The Road Map for the Post-2015 Negotiations

Originally posted by International Women's Health Coalition

H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland and H.E. Mr. Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, co-Facilitators for the Post-2015 Development negotiations have carried out a series of informal negotiations to discuss the modalities for next year’s intergovernmental process.  On December 17th, Member States agreed on a modalities decision which determines the following timeline for negotiations:

  • 19-21 January 2015 [3 days] – Stocktaking
  • 17-20 February 2015 [4 days] – Declaration
  • 23-27 March 2015 [5 days] – Sustainable Development Goals and targets
  • 20-24 April 2015 [5 days] – Means of Implementation and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
  • 18-22 May 2015 [5 days] – Follow up and review
  • 22-25 June 2015 [4 days] – Intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document
  • 20-24 July 2015 and 27-31 July 2015 [10 days] – Intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document

According to the post-2015 Summit modalities resolution, it has been decided that the dates of the Summit will be September 25-27, 2015.

Civil society engagement in the intergovernmental process was the topic of much discussion during the informals. The G77, the Africa Group, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, among others, emphasized the need to adhere to General Assembly rules of procedures regarding participation and that the process must remain Member-State driven.  Others, including the European Union, Canada, the United States, Australia, and Israel emphasized the critical importance of civil society participation throughout the process, in part to ensure broad ownership of the final outcome. The final modalities decision indicates that the negotiations should be in accordance with the rules of procedure and established practices of the General Assembly and consistent with the post-2015 Summit modalities resolution, but also tasks the co-Facilitators to ensure the engagement of relevant stakeholders including major groups, civil society, scientific and knowledge institutions, parliaments, local authorities and the private sector, and seek their views, building upon the practices of the Open Working Group. 

A number of Member States sought clarity from the co-Facilitators on when, how, and by whom the zero draft will be prepared. While the co-Facilitators confirmed that they will not be in a position to present a zero draft until Member States are further along in their discussions, they may produce summaries of key themes and areas of consensus as the negotiations progress. The modalities decision calls for a presentation of the Zero Draft by May 2015.

The modalities decision also includes a reference to the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report, as called for by the European Union, among others; reaffirms that “the proposal of the Open Working Group shall be the main basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda, while recognizing that other inputs”; and decides that the post-2015 agenda should be adopted by consensus.   It indicates that these modalities will be flexible and reviewed as necessary.

Most Member States emphasized the importance of dedicating sufficient space for thorough discussions to means of implementation, but there are differing views on whether these discussions should be confined to the Financing for Development process or integrated into the post-2015 negotiations (since financing will only be one dimension on means of implementation).  The modalities decision commits to ensure effective coordination between the post-2015 negotiations and the Financing for Development process. In a meeting with civil society the Co-facilitators indicated that they were considering joint meetings at strategic moments with those negotiating the outcomes of the Financing for Development conference.

Prior to the first session of negotiations in January (19-21 January), there will be a post-2015 preparatory forum for major groups and other civil society stakeholders on January 16.  A 16-member Steering Committee is collaborating on the preparations for the forum, as well as civil society engagement in the first post-2015 negotiating session. If you are interested in organizing a side event during this first session, you can register to do so here. To register to attend the preparatory forum, do so here by January 12. 

Steering Committee applications and speaker nominations for the 17-20 February post-2015 negotiating session are currently being accepted.  The deadline to apply to join the February Steering Committee is Thursday, 8 January, and the deadline to nominate speakers for the February negotiating session is Sunday, 11 January. The stakeholder Steering Committee already established for the 19-21 January negotiating session will serve as an advisory and consultative body for the Steering Committee for the 17-20 February session.

Secretary General’s Synthesis Report

In early January, the final version of the Secretary General’s much-anticipated Synthesis Report was released, following the release of an advance unedited version on December 4th.  The Report provides a high-level summary of the outcomes from various post-2015 processes, framed under the following headings: people, prosperity, planet, justice, and partnership.  The final Report includes some strong recommendations on financing, and begins a useful discussion on accountability, but on gender equality and women’s human rights, it largely lacks ambition and fails to build on the outcomes of the outcomes of the Open Working Group.  In an improvement over the advance version, the final Report reaffirms the importance of guaranteeing women’s sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as essential elements of sustainable development (the advance version omitted sexual health). However, the Report still fails to address sexual rights, and falls short of emphasizing the need to guarantee universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, information and education for all.  The Women’s Major Group has drafted a comprehensive response laying out a number of the Report’s shortcomings, as well as its strengths. 

