Civil society organizations have published position papers and comments on the post-2015 development agenda, the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, the accountability framework, and the Financing for Development (FfD) process.
In addition, foundations have launched initiatives and trainings to engage youth and the media in the post-2015 and climate change processes and the private sector has proposed a tool for businesses to value natural capital.
June 2015: Civil society organizations have published position papers and comments on the post-2015 development agenda, the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, the accountability framework, and the Financing for Development (FfD) process. In addition, foundations have launched initiatives and trainings to engage youth and the media in the post-2015 and climate change processes and the private sector has proposed a tool for businesses to value natural capital.
On the post-2015 development agenda zero draft, International Movement ATD Fourth World suggests ways in which the agenda could better reach the poorest, and proposes recommendations for strengthening the follow-up and review mechanism. The organization recommends, inter alia: conceptualizing poverty in all its dimensions rather than as a multidimensional phenomenon in references throughout the document; describing the poorest and other vulnerable groups as agents of change rather than recipients of aid; adding reference to social protection; referencing discrimination and transparency in the description of SDG 16; recognizing the role of civil society in data production and analysis; and strengthening language on the transparency of official development assistance (ODA) in the section on means of implementation (MOI).
Elizabeth Stuart of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) describes the zero draft as “a glass three-quarters full” in a post on Post 2015.org. She welcomes elements such as the “high profile given to the concept of leaving no one behind,” including specific kinds of data disaggregation, and recognition that there needs to be “adequate differentiation” in national responses to the SDGs and targets. Still, Stuart outlines several challenges, including: the lack of specific deliverables on leaving no one behind; the inadequacy of financing commitments; lack of clarity on MOI; and the inclusion of a contested annex on amending targets to align them with existing international agreements.
International Alert sees the zero draft as “a glass at least half full” and welcomes the retention of SDG 16. Noting that the concept of peace is absent from the draft’s 2030 vision, International Alert states that the agenda marginalizes the need to focus on building and sustaining peace. It recommends an explicit reference to a desire for a more peaceful world, in paragraph 15.
Also on SDG 16, the Transparency, Accountability and Participation in Post-2015 (TAP) Network released a position paper on SDG indicators, titled ‘Making Goal 16 and the SDGs Transformative: An Indicator Framework Fit for Purpose.’ The paper emphasizes that it is feasible to measure proposed SDG 16, explaining that “a wide variety of data already exists for measuring governance, peace and justice.” To measure SDG 16, the paper recommends using: a wide range of data sources and types and developing input, output and process indicators to show steps taken to address challenges; outcome indicators to illustrate changes on the ground; and impact indicators to track whether changes contribute to improved lives. TAP intends to use the paper as the centerpiece of its advocacy on SDG 16 indicators, particularly on the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and the Praia City Group on Governance Statistics.
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) published a briefing paper analyzing the projected impacts of climate change on the Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) ability to achieve each SDG. It concludes that climate change impacts will make the SDGs “almost impossibly challenging for the LDCs unless the current level of ambition in development and climate action is urgently increased.” IIED recommends, inter alia: mainstreaming resilience into achievement of SDGs; limiting global warming below two degrees Celsius in the new climate agreement; and targeting adaptation finance to countries whose ability to meet the SDGs will be most affected by climate change. It further recommends that governments “ramp up” their ambition on agreements on financing for development (FfD) and climate change.
On accountability, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) highlights key elements to include in a follow up and review mechanism to measure progress towards achieving the SDGs in a position paper. It recommends such a mechanism: be state-led, science-based, multi-layered with global, regional and national elements, and built on existing reporting and monitoring mechanisms; include procedures to ensure meaningful participation of civil society and other stakeholders; and ensure independence through peer review systems and other schemes. IUCN emphasizes the importance of integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services across all goals and targets, arguing that the allocation of responsibilities in implementing and reporting on the SDGs needs to recognize the importance of ensuring the integration of the dimensions of sustainable development.
The UN Foundation and United Postcode Lotteries are sponsoring an initiative to enhance global media and engagement on the SDGs and climate change to ensure that the media continues to educate and involve citizens in the two processes. Through the initiative, the Thomson Reuters Foundation will provide capacity building, trainings and tools for over 500 journalists, government and NGO leaders in 33 countries.
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) launched a global youth initiative, SDSN Youth. SDSN-Y aims to: educate youth on the SDGs and encourage them to prioritize their implementation; integrate youth concerns and views into pathways for achieving the SDGs; provide a platform for youth to share ideas and experiences to address sustainable development; and initiate and support projects towards achieving the SDGs.
To support the achievement of the SDGs and the valuation of natural capital, Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Guilherme Leal, Co-Founder, Natura Cosmeticos, highlight the ‘Environmental Profit and Loss’ (E P&L) tool. The E P&L measures and monetizes the environmental impacts of company operations across entire supply chains. Kering developed the tool and has open-sourced their methodology as a way to encourage others to value natural capital, reduce negative impacts, innovate around new processes and materials and provide greater transparency to stakeholders and consumers.
On FfD, the Brookings Institute highlights the importance of harmonizing data definitions, methodologies and sources, and publishing data in open, common electronic formats to ensure effective financing to achieve the SDGs. It further emphasizes that financing must “reach the places where it is needed and at the right time” and calls for a commitment to harmonize data on international financial flows at the Third International Conference on FfD (FfD 3).
One’s ‘The 2015 DATA Report: Putting the Poorest First’ proposes a five-point plan for the FfD process. The plan calls for: ensuring access to basic services; increasing domestic government revenues; rebooting development assistance to target it where it is most needed, including 50% to LDCs and agreeing on a timetable for reaching the 0.7% commitment of GNI on aid; boosting inclusive growth to drive productivity in agriculture, energy, infrastructure and trade; and promoting strong accountability through a data revolution.
Transparency, accountability and participation are critical to catalyze transformative post-2015 agenda and FfD processes, the TAP Network argues in an FfD position paper. It emphasizes the importance of expenditure monitoring and accountability, fiscal transparency and rule of law in ensuring efficient spending that contributes to better development results. The paper recommends, inter alia: full transparency of revenues, allocation and spending; the insurance of inclusive, meaningful public participation at all stages of financing and governance processes; promotion of a common standard for reporting resource flows and the establishment of a global and national tracking system to report spending and results; and reduction of illicit financial flows, corruption and bribery. [ODI Blog] [ATD Fourth World Homepage] [International Alert Blog] [IIED Briefing Paper] [SDSN Press Release] [Polman and Leal Blog on E P&L] [E P&L Website] [IUCN Paper] [UN Foundation Press Release] [TAP Network Position Paper on FfD] [Brookings Blog on Harmonizing Data] [Publication: The 2015 DATA Report]