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26-27 November 2013Brussels - Tour & Taxis

A new development agenda: The way forward

Auditorium A Wednesday 27 November 2013 - 16:15 PM - 17:45 PM

The eradication of poverty and ensuring that prosperity and wellbeing are sustainable are two of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. These challenges are universal, interrelated and need to be addressed together by all countries.

The European Union (EU) is involved in global discussions on the development agenda after 2015 – the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – placing particular emphasis on building towards an intensive exchange with non-state actors.

Public consultations, dialogue with strategic partners and wide-ranging research have fed into the EU position on an overarching framework. Through...

The eradication of poverty and ensuring that prosperity and wellbeing are sustainable are two of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. These challenges are universal, interrelated and need to be addressed together by all countries.

The European Union (EU) is involved in global discussions on the development agenda after 2015 – the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – placing particular emphasis on building towards an intensive exchange with non-state actors.

Public consultations, dialogue with strategic partners and wide-ranging research have fed into the EU position on an overarching framework. Through its February 2013 Communication ‘A Decent Life for All’ and the ensuing Council Conclusions, the EU states five building blocks for a post-2015 agenda:

  • Basic, universal living standards under which no-one should fall. Even if all MDGs are reached, much unfinished business will remain to eradicate poverty and further human development.
  • The promotion of ‘drivers’ of inclusive, sustainable growth. Investing in infrastructure or energy, for example, creates growth and decent jobs, whilst boosting human development.
  • Sustainable management of natural resources. This is vital if we are to halt environmental degradation.
  • Equality, equity and justice. Not only are these values in themselves, but also fundamental for sustainable development.
  • Tackling insecurity and state fragility, which impede sustainable development.

Several international processes relevant to the post-2015 agenda are ongoing. Commitments made at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012 initiated work to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda recently published its recommendations for the post-2015 agenda; and a broad United Nations-led consultation process is ongoing. Recently, the UN Secretary-General published his report ‘A life of dignity for all’, which builds on these inputs. In addition, an MDG Special Event will take place in New York, USA on 25 September, which will also give recommendations on the way forward towards a post-2015 agreement. 

This work will provide further impetus for the development of a framework that would offer a coherent and comprehensive response to the universal challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Against this backdrop, the eighth edition of European Development Days will discuss, debate and foster consensus on the EU’s objective to set a globally-agreed, ambitious framework that addresses poverty eradication and sustainable development, and ensures a decent life for all by 2030.

Under the thread of this year’s edition – ‘A vision for the post-2015 agenda’this year’s forum is structured around four themes. Each theme will be composed of three topics and each topic will be highlighted by an auditorium panel and a series of lab sessions.

More informations
  • It is in the interests of all nations of the world to agree to a bold, but practical post-2015 development agenda for poverty eradication and sustainable development.
  • While negotiations continue over this new agenda, efforts should continue to meet the existing Millennium Development Goals.
  • The new agenda should be universal, with benefits and responsibilities for all nations.
  • A major challenge to arriving at agreement on a post-2015 agenda will be to reconcile poverty eradication with environmental protection.

 

The theme and focus of the eighth edition of European Development Days in 2013 (EDD13), was ‘A Decent Life for All – building a consensus for a new development agenda’. EDD13 in general and the Closing Panel in particular focused on the challenges raised by the Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, titled ‘A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development’, presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 30 May 2013.

Speakers, with active audience participation and input, considered several questions, including:

  • Why is a new development agenda needed for 2015?
  • When is it needed?
  • How should a new agenda be structured – should it be universally applicable to all nations, rich, poor, developed and developing?
  • How can all the nations of the world reach agreement on a new development agenda – what kinds of incentives, trade-offs and arm-twisting will be required to get a deal?
  • Should poverty eradication and sustainable development be linked in a post-2015 development agenda?

