Summary report, 28 February – 1 March 2013

Final Meeting of the Post-2015 Thematic Consultation on Governance

The final meeting of the Post-2015 Thematic Consultation on Governance took place from 28 February to 1 March 2013 in Midrand, South Africa. The consultation, which was co-led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), aimed to build consensus and recommend how to integrate global, regional, national and sub-national governance and accountability with the intergovernmental process on the UN’s post-2015 development agenda.

During the final meeting of the consultation, which was attended by 250 participants and broadcast live on the web, plenary, panel and roundtable discussions were held on identifying key areas and themes of governance, and positioning governance and accountability in the post-2015 development agenda.

The first day included a governance leaders’ panel to kick start the discussion, a moderated plenary and four roundtable sessions on: empowerment and participation to tackle inequality and promote social inclusion; local governance and local development in the post-2015 development framework; strengthening institutions of governance to achieve development objectives; and regional and global governance.

The second and final day included a moderated plenary and roundtable sessions on: implementation and accountability framework for the post-2015 development agenda; addressing gender inequality through responsive governance; governance for development: challenges and opportunities for the post-2015 framework; and good governance and public private partnerships for sustainable development. This was followed by remarks by Graça Machel, member of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP), and a summary and wrap-up session.

During the meeting, participants discussed a variety of issues relating to governance and accountability, emphasizing, among other things, the need to: address the challenges of poverty and inequality; empower indigenous peoples; improve the accountability of UN agencies; empower women; promote democratic governance; improve citizens’ awareness of their right to hold their leaders accountable; increase public participation and involvement; and combat corruption. The outcomes of the meeting will feed into an overall report, which will be used to engage with the HLP, the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other key processes in preparation for the General Assembly’s Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2013 and beyond.

This report summarizes the plenary and panel discussions, and some of the roundtable sessions held during the final meeting.


At the High-level Plenary Meeting of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the MDGs held in New York in September 2010, governments called for accelerating progress towards achieving the MDGs, and also for thinking on ways to advance the UN development agenda beyond 2015. In response, the UN undertook several initiatives aimed at developing a post-2015 development agenda, including: setting up a UN System Task Team (UNTT); launching a HLP; appointing a Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning; and launching national and global thematic consultations.

In addition to the above, other processes that will feed into the post-2015 discussions include: the work of the Open Working Group on SDGs, a 30-member group mandated by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) Outcome Document to prepare a proposal on SDGs for consideration by the UNGA at its 68th session; regional consultations by the Regional Economic Commissions, which will result in a report on regional perspectives on the post-2015 development agenda; inputs from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, set up by the UN Secretary-General in August 2012 to support global problem-solving in critical areas of sustainable development; and input from businesses and the private sector through the UN Global Compact.

In order to ensure coherence across these different work streams, an informal senior coordination group of four Assistant Secretary-Generals (ASGs) has been put in place, which includes the ASG for Economic Development at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the ASG for Development Policy at UNDP, the ASG for Policy and Programme at UN Women, and the Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning. A “One Secretariat” has also been established to facilitate coordination and coherence across the work streams.

UN System Task Team:The UNTT, which includes more than 60 UN entities and agencies, and other international organizations, was set up to assess ongoing efforts within the UN system, consult all relevant stakeholders and define a system-wide vision and roadmap to support deliberations on the post-2015 UN development agenda. UNTT presented its report, Realizing the Future We Want for All, in June 2012, calling for an integrated policy approach to ensure inclusive economic development, social progress and environmental sustainability, and a development agenda that responds to the public’s aspirations for a world free of want and fear. The report recommended that the post-2015 vision be built on the principles of human rights, equality and sustainability.  The report will serve as a reference for additional broader and inclusive consultations on the post-2015 development agenda. UNTT, which is co-chaired by DESA and UNDP, continues to provide technical support to the Open Working Group on SDGs. It also aims to support the multi-stakeholder consultations being led by Member States on a post-2015 global development agenda by providing analytical inputs, expertise and outreach.

High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda:The UN Secretary-General launched the HLP in June 2012 and appointed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom as co-chairs. It includes leaders from civil society, the private sector and governments. The Panel, which reports to the UN Secretary-General and is not an intergovernmental process, is expected to publish its report in May 2013, outlining its vision and recommendations on a post-2015 global development agenda. This report will feed into the Secretary-General’s report to Member States at the Special Event on MDGs in September 2013.

Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning: In June 2012, Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria was appointed as ASG and Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning to coordinate, on behalf of the Secretary-General, the process of developing and building consensus among Member States, UN actors and key external actors. Mohammed also serves as ex-officio member on the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons, represents the Secretary-General in the post-2015 debate and advises him on related matters.

