Feature story

The United Nations lays out “historic” post 2015 development agenda

31 May 2013

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) receives report of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda from co-Chair President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

The United Nations is on the cusp of entering a bold new phase in ending poverty and ensuring meaningful and sustainable development for all. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched on 30 May 2013 a momentous and eagerly awaited report that puts forward a single United Nations development agenda beyond 2015. 

Compiled by a panel of 27 top-level leaders appointed by the UN Secretary-General in 2012, A new global partnership: eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development, provides a framework driven by five key transformative shifts. These build on and move beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which committed the world to achieving a number of targets by 2015, including eradicating poverty. 

The first shift, the new global partnership itself, involves fostering a spirit of solidarity, cooperation, and mutual accountability. There is also a call for ensuring that everyone reaps the benefits of universal human rights and basic economic opportunities; making sustainable development central; transforming economies for jobs and growth and building peace and accountable institutions. 

Launching the report Mr Ban stressed its major significance. “We are at the beginning of an historic journey,” he said. “The post-2015 process is a chance to usher in a new era in international development—one that will eradicate extreme poverty and lead us to a world of prosperity, sustainability, equity and dignity for all.”

The UN Secretary-General also maintained that in championing the need for building institutions that are “honest, accountable and responsive to people’s needs” the report is achieving a key aim of filling in key gaps in the MDG process.

A new global partnership sets out 12 tentative goals to help focus and mobilize global and national efforts, providing a “rallying cry”.  These goals are set to be “debated, discussed and improved” in the coming year and a half, the report contends.

They include empowering women and girls; providing quality education; ensuring food security and good nutrition; achieving universal access to water and sanitation; creating jobs, sustainable livelihoods and equitable growth; and ensuring healthy lives.

In terms of the last, as with the MDGs, the goals emerging from the report seek to reduce the burden of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, as well as decreasing maternal mortality and ensuring universal sexual and reproductive health rights. It is widely acknowledged that without addressing the often devastating impact of diseases such as HIV, economic and social development will stall or even regress.

According to the UN Secretary-General, the report provides a catalyst for greater discussion of these “important and ambitious concepts” and developing a new framework to build on the MDGs and really “make a difference for future generations to come.” 

The panel which compiled A new global partnership: eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development was co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron.