TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD, LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND; IS THIS REALITY FOR ALL?
By Catherine Nyambura
For the past 3 years, the world has galvanized around the sole goal to come up with a framework that will guide development efforts for the next 15 years beginning the year 2016. A lot of work has gone into this, various structures set up to facilitate the journey towards having the development framework ready. Structures such as the sustainable development scientific network (SDSN for scientists), the UN Task Force ( for the UN), the UN Global Compact for businesses, the High Level panel of eminent persons who included presidents and other individuals of high standing in society were set up. The high level panel of eminent persons was led by President Sirleaf, David Cameron and the president of Indonesia .One of the most important structures established included the Open Working Group for the member states co-chaired by Ambassador Kamau Macharia of Kenya and Ambassador of Hungary to the UN. The open working group on July 2014 produced a report detailing 17 goals and 169 targets which became the core elements of the development framework to succeed the Millenium Development Goals expiring in 2015.
Why does this matter?
Why the above narrative matters is because the framework as was released by the open working group was proposed. After a few processes, a synthesis report by the secretary general released in December 2014 and monthly intergovernmental negotiations from January to July 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The process has borne what many would call a transformative development agenda. This agenda is the post 2015 development agenda that will define development priorities for the next 15 years. It has also been called the agenda 2030.
It would be best to understand what is entailed in agenda 2030 package; a political declaration for which presidents and other heads of states will express their commitment to pursuing sustainable development globally. This document for which heads of state will append the signatures during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 summit is meant to raise the level of political ambition. Raise the ambition for government to synergize individual country developments efforts to feed into a global vision to attain sustainable development.
The next is the sustainable development goals and targets which are 17 and 169 respectively, these are where the rubber meets the road. Progress has been made in this regard compared with Millenium development goals, this is because the goals address systemic issues of inequalities amongst and within countries, governance and the rule of law that continue to bar progress in certain parts of the world. Also the goals having evolved from the Rio+ 20 platforms, which is essentially a discourse on environment and climate change, the goals have to a very large extent addressed human interactions with the planet. This is especially crucial if we are to pursue sustainable development without engaging in confrontations with our environments and damaging the planet which is our only home beyond recourse.
The means of implementation defines how the world will finance (articulated in the outcome of the 3rd financing for development conference held in Addis Ababa whose outcome can be found Here.) Beyond finance, the agenda needs technological expertise and knowledge sharing especially on development that is environmentally conscisous; this is well articulated in the technology facilitation mechanism. Capacity to implement the robust agenda is something else required to make the agenda a reality for all. Finally is how the world will follow up and review the agenda in the course of its implementation, this has been laid out in the high level political forum which is a global platform for presidents.
What next and for whom?
With such an elaborate and well thought out agenda, what would stop it from becoming a reality, will it benefit everyone? We sure have the next 15 years to find out but we can pre-empt and while at it, define what that should look like. The woman who wakes up at the crack of dawn, child on the back and a pail of porridge to sell is the no-one who should not be left behind. That woman and her child who even after the sale of the entire pail of porridge operates on a deficit and is occasionally harassed by the authorities for not paying taxes. The taxes they have to pay is their whole livelihood , these are the lives the post 2015 development agenda should seek to influence.
The very ambitious agenda should bring sanity to the economy of countries whose 50% of their citizens live below 1.25 dollars a day normally clustered as Least Developed Countries. We have made a commitment and it better mean something for those alive now and the generations to come. Let the slogan leave no one behind mean something. As we hope lets hold our governments accountable and as never before let our collective efforts be consolidated for the better. Making it count beyond our selfish interests.
I personally look forward to an exciting 15years of putting women and girls interest at the core of development. Particularly making sure their issues are well represented at all levels of decision making. By this, I mean there should be access to education and health for all girls and economic empowerment opportunities for all women. The post 2015 development agenda speaks boldly of the need to empower women and girls and I will stop at nothing if that’s the last thing I do. Especially now that I have an additional global policy framework to make this a reality.