National and Global Thematic Consultations:The UN Development Group (UNDG) initiated national and global consultations on the post-2015 development agenda aimed at bringing together a broad range of stakeholders to review progress on the MDGs and discuss the options for a new framework. The national consultations are taking place online and offline in more than 60 developing and developed countries, with national stakeholders exchanging their inputs for a shared global vision of “The Future We Want.”

At the global level, UNDG initiated 11 multi-stakeholder thematic consultations on: inequalities; education; health; governance; conflict and fragility; growth and employment; environmental sustainability; hunger, nutrition and food security; population dynamics; energy; and water.

Each thematic consultation is co-convened by two or more UN agencies with support from governments, working together with representatives from civil society, the private sector and academia. The consultations, which seek online contributions on the “World We Want 2015” website, aim to explore the role each theme could play in a new framework, the key issues and priorities within the theme, the different ways in which they can be best addressed, and the linkages among them. A high-level meeting is taking place for each thematic area to consider the results and recommendations of the consultations and develop recommendations to inform the larger process.

In addition, UNDP, the UN Millennium Campaign, the Overseas Development Institute and the WorldWide Web Foundation developed and are facilitating an options survey called “MY World” that allows citizens to vote online and offline for issues that would make the most difference to their lives.  This survey aims to gather public opinions on development priorities.

Governance Consultations: The thematic consultation on governance was co-convened by UNDP and OHCHR, in partnership with the Government of Germany, and focused on governance systems and their accountability mechanisms, underpinned by human rights standards and principles. Among other things, the consultation sought to address civic participation, the capacity of public institutions and global governance.

One key factor of the consultation process was its inclusive approach, which aimed to ensure broad participation of stakeholders in the consultation. In order to ensure inclusiveness, a reference group of key civil society partners was formed to guide UNDP and OHCHR on substance and methodology. In addition, input was sought from grassroots stakeholders and communities, and regional dialogues were held in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the Arab states, and Latin America and the Caribbean. A technical meeting was also held on “Measuring Governance and Human Rights Commitments in a Post-2015 Agenda” in New York from 13-14 November 2012. 

Participants in the thematic consultation process identified governance as a critically important priority for inclusion in the post-2015 development agenda, and focused on issues including civic participation; capacities of public institutions, systems and processes; and global governance. They recognized governance as a multi-dimensional and crosscutting concept that touches on a number of development issues, including education, health, water, economic growth and social inequalities.

The outcomes of the consultation process were integrated into the discussions at the final meeting of the global thematic consultation in Midrand. The governance consultation will result in a report prepared by the co-leading agencies. This report will identify key issues related to governance and sustainable development and make recommendations on how to both ensure inclusiveness in the intergovernmental process towards 2015 and integrate governance and accountability in the post-2015 development agenda. The report will be used to engage with the HLP, the Open Working Group on SDGs and other key processes in preparation for the General Assembly’s Special Event on MDGs in September 2013 and beyond.



On Thursday morning, participants gathered at the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa, to discuss the issue of governance in the post-2015 development agenda.

Pan-African Parliament President Bethel Amadi, Nigeria, opened the meeting. Amadi applauded progress made over the past decade in reaching the MDGs, mentioning gains in combating HIV/AIDS across Africa by 25%, improvement of maternal health care with deaths decreasing by 45%, an increase of 9 million children entering education, and improvements in water provision, food security and infrastructure. He stressed the need to take these actions further through collective participation in finding practical solutions to issues such as gender imbalances, economic development issues and youth disempowerment. He highlighted that a post-2015 development agenda must be accountable, people-centred and nationally-owned.  


During this panel discussion, moderated by Daniel Makokera, Pamuzinda Productions, panellists focused on issues of accountability, governance and the post-2015 development framework.

Aruna Roy, National Campaign for the Peoples’ Right to Information, India, emphasized that human rights are central to governance and warned that failure to act responsibly and transparently means failure to govern. Lamenting the large role of corruption in India’s government, she noted that transparency and accountability require a constant dialogue on international and national issues. Citing lack of access to the Internet as a reason for many people’s exclusion from accessing information, she emphasized the need for facilitation and said “democracy is speaking truth to power, making the powerful truthful and the truth powerful.”

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, spoke on the costs of famine and lack of education that further translate into loss of morality and spirituality, and abuse of the Earth’s resources. He said a citizen-driven system must be the foundation of the post-2015 agenda, and stated that ordinary citizens want to share the power they have bestowed upon the elected, because those in power have been shown to be wanting. He stated that corruption is a major issue in Africa with which the post-2015 agenda must deal decisively to enshrine transparency and accountability.

