22 July 2016, New York — Last week, on the margins of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the UN’s central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (Global Partnership) held its 10th Steering Committee meeting and a special side event titled Leaving No One Behind: African Perspectives.
With one in eight people living in extreme poverty, nearly 800 million people suffering from hunger, 1.1 billion people living without electricity, and water scarcity affecting more than 2 billion, among other societal challenges, it is time to focus on the “how” of achieving the 2030 Agenda.
The Global Partnership meetings were timed to coincide with the HLPF, allowing for an exchange of knowledge and insight about how effective development co-operation can both achieve and accelerate progress towards the SDGs, particularly targeting the most vulnerable and marginalised. By contributing evidence and knowledge based on its country-focus approach, the Global Partnership can deepen co-operation between key development actors and play a meaningful, measurable role in advancing the 2030 Agenda.
During the HLPF, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the first-ever Sustainable Development Goals report, and said that the 15-year undertaking is “off to a good start,” but will require all parts of the UN family and its partners to work together. Indeed, a whole chapter of the SDG report focused on the critical importance of inclusive institutions for sustainable development—the underlying bedrock of the Global Partnership. With a 21-member steering committee representing governments; multilateral, international and regional organisations; civil society, trade unions, the private sector and foundations; local and regional governments; and parliamentarians, the Global Partnership is well-positioned to convene non-traditional partners, allies and collaborators, and help fast-track progress towards the SDGs.
We need new and dynamic ways of thinking, new ways of acting and new ways of organising. We need new ways of communicating and working as a community on the national, regional and international levels. And we need clear and credible ways of measuring and reporting progress.
At the opening of the 10th Steering Committee meeting, H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, President of the Economic and Social Council, remarked that the inclusive nature of the Global Partnership has particular relvance to the 2030 Agenda, promotes development partnerships at the country level to support local SDG implementation, and can compliiment other UN processes such as Financing for Development (FfD).
Led by three Ministerial-level Co-Chairs (Malawi, Mexico and the Netherlands) and Kenya, host of the Second High-Level Meeting (HLM2) to be held in Nairobi later this year, the steering committee went on to discuss the future direction of the platform; the vital role that the monitoring framework can play towards measuring SDG progress; the continued need to spotlight country-level efforts of co-operation and progress, and the importance of detailing policies that work for global learning; how best to align and integrate efforts of the Global Partnership to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and key preparations for HLM2. Indeed, the HLPF meetings served as an important source of input and guidance when discussing the upcoming Nairobi conference. A full summary of the meeting will be posted on the Global Partnership website soon.
Rooted in four core principles, the Global Partnership’s work supports developing country leadership, institutions and country-systems; more transparent development co-operation to deliver predictable results aligned to developing countries’ systems and priorities; inclusive development partnerships to maximise impact; and monitoring of the quality of partnerships. It also seeks to build political momentum to translate principles into action, including promoting accountability through mutual learning and monitoring, with over 80 developing countries participating in its monitoring work.
These principles underpinned the Global Partnership side event at the HLPF, which was co-hosted by the Government of Malawi and NEPAD, and moderated by H.E. Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations and lead negotiator of the HLM2 Outcome Document. The event focused on what leaving no one behind means in Sub-Saharan Africa, drawing conclusions from the African Economic Outlook 2016, which was co-published by the African Development Bank, the OECD and UNDP using research undertaken by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
Participants concluded that implementation of the SDGs—and focusing on those left furthest behind—requires flexibility, taking into account priorities in each country, and thus development co-operation must be adaptable, reflecting local concerns and context. Similarly, achieving the SDGs requires inclusive partnerships and collaboration at the local, national, regional and global level—with special attention paid to the least developed and landlocked countries, fragile states and marginalised groups such as women and children. Participants also highlighted that the Global Partnership is unique with its evidence-based monitoring framework, which provides data to measure progress on commitments made to effective development and development co-operation. A full summary of the side event will be posted on the Global Partnership website soon.
With the HLPF coming to a close this week, and with the Global Partnership squarely focused on the Second High-Level Meeting in Nairobi—taking place 28 November–1 December this year—we must be guided by our international commitment to leaving no one behind and tackling the greatest societal challenges of our time with urgency, innovation, data and cross-sector collaboration. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this week, the international community must “pledge never to rest until we have achieved a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.”