What happened at the UN General Assembly? @WorldViewM

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WHAT HAPPENED

1. UN DECISION MAKING

During the week of high-level events at the UNGA a whole host of different issues were presented and discussed, and just yesterday the GA officially adopted the attached ‘Outcome Document’ which details their commitments to fulfilling the MDGs and puts forward thoughts on next steps. But what does it all mean?! Thanks to the help of Beyond 2015 for their much more detailed overview of what happened, which you can read here: http://www.beyond2015.org/sites/default/files/Briefing%20note%20post%20UNGA.pdf

The promising:

  • The outcome document of the GA agrees to pursue a single framework and set of goals that apply to all countries
  • The GA also supports a coherent approach, which integrates poverty eradication, human rights, economic transformation, social justice and environmental stewardship, indicating the potential for transformational change in 2015.
  • It is also really exciting to see the recognition of peace and security, democratic governance, the rule of law, gender equality, and human rights for all as critical components of the new development agenda.
  • During the week of high-level events, the High Level Political Forum held their first meeting (see ‘next steps’ below for more information). This HLPF will eventually be the home of the new development framework, and they have committed to ensuring the participation of children and young people, along with broader civil society! This is great news, because up to now this was anything but guaranteed (the UNGA does not have such a legal mandate).

Aaaand the not so promising:

  • We still have a long way to go to ensure that some of the key issues that children and youth are calling for play a big part in the post-2015 framework. In the main meetings, the role of children & youth and some of our key concerns (such as inequality and accountability) were was barely touched upon.
  • 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.
  • The main meetings were very difficult to interact and meaningfully input in to because of the ‘high-level’ nature of the GA, often meaning that young people and civil society were left until last to share their perspectives (if given the chance at all!) Making matters worse, much of the content for the ‘outcome document’ was already agreed in advance, so a lot of the conversations really served as a ‘rubber stamp’ rather than any meaningful discussion around the key issues and next steps. Even the ‘round table’ events had no interaction or discussion!

2. CHILDREN & YOUTH PARTICIPATION

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 & Youthhttps://docs.google.com/a/childrenyouth.org/document/d/1Niq0v_CuBUSTJp1NJQ1c-VhARy8zp3isomUcqOq2PeE/edit?pli=1

Meanwhile, there were a whole host of youth-focussed meetings and events that took place surrounding the high-level events in New York: the Inter-Agency Network on Youth DevelopmentOpen Meeting; the Youth Blast! training and capacity-building workshop; children and youth briefing sessions every morning (at 7.30am – ouch!); discussions on what the next steps might be for our participation; and a whole host of side events presenting young voices and priorities for the post-2015 agenda.

But what does it all of this result in for next steps?! Well, here’s some initial food for thought:

NEXT STEPS

 

1. FOR THE POST-2015 PROCESS

 

Following many months of silence from the UN system on what we can expect for the next crucial pieces of the post-2015 puzzle, we now have 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, called ‘The Post-2015 Development Agenda – Setting the Stage’: You can see the full list in this document, but excitingly for us, the first conference (likely to be in Feb 2014) 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: from the High Level Panel, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Global Compact, and the national and regional consultations organised by the UN, and the future reports of the Open Working Group and the Sustainable Development Finance Committee. Whilst we don’t know what these negotiations will look like, Beyond 2015 predict that they will be similar to the Rio+20 process.

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. (To see the current version of the SG report from early September this year, check-out this website: http://post2015.org/2013/08/16/report-of-the-secretary-general-a-life-of-dignity-for-all/)

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.

2. FOR CHILDREN & YOUTH PARTICIPATION

As the Sustainable Development conversation now formally streamlines with the Post-2015 process, the UN is looking at ways to increase the participation of the 9 Major Groups (including the Major Group of Children & Youth) and ‘other stakeholders’. (Point 43 of the Rio+20 Outcome Document defines who they recognise as ‘other stakeholders’: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/futurewewant.html, including people with disabilities)

So, over the next couple of months the Major Group of Children & Youth are going through a review of their governance, structure and ways of working. If you’d like to find out more and get involved,sign up to the mailing list at: www.childrenyouth.org

Looking through the list of key steps for the process moving forward (and acknowledging the multitude of additional events and activities that will be run in other relevant areas of the UN, governments and civil society alike. e.g. The World Youth Summit in Sri Lanka in 2014), there are multiple ways that we might want to get more involved! So, let’s all take some time to think through what we need, what are our priorities as a children and young people, and what do we need to better enable our participation moving forward – both from within ourselves, our networks, and from our decision-makers)

We’ve got some thinking to do together!

And on that note this is where we’ll sign-off for now. If you have any stories to share from UNGA, or from your work on post-2015 then please do share with the mailing list!

Best wishes,

Hannah & Amelia

Hannah Smith

Policy Coordinator

www.restlessdevelopment.org

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