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2014/11/10: Governments Conclude Initial Exchange of Views on Post-2015 Negotiations

unga69 10 November 2014: UN Member States convened for the second informal meeting of the plenary on the organization and modalities of intergovernmental negotiations and remaining issues related to the Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.

The co-facilitators – David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland, and Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya – expect to issue a “starting document” by the week of 17 November, covering the process, road map, and scope of work for intergovernmental negotiations.

In the informal meeting on 10 November 2014, in New York, US, delegations continued the discussion of issues introduced on 4 November, including substantive content of the forthcoming negotiations, modalities for engagement, structure and timing of the process, and the ultimate product.

The African Group suggested spending more time on “new elements,” such as partnerships, means of implementation (MOI), and monitoring and accountability. Regarding the forthcoming synthesis report by the UN Secretary-General, he welcomed efforts to brief the membership, and supported having opportunities to review it before publication. He called for meeting at least once per month, at least seven days at a time, for seven months.

The EU requested a roap map and calendar ensuring coherence with the Financing for Development (FfD) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) processes, and supported the broadest participation of all relevant stakeholders and “strong technical UN system support.” France echoed the need for a clear road map on consultations, and wished to avoid parallel, potentially overlapping negotiating tracks with regard to the FfD conference, also calling to coordinate with Lima and Paris conferences on the UNFCCC.

On scope and substance, the EU and France said they looked forward to the synthesis report. France identified five main components of the post-2015 development agenda: a political statement of principles, resting on the Millennium Declaration, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) outcome, and the outcome of the September 2013 UNGA special event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and including climate change; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); new partnerships and MOI, for which he said the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF) is a very important input, highlighting the role of innovative financing in particular; a follow-up mechanism with the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) playing a key role at the global level and commissions key at the regional level; and reforming UN institutions (to be “fit for purpose”).

The UK called for building on the Open Working Group (OWG) report on SDGs to produce a short, comprehensive set of actions that integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development. He said 169 targets are not manageable by any country, developed or developing. He expressed the UK's commitment to an FfD outcome equal to the ambition set in the goals and targets.

Samoa focused on localizing the new development agenda, citing the Samoa Pathway and recent outcome on Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) as these countries' main inputs on the post-2015 development agenda. On modalities, he echoed the call for longer PrepComs and holding them back-to-back with FfD PrepComs. Maldives said the various working tracks of the post-2015 development agenda originate in a common source, the Rio+20 process, and the present challenge is to converge the tracks again to produce the post-2015 development agenda. Sudan, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Cuba, Nepal, Iran and Pakistan also expressed views, with key points including: eradicating poverty should be the core goal of the post-2015 development agenda; FfD and climate negotiations must be reflected in this process; the process should be very participatory, inter alia with national ownership and avoiding a NY-only process, and openness to all stakeholders on the basis of UNGA and ECOSOC rules of procedure; the need to negotiate on a zero draft from the beginning, and avoid parallel negotiations; the need to translate goals into achievable targets; and suggestions for fewer meetings of longer duration.

At the end of the meeting, Kamau shared his sense of governments' views.
He suggested that:

  • the starting point for the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda will be “more comfortable” than that of the OWG;
  • the co-facilitators may propose holding multiple meetings in December to conclude the current process; the road map will take into account all other processes including FfD and UNFCCC;
  • views diverge regarding how to handle the OWG outcome;
  • the targets – but not goals – proposed by OWG may require “tweaking;”
  • and on indicators, there are questions regarding how to develop them, and how to align them with the thousands of existing indicators.

Donoghue added that the outcome document should be short and focused, that negotiations will build “very much on the strengths of the OWG”, and that the paper coming next week will identify themes for each meeting.