IBON Int'l and the campaign for people's goals: Page 2 of 3
Posted on 28 May 2013
nor the Millennium Development Goals have led to satisfying results so far. Accordingly, the debate on the post-Rio/post-2015 development agenda presents new opportunities for advocating a rights-based approach to sustainable development. We at IBON International encouraged our allied CSOs to get involved in this process from the onset.
For three reasons, however, many of them were reluctant to engage. The reasons are lack of information, lack of relevance and lack of optimism.
- The UN hardly managed to reach out beyond the developmental non-governmental organisations already engaged in advocacy or monitoring even though it made enormous efforts to conduct conferences, consultations and online conversations. The idea was to solicit people’s inputs into the post-2015 development agenda. However, many events were organised in haste, trying to beat the UN calendar. Public debate should have been promoted in village assemblies and real town hall meetings, allowing ideas to percolate from below. So even as the global consultations are winding down, many grassroots organisations still are not aware of what the “post-2015 development agenda” is really about.
- Many other groups are informed, but question the relevance of the post-2015 debate. Their stance is rooted in the fact that the MDGs neglected many pressing issues such as employment and decent work, inequality – within and between countries – and global economic relations. Moreover, the MDGs only paid lip service to the issues of climate change and environmental sustainability. Accordingly, many CSO activists believe that the post-2015 agenda will not tackle these important challenges either. Others view the entire goal-setting exercise with suspicion, arguing that such an approach fails to see development as the comprehensive social transformation humanity needs. They consider the MDGs a technocratic approach that emphasises aid and technical solutions instead of redressing the inequalities in wealth and power that are at the root of poverty and underdevelopment.
- Finally, many CSOs remain deeply sceptical of the UN. They simply do not believe the multilateral system will achieve much. It does not help that the MDGs were formulated through a non-inclusive process by a handful of experts and bureaucrats. There was no participation from poor countries or civil society. It is more important, however, that the rich nations consistently fail to live up to their duties. They did not raise official development assistance as they promised. They did not curb greenhouse gas emissions as they pledged in the Kyoto protocol. The WTO’s Doha Development Round is dead because rich nations never seriously engaged in the negotiations. Instead they insisted on bilateral talks on issues that were excluded from the agenda in Doha, such as public procurement and competition law.
Nonetheless, IBON remains convinced that sustainable development is the great challenge of our time. The issue is too important to be left to governments. So we approached it from the other end. We began by discussing what grassroots groups and social movements are already working on. And we tried to express these as specific demands that can be brought to the discussions on the post-2015 framework.
In October 2012 we held an international