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Call for Civil Society Responses to the UN Secretary-General's Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Monday, 08 December 2014
On 4 December, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon informally presented an advance, unedited version of his synthesis report on the post-2015 development agenda to UN Member States. "The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet" outlines a vision for Member States to consider carrying forward in negotiations leading up to the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015 that will adopt the post-2015 development agenda*.

Using the Rio+20 Conference outcomes as the cornerstone for the post-2015 process, the synthesis report brings together inputs from Member States, the entire UN system, experts, a cross-section of civil society, business and millions of people from around the world. It seeks a future free from poverty, built on human rights, equality and sustainability (para 18). The report urges that now is not the time to succumb to political expediency, or to tolerate the lowest common denominators. The new threats that face us, and the new opportunities that present themselves, demand a high level of ambition and a truly participatory, responsive and transformational course of action (para 20).
The report spells out the necessary four components for a realistic yet ambitious outcome from the UN Summit on Sustainable Development: 1. An inspirational vision made plain in a declaration; 2. A practical plan for that declaration, laid out in an integrated set of goals, targets and indicators; 3. Adequate means to implement the plan and a renewed global partnership for development; 4. A framework to monitor and review implementation to ensure promises made become promises delivered.

To bring about a truly universal transformation of sustainable development, the Secretary-General's report makes a number of key recommendations, including the necessity to commit to a universal approach; to integrate sustainability in all activities; to address inequalities in all areas; to ensure that all actions respect and advance human rights; to address the drivers of climate change and its consequences; to base the analysis in credible data and evidence; to expand the global partnership for means of implementation to maximum effect; and to anchor the new compact in a renewed commitment to international solidarity.
The report identifies six essential elements to frame and reinforce sustainable development:
1. Dignity - to end poverty and fight inequalities (para 67); 2. People - to ensure healthy lives, knowledge, and the inclusion of women and children (para 69); 3. Prosperity - to grow a strong, inclusive, and transformative economy (para 72); 4. Planet - to protect our ecosystems for all societies and our children (para 75); 5. Justice - to promote safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions (para 77); 6. Partnership - to catalyse global solidarity for sustainable development (para 80).

The importance of enabling civil society participation is highlighted in the report. Several paragraphs in the report draw attention to the need to ensure strong participation of civil society. Thus inter alia: an enabling environment under the rule of law must be secured for the free, active and meaningful engagement of civil society, and advocates reflecting the voices of women, minorities, LGBT groups, Indigenous Peoples, youth, adolescents and older persons (para 78);
the modalities for multi-stakeholder cooperation and sharing the costs for Research, Development, Demonstration and Diffusion for new technologies across all stakeholders: public, private, civil society, philanthropic, and other sectors, inclusive of indigenous knowledge must be effectively established (para 123);
executive institutions, parliaments and the judiciary will need the capacity to perform their functions in this endeavour; also, institutions of civil society must have the capacity to perform their critical, independent role (para 129);
succession requires that the new agenda must become part of the contract between people, including civil society and responsible business, and their governments, national and local. [...] empowered civil society actors, through action and advocacy, must rally to the cause, and contribute to a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future (para 145);
national accountability would be built on existing national and local mechanisms and processes, with broad multistakeholder participation, including national and local governments, parliaments, civil society, science, academia and business (para 149).
As the Secretary-General states at the conclusion of Section 1 of the report "The stars are aligned for the world to take historic action to transform lives and protect the planet….. I urge Governments and people everywhere to fulfill their political and moral responsibilities. This is my call to dignity, and we must respond with all our vision and strength." (para 25).

The final report will be available in all six UN languages by 31 December 2014.  In early January 2015, the Secretary-General will formally present the report and further discuss it with Member States.

The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) and UN DESA Division for Sustainable Development (DESA-DSD) invite Major Groups and other civil society stakeholders to submit their official responses to the report to a central online repository.** UN-NGLS and DESA-DSD provide this mechanism to support review of these important perspectives by all stakeholders in preparation for the continued elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, beginning with the 19-21 January negotiating session at UN Headquarters in New York. A preparatory forum for stakeholders will be conducted on 16 January by DESA-DSD and UN-NGLS at UN Headquarters.

* The advanced unedited version of the report is available here:
** via this online form:

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