Speakers and the audience generally agreed that a new development agenda is needed for 2015 because the existing UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are set to expire in 2015. While the eight MDGs have been very useful in advancing poverty reduction and improving human well-being, progress toward their fulfilment has been spotty and new realities require some new approaches going forward. However, even while a new agenda is being negotiated, strenuous efforts to meet the MDGs should continue.

There was also general agreement that the new development agenda should be universally applicable to all nations, with benefits and responsibilities for rich, middle-income and poor countries, including the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. There was further general agreement that sustainable development – development that takes account of planetary resource limitations, environment concerns and climate change challenges – must be linked to poverty eradication in the post-2015 agenda, but that this linkage will require trade-offs and compromises.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and a Co-Chair of the UN High-Level Panel, noted that while progress has been made under the MDGs, in many poor countries, particularly in Africa, many of the goals have not been achieved. She particularly emphasised that MDG 8 – ‘to develop a global partnership for development’ – has not been met and she called for much greater consultation with and participation of poor countries in formulating the post-2015 development agenda. She added that the UN High-Level Panel recommendations are bold, but realistic and achievable. ‘All people and all countries must believe that there is something in the post-2015 agenda for them,’ she said.

‘We have a daunting, but inspiring task ahead of us’, observed Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations. ‘Many actors must be involved, including the private sector,’ he added. Sustainable development will also require ‘stable, credible institutions, and institution building. This may be controversial’, he cautioned.

Low-income countries ‘lack the resources to participate effectively’ in the negotiations over a post-2015 agenda, warned Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair of the Southern Voices on Post-MDGs, Bangladesh. He worried whether the post-2015 agenda will be ambitious and balanced enough. ‘There will be hard choices and painful trade-offs,’ he said.

Wealth and income inequality is a major worldwide impediment to poverty eradication and sustainable development. Some members of the audience believed that there should be no deal unless the international community commits to meaningfully address inequality. Some also thought that there should be no deal unless it is clear how the new agenda will be financed – where is the money coming from?

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International, maintained that the new agenda ‘must address inequality in all its dimensions’, including gender. ‘Inequality is bad for progress.’ She urged that the new agenda must require all nations ‘live within planetary boundaries.’  There should be binding emissions targets and adequate financial support for climate change adaptation in poor countries. NGOs should refuse to be party to a new agenda with ‘unambitious, half-way goals’, she argued.

Paul Collier, Director for the Centre for the Study of African Economies at The University of Oxford, United Kingdom, foresees a ‘potential train crash between environment and poverty reduction goals’. Is it possible to reconcile environment protection with prosperity? For this train crash to be avoided, ‘there needs to be intellectual movement on both sides’. We need institutions that properly balance the trade-offs between the needs and interests of present populations and those of future generations.

Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development, reminded the audience that we live in a world of nation states, a system that limits global solutions. Only the United Nations system includes all countries and thus a new development agenda must be UN based. The challenge for arriving at a new development agenda will be ‘to convince all people that the new regime will serve their countries,’ he concluded.

The challenges confronting a bold, but practical agreement on a post-2015 agenda will be formidable. However, they should not prove to be insuperable if all nations realise poverty eradication and sustainable development are in their national interests.

Quotes

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya

Chair, Southern Voices on Post-MDGs, Centre for Policy Dialogue

Years of participation : 2013

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‘We need a post-2015 agenda, but will the goals be ambitious enough to deal with the hardcore poor? This ambition issue is a big one.’

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Session: A new development agenda: The way forward


‘I hope national goverments will not pass on everything to the international institutions and avoid their own responsibilities.’

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Session: A new development agenda: The way forward


Winnie Byanyima

Executive Director, Oxfam International

Years of participation : 2013

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‘The UN High-Level Panel report made strong proposals on gender equality – and we agree with that – but we would like to see a specific goal on income inequality. Inequality is not just morally repugnant, but is bad for social and economic progress.’

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Session: A new development agenda: The way forward


‘This global compact will not achieve its goals unless it is a people’s compact and unless there are clear accountability mechanisms to allow ordinary people to hold their leaders – both government and business leaders – accountable.’

