Time to think about the Declaration

We expect the zero text for the Declaration to be out very shortly. To remind us about what governments said at the February session on the Declaration:

"That the opening paragraph should highlight that the post-2015 development agenda is universal and transformative and grounded in shared values and principles. It should outline the purpose of this agenda, the need to pursue development differently, and provide a sense of urgency. The text should explain that the agenda builds on the MDGs and refer to the Rio+20 outcome document. It should include the notion of a ‘people-centred’ agenda and further define it. As an overarching priority, the paragraph should reaffirm that this integrated agenda will provide an opportunity to end poverty in all its dimensions, reduce inequalities, foster sustainable development in all its three dimensions and achieve shared prosperity. It must highlight that poverty eradication and sustainable development are intrinsically linked."

One of the areas that will be controversial will be over the issue of  which principles and rights should be included. will it be a general  statement such as “common fundamental values of the UN” or “agreed principles of the United Nations” or “…from the UN Charter” or listing particular values and goals?

Another issue will be over the statement around 'Common But Differentiated Responsibility'.....some developed countries, The Commission on Sustainable Development 9th session (2001)  when dealing with transport, energy and atmosphere said: "In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities."

It was returned to in the 13th session (2005)  of the Commission on Sustainable Development when dealing with agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.

It also came up in the climate change, industrial development, climate change and air pollution   discussion at the CSD 15 (2007).

It also came up in the discussion on Sustainable Consumption and Production at the 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

This is nit to mention of course it was discussed at the Earth Summit (1992) [Principe 7 of the Rio Declaration], Rio+5 (1997), the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002) and Rio+20 (2012)

There will be other key issues as the declaration is development on MOI  ( the money, technology transfer and capacity building) and in which issues should be mentioned and if there is going to be some clustering of the goals. Finally the Declaration has to deal with ensuring that the UN is fit for purpose to deliver its part in this agenda. Is the HLPF the right level, number of days? What role should subsidiary bodies to ECOSOC and UN Agencies and Programmes play? If partnerships are going to play a role what accountability mechanisms are going to be put in place for companies in particular but also other stakeholders? Finally what mechanisms should be put in place at the national and sub national level to help implementation and what role should parliaments play?

Some of the ideas that have appeared in this blog i would hope would be considered:

  • Capacity 2030 - the creation of a capacity building programme similar to Capacity 21 which was set up to help the implementation of Agenda 21 and run by UNDP. This time should be one run by UNDESA, UNDP and the Bank
  • Technology Transfer - Follow the suggestions in the recent paper by UNDESA
  • Partnerships: Assign the SDGs to the relevant UN Agencies and Programmes (eg 17 Task Managers) and ONLY have 169 partnerships one per target.
  • National Follow up - Create or revamp multi-stakeholder councils or commissions on sustainable development to oversea the national implementation of the SDGs. Report to both the Executive and parliament every year. Create an office in the Prime Minister or Presidents office.
  • For Corporate Responsibilities ensure all stock exchanges by 2030 have introduced a report or explain procedure for environment social and governance reporting to be added to their economic reporting. (Good examples, China, Brazil and South Africa)
  • Add additional days to the HLPF by adding in a prepcom one week on MOI and the other on the relevant issue
  • Utilize the whole of ECOSOC subsidiary bodies and UN Agencies and Programmes to review and monitor implementation.
  • Ensure that their is adequate funding to help developing countries implementation
  • Support adequate funding for the Global Sustainability Report at levels similar to the Human Development Report.
  • Create a Local 2030 similar to Local Agenda 21 to inspire local and regional government to take up their own role in facilitating implementation of the SDGs.
  • Include commitment to the Earth Charter in the Declaration.
These are just some suggestions that might help in implementation of the 2015 agenda - lets see what happens


  1. CBDR is a legal principle agreed by all States in the UNFCCC and the basis of the NIEO. To exclude or weaken it is to enforce a discrimination of the have-nots or have-less' by the rich and powerful elites of the world. It will make the SDGs the embodiment of a policy of intentional man-made holocaust by developed countries imposed on the people of many developing countries.


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