Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guest Blog: CHOICE @ UNGASE on MDGs

Close WO=MEN partner CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality is attending the UN General Assembly Special Event (UNGASE) on the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Framework. Youth Advocate Jolien Oosterheerd and General Board Member Michiel Andeweg give you a heads up about the process.

MDGs, SDGs and Post-2015

Let’s start off with the brief basics. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were signed in 2000 and created a global approach and overall vision in global development. The eight goals include promoting gender equality (3), improving maternal health and achieving universal access to reproductive health (5A&B) and combating HIV/AIDS (6). With the deadline of 2015 drawing near, it is time for Member States, UN agencies and CSOs to evaluate the achievements and challenges of the MDGs and see how to move forward from 2015 onwards. This General Assembly is marked as a start of this process.

And then we have the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During Rio+20, the UN conference on sustainable development, Member States agreed on the development of a new set of goals: the SDGs. The Open Working Group (OWG), a 30 seats committee, has been mandated by the Member States to negotiate the SDGs. At first, the seats would have been filled by 30 different countries. Now, 72 countries are involved, so most of the seats are shared. The outcome document is expected to feed into the General Assembly of 2014. The role of civil society in this process is coordinated by the Major Groups and stakeholders (MG&S), which represent nine sectors of global society, such as the Women MG and the Children and Youth MG.


So, in short this is what we know about the processes, and the next steps have not been set in stone. It will be likely that Member States will push for a merge of the SDG and MDG processes into one framework. However, some Latin American countries are expected to strongly protect the SDGs. The African countries seem to see it the other way around; the predominant feeling is that the SDGs undermine the power of the MDG process.

However, this informal consensus is not reflected in the outcome document that is expected to be signed this Wednesday, at the UNGASE on MDGs.

So, to draw the expected picture of the process: the SDGs will be the ‘draft version’ of the Post-2015 process.

This means: every victory that we can make on the SDG process (on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), meaningful youth participation, gender equality, HIV and AIDS and/or education), is more likely to be picked up in the Post-2015 Development Framework. It is all about building a strong foundation towards the GA of 2014.

There seems to be another general consensus: unreached MDGs need to be part of the next agenda. How this will take form, is unclear; perhaps several of the goals will be merged.

It is possible the SDGs will be defined with a more narrow focus and with that, have fewer goals. If so, Member States will have to pick their battles. This could be dangerous for SRHR issues, which are much more specific than for example efforts to increase access to primary education. Countries that we know are ‘SRHR heroes’, might not pick our battles.

A strong focus in our advocacy efforts needs to be on indicator and target level. Rumour has it that it might be possible we will have one overall health goal. If this will happen, it’s essential for us to push for the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health and rights and youth friendly services herein.


To conclude: we, the gender equality, SRHR and youth movement need to step up our game in this process. The SDGs will (in direct or indirect ways) feed into the new development framework. Let us coordinate our joint effort towards a progressive and ambitious vision for sustainable development!

CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality is a Dutch youth-led organization that actively promotes and supports the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of young people worldwide.


Rineke van Dam said...

hear hear!! good work out there and keep on briefing us on the developments. We are (I am) actious to hear about the progress and agreements of today. Keeping my hopes up for SRHR, gender equality and youth involvement!

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