The World Centre for Sustainable Development consolidated the results from the online consultation it conducted in Brazil on the outcome document prepared by the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. Access here the consultation’s key messages and comments from experts.
The outcome document produced by the UN Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a welcome advance in relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This was one of the key conclusions of an online consultation conducted by the World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre) from 25 August to 5 September.
Nevertheless, many participants commented that the document has an excessive number of goals (17, compared to eight MDGs) and several contradictions in its contents. There is also a lack of indicators and deadlines. These are some of the arguments received during the consultation, which were published in a report on the RIO+ Centre’s website on 24 September 2014. This date coincided with the opening of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 69) in New York, which is responsible for the final stage of negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. The agenda is to be adopted in September 2015.
The team at the Rio+ Centre – one of the six global centres of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – summarized civil society contributions into 12 key messages, which it then sent to experts representing the Brazilian government, academia and international institutions. In their comments, the experts addressed the doubts, questions and remarks raised by the consultation’s participants.
Through this initiative, the RIO+ Centre seeks to build a bridge between negotiators and Brazilian civil society and broaden public participation in the processes related to the post-2015 agenda. It also aims to foster critical analyses on the implementation of the SDGs in Brazil – Brazil being a key player in efforts to increase commitment to the SDGs on the international level. As part of its work on SDGs in Brazil, the RIO+ Centre participates in the Inter-ministerial Working Group (GTI, in Portuguese) created by the Brazilian government to discuss Brazil’s position in UN negotiations on the post-2015 agenda and SDGs.
The OWG outcome document
The result of 17 months of negotiations involving representatives from 70 countries, the OWG document embraces the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development. It is one of the three inputs UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will use to prepare his synthesis report on the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from 2016 to 2030. The two other contributions are the documents produced by the High Level Panel of eminent persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing.
The OWG’s proposal contains a set of 17 goals with 169 targets that cover a broad range of sustainable development issues, including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combatting climate change, and protecting oceans and forests. They will be refined further and voted on by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, as part of the broader post-2015 development agenda world leaders are expected to adopt at the assembly. The SDGs are a follow-up effort to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose deadline expires in 2015.
The UN Member States’ agreement to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) was one of the main outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. Then, on 22 January 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to create the Open Working Group. Civil society has been actively involved in its activities.