, VSO Jitolee and Faces of Peace Kenya.

The dissemination and implementation of the outcomes of the London CSO meeting

Kaganga John, January 2013

Beyond 2015 invited Kaganga John to the High Level Panel Civil Society Outreach Event on behalf of the Department of International Development (DFID). The event was part of the London meeting of the High Level Panel of Eminent Person on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) Co-chaired by the Prime Minister.

The Education Link: Why Learning is Central to the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda

Anda M. Adams, December 2012

This paper describes the leading frameworks proposed for the post-2015 global development agenda and discusses how education and learning fit within each of those frameworks.

Analysis of the UNDESA Survey on the Sustainable Development Goals

Stakeholder Forum, January 2013

This report is a synthesis of the information provided in the submissions and intends to present the findings of the questionnaire in a way that is accessible to all governments and stakeholders. The information has been collated by country type and region with an aim to help identify key priorities.

The Future We the People Need: Voices from New Social Movements in North Africa, Middle East, Europe & North America

Werner Puschra and Sara Burke (EDS.), February 2013

This publication highlights the perspectives of new social, trade union, and protest movements in regions that have experienced great social upheaval due to recent crises—North Africa and the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

Brazil in conflict-affected states – implications for post-2015, Saferworld, February 2013.

Addressing horizontal inequalities as drivers of conflict in the post-2015 development agenda, Saferworld and the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, February 2013.

Towards a Post-2015 Development Framework: Position Paper, EuroNGOs, Countdown 2015 Europe, IPPF EN and ASTRA, February 2013

Policy Brief: Priorities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, High-Level Task Force for ICPD, February 2013

Achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Post-2015 Framework, Gender & Development Network, January 2013

Children’s rights and the post-2015 development agenda, Bond Child Rights Group briefing, December 2012

Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. UN Negotiations Begin, Marianne Beisheim, SWP, November 2012

Jobs and livelihoods at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda, ILO Concept Note, November 2012

Healthy Development in the Post-2015 Era, Yanzhong Huang, CFR, November 2012

How can large businesses contribute to the post-2015 agenda?, Alison Holder, David McNair and Sara Godfrey, Save the Children, November 2012

Youth Consultations for a Post-2015 Framework: A Toolkit, Restless Development, November 2012

Consultation Report for the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, UN NGLS, November 2012

Disability in the Post-2015 Framework, Lorraine Wapling, Sightsavers, November 2012

Inequalities Relating to Health and the life Course: Disability, Mental Illness and Older Age, Emma Samman and Laura Rodriguez-Takeuchi, ODI, November, 2012

Climate, Scarcity and Sustainability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Alex Evans, November 2012

Sexual and Reproductive Rights in the next Global Framework: Promoting a Critical Dialogue, Report of the Annual COnference of the European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development (EuroNGOs), October 2012

A new distribution of income and power, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), October 2012

Eliminating inequalities in sanitation, water and hygiene, Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, October 2012

How can the post 2015 process drive real change? The political economy of global commitments, Duncan Green, Stephen Hale & Matthew Lockwood, Oxfam, October 2012

On irrational exuberance about MDG progress, Jan Vandemoortele, October 2012

2012 Report: Youth and skills: Putting education to work, UNESCO, October 2012

Righting the MDGs: contexts and opportunities for a post-2015 development framework, ActionAid, September 2012

What does the world really want from the next global development goals?: Ensuring that the world’s poor define the post- 2015 framework, Ben Leo with Khai Hoan Tram, ONE, September 2012

The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Breaking new ground for a global framework, Heiner Janus and Dr. Stephan Klingebiel, German Development Institute (DIE), September 2012

International institutions and new sustainable development goals beyond 2015: climate change, poor and vulnerable countries, Joy Hyvarinen, FIELD, September 2012

Alternative Development Strategies for the Post-2015 era, Edited by José Antonio Alonso, Giovanni Andrea Cornia and Rob Vos, forthcoming (2013)

Accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: options for sustained and inclusive growth and issues for advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015, Annual report of the UN Secretary-General, August 2012

How we got here and where we are heading, Professor Mukesh Kapila, The Bellagio Initiative, August 2012

Post-2015 Fever Heat? Yes. Light? No, Lawrence Haddad, IDS, August 2012

Approaching post-2015 from a peace perspective, Saferworld, August 2012

Post-2015 Education MDGs,  Nicholas Burnett & Colin Felsman, ODI, August 2012

Security: the missing bottom of the Millennium Development Goals?, Lisa Denney, ODI, August 2012

Measuring Democracy and Democratic Governance in a post-2015 Development Framework, UNDP, August 2012

Should global goal setting continue, and how, in the post-2015 era? Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, July 2012

Gender equality and the post-2015 framework, Jessica Woodroffe & Emily Esplen, Gender & Development Network, July 2012

Horizon 2025: Creative destruction in the aid industry, Homi Kharas and Andrew Rogerson, ODI, July 2012

The UN Development Strategy for Transformative Change Beyond 2015, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, The New School University, July 2012

Enabling International Environment for transformative changes beyond 2015, Norman Girvan, July 2012

Africa ready for post-2015 development agenda – MDG report, UNECA, July 2012

Emerging perspectives from Africa on the post-2015 development agenda, UNECA, July 2012

Disaster risk management in post-2015 policy frameworks, ODI, June 2012

Measuring WASH and food hygiene practices – post 2015 goals, July 2012

No Future Without Justice, Report of the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives, June 2012

