There is less than 250 days left for governments to agree to what Heads of State will agree to at the end of September. This has been a long road from the time that Colombia, Guatemala and Peru raised the idea of the SDGs in July 2011 to where we find ourselves today.
The first session of the Post 2015 process – the Stocktaking Session - with the two Co-Facilitators of the negotiations, Ambassador David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, and Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya - was held from 19-21st of January 2015.
In December the UNGA agreed to the timetable to remind us what this is all about:
- Declaration (17-20 February)
- Sustainable Development Goals (23-27 March)
- Means of Implementation and Global Partnership for Development (20-24th of April)
- Follow Up and Review (18th to 22nd May)
After that starting in June (22nd) are three negotiating sessions.
The Stocktaking session was also organized around the four substantive areas.
On the Declaration any one interested in influencing this should be sharing suggested paras with governments now and during the next few weeks as governments will already be coming to an initial view on what should be in the Declaration and what should not be there.
During the discussions at the Stocktaking session there were quiet wide views on what it could be like. The Europeans and US wanted a shorter document while many G77 saw it as a space to take a broader look at the world and would be suggesting within it elements not reflected in the SDGs.
The co-facilitators will circulate in the next few weeks an ‘elements paper’ on the Declaration which will also help stakeholders in their preparation. My recommendation is to look at the Millennium Declaration as a model; regarding the issues of peace and security, the World Summit 2005 outcome document would be of greater help those stakeholders interested in that area. Other documents worth looking at are the Rio Declaration (1992) and the MDG+10 (2010) outcomes. There was some support for the idea that the document might be structured around the UN Secretary Generals six elements (dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice and partnership).
On the Sustainable Development Goals and targets it was clear that there was little support among member states for reopening what was agreed at the SDG OWG. The UK was one of the countries that had advocated a smaller number of goals, but has now been told to stop doing that by the UK parliament, and at least in public is doing what they were told to do.
The UN Task Team has started carrying out a ‘technical proofing’ of the targets. This prompted a few key G-77 governments to push back at them doing this. In fact they should have been doing some of this already during the OWG, but this clearly had not happened. The concern now is that the UN is basically interfering with what governments have already agreed to. The issue revolves around if they try and suggest that some of the targets instead might be indicators.
Linked to this is the indicators issue the process will be under the Statistical Commission . Here you can find the draft decision for the March Statistical Commission plus in Annex 1 what would be done on indicators through the establishment of an inter-agency committee (see point 36).
Means of Implementation was the least negotiated section of the SDG OWG. The two Ambassadors that are facilitating the Finance for Development process addressed the Stocktaking meeting – at this point the process is on two parallel tracks and the FfD process is not engaged enough in the sustainable development finance ideas. Clearly there will be a major challenge to link the two processes.
Follow-up and review
This is a new area that governments will need to begin develop their thinking about. this will include issues such as
- the HLPF and ECOSOC;
- National follow-up mechanisms including National Councils and Parliaments;
- Role of regional Institutions;
- What role partnerships will play