Group of Friends on Governance for Sustainable Development Discusses Coherence of Follow-up Frameworks for Post-2015 and FfD 3
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The Group of Friends on Governance for Sustainable Development held a workshop to discuss a coherent follow-up framework for the post-2015 development agenda and the Addis Ababa Accord.

Several participants outlined that: the design of a review framework should not “start from scratch” but should take into account the institutional architecture and other elements that are already existent; a review and follow-up mechanisms should not be based on a one-size-fits-all approach; and follow-up and review are critical for implementation.

post201512 May 2015: The Group of Friends on Governance for Sustainable Development held a workshop to discuss a coherent follow-up framework for the post-2015 development agenda and the Addis Ababa Accord. Several participants outlined that: the design of a review framework should not “start from scratch” but should take into account the institutional architecture and other elements that are already existent; a review and follow-up mechanism should not be based on a one-size-fits-all approach; and follow-up and review are critical for implementation.

Held on 12 May 2015, in New York, US, the workshop was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Romania, together with the Permanent Missions of Mexico and of the Republic of Korea.

Chairing a session on ‘sustainable development and the post-2015 architecture’, Juan Sandoval, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico, highlighted principles that could provide guidance for drafting the post-2015 outcome document such as universality and ownership. He also noted that measuring and reporting should be seen as an incentive, not a punishment.

Neil Pierre, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), remarked that a universal review process initiated at the national level and informing regional and global levels was a principle that had received support so far. He outlined the need for a country-led approach that builds on existing local mechanisms, and qualified the regional level as a participatory and multi-stakeholder process for knowledge-sharing and learning. He said the global component of the review is implied in the mandate given to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) as a forum for universal review, starting “at the launch of the new agenda”, and noted that thematic reviews to chart global progress could be carried out at regular intervals under the auspices of the Forum. In response to questions, he said the UN Secretariat has the intention to prepare a mapping of reporting obligations at various levels, and lessons learned from the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) and the National Voluntary Presentations (NVPs), which are carried out under the auspices of ECOSOC but will cease to exist after 2015, should be taken into account when designing the new review mechanism.

Dave Banisar, Article 19, provided an overview of references related to governance, as found in internationally agreed texts and outcomes. He questioned how to avoid repetition between the outcome documents of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3) and the post-2015 development agenda considering that both processes use similar language.

In a session on ‘Key questions for an interlinked and coherent governance for the review and follow-up of the post-2015 development agenda and the Addis Ababa commitments,’ Simona Mirela Muculescu, Permanent Representative of Romania and Chair of the session, called for one overarching framework for the post-2015 and FfD 3, including all aspects of goals, targets and means of implementation, and for clear lines of responsibility and guidelines to keep the “implementation on track.”

Felix Dodds, Tellus Institute, outlined the need to include, in the FfD 3 outcome document, proposed goal 17 on means of implementation (MOI) and the MOI included under each goal of the SDG OWG report. He added that the FfD 3 outcome document should address how to deliver MOI, and called for creating an accountability mechanism for the private sector.

Steven Bernstein, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, remarked that: monitoring should be more than data collection; there are serious issues of capacity at country and global levels; capacity within DESA to work on the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) is now limited and would need to be increased; a review architecture should be designed to promote innovation, avoid duplication and consider the best division of labor between the HLPF, regional and national reviews; and efforts should be made to strengthen collaboration between the private sector and the UN. He remarked that, if there is no consensus on follow-up and review during the fifth session of the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations, attendance at the HLPF in June and July 2015 could be very low.

In a session on learning from existing review mechanisms to strengthen the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, Yuko Suzuki Naab, UN Development Programme (UNDP), provided information on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). She said the GPEDC: is country focused and “global light”; monitors the implementation of the Busan Principles on ownership, focused on results, partnerships, transparency and shared responsibility through 10 indicators; and can bring “unique value” in supporting the monitoring of the post-2015 development agenda.

Adedayo Bolaji-Adio, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), presented the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). She mentioned that APRM National Plans of Action (NPoAs) translate key findings of country assessment into recommendations that are harmonized with country plans and policies for action, and could prove useful for operationalizing targets under Goal 16 of the SDG OWG report.

Choong-hee Hahn, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, summarized key points highlighted by panelists during the session including: the importance of communication; partnerships; participation and the need to make “all stakeholders on board”; accountability; and the call for a review mechanism that incorporates national, regional, global and thematic dimensions. He stressed the importance of the HLPF meeting in 2015, noting that it will set up the “terms of reference” to start the review process in 2016.

Officials from various Member States acted as respondents to the panelists. Noting that the HLPF has a central role in the review exercise, Germany called for a strong structure for the Forum, and for a system to support reporting at the national level. Switzerland remarked that the FfD3 follow-up process should be an integral part of the post-2015 monitoring and follow-up mechanism, and outlined the need to think about innovative institutional architecture to link both processes. She suggested that the GSDR could bring together all existing thematic reviews and feed them into the HLPF, and questioned who should write the report and the necessity to have it on a yearly basis. Malawi highlighted the important contribution the GPEDC can make to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, and the Netherlands called for exploring how the four Busan principles can be operationalized in the FfD3 and the post-2015 Outcome Documents.

In an ensuing discussion, delegates noted that follow-up and review are only possible if strong monitoring and reporting mechanisms are in place, while others remarked that what is important in the end is the outcome, and “not so much” the reporting. It was also highlighted that the HLPF should be seen as a platform for learning, exchanging ideas and taking actions. On a question on how the results of the workshop could feed into the intergovernmental negotiations, the co-organizers said further consultations would be needed to explore options.

The workshop was the third in a series of three workshops organized by the Group of Friends of the Governance for Sustainable Development. The first one, held in November 2014, focused on governance in the post-2015 development agenda. The Second one took place in January 2015 and discussed the institutional follow-up to the Sustainable Development Goals. [IISD Sources]


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