Published:23 September 2014, ECE
The Regional Ministerial Consultation “Monitoring and Accountability for the Post-2015 Development Agenda –The Regional Dimension” discussed how to give ‘teeth’ to a non-legally binding framework that will formulate an ambitious agenda of transformation towards sustainability for all countries. The focus of the discussions was on the features that are necessary to create a strong accountability and monitoring mechanism, the roles of the local, national, regional and global levels within a multi-layered architecture, and how the wealth of existing mechanisms could be integrated and adapted.
The meeting, organized by UNECE and the Regional UN Development Group for Europe and Central Asia, was held in Geneva from 15 to 16 September 2014. The Consultation was chaired by Ambassador Michael Gerber, Special Envoy for Global Sustainable Development of Switzerland, and attended by around 170 participants, including experts and representatives from governments, civil society, the private sector and other international organizations.
Participants identified a number of issues that should be taken into account in designing monitoring and accountability for the post-2015 agenda from the point of view of the UNECE region.
There was a general view among participants that the monitoring and accountability framework should be an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda and not an “after-thought”. A comprehensive, multi-layered and multi-stakeholder accountability framework is crucial for the success of the post-2015 development agenda. An overall accountability mechanism should ensure linkages between various levels (local, national, regional, global), actors (state and non-state) and sectors.
Accountability should be understood as a participatory and inclusive process, which envisages cooperation and an interactive dialogue between multiple stakeholders. Governments, as the primary duty bearers, are the key actors to be held accountable. Accountability also needs to involve parliaments, organized civil society groups and citizens, the private sector and international organizations.
Incentives for countries and other stakeholders to participate in a monitoring and accountability framework were considered a critical factor for success. Shared learning and positive rewards seem more effective to promote progress and participation than negative assessments. Some participants mentioned that ranking of the performance of countries in achieving SDGs in a clear and transparent way could be a powerful incentive in meeting these goals. Information on relative performance could inform the decisions of investors and donors, thus unlocking access to funding for the best performers.
The need for a “data revolution” was emphasized to strengthen monitoring and accountability. Data needs for the post-2015 development agenda are significant but there are already some initiatives to build upon, including the recommendations of the Conference of European Statisticians on how to measure sustainable development. Technological progress and “big data” offer new opportunities to strengthen real time monitoring and contribute to a transparent accountability framework.
The overall accountability framework should rely on the information, outcomes and lessons derived from existing monitoring and accountability mechanisms. A pragmatic approach, building on existing mechanisms, should prevail.
The European region, in particular, has a solid set of institutions and mechanisms with mandates and data capacity to review and monitor socioeconomic and environmental developments as well as democratic governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
The value of peer reviews was recognized but some participants stressed that these reviews should go beyond the exchange of best practices to identify areas of underperformance, analyse the underlying causes and propose means of improvement. Experience with the UNECE Environmental Performance Reviews shows that regular monitoring of recommendations to improve performance in different policy areas can lead to strong results if accompanied by political will. Some features of an effective mechanism of peer reviews conducted by the OECD were also stressed.
In the private sector, there are already a number of mechanisms that promote reporting on environmental, social and governance factors, including at the global level initiatives such as the Global Reporting Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact.
There was a strong degree of consensus on the importance of the regional level in a multi-layered accountability mechanism as a link between the national and global levels. Complementarity between different levels in the accountability chain should be a key consideration.
A regional review can build ownership and understanding for the universal nature of the new agenda in the region. Regional commissions as well as the Regional UNDG Teams can promote the exchange of experiences and good practices and facilitate capacity building. The regional level also is the natural platform to address transboundary challenges like water cooperation or the green economy, which UNECE promotes through the Environment for Europe process, the Water Convention or the green economy toolbox.
Monitoring and review at the global level is essential and depends on high level political engagement. Many participants stressed that the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is called to play the central role in ensuring the coherence of the overall accountability framework. It was underlined that the HLPF, under the auspices of ECOSOC, will conduct meaningful reviews from 2016 onwards, also taking into account the results of regional reviews.
In follow-up to the consultation, the Chair’s Summary will be submitted to the Secretary-General as an input to his synthesis report on the post-2015 development agenda which will be prepared by the end of 2014.
Addis Ababa, 26 August 2014 (ECA) – African stakeholders from the CSO spectrum represented by NGOs, women, youth and media organizations; as well as government representatives and the international community met in Addis Ababa to deliberate and propose measures for ensuring an accountability framework for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The forum, which took place at the United Nations Conference Centre from 21-23 August, proposed key elements for an accountability framework, which is expected to feed into the Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly in September.
