Waiting for the new SDG text and 2015 modalities

On reflection last week  was a good SDG OWG meeting. It has been a long journey from Solo Indonesia in July 2011 when Colombia and Guatemala first placed on the table the idea of Sustainable Development Goals.  The move from 17 to 15 Goals did not make everyone happy but most countries went along though the last SDG OWG will probably operate still as 17. The chairs have done excellent work in taking countries with them and most stakeholders as they shave started to streamline the text. I do think that the call by some countries to start this process one SDG OWG earlier would have helped but that was their call.

I have been following a number of issues including animals, human settlements and governance and they all had a good showing last week.

Opposition to a human settlements goal had been led by the UK - as it wasnt in the High Level Panel Report - was silent in the room. This is good news and means that as a goal it joins the core group which doesn't have any objection on the goal and the focus is now on the targets.

On governance Brazil met with stakeholders the day of the discussion on SDG16 to explain their position and explained that their opposition was more on the pace and security side of SDG16. They would still mainstream the governance targets elsewhere and made some really interesting suggestions on particular wording to secure those. I think SDG16 will survive to the next round which wasn't what i thought earlier in the year. Other countries that had shown initial opposition have softened - though not all. The bundling with peace and security hasnt helped. The governance targets may in the end be mainstreamed but that may have to wait until next year.

Ive found the work of the newly named World Animal Protection (WSPA) work on health really interesting they have been calling for [add: By 2030, reduce to zero the non-therapeutic and preventative use of antibiotics in livestock production to protect adequate and affordable healthcare for all] as this contributes significantly to the fast rising occurrence of anti-biotic resistance in humans. Without the conservation of effective antibiotics the task of ensuring adequate and affordable health services for all will prove impossible. I hope this is reflected in the text the problem is that countries haven't yet had enough time to take in this very important target and in a time of reducing targets it may have a hard time in this round to get the head space but i think it still has a real possibility of being there in September 2015.

I attended the briefing by the Ambassadors of Papa New Guinea and Denmark on the modalities for the  2015 process starting in January. I argued that we should go back to the old way of preparing for Summits these being a number - i would suggest 3 - two week prepcoms. This ensures:
1. The participation of capitals in the negotiations
2. The participation of stakeholders particularly those from developing countries
3. It ensures a transparent process
4. It supports the chance for media coverage

2015 Modalities

What is on offer at this point is very unclear. The modalities talk of a civil society hearing - ignoring the fact that we dont opporate as civil society but as stakeholders in this process then the problem with these hearings is they have virtually no impact. Over the last ten years i can only think of maybe one where governments really attended and participated. They are what i would call a displacement activity - where stakeholders spend a lot of time focusing on that meeting and not where the real politics is going on.

If governments really want to engage stakeholders then they should adopt the prepcom process and the first day of each prepcom should be a multi-stakeholder dialogue on key issues with no more than 4 stakeholder groups participating an half the time should be given over to the governments to engage. this was what was done fro 5 years in the 1990s and so it can be done.

The new text comes out on the 30th June....


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