SDSN Issues Draft Report for Public Consultation

unsdsn7 May 2013: The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has released a draft report of its Leadership Council to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, for public consultation. Comments are being accepted until 22 May 2013.

The 20-page report, titled “An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development,” draws on the work of the SDSN's 12 Thematic Groups and other consultations undertaken by the 75-member Leadership Council. It focuses on the “operational significance” of the four dimensions of sustainable development – as outlined in the SDSN's December 2013 draft “Framework for Sustainable Development” - which are: economic development (including the end of extreme poverty), social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance (including security).

To summarize these dimensions in a set of clear, succinct, and useful goals, the draft puts forward ten “priority sustainable development challenges,” as a basis for framing the SDGs. The ten challenges are: End extreme poverty including hunger; Achieve development within planetary boundaries; Ensure Effective Learning for All Children and Youth for Life and Livelihood; Achieve Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Human Rights; Achieve Health and Wellbeing at all Ages; Improve Agriculture Systems and Raise Rural Prosperity; Empower Inclusive, Productive and Resilient Cities; Curb Human-Induced Climate Change and Ensure Clean Energy for All; Secure Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Good Management of Natural Resources; and Transform Governance for Sustainable Development. An annex to the draft report outlines specific goals and targets, mostly for the year 2030.

On a teleconference to launch the consultation process on 7 May, SDSN representatives noted that the report's central focus is on sustainable development and mapping the process from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the SDGs. They noted that the SDGs should serve as the follow-up to the MDGs, as expressed by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The report also aims at finishing the job not yet done by the MDGs, and to this end representatives said the post-2015 development agenda must be universal, and that the report emphasizes the responsibility of rich countries in decoupling living standards and growth from the use of environmental resources. SDSN representatives added that the MDGs' focus on extreme poverty must continue, and for this reason the report proposes continuing this as SDG 1. They said the report also makes clear the importance of addressing inequality.

In inviting comments, SDSN notes that the Leadership Council has decided to limit the number of challenges to ten, with three targets each. Therefore, any suggested additional goals or targets will need to replace a current goal or target.

The SDSN's final report is expected to contribute to the report of the UN Secretary-General to UN Member States on the occasion of the special event to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the MDGs, and also to contribute to the work of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Other contributions to these processes will include reports from the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP), the UN Global Compact, and the global thematic and national consultations led by the UN Development Group (UNDG). SDSN representatives said it has been providing technical support to the HLP, with those contributions available on the SDSN website, and also has been in discussions with the OWG. They said the reports of the SDSN and HLP would bear similarities and complementarities, but the SDSN report emphasizes the need to take on environmental challenges.

The SDSN was launched in 2012 to mobilize global scientific and technological knowledge regarding the challenges of sustainable development. [SDSN Press Release] [Publication: An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development (Draft)] [Publication: A Framework for Sustainable Development (Draft)] [IISD RS Sources]