In her opening statement, Ambassador Marjon Kamara, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, who chaired the meeting underscored the importance of statistics in determining an accountability frameworkcalling for“concerted action, genuine commitment, and empowerment of African society, including youth, women, faith-based organisations, as well as the business community”.
Dr Anthony Maruping, AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, said that when it comes to accountability mechanisms, Africa was “not starting from scratch”, as the continent had experienced with other regional, sub-regional, national accountability frameworks, such as the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)”.
Furthermore, Abdalla Hamdok, ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary, helped clarify the objective of the consultative meeting, by stating that participants’ “wide-encompassing deliberations need to identify key elements to build an accountability architecture for the post-2015 development agenda that is aligned from the global to continental to national levels”.
In his opening address, Mr Eugene Owusu, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP/Ethiopia urged participants to help in “demanding real accountability for one billion people, emphasising participatory mechanisms, in which it is possible for the people to hold their leaders accountable”.
Ms Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning informed participants that there was a significant momentum for this new agenda, which comes with a high political mandate. Ms Mohammed, stressed the importance of crafting an accountability framework that is “fit for purpose” for the Africa region.
Participants unanimously agreed that an accountability framework for the Post-2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, should be based on a set of core principles, accompanied by bold goals and targets and a plan on the means of implementation. Participants emphasised the need for an accountability framework to be implementable across the broad spectrum of society, namely being “bottom-up and people centered. In addition, participants called for country-level commitments to action skillfully led by a multi-stakeholder partnership represented by public, private, civil society and citizen interests”.
Another important element originating from the Forum was the need for a strong culture of reporting, based on accurate and timely data – making a case for evidence-based accountability. This would provide the basis for measuring progress and also mobilize citizens and civil society to hold institutions and partners accountable towards their commitments.
The Forum was organized by the HLC/African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) with support from the UN Development Group.
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Addis Ababa, 19 August 2014 (ECA) – African stakeholders, including academia, CSOs, government representatives, media, private sector and women and youth groups will meet later this week in Addis Ababa to deliberate and propose a concrete accountability framework for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Stakeholders are determined to play a strong role in the Post-2015 Development Agenda given the limited role of Africa in the formulation of the MDGs, which many assert resulted in weak ownership and slow progress by many African countries.
Consequently, the forum, which will take place at the United Nations Conference Centre from 21-23 August, is part of a substantial proactive effort to ensure African ownership of the forthcoming global development agenda that will replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The event, led by the African Union High Level Committee (HLC) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda comes as a result of a request, made by the AU Heads of State Summit held in Malabo from 26-27 June 2014, to explore the “emerging issues of accountability”. This includes the need for a data revolution – a central issue to monitor, evaluate and assess progress, which are, in turn, key aspects of accountability”, according to the Decision of the Malabo Summit.
According to the Chairperson of the HLC Sherpas, Abdoulaye Dukule, “In the spirit of accountability, work has already started on the development of metrics for the six pillars of the Common African Position (CAP), this meeting will therefore serve as a continuation, which will lead to a concrete accountability mechanism. Accountability, in its various formulations, is the first step towards transparent governance”. In addition, the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Amina Mohammed emphasised that “this meeting provides African stakeholders with an opportunity to build on successful regional experiences and effectively contribute to the global discussions on robust approaches to monitoring, review and accountability for the post-2015 development agenda. Without credible accountability mechanisms at global, regional and national levels, there is little hope that promises made will become promises delivere”.
Furthermore, Abdalla Hamdok, ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary, stated “Africa has indeed been a visible presence in the Post-2015 development agenda and as early as 2011, the continent initiated consultations to articulate its priorities for the successor global development framework”. “The consultations are intended to build on existing accountability frameworks, so as to design and formulate an accountability framework suitable for the post 2015 development agenda”, reiterated Hamdok. Such a framework is expected to provide alignment from the global to continental to national levels.
The Forum is organized by the HLC/African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) with support from the UN Development Group.
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Addis Ababa, 4 June, 2014 (ECA) – The Common African Position (CAP) on the Post 2015 Development agenda was launched this week Tuesday, at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the presence of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission as well as the Sherpas of the High Level Committee on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, among other partners and invited guests.
The launch of the CAP was intended as a key step in engaging African stakeholders so as to deepen their understanding of the evolution of the negotiations and advocacy efforts. The launch was also aimed at enhancing ownership of the CAP, while strengthening and leveraging partnerships with non-African stakeholders.
