In 2015 the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development was launched, setting the latest framework for development by the United Nations. It includes 17 goals seeking to build on the Millennium Development Goals and completing what these did not achieve. The goals and targets aim to stimulate action over the next fifteen years, and their achievement is planned for 2030.
This is the story of how the CIDSE’s engagement in the Post-2015 process, up to the publication of the Agenda 2030, was crucial in many ways in influencing the process in different fora; of how CIDSE worked hard to deliver its messages as a network and as part of broader alliances. This story also looks at how the participation in the process changed CIDSE itself, its priorities and its ways of working; how thanks to this process CIDSE evolved as a network, how CIDSE was brought into a process of deep reflection.
This online interactive publication, thanks to the usage of archive pictures, videos and documents, mixed with new and original interviews, recollects the efforts put by CIDSE and members in the Post-2015 process, its main developments and the key turning points, highlighting the main challenges and achievements encountered.
The need for a new development framework after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline was first tabled at the MDGs Review Summit in September 2010. At the hearings with civil society and the private sector ahead of the Review Summit in June 2010, Aldo Caliari from CIDSE’s USA member Center Of Concern intervened on behalf of CIDSE. He called for the outcome document of the Summit to include an agreement to convene an urgent meeting in 2013 to evaluate the MDGs achievements and decide on a Post-2015 Work Programme.
-This interview made in August 2016 with Aldo Caliari, goes through his engagement in the Post-2015 process and especially in the Financing for Development (FFD) process (see references to it below in this online report) and the way it impacted CIDSE’s strategy.
At the beginning of the review process, several positions existed on what were the main points of the MDGs to reconsider. Two examples are showcased below:
-SECAM’s position: bringing forward Africa’s needs
A few weeks before the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (September 2010) CIDSE and its African partner organisation SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) launched a lobby tour of European policy makers to discuss what a true Euro-African partnership in the spirit of MDG8 should look like. As part of the tour, CIDSE organised a debate in the European Parliament to discuss what the EU needed to do to help end Africa’s resource curse. Speakers included Bishop Portella from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This debate explained how, in absence of adequate transparency regulation, transnational extractive companies − many of which are based in Europe− operating in Africa do not report on their financial dealings on a country to country basis. Instead of benefiting African people, large sums of money continue to disappear in secret banks accounts in tax havens.
-Jan Vandemoortele’s position (UN senior manager): a more inclusive process
This interview filmed by CIDSE in 2011 features former UN senior manager Jan Vandemoortele, co-architect of the MDGs. According to Mr. Vandemoortele, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the process to create them will have to be different from the MDGs. More actors should be able to express their voice in the process, which should be more inclusive and participatory; furthermore the way environment and gender equality are covered should be reviewed.
- CIDSE’s view ahead of the UN MDGs Review Summit 2010 was summarised in the report “Deadline 2015” from 2010
In this report, CIDSE called for a new partnership for development based on the principles of mutual accountability, subsidiarity and transparency. The paper also states that efforts should be made to solve the multiple climate, food and financial crises.
Two pieces of research by CIDSE members, the ”100 voices” study by CAFOD and the “Leading Edge” report by Trócaire were fundamental to start CIDSE’s reflections, formulate objectives and a strategy to reach people-led, UN-formulated development framework in 2015:
- “100 Voices: Southern perspectives on what should come after the MDGs”, CAFOD, 2011. While previously the main voices responding to development’s’ pivotal questions have been established by experts from powerful countries in the North, this research with 104 of CAFOD’s partners in developing countries shows a different perspective.
- “Leading Edge 2020, critical thinking on the future of international development”: Trócaire, 2011. This document draws on input from 87 experts across the world during a series of guided conversations on the future of international development.
- CIDSE “EC Post-2015 consultation”, August 2012. According to this policy brief in the period immediately preceding the MDGs’ 2015 deadline and in preparation of a new framework the EU must take account of the lessons that the faults in the design process and the implementation have taught us so far. It should leave no stone unturned to secure a new universal Post-2015 framework that will promote human well-being, living simply, in community, giving priority to equity, sustainability and responsibility.
