Calling for inclusive, agile and coordinated action to usher in an era of sustainable development for all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has presented the United Nations General Assembly with an advance version of his synthesis report, which aims to guide negotiations for a new global agenda centered on people and the planet; and underpinned by human rights.
“Next year, 2015, we aim to herald an unprecedented opportunity to take far-reaching, global action to secure our future well-being,” Mr. Ki-moon said as he called on Member States to be “innovative, inclusive, agile, determined and coordinated” in negotiating the agenda that aims to succeed the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UN-backed effort to increase food availability, promote education, especially for girls and protect the environment, all by 2015.
In an informal briefing to the 193-Member Assembly, the UN chief presented his synthesis report, ‘The Road to Dignity by 2030’ alongside the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa who also addressed delegates, describing the process of intergovernmental negotiations that fed into the report’s compilation to set the stage for agreement on the new framework at a September 2015 summit and stating the “historical responsibility” States faced to deliver a transformative agenda.
The synthesis report aims to support States’ discussions going forward, taking stock of the negotiations on the post-2015 agenda and reviewing lessons from pursuit of the MDGs. It states the need to “finish the job”, both to help people now and as a launch pad for the new agenda. In the report’s conclusion, the Secretary-General issues a powerful charge to Member States, saying: “We are on the threshold of the most important year of development since the founding of the United Nations itself. We must give meaning to this Organisation’s promise to ‘reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person’ and to take the world forward to a sustainable future. We have an historic opportunity and duty to act, boldly and expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all.”
The coming months may see agreement on the final parameters of the post-2015 agenda and he stated the need for inclusion of a compelling and principled narrative, based on human rights and dignity. Financing and other means of implementation would also be essential and he called for strong, inclusive public mechanisms for reporting, monitoring progress, learning lessons, and ensuring shared responsibility.
He also welcomed the outcome produced by the Open Working Group, saying its 17 proposed sustainable development goals and 169 associated targets clearly expressed an agenda aimed at ending poverty, achieving shared prosperity, protecting the planet and leaving no one behind. Discussions of the Working Group had been inclusive and productive as the Group’s proposal aim was to form the basis of the new goals, as agreed by the General Assembly. The goals aim to be “focused and concise” to boost global awareness and country-level implementation, communicating clearly Member States’ ambition and vision.
The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa next year is going to play a major role in outlining the means for implementation, and he stressed the “key role” national Governments play in raising domestic revenue to benefit the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. Official development assistance (ODA) and international public funds, particularly for vulnerable countries, is also be vital to unlocking “the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources”, while private investment may be particularly important on projects related to the transition to reduced-carbon economies, improving access to water, renewable energy, agriculture, industry, infrastructure and transport.
Implementation might also rely on bridging the technology gap, creating a new framework for shared accountability, and providing reliable data, which he called the “lifeblood of sound decision-making.” Stating his commitment to ensuring the best outcome from the post-2015 process, he underlined the need for States to be guided by universal human rights and international norms, while remaining responsive to different needs and contexts in different countries. “We must embrace the possibilities and opportunities of the task at hand,” he said.
What might sustainable development achieve by 2030?