ATD Fourth World responses to Open Working Group Outcome Document

While the International Movement ATD Fourth World welcomes the latest set of sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations Open Working Group, the goals could better emphasize reaching the most marginalized.

With regards to poverty, “While the  title of Goal 1, ‘End Poverty in all its forms everywhere,’ is ambitious,” said Isabelle Pypaert Perrin, director general of ATD Fourth World,  “target 1.2 - to reduce by at least half the proportion of men women and children of all ages living in poverty according to national definitions - falls short. With no clear reference to prioritising those living in the greatest poverty, it could lead governments to target only those easiest to reach. This would contradict the principle of leave no one behind.”

Moreover, findings from ATD Fourth World’s recent international participatory research project on sustainable development, which included the voices of over 2,000 people worldwide, the majority living in poverty, indicate that it is critical to move towards multidimensional and participatory measures of poverty. Perrin continued, “This is reinforced by language like ‘in all its forms' (in the goal title) and 'in all its dimensions' (target 1.2), both of which point toward measures that go beyond income. Unfortunately, however, the inadequate income-based measure for extreme poverty ($1.25 per day) has been further entrenched under target 1.1.”

On a more positive note, the document's affirmation of the centrality of people in achieving sustainable development is to be applauded, as are the text’s references to rights instruments and internationally agreed human rights. International human rights instruments, like the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, written with the participation of people living in extreme poverty, provide solid guidance for countries seeking inclusive development.

“Unfortunately though,” said Quyen Tran, head of international advocacy at ATD Fourth World, “political will was lacking to mainstream human rights throughout the document. Almost all uses of the term 'access to' could be effectively replaced with 'right to.' This would have significantly enhanced the power of people to claim their rights. The absence of such language is perhaps the most important shortcoming of the Open Working Group’s document.”

The sustainable development goals are a historic agreement and are much more ambitious and comprehensive than the preceding Millennium Development Goals. The International Movement ATD Fourth World congratulates Ambassadors Macharia Kamau and Csaba Kőrösi in their expert co-chairing of this group and looks forward to the opportunity to further engage in the design and implementation of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

For a more in-depth analysis of the Outcome Document visit here.

Source: International Movement ATD Fourth World.