Devaki Jain, development economist and activist, India, cited the neglect of economic institutions as an important reason for failure, emphasizing that economic and political democracy should be integrated. She called poverty and inequality two sides of the same coin, the removal of which should be a goal of the post-2015 development agenda. Stressing the role of women in transformation in India, she advised against simply adding women “to the room”, but instead urged increasing their knowledge and capacity. Jain emphasised the comparative importance of setting goals and targets at the national, rather than global, level.

Jose Octavio Bordon, Former Governor, Minister and Argentine Ambassador to the United States (US), called for: legitimate, inclusive governance; a holistic approach to democracy; transparent electoral systems with equal opportunities; and the effective measurement of performance. He emphasized the need for free access to information and the importance of implementing budgets according to results. On how to achieve these, he urged participation of citizens, strengthening the stability of democratic institutions and maintaining the public’s trust.

Filippe Savadogo, La Francophonie, emphasized the need to focus on education and to assist struggling governments to strengthen their electoral processes. He encouraged involving people at the grassroots level, embracing good practices and discarding weak governance mechanisms.

Comparing the topic of governance to an impressionist painting to which each group brings its own perspective, Alioune Sall, African Futures Institute, Liberia, emphasized challenges, including: the absence of structures for the poor to fight incompetent decision makers; the multiple facets of power and how these interact with governance and the initiatives of political systems; and the need to address value systems when fighting poverty. Sall highlighted coalition building to combat corruption in a heterogeneous civil society and stressed the importance of communication.

Responding to questions from participants, the panellists discussed: strengthening civil society and transparency; sharing best practices; applying people’s understanding of development needs; identifying problems and remedies; ensuring that political will is maintained and implemented; the need for economic democracy; addressing corruption; youth engagement; how the outcomes of the governance consultations will be applied; catalyzing a process that leads to the use of progress indicators that measure human well-being better than Gross Domestic Product (GDP); providing governments with capacity to implement the new development agenda; and ensuring that people are heard.

Participants also raised issues including increasing the accountability of business, the links between equality and poverty eradication, and differences between the post-2015 agenda and the MDGs. They identified the need to: combat corruption, empower women; increase accountability; carry out electoral reform; increase transparency and civil society participation; address institutional issues; use education to address discrimination; increase democratic fiscal responsibility; and use inputs from the poor to improve development. It was stated that business as usual is unacceptable and that there is a need to take the voice of the voiceless to the corridors of power. Participants further noted: the need for providing civil society the capacity it needs to take action; problems with traditional growth theories; and the need for transparency of government contracts. They stressed that inequality undermines poverty eradication and there is a need to identify sources of inequality and take a holistic approach.


Through a video message on Thursday afternoon, Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, encouraged participants to use the post-2015 consultations to develop solutions that will improve lives through good governance and are intrinsic to sustainable development. Noting the popularity of honest and responsible governance with online voters on the “World We Want 2015” website, she stressed the responsibility of people engaging with the process and holding governments accountable. Clark called for finding ways of prioritizing the provision of water and education, while increasing focus on inequalities, health, climate change and food security in the post-2015 agenda.


By video, Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged setting a better course for the future through the consultations and underlined the continued allegations of misconduct, corruption and entrenched discrimination within countries. She lamented previous technocratic approaches that ignored civil and political rights and argued that, in defining post-2015 priorities, we should “measure what we treasure,” not “treasure what we measure.” Emphasizing the need to translate recommendations into actions, she urged anchoring accountability in international human rights treaties and the right to development.


Noting that the UN Charter opens with ‘We the People,’ focusing on individuals not states, Olav Kjørven, UNDG, and UNTT co-chair, said it is finally possible to realise the agenda of the Charter. Kjørven identified progress that has been made in achieving the MDGs and the challenges that remain. He stressed the need to consult, identify and address gaps, share experiences on how to move forward, and address bottlenecks caused by poor governance. Noting the need for a “people first” effort, he said progress requires an active, thoughtful approach to governance dimensions, a commitment to sustainable development, integration with the human development agenda and infusion of governance issues in the post-2015 development agenda.


This panel discussion was held on Thursday afternoon and was moderated by Justice Malala, political analyst, South Africa, who emphasized the role of governance while reflecting on ways of making states accountable.

Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, UNDP, presented on the emergence of the “democratic development state” as a socio-economic enabler, stressing that even rapid economic development is unsustainable when achieved in the face of inequality and poverty. Emphasizing that sustainable development is “all about inclusivity”, she reflected on the participatory nature of the consultation process on governance, and defined this as a novel endeavour for the UN. On the need for global governance to address national challenges, she urged: prioritizing marginalized groups such as indigenous people, women, and people with disabilities; creating a robust public discourse on the norms of development; ensuring accountability responsiveness; and restoring trust in institutions. She stressed the need to translate these transformations through the many technologies existing today.

