Why those attending the Gates Foundation are addressing the SDGs and how the media is not helpful

It is getting a little tiring to have to keep defending what has been the most participatory and open global conversation and development of policy priorities that we have ever had.

Some of the criticisms have come from those who didn't get what they wanted in the Sustainable Development Goals and targets others because they haven't participated in the process and now realize it is too late and others because they don't seem to recognize the huge challenges that we fact in the world in the coming years.

Of course it would be easier if we didn't have to cover so many issues but we had that chance that was the 1990's. The lack of delivery of previous commitments means that of course the world now has to face so many more urgent issues.

I read the story in Humanosphere and of course I wasn't at the meeting so I can only comment on what was reported as being said. It was a report on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations Global Partners Forum.

"It’s like ‘No targets left behind,’ ” Mark Suzman, the Gates Foundation’s chief of policy and advocacy. When following this up with Mark Suzman he said the comment had been taken out of context and went on to say:

What I actually said was that all 169 targets and 17 goals were important and legitimate derived from a globally inclusive process that we supported, but that as advocates clearly it is impossible to push equally for all targets and that at the Gates Foundation we would follow our mandate and mission and focus on what nearly every member state has said is a shared priority: The unfinished agenda of the MDGS.”

This is perhaps yet another example of bad journalism. I don’t expect this to be the last time I write this between now and the September Summit. I wonder if we need a ‘war room’ from stakeholders to deal with the misinformation that the media may be making.

It is worth listens to Ambassador Macharia Kamau's introduction to the last session of the SDGs.

To share the key points that he said which I think would put the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets into perspective. The G20 as was reported by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said Turkey - G20 chair for 2015 the Brisbane Action Plan, entails about 1,000 commitments,

"The OECD assesses the draft growth strategies to include close to 1000 individual structural policy commitments, of which more than 800 are new. This represents a large increase from earlier G-20 action plans. The clarity and concreteness of measures has increased, although some measures remain that are insufficiently precise to allow for robust quantification of their impact." (OECD Quantifying the Impact of G-20 Members’ Growth Strategies)

There was also a statement by the Heads of the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank,
the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund:

"2015 marks a critical year for development, as the international community works towards agreeing on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to meet the dual challenges of overcoming poverty and protecting the planet. With their welcome emphasis on issues such as the environment, employment, infrastructure, and inequality, the SDGs send a clear message to policy-makers and development practitioners. As leading sources of policy advice and financing for developing countries, international financial institutions (IFIs) fully support this comprehensive approach. However, the resources needed to implement such an ambitious agenda far surpass current development financial flows.

Achieving the SDGs will require moving from billions to trillions in resource flows. Such a paradigm shift calls for a wide-ranging financing framework capable of channeling resources and investments of all kinds—public and private, national and global."

Attending the Gates Foundation meeting Amina Mohamed quite rightly said: "The MDGs addressed symptoms, not root causes.

The SDGs are complex and politically unpalatable to many, she added, precisely because they seek to fix some of the more difficult, politically charged causes of poverty and inequity."

The Gates Foundation is also supporting the Global Citizens Campaign around the SDGs which will be running a large campaign in favor of the SDGs as

Finally I will again list the reasons that I have a problem with the ECONOMISTS lazy journalism:
  1. It is not about developing countries it is about EVERY country
  2. Unlike the MDGs which were dropped in at the last moment this process has gone through a 4 year global consultations starting in July 2011 which has included Rio+20, 120 National Consultations, 11 thematic consultations, a SG Panel chaired by three sitting PMs or Presidents including the UK and 13 SDG Open Working Group Meetings
  3. The reason it is covering so many issues is in part due to the lack of implementation of previous agreements over the last twenty years
  4. The agreement has a delicate balance in it for key issues on governance and SRHRs which would be lost if it was reopened
  5. The push for wanting less was rejected by the UK parliament Environment Audit Committee in December after taking evidence from a wide range of stakeholders and government Ministries – who ever wrote the article should read that report.
  6. The very few countries that are pushing for less goals are ones that do not want the sustainable buit of the SDGs because they don’t want to be held accountable for sustainable consumption and production issues and inequality issues and I could go on – this is the UK Canada, Australia and USA – so be careful what you are asking for.
Lets focus on starting to put the partnerships together that can deliver the SDGs. This will require consider support from all of us and the leadership that the Gates Foundation has played in health is something that will be needed for the SDGs as well. 

We would all wish for those easier times but let us be reminded of the words of Martin Luther King:
"Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words - too late." 

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