Related News

Faith in Action for Children

Interfaith Prayer With Children In the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

22 April 2020


Human rights and equality must lead future development agenda, poll finds

While meeting the millennium development goals remains important, respondents list jobs and security among priorities.

Liz Ford, Tuesday 10 September 2013 12.32 EDT

The future development agenda must be built on the principles of human rights and universal values of equality, justice and security, according to the latest results of global UN consultations on tackling poverty after 2015.

Over the past year, more than a million people have taken part in 88 national consultations, 11 thematic debates and the global My World survey, organised by the UN, to share their views on future development priorities.

While meeting the eight millennium development goals (MDGs) remains important, respondents made clear the need for an expanded post-2015 brief that made inclusive growth, decent jobs, peace and security, freedom from violence, good governance and environmental sustainability priorities – issues that appeared in the millennium declaration, but did not make it into the MDGs in 2000.

A good education, better healthcare and honest, responsive governments emerged as the top three priorities in the My World survey, which has received more than 800,000 responses so far.

Respondents also demanded a "data revolution" to increase access to up to date, disaggregated and reliable information to get a more timely idea of development progress and to hold leaders to account for their policies.

The findings will feed into UN discussions on what should follow the MDGs when their deadline expires in 2015.

"Ending income poverty and hunger, achieving full gender equality and improving health services and access to education for every child remain foremost in people's priorities, and they want these issues to continue to be directly addressed in the future agenda," says a report on the findings, A million voices: the world we want, published by the UN on Tuesday.

But the report adds: "People are demanding a universal agenda that tackles challenges both for people and for the planet. Equality and non-discrimination also stood out as a key message: people are demanding justice, participation and dignity."

Olav Kjørven, UN assistant secretary-general who oversees policy work on the post-2015 agenda, told the Guardian that the UN would continue the consultations over the next two years to ensure, "whatever we put out there [people's views] is relevant to what is being discussed by governments". He added that it was crucial that any global goals were adapted at national and local level to ensure they "make sense at a community level".

On the subject of data, Kjørven said he hoped that by 1 January 2016, the infrastructure would be in place to allow some countries to produce up to date, accurate baseline figures on their development progress so they could "hit the ground running" on achieving any new goals.

Tuesday's findings chime with a number of recent reports on visions for the post-2015 development agenda, including research conducted by the Participate Initiative, which targeted some of the most marginalised groups, and the UN high-level panel established by the UN general secretary, Ban Ki-moon, in August last year.

The Participate research highlighted equality, corrupt-free governments, inclusiveness, gender equality, and environmental concerns as priorities. Meanwhile, in its report, published in May, the 27-member panel, chaired by the UK prime minister, David Cameron, and the presidents of Indonesia and Liberia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf respectively, suggested 12 new goals that included job creation, equitable growth, good governance and stable and peaceful societies, along with universal access to water and sanitation, health and quality education and training.

A separate open working group, set up following last year's Rio+20 summit to come up with a set of sustainable development goals, is due to report back to the UN next year.

However, it is unclear how, or whether, all these reports and findings can or will mesh into one single post-2015 process. There are expected to be sticky issues around environmental sustainability, ensuring stability, and whether any new suite of goals will be universal.

"On the one hand, it is not clear how all the different pieces will come together because when it comes to the specific process between now and September 2014 and into 2015, there are still negotiations going on between governments on this [post-2015] roadmap and there are some disagreements," said Kjørven

"On the other hand, there is a lot of good news here. This is incomparable with any other process that I have ever been involved in at the UN because here we have the HLP with its report on the table, and we have a report from the scientific community on the table [from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network] ... and the business community through the global compact has been mobilised. It's never happened before, it's a game-changer ... The UN membership really has quite a gift in their hands."

He added: "Politically, there are tricky issues that need to be resolved, when it comes to what extent this [post-2015] agenda should be universal, and on difficult and sensitive issues around peace and security, or governance or environmental sustainability. But people are very clear and they know what sort of world they want to live in, and expect policymakers to take on these challenges."

The UN findings will be discussed at the UN general assembly in New York this month.

Read the original article on