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Bringing post-2015 development agenda to the fore

By Chukwuma Muanya
19 May 2015   |   1:24 am
NIGERIA and most developing nations in Sub Saharan Africa will not be able to meet 2015 the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – goals set by governments in 2000 to guide global efforts to end poverty. Stakeholders are unanimous that the challenges of poverty and development remain daunting; the process of post 2015 development…
Global conversation on the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda

Global conversation on the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda

NIGERIA and most developing nations in Sub Saharan Africa will not be able to meet 2015 the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – goals set by governments in 2000 to guide global efforts to end poverty.

Stakeholders are unanimous that the challenges of poverty and development remain daunting; the process of post 2015 development agenda has started at the international level; and it is therefore necessary to begin to think beyond 2015.

The United Nations (UN), in a statement, said it is in a process of determining its future development framework as the targets of the MDGs expire in 2015.

According to the UN, defining a post-2015 development agenda is Member State-led with broad participation from different stakeholder groups, including businesses and investors.

Stakeholders say this is an opportune moment for business and the UN Global Compact to help shape the future priorities of the UN and to prepare for supporting the implementation of the results of the post-2015 process, which is anticipated to include Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Global Compact is conveying the voice of responsible business through key intergovernmental processes. This includes milestones such as the Third Financing for Development Conference in July 2015.

The results of the post-2015 process will be launched at a UN summit in September 2015.

Stakeholders say in addition to finishing the MDG agenda, the post-2015 agenda needs to tackle emerging challenges including the growing impact of non-communicable diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, and the changing social and environmental determinants that affect health.

According to the UN, this new sustainable agenda focuses on climate change of course, but it also specifically addresses topics such as economics, agriculture, education and gender equality.

The draft post-2015 agenda proposes 17 goals, including an overarching health goal to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”

Below, according to the UN, are the 17 sustainable development goals that are being proposed so far:

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation
10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts -taking note of agreements made by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) forum
14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD), Dr. Otive Igbuzor, in a paper titled “Review of MDGs in Nigeria: Emerging Priorities For A Post 2015 Development Agenda,” said a post 2015 development agenda should contain the following:

*The framework must set out global goals, as well as contextualised national targets for developed and developing countries aiming at a sustainable and equitable global development, as well as the eradication of extreme poverty.

*The framework must be based in full accordance with international human rights laws and frameworks.

*The framework must lever the reform of existing structures that perpetuate poverty and inequality.

*The framework must recognise that international aid is only a part of a balanced approach to development.

Igbuzor concluded: “The challenge of development and poverty eradication is huge necessitating the collective effort of all. Nigeria, which was one of the 50 richest countries 40 years ago is now one of the poorest in the world. The MDGs draw together in single agenda issues that require priority attention.

“Development theorists and practitioners have identified lessons for national development across the world. These include among other things that human development is about sustaining positive outcomes steadily; the necessity for the right policy, innovation and citizen participation; the centrality of institutions and the disadvantage of the market.

“Efforts have been made at the global level to guide the implementation and achievement of the MDGs in 2015. Reports indicate that there is a major progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals but that the most vulnerable are left behind. The 2011 Millennium Development Goal report also indicated that sub-Saharan Africa has made some progress towards achieving the MDGs but reaching all the goals by end of 2015 remains challenging.

“… The post 2015 development agenda must recognize the changed context of the world, the changed geography of poverty and the need not only to improve the content but also put in place an accountability framework. In particular, the post 2015 development agenda must recognize the changed demographics of the world and mainstream youth issues and have stand alone youth programming to deal with the challenges of the youth across the world.

“As the UN system task team on the post 2015 UN development agenda has argued, ‘business as usual cannot be an option and transformative change is needed.’ There is therefore the need to promote the core values of human rights, equality and sustainability and formulate an agenda that is holistic and addresses the dimension of inclusive social development, inclusive economic development, environmental sustainability and peace and security.”

According to the “World Health Statistics 2015” published last week by World Health Organisation (WHO), despite great advances, this is not enough to reach the MDG of reducing the death rate by two-thirds. Less than one third of all countries have achieved or are on track to meet this target by the end of this year. The top killers of children aged less than five years are now: preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia and diarrhoea.

This year’s “World Health Statistics” on global health goals for 194 countries– assesses progress towards the health-related goals in each of the 194 countries for which data are available. The results are mixed.

Highlights from the “World Health Statistics 2015 include:

*Life expectancy at birth has increased six years for both men and women since 1990.

*Two-thirds of deaths worldwide are due to non-communicable diseases.

*In some countries, more than one-third of births are delivered by caesarean section.

*In low- and middle-income countries, only two-thirds of pregnant women with Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) receive anti-retrovirals to prevent transmission to their baby.

*Over one-third of adult men smoke tobacco.

*Only one in three African children with suspected pneumonia receives antibiotics.

*15 per cent of women worldwide are obese.

*The median age of people living in low-income countries is 20 years, while it is 40 years in high-income countries.

*One quarter of men have raised blood pressure.

*In some countries, less than five per cent of total government expenditure is on health.