Restless at the UN General Assembly

30 Sep 13
International

Last week government negotiators, representatives of civil society and young people from around the world met in New York to review progress made against the Millennium Development Goals, and to carry on the conversations around the post-2015 development agenda. These conversations took place as part of this year’s UN General Assembly (UNGA), the main policymaking and representative body of the United Nations.

UNGA participantsRestless Development was able to send both our Policy Coordinator – Hannah Smith – and our new Senior Programmes & Partnerships Manager – Nicole Neumeister – who attended from 17-26th September in order to support youth participation in the process. Here is an insight in to what they both got up to, and a snapshot of what we might expect to follow in the coming 2 years.

OUTCOME OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

During the week of high-level events, a host of different issues were presented and discussed, and decision-makers have summarised the key points in this ‘Outcome Document’ which details their commitments to fulfilling the MDGs and puts forward thoughts on next steps.

This document outlines the need to pursue a single framework and set of goals that apply to all countries, which will integrate poverty eradication, human rights, economic transformation, social justice and environmental stewardship, indicating the potential for transformational change in 2015.

Children and young people actively participated in the various different High-Level meetings, by making formal interventions (this one, for example) and lobbying their governments using this set of key messages put together by the Major Group of Children & Youth.

UNGA 2013In support of this high-level engagement, many youth-focussed meetings and events took place alongside: the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development Open Meeting; the Youth Blast! training and capacity-building workshop; discussions on what the next steps might be for our participation; and a host of side events presenting young voices and priorities for the post-2015 agenda.

However, civil society still has a long way to go to ensure that some of the key issues that children and youth are calling for (such as inequality and accountability) play a big part in the post-2015 framework. In the main meetings, the role of children & youth was scarcely referenced. Furthermore, Governments barely touched on the structural causes of poverty and injustice, which was a key message from civil society consultations leading up to the GA.

NEXT STEPS FOR POST-2015

Following many months of silence from the UN system on what we can expect for the next crucial pieces of the post-2015 puzzle, the UNGA also presented us with a much clearer idea of the key milestones in the process as we move forward:

1. The Open Working Group will continue its work, gathering input until February 2014 and writing its report from February until August.
2. The Inter-governmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing will be discussing how governments and others will fund the post-2015 agenda – another important arena in which to engage.
3. Thematic events by the President of the General Assembly: You can see the full list in this document, but promisingly for young people, the first conference will be on: “What role should women, the young and civil society play in the new development agenda?”
4. UNGA 69th Session – September 2014: Full intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 agenda will start and will draw on all the recent reports and consultations.
5. Secretary General’s synthesis report: The Secretary General will present a synthesis report to governments of all inputs available by the end of 2014 as an input into their negotiations. Click here to see the current version of the SG report from early September.
6. Final agreement on post-2015 development framework: A high level Summit will take place in September 2015 to adopt the post-2015 agenda. This Summit will be the culmination of the intergovernmental negotiations.
7. Then, it’s over to the High Level Political Forum to run with whatever decision that the negotiations produce. The HLPF has a clear mandate for civil society participation, and will be responsible for over-seeing the implementation, monitoring and accountability of the new framework.

As the children and youth constituency moves forward in to the next steps, Restless Development will be thinking through the specifics of our contribution to the post-2015 process. Stay tuned for more information on our website, and visit any of the following websites for more information.

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