Khan, Mokhiber, Donoghue,
Schillinger, Rücker and Bissio.

What can New York learn from Geneva? Can human right mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) developed by the Human Rights Council in Geneva serve as a model for the follow up of the new development agenda currently beingdiscussed in New York?

That was the guiding question formulated by Hubert Rene Schillinger, director of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Geneva to a panel on “accountability mechanisms for implementing the SDGs” held last June 18.

Irish ambassador David Donoghue, co-facillitator of the drafting process of the new development agenda admitted that “accountability” is referred to as “the a word” in New York and he explained that “to address sensitivities in various quarters, the phrase we use is ‘follow-up and review’ instead”.

The country is experiencing its worst energy crisis in over a decade which is paralysing the economy and ruining livelihoods. Two public demonstrations were held late February in Accra and Kumasi, Ghana's two main cities, over electricity load-shedding which gives consumers 12 hours electricity and 24 hours total blackout.

But while the opposition-led demonstrators were thumping the streets with anti-government placards and slogans, organised labour in the country took up the struggle on a different front largely ignored by organisers of the demonstration but which many consider as being at the heart of the energy crisis.

In 2012, governments agreed at the Rio+20 conference that all decisions on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda would be both consistent with international law and respect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capabilities. The zero draft of post-2015 agreement, as well as the Open Working Group’s outcomes which preceded it, reiterate their grounding in the UN Charter with full respect for international law, including (implicitly at least) international human rights law. In the latest iteration of the Addis Ababa Accord on financing for development (FfD), meanwhile, governments unambiguously commit to respect all human rights, including the right to development.

The first section of the Zero Draft displays a structure that is more coherent and orderly than the introduction to the Open Working Group (OWG) report. The division into 8 subtitles (Introduction, Our Commitment and Shared Principles, Our World Today, Our Vision, The New Agenda, Implementation, Follow-Up and Review, and A Call for Action to Change the World) makes it possible to distinguish the member states’ vision, their level of ambition and, therefore, their political approach more clearly than was the case with the OWG report. This new document is more clearly explicit about the tacit agreements, as well as the points of view about crucial issues such as the development model and the environment, the leading role given to the business sector and the significance that the Agenda carries for member states in terms of commitments and obligations.

The outcome document for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) is being finalized at the United Nations in New York. This is a key moment to make an assessment and influence the issues under negotiation to ensure progress is not lost in the interests of fact-tracking consensus. The outcome document must establish new ground on a range of issues such as combatting illicit financial flows and global tax cooperation. At a side-event jointly organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, APWLD, Regions Refocus, DAWN, SID, Latindadd, CIDSE, FTC, Eurodad, GPF, Social Watch, Third World Network and ANND, we want to discuss proposals and compromises on the table and look into possible outcomes of the Addis Ababa conference.

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