Realizing the Future We Want for All: Report to the Secretary-General, UN Task Team on Post-2015, June 2012 (see also Key Recommendations and Executive Summary)

Culture: a Driver and an Enabler of Sustainable Development, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – UNESCO, June 2012

Sustainable urbanization, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – UN Habitat, May 2012

Private Foundations, Business and developing a Post-2015 Framework, IDS, June 2012

Post-2015 Development Agenda: Guidelines for National Consultations, United Nations Development Group, June 2012

The United Nations Development Strategy Beyond 2015, UN DESA, June 2012

Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals: What role for business?, Paula Lucci, ODI, June 2012

VIDEO: UNICEF Debate – Post 2015: What Next? (Amina Az-Zubair, Naila Kabeer, and Claire Melamed, June 2012)

Post 2015: why we need a new development agenda, Rob Vos, June 2012

Towards a New Post-2015 Development Agenda, Ernest Aryeetey, June 2012

Who needs a development framework post 2015?, Charles Abugre, June 2012

Post MDGs: what next for a global development agenda that takes human rights seriously?, Alicia Ely Yamin, June 2012

What should follow in 2016?, Charles Kenny, June 2012

Locally-led monitoring as an engine for a more dynamic and accountable post 2015 development agenda, Richard Morgan and Shannon O’Shea, June 2012

Will the MDGs survive beyond 2015?, Jan Vandemoortele, June 2012

Inequality, a new frontier for post 2015 development policy, Claire Melamed, June 2012

Development beyond 2015: new One-World goals for critical global challenges, Mukesh Kapila, June 2012

Climate change as part of the post-2015 development agenda, Lucy Scott, Andrew Shepherd, ODI, June 2012

The Wheel of Development: the Millennium Development Goals as a communication and development tool, Dorine van Norren, June 2012

No future without justice – Report of the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives, June 2012

Global ageing – its implications for growth, decent work and social protection beyond 2015, HelpAge, May 2012

Disaster Risk and Resilience, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – UNISDR/WMO, May 2012

Education and skills for inclusive and sustainable development beyond 2015, UN Task Team on Post 2015 -UNESCO, May 2012

Countries with special needs, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – OHRLLS, May 2012

Disaster risk and resilience, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – UNISDR, WMO, May 2012

Emerging development challenges for the post-2015 UN development agenda: Employment, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – ILO, May 2012

Imagining a world free from hunger: Ending hunger and malnutrition and ensuring food and nutrition security, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – FAO, IFAD, WFP, May 2012

Governance and development, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – UNDESA, UNDP, UNESCO, May 2012

Health in the post-2015 UN development agenda, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, May 2012

Towards freedom from fear and want: Human rights in the post-2015 agenda, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – OHCHR, May 2012

Addressing inequalities: The heart of the post-2015 agenda and the future we want for all, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – ECE, ESCAP, UNDESA, UNICEF, UNRISD, UN Women, May 2012

Science, technology and innovation and intellectual property rights: The vision for development, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – IAEA, ITU, UNESCO, UNOOSA, WIPO, May 2012

Macroeconomic stability, inclusive growth and employment, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – ILO, UNCTAD, UNDESA, WTO, May 2012

Migration and human mobility, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – IOM, UNDESA, May 2012

Peace and security, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – PBSO, May 2012

Population dynamics, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – UNDESA, UNFPA, May 2012

Social protection: A development priority in the post-2015 UN development agenda, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – ECA, ILO, UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNICEF, May 2012

Building on the MDGs to bring sustainable development to the post-2015 development agenda, UN Task Team on Post 2015 – ECE, ESCAP, UNDESA, UNEP, UNFCCC, May 2012

Post-2015 – Opportunities for EU-12 CSOs. Briefing Paper, TRIALOG-FoRS, May 2012

Post-2015 Health MDGs, Julian Schweitzer, Marty Makinen and Lara Wilson, Results for Development institute, May 2012

Inclusive growth and a post-2015 framework, Gina Bergh, Claire Melamed, ODI, May 2012

A binding Food Treaty: a post-MDG proposal worth exploring, Jose Luis Vivero, May 2012

The MDGs and Human Rights: Past, Present and Future, Edited by Malcolm Langford, Andy Sumner and Alicia Ely Yamin. Cambridge University Press (2013)

Reporting on Development: ODA and Financing for Development, ECDPM, April 2012

Beyond 2015: Perspectives for the Future of Education, Sobhi Tawil, UNESCO, April 2012

Beyond the Millennium Development Goals. Agreeing to a Post-2015 Development Framework, Alex Evans and David Steven, April 2012

Post-2015 Goals, Targets and Indicators, CIGI, April 2012

Using Human security Principles to Develop a Post-2015 Framework, IDS, April 2012

Human Security and the Next Generation of Comprehensive Human Development Goals, Gabriele Koehler, Des Gasper, Richard Jolly, Mara Simane, April 2012

Advancing the global development agenda post-2015: some thoughts, ideas and practical suggestions, Jan Vandemoortele, April 2012

The MDGs after 2015: Some reflections on the possibilities, Deepak Nayyar, April 2012

After the MDGs: Citizen Deliberation and the Post-2015 Development Framework, Scott Wisor, March 2012 (non-subscribers can find a penultimate version of this paper here).

