post2015-in82 August 2015: The final version of the draft post-2015 development agenda, titled ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ was adopted by acclamation at the conclusion of an informal plenary of intergovernmental negotiations. The adoption came at the end of a two-week session and concluded a seven-month process to agree on the UN’s development agenda to follow up on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and seek to achieve sustainable development.

The 69th UN General Assembly will take action on the informally agreed document, and is expected to recommend it for adoption by Heads of State and Government at the UN Summit on the post-2015 development agenda, which will convene in New York, US, on 25-27 September 2015.

The final negotiating session took place on Sunday evening, 2 August. Following the suspension of the plenary at 4:45 am on Saturday, 1 August, UN Member States held informal discussions on the climate paragraph and other outstanding issues in the draft text, and the resumed plenary was postponed several times. Taking the floor to explain the final delays on Sunday afternoon, Co-Facilitator Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, urged everyone in the room to stay, saying “we need the momentum in the room.”

Last-minute changes to the text, based on informal discussions between delegations, related to migrants’ human rights, peoples under colonial and foreign occupation, benefit sharing of genetic resources, debt sustainability, resources for LLDCs, LDCs, SIDS and other categories of countries, and other issues.

Co-Facilitator Kamau said the outcome document had been negotiated “to the comma.”

When the meeting resumed to consider the final document, as orally corrected to reflect the last-minute agreements, South Africa spoke on behalf of the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), welcomed the recognition that eradicating poverty in all its forms is the greatest challenge and indispensable for sustainable development, and announced the Group’s readiness to adopt the document. The room applauded after his statement, and continued to do so after every statement made in support of the agenda, including from: the EU, noting its intention to help others to implement the agenda; the African Group, welcoming the references to peace and security and stressing national ownership; and the LLDCs, highlighting the VPOA.

Benin for the LDCs stressed the importance of the LDCs for the agenda, having earlier called this group the “battlefield” for post-2015 development. While Benin said the document must not be modified any further, including regarding the omission of SIDS from target 13.b on climate change-related planning and management, Maldives for AOSIS said his group’s adoption was on the understanding that target 13.b will be corrected, as orally amended earlier in the weekend.

Nigeria and Iran emphasized national legislation, priorities, and cultural and religious values, with Nigeria saying the agreement does not give the UN a mandate to consider sexual orientation and gender identity as “legally cognizable,” nor does it create the right to abortion in any circumstance.

Other country statements pointed to the significance of the agreement. Mexico said the agenda changes the development paradigm from a state-centered enterprise to one based on the well-being of the individual. Colombia recalled his country’s dream of the SDGs at Rio+20, saying adoption of the 2030 agenda is another historic step. The US said the outcome’s ambition reaffirms the transformative nature of the multilateral system, and is a global commitment to a different kind of future, ensuring that the birth of “any girl or any boy born today, in any place on this planet,” is an entrance into a world of hope, free of poverty, hunger, violence and discrimination, full of opportunity and prosperity, and lived in harmony with the planet.

Switzerland said the agreement was proof that it was “right to try” the seemingly absurd idea that 193 countries could agree on a course for humanity and the planet. He recalled innovative ways of working together to transcend traditional divides. Citing the inclusive nature of the process, the use of Twitter as the main means of communications at times, and the presence of children in the room at the main moment, he said it is an agenda of the people, by the people and for the people.

Israel said development is too important for trying to score political points. He added it is time to breathe life into the agenda and turn paper into practice.

India welcomed the unequivocal reaffirmation of CBDR and the inclusion of the whole package of SDGs recommended by the OWG in 2014, stressing the need to premise development on poverty eradication, and saying the global development and the Indian one will have to intersect closely for either to succeed. India noted the unprecedented engagement of the global community in this process, and the “breathtaking ambition and scope” of the agenda. India also recognized the negotiators from UN Member States, who he said have been more familiar with the 17 goals and 169 targets than with their children’s school grades, “for the sake of the world.” The said the vision for the new agenda is a world of “no North and no South, a world that is truly flat,” and said a sustainable world, without poverty and hunger, is “the only future worth wanting.”

Many statements commended the “masterful” leading of the process by Kamau and Co-Facilitator David Donoghue of Ireland, noting in particular their inclusive and transparent approach, with one delegation saying the “mutual trust was never broken.”

Co-Facilitator Donoghue offered a tribute to, among others, Amina Mohammed, UN Special Adviser for Post-2015 Development Planning, for her inspiration, guidance and encouragement. Kamau said Pope Francis had encouraged them to maintain a very high level of ambition, and a true dedication to poverty, the suffering of the forgotten, and of sustainable development.

The text of the outcome document for adoption at the UN Summit in September is being finalized and is expected to be available at the UN Division for Sustainable Development’s webpage shortly. [IISD RS Sources] [Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Finalised text for adoption (1 August)] [IISD RS Meeting Coverage] [DSD Webpage] [IISD RS Story on First Week of Final Negotiation Session]