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In developing countries, 80% to 90% of persons with disabilities of working age are unemployed, whereas in industrialised countries the figure is between 50% and 70% - UN Enable Fact Sheet on Disability and Employment, 2011
Read about CBM and Inclusive Development

Post-2015 development agenda: what is to come?

© CBM / Argum / Einberger
After his accident, Vincent joined a self-help group of people with disabilities supported by CBM-partner APDK. He got granted a microfinance-credit enabling him to open a grocer’s shop - in Kenya

2014 has been a busy year of meetings and activities on the post-2015 development agenda. Let's have a look at what happened and at what is to come next.

Here are the different processes feeding into the post-2015 development agenda. As we reach the end of 2014, we thought an article outlining in place what has happened so far and what is to come in 2015 would be useful for those interested in the post-2015 development agenda.

Outline of Key processes (Phase I and Phase II)

Outlined below are Phase I and Phase II contributions to the process of formulating the post-2015 development agenda

Phase I

Phase II
  • Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report (December 2014)
  • UN Conference on Small Island Developing States outcome document (PDF - September 2014) (10 disability references)
  • World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document (September 2014) (four references to Indigenous persons with disabilities)
  • Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations (January-September 2015)
  • 69th PGA High-Level Event and three Thematic Debates (February-June 2015)
  • Post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction zero draft outcome document (PDF - March 2015) (five references to disability and one on universal design)
  • Beijing+20 Declaration (March 2015)
  • Third International Conference on Financing for Development outcome (July 2015)
  • Technology Transfer
  • Monitoring and accountability framework to be established by the High Level Political Forum under ECOSOC
  • Flesh out a revitalised Global Partnership for sustainable development
  • Climate change conversations relating to UNFCCC (meeting in December 2015) > Post-2015 development goals and targets adopted (September 2015)

Background and Way Forward

One of the main outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, was the agreement by Member States to establish an open working group (OWG) of the General Assembly to develop a proposal of sustainable development goals (SDGs). On 19 July, at its 13th session, the OWG on SDGs agreed by acclamation to forward its proposal of the SDGs, comprised of 17 goals and 169 associated targets, to the General Assembly for consideration and appropriate action.

On 12 September the 68th General Assembly adopted the Report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals and decided that the Report (A/RES/68/309) and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would follow up efforts made towards achieving the MDGs and be the main basis for the intergovernmental negotiations (along with the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report, see below for details) for the post-2015 development agenda that will lead to the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.

The Report is very positive with 9 explicit references to persons with disabilities including two in the introduction, two in education (goal 4), one in employment (goal 8), one in reducing inequalities (goal 10), two in inclusive cities (goal 11), and one in data disaggregation by disability status in means of implementation (goal 17). In addition, the education goal contains the phrase inclusive education and “inclusive and peaceful society” is part of goal 16’s title.

Also feeding into the post-2015 negotiations is Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Synthesis Report, which will be released by the end of November 2014. The penholder is Amina Mohammed, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning. The Synthesis Report will incorporate the OWG Report, the Co-Chair’s summary resulting from the Technology Facilitation (lead by Brazil and Switzerland), the Outcome Document from the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF) (Co-Chairs Nigeria and Finland), and a document on partnerships.

On October 17th, the 69th President of the General Assembly, Mr. Sam Kutesa, appointed H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland and RE. Mr. Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, as Co-Facilitators to lead open, inclusive, and transparent consultations on the post-20I5 development agenda, including the organisation and modalities for the intergovernmental negotiations and the remaining issues related to the Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda. This intergovernmental process is designed to negotiate the post-2015 development agenda.

The Co-Facilitators of the negotiations will compose a draft document on the post-2015 development framework on the basis of the Synthesis Report and the Report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals (A/RES/68/309).

Under the guidance of Ireland and Kenya (co-facilitators) Member States have started to shape the intergovernmental process for 2015 by negotiating the modalities resolution (i.e., the process). Prior to substantive negotiations, Member States need to agree on the rules of the process. Please read the following for details.

The aim of the intergovernmental process is to adopt an ambitious and transformative agenda with a view to ensuring the eradication of poverty and the achievement of sustainable development by 2030.