The Beyond 2015 campaign, of which CIDSE became a member, was created in 2010 to build a global civil society movement focusing on the new global development framework. Its guiding principles were the ones of: equal partnership and shared leadership between civil society organisations from the global “South” and “North”; inclusive processes to ensure meaningful participation of member organisations in the Campaign’s global decision-making and actions. The campaign grew internationally through the years, reaching several achievements:
-Fr. John Patrick Ngoyi at EU Dev Days 2011 at a Beyond 2015 on post MDG content:
A crucial moment for the Beyond 2015 campaign was reached at the World Social Forum 2011 (WSF) in Dakar, Senegal, where discussions with global partners fed into the campaign with some new fundamental ideas.
Some of these are showcased in these video interviews around the World Social Forum:
“Looking beyond 2015 at the 2011 WSF” - Jean Saldanha, CIDSE, interviewed before the WSF
-Fr. John-Patrick Ngoyi at the WSF 2011 arguing that a new development framework after the 2015 MDG deadline needs to focus on social and economic justice rather than on aid.
-Regina “Nanette” S. Antequisa (ECOWEB) at the WSF 2011 argues for the need for more accountability and focus on the environment and climate change in a Post-2015 development framework.
For CIDSE the 2011 World Social Forum was also a fundamental moment as it tightened the links with the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), with whom CIDSE worked extensively within the Post-2015 work.
-In this video interview, recorded in August 2016, Fr. John Patrick Ngoyi from SECAM talks, enthusiasticallyof CIDSE’s and SECAM collaboration in the Post-2015 process. He particularly appreciated CIDSE’s way of doing advocacy “from within”, without needing to advertise themselves. According to John Patrick, CIDSE’s messages, based on Catholic Social Teaching, resonated as very humane and were easily accessible and appreciated also by the many non faith-based partners and allies.
Trócaire and CIDSE played a major role in shaping the Beyond 2015 campaign at the onset; later, in 2012, Trócaire took a step back to allow a stronger Southern voice in the campaign’s leadership. Other partners of CIDSE and members have played a role in the campaign, some also being engaged in its international leadership. CIDSE shared a joint seat with CAFOD in the executive group till 2013 after which it withdrew active engagement in the international campaign and focused on actively shaping the European position and strategy of the Beyond 2015 campaign as part of the Beyond 2015 European taskforce.
The main goal of the European taskforce was finding a common position for civil society with regards to the upcoming international development framework and influencing the EU in their position.
The two co-chairs of the campaign, Sally Nicholson from WWF and Tanya Cox from Plan International, explore the role of the European taskforce and the relevance of CIDSE’s engagement in there.
-Interview with Sally Nicholson from WWF, recorded in August 2016.
-Interview with Tanya Cox from Plan International, made in August 2016.
The Beyond 2015 European taskforce’s positions were gathered in the paper : “Putting people and planet first” May 2013
The paper proposes that poverty be looked at from a multi-dimensional perspective that encompasses a shortage of capabilities, choices, security and power as well as resources such as income. Given the nature and scale of the global challenges the world is facing, it is no longer possible to imagine a framework which is designed predominantly for implementation by developing countries.
The Post-2015 framework must be universal, with global goals pertaining to all countries and all countries contributing to their achievement.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June 2012. CIDSE was present with a delegation made of staff from the International Secretariat, members and partners. In the preparatory phase of the conference, CIDSE as well as Beyond 2015 called for the imperative of creating a new development framework to be factored into discussions on the next steps of the UN’s Sustainable Development agenda.
The Rio+20 outcome document established a new intergovernmental process to reach a new set of Sustainable Development Goals and created the Open Working Group (OWG) to develop SDGs to be submitted to the UN General Assembly for further consideration and action.
It also agreed to set up an intergovernmental committee of experts (ICESDF) to provide a report on Financing Sustainable Development to the UN General Assembly for its consideration and action.
While the international support for a future integrated agenda was a positive outcome of Rio+20, the great emphasis on the green economy and the role the private sector would play in shaping this future agenda was of great concern to CIDSE.
-“SDGs: Cutting through the fog” July 2012 , CIDSE’s Policy and Advocacy Officer Denise Auclair about the quick rise to fame of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
CIDSE and its members looked at evaluating the process adopting different angles of particular concern, such as corporate influence and gender equality.
