Sustainable Development Goals - Focus Areas Document Released

The Co-chairs of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Open Working Group have now produced their focus areas:
  1. Poverty eradication
  2. Food security and nutrition 
  3. Health and population dynamics
  4. Education
  5. Gender Equality and women’s empowerment
  6. Water and sanitation
  7. Energy
  8. Economic Growth
  9. Industrialization
  10. Infrastructure
  11. Employment and decent work for all
  12. Promoting Equality
  13. Sustainable Cities and Settlements
  14. Sustainable Consumption and Production
  15. Climate
  16. Marine Resources, oceans and seas
  17. Ecosystems and biodiversity
  18. Means of Implementation
  19. Peaceful and non-violent societies, capable institutions
The Co-chairs paper with much more detail can be downloaded from the UN web site.

How can you participate in sending your views in? Well if you are linked with any of the Major Groups Organizing Partners then they will be soliciting input asap - go to the contact page on the UN web site to find out who to contact. If you don't know what the Major Groups are then you haven't been engaged in  the process since 1992..... They are based on the nine chapters of Agenda 21 which deals with other stakeholder groups who should be consulted. 

The World We Want is also running a consultation from Monday 24 February to Friday 14 March. Different stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments answering the following questions:
  1. The 'focus areas document' overall: What do you agree with and what is missing? (400 word max) 
  2. Per specific focus area, what do you agree with and how would you improve it? (400 word max per area that you choose to respond to) - here 
The next OWG session starting 3 March where UN member states will move into a process of identifying SDGs and accompanying targets.

What Happens Now

The attached document does not constitute YET a zero draft of the report that the Group has been mandated to submit to the General Assembly at its sixty-eighth session. While the document is recommended for further consideration, the focus areas identified here are not exhaustive. Therefore, they do not preclude inclusion of other issues discussed within the context of the thematic clusters but that may not have been captured here. So there is still room to input to the focus areas though a really  doubt they will be expanded. What now will happen in governments will make their points first on the 3rd and 4th of March and then the April SDG OWG meeting and then there will be the beginning of the consolidation. I would expect the 19 to come down to 10-12 by September 2015 in this period the best the SDG OWG will be able to do is collect the ones that will be at the core and probably indicate the ones that need more work or that still need to be traded. An example would be the ones on infrastructure and sustainable cities and human settlements - both will not survive so which expresses the most of the other and what would that look like.

How many governments have you spoke to today

So we are into the beginning of the main game and if you want to influence this process then the question you need to ask is how many of the Open Working Group members know you and know your position. Have you spoken with your government in capital yet? The next fee days are critical to that.

How much time to spend working in a  coalition

This is NOT the time to be working trying to get common positions but the time to be pushing your own. Having coordinated NGO lobbying in a number of global events there is time for coalition building and there is time for individual working. Now is the second after you submit your views to your Major Groups focus on your lobbying not negotiating with other organizations. 

The next time for coalition building is the UN DPI NGO Conference a the end of August in New York. The 2011 Conference played a critical role in putting ideas down for the Rio+20 Conference and because it is a UN Conference allows the UN to easier incorporated ideas from it into what will be the UN Secretary Generals synthesis report which will be produced for late November. Backtracking a moment. The outcome from the SDG OWG will be a consensus document submitted to the Heads of State UNGA meeting in September with two other documents - the report from the Committee on Sustainable Development Financing and the President of the UNGAs report from his thematic debates.

The DPI NGO Conference is ideally positioned to produce  a response to all three documents. This conference is organized by the UN Department of Public Information and the UN DPI NGO Committee. If you havent yet got engaged in this then contact the Chair Jeff Huffines (jeffery.huffines@civicus.org ) as they are setting up the preparatory committees for this conference NOW. Jeff is also one of the Organizing Partners for the NGOs for this process so is completely on top of what eneds to be done. Do lobby him to continue one of the traditions I introduced as chair that of the NGO-UN Security Party :-) 

Nexus Conference
This is only a week away 5-8th of March in Chapel Hill North Carolina but will make a significant input to the SDG process in the areas of water-energy-food-climate. If you havent yet signed up to come then do so. A number of the KEY governments will be at the event and the informal space is very useful for discussing the issues and also contributing to the Declaration which is online now for comment.  

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