Post-2015 development agenda must include rights, equity and environment

The High Level Panel of
Eminent Persons.
(Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN)

The High Level Panel (HLP) appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to consider the post-2015 development agenda is opening in London the discussion on poverty eradication. Its members should have in mind the strong pronouncement of the civil society organizations that took part in a previous global online consultation: they demanded not to leave the human rights and the environment aside in the fight against poverty, and to address the growing inequality, among other requirements.

In the lead up to the second meeting of the HLP of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda from 31 October to 2 November, the UN Non Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) undertook an open, one-week long online consultation to gather inputs from the civil society and other stakeholders about the framework that would replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015.

The NGLS received 239 contributions from 118 organizations and international networks and individuals, with answers to four questions. This UN service summarized all that material in a two-page briefing. However, there were “seven recurring sets of recommendations that appeared across the responses.”

“According to the inputs to this consultation, a post-2015 development agenda must: 1) adopt a human rights-based approach; 2) address growing inequality and mainstream equity; 3) promote social protection; 4) involve and lead to participatory processes and decision making; 5) prioritize capacity building and local management of development; 6) protect Earth’s ecosystems and equitable access to resources; and 7) enable job creation and investment in the poor and marginalized,” remarked the NGLS.

On the first point, “Social Watch explained that the needs of people who live in poverty and who are part of vulnerable, marginalized or excluded groups, are too often neglected in favour of the interests of powerful groups, and that a rights-based approach to development is essential to changing this reality,” reads the briefing.

On equity, “many contributors stressed that the post-2015 development agenda must put equity at the center, and address barriers faced by the most marginalized people in society, including women, youth, the elderly, people living with disabilities, and indigenous peoples,” it adds.

“Several contributors called on the HLP to support a universal, rights-based Social Protection Floor. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) ‘believes that ensuring universal access to food, water, energy, health care and education can be done through (and in fact: means) implementing universal social protection floors,’” remarks the summary.

On participatory processes and decision making, “CAFOD contributed that ‘participation of all stakeholders, but especially of those directly affected by poverty and injustice, during the set-up and implementation of the post-2015 development framework is key to ensuring that the MDG successor framework can realistically deliver actual change on the ground for people living in poverty.’”

“As the Secrétariat International de L'eau articulated and many additional organizations advocated, a post-2015 development framework should give local actors the responsibility to plan, coordinate and manage local development,” adds the briefing. “The poor and vulnerable should own the means of production and be assisted to produce, stated World Vision South Africa. (…) Hope International and UN Volunteers both call for governments and the UN to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations, as they are key actors in advocacy, policy design, and implementation for communities.”

“Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits (ECOWEB) contributed that natural resources must be managed sustainably and distributed equitably to alleviate poverty and vulnerability. WWF International explained, ‘While we all depend on natural services and resources, the poor usually rely on them most directly for their livelihoods and are most vulnerable to environmental degradation.’ Growth and development must be inclusive and within planetary boundaries, stated WWF, and stronger action on climate change is essential,” remarks the paper:

On the seventh point, “many respondents argued that poor and marginalized people need equal access to productive resources (capital, land, energy, water, credit, infrastructure, information), services (education, health care, adequate housing) and jobs to build resilience, sustain their livelihoods, ensure an adequate standard of living, find better access to the labour market, and improve well-being.”

The HLP meeting in London was open on Wednesday and will end on Friday. It held its first meeting at the end of September in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, but this is the first of three discussions on poverty eradication to be hosted in the countries of the HLP’s three co-chairs – the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberian President Sirleaf and Indonesian President Yudhoyono.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, appointed the HLP on 31 July to develop “a bold vision to advise on global development after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.”

Future meetings of the HLP will be in Monrovia in January/February 2013 with a focus on national development and in Bali in March 2013 with a focus on global partnerships.

An additional week-long online consultation is open until 7 November. A subsequent, longer report will be produced by NGLS and submitted to the HLP by the middle of November. This paper will incorporate a much broader range of responses received from 19 October to 7 November as well as information from the meeting of the Panel in London.

Page to take part on the civil society dialogue with the HLP:
UK Department for International Development: