The Post2015 development agenda has been viewed by many as an opportunity for us to transform our world. It comes at a time when the world is facing enormous challenges to sustainable development including; increased fundamentalisms, climate change, disease outbreaks, terrorism, to mention but a few. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the process of defining this agenda has offered diverse opportunities to influence the debates and negotiations from the national to regional and the global level.
Numerous inputs have been made to the process including the financing for development negotiations, indicators and monitoring process by the Inter-Agency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals (IAEG-SDGs) and creation of accountability mechanisms at various levels including the High Level Political Forum (HLPF)
Some of the critical questions we must ask ourselves especially now as we move into the final week of negotiating this agenda are; whether we shall create a seamless package of the agenda given the various parallel sessions that have occurred without lowering our ambition. Will our leaders tackle the issues affecting marginalized constituencies most especially women with the desired perspectives and principles? Can this agenda be the “Moses” that leads us to the Future We Want?
This is not to sound pessimistic, but the Post2015 development framework in its current form is likely to fall short of the aspirations of many constituencies; especially where it has failed to confirm to the already agreed principles and standards derived from international conventions and binding agreements such as; The Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR); Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition to these are agreements from UN Conferences such as the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) and the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action.
A critical analysis of the final outcome document being negotiated depicts major areas of improvement that require strengthening for it to be truly universal and transformative in many aspects;
The limitation of the preamble of the agenda to the 5 Ps (People, Planet, Prosperity Peace and Partnership) is great especially for communicating the agenda; however it masks critical issues and does not adequately represent the scope and ambition of the Post2015 agenda and SDGs especially in as far as gender equality and women’s human rights are concerned.
Attaining sustainable development is impossible unless issues of climate change, biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, gender equality, human rights and poverty reduction are substantively and comprehensively addressed in the agenda. The question of climate change has also not been fully addressed in the agenda for instance we are looking at the reduction of greenhouse emissions instead of phasing them out and remaining below 2.0 degree temperature rise over pre-industrial levels instead of 1.5 degrees; this certainly lowers our ambition.
While the blue print of Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) has been welcomed and recognized as a success for women and girls, the AAAA did not address the profound inequalities in economic policies and institutions that undermine human rights and gender equality. It did not meet the needs of developing countries when the developed countries rejected the proposal of a global tax body that would have curbed the illicit flows by multinational corporations and allowed poorer countries to increase their revenues. Developing countries lose up to 10 times as much money in illicit financial flows as they get in aid under the current tax structure.
The promotion of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the post2015 agenda remains of great concern for civil society.This is because sectors such as health and education are the sole responsibility of government. Secondly the private sector is often profit driven and if not regulated it will not confirm to human rights and environmental standards thus leading to further marginalization of the poor whom this agenda seeks to liberate.
The divide between the North to South on the implementation of the SDGs basing on the Rio principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) is a dilemma that has continued to play out to the final stages of negotiating the Post2015 development agenda. This is not only relegation on already agreed principles Rio +20 but also demonstrates the Northern government’s rejection of redistribution of resources and differentiated responsibilities in as far as matters of development are concerned.
Last but not least gender equality and the human rights of women and girls has not been fully recognized as a cross-cutting issue yet it’s critical for the success of the post-2015 development agenda. The agenda is limited in far as it does not reflect the full range of issues that are critical to achieve gender equality, the human rights and empowerment of women and girls, including women’s economic rights and their sexual and reproductive rights.
As we embark on the final week of negotiations, we hope that Member States will take cognizant of these very critical issues as we seek to define a development framework that leaves no one behind.
By Irene Kagoya
Communications& Advocacy Officer
AKina Mama wa Afrika