(The Humanitarian Social Network)
Sustainable Development Goals? Whose goals?
I've read today this great summary by Mark Goldberg at DAWN Digest on what's happening at Rio+20, and I got scared:
There are lots of big issues on the table at Rio+20. One of the thorniest is the question of the Sustainable Development Goals. These would be a set of goals that would compliment/replace/supplant the MDGs. There’s not much debate that there *should* be SDGs. Rather, the big question is what they should be. Or, more accurately, who or what should decide them. The developing world is adamant that this be a country-driven process; that is, countries in a big future conference decide on them. The EU and USA fairly strongly believe that these should be decided in a top-down fashion by the Secretary General. So, going into the last leg of the negotiations in Rio, this is one of the big sticking points and no-one knows for sure how it will end. --- Mark Leon Goldberg, reporting for all my DAWNSers down in Rio.
Are we making again the same mistake of deciding in a small room the goals that will lead funding in the next decades?
Some colleagues of mine have been doing work with the project BRAVE: Big Radical Approaches towards a Vision for the Earth. It brought together science, that arts, business, policy and international development to discuss about visions of a sustainable future in the conference Planet Under Pressure.
As part of the project, activists and people at the grassroots sent messages and their visions of a sustainable future to the conference:
And scientists, artists, international development actors and policy-makers replied:
I'd love to see more discussions like this one before someone writes down the next SDGs or whatever name they will decide to put them. Are you aware of such discussions? What are your feelings about this? What do you think it can be achieved in Rio+20?
I'd love to hear your views on this.
Actually there is some real debate going on about the post-2015 agenda and a number of plans (that I can't tell you about yet) on trying to find ways to involve both development experts and the general public in crowd sourcing ideas for the post-2015 agenda. However the final decision on future goals is a political member-state driven process. The risk is that whatever is agreed at Rio will be taken as the majority of the psot-2015 agenda because it's politically convenient rather than taking the time, effort and risk of a more open peocess to define the psort-2015 goals.
Thanks Ian! Great to learn what is going on behind the curtains. I thought something like that had to be happening, but nevertheless I just hope things are not rushed just because are politically convenient. I'd love to learn more about the real debate whenever you are able to share it with the world.
Soledad – Thanks for starting an interesting conversation. Here’s my perspective: Agreements such as MDGS, and now the (soon to be it seems) SDGs, begin as thematic guidelines to draw attention to challenges that need prioritizing. After the media attention subsides their real power lies in how they are implemented and where commitment can be sustained. Thus I am less concerned about their (inevitably very political) process of development, as most likely whatever is highlighted will be important as we have so many competing priorities, than I am with sustaining attention, commitment and effective implementation. This can come in a variety of ways including (1) Having implementation enforcement as part of the political agreements; (2) Citizen groups in each country continuing to keep the pressure on their governments; (3) Groups that are responsible for pieces of implementation in the targeted areas to focus their attention. Although it does not look like what comes out of Rio is going to have much of #1, other ways to continue to implement the MDGs and begin to develop and implement the SDGs (such as noted in #’s 2 and #3, and other avenues) can still happen. As “new “forums of communication such as social media allow more citizen input, it is important for this input to be translated into pressure points at key stages of implementation.
Thanks for your great input Bonnie!
The UNDP report on the post-2015 development agenda is out: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/poverty-reduct...
I'd love to hear your views post Rio+20...