Sustainable Development Goals: the countdown has begun

This September, UN Member States will meet to vote on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and so adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the same, to ensure that these SDGs are implemented successfully, it is crucial to have effective follow-up and revision mechanisms.

In the run-up to the next Post-2015 Inter-governmental Negotiations, the CCGA team organised an event on 12 and 13 May in New York focussing on “Natural Resource Management”.

Food security through resource management
The protection of natural resources – water, land and biodiversity – is crucial to achieving the SDGs, particularly when it comes to food security, future energy supplies, poverty reduction and economic development. However, experts argue that the measures as currently drafted will not provide sufficient protection for natural resources. For that reason, representatives from a range of organisations, including Hans Rudolf Herren, met to discuss strategies and practical ways in which follow-up and review mechanisms could be incorporated into the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Participants from various countries gave presentations on potential mechanisms for a linkage between the national level and the regional and global levels; the aim in all cases being to ensure the widespread participation of civil society, the private sector, research and international organisations.

Persuasive closing remarks

Hans Herren made the closing remarks at the end of Day 1 of the event. In the minds of the politicians, there must be a clear realisation of the relevance of sustainable resource management in targeted efforts to tackle hunger and poverty. In addition, there was a need for a detailed road map: This should not only include the goals but should also clearly define who would implement what and when. The main tools in this respect would be coherent indicators and ongoing dialogue. A further important point was the need to quantify the real value of resources and the cost of external factors. For example, the cost of environmental damage caused by agrochemicals is still not clearly stated in the price charged for daily food items. The true cost must be evident.   “We must speak with one voice and use the same templates if we are to bring about the change that we all desire,” concluded Herren at the end of the first day.

Finishing touches also being put to resources to implement the SDGs
New York was also the venue for negotiations from 12 – 15 May 2015 on the Financing for Sustainable Development; this event focussed particularly on the financial resources needed for the implementation of the SDGs. The CCGA team has also been following this process with interest and is calling for dedicated resources to ensure that SDG Goal No. 2 is achieved (End hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture). According to the chief negotiators from Guyana and Norway, discussions are due to be concluded by the end of June with the Third International Conference on Financing for Development being held in Addis Ababa from 13 to 16 July 2015.