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Post-2015 Panel Reports on Emerging Areas of Consensus

UN logo7 November 2012: Members of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) briefed UN Member States on their discussions to date and expected work programme in the coming months. In particular, panelists reflected on the substantive meetings held in London, UK, from 31 October-2 November 2012, and received additional input from States.

The briefing was organized by the Office of the Presidency of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the Permanent Missions of Indonesia, Liberia and the UK, the three countries whose leaders are co-chairing the Panel.

Michael Anderson, Special Envoy of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, said the Panel's vision, following the London discussions, centers on ending poverty and supporting the building blocks of sustainable prosperity, with possible focal areas on education, health, and jobs and livelihoods. The Panel also agreed on 24 framing questions for its work, which soon will be posted on the Panel's webpage, and decided it will produce papers on each topic. Anderson noted that a possible outcome of the Panel's work is to set out broad parameters to inform the Secretary-General's report, not necessarily to suggest specific goals. Finally, he said the Panel is clear that its role is to support a Member State-driven process.

Abdoulaye Dukule, representing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, said the next meeting of the Panel would convene in Monrovia, Liberia, in the timeframe of 6-8 February 2012, and focus on States actors. Topics would include corruption, security, fragile states, and current issues around the world.

Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General, said the HLP was just one part of a multi-layered process established by the Secretary-General to fulfill the mandate given by Member States at the 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit, and that it was the highest-profile initiative to inform his report to the UNGA in September 2013. She highlighted other parts of this process, including the UN Task Team coordinated by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and including regional and thematic consultations; the UN Global Compact; and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for academia and science. The “One Secretariat” is in place and located at UNDP, she said, with support from her and three other Assistant Secretaries-General. Mohammed noted that the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not yet operational, but she hopes for a coordinated and coherent approach between it, the Panel, and the consultations. Mohammed also noted the importance of MDG achievement by 2015. Finally, she said outreach is a strong emphasis for the Panel, having learned from the MDG process.

John Podesta, Panel member, said the heart of the Panel's efforts is setting priorities to “get to zero” in eradicating extreme poverty. He stressed jobs and equal economic opportunity, as an area that was not part of the MDGs and is a shared priority by Panel members. Podesta reiterated the Panel's commitment to a truly consultative process to shape the post-2015 agenda, in contrast to the process that established the MDGs. Consultation would go beyond briefings such as the present meeting and include an open door to the Panel and structured outreach, he said.

Desra Percaya, representing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, said the theme “sustainable growth with equity” should be incorprated in the Panel's emphasis on poverty. He said the Panel's fourth meeting would take place in Bali, Indoensia, in March 2013, and focus on the global dimension of development, particularly global partnerships and means of implementation.

Participating in the discussion, Member States raised issues including: harmonization across all international actors; the importance of data; the place of peace, security and rule of law in future goals; plans for ownership of the future agenda; interaction of the Panel with: the OWG, the work on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), and the intergovernmental process; and means of implementation for each future goal.

In response, Homi Kharas, lead author and HLP Executive Secretary, said the Panel believes future goals should be technically feasible and affordable, not just aspirational. He said the time between now and 2015 should be used to ensure achievement of unfulfilled MDGs as well as prepare the empirical and other foundations for the post-2015 agenda. Dukule said ownership means incorporating everyone's input from the beginning in setting a global framework, which will then be translated to national goals and priorities. Mohammed said the Panel's role was to inform the Secretary-General report through an independent process to reach external audiences. She stressed that the HLP and work of the OWG would be independent processes, but complementary. Anderson said emerging areas of consensus among panelists included an interest in: doing more for the rights of women and girls; working with access to energy and renewable energy; infrastructure; job-creating growth; reaching those who have been left behind, also referred to as inequality; creating conditions and an enabling environment for empowerment and growth, rather than guaranteeing benefits; quality of data; and using accountability and transparency in smarter ways, to drive implementation and partnerships including with private sector. In addition, panelists are in strong agreement that the framework must be global, not just relevant to a small number of countries. Anderson noted that the Panel's outreach work will consist of SMS-based consultations about people's priorities, and focus groups, among other formats. [IISD RS Sources]