Marcia Kran, OHCHR, highlighted feedback from the consultation process, suggesting that international human rights standards should form the basis for a new agenda and become the yardstick by which to measure national and international policies. She urged the use of realistic timeframes and levels of ambition, and better analysis of data related, for instance, to gender and equity. She stressed the need to measure outcomes and to also measure the efforts to reach those outcomes. Kran encouraged the use of existing measurement mechanisms, especially at the global level, including regional accountability measures.

Ignacio Saiz, Centre for Economic and Social Rights, US, emphasized the need to bring human rights considerations into economic and social policy realms, and to align the post-2015 development agenda with human rights and human dignity. Noting that poverty and inequality are not accidents of fate, but are caused by unjust policy, he outlined five prominent issues: human rights are intricately linked to governance issues and essential for poverty eradication; goals should aim to reduce inequalities; the poor must participate in development decision making; transparency, including access to budgetary and fiscal information, is necessary; and the importance of accountability and the “no-harm” principle. He highlighted the need for: new governance targets; goals and indicators addressing budget transparency; political participation; freedom of information; addressing violence on women; and the use of clear, rights-based criteria.

Rosemary Zulu, Restless Development, Zambia, called for youth engagement, empowerment, and access to information. She stressed the need for better monitoring and suitable environments and platforms for youth to participate.

Participants raised issues including: the role of accountability in the post-2015 development agenda; the use of existing human rights tools and mechanisms; the need for synergies between the development and human rights agendas; the importance of recognising the multi-dimensional aspects of development; the need to address human rights, equality and justice; and the value in addressing the role of market forces in accountability discussions.


On Thursday afternoon participants met in four parallel roundtable sessions. Discussions in two of the roundtables are covered in this report, and summarized below.

Roundtable on local governance and local development in the post-2015 development framework: During a roundtable discussion on local governance and local development in the post-2015 development framework, moderator David Kode, CIVICUS, South Africa, stressed: a distinction between local governance and local government; need for engagement between citizens and local governments; and the recognition of traditional leadership.

Nicola Crosta, UN Capital Development Fund, underscored the role of municipalities as the main providers of service delivery and as critical links with national governments in the implementation of national policies. He described the links between decentralization and reduction of inequality, and urged clear local government targets and dedicated goals to combat inequality.

Nyasha Simbanegavi, Commonwealth Local Government Forum, South Africa, noted the role of local governments in ensuring civil participation, reducing poverty and providing services at the grassroots level. She urged national governments to support local governments through funding, capacity, planning and facilitating public-private partnerships.

Michael Sutcliffe, City Insights, South Africa, cited the lack of accountable governance as one of the main reasons for non-achievement of the MDGs and called for integrated urban development in the new framework. He stressed the important role of women in local governments and pro-poor service delivery, and called for inclusive, well-funded local governments that prioritize accountability and capability.

Carles Llorens i Vila, Catalonian Development Cooperation, Spain, noted the failure of reaching the MDGs at sub-national levels and called for greater focus on alleviating poverty at the local level. He urged the activation of a new multilateral movement across these levels. As reasons for the failure, he cited a lack of legitimacy, public participation and effectiveness. He emphasized the supporting role of partnerships between developed and developing countries.

Jochen Mattern, Decentralization and Local Governance, Germany, referred to the high priority given to local governance during the consultation. He focused on: competency at sub-national level; multilevel governance; contribution to state legitimacy; and mainstreaming equality and local economic development.

During the ensuing discussion, participants deliberated on: the need for aligning international and national goals with local goals; the prevalence of corruption and the lack of capacities at the local level; recognizing and legitimizing the roles of traditional leaders in the post-2015 development agenda; improving citizens’ awareness of their rights to hold local governors accountable; increasing public participation and involvement; the role of mayors as agents of development; accelerating decentralization;  lack of synchronization of local government frameworks; participation of local authorities in infrastructure development; and strengthening linkages with national governments.

Roundtable onregional and global governance: Margaret Satterthwaite, New York University School of Law, US, moderated this roundtable. She highlighted the failure of the MDGs to effectively deal with global governance issues; the democratic deficit of regional and global institutions and processes; the need to hold the private sector to account; the importance of good governance of international financial institutions; the need for policy coherence so that actors are on the same page regarding implementation; and the need for institutional coordination and transparency. She called for enabling policies to fulfil human development and said the future development framework must be democratic and tailored to national needs. She said accountability mechanisms related to governance must be included in the post-2015 development agenda, building on existing tools.

