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UN Adviser Proposes Four Pillars for Post-2015 Goals

10 December 2012: Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), shared his perspective on the post-2015 development agenda in an event at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Sachs stressed that poverty cannot be alleviated without addressing environmental concerns, and proposed four pillars for a set of post-2015 development goals.

At the event, held in London, UK, on 10 December 2012, and broadcast live on the ODI website, Sachs discussed the relationship between the Secretary-General's High Level Panel (HLP) on the Post-2015 Agenda, which will review the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and assess what should come next, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the establishment of which was endorsed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), and which will be developed through an inter-governmental process. Sachs described the debates over these two processes - whether they should remain distinct or be integrated - and said keeping them apart would be “devastating to both agendas.”

Sachs proposed four pillars for a set of post-2015 goals, to: end poverty in all its forms; ensure social inclusion; address the environmental agenda, including biodiversity, climate change and oceans; and governance to support the first three goals. He recommended that governance objectives focus on both the public and corporate sectors. Sachs said the goals' language should be clear and understandable at a sixth-grade level.

Participants asked questions on, inter alia: including security as a dimension; improving integration of both sustainable development and the post-2015 and SDG processes; and including a goal on responses to crises. In response to a question on the role of developed countries, Sachs called for goals that apply to all countries, noting that even rich countries face sustainable development challenges and experience inequality. In response to a question on lessons learned, Sachs said measurement and baseline data was a challenge for the MDGs, and recommended eliminating time lags in monitoring and promoting real-time monitoring. He concluded that a robust report from the HLP and the Secretary-General to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) could promote an integrated approach that could help the two tracks come together. [ODI Event Webpage]