I am pleased to be able to share with you the key findings from the UN-facilitated global conversation on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. While the journey to define a post-2015 development framework is far from over it is clear that people’s expectations for the future are high: more than 1.4 million people from over 190 countries have shared their perspectives and priorities for the future agenda thus far – making it the largest consultation the UN has yet undertaken.
Citizens, representatives of government, the private sector, academia, and civil society, including many here, participated, led or worked with the UN, to help facilitate the national consultations held in 88 countries and conduct 11 Global Thematic Debates. Others have contributed to shaping the new development agenda by:
completing the MY World Survey,
serving on the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel,
joining expert reviews, or
through grassroots efforts to engage people and lobby leaders.
We in the UN have been humbled by these consultations, and inspired by the enthusiasm and energy they have unleashed.
From the outset, our focus was on reaching a cross section of the world’s peoples, including in particular those who live day-to-day with poverty and exclusion. We sought to reach out to those who would not always get to participate in a global policy debate – among them - indigenous peoples; young people; LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people); entrepreneurs and small-business owners; displaced people, and people with disabilities. And at all times we sought the voices of women.
One Million voices are just the beginning
The report “A Million Voices, The World We Want” launched on September 23rd, reflects what we heard.
We now have a much clearer idea of people’s priorities around the world.
Let me summarize people messages in 4 groups:
First, they are demanding more inclusivity and greater civilian participation in policy decisions at national and global levels. What citizens around the world told us most frequently was their desire to be a part of decisions which affect them; they want to play a role in changing their world. They want to have a say in the future framework, monitor the progress made in their countries, and hold governments accountable for its delivery.
People want that we finish the uncompleted business of the MDGs: now and beyond 2015. They clearly say this is no time to stop we need to accelerate progress in the 800 days left to meet the targets. The MDGs are still relevant. Health and education continue to be at the top of the list. But now they want to deepen the MDGs, going beyond the quantitative measurements. They demand not only greater access to basic services, but a new emphasis on the quality of these services. For example, they want us to focus on the quality of the education not only enrolment. They want us to address the lack of qualified teachers, the large classes, the inadequate infrastructure, and the outdated curricula that cumulate in a failure to prepare young people for employment and higher levels of education.
They also want a more ambitious agenda beyond 2015, which more fully reflects areas neglected in the MDGs framework like good governance and responsive governments, Energy, employment and livelihood, peace and security, rule of law, human rights, environmental degradation and sustainability.
And People want a transformational and universal agenda, which will tackle complex and interlinked challenges in a holistic way and will reflect share values to fight inequalities and discrimination, human rights and gender equality.
Let me elaborate on these last 2 messages.
The second message we heard from people is that the MDGs can be improved. There were important development challenges not included in the MDGs, and less well understood, like the links between human development and the environment.
We know that people are more vulnerable to disasters associated with the effects of climate change and that the most vulnerable are the ones that suffer the most. We recognize that environmental dimension was poorly reflected in the present framework of the MDGs.
So the need to have a development agenda that will be poverty centered but planet sensitive is a clear demand for the ground. That is also a demand for a unique development framework where the post MDGs agenda and the SDGs agenda will converge.
People want the future development framework to set the current patterns of consumption and production into a more sustainable track. They realize we are about to cross the final line of our planet’s boundaries: the world’s population continues to increase rapidly, climate change is beginning to have serious consequences, biodiversity is in decline and our natural resources are dreadfully mismanaged. They want the post 2015 agenda to bring us to safety behind that line.
Energy reflects this challenge clearly. There is an energy deficit, with 1.3 billion people lacking electricity to light their homes, schools and hospitals or conduct business and improve agricultural productivity. But we need to face this challenge mindful of the climate change challenge. The Energy for all initiative of the SG does exactly that.
New patterns of population growth, migration and urbanization have emerged as critical areas to be addressed. And a call for decent jobs with a special focus on the young, against a jobless growth path that excludes large sectors of the population.
And finally the need to allows people to live without fear of conflict or violence and enjoy good governance, the rule of law and more responsive, transparent and accountable Governments.