- “Corporate influence in the Post-2015 process”, January 2014 by Misereor, Global Policy Forum and Brot für die Welt. This paper provides an overview of the main corporate actors in the Post-2015 process and how they shape the discourse on development. It advocates for more transparency around the participation of corporations in UN processes, including their financial support to UN initiatives, and for more reflection on the risks of a corporate, private interests-driven development agenda.
- “Measuring progress on women’s participation and influence in decision-making in the SDGs: Recommendations to the Inter-agency and Expert Group and UN Member States” Trócaire, July 2015. The Gender & Development Network (GADN), of which Trócaire was a member, strongly supports the inclusion of targets associated with ‘women’s participation and leadership in decision-making’ in the Post-2015 development agenda. This paper explains why the indicators for this target should measure not only the number of women represented (quantitatively), but also the extent to which women can be actively involved in and influence decision-making processes at all levels through their participation (qualitatively).
CIDSE and its members, also through the Beyond 2015 European taskforce, kept on advocating for a framework that protected critical values for the success of the framework.
-CAFOD: “Building from the ground up”, March 2013. This paper looks at the value-add of a global development framework, contributing to the discussion to define the Post-2015 agenda. It looks in detail at the values CAFOD believes the framework should be built on to take us towards a shared vision for global development. The paper shows how this can be practically done by suggesting example goals which embody those values, including empowering governance, equitable economies, and resilient livelihoods.
CIDSE also addressed directly the UN in its advocacy efforts, for example through:
-The CIDSE “Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent in advance of his Progress Report, outlining what CIDSE finds important to address regarding the MDGs, as well as giving proposals on the Post-2015 framework” sent in July 2013.
-CIDSE Stock-take on the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, April 2014. CIDSE believed a number of over-arching issues must be taken into account if this work, and the outcome framework, are to respond to the considerable task the OWG has been entrusted with.
Trócaire’s advocacy activities equally continued actively in 2013:
-“My Rights Beyond 2015: Making the Post-2015 Framework Accountable to the World’s Poor” Trócaire, September 2013. This research points to the need for a very different framework to the MDGs beyond 2015, if it was to effectively support people living in poverty to achieve their priorities.
-“The resources are there to do it, but the political will is missing to make those resources available”, interview with Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trócaire
Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trócaire at the time (2013), expressed Trócaire’s position after the “Special event at the United Nations in New York to decide on the future of the MDGs”. According to Mr. Kilcullen, the main elements they were advocating for, such as the centrality of human rights and gender equality should be included. He also pointed to the issue of the allocation of resources to implement these goals. This highlights a crucial point of the process: “How to finance the new development framework?”
The issue of funding the SDGs became an ever more relevant issue, especially in 2015 in view of the Addis third conference on Financing for Development. At the same time, discussions on a follow-up Financing for Development (FfD) Conference started in the UN with a strong push on the part of Northern countries to integrate this Conference and preparations in the ICESDF (Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing) process. Believing that the third FfD Conference could become the venue for the discussion on how the goals would be financed, they promoted a FfD Conference after the SDGs were agreed on. On the other hand, Southern countries wanted both processes to be kept separate and worked hard to make sure that the FfD Conference took place as soon as possible and before the agreement on the SDGs. The opacity of the ICESDF and the divisions of positions among its various members also caused a loss of distrust in the Committee. The final text is a compromise whereby the Addis Ababa Action Agenda is stated to be an integral part of the 2030 Agenda but the Addis outcome document is not annexed to the document.
Different visions on the purpose and objective of the Addis Ababa Financing for Development Conference marked its preparations from the beginning with a genuine concern about the break-down of multilateralism during the negotiation process. Setting a precedent, the last phase of negotiations in Addis Ababa was not conducted in Committee but in closed-door bilateral meetings similar to the “Green-room” style negotiations that the WTO has been criticized of.
In the documents below, the topic of the financing for development is explored, also in view of the Addis Ababa conference
-Input made in the official UN process by Jean Saldanha, CIDSE on behalf of International FfD CSOs in Session on Data, Monitoring and Follow up, January 2015
-“Applicability of the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibility to the Financing for Development Agenda”, article by Jean Saldanha, February 2015
-“Financing the sustainable development goals”, Jean Saldanha interviewed by The Guardian, June 2015
The role of foreign investment in financing development has been a matter of considerable debate in the negotiations leading up to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. An example of this is the ongoing dispute between Northern and Southern countries on how to frame the chapter that deals with foreign investment in the conference Outcome Document. Developing countries opposed the inclusion of both domestic and international private finance in the same chapter, arguing that this blurs the lines between two different flows that should be treated in different ways.
