Bali is hosting the fourth meeting of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda from March 25 to 27, which is co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Olav Kjorven, the UN assistant secretary-general and director of development policy at the UN Development Program ( UNDP ), talked to The Jakarta Post’s Bagus BT Saragih on what can be expected when the panel submits its final report to the UN in May. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Question: After three meetings, what are your thoughts on the processes within the High Level Panel so far?
Answer: The global conversation on the new development agenda has just begun.
Three emerging priorities for the future development framework, referred to as “the Post-2015 agenda”, can already be identified in the consultations and events being organized.
First, the progress on the Milennium Development Goals ( MDGs ) should be accelerated and adapted to contemporary challenges, such as growing inequalities within countries and the impact of globalization. Second, the consultations point to the need for a universal agenda to address challenges like environmental degradation, unemployment and violence. Third, people want to participate, both in the agenda-setting as well as monitoring the progress in implementation of the Post-2015 framework.
Bali is hosting the fourth meeting of the panel next week. What are your expectations for the Bali meeting?
Our goal in Bali is to present to the High Level Panel the first findings from an unprecedented global conversation, through which people from all over the world have been invited to help member states shape the future development agenda that will build on the MDGs after their target date at the end of 2015.
Some of the MDG targets are seen to be within reach, while others are far from being achieved. What areas do you think should be prioritized after 2015?
The worldwide conversation on future development priorities has just begun, but it’s already clear that inequality is a universal concern [...] people are calling for gender equality and women’s rights to be at the center of the Post-2015 agenda.
What areas have commanded the greatest attention during the panel’s discussions and global consultation so far? And what are the crucial findings that need to be addressed?
It is important for us that we ensure that groups usually absent from participation in global processes — for example, women, indigenous communities, young people and people with disabilities — are consulted on what they see as priorities for the development of their communities.
According to some reports, disagreements have often occurred during the panel’s discussions. How do you see this situation?
The imperative now is to move from a discourse focused on trade-offs between growth, poverty and the environment, to one which looks at how to combine the three strands of sustainable development.
Connecting poverty eradication and sustainability agendas as the make or break for our future.
What strategies have been used to collect input from people for the Post-2015 agenda?
There are several tracks available for people to participate in framing the next development agenda: there are almost 100 national consultations in member states; 11 thematic consultations on issues such as inequalities, food security and access to water. People also continue to contribute their ideas through the World We Want 2015 website; and people can vote for six out of the 16 priorities through the MY World survey. Findings from the global conversation will be delivered to the UN secretary-general, heads of state and governments attending the 2013 UN General Assembly, the High Level Panel and the Open Working Group on sustainable development goals.
Do you think the MDGs will have significantly changed the world by the time it expires in 2015?
The MDGs have provided a unifying vision for development.
Their clarity, conciseness and measurability have brought diverse actors together around a common cause. As a result, there has been significant progress on many of the indicators targeted by the MDGs — including on poverty reduction, access to improved water sources and enrolment in primaryschools.