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A Post 2015 Update

This has been a long process. It was July 2011 in Solo Indonesia, when Colombia and Guatemala came forth with the idea of the SDGs, and later when Rio+20 started the process to develop them, the path has been tough.

At the beginning it was opposed by some development Ministries in the north and by some of the development NGOs. But as part of this, we saw the re-framing the financing side of the equation to include sustainable development at Rio+20. This was one of the successes of G77 as was the idea of a technological facilitation mechanism and the SDGs of course.

Finally, we are moving towards a final understanding of what the Post 2015 process will have delivered. The Financing for Development prepcoms have now reached their end and there is only the conference left to finalize everything.

The first reading of the Declaration for the Post 2015 process has now been concluded the final session will be held the last two weeks of July.

 It looks like a technology facilitation mechanism will be set up – though there were some concerns the US might mount a final attempt to block it.

So what are our expectations for the Heads of State meeting in September?

We will be dealing with a weak outcome from the Financing for Development process, a good Declaration to support the SDGs and their targets and a technology facilitation mechanism.

How this will impact on Paris and the Climate negotiations is too early to predict, other than Paris will be viewed through two lens: commitments to a reduction of greenhouse gases and the financing of climate change mitigation and adaptation. With a weak Financing for Development outcome, the G77 will be looking for a robust commitment from developed countries on climate finance.

Financing for Development

The marathon FfD Informal’s finished on Friday, the 26th – though there may be more just before the conference. 
We have ended up with a document that is not ‘fit for purpose’. The issues that have arose have been present and unaccounted for from the beginning. These include:
  1. The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Finance was  a closed committee. As I said in previous reports, this was wrong in many ways. It ensured that, unlike the SDG process, the members were not subjected to the input and scrutiny of stakeholders. I am convinced that if they had, they would have produced much better documents.
  2. The co-chairs of the Committee were not up to the standard that the job entailed
  3. The Finance for Development office in UNDESA succeeded in marginalizing the input of the Division for Sustainable Development office
  4. The committee had no reputable sustainable development’ finance experts on it.
  5. The development community dominated the discussion on FfD – very few from the sustainable development finance side were engaged
  6. The reduction of the stakeholder space to two civil society and industry slots resulted in no space for local government and a domination of the civil society space by the development NGOs and think the expense of other stakeholders
  7. The document being negotiated did not orientate itself around being a financing mechanism for the SDGs
  8. Very few sustainable development NGOs or think tanks engaged in the FfD process
Developed countries would rather deal with MOI under FfD than Post 2015 because they would like to restrict it to FfD issues. This should not be allowed.

The June Post 2015 Negotiating Session 

Unfortunately I had to watch the first day at the pool in Apex as I missed my flight.....

At last the negotiations on the ‘Declaration for the Heads of State’ have started in earnest. Everyone have made their own suggestions on how to add text on their issues while also calling for the text to not grow.  A lot of what i have i have seen will enrich the outcome text but this will be an interesting balancing act by the co-chairs.

The attempt to reduce the number of goals through clustering in the preamble had no real support so expect that to disappear.

The overall balance of the document was supported by governments and stakeholders. When it comes down to the details it will I think have battles over the issue of rights, CBDR and MOI.  The follow up section also needs beefing up.

I have suggested before we need some accountability for industry and my suggestion is  

5 bis insert We encourage the creation of national regulatory frameworks on Economic Environment Social and Governance (EESG) practices aiming at ensuring that companies listed on stock exchanges report or explain their EESG practices and policies by 2030. Technical support and capacity building would be needed to facilitate the establishment of national regulatory frameworks, especially when applied to larger companies with global reach and systemic impact, and the uptake of EESG reporting for micro small and medium enterprises, mindful of national circumstances.

I have suggested some text to make it clear where partnerships should be discussed. There is no brain space in member states to amend the CSD11 decision on partnerships so I have suggested a paragraph which will instruct ECOSOC to review them and the Bali Guidelines. I have put together a group of stakeholders and UN staff interested in working on this when the present negotiations have finished.

14.bis insert We instruct ECOSOC to review the Commission on Sustainable Development 11 decision on Partnerships and take into consideration the Bali Guidelines on Partnerships and update the instructions for Partnerships in light of the lessons learnt over the past fifteen years

15. bis insert To help with implementation we request the Secretary General to assign the overseeing of the SDGs to the relevant UN Agency and Programme under a Task Manager approach (similar to Agenda 21)

Then what we are also missing is what the capacity building platform should be and I would suggest building on what was UNDPs Capacity 21...

15 ter insert To enable better implementation we call for the creation of Capacity 2030 (similar to UNDPs Capacity 21) which would support developing countries implementation of the SDGs and targets. UNDP and UNDESA to coordinate Capacity 2030

I am very much looking forward to the next version of the text in a couple of weeks. 

Technology Facilitation Mechanism 

Another of the outcomes from Rio+20 was the process set up possible Technology Facilitation Mechanism. There has been a twenty year discussion on technology transfer that has gone nowhere. The developed countries say all IP is privately owned and developing countries say it isn’t. We seem now to at last be moving forward on this issue. Ambassadors Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Brazil, and Paul Seger, Switzerland, who had chaired the process last year reported the TFM progress has now resulted in a number of enabling paragraphs in the Financing for Development process . Summarizing FfD should establish the TFM with intent that it will be operational by 2017.  

"We decide that the Technology Facilitation Mechanism will be based on a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Member States, civil society, private sector, scientific community, United Nations entities and other stakeholders and will be composed of: a United Nations Interagency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs, a collaborative Multistakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs and an on-line platform."

"We look forward to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the feasibility and organizational and operational functions of a proposed technology bank and STI capacity building mechanism for LDCs. We will take into account the High-Level Panel’s recommendations on scope, functions, institutional linkages and organizational aspects of the proposed bank, with a view to operationalizing it by 2017. "

Again Rio+20 set the process up for yet another part of the jigsaw that we need to fit together to address the challenges of the next 15 years. This was an area that has been stuck in the mud since 1992. 


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