Civil Society Continues to Issue Reactions to Proposed SDGs
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In reaction to the 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs, civil society organizations (CSOs) have issued articles and positions outlining their ideas for consideration during the next steps in defining the post-2015 development agenda.

OWGAugust 2014: In reaction to the 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs, civil society organizations (CSOs) have issued articles and positions outlining their ideas for consideration during the next steps in defining the post-2015 development agenda.

The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) has begun compiling civil society responses on a Google documents page. The open-source tracking system includes civil society articles and statements on the: individual goals; Zero Draft; and Revision 1 of the Zero Draft; and the Outcome Document. It currently features 19 responses on the outcome document from UN agencies, Major Groups and civil society.

A transformative forest module in the post-2015 agenda could help illustrate the diversity of targets needed to create an enabling environment that would result in greater sustainable development outcomes for forests, landscapes and livelihoods, according to an International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) discussion paper. The paper, titled ‘SD goals from a forest perspective: Transformative, universal and integrated?,’ highlights issues that the proposed goals and targets must address, including: integrated land use planning; policy coherence relating to tradeoffs for forests, trees and livelihoods among Goals 8, 9 and 10; and explicit reference to existing biodiversity, climate change and forest governance frameworks, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in indicators and financing modalities. In addition, IIED has launched a two-part consultation to give people an opportunity to voice their opinions on priorities for the SDGs from a forests perspective, including a survey and an online discussion game.

According to a policy brief published by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), African negotiators should focus on five specific goals related to: desertification, land degradation, soil erosion, flooding and drought; diversification, industrialization and value addition; the services sector; domestic resource mobilization; and innovative financing. The brief compares the Common African Position (CAP) with goals developed by CIGI, the Korean Development Institute (KDI) and other UN reports, emphasizing that selecting goals involves trade-offs and proposing four filters that African negotiators can apply to select priority goals.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) released a revised working draft report of its ‘Indicators and a monitoring framework for SDGs: Launching a data revolution for the SDGs.’ The draft: proposes an indicator framework for discussion, including how to collect needed data; outlines SDG monitoring principles; and identifies gaps that must be addressed to implement the SDGs on their first day. To develop an SDG monitoring framework by 2016, the report urges filling indicator gaps, moving towards annual reporting, determining financing needs and mechanisms and mobilizing resources and identifying complementary metrics.

WaterAid welcomes, inter alia: the OWG Outcome Document’s reaffirmation of the importance of human rights, including the human rights to water; the inclusion of a dedicated goal on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and wording on ensuring inequalities in access are progressively eliminated. WaterAid describes the Outcome Document as “a signal that the global water and sanitation crisis is firmly on the UN’s agenda.”

The World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA) welcomes the inclusion of a goal on peaceful societies as a key element in achieving sustainable development. WFUNA stresses that violence and conflict hinder development while underlining that drivers of conflict, violence and insecurity can be traced to inequitable development, noting that no country in an area affected by conflict will achieve a single Millennium Development Goal (MDG). WFUNA proposes thirteen targets on achieving peaceful societies, freedom from violence and good governance, including targets related to: capacity to mediate and reconcile tensions and disputes within society; access, participation and representation in decision-making; bribery and corruption; and accountability and transparency.

In addition to overall reactions to the OWG Outcome Document and arguments for specific targets, a few groups have emphasized the need to examine how to align the UN system and enhance its accountability and transparency. Articles by the Future UN Development System, for instance, address how to make the UN system more transparent and accountable as well as recent changes to the UN Development Program (UNDP). [UN-NGLS Document][SD goals from a forest perspective: Transformative, universal and integrated?] [IIED Survey] [IIED Forestry Game] [CIGI Policy Brief][SDSN Draft Report] [WaterAid Reaction] [WaterAid Press Release] [WFUNA Position] [Future UN Article 1][Future UN Article 2] [IISD RS story on SDSN]

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