The Liberian President and Chair High Level Committee (HLC), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her remarks and key message on the post 2015 via a video recording informed the meeting that “CAP reflects the aspirations of the African people.” She elaborated on its seven main strategic key messages, which include the commitment of Africa to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the specific focus on health and education as well as a sustainable development agenda and the need for peace and security.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Madame Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in her remarks emphasized the importance of making the CAP people centered, sustainable and resulting in prosperous, integrated and united Africa. “The Common African Position will be pursued regardless of the results of the negotiation out comes and advocacy of individuals in one’s own country and elsewhere is important” the Chairperson stated.
The Common African Position was presented by Mr. Anthony Maruping, Commissioner of Economic Affairs of the AUC, who stated that the overarching goals of the CAP are to eradicate poverty and ensure human development, which are anchored in six pillars that are; Structural, Economic transformation and inclusive growth, Science, Technology and Innovation, People-centered development, Environmental sustainability, Natural resources management and disaster management, Peace and Security and Finance and partnerships.
The Commissioner, invited all the stakeholders to champion and support the CAP priority areas, advocate and act in unity to ensure that Africa’s voice is heard.
For his part, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Mr. Carlos Lopes spoke on the role of multilateral organizations and other stakeholders in the implementation of the CAP and hailed the Common Position as, “a concrete step towards mainstream all the key issues at the global level but with an African perspective addressing all the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“It is important that the African Development Goals are adapted to measure progress on African priorities,” he said.
He reiterated the ECA’s continued commitment and support and called on all present to join the AUC in ensuring that Africa is able to negotiate its CAP priorities successfully and “not to dilute the principles and objectives of this agenda for the agenda of others”
“From now on, the main focus should be getting the CAP fully owned by all Africans,” he said.
Present at the launch were representatives from the Diplomatic Corps, the African Union Commission, United Nations and the European Union, as well as representatives from Civil Society Organizations.
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The Post 2015 Europe and Central Asia Regional Consultations concluded today in İstanbul with a call to end the increasing inequalities in the region.
During the last three days more than 350 governments, civil society, private sector, academia and the United Nations representatives from over 40 countries discussed ways to tackle the most urgent global challenges of the 21st century: lifting people out of poverty in ways that respect the planet’s ecological boundaries and advance social inclusion.
With the target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) rapidly approaching, the event provided regional reflections on priorities for inclusion as a new global development agenda is being formulated.
The most urgent development challenge of the world today is to make sustainability a reality. With Millennium Development Goals poverty has been cut in half. Now the international community must maintain the momentum, craft an equally inspiring post-2015 development agenda and reach an agreement on climate change.
One of the main outcomes of the panel discussions was that inclusion and equality must be at the centre of sustainable development, because inequalities and exclusion persist or have risen in a number of interlinked areas including accountability, employment, health, education, gender equality and environment.
Among the topics discussed was the environment and participants agreed that the sustainable management and use of natural resources and ecosystems are central to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The need to accelerate the shift from brown to green economy was emphasized, as well the essential role governments play in this process.
During the two day event participants also exchanged views on why cities are a significant part and driver of global environmental change. Participants underscored the need to make choices to create sustainable cities full of opportunities and services for all. Urban planning, governance, technology and citizen participation will be crucial factors to move towards smart, resilient and green cities.
Health and social inclusion were also on the agenda of the conference and it was once again reiterated that health is a human right and governments should take necessary steps to make health services accessible to all.
On 7 November, the official opening of the event, entitled “Perspectives from Europe and Central Asia on the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, took place under the auspices of Mr. Cevdet Yılmaz, Minister of Development of Republic of Turkey and with the participation of Mr. Sven Alkalaj, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe; Ms. Cihan Sultanoğlu, Chair of the UN Development Group for Europe and Central Asia, and Regional Director UNDP; Mr. Michael Gerber, Special Representative of Switzerland for Global Sustainable Development, and Mr. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of İstanbul and Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Minister Yılmaz stressed that it is the responsibility of the governments and international development organizations to secure the social and economic development of people, increase social welfare and protect the environment. Mr. Yılmaz reiterated Turkey’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and said that Turkey has already reached the internationally set targets. Minister Yılmaz also said that Turkey’s official development assistance was over two billion US Dollars in 2012.
Minister Yılmaz asserted that the international community has to work more to harmonize economic and social development and protecting the environment- the three main elements of sustainable development. He further argued that justice should constitute the fourth element of sustainable development because without justice a peaceful world cannot be established.
UNECE Executive Secretary Mr. Sven Alkalaj stated: “In order to address inequalities, it is necessary to create decent jobs, invest in quality health and education services, strengthen social protection, and tackle gender-based discrimination. Enhancing the voice and participation of the society as a whole is also crucial. The active role of civil society at this meeting is one example of the significant contribution it can make”. Moreover, he added: “international cooperation at all levels will be vital in moving towards more inclusive and sustainable societies. UNECE is working to further develop regional cooperation on sustainable development issues, through the exchange of policy experiences, implementation of legal instruments, and capacity-building”.
