May 2014

After a short hiatus following the last meeting of the OWG on Sustainable Development Goals in June of this year, activities surrounding the P2015 UN Development Agenda have ramped up again, with a number of reports being released and events being held on the P2015 agenda:

IOM Chairs GMG and the group adopts a position paper on post-2015:

Under IOM’s chairmanship, the principals of the Global Migration Group (GMG) have signed off on a position paper on the role of migration in the post-2015 UN Development Agenda. This document, which forms the collective view of the 16 agencies that are members of the GMG, will be used  as an advocacy piece in various intergovernmental and UN system processes, such as the Open Working Group on  Sustainable Development Goals. A copy of the GMG position paper is available here.

Opening of the 68th Session of the General Assembly:

At the commencement of the 68th session of the General Assembly on September 17, the incoming President of the GA, John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), outlined his priorities for the coming year, including the focus of his presidency, which is on the theme ‘The Post-2015 Agenda: Setting the Stage’. The PGA will convene a number of meetings related to this theme, among which will be a thematic debate on global partnerships. The dates of these events are still to be determined.

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (24 September):

On 24 September 2013, the PGA convened the inaugural meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The HLPF is one of the key outcomes of the Rio + 20 conference, mandated with conducting regular reviews, starting in 2016, on the follow-up and implementation of sustainable development commitments and objectives, including those related to the post-2015 development agenda. Being the first meeting of the HLPF, many Member States outlined their views on how the work of the HLPF should be conducted, and what its role and status should be vis-à-vis other entities (such as the OWG). From the statements delivered by many delegations, it appears that Member States intend the HLPF to be the key mechanism through which the specific goals, targets and indicators of the P2015 agenda will be developed and monitored, building on and coordinating the work of the OWG and other inputs, such the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on P2015.

Common themes heard during statements at the first HLPF included establishing new global partnerships; adopting a universal approach that leaves no one behind, and that contains common but differentiated responsibilities for all countries; the importance of a human centered approach; the need for an innovative agenda that takes into account new trends and challenges since 2000; and the need for a data revolution.

UNSG report and the High-level event on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and outlook for a post-2015 UN Development Agenda (25 September):

On 25th September, Heads of State and Government met at the UN to review progress towards the MDGs and to consider issues to take into account as part of the P2015 UN Development Agenda. At the event, governments adopted a timetable for developing the P2015 Agenda, which will culminate in a 2015 Summit at which the new framework will be adopted.

As part of his contribution to this High-level event, the Secretary-General released a report entitled “A life of dignity for all”. This report, to which IOM contributed, highlights the importance of migration in a number of contexts, including as a challenge that the new agenda will need to take into account, and as an element of a transformative post-2015 agenda. The report also refers to migration in the UNSG’s first blueprint for what the post-2015 development goals and targets might look like, in which there is a particularly timely reference to need for better data on “human well-being”. The UNSG report can be found here. For easy reference the main paragraphs that refer to migration are the following:

(on the transformative agenda) 93. Enhance the positive contribution of migrants. More than a billion people rely on international and domestic migration to improve the income, health and education of their families, escape poverty and conflict and adapt to environmental and economic shocks. Countries receiving migrants can also benefit significantly. Yet many barriers limit the positive effects of migration, including possible large economic and social gains. Discrimination is widespread and the human rights of migrants are often denied at different points in the migration process. The scourge of human trafficking, an unacceptable dimension of migration, must be ended.

(on setting the goals) 111. Goals and targets should take into account cross-cutting issues such as gender, disability, age and other factors leading to inequality, human rights, demographics, migration and partnerships. The new goals should embrace the emphasis on human well-being and include the use of metrics that go beyond standard income measures, such as surveys of subjective well-being and happiness, as introduced by many countries and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

During the event, some delegations, notably Guatemala, Greece, Estonia, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the ECE, noted that the P2015 agenda must take into account the trends and challenges that have become more salient since 2000, including migration. OHCHR and UNAIDS spoke of the need to bring often excluded groups, including migrants, into the new agenda.

IOM’s Director General delivered a statement during one of the roundtable sessions. In this statement, the DG outlined three issues that have formed part of the broader discussions on P2015 and that for IOM are particularly vital, including the need for:

  • a far-reaching, transformative agenda that takes into account important global trends, challenges and opportunities (i.e. migration). The DG made note of the scale and complexity of modern migration patterns, highlighting the implications this would have for development.
  • a universal agenda that tackles exclusion and inequality. The DG noted that although migration opens doors to significant opportunities for many people, too many are in an irregular situation or work in precarious sectors and are often left out of the development process. If the new agenda is to truly leave no one behind, it must therefore include and take into consideration the human and labour rights of all migrants.
  • new global partnerships. The DG pointed out that although migration offers many positive outcomes for development, these outcomes are not always guaranteed. It requires effective cooperation and coherence at the global, regional and national levels. The international community should therefore aspire to transparent and cooperative global partnerships on migration, including within the P2015 agenda.