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Updates on the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda implementation

Introduction

This year can at times seem a little confusing - this is because in the agreement on 'Transforming Our World' a lot was left to be sorted out afterwards.

UN Fit for Purpose
The co-facilitators for reviewing the process to take decisions on critical issues that are addressed in the UN Secretary General’s report (available here) on his suggestions on how the UN will reform to address the new Global Goals agenda have been selected. They are:

Permanent Representative of Belize, Her Excellency Ms. Lois M. Young, and
Permanent Representative of Denmark, His Excellency Mr. Ib Petersen

In November there was an open consultation on what should be in the report you can read the synthesis of member states, UN system and Major Groups and Other Stakeholders (MGoS) below.
  • Synthesis of member states input can be found here.
  • Synthesis of UN System can be found here.
  • Synthesis of Major Groups and Other Stakeholders can be found here
The co-facilitators will have to work quickly as the President of the UNGA has asked for member states to have adopted the responses to the ‘Critical milestones towards coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review at the global level’ report by the General Assembly, well in advance of the 2016 High-level Political Forum (11-20th July).

Stakeholders should continue to input their views to member states. This might include:
  1. What the UN General Assembly and UN ECOSOC and its functioning commissions eg Status of Women be?
  2. The multi-year programme of the HLPF
  3. What roles national and regional reporting will play?
  4. How stakeholders are to be engaged and integrated?
  5. How extensive the instructions be for UN Agencies and Programmes which have their own governing bodies be?
Important dates:

  • March 29th Informal brainstorming meeting for member states at expert level
  • March 31st at 3pm First Informal consultation with member states
  • April 1st First consultation with stakeholders
  • Middle April Non paper issued
  • TBD Last week of April Second informal consultation with member states
  • TBD Last week of April Second consultation with member states
  • Early May issue of the Zero Draft
  • During May Negotiations on the draft resolution on follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda. 

High Level Political Forum
The HLPF is the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015. HLPF 2016 will be the first HLPF after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The forum, which adopts a Ministerial Declaration, is expected to start effectively delivering on its mandates to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the Agenda's implementation and follow-up; keep track of progress; spur coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as address new and emerging issues.

This year it will be the 11 - 20 July 2016, New York with the Ministerial days from 18 - 20 July 2016. The subject of the HLPF this year is “Ensuring that no one is left behind”. At the retreat on the HLPF (23rd and 24th February these points were made in relation to the subject of leaving no one behind:
  1. It is difficult – parts of country are more developed than others; different cultures; challenge is to bring SDGs into every region of a country.
  2. Must follow data trends to identify gaps. Importance of disaggregated data and moving beyond national averages. One participant noted the need to blend qualitative and quantitative data.
  3. Important that processes for identifying most marginalized are transparent and eliminate barriers that prevent participation

National reviews
The forum is mandated to conduct national reviews and thematic reviews of the implementation of the Agenda, with inputs from other intergovernmental bodies and forums, relevant UN entities, regional processes, major groups and other stakeholders. The national reviews will provide a platform for partnerships.

Twenty-one countries are producing their national reports for this year’s HLPF they are:
China, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sierra Leona, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, Uganda and Venezuela.

To prepare for this there have been one workshop which some stakeholders attended on the 22nd of February a further workshop will be held in April but not with any stakeholders invited.

The discussion on national reports is vital and any rules/modalities agreed will play an important role in helping to implement the SDGs and to have effective monitoring.

Partnerships
I have been engaged in the work on partnership since 2000 and the run up to the World Summit on sustainable Development. this subject and was involved in the original UN resolution on this in 2003. 

UNDESA with help from the Universality of North Carolina put together the workshop on the 5th and 6th of February. 
The output from that workshop can be found here.
The input paper well worth a read can be found here.  

The example of the interlinkages between the goals is by David LeBlanc from a chapter from my new book 'The Water, Food, Energy and Climate Nexus: Challenges and an Agenda for Action' due out April 24th  2016

To support stakeholder preparation for the ECOSOC Partnership Forum on the 31st of March there have been two webinars for stakeholders organized through NGO Major Group and UNDESA.

The first was on the 19th of February and had a presentation by Dr. Marianne Beisheim and myself.
The second is on the 17th of March looked at the recommendations from the workshop and the questions that the two dialogues will ask and this will enable stakeholders to input their views to a google document organized through the NGO Major Group and will be presented at the Partnership Forum on the 31st of March 
Although multi-stakeholder partnerships will not be the major implementation agent for the SDGs they will play a role and the how they are managed will be critical. The new rules which will be developed will be retrospectively applied to the UNDESA database.

