IEF comments on post-2015 reports to UN Secretary-General

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on 13. July 2013 - 2:02

The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service facilitated a consultation up to 12 July to gather critical analysis from civil society on four post-2015 reports submitted to the Secretary-General:
1) High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (Post-2015 HLP)
2) UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
3) UN Global Compact (UNGC)
4) UN Development Group (UNDG): The Global Conversation Begins

They specifically asked what civil society organizations agreed with or disagreed with in both the narrative sections of these reports and their proposed goals, targets and indicators. The reports all provided thoughtful analyses of the challenges post-2015, and largely converged on a proposed set of goals and targets. The International Environment Forum (IEF) therefore only made a few specific comments on some proposals in the reports.


All the reports provide a good analysis of the post-2015 challenges and converge on a rather similar set of goals and targets.

In the 3rd para. on p.9, the HLP says that business wants a level playing field. This is essential, but in a global economy, it must be established at the planetary level. This will require a level of international governance that does not presently exist, and has for too long been opposed by governments. It should be part of post-2015 planning.

The SDSN makes an important point on p. 26, section V, para. 2, that the challenges are inherently integrated and the goals must be pursued in combination. We would go further and say that there will be significant trade-offs between goals that pull in different directions. For example, achieving goals 1 and 6 on ending poverty and improving agriculture, while simultaneously meeting goals 2, 8 and 9 on planetary limits, climate change and biodiversity, may only be possible with a significant redistribution of wealth and resources and a lower material standard of living in the developed countries. It is not evident that there are enough resources to go around, at least on a 15-year time scale, so poverty reduction will require wealth reduction if we are not to keep borrowing from the future. In adopting the goals, there needs to be an accompanying analysis of the resources required to implement them collectively, with a practical roadmap on how to assemble those resources over the 15-year time period. Otherwise, the result will be inevitable disappointment.
On p. 27, section V., para .8, we strongly support the central objective of social inclusion, and its reflection in disaggregated metrics. This is the only way to head off the destabilizing effects of rising inequity in the present system, especially for the young.


The HLP includes a paragraph on young people (p. 17), but it does not go far enough. Transitions in the past have been led by wise statesmen. With new information technologies and social networks, the next transition will probably be led by young people, who are losing hope in the present system, and have the idealism and energy to put a new one in its place. The pressures from educated but frustrated youth are already rising in various parts of the world, and the post-2015 agenda should be their agenda. They should be more involved, and take ownership.


The SDSN Goals and Targets capture more scientific realism than the HLP goals, especially Goals 2, 8 and 9, and should be given priority in the final listing.


Goal 10: transform governance, falls short of what is needed in terms of international governance to achieve goals 2, 8 and 9. The goal should call for governance mechanisms responsible to keep human impacts within planetary boundaries and to ensure sustainability of the biosphere.

Goal 1 should be rephrased to "increase prosperity via an inclusive economy". Growth should not be mentioned, as growth in areas of poverty may need to be counterbalanced by reduced consumption and increased efficiency in wealthier areas to stay within sustainable planetary boundaries.