#13 post-2015
Dr Ingolf Dietrich

2015 – The World at a Crossroads

2015 will be a decisive year for the international community since it marks the end of the MDGs. The German government aims for a new global partnership.

With globalisation, the world has become smaller. Images of collapsing sewing factories, of violent conflict and civil war, of climate change-induced droughts and floods, and of people fleeing their countries on brittle boats are in the daily news. We have to ask ourselves: is our current idea of development, of progress, and of well-being sustainable? Do our lifestyles fit the planetary boundaries? Do we know how to prevent economic, financial and food crises? From a global political perspective, these questions put us at the center of one of the most heatedly discussed political processes: the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Gerd Müller, our Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, has called the year 2015 "the decisive year" - the year that will lay the tracks for our future. In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals will expire, world leaders will negotiate a new climate agreement and financing for development, and the G7 summit will be held in Germany. In essence, the global community will sum up its achievements with regards to global sustainable development.

“Do our lifestyles fit the planetary boundaries?”

Looking at the challenges ahead, we need a global framework that addresses global challenges as well as challenges on the ground; a framework that defines responsibilities for developing and developed countries alike; a framework that involves all players in society; and we need a framework that brings together economic, social and environmental issues at the same time. The Post-2015 Agenda is striving to do just that.

If we want to understand the relevance and novelty of this process, we need to take a look at where it originated.

The post-2015 process and where it came from

The post-2015 process developed out of two separate agendas. On the one hand, it is the successor framework for the Millennium Development Goals. On the other, it is a follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the so-called "Earth Summit".

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Great events inspire great action. This was the case at the turn of the millennium, when the global community came together in a hitherto unknown consensus to put an end to hunger, underdevelopment, and global injustice. The Millennium Declaration, adopted by all member states of the United Nations in 2000, is the birthplace of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This milestone framework has helped focus development efforts and guide global and national development priorities. The MDGs have contributed to great progress in areas such as the fight against extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS, as well as in the provision of universal primary education and safe drinking water. But not all the goals have been achieved and progress has been uneven within and across countries. Thus, further efforts are needed to accelerate progress and reach the goals by 2015.

Next step: The Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims at harmonising development and sustainability, and at bringing the follow-up on the MDG development agenda together with the Rio Sustainable Development Agenda. The most important fora contributing to this UN-led process are: consultations with people in more than 100 countries; the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel of Eminent Persons, attended by Former Federal President of Germany, Horst Koehler among others; and the intergovernmental Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The group submitted their outcome document with a proposal of 17 goals in July 2014. This report represents the main basis for the upcoming intergovernmental negotiations between UN member states.

“We want an agenda that brings real change towards sustainable development, and promotes sustainable production and consumption patterns.”

The Post-2015 Agenda with goals and targets, a robust monitoring mechanism and the necessary means of implementation, is meant to be officially adopted by a UN Summit in September 2015.

What Germany stands for in the post-2015 negotiations

Preparations for the Post-2015 Agenda are fully underway. The German government has outlined its key positions in the post-2015 negotiations. Germany advocates for an agenda that includes impulses for developing, emerging and developed countries alike. We want an agenda that brings real change towards sustainable development, and promotes sustainable production and consumption patterns.

“The key lesson learned from the MDGs is that global commitment requires a joint understanding of the urgency for collective action.”

We have identified four issues that are central to achieving a global common good: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; preserve our natural resources and respect our planet's boundaries; create decent jobs and adequate income through ecologically sound growth; and strengthen good governance, gender equality, human rights, and peace and security.

The key lesson learned from the MDGs is that global commitment requires a joint understanding of the urgency for collective action. The German government therefore promotes a new global partnership as an overarching principle of the future agenda for sustainable development. With this global partnership, we are trying to break with traditional views of donors and recipients. We acknowledge that all states, irrespective of their development status, and all stakeholders in society need to assume their responsibility.

This global partnership includes a shared responsibility for global well-being through protecting global public goods and creating an environment that is conducive to development. And it aims at involving many stakeholders in society: national governments as well as civil society, the private sector and academia. Bringing this involvement to life, Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller initiated the “Charter for the Future” in Germany. This process encourages people from all walks of life to engage in a discussion on common goals for the future.

Finally, goals and objectives are only as effective as their monitoring and review. Germany therefore advocates for a robust and transparent accountability mechanism for the Post-2015 Agenda. The UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) will be the institution that reviews and monitors implementation of the goals.

With the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we are defining joint goals for reducing poverty, creating economic, political and social opportunities, and for making economies worldwide more sustainable. These are our common interests for life on this planet. Only in an equal partnership, building on mutual respect and shared values and with joint effort by all, will we be able to achieve them.

Further Information

Engage: Website Zukunftscharta

Photo: “Hillcrest-School_Nigeria_2005_Elizabeth-Macintosh” by SIM USA
2004 - licenced under Creative Commons Attribution (2.0)

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