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AWID takes stock of the post-2015 process so far

The 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 69) that took place in New York in September addressed proposals for a post-2015 development agenda. Achievements and challenges of the MDGs aside, we need to make the case for robust and transformatory change in the Post 2015 Development Agenda also noting that the international community is different - there are new and powerful actors in the room, with private sector and business having a bigger role than before.

The UN General Assembly that took place in New York in September inspired conversations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, with the UN Secretary General (SG), Ban Ki-moon, reminding the Member States about the successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) including, reducing by half, global poverty, child mortality and maternal deaths. The SG showcased the power of the MDGs and called for the need to work together to do more. He highlighted the opportunity that the post 2015 development agenda presents, and the importance of linking this to global conversations around the Conference on Small Island Developing States, the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the General Assembly special session on population and development and the Climate Summit, also taking place at the UNGA69. He specifically highlighted the importance of including women and girls in these debates, and addressing climate change through these processes.

Sam Kahamba Kutesa (Uganda), President of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, echoed the speech of the SG by praising the advances on the MDGs but insisting that some targets are unlikely to be met. He inspired the audience saying that the coming year would be momentous, because it is the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the anniversary of the "groundbreaking" Beijing conference on women, among others.

Achievements and challenges of the MDGs aside, we need to make the case for robust and transformatory change in the Post 2015 Development Agenda. Also noting that the international community is different - there are new and powerful actors in the room, with private sector and business having a bigger role than before. The UN is also not the same in terms of governance and power structures; and CSO and movements have had challenges to meaningfully engage. And we are also seeing major forms of protest and unrest all over the world, most pertinent at the UNGA was the Global Climate March in New York, attend by over 300 000 protestors.

The international community needs to intensify efforts to accelerate progress and address old and new challenges that make eradication of multidimensional poverty, inequalities, hunger, climate change, violent conflicts, more complex, in the new post-2015 development agenda. It goes beyond market access, infrastructure, reparations or development as usual and it is not about making the world more competitive or secure. It is crucial that the international community explore strategies and paths towards redistribution of power and wealth among states and among men and women, as well as design alternative development models that address the root causes of the poverty and inequalities and go beyond the political and economic empowerment of women. There will be a high level thematic debate on this in March 2015 and feminists and women’s organisations need to push the boundaries and make a more robust and ambitious call

Ensuring adequate means for implementing the new development agenda is still a great challenge in this debate around Post 2015. We are still to see results from the call from UN this year on, "Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda".

UNGA General Debate

Heads of State and Government continued their discussion of the post-2015 development agenda alongside consideration of a range of other issues. Several countries described national efforts on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and how they will commit to achieving most of the Goals by 2020, while also planning to synchronize efforts with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

There seems to be agreement on the need to guarantee the sustainability of MDGs already achieved, while accelerating implementation on those lagging behind. The post-2015 agenda should consolidate MDG successes and many recommended building on progress to define post-2015 objectives. This is critical since won’t re invent the wheel; but the debates around SDGs should remain more ambitious than the MDGs, which should not prescribe what the next agenda would be

Many speakers outlined their country's priorities for the post-2015 as good governance, rule of law, human rights, gender equality, and women's empowerment. While we appreciate these speeches, experience has shown that these are very contentious issues that will be highly debated along the negotiations. This is evidenced in the remarks by Minister for Foreign and Political Affairs, San Marino, promoting traditional family values and structures, who stressed the role of the family in building a culture of inclusion, describing protection and support of the family as a critical step toward the integration of economic, environmental and social development.

Some members refer more to the process and ways of working in the coming year by highlighting that by the end of 2015 negotiations should be in accordance with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), equity and respective capabilities. It was refreshing to hear many members from the south calling for an intergovernmental and inclusive post-2015 agenda negotiation. As for CSOs, we are still awaiting for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to define modalities for participation in the coming year.

Other critical issues on the table are the relationship between peace and security and sustainable development. Libya, Thailand and others recommended recognizing the close linkage between security, stability and development - restoring security and stability will be key to achieving the remaining MDGs and being ready to achieve the SDGs.

Means of implementation (MOI) was a critical issue and several speakers called for strong and transformative partnerships. Portugal, proposed a partnership that mainstreams human rights, combats inequalities, promotes peaceful, stable and just societies, and advances issues of population and development.

Others called for a partnership that address human security; or a robust, broad-based global partnership based on mutual trust, respect and CBDR, and urged resolving the challenges around financing for sustainable development, including through the Financing for Development (FfD) process. India, called for a genuine international partnership while also recognizing that each country must take its own national measures. He stressed the importance of developed countries' fulfilling commitments on funding and technology transfer.

Noting the challenges faced in implementing MDG 8 on a global partnership for development and the challenges or absence of definition of the global partnership in the past months, one could expect that much is still to be defined and debated around this issue.

Feminists and women’s rights organisations will be taking advantage of some of the upcoming processes , including FfD Conference and roadmap related meetings, the 59th Committee on the Status of Women / Beijing +20, etc., to continue evolving on these matters.