High-Level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda Dialogues with Civil Society

NGLS24 September 2012: On the sidelines of the opening of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) organized a civil society dialogue on the post-2015 development process with members of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and its Secretariat, including Amina J. Mohammed, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning.

The dialogue was facilitated by Rosa Lizarde, Feminist Task Force of Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), and convened on 24 September 2012, in New York, US. High-Level Panel members in attendance included Queen Rania of Jordan, Tawakel Karman of Yemen, John Podesta of the US, Gunilla Carlsson of Sweden, Fulbert Gero Amoussouga of Benin, Horst Kohler of Germany, Jean-Michel Severino of France, Betty Maina of Kenya, and Emilia Pires of Timor-Leste.

The Secretary-General's Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning, Amina Mohammed, offered introductory remarks, and noted that significant unfinished business remains in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She expressed the hope that it will not take five years before for Heads of State and member States recognize the new goals, as it did for the MDGs, but that they will hit the ground running in 2015. She also emphasized her expectation that the process of creating the new agenda will be transparent. She called attention to the fact that there are three processes to engage with: the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons; the country-level consultations and thematic consultations to be facilitated by the UN Development Group (UNDG); and the Sustainable Development Goals process. She emphasized the importance of the narrative that will inform these processes. Panel members emphasized, inter alia, the importance of this discussion with civil society before the first meeting of the High-Level Panel, the role of civil society's voice in its work, and the challenge of creating meaningful jobs.

Two members of civil society then offered comments. Bernadette Fischler, Beyond2015, reported on the declaration developed at the CIVICUS World Assembly, which convened in Montreal, and emphasized the need to eradicate poverty, reverse growing inequality and achieve environmental sustainability. She looked forward to learning the Panel's thoughts on these priorities, and expressed disappointment that there was no mention of human rights in the Panel's terms of reference. She also called attention to a new initiative – “Participate” – which she said would be launched the next day. Paul Okumu, Saferworld/African CSO Coalition on Principles & Partnerships, emphasized the narrative, process and outcome, stressing the issues of accountability, transparency and human rights.

Additional comments from civil society participants included: inquiries about why no member of a worker's organization was on the panel and how to engage youth in the post-2015 development agenda; the importance of a rights-based approach and of galvanizing political will; and the need to include the international financial structure in the Panel's focus, to develop targets for a social protection floor and for gender equality and women's empowerment.

John Hendra (Co-chair of UNDG, UN Women) agreed about the importance of inclusiveness, human rights, and accountability. He noted the upcoming country and thematic consultations, as well as the web platform,, which is meant to inform this global consultation. Shamshad Akhtar (Assistant Secretary General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs), highlighted that the MDG and sustainable development goals agendas are interlinked. Homi Kharas (Lead Author and Executive Secretary of the Secretariat that will support the High-Level Panel) said the Panel will have meetings in other countries and hopes to have outreach opportunities, emphasizing the importance of transparency, accountability and anti-discrimination as bedrocks for development. [IISD RS Sources] [Beyond2015 Website] [NGLS Webpage]