In relation to the Open Working Group outcome, the Report suggests the “possibility to maintain the 17 goals and rearrange them in a focused and concise manner.”  This is concerning, as the most hotly debated goals and targets (see the recently issued addendum to the report of the Open Working Group, which compiles Member States' explanations of positions and reservations on the outcome) would likely be the most vulnerable if the Sustainable Development Goals are restructured or condensed.

President of the General Assembly Events

The President of the General Assembly has announced that he will be convening a series of high level thematic debates throughout next year.  Notably, the March 6th event will focus on advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.  The following is the complete list of scheduled events:

  • High-Level Thematic Debate on Means of Implementation for a Transformative Post-2015 development agenda (9-10 February 2015)
  • High-Level Thematic Debate on Advancing Gender equality and empowerment of Women in the Post-2015 development agenda (March 6, 2015)
  • High-Level Thematic Debate on Promoting Tolerance and (6 or 10 April 2015 tbc)
  • High-Level Thematic Debate on Strengthening Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations (May 15, 2015)
  • High-Level Event on Climate Change (29 June 2015)

Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development

The Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development published their report ‘A World That Counts’ on November 6th. The recommendations of this 24-member group of experts from civil society, private sector, academia, governments and international organizations focus on measures that need to be taken to close data gaps and to strengthen national statistical capacities.

Indicator Framework for the Post-2015 Agenda

The UN Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities met on September 11-12 to begin laying out a process for drafting the indicator framework to support the post-2015 development agenda. According to the associated note, the UN Statistical Commission will agree to more detailed modalities at its March 2015 meeting, with an indicator framework to be agreed “in some form” in March 2016. Consultations will take place in advance of the 2015 meeting. The note also lays out several principles for the selection of indicators, including that they should be SMART (7.a), that existing indicators should be considered, and that the Rio+20 and OWG outcome documents would form the ‘conceptual basis from a political perspective’ for analysis. 

During the recent post-2015 informals on the modalities for next year’s intergovernmental process, many Member States emphasized that indicators should not be politically negotiated, but rather developed through a purely technical process.  Others emphasized the importance of discussing indicators to some extent during the negotiations to ensure “buy-in”.   There was also significant discussion about “technical proofing” of the Open Working Group targets.  The G77 emphasized that the Sustainable Development Goals and their associated targets should remain un-touched while others, including the US, Israel, the Holy See, Russia, and Australia agreed that proofing the targets to ensure they are measurable and evidence-based will be important.  Papua New Guinea, on behalf the Pacific Small Island Developing States, suggested that proofing should only take place after the development of indicators.

ECOSOC Youth Forum

The President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), H.E. Mr. Martin Sajdik, will convene the 2015 global youth forum on “Youth Engagement in the Transition from MDGs to SDGs: What will it take?" from 2-3 February 2015 in New York. 

Beijing +20 Regional Reviews and CSW 59

As part of the Beijing +20 Review, regional intergovernmental meetings recently took place in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Asia. The outcomes of these regional review processes will feed into the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2015.

More information about each regional meeting can be found below:

UN Women and H.E. Ms. Kanda Vajrabhaya of Thailand, Chair of CSW 59, held briefings with Member States and civil society where they confirmed formally that there will no agreed conclusions adopted at the CSW.  Instead, Member States will negotiate a short declaration prior to the start of the session. 

  • The Chair shared the following timeline:
  • On or no later than 21 January - Presentation of draft declaration
  • On or no later than 30 January - First reading of text
  • 3rd week of February - 2nd reading of text
  • If needed, 4th week of February - 3rd and final reading of the text

It will be critical to respond quickly to the first draft of the declaration, as the Chair has indicated that no compilation text will be prepared and all amendments to the text must be made during the first reading. The exact format of the CSW is still being finalized.

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