The GSO is well positioned to facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration to support the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Starting with the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development in June 2012, the GSO has been engaging key players to develop a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder perspective in an effort (a) to stimulate linkages and priorities among the multiplicity of goals and targets for a post-2015 agenda and (b) to promote innovative partnerships for collaborative action on these inter-dependent and prioritized goals and targets.
Under the guidance of the Executive Director and the GSO Project Team, GSO interns and staff have played an instrumental role in capturing the patchwork of thematic consultations, expert working groups and inter-governmental processes over the past two and a half years. Two GSO webinars on 24 April 2013 and 5 December 2013 featured the eleven thematic approaches to consultations that preceded the formation of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals. Once the OWG was established and operational, it convened its own series of topical consultations throughout 2013 before tackling its goal-setting phase. From February to July 2014, the OWG refined its interactive deliberations around 17 goals and 169 targets. The final OWG report has subsequently been labelled by the UN General Assembly as the definitive package from which to launch the official 2015 negotiating process.
The GSO has identified four “focus areas” that merit the closer scrutiny of a truly interactive dialogue from a Geneva perspective – on health and population dynamics, food security and nutrition, water and sanitation and energy. The GSO convened three roundtable sessions on 24 April, 11 June and 19 September 2014 to promote an interactive dialogue and innovative partnerships on these focus areas. The GSO also hosted a panel discussion at the WTO Public Forum on a related theme on 2 October 2014. These events were further supplemented by two webinars to highlight the work of the GSO’s spring and fall 2014 interns on 23 April 2014 and 10 December 2014.
The first interactive dialogue on 24 April 2014 started with a high-level panel that was invited to identify the inter-linkages among these four focus areas. This was followed by all participants engaging in small group discussions on their chosen focus area before returning to the full plenary. The group then drafted an action plan that was transmitted to the OWG, while follow-up strategy sessions to explore options for building cross-cutting coalitions were featured in the GSO roundtable events on 11 June and 19 September 2014 and at the WTO Public Forum on 2 October 2014. The 24 April 2014 outcome document — Key Messages from the GSO Open Interactive Dialogue on the Post 2015 Development Agenda and Goals – can be found here. A full report of the 24 April 2014 event is available here.
At the follow-up roundtable on 11 June 2014, participants noted the role of trade as a key enabler, but also new thinking about consumption as well as production, over-nutrition as well as under-nutrition, sustainable livelihoods through entrepreneurship, and health for all rather than disease-specific initiatives. Participants observed the increasing presence of non-state actors in global policy debates and called for new mechanisms and trust-building for multi-stakeholder engagement and partnerships. Read the full summary of the 11 June 2014 event here.
The 19 September 2014 session was a special event at the GSO Annual General Assembly and featured an excellent panel on “Partnering for a Post-2015 Development Agenda”. Panelists and GSO members and friends attending the General Assembly agreed that the challenge was to give partnering a real meaning. With the recommendation that the new Sustainable Development Goals should be universally applicable, the key will be financing from a multi-stakeholder perspective, including a suitable role for the private sector. Participants preferred the term “transformation” to the term “development” but also agreed that a new mechanism was needed for collective governance and accountability, incorporating both procedural justice for all and incentives for innovation. See the 19 Sept 2014 report on “Partnering for a Post-2015 Development Agenda” here.
At the WTO Public Forum, the GSO hosted a high-level panel discussion on the role of consumers and trade, entitled “Understanding different consumer perspectives and advancing sustainable consumption patterns.” The key message from the panelists was that developing countries can benefit from complying with standards but often have more costs with their own domestic regulations. Regional harmonization and an appreciation for the linkages between international, regional and local circumstances were also part of the dialogue at this session. See the GSO report from this 2 October 2014 session here.
In addition, please click on the links below to access the PowerPoint presentations from our recent webinars:
This post was updated on 30 December 2014.