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Initial comments on the Newish Declaration

The Newish Declaration

Well we have the text forthe final negotiations for the Post 2015 Declaration. Don’t those attending the Finance for Development (FfD) wish they had our facilitators?

Well I much more like the preamble than last time! I am a sucker for People, Planet and Prosperity part as it was the slogan for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and adding Peace and Partnerships (also a WSSD priority) is pretty cool.

On the targets the co-facilitators have taken a lead and put into the text the technical revisions that they had proposed in the zero draft. Hmmmmmm that is going to be interesting to see how that plays. The proposed change to the ocean target 14c is left still to be discussed. I am sure the changes in the targets will be a central part of the negotiations in the first week.

I think the human rights and gender text seems better and it does look like the mention of CBDR in para 10 will cause the usual fights. I tried in a previous blog to point out why G77 is right but it didn’t seem to work.

The text still has an inconsistency over terminology using stakeholders, civil society and actors in different places it should replace actors and civil society with stakeholders throughout. As I’ve said before the concept of civil society does not help bring the right people to the table and in particular doesn’t give them their own space unlike the concept of stakeholders. As Michael Edwards (formerly Ford Foundation’s director of its Governance and Civil Society Program) points out civil society includes “think pro and anti-choice groups, for example, or peaceniks and the NRA”.

On partnerships it would accelerate work on this if the following paragraph was added:

66.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.
Over the issue of responsibility within the UN system for the different goals then the UN Secretary General should be asked to assign responsibility. Adding something like this:

71 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)

Who is to lead in the UN system on capacity building? I would suggest that that should be done by building on the past and that the addition of this paragraph would help.

71 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.

Finally there has been concern about the role of the private sector in both the FfD process and the Post 2015 process. We do this with the backdrop of the financial crisis in Greece where they are asking for 370 billion euros. The US government AccountabilityOffice audit report just came out that points to how much the banks borrowed from governments in the recovery packages which was $16 trillion to put that into perspective the total GDP of the US is $15 trillion. Some of the Banks did very well with our money Citigroup got $2.5 trillion, Morgan Stanley 2 trillion, Merrill Lynch 1.9 trillion, Bank of America 1.34 trillion etc….. so let’s put some text in that requires companies to report on their ESG. Two Secretary General Reports have recommended it.

72 bis 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.

No wonder governments don’t have the money for the SDGs and FfD process they gave it all to the banks!!!

The final paragraph asks member states to “the HLPF at its 2016 and 2017 meetings to provide adequate time for member states to share national experiences.” My problem with this is that the indicators will only be agreed in March 2016 and then sent to ECOSOC and the UNGA to be agreed so there could be changes at least in ECOSOC and finally adopted by the UNGA in December 2016…so I am not sure what can be reported in 2016. What would be a better use for 2016 HLPF is to have an organizational session as we did in 1993 and 2003 for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development to set out the agenda for the HLPF in detail.


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