What is the difference between SDGs, Post-MDGs and Post-2015 Development Agenda processes?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process was agreed at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD/Rio+20) where Member States agreed to set up an intergovernmental process ‘with a view to developing global sustainable development goals to be agreed by the General Assembly.’ The Post-MDG process is led by the UN Secretary-General, responding to a mandate from the General Assembly in 2010 following an event to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), calling on him to lead on work to advance the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015. The Post-2015 Development Agenda has become an umbrella term for both processes.
What is the High Level Panel for Post-2015 and what is its remit?
The High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) is one of the Secretary-General’s post-2015 initiatives created in response to his mandate from the 2010 MDG Summit to advance the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015. It is Co-Chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, and includes 27 leaders from civil society, private sector and government.
Its mandate is to provide recommendations regarding the vision and shape of a Post-2015 Development Agenda. This includes: key principles for reshaping the global partnership for development and strengthened accountability mechanisms; recommendations on how to build and sustain broad political consensus on an ambitious yet achievable post-2015 development agenda around the three dimensions of economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability; and taking into account the particular challenges of countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.
On the 30th May 2013 the HLP published its report ‘A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development’. The report outlines new priorities for development while also drawing on experience gained from implementing the MDGs, both in terms of results achieved and areas for improvement. It also contains an illustrative set of global goals and affiliated targets, however it is important to note that these are for demonstrative purposes only and have not been agreed upon by governments at the UN level. The HLP Report is one of several reports the UN Secretary-General will draw upon to create his own report on post-2015 which will be delivered Member States in September 2013.
When were the processes on the Post-MDGs and SDGs initiated?
Post-Millennium Development Goals - Mandated by the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the MDGs (paragraph 81). Started activities in late 2011.
Sustainable Development Goals - Mandated by the UN conference on Sustainable Development (para 248) in June 2012. Started activities in 2013.
Who is leading these two processes?
Post-Millennium Development Goals - UN Secretary General.
Sustainable Development Goals - UN General Assembly through the Open Working Group on SDGs (OWG). The OWG has 30 seats which are shared by a group of 70 Member State representatives.
What are the expected outputs of the Post-MDGs and SDGs processes?
Post-Millennium Development Goals - The Secretary-General is mandated to submit an annual report to the General Assembly on efforts to accelerate progress in achieving the MDGs and for further steps to advance the agenda beyond 2015. The Secretary-General will publish his 2013 report on 25th September 2013 at a UN General Assembly Special Event to follow-up on efforts made towards achieving the MDGs.
Sustainable Development Goals - The OWG is mandated to present its final report to the General Assembly by the end of its 68th Session (September 2014). Its report should contain a set of SDGs that are universal, limited in number, aspirational, easy to communicate and address the three dimensions of sustainable development in a holistic manner. The OWG is also expected to report its initial finding to the General Assembly in September 2013.
How are stakeholders being engaged in the Post-MDGs and SDGs processes?
Post-Millennium Development Goals - Several consultations have taken place, others remain on-going:
- 88 National Consultations
- 11 Thematic Consultations
- Sustainable Development Solutions Network Consultation
- UN Global Compact Consultations
- High Level Panel consultations:
- New York
- London, UK
- Monrovia, Liberia
- Bali, Indonesia
- Guadalajara, Mexico
Sustainable Development Goals - The OWG has a clear mandate to develop ‘modalities to ensure the full involvement of relevant stakeholders’ (The future we want, para 248).
For the initial two meetings the OWG Co-Chairs invited stakeholders to participate in proceedings via the UNCSD Major Groups system. This informal arrangement enabled representatives of the Major Groups present at the meetings to make a small number of spoken interventions.
In addition to this, from the third meeting of the OWG onwards the Major Groups and other stakeholders have been invited to daily one hour breakfast meetings to provide their inputs on the thematic areas being discussed that day in the meeting itself.
The OWG Co-Chairs have also committed to holding two day-long intersessional dialogue meetings between Major Groups and other stakeholders and members of the OWG. The first of which is due to take place in New York, USA on 22 November 2013. The second will take place at some point before the OWG concludes its current programme of work in February 2014.
How will the inputs and recommendations of stakeholders feed into the Post-MDGs and SDGs processes?
Post-MDGs -Officially, all consultations, including the High Level Panel’s final report will feed into the UN Secretary General’ report to be presented at the 68th General Assembly’s Special Event on the MDGs in September 2013. Unofficially, the different groups will be working towards making their agendas a priority.
Sustainable Development Goals - The OWG has produced a progress report which is set to be discussed at the beginning of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2013. The progress report states that the messages of the Major Groups from the morning meetings were channelled into the discussions of the Member States, however details on exactly how this was done are not given. Similarly, the process for and the extent to which the OWG will draw upon the recommendations of stakeholders for their final report is not yet known, however it is likely that the two inter-sessional dialogue meetings between Major Groups and other stakeholders and members of the OWG will be a key mechanism for feeding in inputs and recommendations.
How will the Post-MDGs and SDGs processes interact?
Both processes have officially pledged to coordinate and feed into each other’s discussions and outputs. It is unknown, however, if the two processes will converge in a single integrated process or if they will run separately. This will most likely be decided during the 68th General Assembly in September 2013.
- The two processes run separately. Post 2015 is focused on poverty alleviation and developing countries; the SDGs are focused on environmental issues and universal commitments.
- The SDGs process absorbs the Post 2015 Development Agenda process (some governments consider the SDGs process to be the decision making process with the greatest legitimacy as it is led by governments).
- The Post 2015 Development Agenda process absorbs the SDGs process.
- The General Assembly decides to launch a new intergovernmental process that integrates the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the SDGs
More information on the options for the convergence of the two processes is available in this Stakeholder Forum and CAFOD think piece.