The High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda today released “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development,” a report which sets out a universal agenda to eradicate extreme poverty from the face of the earth by 2030, and deliver on the promise of sustainable development.
The Panel was established by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and is co-chaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
One paragraph in the summary struck me in particular, as it emphasises climate change as a key factor in development: “Above all, there is one trend – climate change – which will determine whether or not we can deliver on our ambitions. Scientific evidence of the direct threat from climate change has mounted. The stresses of unsustainable production and consumption patterns have become clear, in areas like deforestation, water scarcity, food waste, and high carbon emissions. Losses from natural disasters–including drought, floods, and storms – have increased at an alarming rate. People living in poverty will suffer first and worst from climate change. The cost of taking action now will be much less than the cost of dealing with the consequences later”
The panel decided that the post-2015 agenda will be driven by five big, transformative shifts:
1. Leave no one behind. We must keep faith with the original promise of the MDGs, and now finish the job. After 2015 we should move from reducing to ending extreme poverty, in all its forms.
2. Put sustainable development at the core. We must act now to halt the alarming pace of climate change and environmental degradation, which pose unprecedented threats to humanity. We must bring about more social inclusion.
3. Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth. We call for a quantum leap forward in economic opportunities and a profound economic transformation to end extreme poverty and improve livelihoods.
4. Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all. We are calling for a fundamental shift – to recognize peace and good governance as core elements of wellbeing, not optional extras.
5. Forge a new global partnership. Perhaps the most important transformative shift is towards a new spirit of solidarity, cooperation, and mutual accountability that must underpin the post-2015 agenda.
All this requires money, and this reminded me that a few days ago, I read in the Dutch news that former Minister for Development Cooperation, Jan Pronk resigned from the Dutch Labour Party (PVDA), in protest of the Dutch government decision to slash its development cooperation budget. As a result of his influence when he was minister in 1975, The Netherlands is only one of the five countries that have consistently exceeded the UN target of 0.7%GNP, together with Denmark, Luxemburg, Norway and Sweden. Since 2010, the development cooperation budget has been reduced significantly and the latest budget cuts may reduce it further to below 0.7% in 2013 and down to 0,55%GNP in 2017.
The Netherlands is not the only country that is reviewing its development cooperation. The OECD reports that overall development assistance fell by 4% in real terms in 2012, following a 2% fall in 2011. The projections for 2013 are not any better.
How are we going to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if there is no money to pay for it?