The European Commission’s latest proposal defining the role of the European Union in the post-2015 discussions is a welcome move though it lacks important details, according to European nongovernmental organizations.
Under ”A decent life for All: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future,” the commission underlines the importance of addressing sustainable development and poverty eradication under a single post-2015 framework. The development of a set of sustainable development goals is separate from the process to formulate the next set of development goals post-2015.
The framework should be universal in scope but tailored to each country, the proposal indicates. But “more clarity is needed on what changes the EU and richer countries would have to make themselves to fulfill this agenda,” CONCORD Director Olivier Consolo said Feb. 27 in response to it.
Hans Zomer, director of Dóchas or the Irish Association of Development NGOs, found it “disappointing” that the proposal “is not more ambitious in going beyond a ‘business as usual’ approach whereby developing countries have to make most of the changes.”
The commission’s communique notes: “The responsibility for implementing the future framework lies within each country itself, involving all relevant stakeholders, including social partners.”
Both NGO associations also raised the issue of accountability.
“The Communication is extremely light on accountability mechanisms to ensure leaders and countries fulfil their commitments,” CONCORD said. “The poverty and sustainability challenges set out in the Communication need to be met with real commitment to the changes needed if the EU wants to be taken seriously by the international community.”
Zomer added: “During this Irish EU Presidency, we would hope to see more detailed proposals on changes rich countries can make and on how countries will be better held to account for their sustainable development commitments.”
ONE Campaign Brussels Director Eloise Todd, meanwhile, noted two things the commission needs to include in its approach: Ensure the voice of the poorest are “heard, and acted upon” and improve transparency by “opening up its own data.”
The existing goals “were developed by technical experts with little input from ordinary people,” she said, adding that the lack of “reliable data on on MDG-related investments and outcomes” has made it difficult for citizens and policymakers to track progress and hold stakeholders accountable.
The proposal comes weeks after a meeting among EU ministers in Ireland early this month, where they vowed to seek a unified EU position on international negotiations concerning a new global development framework.
The U.N. high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda is expected to present to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a report containing recommendations on a post-2015 framework in May. The report of the U.N. Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, meanwhile, will be presented before the General Assembly in September 2014.
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