- “Investing in the SDGs: Whose Business?”, Article by Aldo Caliari, Center of Concern, August 2015
Concerns about the funding were again raised ahead of the SDG summit in New York in September 2015, where CIDSE participated with a delegation and promoted Pope Francis’ intervention at the UN General Assembly, in the aftermath of the publication of its encyclical letter Laudato Si’.
- “How will progress on SDGs be funded asks Trócaire”; September 2015. This article reports a statement by Éamonn Meehan, Director of Trócaire, in which he points out that “A key question that remains unanswered is how progress on the global targets is going to be funded. The World Bank estimates that the SDGs targets will take trillions to implement, far in excess of what governments have currently pledged.”
Ahead of the Summit, which ended with the adoption of the Agenda 2030, CIDSE gathered several experts, thinkers, faith leaders and activists in a common call to address world leaders, asking them to put the poor and vulnerable at the core of their decisions.
The SDGs, according to the statement, seek to respond to many of today’s most pressing challenges, but do not overcome fundamental contradictions in the global economy. They do not tackle the unjust rules governing finance, taxation, trade and investment, the signatories warned, arguing that these are essential elements of the structural transformation that is needed in order to address the root causes of poverty and inequality. World leaders were called upon to set limits on natural resource extraction, agree to equitable natural resource-sharing, resist the influence of entrenched interests, and to counter the power of transnational corporations to influence public policy. They were also urged to renew and redirect finance from dirty energy to decentralised community-based renewable energy production, transform the financial system to support the emergence of sustainable alternatives, reform the systems that exclude the majority of the world from determining global taxation rules, trade agreements, and other areas that have a great impact on them. In addition, world leaders were called upon by the signatories to allow marginalised groups such as indigenous people and migrants to speak for themselves at the negotiating table.
Most of all CIDSE is proud of the work carried out with so many allies from North and South, bringing together different voices and feeding them into the process, such as the Beyond 2015 campaign and the European taskforce, faith actors such as SECAM, a wide range of influential actors that decide to unite their voices in the “Public call to world leaders”.
This journey has taught CIDSE the importance of bridging differences to achieve common goals.How rather than resisting them, bringing together differences can be the key to carry out powerful and articulated advocacy activities.
Reflections on the Post-2015 process made it more and more obvious for CIDSE that to tackle development it is crucial to act in an integrated way at different levels, taking into account at the same time the environmental, social and financial aspects. Thanks to this reflection CIDSE has gradually changed its way of working, integrating transversal issues more and more.
The publication of the encyclical Laudato Si’ in 2015 by Pope Francis gave a boost to this process; it underpinned this position and hugely motivated our work on the side of vulnerable communities. It also helped us build on the element of sustainable lifestyles and make simple living one of our core values, which we are now pursuing and deepening with our campaign on sustainable lifestyles “Change for the Planet- Care for the People”.
The process for the building of an international framework for development is in constant evolution, and CIDSE is currently looking at the review of the European Development Consensus, feeding into the process with a recommendations’ document.
The journey continues!
· Interview with Jean Saldanha “Making human rights and environmental protection the fundamentals”, filmed in October 2016.
- “Making Human Rights and Environmental Protection the Fundamentals” paper, CIDSE October 2016 – add link. According to CIDSE, the renewed EU Development Consensus should be based on an integrated approach, making human rights, gender equality, environmental protection and restoration, decent work and indigenous people’s rights an integral part of the economic and climate agenda. It should abandon the dominant techno-centric solutions being put forward to address the challenges of the Sustainable Development agenda. For example addressing hunger and malnutrition requires reflecting on the multi-layered nature of agriculture and food production systems, rather than implementing quick fixes. The respect of human rights, gender equality and the environment should be central values of this process.
This report was published by CIDSE in November 2016.
CIDSE is an international family of Catholic social justice organisations working together with others to promote justice, harness the power of global solidarity and create transformational change to end poverty and inequalities.
Jean Saldanha,Senior Policy Advisor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Valentina Pavarotti, Media and Communications Officer, email@example.com