The most recent step in the post-2015 negotiations was the 17-20 February debate in New York on the Declaration, meant to be the framework political statement. Despite strong emphasis on transformation and high aspiration, traditional lines were drawn between (mostly) Northern and Southern positions.

At the same time, the debate was rich and nuanced, reflecting the increasing diversity of developing country concerns and their willingness to engage substantively on issues that will be critical to transformation. The process continues to suggest there is historic potential for redressing some of the longstanding imbalances driving deep social and economic disparities, and the impending collision with planetary boundaries. The notion that post-2015 is supposed to universally apply to every country and person in the world is unprecedented—never before has there been a development agenda this broad in scope.

Developing countries need sufficient policy space in particular in the areas of trade, finance and industrial development if they are to meet the goals of the post-2015 development agenda, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Over the past twenty years we have heard constantly that the world has the resources to address global development challenges such as poverty, environmental degradation, diseases and inequalities. However, despite the resources “being there” human development plans have been consistently underfunded.

Clearly, existing “trickle-down” and redistribution mechanisms are not being effective and will be woefully inadequate to fund the implementation of the universal SDGs agenda.

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations discussed on 23-25 February the Secretary General report on the implementation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review requested by the General Assembly. Under a cryptic title, the meeting addressed core issues, such as the UN development system’s role (and its relevance) in the post 2015 agenda.

When it comes to the UN’s role in development, there is a broad consensus on the unique value the UN brings to the table because of its history, neutrality, convening power and universal representation. However, it is important to underline that the development ecosystem is being populated in recent years by emerging economic powers and new actors such as philanthropic organizations, large INGOs, regional institutions and development banks.

Moreover, the UN is no longer the biggest funder of development activities, as it is now finds itself in second position, behind the European Commission.

In a new article released by Future United Nations Development System (FUNDS), Roberto Bissio, Social Watch Coordinator, analysis the post-2015 process and suggests what must be done to ensure the promises made will be fulfilled. Twenty-two independent UN human rights rapporteurs wrote to the Rio+20 Summit that “real risk exists that commitments made in Rio will remain empty promises without effective monitoring and accountability.” This danger also exists for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The absence of specific targets for monitoring and accountability implies specific consensus about next steps is missing. In fact, many of the targets are essentially impossible to assess quantitatively because they refer to concepts for which there are no indicators or no internationally agreed definition. Governments are primarily responsible to their own citizens through oversight bodies such as parliaments, and so it will be up to civil society to demand and promote regular reporting on national progress.

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