Highlighting that regional good governance requirements must be replicated on the national and sub-national levels, Rajeev Malhotra, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, India, said the global governance agenda must reflect the changes in the world since 2000, including increased globalization, the increase in social networking, and changes in the global economy. Malhotra said criteria for strengthening global governance should include: ensuring personal security, human dignity and peace; financing for global development; coordinating macroeconomic policies and global financial stabilization regulations; bridging the global governance deficit; sustaining the global environment; and creating knowledge and technologies for human well-being.

Ranja Sengupta, Third World Network - India, highlighted the importance of applying the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities when developing new goals, to minimise adverse impacts on developing countries. She noted the importance of fair rules that protect the right to food, allow access to medicine, permit the migration of peoples, and protect national policy space. She emphasized the need for: UN bodies to play a central role in global governance; legally binding codes of conduct for transnational corporations; rules for developed countries regarding spill-over impacts on developing countries; and addressing environmental costs.

Dereje Alemayehu, Tax Justice Network - Africa, called for better governance of international financial institutions, accountability that allows public participation in policy-making processes and liability for failures and harm caused. He urged for a stronger, more accountable UN to fill gaps in global governance; replacement of non-democratic institutions; and the inclusion of the needs of developing countries in the creation of the post-2015 development agenda.

Participants discussed the importance of, among other things: regional mechanisms; peace and security; democratizing key institutions including the UN; the use of UN Human Rights Council’s special procedures; identifying international remedies for social justice and accountability; policy coherence; compliance with human rights: applicability and enforceability of governance requirements; the role of the media; scaling-up existing national and other accountability mechanisms; the role of parliaments in overseeing accountability; strengthening civil society; the role of the G20; and educating people on their rights. The issue of some developing countries resisting the application of human rights was also discussed.


On Friday morning, Olav Kjørven summarized highlights of the discussions on the previous day, including the need to: focus on people, not just institutions; address the challenges of poverty and inequality; address structural challenges embedded in the way societies are organized; address corruption; protect freedom of speech; use global goals, targets and indicators to strengthen accountability; and tailor global goals in a way that they can be easily adapted to national realities.

Kjørven also noted discussions on the need for the new development agenda to foster governance supported by a human rights framework, and the importance of including views of youth. He mapped out the topics for the day’s discussions, including the measurement of governance and accountability; governance bottlenecks; gender inequalities; the nexus between governance and environmental sustainability; and the role of the private sector.


Charles Abugre, UN Millennium Campaign, moderated this plenary session. He noted the need to think of governance in a crosscutting manner, but to also ensure that governance issues are in the forefront. Noting the complexity of the post-2015 development agenda process, he emphasized the need to capitalize on the multiple opportunities to promote governance issues.

Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, discussed the links between good governance and tackling poverty, noting that governance assessments and initiatives must be coordinated and prioritized to maximize impact. She said democracy and development must be developed concurrently and should be participatory and inclusive, providing a voice to the poor and vulnerable. Masire-Mwamba emphasized the need for youth engagement and empowerment, and said development must be considered legitimate in the eyes of the people. She noted the need to combat corruption and ensure that measurement tools focus on assessing how activities benefit people. She said strategies to advance governance must be clear, consistent, collaborative and credible.

Paul Quintos, IBON International, the Philippines, declared the intergovernmental consultations the only open governmental process to cut across all dimensions, and urged clear modalities for civil society participation in the consensus phase. Pronouncing governance as “too important to be left to governors,” he emphasized the need to build a critical mass of support and to voice concerns, which is the essence of democratic governance.

Daniel Perell, Baha’i International Community, lamented the large numbers of marginalized populations and young voices that have not been heard, and called on participants to speak on behalf of the silent majority and to advocate their perspectives.  Reminding participants that profound changes happen at the individual level, he encouraged cross-regional alliances and fostering and promoting open channels of communication.

Katsuji Imata, CIVICUS, blamed the absence of measurement for the gap between rhetoric and action, saying “you measure what you treasure.” He outlined the complex issues related to measurement of governance and accountability.

Participants discussed: how to influence the process after the Midrand governance consultations are concluded; the need to engage with the HLP; the need to ensure that outcomes are powerful, legitimate and reflect the needs of the people; links between colonialism and post-colonial practices resulting in vulnerability and marginalization; promoting equality among powerful and weak states; whether a stand-alone or a cross-cutting governance goal is needed; the need to focus on poverty; the need for economic democracy; the need for up-to-date real-time measurement of data; the importance of developing livelihoods; and the need to measure well-being as opposed to GDP. They also discussed the issue of market failure; the need for democratic governance; the need for impartial and independent measurement; bottom-up communications; the importance of clear goals that help people; the need for access to information on government revenue, budgets and expenditures; and the equal application of governance rules to rich and poor states.


