Time for leaders to listen to the people and commit to a single process of defining a single post-2015 agenda

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This entry is a joint Op Ed by Mwangi Waituru and Neva Frecheville, co-chairs of Beyond 2015, and Leo Williams, the international coordinator

As the final negotiations on the Outcome Document of the Special Event on the MDGs and post-2015 agenda of 25 September kick off the member states of the UN must seize the moment to clearly lay out a legitimate and participatory roadmap to a single process of defining a single global development and sustainability agenda post 2015.

Alex, a local reporter from Radio Bakhita, getting views, Dec 2006, Southern Sudan

This is a crucial moment in the post-2015 puzzle, signifying the half-way point of the international discussions, which started in mid-2011 under the auspices of the President of the General Assembly. The UN Development Group then organised a series of national, regional, thematic and global consultations. The High Level Panel delivered their report. As did the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. And the Global Compact. The UN Secretary General recently published his Annual Report which focuses on both the MDGs and the post-2015 framework. UN Development Group has just published a synthesized document capturing the results of all these consultations. And the Open Working Group has been discussing the post-2015 agenda for a number of months now.

This Special Event presents an opportunity for world leaders to listen to the voices of the people. As Amy Pollard, former co-chair of Beyond 2015, set out in an early blog, leaders have a chance here to set out key milestones in the process and commit to the global cooperation needed to agree a legitimate and ambitious framework by 2015. And, as Beyond 2015 and numerous other civil society campaigns, governments and UN agencies have been affirming for almost three years now, from the World Social Forum in Dakar in 2011 to Rio+20 in 2012, from Civicus World Assemblies in 2011 and 2012 to the intergovernmental Tarrytown retreat on SDGs and the post-2015 agenda in New York in January 2012, we need a single post-2015 agenda, with a single set of goals addressing both sustainability and human development. We have heard this consistently. During the UN national consultations. The thematic consultations. The national deliberations organised by Beyond 2015 GCAP and the International Forum of National Platforms.

As leaders of Beyond 2015, a global campaign aiming to influence the post-2015 agenda, it is our duty to reiterate the demands that we have heard from colleagues throughout the world over the last three years: there must be a single unified process leading to the definition of a single set of international development goals putting poverty eradication and sustainable development at the core. A two-track approach would undermine the universal commitment needed, fragment resources and implementation, lead to policy process fatigue from all concerned, and endanger meaningful stakeholder participation. It is imperative that governments do not miss this opportunity to bring these tracks together.

The September 25 Special Event on the MDGs and the post-2015 agenda is the right moment for governments to commit to this, and to clearly set out the details of the ongoing process in the public arena so that stakeholders can effectively plan their engagement. This is the time for governments to show ambition, and to show that they are truly committed to an inclusive and people-centered agenda, which is crafted by a transparent and participatory intergovernmental process including inputs from all stakeholders, which must first and foremost include people (and specifically those most affected by poverty and injustice) and their organisations. But it is not enough for them to commit to this on paper. Governments need to go back to their countries and ensure that they meaningfully engage their constituencies on this agenda. People and their organisations must be able to engage meaningfully with their governments on this agenda at every stage, from design to implementation and monitoring, recognizing their role as active agents in their own lives, rather than passive recipients of ‘development’. Some governments have been championing this approach already – it is time for other governments to get on board and show the world that they take participation seriously. Beyond 2015 stands ready to mobilise its constituency and engage with governments at the national level, providing meaningful input into the discussions.

Mwangi Waituru, The Seed Institute, Kenya. Co-Chair of Beyond 2015

Neva Frecheville, CAFOD, UK. Co-Chair of Beyond 2015

Leo Williams, Belgium. International Coordinator of Beyond 2015

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