During the first week of July, the High Level Segment of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Substantive Session took place in Geneva. Soroptimist International holds General Consultative Status with ECOSOC, so UN Representative Sabine Kinzer attended several events during this important week of meetings. One of the key issues discussed was the role that the Council will play in defining the post-2015 development agenda. In this week’s blog, Sabine reports on the discussions, the need for global partnership and the vital role that Soroptimist clubs can play.
Two panels were held to discuss the role of ECOSOC in defining the post-2015 development agenda. The richness of the discussion produced a broad agenda. So many thoughts and ideas were shared that were all so meaningful to those in the room – but what about the people outside? The big test is how to motivate the general public. It is important to listen to the people who are the targets of development. What do people in poverty want?
For sure, poverty and hunger eradication along with water sanitation should be priorities of the new agenda. The international community was committed to eliminating hunger and this will be achieved during the current generation if everybody signs up.
One important role for ECOSOC could be as a monitoring structure, as it has extensive experience in monitoring and reviewing Millennium Development Goals. Outcomes should be taken seriously – even though they are difficult to measure. In this global world, global indicators are needed to make comparisons across countries, situations and time. How can one ensure comparability? Is a succinct set of goals necessary to keep the target focused? Or would it lead to failure as a number of planning-based systems had in the past? Because reality needs to be captured – but on the basis of which understanding? It is more about listening and not so much about pretending to predict.
Achieving development goals will require effective partnerships, involving the private sector, civil society, and other partners. The Post-2015 development agenda will get nowhere if it is not properly financed. Not only Governments are called upon but also the private sector and civil society. Global funding is important; combatting diseases as malaria and HIV/AIDS has shown significant success – there is significant evidence that enough funds make a difference.
In many countries, civil society groups are also the only structured groups that can apply pressure on governments to come up with solid policies and to produce better results. All should work together to create sustainable development. Academic engagement is also key to success. ECOSOC should try to stimulate interest in and thinking about the post-2015 development agenda in academia.
Mutual respect and equality of all partners involved must be a basic principle. NGOs play an important role in implementing development. It is important for them not only to observe but also to participate and have impact! Consultations should be held in form of two-way conversations twice: at the beginning and the end of a decision-making process.
It was a full day of very intense exchange of ideas. Personally I sense very strongly that NGOs are right there at the key platform! We need to do ground work! We, Soroptimist International, as an NGO can contribute and must do that with full force. Every club must contribute – so many projects can be found under this agenda that coincide with our own goals and education is the hub of it all! The work continues…
Photograph: ECOSOC discusses the Post-2015 agenda – UN Photo/Jean-MarcFerré