On Friday morning, participants met in four parallel roundtable sessions on positioning governance in the post-2015 development agenda, three of which are summarized below.

Roundtable on implementation and accountability framework for the post-2015 development agenda: Roundtable moderator Mac Darrow, OHCHR, noted that the MDGs are soft on accountability, stressing that goals, targets and indicators will be the primary tools for accountability in the new development agenda. Noting that governance and accountability are broad terms that need to be unpacked in order to make them concrete and operational, he highlighted the need to address responsibilities for deliverables, “answerability” and enforceability.

Lauro Purcil Junior, Center for Advocacy, Learning and Livelihood, Philippines, emphasized the need for legal implementation and respect for the rule of law; evaluation of impacts; budgetary analysis; and engagement with government. He stressed the importance of being organized, and of implementation.

Alison Holder, Save the Children, described her organization’s experiences with existing accountability mechanisms, particularly the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council. Stating the need for an accountability mechanism linked to the post-2015 development goals, she noted the need to be realistic about the significant amount of effort involved in effectively participating in accountability mechanisms, and the effectiveness of sanctioning mechanisms at the global level.

Saiz said human rights provide a normative framework for accountability, noting that reporting should be compulsory and must be followed up with review and correction requirements, and that there should be full participation and meaningful consultations with civil society and the impoverished.

Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, India, discussed efforts in India to develop and enforce the right to information. He said accountability requires full and complete information; access to a hearing; time-bound action; public participation in that action; and protection of complainants from personal attack. He described the passage of a ‘Right to Hearing’ law in Rajasthan, India, which gives citizens the right to attend hearings on public issues, and to receive a written answer to questions posed to government officials within 21 days.

Mark Orkin, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, stressed the value of existing measurement tools, and highlighted tools such as surveys, which measure ‘the voice of the people’. Emphasizing the need to learn and work with national statistics offices, he described the importance of the rule of law, human rights, anti-corruption measures and electoral accountability for effective democratic governance.

Participants discussed: whether accountability rules should be stand-alone or integrated in other targets, goals and indicators; the role of parliaments; the need to identify core elements of democracy; the need for free, prior informed consent of communities regarding activities that impact them; the need for bottom-up approaches and empowerment of the poorest of the poor; the importance of a vibrant independent press for assessment of claims by government on progress; the need for feedback opportunities and public participation; the measurement of inequality issues; the role of judicial independence, rule of law, and efforts to combat corruption; and the need for local and community accountability.

Roundtable on addressing gender inequality through responsive governance: Zola Khan, UN Women, moderated this roundtable. Noting that MDG 3 on gender equality is relatively weak, Misun Woo, Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development, Thailand, said the post-2015 development agenda should include economic, cultural, civil and political rights for women, promote equality in the workplace and address micro-economic issues such as healthcare.

Martin Chungong, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Switzerland, highlighted the need for a governance system that promotes women’s rights through policy coherence, and called for a reform of international financial institutions, and a more equitable and participatory global governance system.

Radhika Balakrishnan, Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, US, said there is hope for movement on gender issues, underscoring the need to make a bold statement to assure that there will be resources for the movement. She said the post-2015 development agenda should address inequalities related to access to resources between countries, and between men and women. 

Mayra Moro-Coco, Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Spain, discussed the role of parliamentarians in budgetary oversight and accountability for resources, noting that several models have worked by allocating resources for gender activities. On whether having more women in politics translates into more gender responsive governance, she noted that female politicians face significant challenges, and it is the quality and not quantity of women representation that is important. She also noted the need for structural reforms such as increasing gender sensitivity and improving working conditions for women.

During the ensuing discussion, participants discussed: affirmative action on law reform; violence against women; attracting women to attend university; the need for gender analyses on all processes to see how inequalities affect both men and women; ensuring gender sensitive laws; and the use of human rights to address gender issues.

Participants also noted problems with the MDGs, such as lack of balance and accountability. On the issue of setting gender equality standards, participants discussed the quality and quantity of women’s participation; support for women’s participation, especially at the grassroots level; and the need to see more women appointed in public offices by merit. They also addressed the application of gender-related laws; marginalization of women in public participation activities; and cultural barriers to progress on gender issues.

Roundtable on governance for development: Challenges and opportunities for the post-2015 framework: Moderator Massimo Tommasoli, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, described democratic governance which addresses political issues in technical terms as a paradox, and urged concrete operationalization of bureaucratic indicators.

Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Government of Nepal, highlighted governance challenges in countries faced with conflict and instability, like Nepal. Among the key challenges for failing to achieve MDGs in Nepal, he outlined: disparities between the poor and rich due to weak governance structures; inadequate indicators; inability to mainstream efforts to combat corruption due to dishonesty among politicians; and lack of capacity. He applauded community-based initiatives and rights-based approaches to address the needs of people.

On lessons learned from the MDGs, Alexandra Blogovich, IPU, highlighted low awareness and lack of ownership of the MDGs at the parliamentary level, ascribing this to the lack of consultation during the formulation of the MDGs as well as a lack of representation, efficiency, transparency and participation. Defining democracy, she proposed that the new goals should relate directly to democratic governance and be accompanied by a set of targets and indicators to help track progress.

Brigitte Strobel-Shaw, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, called for clear guidance in defining corruption as crime. Showing links to development, she cited examples where as much as 70% of national GDP was lost through corruption. She outlined a peer review mechanism that engages civil society and delivers clear indicators of how countries are faring with eradicating corruption.

During the ensuing discussion, participants commented on participation of marginalized communities and people with disabilities that are left out of discussions. Many participants proposed the use of a less technocratic term for “democratic governance” that would emphasize the accountability of governments, and called for a goal on governance while focusing on inclusiveness and ownership.

Responding to the comments, Strobel-Shaw called for a global measurement of transparency without marginalizing individual countries. Blogovich urged fair representation of communities. Ghimire described competing demands for resources when addressing problems at the local level and suggested ‘ring-fencing’ certain critical resources to achieve the MDGs. Participants also commented on: the need for additional resources for measurement; direct service provisions by non-governmental organizations; developing national frameworks that benefit citizens; tax havens and tax evasion; incorporating youth aspirations; the complexity of using measurement indicators of good governance; and finding cohesion between regional plans. 


Graça Machel, HLP member, said the focus should be on achieving the best possible results from the current set of MDGs, which are already in play. Cautioning against “forgetting the narrative while looking at numbers” when developing goals and targets, she said new challenges should be incorporated as they emerge. Stating the need to develop achievable goals that capture the concerns and aspirations vocalized through the consultations, she stressed that best practices from actual situations worldwide should be used as guidelines.

Machel lamented the lack of focus on issues from the developed world in the MDGs and lauded the current process, which requires engagement across all sectors. Machel proposed a 15-year effort towards ending poverty in all forms. She emphasized developing an agenda that includes issues such as values, social justice and equity.


During the closing plenary, Kjørven provided highlights of the consultations. He noted that a key achievement of the MDGs is their redefinition of development, and change of focus to people. He emphasized the need to address existing and emerging issues, including environmental sustainability, globalization, the continuing need for the voiceless to be heard, and changing global politics.

Fraser-Moleketi described the challenges of increasing inequalities and the need to frame the new development agenda so that it is flexible enough to address asymmetries. Emphasizing that people demand honest and responsible governments, she stated that people must be at the centre of the new development framework. She stressed the need for mutual accountability, tailoring goals to meet regional needs, robust and capacitated institutions, and good governance as the lynchpins for sustainable development.

Kran urged development of a strong framework of accountability and monitoring, and measurable indicators that should be transformative. Emphasizing the need for accountability mechanisms that translate into governmental commitments, she stated that a post-2015 agenda that fails to address the concerns of young people is irrelevant, since they stand to inherit the environmental and development challenges of sustainability.

Chungong called for a strong partnership between governing institutions and civil society. Noting that persistent gender inequality is a governance failure and is structural and systemic, Chungong stressed the links between human rights and gender equality, stating that these should be addressed through national policies. He emphasized the need to reclaim what was set out in the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women and use that to hold governments accountable for implementation. Chungong stated that it is time to move these issues forward, with civil society as the critical driver.

Fraser-Moleketi encouraged South-South partnerships and urged a clear voice on governance from the southern hemisphere. Kjørven stressed that the role of the UN in the post-2015 framework should be that of mediator instead of “policeman.” Commenting on the complexity of whittling down the issues to be included in the post-2015 development agenda, he called on participants to engage and participate through online voting on the “MY World” website.

Participants emphasized the need for: indigenous peoples’ empowerment; fuller exchanges of views among stakeholders; clarity of purpose and vision for the future; capacity building; improving the accountability of UN agencies; democratic governance; better awareness building on development goals; addressing responsibilities; viewing poverty eradication as an ethical imperative rather than solely as a political or economic commitment; participatory democracy; tax dodging; and movement from exclusive to inclusive societies.

