The Intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda

Addis Ababa, 5 March 2015 - The adoption of the Open Working Group’s proposal for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the  69th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2014 paved the way for the intergovernmental negotiations on the post 2015-development agenda. To facilitate the negotiations, it was agreed that the above proposal would provide the basis for the negotiations. The President of the General Assembly appointed two co-facilitators, Ambassador Macharia Kamau and Ambassador David Donoghue (Permanent Representatives of Kenya and Ireland to the UN, respectively) and member States agreed on the modalities and organization of work for the intergovernmental negotiations. They agreed that the outcome document of the negotiations will contain four elements, i.e. i) the declaration; ii) the SDGs and accompanying targets and indicators; iii) means of implementation and a new global partnership for development; and iv) a framework for review and monitoring of implementation. Accordingly, negotiation sessions will be held monthly along these elements, starting January 2015 until the UN summit in September 2015. 

The first two negotiation sessions took place in January and February 2015, both of which had important outcomes that will influence and further facilitate the negotiations process. Outcomes of the January 2015 negotiations session which was a stocktaking session include the fact that the SDGs proposal will remain the main basis for the negotiations. There will however be a process of refining or ‘technical proofing’ of the goals and target. The development of global indicators for the SDGs will be led by the UN Statistical Commission in collaboration with the UN Task Team, and member states will have an opportunity to input into this process during the March negotiation session. Member states, however, reiterated the need for coherence of the SDGs with related processes such as Financing for Development (FfD) and Climate Change. 

The second negotiation session held in February 2015 focused on the declaration statement of the SDGs. The discussions were guided by an Elements Paper and “discussion document for the declaration” that were circulated by the Co-Facilitators. Governments made interventions on both documents with the focus on ensuring that the declaration will be comprehensive, concise, inspirational and visionary. One of the co-facilitators clarified that the discussion document for the declaration will be “a document without status,” but will be used in creating the zero draft of the Summit outcome.

Africa in the post-2015 negotiations process

Under the auspices of the High Level Committee (HLC) on the post-2015 development agenda, Africa is organizing itself to engage effectively in the post-2015 negotiations. At the January 2015 meeting of the HLC, the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) in New York was tasked to negotiate on behalf of Africa and Terms of Reference were developed for the group. A Bureau of five Permanent Representatives will be established and lead negotiators appointed for each of the elements of the outcome document. The AGN will be accountable to the entire African Group in New York and the Heads of State through the HLC, and the Chair of the Bureau of AGN will report periodically to the Chair of the HLC through the HLC Secretariat. The African Union Commission will serve as the Secretariat to coordinate support from partners like NEPAD Agency, ECA, UNDP, AfDB, and UNFPA, and to interface with AGN in New York, and other strategic capitals (Brussels, Geneva, among others). In discussing Africa’s negotiating leverage, it was agreed that the AGN will negotiate as part of the G77. But strong emphasis was laid on the need for Africa to negotiate with a common objective and unified voice. In this context, it was reiterated that the Africa’s position on the post-2015 development agenda will be based on the Common Africa Position. 

The role of ECA:

ECA has been a core member of the technical team and HLC secretariat, supporting the post-2015 process since 2011. ECA will continue to provide technical support to the HLC and AGN throughout the negotiations process. Currently, as a member of the UN Task Team, ECA has proposed indicators (based on the Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda) for the ongoing global indicators exercise and is preparing for Africa-wide consultations on FfD. The outcomes of the consultation will feed into the global consultation and drafting session in April and June in preparation for the FfD conference in July 2015. This will be an important step in influencing the means of implementation component of the SDGs.