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How should the post 2015 development goals be implemented and monitored?

I had the pleasure of attending the UNDESA/DSD Expert Workshop last week on the High Level Political Forum (HLPF).

What struck me was the need to ensure that the follow on process for implementing and monitoring the post 2015 development goals is needed to be discussed now so that those systems are put in place.

International level

The HLPF should be the home for the review of the implementation of the post 2015 development goals.

To support developing country implementation a capacity building process similar to that which was set up in 1993 by UNDP and known as Capacity 21 could be imagined. This could be called Capacity 2030 and could this time be coordinated jointly by UNDP and the World Bank with the support of other UN and other intergovernmental bodies.

At the UN the follow up to the goals will have to be through some cooperative process within the UN. The follow up for Agenda 21 was through a Task Manager approach  this is where different chapters of Agenda 21 were assigned to different UN Agencies and Programmes. They then met in something called the Inter Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (IACSD), to share experience, the IACSD was a sub committee of what is now called the Chief Executives Board which the UN Secretary General chairs and heads of Agencies and Programmes and senior UN officials attend. Perhaps this time modeled more on the UN Water model which includes stakeholders.

This might be a good model to follow for the post 2015 development goals.

Nitin Desai the Secretary General of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and Under Secretary of UNDESA (1993-2004) said in 2001:

“A missing link for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development since its creation has been its lack of direct connections with national sustainable development coordinating mechanism.”

As the Goals will be universal for the first time we will all be working on the same agenda. 

Perhaps the Development Forum should be reformed to be an annual meeting of the National Councils on Sustainable Development. This is something that would ensure there was a space to share national experiences, capacity building and inform the High Level Political Forum of potential gaps and of successors that could be replicated.

Regional Level

Here we could see governments submit their national strategies and national reports to peer review. This could also lead to addressing trans boundary issues.

National Level

At the National Level governments could be asked to revamp or establish multi-stakeholder National Councils to first develop national strategies to deliver the goals and targets agreed in 2015. They could be asked to produce annual reports on progress and report them to both the government and to parliament. An annual debate on progress could be then supported by more detailed review by parliamentary committees which might suggest additional legislation.

Sub-national and local level
 Sub-national or regional government and local government can also play a significant role in producing their own strategies for delivering the goals and targets. This would enable them to feed into the national process and for once there would be a real link between local, national and international.

 Role of Stakeholders
At the HLPF the approach that has been undertaken for the development of the SDGs would ensure that stakeholders are seen more as partners in the implementation and monitoring. I would like to see the first day of the HLPF be an interactive dialogue by stakeholders and governments on one or two aspects of the agenda.There are lessons from the UNCSD in the period 1997-2001 which could be drawn from.

End thought
The reason why a lot of the good ideas that were put forward at the original Rio and subsequent UN meetings were not implemented is governments, intergovernmental bodies and stakeholders did not prioritize them.

The challenges infront of us are HUGE its not good enough for the main donors to say they don't have the funds. The reason we are in this mess is they did not fund the changes that we needed to do in the 1990s and the problems now are greater. So this time round the funds need to be found if we are going to approach these challenges together as a world community in a positive way that is inclusive, equatable and fair.  If we don't then i think we can all see what world this will become.


  1. Dear Felix,

    The malaise is not only an international issue and one of donor funding. It is also a national issue, and one where there is no sustained mechanism that can guide, direct, catalyse and plan ahead for sustained implementation of the challenges.

    Yet all is not lost, and in fact there is so much of value from the first and second decades after Rio that we fail to recognize and utilize at the national, regional and global levels. From my limited scan and information gathered since 2012, there are at least 8 countries in Asia that still have NCSDs established in the first decade after 1992. A larger number actually produced a document called " ( ) National Agenda 21". Manyof these documents were done within the framework of Cap 21.

    In the second decade after Rio, following WSSD's JPOI ; a larger number of Asian countries developed national Strategies for Sustainable Development and in some cases established new, or revamped existing institutional arrangements. Some countries did this with national resources and existing national Planning mechanisms or special Cabinet sub committees with support from Head of Government. Another catalytic role was played by the regional UNEP project which over a six year period helped initiate 12 new strategies at national regional, and sub national levels in South, South East and Central Asia. Many countries brought these years of work to showcase at Rio + 20 with pride. And even better, these remain living documents in some countries with further work done in the last 21 months.

    Yes more donor money is needed, but let us also do the ground work and generate the political will for action nationally, even now and well before the summit in 2015.

    More later


    Practitioner from Asia


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