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Session: A new development agenda: The way forward


‘We refuse to be party to unambitious goals. We refuse to be party to partial goals that only resolve the problem halfway. We will use our moral voice and our mobilisation power to say "no" and to protest.’

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‘We need something on new and innovative sources of financing like a carbon tax on international shipping and a financial transaction tax.’

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Session: A new development agenda: The way forward


More informations
Andris Piebalgs

EU Commissioner for Development

Years of participation : 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

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‘Everyone agrees we need a single, universal framework. That's very clear. The next step is to convince people that "it is for me – it is for my country".’

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Session: A new development agenda: The way forward


‘An event like European Development Days tries to convince each of its participants that there is no hidden agenda, no traps, no trying to push away responsibilities. It’s about the basic elements of our world, it’s about each human being that is born or will be born. And we need to try to interpret that in the government framework that will shape policies universally across the world.’

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‘You can’t separate me as a consumer on the one hand and the protection of environment on the other. I am still the same person – I can’t have a dual personality.’

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More informations
Klaus Rudischhauser

Deputy Director General, Directorate-General for Development & Cooperation - EuropeAid

Years of participation : 2013, 2012

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‘We have to focus our development assistance and cooperation on helping the private sector in our partner countries to thrive, to develop, and to help European and international companies to trade with Africa and invest in Africa.’

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Session: A new development agenda: The way forward


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Speakers

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya

Chair, Southern Voices on Post-MDGs, Centre for Policy Dialogue

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Winnie Byanyima

Executive Director, Oxfam International

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Paul Collier

Co-Director, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford, UK

Year(s) of participation:
2013, 2010

Jan Eliasson

Deputy Secretary General, United Nations

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

President of Liberia

Year(s) of participation:
2013, 2009, 2006

Simon Maxwell

Senior Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute - Moderator

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Andris Piebalgs

EU Commissioner for Development

Year(s) of participation:
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

Videos

Post-2015 agenda

The eradication of poverty and ensuring that prosperity and wellbeing are sustainable are two of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. These challenges are universal, interrelated and need to be addressed together by all countries.

The European Union (EU) is involved in global discussions on the development agenda after 2015 – the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – placing particular emphasis on building towards an intensive exchange with non-state actors.

Public consultations, dialogue with strategic partners and wide-ranging research have fed into the EU position on an overarching framework. Through its February 2013 Communication ‘A Decent Life for All’ and the ensuing Council Conclusions, the EU states five building blocks for a post-2015 agenda:

  • Basic, universal living standards under which no-one should fall. Even if all MDGs are reached, much unfinished business will remain to eradicate poverty and further human development.
  • The promotion of ‘drivers’ of inclusive, sustainable growth. Investing in infrastructure or energy, for example, creates growth and decent jobs, whilst boosting human development.
  • Sustainable management of natural resources. This is vital if we are to halt environmental degradation.
  • Equality, equity and justice. Not only are these values in themselves, but also fundamental for sustainable development.
  • Tackling insecurity and state fragility, which impede sustainable development.

Several international processes relevant to the post-2015 agenda are ongoing. Commitments made at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012 initiated work to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda recently published its recommendations for the post-2015 agenda; and a broad United Nations-led consultation process is ongoing. Recently, the UN Secretary-General published his report ‘A life of dignity for all’, which builds on these inputs. In addition, an MDG Special Event will take place in New York, USA on 25 September, which will also give recommendations on the way forward towards a post-2015 agreement. 

This work will provide further impetus for the development of a framework that would offer a coherent and comprehensive response to the universal challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Against this backdrop, the eighth edition of European Development Days will discuss, debate and foster consensus on the EU’s objective to set a globally-agreed, ambitious framework that addresses poverty eradication and sustainable development, and ensures a decent life for all by 2030.

Under the thread of this year’s edition – ‘A vision for the post-2015 agenda’this year’s forum is structured around four themes. Each theme will be composed of three topics and each topic will be highlighted by an auditorium panel and a series of lab sessions.

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