CSOs Plan Input to Post-Rio and Post-2015 Sustainable Development Processes

Post-Rio to Post-2015: Planning International Stakeholder Engagement 22 October 2012: Representatives from civil society came together on 20-21 October 2012, in New York, US, to discuss stakeholder input to the UN's processes on governance and sustainable development following the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The meeting was organized by Stakeholder Forum, the Green Economy Coalition (GEC), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

At the meeting, titled “Post-Rio to Post-2015: Planning International Stakeholder Engagement," representatives of the Major Groups and global stakeholders discussed the inclusiveness of Member States' negotiations to determine the post-2015 development agenda and create the new High Level Political Forum to replace the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Expressing concern that they have hit a “glass wall” now that these negotiations are taking place within the UN General Assembly (UNGA), stakeholders discussed their search for entry points to make their views and experiences heard.

In the weekend's opening plenary discussion, speakers stressed the necessity of civil society inclusion in the follow-up processes of Rio+20. Farooq Ullah, Executive Director, Stakeholder Forum, said “stakeholders are of vital importance for these processes and the post-2015 development agenda,” and recommended that groups send strong messages to decision-makers. Jorge Laguna-Celis, Representative of Mexico to the UNGA's Second Committee, outlined the need for more space for stakeholders in decision-making processes. He said the most important factors for the success of sustainable development are: convergence to one post-2015 agenda; the universality of one set of goals; inclusiveness of stakeholders within new institutions; and effective financing and opportunities for growth. Other panelists, including David O'Connor, DESA, and Pedro Telles, Vitae Civilis, also spoke about the possible convergence of the post-2015 and sustainable development agendas into one set of common goals for the future.

The meeting included several small working group discussions, on: sustainable development governance; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and post-2015 development agenda; green economies; the 10 Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP); and implementation and delivery of these processes. Participants reached some consensus on their demands for civil society, governments, and for UN bodies, centering their priorities on creating consultations that are open and inclusive, and one coherent development agenda. Participants also considered reforms to the Major Group system to make it more effective and reflective of the diverse views in civil society.

Representatives also stressed the need to bring in the voices of marginalized and disadvantaged peoples, who often are unable to participate in UN discussions. In the closing plenary, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator Brice Lalonde praised groups working on global development and groups focused on the environment for coming closer together. Ullah said stakeholders had challenged themselves to break through their own barriers to find a more holistic approach to international sustainable development.

Organizations and Major Groups plan to put forward proposals for stakeholder inclusion in the post-2015 development and governance processes, and to create new platforms for online outreach and communication. The meeting's organizers will issue a summary of discussions and agreed actions. [IISD RS Sources] [Meeting Webpage]