Poverty, Human Rights and the Global Order: Framing the Post-2015 Agenda, Thomas Pogge, Yale University, Global Justice Program, April 2012

Non-­Communicable Diseases (NCDs): Central to the Post-­2015 Development Framework, The NCD Alliance

Post-2015 policymaking. What is being planned, what might actually happen, and CAFOD‟s current policy lines, Amy Pollard & Bernadette Fischler, March 2012

Articulating a Post-2015 MDG Agenda, UNECA – African Union Commission, March 2012

Putting inequality in the post-2015 picture, Claire Melamed, ODI, March 2012

The Millennium Development Goals: Milestones or Millstones? Human Rights Priorities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda,
Mac Darrow, March 2012

Towards a Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, UN ISDR, February 2012

A safe and just space for humanity, Kate Raworth, OxfamGB, February 2012

After 2015. Contexts, politics and processes for a post-2015 global agreement on development, Claire Melamed, January 2012

More Money or More Development: What Have the MDGs Achieved?, Charles Kenny and Andy Sumner, December 2011

After the MDGs – what then?, Janice Giffen with Brian Pratt, November 2011

Towards an African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, UNECA, November 2011

Towards a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals. Next steps for the United Nations, Beyond 2015, October 2011

A Post-2015 Framework for Development: Starting a Substantive Conversation, Workshop Report, UNDP & ODI, October 2011

A post-2015 global development agreement: why, what, who?, Claire Melamed and Andy Sumner, October 2011

A global development framework after 2015. Engaging poor people in its formulation, Annie Quick & Simon Burall, September 2011

The Millennium Development Goals after 2015: no goals yet, please, Claire Melamed, September 2011

Summary of the Millennium Consumption Goals (MCGs), September 2011

MDGs and the narrative of development, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, September 2011

Rio+20: Sustainable Development Goals, Colombia’s proposal on Sustainable Development Goals, August 2011

Toward a Post-2015 Development Paradigm, Barry Carin and Mukesh Kapila, CIGI, August 2011

Accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, Annual report of the UN Secretary-General, July 2011

Getting to a post-2015 framework. What are the scenarios?, Amy Pollard, July 2011

The post-2015 Development Agenda. The Millennium Development Goals in perspective, Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs, April 2011

The Millennium Consumption Goals (MCG): a concrete proposal, Philip Vergragt, February 2011

Older entries

A 100 voices, Amy Pollard, Andy Sumner, Monica Polato-Lopes & Agnès de Mauroy, March 2011

A 2015 Agenda for Africa: development from a Human perspective, Yehualashet Mekonen, January 2010. To access to this report, you have to be a member of Euforic, a social network people organisations engaged in international cooperation and development

A Need for a new narrative: The MDGs post 2015, Ellen Lammers, August 2009

After 2015, we need a new set of millennium development goals that apply to all countries, Jonathan Glennie, November 2010

After 2015: 3D Human Wellbeing, Andy Sumner, J. Allister McGregor, January 2009

After 2015: Gender Equality, Nicola Jones, Rebecca Holmes, Jessica Espry, January 2009

After 2015: progress and challenges for development, Claire Melamed and Lucy Scott, March 2011

After 2015: Promoting Pro-Poor Policy after the MDGS – The Plenary Presentations and Discussion, Michael Tribe and Aurélien Lafon, June 2009

After 2015: Promoting Pro-poor Policy after the MDGs, Caitlin Porter

After 2015: Promoting Pro-Poor Policy after the MDGs, Jasmine Subasat

After 2015: Promoting Pro-poor Policy after the MGDs, Donald Kasongi

After 2015: Pro-Poor Low Carbon Development, Frauke Urban, Andy Sumner, July 2009

An MDG-Plus Agenda for Africa, Alfred G. Nhema, January 2010

Before and after 2015, Jeff Waage, September 2010

Climate, Conflict and Capital: Critical issues for the MDGs and beyond 2015, Erik Solheim

Development in Domestic and Global politics: broader streams of post-2015 work, Globopolis staff, December 201

Global Poverty Reduction to 2015 and Beyond: What has been the Impact of the MDGs and what are the Options for a Post-2015 Global Framework?, Andy Sumner and Meera Tiwari, October 201

Goalposts: What next for MGDs?, Frans Bieckmann, Issue 22 October/November 2010.

How the MDGs are unfair to Africa, William Easterly, November 2007

Human rights: The post-2015 agenda?, Aldo Caliari, September 2010

Millenium development Goals and Human rights, Conference MARCH 22-23, 2010, Harvard Law School

Poverty Reduction and the MDGs Paradigm, Andrew Shepherd, 2009

Promoting Pro-Poor Policy after the MDGs, Ghataoura Rajpal Singh, April 2009

Taking Rights Seriously: Six Ways to Fix the MDGs, Malcolm Langford

Taking the MDGs Beyond 2015: Hasten Slowly, Jan Vandemoortele, May 2009

The Global Development Cycle, MDGs and the Future of Poverty Reduction, Charles Gore, 2008

The Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies: A global movement for a global challenge, OECD MP Project

The Impact and Design of the MDGs: Some Reflections, Richard Manning, January 2010

The Johannesburg Statement on the Millennium Development Goals, Global poverty summit Johannesburg, January 2011

The MDG-Human Rights Nexus to 2015 and Beyond, Mary Robinson, January 2010

The MDGs after the Crisis, Global Monitoring Report, World Bank, 2010

The MDGs Beyond 2015, Selim Jahan, January 2010

The Millennium Development Goals: a cross- sectorial analysis and principles for goal setting after 2015, Jeff Waage, September 2010

Thinking Ahead. Development Models and Indicators of Well-being Beyond the MDGs, Jens Martens, November 2010

Toward a Post-2015 Development Paradigm, Meeting report, Hosted by International Federation of red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Center for International Governance Innovation, Geneva, February 2011

UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability Civil Society Consultation Questions and Beyond 2015’s submission to this consultation. March 2011

Using indicators to encourage development: Lessons from the Millennium Development Goals, Richard Manning, 2009

What are the options for a post-2015 global framework?, Andy Sumner, October 2010

What next after the MDGs: lessons from the financial and food crises, DFID and BOAG

Where Europe Stands in the New Aid Architecture and Why We Need a New €5bn  European MDG Fund, Simon Maxwell, June 2006

Why the MDGs need critical friends, Alison Evans, September 2010

What Next for the Millennium Development Goals?, Todd Moss, May 2010

Working with the grain to change the grain: Moving beyond the Millennium Development Goals, Phil Vernon and Deborrah Baksh, September 2010


How Universal is a Global Development Agenda?

How Universal is a Global Development Agenda?

Universality and differentiation in the post-2015 development agenda

The complexity and interconnectedness of today’s globalised world have rendered development challenges increasingly interlinked and global in nature. Prosperity cannot be sustained without finding integrated and common solutions and without all countries contributing in a spirit of solidarity and shared responsibility. The post-2015 agenda has framed sustainable development as a universal project. On the one hand, it includes issues that are of common concern to all and pose challenges at the national level, on the other hand, it defines objectives to be achieved at the global level.

Universality cannot be separated from the contrastive principle of differentiation, as responsibilities and accountability will have to differ depending on the circumstances of each country, their respective development statuses and the means available to them.

The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) have produced a new Discussion Paper, financed by Irish Aid, on ‘Universality and differentiation in the post-2015 development agenda’. It argues that:

– Translating the universal post-2015 goals and targets into national actions, commitments, responsibilities and accountability that respect national priorities and circumstances is a major challenge – especially as all national-level actions should add up to the ambitious global objectives to effectively achieve sustainable development. Universality in the post-2015 agenda may be possible only with an equitable system of differentiation.

– There is a need for a pragmatic and flexible differentiation system that accounts for country priorities and ownership, but builds in incentives to encourage ambitious contributions. Differentiation should not be static but remain open to change and adaptation over time. To avoid simplistic categorisations, the system should use equity and effectiveness criteria in a nuanced way, along a continuum that ensures contributions by all, commensurate with national circumstances, capacities and capabilities.

– In order to ensure universality and build in accountability, comparability and incentives, common rules or guidelines that leave some room for self determination could be helpful. In areas where global standards are lacking, national processes of determining target levels, benchmarks and commitments may be valuable, guided by common parameters and guidelines as well as a process of reviewing levels of ambition.

In pursuit of a better, fairer world

Published in Al Jazeera in February 2014

In pursuit of a better, fairer world

Tackling rampant inequality is not just a moral duty: It’s a human rights obligation.

Inequality comes in multiple overlapping forms, which often feed into each other [Reuters]


About the Author
Luke Holland

Luke Holland is a researcher and communications coordinator at the Center for Economic and Social Rights.

Story highlights

Development negotiations taking place in this year will have a pivotal impact on the future wellbeing of ordinary people everywhere. Relatively unnoticed by the media, a broad spectrum of consultations and talks are currently unfolding as the community of nations endeavors to agree a new sustainable development agenda that can ensure equitable socio-economic development while also guaranteeing environmental sustainability in the post-2015 era. This week (Feb-3-8) in the UN’s New York headquarters, the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals will address one of the most pressing issues of our time: inequality. This will be the OWG’s eighth and final session before drawing up a set of concrete proposals to be presented to the General Assembly, which is due to hammer out the

Relatively unnoticed by the media, a broad spectrum of consultations and talks are currently unfolding as the community of nations endeavours to agree on a new sustainable development agenda that can ensure equitable socio-economic development. This round of negotiations will have a pivotal impact on the future well-being of ordinary people the world over.

This week, the UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals, the eighth and final session, will address one of the most pressing issues of our time: Inequality. OWG is due to draw out a set of concrete proposals to submit to the General Assembly, which is expected to hammer out the parameters of a new global development framework next September.

As demonstrated in a devastating recent report from Oxfam, global inequality has now reached historic and unacceptable levels. Tackling these increasingly pronounced disparities, both within and between countries, will be essential if future development efforts are to deliver a more just and sustainable world.

A lack of attention to inequality in the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed on back in 2000, left the door open to patterns of widening economic and social divergence.

Inequality comes in multiple overlapping forms, which all-too-often feed into each other. Differentials in household wealth and income conspire with disparities between rural and urban areas, and inequalities along the lines of gender, disability, ethnicity, and migration status, in a dysfunctional synergy. The result is that many millions of people are shut out of development processes, their rights violated, their dreams and aspirations smothered and their potential to contribute to development wasted.

Inequality comes in multiple overlapping forms, which all-too-often feed into each other.

This is not just a question of North-South politics; the post-2015 agenda will apply to all countries, and as such its provisions on equality will have important implications for disparities within developed countries, too.

Policy-makers would do well to remember that inflated levels of income inequality were also a central factor in triggering the global financial crisis, and the ruinous human costs that came with it.

Above the law?

Ethical and instrumental considerations are not the only reasons growing disparity must be tackled head-on, however. It is also a legal obligation under international human rights law. The duty to address inequality and discrimination is contained in the principal human rights treaties which the vast majority of states have already signed and ratified, and it also lies at the core of a human rights-based approach to development, which is being demanded by civil society organizations all over the world.