Participants also discussed ways of tackling inequalities among States, feedback loops to public audits and support to countries emerging from conflict. One participant noted the need to respect the rights of people with disabilities, enhance access to information for the hearing and visually impaired, and improve accessibility to UN processes and systems to disabled people.  Another participant suggested finding new ways of measuring development, instead of national GDP.


Kjørven concluded the meeting by outlining next steps, saying the UNTT would review the outcomes of the consultations and advise the HLP on them. He encouraged participants to continue to provide inputs. Fraser-Moleketi urged participants to report back to their constituents and closed the meeting at 4.53 pm.


High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the Global Thematic Consultation on Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this high-level leadership meeting will bring together Member States and civil society to discuss and develop agenda suggestions on health for the post-2015 development agenda. This consultation is co-led by UNICEF and World Health Organization, and co-hosted by the Governments of Botswana and Sweden. dates: 5-6 March 2013 location: Gaborone, Botswana email: www:

High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Population Dynamics in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: This high-level leadership meeting is being organized to conclude the Global Thematic Consultation on Population Dynamics in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, co-led by the UN Population Fund, UNDESA, UN Habitat and the International Organization for Migration, and co-hosted by the Government of Switzerland with support of the Government of Bangladesh. dates: 11-12 March 2013 location: Dhaka, Bangladesh email: www:

High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Conflict, Violence and Disaster in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the Global Thematic Consultation on Conflict, Violence and Disaster in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this high-level leadership meeting will bring together Member States and civil society to discuss and agree on an agenda on conflict and fragility in the post-2015 development agenda. This consultation is co-led by UNDP, the UN Peacebuilding Support Office, UNICEF and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and co-hosted by the Government of Finland. date: 13 March 2013 location: Helsinki, Finland www:

High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the Post-2015 Development Agenda Global Thematic Consultations, this High-level Leadership Meeting will bring together Member States and civil society to discuss and agree on an agenda on environmental sustainability for the Post-2015 Development Framework. This consultation is co-led by UNDP and UNEP, and co-hosted by the Governments of France and Costa Rica. dates: 18-19 March 2013 (tentative) location: Costa Rica www:

High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the Global Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this high-level leadership meeting will bring together Member States and civil society to discuss and define agenda recommendations on education for the post-2015 development agenda. The thematic consultation on education is co-led by UNICEF and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and co-hosted by the Governments of Senegal and Canada. dates: 18-20 March 2013 location: Dakar, Senegal www:

High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the Global Thematic Consultation on Water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this high-level leadership meeting will bring together Member States and civil society to discuss and define recommendations on water for the post-2015 development agenda. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the celebrations of World Water Day. The thematic consultation on water is facilitated by UN-Water, co-led by UNDESA and UNICEF, and co-hosted by the Governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland. dates: 21-22 March 2013 location: The Hague, the Netherlands email: www:

High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Growth and Employment in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the Global Thematic Consultation on Growth and Employment in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this high-level leadership meeting will bring together Member States and civil society to discuss and agree on an agenda on growth and employment for the post-2015 development agenda. date: TBA location: TBA www:

Fourth Meeting of the High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda: The fourth meeting of the UN High-level Panel of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, hosted by the Government of Indonesia, is scheduled to take place in Bali, Indonesia from 25-27 March 2013. The focus will be on “Global Partnerships.” dates: 25-27 March 2013 location: Bali, Indonesia contact: Government of Indonesia www:

High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Food and Nutrition in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: As part of the Global Thematic Consultation on Food and Nutrition in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this high-level leadership meeting will bring together Member States and civil society to discuss and agree on an agenda on food and nutrition for the post-2015 development agenda. The thematic consultation on food and nutrition is co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the UN World Food Programme, and co-hosted by the Governments of Spain and Finland. date: 4 April 2013 location: Madrid, Spain www:

High-level Leadership Meeting on the Global Thematic Consultation on Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: This high-level leadership meeting is part of the Global Thematic Consultation on Energy. Participants will consider the results of online consultations and their recommendations. The meeting is expected to develop an “Oslo Declaration” on key energy recommendations and potential global energy objectives, with the aim of informing and shaping the post-2015 development agenda on energy issues. Participants will also discuss processes for engaging with key national, regional and global stakeholders on energy. The meeting will be organized by UN-Energy and the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative, in partnership with the Governments of Mexico and Norway. date: 9 April 2013 location: Oslo, Norway email: www:

UNGA Special Event on the MDGs: This special event will follow-up on efforts made towards achieving the MDGs. It is likely to include an opening and a closing plenary meeting, and up to four high-level interactive multi-stakeholder roundtable sessions which focus in particular on acceleration of implementation of the MDGs as well as looking forward to the post-2015 framework.  Date: 25 September 2013 (tentative) location: New York www:

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