CSOs gather for 3rd High-Level Panel meet on post-2015 agenda: Page 2 of 3

Posted on 22 March 2012
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For many Southern CSOs, a key problem in the MDGs is that they were donor-led and outcome-driven. While they did manage to galvanize interest in international development, they failed to define and elaborate the processes needed to alleviate structural problems and thus achieve targets in a sustainable and equitable manner. CSOs are advocating that the new development agenda must be truly transformative and produce concrete processes to achieve outcomes framed by principles such as equity, social justice, human rights, participation, accountability and non-discrimination.
A “people-centered agenda”?
The HLP declared in Monrovia that the new agenda is “people-centered”. Indeed, the HLPs, which began in November, have run in tandem with a series of regional and thematic consultations on a variety of issues. The UN has sought to gain the opinions of civil society and the public at large through receiving position papers and posting online consultations on a variety of issues, alongside hosting live-streamed panel discussions. It has also harnessed the Internet to enable the public to give opinions online, in what is known in social media as “crowdsourcing”.
However, the period from September 2013 to 2015 has been earmarked by the “UNDP roadmap for post-2015” as the phase to build “intergovernmental consensus”. There is currently no mechanism for the involvement of civil society in this crucial phase for determining the new framework.
It is also thought likely that after the HLP process ends, the Open Working Group on sustainable development goals (SDGs), initiated after SDGs were promoted at Rio+20, will play an increasingly important role in determining the new framework. Again, there is currently no mechanism for civil society involvement in this process.
Grassroots CSOs and social movements retain serious concerns that the absence of civil society will see the new framework’s genesis dominated by the interests of Northern states with, for example, priority given to enabling the private sector.
Business has a distinct advantage over civil society groups in sustainable development processes and has been able to gain greater access to HLP members than CSOs, which are restricted to short periods of time to summarize complex stances on major issues affecting millions of people worldwide. Meanwhile there remains no enforceable international framework to ensure that businesses comply with international human rights standards.
CSO demands
Among the demands levied by civil society in London and Monrovia, and also at a preparatory meeting held at the UN in New York, were that:
  • Addressing inequalities within and between countries must be at the heart of the Post-2015 framework;
  • The framework must be coherent, open, inclusive, transparent, consultative, and based on socio-economic transformation;
  • It must be based on principles of social justice, solidarity, human dignity, and freedom from all forms of discrimination;
  • It must be characterized by the meaningful inclusion and participation of all sectors of society;
  • It must adopt a rights-based approach that strengthens citizenship, participation and empowerment, and guarantee decent employment and universal social protection; and
  • It must empower people, especially from disadvantaged and marginalized communities (children, women, youth,
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