Underpinning this drive is the understanding that future development efforts must be based on principles of justice, rather than charity, if they are to have a genuinely transformative impact. A human rights approach empowers citizens to influence and direct development processes themselves, and in this way addresses the structural underpinnings of inequality in a way that a traditional charity-based model cannot. Most importantly, it represents a paradigmatic and corrective shift away from the shortfalls of the current MDGs, which will expire in 2015 with few of the targets they contain being achieved.

The principles of universality and non-discrimination, as set out in the international human rights legal order, require that inequality be addressed both in law and in practice, wherever it may manifest. At the most basic level, this requires robust anti-discrimination legislation, rectifying unjustifiable wage differentials and providing for decent work. Such fundamental measures must go hand-in-hand with efforts to tackle the structural drivers of inequality, such as regressive fiscal policies and taxation regimes, egregious levels of tax abuse and evasion, weak labour market regulation and economic policies that promote “jobless growth”.

Moreover, the duty to meet minimum core standards of social and economic well-being, as confirmed by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, requires that states guarantee basic social protection floors to all people within their jurisdictions. Research by the International Labour Organization has demonstrated that this key tool in redressing inequality is affordable even in low-income countries. And in an age when the roll-back of social protection systems has exacerbated poverty and inequality in manycountries, the necessity of fulfilling this duty is more pertinent than ever.

All of these measures will be crucial to redress inequality in the post-2015 era. Policies implemented by the state and other powerful development actors only represent one side of the equality equation, however, as an empowered, well-informed and actively engaged society will likewise be necessary if the failures of the past are to be avoided this time around.

Democratising development

Arguably the greatest failing of the current MDGs is that they were conceived in a top-down manner, with states promoting development for an ostensibly passive beneficiary populace. This approach, founded in a vision of development that is itself rooted in inequality, must be turned on its head. Effective systems of accountability, participation and transparency are the tools with which this about-face can and must be achieved.

Firstly, all development actors must be held accountable for commitments set out in the new agenda. The absence of effective systems of accountability in the original MDGs meant that governments faced no meaningful incentives to deliver on their promises. In order to remedy this fatal flaw, time-bound commitments must be subject to effective monitoring of both the goals, the policy and budgetary efforts governments made to achieve them.

This question of accountability also speaks to the need for the meaningful participationof those facing poverty and discrimination in all development processes. Just as powerful development actors must be held accountable to the new goals, so those most affected by poverty and injustice must be enabled to shape the design, implementation and monitoring of development.

People living in poverty generally see their deprivation in terms of voice and power, or the lack thereof, just as much as material wealth.

Ensuring transparency by delivering timely, disaggregated data on the processes and outcomes of development efforts will be a crucial prerequisite to achieving the effective participation of vulnerable groups.

Taken together, the principles of accountability, participation, and transparency can serve to facilitate empowered citizen pressure, thereby ensuring more responsive governance and confronting the structural underpinnings of inequality. Combined with other direct measures, such as progressive fiscal policies and social protection floors, they have the potential to overcome these key obstacles to equitable and sustainable development.

In September this year, the international community will meet again, when the General Assembly considers the OWG recommendations and negotiations on the post-2015 agenda move into the final strait. Between now and then, those who would prioritise even greater accumulation of wealth for an elite few, rather than a just and sustainable future for all, will no doubt seek to influence debates and consolidate their power. The international community faces an ethical and environmental imperative to make sure short-sighted economic demands do not take precedence over social and economic justice, however.

Indeed, the real test of progress must surely be the degree to which ordinary people can access their inherent human rights and enjoy freedom from both want and fear. This is the legitimate expectation of those campaigning for a new sustainable development agenda that reflects the lived experiences of women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and others frequently left out of the development process.

Should national governments fail to properly address equality and the human rights obligations that underpin it in the design and implementation of the post-2015 framework, they will not only be derelict in their legal duties; they also run a serious of risk of squandering the opportunity to create a better, fairer world for this and future generations. The stakes could not be higher.

Luke Holland is a researcher and communications coordinator at the Center for Economic and Social Rights. 

Sustainable development goals: changing the world in 17 steps

Originally published in The Guardian in January 2015.
1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere


by 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day


by 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions


implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable


by 2030 ensure that all men and women, particularly the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership, and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology, and financial services including microfinance


by 2030 build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations, and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters


ensure significant mobilisation of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular LDCs, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions


create sound policy frameworks, at national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies to support accelerated investments in poverty eradication actions

2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture


by 2030 end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round


by 2030 end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving by 2025 the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under five years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons


by 2030 double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment


by 2030 ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters, and that progressively improve land and soil quality


by 2020 maintain genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at national, regional and international levels, and ensure access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge as internationally agreed


increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development, and plant and livestock gene banks to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular in least developed countries


correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets including by the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round


adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives, and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility

3 Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages


by 2030 reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births


by 2030 end preventable deaths of newborns and under-five children, by 2030 end preventable deaths of newborns and under-five children


by 2030 end the epidemics of Aids, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases


by 2030 reduce by one-third pre-mature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and wellbeing


strengthen prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol


by 2020 halve global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents


by 2030 ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes


achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all


by 2030 substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination


strengthen implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries as appropriate


support research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the TRIPS agreement regarding flexibilities to protect public health and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all


increase substantially health financing and the recruitment, development and training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in LDCs and SIDS


strengthen the capacity of all countries, particularly developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction, and management of national and global health risks