The structure/components of the final outcome document (post-2015 development agenda to be adopted at the Summit in September 2015) will be as follows:
  • An introductory declaration (Note: the first section will most likely be structured as an overarching preamble style with a general commitment applying to the rest of the document);
  • Sustainable Development Goals, targets and indicators; (Note: as for now it is still debated if the SDGs will be re-opened, but the new development is that the intergovernmental process will include indicators most likely developed/proposed by the UN Statistical Commission)
  • Means of Implementation and a new Global Partnership;
  • Framework for monitoring and review of implementation;
  • Possible “UN Fit for Purpose” (Note: this is a new division within the UN structure responsible for monitoring the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. There is not a mandate yet, but a high-level person heads the new division with few staff members)

There will be parallel processes regarding implementation of the post-2015 development agenda that must be integrated at the end of 2015. These are:
  • Financing for Development
  • Technology transfer
  • Global Partnership
  • Monitoring and review framework to be established by the High Level Political Forum under ECOSOC
  • Climate change conversations relating to UNFCCC (as much as possible since this meeting will be held after Sept 2015)

Initial dates for negotiations are:
  • 19-21 January
  • 3-6 February (tbc)
  • 17-20 February (tbc)
  • 9-13 March (tbc)
  • 23-27 March (tbc)
  • 20-24 April (tbc)
  • 18-22 May
  • 22-25 June
  • 20-24 July
  • 27-31 July

The process of arriving at the post-2015 development agenda is Member State-led with some participation from external stakeholders such as civil society organisations, the private sector and businesses, academia and scientists. The United Nations has played a facilitating role in this global conversation and has the responsibility of supporting Member States by providing evidence-based inputs, analytical thinking and field experience. The Secretary-General will continue to provide overall leadership to the process with the support of the Deputy-Secretary General and the Secretary-General's Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning.

The President of General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, will host one High-Level Event and three Thematic Debates in 2015. The main objective of these meetings is to provide an opportunity for Member States and all relevant stakeholders to have in-depth deliberations on the selected topics, in an interactive and participatory manner, with a view to making contributions to the process of formulating the post-2015 development agenda. The themes include the following:

  • February 2015 High-Level thematic debate: the means of implementation for the post-2015 development agenda
  • March 2015 High-Level thematic debate: on Advancing Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in the post-2015 development agenda
  • April or May 2015 High-Level Thematic Debate: Peaceful Settlement of Disputes and Strengthening Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional Organisations
  • June 2015 a High-level Event: Combating Climate Change

Mr. Ib Petersen, the Permanent Representative of Denmark and Mr. Robert Guba Aisi, Permanent Representative of Papua New Guinea were Co-Facilitators for the organisational modalities of the 2015 Summit that was released on 12 September, 2014. The Summit will take place in September 2015 at the level of Heads of State and Government for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda. Civil society will also be included in the Summit, as an example, see paragraphs 8, 11, and 12.

Beyond September 2015

High-Level Political Forum (HLPF)

The HLPF is mandated to design the implementation of the post-2015, but discussion have already begun on what kinds of monitoring mechanisms can be used in a way in which regional and global mechanisms are aligned and that they complement one another and do not duplicate information. Furthermore, the HLPF is discussing how Member States can be evaluated fairly depending on differing national resources and capacities.

The HLPF will convene its meetings every four years under the GA and every two years under ECOSOC. The difference between these meetings is that under the GA the progress of the implementation of the post-2015 will be discussed with heads of state and governments and under ECOSOC the same topic will be discussed at the Ministerial level.

HLPF reviews are mandated to begin in 2016. The countries championing these reviews include: Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Lichtenstein, Peru, Pakistan, and Egypt. There will be workshops on how these will be structured with Member States and Civil Society.

CBM and partners are beginning to advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the HLPF process since we have a seat under resolution (A/RES/67/290) in which it “Encourages the major groups identified in Agenda 21 and other stakeholders, such as private philanthropic organisations, educational and academic entities, persons with disabilities, volunteer groups and other stakeholders active in areas related to sustainable development, to autonomously establish and maintain effective coordination mechanisms for participation in the high-level political forum and for actions derived from that participation at the global, regional and national levels, in a way that ensures effective, broad and balanced participation by region and by type of organisation” (16) [1].

As evident, the post-2015 development process is extensive, interlinked and complex. In our advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities, CBM and its partners are actively engaged in the many processes and have numerous references to persons with disabilities in the respective outcome documents. Together with the International Disability Alliance and the International Disability and Development Consortium there is a strong based for continue to engage to ensure that persons with disabilities are solidly included in the future sustainable development goals.

[1] United Nations. A/RES/67/290, Format and organizational aspects of the high-level political forum on sustainable development, 9 July 2013.


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