On May 26, 2015 informal interactive hearings were held with representatives of various NGOs, civil society, major groups and the private sector of the post-2015 development agenda. One of the major thoughts that all speakers brought to the discussions was the partnership of all parties taking part in the process of development, and the inability to work without civil society as a vocal member. New agenda is greatly distinguished from the previous years because it is based on a balanced relationship among all members – “together with no country left behind.” There were several distinct points that speakers put the accent on. First of all, the importance of accountability on local, national and global levels. However, parties were paying attention mostly to answerability and transparency constituents, but I noticed that the enforceability part of accountability did not receive enough attention. Secondly, all parties admit to the importance of climate change and its impact on the ecosystem. It breaks down economy and affects food prices and marine sources. Private business showed its willingness and commitment to cooperate and recognized the necessity to act immediately. Another point that received a lot of attention was gender equality issues. Parties demonstrated a high level of commitment to improve rights of women all over the world.
In my opinion, during both days of discussions there were not enough comments made on strengthening democracy and the rule of law. Interestingly, another crucial aspect that felt left out was conflict resolution. During both days I had several questions on my mind that, unfortunately, only few speakers touched – how can anyone achieve goals such as food security, gender equality, healthy living, and promotion of education in a country where is ongoing conflict? Why is there not enough attention to goals #16 (peaceful societies) and #17 (global partnership) because none of the others are possible without these two? The representative of Republic of Korea made a clear statement that these two goals require more awareness. What are the legal tools to hold governments accountable for their actions and what will happen to ones that fail the promises to establish and follow the goals? How can we trust ambiguous data, when, for example, the hunger report, issued the same day as the discussions were happening, did not include countries that are the largest recipients of the UN humanitarian aid (Somalia, Syria, DRC)? All of the speakers were right saying that Post-2015 agenda requires a holistic approach, but we should witness more attention to the decisive actions from member states in addressing conflicts such as civil wars, refugee crises, and corrupt and abusive governments. Building legitimate and strong institutions at all levels of governance is essential to the process. These issues are to be resolved prior in order to reach all 17 goals.
Notwithstanding some missing points, the meeting seemed to be quite informative and positive with all parties ready to work in a team. The moderator of the first roundtable, Nikhil Daffa, mentioned main distinguishing themes of the new outline, such as high expectations and ambitions and transformative and universal agenda from all parties. And we will observe the new steps and efforts of the whole process in its developing. Hopefully, all promises made by private sector and major groups will be redeemed.