From Bonn to Bali – the theme is the same: how to ensure a transformational and people-centred global development agenda beyond 2015?
2 April 2013
March was a busy month on the roadmap to post-2015 development agenda – a framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals after they expire in 2015. It witnessed international NGO conference on post-2015 in Bonn, 4th meeting of the High-level panel on post-2015 in Bali and the launch of the “Global Conversation Begins” report - a snapshot of consultations on post-2015 held by UN so far.
Bonn - The conference ADVANCING THE POST-2015 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA Reconfirming Rights – Recognising Limits – Redefining Goals took place in Bonn, on 20-22 March, 2013. This international event brought together 250 civil society activists and key stakeholders. “Human rights”, “global partnership”, “equality”, “transformational agenda” were the key notions emphasized throughout the 3 days of the conference.
It is symbolic that the conference on Sustainable development agenda coincided with 3 international UN Observance days that are of direct relevance for sustainability agenda.
20 March – International Day of Happiness. The Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the world “needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”
21 March – International Day for the Elimination of the Racial Discrimination, which emphasizes the importance of equality and non-discrimination principle in the new development framework.
22 March – World Water Day, which reminds us that water cooperation is a foundation for peace and sustainable development. Water cooperation contributes to poverty reduction and equity, creates economic benefits, helps preserve water resources and protect the environment, and builds peace.
You can read the Outcome documents from each session produced at the Conference, including a session on Securing a Decent Future for all Children, Youth and Adolescents here. Please also watch the "What Do We Think?" summary video from Bonn.
Bali - Meanwhile on 24-25 March, 2013 as many as 100 young people gathered from 26 different countries for the Youth Multi Stakeholder Meeting on Post 2015 in Bali to discuss and call for inclusion of interests of young people in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The meeting was part of the global parallel process during the UN High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda meeting.
Among the youth representatives chosen out of total 1,500 candidates from all over the world, two young women representing WAGGGS were selected to participate. Michelle Alvarez, from Philippines and Mirna Ines Fernández from Bolivia were part of the youth delegates meeting the HLP panel to voice the priorities of young women for the next development framework. The following Communique was produced at the Meeting and presented to the HLP on 2015.
Michelle from the Philippines and Mirna from Bolivia share their account of the Youth Multi Stakeholder Meeting in Bali below.
The end is just the beginning by Michelle Alvarez, Philippines
“We need not just your enthusiasm but your leadership. You are the majority of the world and the holders of hope for the success of this process.” I heard these words uttered by Queen Rania of Jordan during the UN HLP Outreach with Young People in London, back in November 2012. Four months after, I am here in Bali to represent the voice of girls and young women as the HLP conducted the multi-sectorial consultation. Indeed, the youth are not just sitting in a corner waiting for decisions to be passed, but we make things happen.
On March 24, almost 100 young people from all over the world, bringing in diverse advocacies and development background, gathered together for the Youth Multi-stakeholder Meeting. We were all energized to speak up our minds, and bring forward our concerns for the post-2015 agenda. After a day of sharing, brainstorming, arguments and laughter in between, we were able to craft what we want to be prioritized in the post-2015 development agenda.
Then March 25 was another milestone in our history of youth engagement in this process; our youth session with the UN HLP provided a platform for meaningful interaction before the set of recommendations be submitted to the Secretary-General in May. During the roundtable discussions, we had asserted for a policy, structure and plan for ongoing and future meaningful youth engagement at all levels of global partnerships. We truly believe that the post-2015 development agenda must be implemented in a transparent, accountable and participatory way. Lastly, we have demonstrated that young people are active drivers of change, and we have the capacities to be key agents in the development process.
The Philippine’s national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal once said: “The youth is the hope of our nation.” Now, being a global citizen, I can say that we are the hope of the world. Being here in the Bali meeting rekindled faith in my generation, and reminded me that empowering girls and young women can go beyond changing an individual, but making an impact in an entire community. The Bali Meeting may be the last UN HLP meeting, but I am committed to make sure this will just be the beginning of our journey in creating the world we want.
A new reason for hope by Mirna Ines Fernández, Bolivia
In 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals were launched, they were a global reason for hope. The world leaders promised to fulfill a set of goals that would solve the social and environmental crisis. Now, with less than 1000 days to reach the goals in 2015, we are far away from an accomplishment of them.
From all the 8 MDGs, the MDG 7, “Ensuring environmental sustainability” is the one that is largely qualitative rather than quantitative. The lack of appropriate targets has lead to confusion in the monitoring of the goal progress and the overall environmental situation is getting worse rather than better. This is one of the reasons why the UN initiative on calling for strengthening the civil society participation in the development of a post 2015 framework is a reason for youth to double our efforts to make our voices heard.
This dialogue between the youth and the HLP was a successful outcome of these efforts. More than a hundred committed youth from different countries gathered together to discuss the global development issues from their local perspectives, and didn’t give up till finding consensus and ensuring that a unique and strong youth voice is heard in this last official HLP meeting.
From a regional perspective, I am proud to say that the Latin American participation was quite strong, even though we were not more than 4 youth people there. Our next task is to involve more youth people from our countries in the ongoing consultations. The involvement of the Global South youth is imperative if we want to ensure a fair result.
Sustainable development, as an integrative approach from the economic, social and environmental dimensions must be a crosscutting issue and not just a target with weak indicators. Climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss are reaching planetary boundaries and youth from the global south, especially girls and young woman, are the most affected by these threats. We need to keep on pushing for a fair and ambitious set of goals, followed by processes for accountability at a national, regional and global level.
The HLP will present its final report in May, and we must think our next steps strategically. Youth worldwide has already done a lot to strengthening youth participation. What we need to do now is to get specific, start designing what we would like to see in the post 2015 agenda and organize ourselves to cover all the possible channels for advocacy. We accepted this challenge because our future depends on it.