The New Year brings new plans for the way forward, which will hopefully lead to a post-2015 development framework being agreed in September 2015.
At the 7th Open Working Group (OWG) session on SDGs in January, the co-chairs suggested a process forward which you can also find outlined in their letter from 17 January. It will be discussed and probably even agreed in an additional meeting on 4 February. Here a little overview of the suggested next steps:
- The 8th OWG session in February will go ahead as planned and will be the last session of the OWG’s stocktaking phase
- After that five additional sessions have been scheduled that will be used to discuss the OWG report. See an updated version of the process graphic for the exact dates.
- The co-chairs plan to provide two documents for these new sessions: a stocktaking report available on 14 February and a zero-draft available on 21 February. The zero-draft will be a text outlining priority areas and should be the departure point for the discussion leading to the OWG report consisting of recommendations for goals and targets.
- Apparently there will be little negotiation around the narrative (as in preamble) for the OWG report. The Rio+20 outcome document ‘The Future We Want’ will function as that. [Personal comment: I am not sure how this will work out, I predict…]
- The co-chairs will invite Member States to share their initial views on the zero-draft after having consulted with their capitals during the second new OWG session starting on 31 March 2014.
- After the last OWG session in June, the OWG has until September 2014 at the latest to present their report to the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
- Subsequently the UN Secretary General and his team will produce a synthesis report as a basis for discussion at the UNGA based on the OWG report together with the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, which is due at the same time. The UN High Level Panel on post-2015 report, the UN Sustainable Solutions Network report, the UN Global Compact report, the 1,000,000 voices report and potentially other input will also feed in.
- During the first half of 2014, the UNGA will enjoy a range of High-Level Sessions and thematic debates organized by the President of the General Assembly as part of his initiative to ‘set the stage’. Dates and topics can again be found on the multicoloured graphic.
- From September 2014 until September 2015, the UNGA will engage in an intergovermental process under the Ugandan Presidency to agree on the post-2015 framework culminating in the Post-2015 Summit in September 2015. The co-chairs for the modalities negotiations for the Summit have recently been announced as Denmark and Papua New Guinea.
Lastly, a brief explanation of the process graphic: it includes a timeline for the UN General Assembly, the Open Working Group on SDGs and meetings on Sustainable Finance since those processes are where post-2015 development is being discussed. Out of the many other UN threads that touch on issues discussed in post-2015, I have only listed the UNFCCC since this process seems to trigger the biggest debate around potential overlaps and mutual benefits. Opportunities for civil society input are also evidently relevant, and last but not least, the MDGs are still there to be achieved by 2015. If you find any mistakes, please use the comment box below to let us know and we will update accordingly. Feedback on the colour scheme is also gratefully received.