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UK Parliament Begins Inquiry on Post-2015 Agenda

23 October 2012: UN officials and other high-level representatives participated in the UK Parliament's Commons Select Committee first oral evidence session for its inquiry on the UN post-2015 development goals. Questions and comments focused on the role and functioning of the High-Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, said she hopes the HLP will produce a "bold and ambitious report" to feed into the post-2015 agenda. She said the report will contain themes on conflict, poverty, youth, and how to address unmet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). On the relationship between the HLP and the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mohammed said there are two processes, but they share one Secretariat and will result in a “convergence of ideas” centered around “one development agenda.”

Paul Ladd, Head of Team on Post-2015, UN Development Programme (UNDP), described UN efforts to engage people through: national level dialogues; thematic, more expert-oriented consultation; and global opportunities, such as a web platform and a planned opinions survey, My World. He said broad engagement in debates and the process will help ensure stronger implementation from the beginning.

Charles Abugre Akelyira, Africa Regional Director, UN Millennium Campaign, said the consultation process has “kicked off a bit of a buzz” at national levels, where community meetings are being held, and regional levels, where organizations such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Union (AU) are involved. He contrasted this consultative process with that of the MDGs, which he said was “concocted by the elite.”

Andrew Dorward, Professor, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), said the HLP needs to decide whether its objective is to enlist support for the post-2015 development agenda, mobilize resources, or both. He stressed the challenge of achieving real bottom-up participation, citing the example of poor smallholder farmers, whose representation is difficult and time consuming to achieve. Dorward said a post-2015 framework should be as holistic as possible and include goals on climate change, health, population stabilization, water and well-being.

John McArthur, UN Foundation, favored eight to 10 goals, cautioning that including too many goals will dilute their importance.

Panelists also responded to questions on: whether to incorporate overarching goals on equality and human rights, noting the challenges and benefits of specific versus cross-cutting goals; how to achieve broad participation in the post-2015 process; accountability; staffing; and time frames. [Event Webcast]