4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


by 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes


by 2030 ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education


by 2030 ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university


by 2030, increase by x% [to be decided] the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship


by 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations


by 2030 ensure that all youth and at least x% [to be decided] of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy


by 2030 ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development


build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all


by 2020 expand by x% [to be decided] globally the number of scholarships for developing countries in particular LDCs, SIDS and African countries to enrol in higher education, including vocational training, ICT, technical, engineering and scientific programmes in developed countries and other developing countries


by 2030 increase by x% [to be decided] the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially LDCs and SIDS

5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls


end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere


eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation


eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations


recognise and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies, and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate


ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life


ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences


undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance, and natural resources in accordance with national laws


enhance the use of enabling technologies, in particular ICT, to promote women’s empowerment


adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels, adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all


by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all


by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations


by 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater, and increasing recycling and safe reuse by x% [to be decided] globally


by 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity, and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity


by 2030 implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate


by 2020 protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes


by 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water and sanitation related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies


support and strengthen the participation of local communities for improving water and sanitation management

7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all


by 2030 ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services


increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030


double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030


by 2030 enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technologies, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and advanced and cleaner fossil fuel technologies, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technologies


by 2030 expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, particularly LDCs and SIDS

8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all


sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances, and in particular at least 7% per annum GDP growth in the least-developed countries


achieve higher levels of productivity of economies through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high value added and labour-intensive sectors


promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage formalisation and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises including through access to financial services


improve progressively through 2030 global resource efficiency in consumption and production, and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production with developed countries taking the lead


by 2030 achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value


by 2020 substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training


take immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, eradicate forced labour, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms including recruitment and use of child soldiers


protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments of all workers, including migrant workers, particularly women migrants, and those in precarious employment


by 2030 devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products


strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and to expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all


increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, particularly LDCs, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for LDCs


by 2020 develop and operationalise a global strategy for youth employment and implement the ILO Global Jobs Pact

9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation


develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human wellbeing, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all


promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and by 2030 raise significantly industry’s share of employment and GDP in line with national circumstances, and double its share in LDCs


increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, particularly in developing countries, to financial services including affordable credit and their integration into value chains and markets


by 2030 upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities


enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, particularly developing countries, including by 2030 encouraging innovation and increasing the number of R&D workers per one million people by x% [to be decided] and public and private R&D spending


facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS


support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for inter alia industrial diversification and value addition to commodities


significantly increase access to ICT and strive to provide universal and affordable access to internet in LDCs by 2020, significantly increase access to ICT and strive to provide universal and affordable access to internet in LDCs by 2020

10 Reduce inequality within and among countries


by 2030 progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average


by 2030 empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status


ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including through eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and actions in this regard


adopt policies especially fiscal, wage, and social protection policies and progressively achieve greater equality


improve regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen implementation of such regulations


ensure enhanced representation and voice of developing countries in decision making in global international economic and financial institutions in order to deliver more effective, credible, accountable and legitimate institutions


facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies


implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, in accordance with WTO agreements


encourage ODA and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to states where the need is greatest, in particular LDCs, African countries, SIDS, and LLDCs, in accordance with their national plans and programmes


by 2030, reduce to less than 3% the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5%

11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


by 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums


by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons


by 2030 enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacities for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries


strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage


by 2030 significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of affected people and decrease by y% [to be decided] the economic losses relative to GDP caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with the focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations


by 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality, municipal and other waste management


by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities


support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning


by 2020, increase by x% [to be decided] the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, develop and implement in line with the forthcoming Hyogo Framework holistic disaster risk management at all levels


support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, for sustainable and resilient buildings utilising local materials

12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns


implement the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on sustainable consumption and production (10YFP), all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries


by 2030 achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources


by 2030 halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains including post-harvest losses


by 2020 achieve environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle in accordance with agreed international frameworks and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil to minimise their adverse impacts on human health and the environment


by 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse


encourage companies, especially large and trans-national companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle


promote public procurement practices that are sustainable in accordance with national policies and priorities


by 2030 ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature


support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacities to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production,a support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacities to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production


develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products


rationalise inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimising the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities

13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*


strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related hazards and natural disasters in all countries


integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning


improve education, awareness raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning


implement the commitment undertaken by developed country Parties to the UNFCCC to a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalise the Green Climate Fund through its capitalisation as soon as possible


Promote mechanisms for raising capacities for effective climate change related planning and management, in LDCs, including focusing on women, youth, local and marginalised communities

14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development


by 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, particularly from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution


by 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration, to achieve healthy and productive oceans


minimise and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels


by 2020, effectively regulate harvesting, and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics


by 2020, conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on best available scientific information


by 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognising that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation


by 2030 increase the economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism


increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacities and transfer marine technology taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular SIDS and LDCs


provide access of small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets,


ensure the full implementation of international law, as reflected in UNCLOS for states parties to it, including, where applicable, existing regional and international regimes for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by their parties

15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss


by 2020 ensure conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements


by 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and increase afforestation and reforestation by x% [to be decided] globally


by 2020, combat desertification, and restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world


by 2030 ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, to enhance their capacity to provide benefits which are essential for sustainable development


take urgent and significant action to reduce degradation of natural habitat, halt the loss of biodiversity, and by 2020 protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species


ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources, and promote appropriate access to genetic resources


take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna, and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products


by 2020 introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems, and control or eradicate the priority species


by 2020, integrate ecosystems and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes and poverty reduction strategies, and accounts


mobilise and significantly increase from all sources financial resources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems,a mobilise and significantly increase from all sources financial resources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems


mobilise significantly resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management, and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance sustainable forest management, including for conservation and reforestation


enhance global support to efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities

16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels


significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere


end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children


promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and ensure equal access to justice for all


by 2030 significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organised crime


substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms


develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels


ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels


broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance


by 2030 provide legal identity for all including birth registration


ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements


strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacities at all levels, in particular in developing countries, for preventing violence and combating terrorism and crime


promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development


strengthen domestic resource mobilisation, including through international support to developing countries to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection


developed countries to implement fully their ODA commitments, including to provide 0.7% of GNI in ODA to developing countries of which 0.15-0.20% to least-developed countries


mobilise additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources


assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries (HIPC) to reduce debt distress


adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for LDCs


enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation, and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, particularly at UN level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism when agreed


promote development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed


fully operationalise the Technology Bank and STI (Science, Technology and Innovation) capacity building mechanism for LDCs by 2017, and enhance the use of enabling technologies in particular ICT


enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all sustainable development goals, including through North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation


promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the WTO including through the conclusion of negotiations within its Doha Development Agenda


increase significantly the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the LDC share of global exports by 2020


realise timely implementation of duty-free, quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries consistent with WTO decisions, including through ensuring that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from LDCs are transparent and simple, and contribute to facilitating market access


enhance global macroeconomic stability including through policy coordination and policy coherence


enhance policy coherence for sustainable development


respect each country’s policy space and leadership to establish and implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development


enhance the global partnership for sustainable development complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilise and share knowledge, expertise, technologies and financial resources to support the achievement of sustainable development goals in all countries, particularly developing countries


encourage and promote effective public, public-private, and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships


by 2020, enhance capacity building support to developing countries, including for LDCs and SIDS, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts


by 2030, build on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that complement GDP, and support statistical capacity building in developing countries

Funding the revolution

Originally published in in January 2015.

Written by Claire Melamed, Director of Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme at ODI and Grant Cameron, Manager at the World Bank Group (DECDG).

A revolution starts with an idea, but to become real, it has to move quickly to a practical proposition about getting stuff done. And getting things done needs money. If the ideas generated last year, in the report of the UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group and elsewhere, about how to improve data production and use are to become real, then they will need investments. It’s time to start thinking about where the money to fund the data revolution might come from, and how it might be spent.

Getting funding for investment in data won’t be easy. As hard-pressed statistical offices around the world know to their cost, it’s tough to persuade governments to put money into counting things instead of, say, teaching children or paying pensions. But unless the current excitement about data turn into concrete commitments, it will all fade away once the next big thing comes along, leaving little in the way of lasting change.

So what is needed? Two things. Firstly, there must be new money for investments in data. But, critically, a second thing is needed too – the money must be spent in ways that enable and incentivise the changes that are needed to take advantage of the revolutionary possibilities in the data landscape. The IEAG report laid out four areas in which change is needed: capacity and resources, technology and innovation, principles and standards, and partnerships and leadership. New money, used well, can support all these and help to drive the changes that are needed.  In particular, four new funding streams might help to drive progress in the right direction:

1. Funding for official statistics. As the IEAG said, ‘strengthening national capacities will be the essential test of any data revolution’. Building on the idea of ‘country compacts’, new money could be used to support change at the national level, supporting dialogue between data providers and data users, enabling new and useful partnerships between public sector, private sector and civil society, investing in the technological infrastructure, and rewarding measurable improvements in the production and use of high quality data.

2. Funding for innovation. While official statistics will be the core, ignoring the potential for innovation to solve problems, create new possibilities, and leapfrog over current technologies, will in the long run be a waste of resources. Innovation is happening, and it is important that funds are available to ensure that there are incentives to innovate in the public interest as well as for the private sector. A starting point could to be to explore how new innovations could help to fill gaps in data for the new Sustainable Development Goals, along the lines of the ‘SDG data labs’ proposed by the IEAG report.

3. Funding for data literacy and use. A dedicated funding stream for civil society groups, to enable them to experiment with the collection and use of data, to strengthen data literacy and build capacity, and in the end to drive increased demand for and use of data will be a key part of using the data revolution to achieve long term change in government policies and in the relationship between governments and citizens.

4. Funding for partnership and leadership. Most of the action, initiatives, and financing required to drive the data revolution will happen at the national and local levels. But, as the IEAG report makes clear, global level partnerships and leadership can help to consolidate and share emerging lessons and develop standards, can help to broker necessary partnerships, can help to develop regional and global technology infrastructure, and can help to showcase best practice and encourage innovation. This too, needs resources, and political support to drive it.

Good data, used well, is not cheap. But this is the moment to lay down the foundations for a future of high quality, accessible, and useful data. Good data will be essential for both monitoring and achieving the new sustainable development goals – and so funding for data could, and probably should, be a part of the discussion at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa in July this year. If governments, companies and civil society rise to the challenge of investing in data in ways that drive change and improvement, then that could be the moment when we know if the ‘data revolution’ will be more than just a good idea.

Post-2015 process

Originally published in UN Sustainable Development website.