A million voices across the globe echo these calls.
Now their third message:
People want a framework that addresses inequalities, human rights and gender equality. A universal framework and a common agenda.
The first clear-cut demand that has emerged from the national consultations is greater equality. It is widely perceived that income gaps, differences in access to basic services, and discrimination against certain groups are increasing. The million voices would like a global development agenda that closes this gap.
They want to go beyond what I call the Tyranny of the averages, they want goals and indicators that do tell the story of discrimination and the most vulnerable many times left behind, that will not allow the most in need to be look after the last.
Specifically, the people are calling for gender equality to be a core development objective in the next framework. They want further empowerment of women and girls by ensuring their equal participation in education, health, and government. And they want gender mainstream in the other goals as the best way to fast-track inclusive growth.
The people of the world are collectively asking you, the member states of the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, civil society movements, industrialists and philanthropists of the world, to do more. Their voices are asking you to unite under a common desire for global peace and security, for sustainable development, to help those still living in poverty, living with violence, with discrimination, with inequality and with injustice.
We should be asking ourselves how to respond, “How do we organize ourselves to address these issues?”, “How do we create a measurable goal from this request?” and “How can we satisfy this demand?”
We owe the people of the world answers and viable solutions to their problems. The HLP and the outcome document of last week’s UNGA are a very good start. They avoided the temptation to recommend a Christmas tree that will be impossible to implement and track, losing the main characteristic that made the MDGs successful in the first place.
Parallel to the discussions about the "what", the discussions about the "HOW", i.e., means of implementation, must begin now. This is the reason for this conference. The foregoing messages are contingent on the availability, accessibility and timely provision of adequate financing and other means of implementation, both through domestic efforts and international support.
As we move towards 2015, this issue deserves focused attention, as operational success is the only way to truly meet global aspirations, address lingering challenges and bridge the gaps in delivery.
The full and effective translation of the demands voiced in the global consultations into tangible commitments and actualized post-2015 development outcomes will require careful consideration across multiple intricate strands.
These include, but are not limited to adequate mobilization and access to financing, support for technological advancements and transfers, institutional capacity development opportunities, policy coherence at the international level for trade, migration and finance, better regional integration and South-South cooperation.
Improve aid and development effectiveness, as well as the growing emphasis on results - to ensure that financial and human resources are used effectively is critical together with a shift in focus on implementing best practices rather than generating more guidelines.
The issue of information is also key. The MDGs facilitated a growth in global data collection capacity. The time has now come for a global data revolution. We must build on the work being done as we strive to reach the MDGs, and create even greater capabilities for countries to collect and share data. It should be a collective effort that requires both regional cooperation and support from the international community as a whole. This is the only way we can effectively monitor the progress being made in the post 2015 framework.
Considering and supporting such measures of implementation in building a new framework contributes to greater engagement, and ownership and consequently better positioning by member states and all stakeholders in taking action for the implementation of a post 2015 agenda.
To listen, respond and meet the expectations of people, UN Member states have a responsibility to put into motion realistic, innovative and ambitious plans to meet needs, change the incentives of actors, including in the private sector, and finance development long into the future. To this end, we at the UN, those in the private sector, civil society and governments around the world must better understand the enormity of our task and work together to deliver.
Let us begin this new development revolution not with a slow stumble, but with a determined sprint forward.
In summary, the people of the world want action. They want a universal agenda that is built on human rights and the universal values of equality, justice and security embedded not only as enablers but as outcomes. A framework that will be poverty centered in the framework of sustainable development. They want a framework that adds to the progress made by the MDGs, measuring both quantitative progress as well as improvements in quality. And they want to hold governments more accountable.
We must begin the discussion now. Today. We must not only propose written guidelines for the next agenda, but solve problems of implementation as well. This is a process that takes times, but I ask that we all make one promise both to ourselves and to the people of the world. We will not remain paralyzed. We need to remain engaged.
After the event today, let us bring home the demands made by a million voices across the globe and strive to meet them. The journey to define a post-2015 development framework is far from over, this global conversation is only starting