News

HLP Briefs Member States on Monrovia Meeting

14 February 2013: A briefing on the latest meeting of the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) outlined areas of emerging consensus, indicated areas for further consideration at the Panel's next meeting, and elicited views from UN Member States.

At the briefing, convened by the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Vuk Jeremic, Panel members and representatives of the co-chairs discussed the outcomes of the Panel's third formal meeting, which met in Monrovia, Liberia, from 31 January-2 February, and took up the theme of “National building blocks on sustained prosperity.”

Opening the briefing, Jeremic expressed his hope for a single, fully coherent post-2015 development agenda. He called the post-2015 agenda a “strategic issue of the first order,” predicting that it will come to frame much of the UN's work for decades to come.

Marjon Kamara, Permanent Representative of Liberia to the UN, highlighted the outcomes contained in the HLP's Monrovia Communique. She said that in Monrovia the Panel: delved into real issues of development including what and how to prioritize; enumerated national building blocks for economic transformation; and reaffirmed its vision to end extreme poverty in all its forms, and make poverty eradication gains irreversible. The Panel also agreed that the new agenda should: support sustainable development and growth that creates jobs; protect the environment; and ensure peace, security and equity at all levels. Kamara said the Panel will recommend a single, cohesive post-2015 agenda integrating economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. Economic growth, while crucial, is not sufficient to ensure social justice, equity, and sustained prosperity for all, she said. She also noted that: changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production (SCP) is crucial including in high-income countries; the Panel will explore policy options for green growth; political stability is a recurrent theme; and the need to build strong, accountable institutions will take years and affect the timetable for targets.

Michael Anderson, the UK Prime Minister's Special Envoy for the UN Development Goals, noted an emerging consensus among panelists on issues and themes that have not been prioritized so far, including creating jobs for youth and opportunities for small businesses. He outlined the need to, inter alia: clearly articulate priority issues; establish a clear and robust framework for monitoring progress, as well as clear principles for creating new partnerships; finish what has not been completed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); capture openness and the rule of law; aim for one integrated framework; not displace the high priority given to poverty eradication and economic growth; and better emphasize gender equality and education. He said goals should be limited in number, be compelling, have a limited time horizon, be broadly understandable, be concrete, be applicable in diverse conditions, respond to priorities, and be measurable.

Desra Percaya, Permanent Representative of Indonesia, provided preliminary information on the Panel's fourth meeting, which will convene in Bali, Indonesia, from 25-27 March 2013. Percaya said the meeting will focus on global partnerships and means of implementation. The three-day event will follow the same pattern as the previous two meetings, he said, with the first day dedicated to outreach, the second day to a meeting of the panel members without the co-chairs, and the third day to a full meeting of the panel with the co-chairs. He said the Panel will discuss “selected draft text” developed in preparation for the Panel's final report.

Fulbert Gero Amoussouga, Head of the Economic Analysis Unit of the President of Benin and HLP member, said the Panel had shown humility in listening to NGOs and grassroots people. He said consensus has been established on a focus on three pillars in the post-2015 program: combating poverty; sustainable development; and growth with employment, including youth employment. He also highlighted the Panel's attention to rural areas, in particular building infrastructure and provision of services. He said this had been absent from the MDGs and led to limited results.

Patricia Espinosa, Mexican diplomat and HLP member, argued that in a globalized world, "no nation will have the well-being and security of its inhabitants unless the benefits of development are shared by all, and take into account the needs of future generations." She said the post-2015 development agenda should constitute a new global compact. She also called for careful consideration of mechanisms and institutions for the implementation and follow-up of the eventual goals.

Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, provided updates on additional work streams of the UN system on the post-2015 agenda, including the national consultations taking place in 66 countries. She looked forward to a synthesis of all consultations being conducted by the UN system by 15 March. On the academic work stream, she said the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) is running 12 thematic groups to harness the knowledge of the academic community, and has been making their inputs available to the UN Secretary-General and HLP. On the private sector work stream, she said the UN Global Compact is involved in national consultations and also facilitated three sessions for the HLP during the World Economic Forum in January. On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), she said the Open Working Group (OWG) established in January will receive technical support from the UN System Task Team.

During a question-and-answer segment, Member States raised various points including: considering “reducing unemployment” as a global goal; not limiting the post-2015 process to the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), but incorporating remaining MDGs; taking into account the rule of law and good governance; considering poverty eradication at the center of the agenda; focusing on SCP; including governments in the process; the need to further elaborate ideas on the green economy; the importance of peace and security, good governance and strong institutions as “enablers;” accelerating work toward the MDGs; the need for one cohesive track, to avoid chaos and failure of the MDGs; and the importance of a gender focus including in youth and job creation.

Responding to the interventions, Panel members highlighted that Member States will continue to be part of the dialogue, and their comments and inputs will feed into the Panel's deliberations. Noting that at the country level consultations are happening through the national consultations, they added that informal meetings such as this one will be convened before and after the Bali meeting. They echoed the importance of the rule of law, of working towards poverty reduction and of improving profitability, and acknowledged the need for a “strong push” for achieving the MDGs.

Homi Kharas, HLP Lead Author and Executive Secretary, said the Panel was on track to produce a first draft of its report by the first half of April, and to deliver the report to the Secretary-General by the end of May. [HLP Monrovia Meeting Website]  [IISD RS Story on Monrovia Communiqué]  [IISD RS Sources] [Letter from UNGA President Convening Briefing]