The United Nations is in the process of defining a post-2015 development agenda. This agenda will be launched at a Summit in September 2015, which is the target date for realizing the MDGs. It is currently being elaborated through informal consultations of the UN General Assembly. The President of the General Assembly has appointed two Co-facilitators to lead those informal consultations. The process of arriving at the post 2015 development agenda is Member State-led with broad participation from Major Groups and other civil society stakeholders. There has been numerous inputs to the agenda, notably a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by an open working group of the General Assembly, the report of an intergovernmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing, GA dialogues on technology facilitation and many others. The General Assembly called upon the Secretary-General to synthesize the full range of inputs and to present a synthesis report before the end of 2014 as a contribution to the intergovernmental negotiations in the lead up to the Summit. The United Nations has played a facilitating role in the global conversation on the post 2015 development agenda and supported broad consultations. It also has the responsibility of supporting Member States by providing evidence-based inputs, analytical thinking and field experience.

Road to Dignity by 2030: UN chief launches blueprint towards sustainable development

4 December 2014 – Calling for inclusive, agile and coordinated action to usher in an era of sustainable development for all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today presented the United Nations General Assembly with an advance version of his so-called “synthesis report,” which will guide negotiations for a new global agenda centred on people and the planet, and underpinned by human rights.

“Next year, 2015, will herald an unprecedented opportunity to take far-reaching, long-overdue global action to secure our future well-being,” Mr. Ban said as he called on Member States to be “innovative, inclusive, agile, determined and coordinated” in negotiating the agenda that will succeed the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UN-backed effort to reduce extreme poverty and hunger, promote education, especially for girls, fight disease and protect the environment, all by 2015.

[We] have an historic opportunity and duty to act, boldly, vigorously and expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all, leaving no one behind.

In an informal briefing to the 193-Member Assembly, the UN chief presented his synthesis report, The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet, alongside the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa who also addressed delegates, describing the process of intergovernmental negotiations that fed into the report’s compilation to set the stage for agreement on the new framework at a September 2015 summit and stressing the “historical responsibility” States faced to deliver a transformative agenda.

The synthesis report aims to support States’ discussions going forward, taking stock of the negotiations on the post-2015 agenda and reviewing lessons from pursuit of the MDGs. It stresses the need to “finish the job” – both to help people now and as a launch pad for the new agenda.

In the report’s conclusion, the Secretary-General issues a powerful charge to Member States, saying: “We are on the threshold of the most important year of development since the founding of the United Nations itself. We must give meaning to this Organization’s promise to ‘reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person’ and to take the world forward to a sustainable future…[We] have an historic opportunity and duty to act, boldly, vigorously and expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all, leaving no one behind.”

Never before has so broad and inclusive a consultation been undertaken on development, Mr. Ban told the Assembly today, referring to the consultations that followed Rio+20 [ the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development], adding that his synthesis report “looks ahead, and discusses the contours of a universal and transformative agenda that places people and planet at the centre, is underpinned by human rights, and is supported by a global partnership.”

The coming months would see agreement on the final parameters of the post-2015 agenda and he stressed the need for inclusion of a compelling and principled narrative, based on human rights and dignity. Financing and other means of implementation would also be essential and he called for strong, inclusive public mechanisms for reporting, monitoring progress, learning lessons, and ensuring shared responsibility.

He also welcomed the outcome produced by the Open Working Group, saying its 17 proposed sustainable development goals and 169 associated targets clearly expressed an agenda aiming at ending poverty, achieving shared prosperity, protecting the planet and leaving no one behind.

Discussions of the Working Group had been inclusive and productive and he the Group’s proposal should form the basis of the new goals, as agreed by the General Assembly. The goals should be “focused and concise” to boost global awareness and country-level implementation, communicating clearly Member States’ ambition and vision.

The synthesis report presented dignity, people, prosperity, the planet, justice and partnerships as an integrated set of “essential elements” aimed at providing conceptual guidance during discussions of the goals and Mr. Ban stressed that none could be considered in isolation from the others and that each was an integral part of the whole.

“Implementation will be the litmus test of this agenda. It must be placed on a sound financial footing,” he said welcoming the work of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and encouraging countries to scale up their efforts.

The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa next year would play a major role in outlining the means for implementation, and he stressed the “key role” national Governments would play in raising domestic revenue to benefit the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

Official development assistance (ODA) and international public funds, particularly for vulnerable countries, would also be vital to unlocking “the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources”, while private investment would be particularly important on projects related to the transition to low-carbon economies, improving access to water, renewable energy, agriculture, industry, infrastructure and transport.

Implementation would also rely on bridging the technology gap, creating a new framework for shared accountability, and providing reliable data, which he called the “lifeblood of sound decision-making.”

Stressing his commitment to ensuring the best outcome from the post-2015 process, he underlined the need for States to be guided by universal human rights and international norms, while remaining responsive to different needs and contexts in different countries.

“We must embrace the possibilities and opportunities of the task at hand,” he said.

In an earlier interview with the UN News Centre Amina J. Mohammed, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning stressed that one of the report’s main “takeaways” is that “by 2030 we can end poverty, we can transform lives and we can find ways to protect the planet while doing that.”

“I think that’s important because we’re talking about a universal agenda where we’re going to leave no one behind. It’s not doing things by halves or by three-quarters, it’s about everyone mattering…To say you don’t want to leave anyone behind is to look to see who is the most vulnerable and smallest member of the family and what is it that we’re going to have to do to ensure that they’re not left behind, because that will be the litmus test and success of what we do.”

Sustainable development goals
Goal 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
Goal 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
* Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.
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