The Post-2015 Development Agenda
This is the first of four related blog entries that will look at the post-2015 development agenda and its implications. This entry describes the process of setting that agenda.
In theory, the origins of the post-2015 process could be traced back many years to the setting of the Millennium Development Goal deadline. It was obvious then that there would be a post-MDG world from 2015. However, it seems more appropriate to date the timeline (see Figure 1 below, and more detailed timeline in Table 1 at the end) from September 2011, with the formation of the UN System Task Team: the body charged with overseeing the post-2015 process.
Figure 1: Post-2015 Process Outline Timeline
The MDGs were an integration in 2001 of two rather separate processes: the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s work on International Development Goals, and the UN’s work to develop the Millennium Declaration. This added to the time and effort required to produce the MDGs, yet the same is happening again with the post-2015 process, as summarised in Figure 2 below (adapted from an original by Claire Hickson).
Figure 2: Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals Process Map
The timeline shown is therefore a single representation of multiple strands. The post-2015 development agenda process is relatively well-advanced. Following the UN System Task Team’s formation, a series of thematic and national consultations on the agenda have already been conducted, with two key reports produced in 2012 (“Realizing the Future We Want for All”) and 2013 (“A Renewed Global Partnership for Development”). A High-Level Panel was set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Chaired by the Presidents of Indonesia and Liberia and the UK Prime Minister and involving 24 other “eminent persons”, this produced its report mid-way through 2013. These documents were placed before the UN General Assembly when its 68th session began in September 2013; a session which included special meetings and events on the MDGs and after.
At the time of writing, the sustainable development goals (SDGs) process was not quite so well developed. Emerging from the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20”) and its General Assembly resolution in July 2012, this led to formation of a UN Open Working Group. The Group has been supported by a UN System Technical Support Team, which provides a link to the post-2015 activity since it works under the UN System Task Team. It has also been supported by an “Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing” and a “High-Level Political Forum” that provides political momentum for the process. The Open Working Group has a series of eight sessions being run during 2013-2014, and structured along thematic lines. This will report towards the end of 2014.
At that point – during 2015 – an integration of the two processes and political negotiation of the final post-2015 agenda should occur, leading to a new post-MDG framework to run from the start of 2016. It is worth just asking whether such a framework might not emerge. Present signs are that this would be extremely unlikely: process, timeline and structures are all in place; and significant political capital – plus other resources – has already been invested. It would take something huge and unexpected to derail the process. We can therefore work on the assumption that there will be a post-2015 agenda.
Table 1: The Post-2015 Process Schedule
Sourced largely from Hickson (2013)
|Sep 2010||UN MDG Summit|
|Sep 2011||UN System Task Team established to lead post-2015 process|
|May 2012-Apr 2013||Post-2015 thematic global consultations|
|Jun 2012||Rio+20 summit; working group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set up|
|Jun 2012||UN System Task Team “Realizing the Future We Want for All” report|
|Jun 2012||National post-2015 consultations begin|
|Jul 2012||Rio+20 “The Future We Want” resolution to UN General Assembly|
|Aug 2012||High-Level Panel (HLP) set up by Ban Ki-moon|
|Sep 2012||HLP convened|
|Nov 2012||HLP first substantive meeting (London)|
|Jan 2013||SDG Open Working Group created|
|Feb 2013||HLP second meeting (Monrovia)|
|Feb 2013||EU post-2015 communication “A Decent Life for All”|
|Mar 2013||UN System Task Team “A Renewed Global Partnership for Development” report|
|Mar 2013||HLP third meeting (Bali)|
|Mar 2013-Feb 2014||Eight sessions of SDG Open Working Group|
|May 2013||Draft SDG report|
|May 2013||HLP “A New Global Partnership” report|
|Jul 2013||Progress report of SDG Open Working Group to UN General Assembly|
|Sep/Oct 2013||New UN General Assembly session and MDG Review Summit|
|Sep 2013||First session of High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development|
|Sep 2014||SDG Open Working Group to report to UN General Assembly|
|Jan 2015||MDG deadline|
|Jan-Dec 2015||Intergovernmental negotiations via UN General Assembly on Post-2015 Agenda|
|Sep 2015||High-Level Political Forum Meeting|
|c.Jul-Sep 2015||UN General Assembly Post-2015/MDG Review Summit|
|Jan 2016||New Post-2015 framework in place|
 Hulme, D. (2009) The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): A Short History of the World’s Biggest Promise, BWPI Working Paper 100, Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester, UK http://www.bwpi.manchester.ac.uk/resources/Working-Papers/bwpi-wp-10009.pdf
 Hickson, C. (2013) Post-2015 development goals process and timeline, Trio Policy, 11 Jul http://www.triopolicy.com/post-2015-development-goals-process-and-timeline/