One of the critical issues is that the database hosts a mixture of things and the suggestion is to take out:
  1. Voluntary initiates by individual organizations
  2. PPPs which are a contractual relationship between a form of governments and the private sector

The remaining would be sub divided into three categories
  1. UN initiated partnerships
  2. Partnerships involving the UN
  3. Partnerships that do not involve the UN

The modalities and reporting would be different for the different types of partnerships.

Financing for Development 

The Follow up to the Financing for Development will be through the new financing for Development Forum. There has been controversy on the establishment of this Forum. Developed countries only want it to be three days and developing countries want it to be 5 days. For this year it will only be three days the 18-20th. This will dove-tail into the PGA SDG event on the 21st of April and the Heads of State signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement on the 22nd April. Within the FfD will be a Special high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (ECOSOC/BWI meeting).

The focus of this year’s FfD Forum will be the theme of “Financing for sustainable development: follow-up to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda,” Ito help governments prepare an inter-agency task force report on progress in implementing the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

President of ECOSOC has appointed H.E. Mr. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin, and H.E. Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, Permanent Representative of Croatia as co-facilitators for the preparation of draft conclusions and recommendations of the forum, and to facilitate consultations among Member States with a view to reaching intergovernmental agreement on that draft.

The FfD Forum though EcoSoc body is universal in membership. 

The Forum will result in an intergovernmental agreed conclusions and recommendations, which will be fed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the HLPF. These conclusions and recommendations will take the form of a concise statement/communiqué.

Indicators
The Statistical Commission (8-11 March) agreed, "as a practical starting point," with the global indicator framework proposed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), noting that the indicators are "subject to further technical refinement." 

It’s important to underline that these indicators will be supplemented by national indicators chosen by the countries themselves.

The adoption of the decision means that there will not be a resolution at ECOSOC and subsequently the UNGA. This is good news as it leaves the work within the Statistical community

The first World Data Forum will happen in late 2016. This is a place where new ideas on citizen data would be able to have space. 

Comments

  1. Hi Felix,

    Another piece of great writing. Comprehensive Progress Report. However, Focus remain on problems and answer to What questions. There is urgent need for all concerned authorities to recognize that without shifting focus towards solutions and correct answer to How questions, these UN Events will continue to be Motion without Movement and the Outcome Documents will continue to be Vision and Words without ACTION.

    As each Village to Global Stakeholder seek correct answers to questions, please reflect on these quotations:-

    You can’t defeat enemy you don’t understand
    John Kerry, US Secretary of State

    You can’t defeat real enemy you don’t understand
    You can’t solve root problem you don’t understand
    You can’t answer big question you don’t understand
    Lanre Rotimi, Director General ISPE / EAG.

    "Business as usual, government as usual, and perhaps even protest as usual are not giving us the progress needed to achieve sustainable development. Lets see if we can't work together to find better paths forward."
    Paul Hohnen, Former Strategic Director for Greenpeace

    "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!"
    Joel Arthur Barker, President of Infinity Limited.

    It is interesting to note that as at the time of this Post and over 24 hours after the 2nd MSP Webinar, only 3 people have commented on the Google Document; that all comments are on Dialogue Note 1 questions - 6 of 7 What questions and 1 of 7 How question - ALL answers are answers to What questions. The implication is that 1st and 2nd MSP Webinars did NOT teach participants ways and means of finding correct answers to MSP How questions. This is regrettable.

    It is interesting to note further that there is no comment on Dialogue Note 2 questions; 4 of 6 are How questions and 2 of 6 are What questions. This underlines the above point that 1st and 2nd MSP Webinars did not teach participants to answer MSP How questions.

    We make BOLD to state that a Major Reason why NEHAP/ISPE/EAG is the ONLY Organization in our World today ACTIVELY Advocating for answer to How questions, is that finding correct answer to How questions is TECHNICAL and the KNOW HOW is not there on UN Member States, UN System including WBG and IMF and MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs and Non MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs sides in our World today. Since you cannot give what you do not have, respondents simply avoid or evade answer to How questions even in UN Events set up specifically to find answer to How questions. Related issues have to do with those benefiting from Decayed Systems and Corrupt Systems who do not want the party to STOP. Therefore for them to acquire the Hard Competences: Learning and Skills and Soft Competences: Character, Courage and Mindset at minimum certain levels required to contribute meaningfully towards helping to answer How questions, is for them non issue.

    It is against this background that we once again, we urge you to consider doing more to help nudge concerned stakeholders towards finding correct answers to How questions, fully implementing these answers with effective monitoring and implementation of this implementation.

    National and World Leaders in over 300 UN Member States, UN System including WBG and IMF and MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs sides, can choose to answer How questions correctly and on time or choose to continue in deception, denial and delusion as they pretend to answer How question while in reality working HARDER to over answer What questions.

    The future of our fragile Planet depends on Policy Makers and Decision Makers making Right Choice and on time. It is our hope that this acceleration to Armageddon will STOP before our World get to irreversibly POINT.

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