”This event is an important milestone on the road to the creation of a new development agenda”, said Cihan Sultanoğlu, UN Development Group Chair for Europe and Central Asia adding that the road we are on is unfolding in an unprecedented way and so far, over 1 million people have engaged in the global conversation.
‘The global conversation thus far contains two important messages: First, people around the world are asking us to finish the job and secondly, they want us to be more ambitious”, Ms. Sultanoğlu said.
Mr. Michael Gerber, Special Representative of Switzerland for Global Sustainable Development, underlined that the Sustainable Development Goals should be measurable and concrete and encompass both financial support and accountability.
Mr. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of İstanbul and Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda declared that local governments want to take an active role in shaping the Post 2015 Development Agenda and be part of the solutions to the challenges the world faces today.
Regional consultations started on 6 November with civil society consultations in which 80 civil society representatives took part. Participants agreed that in order to achieve development targets, universal goals and commitments are needed and that the new agenda should be developed in a participatory manner. Emphasizing the importance of participation of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in national delegations for international meetings on the Post 2015 Agenda, participants urged governments to take steps to end inequalities by promoting human rights, environment and sustainable and inclusive wellbeing.
The area of Europe and Central Asia is a highly diverse region which includes high, middle and low income countries and energy exporting countries as well as land-locked economies. Because of its heterogeneity, the region is exemplary for the various challenges and opportunities facing the global community in building inclusive societies, ensuring environmental sustainability, achieving equitable growth and creating development partnerships and models of international cooperation. As such, the region has a significant contribution to make to the global debate in all of three areas.
Another emphasis was youth participation in determining the Post 2015 development agenda, and youth representatives made their voices heard by actively participating in debates and reaching out to the government officials attending the event.
The Regional Consultation is a cooperative effort organized and supported by the Turkish government and about a dozen UN entities active in the region, with the core team consisting of UNECE, UNEP, UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, UNFPA and IOM. The aim was to bring stakeholders from across the Europe and Central Asia together to provide a regional perspective on priorities that should be contained in the post-2015 agenda.
More information is available at: www.worldwewant2015.org/EuropeCentralAsia.
The Dialogue of Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions with the Second Committee of the General Assembly on the theme, “Inter-regional cooperation: An enabler for the post 2015 development agenda” will be held 31 October 2013, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m at the UNHQ in NY, Conference Room 2 (CB)
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Over 1,000 representatives from civil society, governments and the United Nations gathered on 22 September at UN Headquarters in New York for an open dialogue on critical regional issues and policy recommendations looking forward to the next global development agenda. “Advancing Regional Recommendations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda,” organized by the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) in partnership with the Post-2015 Development Planning Team of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG), convened the largest single gathering of civil society in the post-2015 process to date.
This dialogue included opening remarks from President of the 68th Session of the General Assembly John Ashe, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, and ministers from Ireland and South Africa, the co-chairs of the General Assembly Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Through two panels, speakers who participated in the UN-NGLS regional consultations shared recommendations and analysis emerging from the consultation report, which covered all regions: Africa; Arab States; Asia and the Pacific; Europe and North America; and Latin America and the Caribbean. The event concluded with remarks from ASG Amina J. Mohammed, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning; Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations and co-chair of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, Csaba Kőrösi; and Debapriya Bhattacharya of the Centre for Policy Dialogue. The outcome report of this event was presented to the General Assembly Special Event on Millennium Development Goals, on 25 September 2013.
Panel Discussion I: Regional Recommendations and Convergences
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The first panel session was chaired by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) and Coordinator of the Regional Commissions.
- Ms. Bárcena emphasized the importance of regional perspectives in defining global processes as well as the importance of engaging civil society. “It’s not enough to be consulted,” she continued, “It’s crucial to ensure full access to information, the right to equal participation, and also to ensure sufficient resources because there are many people who would like to be here who cannot be here.” In addition, the MDGs are not enough for overcoming growing inequalities in the regions, particularly in a post-crisis context, she underscored, referring to the important role of the State in guaranteeing human rights.
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Dialogue with the Executive Secretaries and ECOSOC , Thursday, 3 July at 10 am 2014
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Issues brief on the Regional Dimension in the Post-2015 Agenda
Dialogue with Executive Secretaries 2013
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held its dialogue with the Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions this year on Friday, July 5 at the beginning of the substantive session of ECOSOC. The theme was: Regional Perspectives on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
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